Guardians Of Time
Machines Of Mental Design
12/31/2003 - Review by: Eric Compton
Guardians Of Time-Machines Of Mental Design 2003 Facefront Records
"Machines Of Mental Design" is a concept album centered around a young woman who builds a super computer to help "cleanse" the human race. The idea goes horribly wrong and the Guardians Of Time are brought in to defeat her and the computer technology that has taken over the planet. I've always enjoyed concept albums, but have often felt that the songs don't stand on their own when played individually or randomly. With this concept, that really isn't a problem. This material stays true to the concept, but can easily be viewed seperately.
This group's first album, "Edge Of Tomorrow", really lost me. I loved the speed and dead-on accuracy of the guitars, bass, and drums, but the paths to the melody and identity became too conjested, leaving me wanting more but at the same time wanting a little less. With "Edge Of Tomorrow", Guardians Of Time seemed to crowd too much into the music at one time, leaving the listener sonically abused and frustrated as the album wandered through song after song of speed and velocity, never to relax and let the music just find its own course. This happens to so many bands, and like the rest, I shelved "Edge Of Tomorrow" and moved on.
Now, Guardians Of Time have promised a more valuable listening experience, with "Machines Of Mental Design" marked as a much more controlled effort and a top notch album of thinking man's metal. Gone are the confused passages and the almost mindless approach at song arrangement, replaced with a much more calculated formula to songwriting and melody. Vocalist Bernt Fjellstad really sticks to his guns here, putting it in high gear when necessary, but relaxing more and letting the true emotion of the writing take its toll. Guitarist Paul Olsen continues his razzle-dazzle flash on this record, allowing plenty of speedy renditions but stopping to let the harmony soak in with fellow guitarist Rune Schellingerhout. The two make a lethal combo, reminding us of famed chemistry like Smith & Murray and Tipton-Downing.
Each track here is absolutely brilliant, each a fireball of doom sent out of control, ransacking all opposing forces but never letting the sheer awe get ahead of itself. Opener "Logging On" may be my favorite track, sounding like Edguy on its best day crossed with Iron Maiden sensations. Fjellstad is calm and composed at the helm, providing some of the best vocal melody I've heard in years. Same goes for "TriOpticon", with its Boston-like chorus. Running Wild and Gamma Ray run rampant through "The Rise Of TriOpticon" and "Machines Of Mental Design", with plenty of fast footwork from drummer Vidar Uleberg. "Puppets Of The Mainframe" is an epic dream, with its unplugged moments and Fjellstad's "Beyond The Realms Of Death" vocal treatment. "War Within" is a well played race winner, sounding more like American-made metal ala Iced Earth.
I love this record. Its a well made heavy metal album that I'm proud to say I've heard and thoroughly enjoyed. Guardians Of Time have returned and returned in triumphant fashion. I hope the band can continue this upward spiral in the right direction. If so, this band could take over.
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