I'll start with my conclusion first as it's simple. With their debut album The Jaguar Priest, Universal Mind Project plays some really terrific progressive power metal music, actually quite enjoyable, with a female lead singer. However, founder and guitarist Michael Alexander insists on including, in every song, his annoying and insipid death vocals and growls. These vocals basically sink every song and the entire album.
I say the death growls are in every song, but I don't know that for sure. In two attempts, I didn't get any farther than four or five songs. Yeah. I was that put off by Alexander's vocals. I'm also not sure of what purpose the vocals serve. Maybe, the "jaguar" side of the jaguar priest is growling like, well, a jaguar. Beats me. And at this point, I don't really care anymore. I will not be listening to this album again, and can't recommend it because of the death vocals. (Okay. Haters, get it out of your system and start hating me now. I don't care.)
But on the positive side, accomplished vocalist Elina Laivera has a pleasant voice, melodic and appealing. In the arrangements, there's an exceptional balance of instrumentation, notably between guitar and keyboards. Also, within the arrangements Alexander composes with an ear to harmony and melody that makes the music both appealing and engaging. Additionally, Alexander and company have some strong guest musicians helping them out, including such notables as Nils K Rue [Pagan's Mind], Mark Jansen [Epica, Mayan], Charlie Dominici [ex Dream Theater] and Diego Valdez [Helker]. And, finally, the album art work is quite impressive and attractive. In other words, UMP has a lot of good thing going for it, but the death growls aren't one of them. Fine progressive power metal music, shitty death vocals.
With The Jaguar Priest, Universal Mind Project plays some really terrific progressive power metal music, which, unfortunately, gets a death blow from the annoying and insipid death vocals and growls in every song.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]