Mastermind: The Next 1000 Years Of Prog Rock
by Martin Popoff

In this ice age of power metal, it's cool to hear stacks of power chords that originate from a true progressive rock place, rather than from the metal greats of old. Bill Berends and Mastermind have been toiling within than mindframe for a decade now, arriving here in 2000 with an appropriately titled pageant of sound called Angels Of The Apocalypse, out now on InsideOut Music America. The band's seventh album, Angels is a return to anthemic metal tracks after the experimental instrumental prog fusion of '98's Excelsior.

Why the electric attack? "The power," states Berends without hesitation. "Screaming at the universe and everybody can hear you, you know? The aggression. What we've done even in the progressive category with our earlier albums was way heavier than what most people were doing. I don't know, there is just some kind of loose molecule in my brain that has to get out."

"Basically, I think the new album fits nicely between progressive rock and progressive metal," offers Berends. And one can hear the obvious divergence away from the shackles of power metal, especially in the man's approach to the guitar. "My guitar style is sort of a cross between hard rock and jazz guitar fusion improvisation. I grew up listening to Cream and Mahavishnu Orchestra, and still feel like I'm rooted in that sort of thing." Is there any Yngwie Malmsteen in your playing? "Only by a third or fourth hand nature. I've heard guys do sweep arpeggios and stuff and I had to learn that because it was pretty cool. But I only have one Yngwie record and only bought it last year (laughs)."

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