Mastermind: The Next 1000 Years Of Prog Rock Page 2
by Martin Popoff

And speaking of Yngwie, Angels Of The Apocalypse features Malmsteen's keyboard legend Jens Johansson, now of Stratovarius, spreading his strident chops all over this unique blend of intellectual composition and traditional metal grooves. Berends and Johansson became fast friends after Bill spotted him giving a clinic in a local New Jersey music store back in '87. But don't expect to see Johansson on any Mastermind tour soon. "We'd like to get on a bus and play all over the whole world and never come home again, but for the moment we're just going to go out and do some local shows. If a decent tour comes up, I mean, the Fish thing came up out of the blue (Mastermind toured with the Marillion legend), and we had only four or five days to prepare. Part of the problem we have is what keyboard player we would take out on tour with us, as Jens' first priority is touring with Stratovarius who've just done a new album."

But first the album has to make its way into the consciousness of the prog and metal communities, both camps potential fans of the band's odd, mesmerizing hybrid. "This one is more rooted in a conscious effort to be more forward thinking," offers Berends somewhat abstractly. "The older stuff, starting with Volume 1 then Brainstorm, was a little more backward thinking, because in the early '80s when new wave was pretty big and hair metal was more important than music metal, I kind of rejected all of that in my mind and wanted to go back to the stuff that made me like music in the first place. So we kind of began by recreating '70s progressive music. I get exposed to a lot of metal in my own studio. I don't even have to go to the house. I do recording for a lot of local bands like Deadly Blessing and Mortal Decay. They've turned me onto a lot of stuff I never would have heard before, and that creeps into the sound. As a matter of fact the ex-lead singer from Mortal Decay, John Paoline is the guy that does the voice of the beast on the Angels album. So yes, I know a lot of death metal (laughs). As a matter of fact we're playing a local show right here in New Jersey with a hardcore band and a death metal band. But it's interesting, because them and their friends and fans, they love the Angels album, so we kind of fit right in with them, although on the surface you might not think so."

As a producer with his own studio, Berends had a clear direction he wanted for the Angels album, sonically speaking. "Well, we wanted to make something that fits in with contemporary records and other InsideOut titles. So we used Stratovarius, Metallica and Rhapsody type sounds as a production model, and then we used Suha Gur at Universal Studios to master it, and so far all the comments have been pretty good as far as production goes."

Mastermind: The Next 1000 Years Of Prog Rock Page 3