I consider M!ndgames to be one of the best progressive rock bands from Belgium. With their first release International Daylight (2002), they put their country back on the prog rock map. For me, their second album Actors In A Play (2006) was a real masterpiece which set the standard for neo-prog very high. The music on this release can also be regarded as the best neo-prog possible, reminding me of bands as Pallas, IQ and Pendragon. However, echoes from the seventies classic progressive rock bands can be heard as well. Keyboardist Tom Truyers proves to be inspired by musicians as Tony Banks (Genesis) and Rick Wakeman (Yes). Lead singer Bart Schram makes me think of great singers as Jon Anderson (Yes) and Roger Hodgson (ex- Supertramp).
Since it is not easy to exceed a masterpiece, I was very curious to learn whether the band succeeded in recording a second masterpiece. Their third effort MMX - 2010 in Roman numerals - impressed me very much, but maybe my expectations ran a bit too high. As far as Iím concerned, they didnít deliver a second masterpiece in a row. Thatís certainly not a crime since itís almost impossible for a band or an artist to keep the same quality level on all their releases. Well, the quality level on MMX certainly is high. M!ndgames succeeded in making another fine piece of art with no weak tracks at all and dealing with time and travelling, you and me and today and tomorrow. This time, they choose to create a more song-oriented approach which means less keyboard and guitar solos. However, the awesome synth solo in Travels is a special one! This song has a very interesting middle-section showing that the musicians are able to create fine experimental instrumental passages as well. Most tracks are great up-tempo songs. In My Humble Opinion is in fact the only ballad performed in the vein of Sagittarius from Actors In A Play.
With MMX, M!ndgames released a strong third album that I enjoyed very much. However, not only the musicians are responsible for this great sounding release, but also their producer Frank Van Bogaert. He really did an amazing job producing, engineering, mixing and mastering the album. He made the album sound crystal clear and transparent in order to distinguish all the details of the separate instruments. MMX is highly recommended to all prog heads that enjoy the aforementioned bands. Hopefully, we can witness M!ndgames very soon on a live stage and perhaps they surprise us with some new theatrical acts as well since I love those acts as much as their music.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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