May 2012 23

Mind.in.a.Box - RevelationsMind.in.a.Box
Category: EBM / Synthpop / Futurepop
Album: Revelations
Stars: 4
Blurb: A new, graceful step in the evolution of the group’s style that taps directly into your heart.


 

Mind.in.a.Box left nothing to accident when they began to weave the story of Dreamweb, the Agency and their pessimistic vision of consciousness imprisoned and confined in the everyday routine. The release of Revelations marks a crucial step in the band’s evolution from the haunting quality of their 2004 debut Lost Alone. It’s an album with a consistent overriding style that can be absorbed song after song as each of them perfectly encapsulates its melodic pulse. Although it picks up the story that begun on Lost Alone (and continued through both Dreamweb and Crossroads), it remains committed to itself. Its appeal stays independent from the band’s previous work even as it builds on the foundations of a gentle blend of trance and pop engineered by Mind.in.a.Box years ago.

The opening is an unconventional melange of styles with elements of ambient, trip-hop, and whispered voices merging into an indistinguishable yet absorbing whole. Out of the initial chaos of “Remember” emerges a soft and pleasant vocal capable of hammering the tension, if necessary, and driving both mood and rhythm. Confident and capable, Mind.in.a.Box proves from the outset that they are on top of their game here, in full control of the album’s pace and style. Too often are the vocal parts an afterthought and a victim of elaborate electronic puzzles. Observing this tendency defeated on Revelations is an undeniable pleasure and testament to the band’s talent. Mind.in.a.Box is not scared of defining itself through a gentle masculine voice – courtesy of Stefan Poiss – and they seem to confirm their position on the far shores of industrial, where aggro turns into emotive and noisy into melodic. The dominant role assigned to the vocal parts on Revelations is crucial in shaping its strong futurepop affiliation.

With a style-defining quality of pure trance, “Cause and Effect” sucks you in and escalates the tempo without ever compromising its light tone. Although it runs a tad too long and eventually exhausts its energy, it places Mind.in.a.Box in the league of masterful acts like Assemblage23 or VNV Nation, effortlessly provoking an immediate bodily response to the rhythm of their music. “Transition” begins on a slower note but the distorted vocals are atmospheric and perfectly in tone with the overall arrangement. Together with the second, powerful vocal line, it creates a melancholic experience that is constantly on the verge of exploding into a maelstrom of beats but remains restrained for almost unbearably long. When the song finally releases the stream of hidden energy, it is to a very satisfying result and “Transition” continues to echo and hum in your head long after it’s over.

The first half of the album sets the bar so high that the looming notion of disappointment inevitably materializes in the listener’s head. Truthfully, there are tracks on Revelations that feel less substantial, like “Fragments,” that break the pace and try to reinvigorate the audience before the album’s dour and atmospheric climax, but fail to build the momentum as successfully as “Transition” did before. Mind.in.a.Box often borrows from a catalog of sounds that are outlandishly dated in order to build the coherence of their world – an unspecified sci-fi nightmare with its main protagonist plagued by amnesia and paranoia. Albeit consistent throughout, the album does lack a truly unforgettable ending. The last few tracks confirm the downhill tendency in slowly detonating the tension rather than meticulously escalating it. “Unknown” is cheerful and pop-infused while “Not Afraid” has a sustained, mellow, ballad-like appeal. Although this particular path is logical in the context of the album’s narrative, a truly stomping crescendo might have served Revelations better than the solid, ambient soaked “Second Reality” and the slightly underwhelming “Sanctuary,” neither of which deliver a long lasting impression but thoughtfully fade into nothingness.

Despite varying individual qualities of all compositions on Revelations, the appeal of the entire record is undeniable. 2008’s R.E.T.R.O. was an unapologetically cheerful tribute to the 8-bit gaming past whereas Revelations takes a turn to a nihilistic and dystopian future. It might be familiar territory for the band’s longtime fans, but never before did Mind.in.a.Box allow itself a similar level of transparency. Gone are the snippets of phone conversations and cryptic messages that plagued previous albums. Whether you follow the story of the enigmatic agent Black or not (it’s unlikely that it’s the serialized plot that brought you to this album), the narrative content of this release takes a step back due to the uniformly impressive musical structure of Mind.in.a.Box’s work. Labeling it as their most mature and complex would be a disservice to the wonderfully broad appeal of Revelations and its ability to connect, influence, and transcend the limits of musical creation. You will feel touched by its rich emotional core, your body will twitch uncontrollably to the rhythm of the archaic beat, and you will remember Revelations as one of the year’s most enlivening electronic albums.
 
Track list:

  1. Remember
  2. Cause and Effect
  3. Transition
  4. Doubt
  5. Control
  6. Fragments
  7. Unknown
  8. Not Afraid
  9. Second Reality
  10. Sanctuary

 
Mind.in.a.Box Website http://www.mindinabox.com
Mind.in.a.Box MySpace http://www.myspace.com/mindinabox
Mind.in.a.Box Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mindinabox.official
Mind.in.a.Box ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/mindinabox
Metropolis Records Website http://www.metropolis-records.com
Metropolis Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/metropolisrecords
Metropolis Records Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MetropolisRecords
Metropolis Records Twitter http://twitter.com/metropolisrec
Dreamweb Music Website http://www.dreamwebmusic.com
Dreamweb Music Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dreamwebmusic
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2012-01-24
 
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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