“Back from the Edge” is MindMaze’s sophomore effort, featuring Symphony X’s Mike LePond on bass and guest appearances by members of Stratovarius, LORD, Pharoah, and more. “Back From The Edge” will be released via Inner Wound Recordings on October 24st in Europe and October 28th in North America.
MindMaze are a promising band like no other. In a time when female-fronted metal is at an all-time high in popularity and also at an all-time high for imitators and copy-cats, this Pennsylvania-based group has strived to create a sound and identity all their own. The band’s debut album “Mask of Lies” was released in February 2013 and the band impressively sold 100% of the first pressing in just 14 months, including shipping copies to 35 different US states as well as 18 countries worldwide. The band accomplished all of this independently through hard work and a strong DIY work ethic.
The band is beyond excited for what this new album is bringing to the table, and strongly believe that it will put their debut album to shame. Despite nearly unanimous praise for the songwriting on “Mask of Lies”, chief songwriter Jeff Teets has strived harder than ever to craft amazing songs filled with first-class musicianship, memorable hooks, and powerful melodies and riffs. The new album sees the band moving further towards forging a strong identity rather than borrowing little bits and pieces from all over their map of influences.
The forthcoming album showcases a variety of guest musicians that are all friends of the band in one way or another. Bass-playing duties have been taken over by veteran Symphony X bassist Mike LePond whose impressive skills bring another powerful weapon to the table. Legendary Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson lends an expectedly awesome solo and harmony to the progressively-tinged ‘Moment of Flight’, while Pharaoh guitarist Matt Johnsen offers an inventive solo to the 10-minute epic entitled ‘The Machine Stops’. ‘End of Eternity’ sees a trade-off solo section between Jeff and long-time friend Jeff Pouring from up-coming Florida-based Maverick Hunter, and the album’s finale ‘Onward (Destiny Calls II)’ features LORD main-man LT dueling it out in tradition of the song’s predecessor ‘Destiny Calls’ from “Mask of Lies”. Three album tracks also feature backing vocal contributions from Draekon vocalist Chad Barnes, who possesses one of the best new voices on the scene today.
All of these guest appearances merely enhance what the rest of the band is already bringing to the table. Vocalist Sarah Teets’s voice has grown exponentially since the band’s debut and is now as strong and powerful as any of her contemporaries. Featuring a Bruce Dickinson-esque soaring quality with a melodic sensibility inspired by greats like Russell Allen and Kansas’s Steve Walsh, her vocals are certain to change minds about what female vocalists are capable of doing in this style of music. Her brother Jeff continues to tackle all of the guitar work (guests aside) in addition to keyboards and backing vocals, as well as writing the majority of the music. His soloing is intricate where it needs to be and melodic where it counts, calling to mind smacks of Adrian Smith, Michael Schenker, John Sykes, and Vivian Campbell. Showpiece track ‘Dreamwalker’ shows perhaps his best combination of shred elements and melodic feel. Drummer Kalin Schweizerhof has also stepped up his game, bringing far more double-kick assaults as well as subtlety than was present on the band’s debut. “Back from the Edge” also features a superior drum sound, showcasing more of Kalin’s natural playing abilities.
The album was again produced by the band’s own Jeff Teets in co-ordination with the rest of the group, and recorded, engineered, and mixed by Brian J. Anthony at his own studio in Catasauqua, PA. Carl-Andre Beckston [Seventh Wonder, Harem Scarem, Brazen Abbot, etc.] has once again designed an exceptional cover art that is sure to be an eye-catcher. Keeping as many great pieces of the puzzle as possible in place is very important to the band, as they seek to raise the bar even higher from where their debut “Mask of Lies” has already placed it.
01. Back from the Edge
02. Through the Open Door
03. Moment of Flight
05. The Machine Stops
06. Consequence of Choice
07. End of Eternity
08. Onward (Destiny Calls II)
“Back From The Edge” can be pre-ordered at the Inner Wound Store
Oct 03 The Smiling Moose Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 24 Compact Disc Center Bethlehem, PA
Nov 09 DeLand Rock and Metal Festival Deland, FL
‘MindMaze’ Signs with ‘Inner Wound Recordings’, New Album Due In October [Aug. 2014]