Michael Bormann is gone, to the chagrin of many Jaded Heart fans. Enter Johan Fahlberg on vocals who proved his worth on 'Helluva Time' (2005). Jaded Heart has also lost Barish Kepic; replaced by Peter Ístros. A band must forge on despite personnel changes. Jaded Heart is not a band founded upon a single person, let alone a single voice or guitarist. So, Mr. Fahlberg is a worthy replacement for he has a strong voice and great presence. And Mr. Ístros has the talent and licks to satisfy. In the end, it is the sum that outweighs the individual parts, and so Jaded heart continues on with a decent melodic hard rock album in 'Sinister Mind.'
If you love guitar driven melodic hard rock that verges on metal, then 'Sinister Mind' is definitely for you. This is basically kiss ass rock and roll that causes you to raise a fist. There's hardly a moment's peace on this work. 'Sinister Mind' starts out strong and never quits. The first cut 'Hero' is typical of what you can expect: hard driving rock with catchy arrangements and blistering guitar work.
This is not to say that 'Sinister Mind' presents a perfect world. Although I found this work generally pleasing, when taken as a whole, I can honestly say I was not that moved. After a while, the songs run together especially in the first half of the work. Unfortunately, some of this is due to Mr. Fahlberg's consistent, yet monotonous style. Except for songs like 'Going Under,' 'Heavenly Devotion,' and 'To Please And Give In,' where there is a touch of blues in his voice, Fahlberg sounds the same from song to song. Also, how much pounding hard rock rhythm and screaming guitar solos can your ears take in fifty minutes. I'm certainly not to old to rock and roll. However, I am a mature listener who knows that you've got to mix it up a little bit more.
With the aforementioned caveat made, I must say that there are some true gems on this album including 'Hero,' 'Sinister Mind,' 'Going Under,' and the very impressive 'Heavenly Devotion,' which is probably the best cut on the album. Essentially, the best stuff occurs in the last third of the album. 'To Please And Give In' is great creative hard rock music. 'Hellucinate' truly rocks and Ístros really rips it up. 'Crush That Fear,' the longest number, shows the true strength of Jaded Heart: a thoroughly convincing arrangement bolstered by strong vocals, an equally strong rhythm section, and coherent and classic fret work. There are slight moments of progressive rock here as well: a very good song.
In the end, I found myself feeling pretty much ambivalent over 'Sinister Mind.' Yeah, for sure, it rocks and there are definitely moments of glory to be heard. However, I found myself suffering along the way to find these moments. I'm sure fans and other reviewers would urge me to listen several more times. Unfortunately. I don't think 'Sinister Mind' is going to be the first thing I grab from my recent catalogue anytime soon. Recommended for fans; for others, well, I leave that up to you.
- Craig Hartranft
'Sinister Mind' is a generally pleasing heavy melodic hard rock album with strong vocals and sound guitar work. The songs seem similar throughout but there are some real gems including 'Hero,' 'To Please and Give In,' and 'Crush That Fear.'
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