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Mind Furniture - Hoop of Flame CD (album) cover

HOOP OF FLAME

Mind Furniture

 

Crossover Prog

3.07 | 13 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars 2.5 to be honest

Some months ago we received a suggestion to add MIND FURNITURE to Symphonic Prog, after listening their debut The End of Days, I was in doubts between Symphonic and Eclectic, but at the end they were accepted by Crossover, a decision that puzzled me at first, because heard little (if any) mainstream influences. Now that I bought Hoop of Flame , can't agree more with the sub-genre selected as home for MIND FURNITURE.

Hoop of Flame is divided in two 5 parts epics, the first one called "The Trial" is opened by The Summons, a song that starts promising with an organ intro that gave me hopes of being in front of a Prog masterpiece, but after the voice and later the drums entered, it morphed into a Rock song without pretensions. I won't say it's bad, because the guitar work by Bill Estes is excellent and the atmosphere created by the organ also, but this is not Prog, in my opinion a very good Hard Rock song with a couple of proggy moments, provided mostly by Brett Barnett and his organ...Good but not outstanding.

The Prosecution starts with a Blues intro, the guitar bass and drums are impeccable, but the vocals by John Mabry, are starting to bore me a bit. Although he has a nice vocal range, the lack of variations and modulation makes him predictable. Blues, not Prog.

The Outcry is recognizable by it's almost military percussion intro, that keeps the listener in expectation for what could come later, but sadly nothing impressing comes, despite the good choirs and a couple of nice arrangements, the song flows without any strong variation until the end.

The Defense starts as an incredibly weak ballad with vocals that seem out of tune, but around the mark of the 1.25 minutes, the organ in the vein of URIAH HEEP provide some new life to the song, sadly not enough to save the listener from boredom, luckily only lasts 2.35 minutes

The first epic ends with The Verdict, which IMO is the best of the 5 pats, the blending of cello and acoustic guitar is extremely beautiful and the synths provide an oneiric atmosphere that reminds me of PINK FLOYD with a Flemish touch....My question is Why couldn't this guys waited until the epic is ending to give us such a beautiful and atmospheric track?

The second epic "Hoop of Flame" starts with Shiva (Part I), and again they become soporiferous, despite the try to repeat the formula of The Verdict, they fail terribly, because the track is extremely boring, the funny thing is that the vocals remind more and more of Jon Bon Jovi. On the other hand, and without being amazing Soon to be Gone is an interesting song, because the bad leaves the safe path and have interesting changes and assume risks, the tune is beautiful, and the arrangements are outstanding.

Sadly in Between Two Voids they seem to looses the path again. The album was becoming dark and atmospheric with some interesting moments, but this song is a catchy poppy track with keys that remind me of 80's bands as SURVIVOR or EUROPE.

Glimpse of a Chance starts melancholic and promising, but this guys manage to ruin it with another metamorphosis towards POP, the synths sound dated and only the piano moments give some hope, but again not enough.

The album ends with Shiva (Part II) that rescues the spirit of the 80's AOR bands, simply out of place and has no relation wit the first part, again only the organ can be rescued.

In order to rate an album, I have created my own standards, in the case of three stars, the perfect example is ELP's debut, so the question I have to ask myself is Can this album be considered as good as ELP's debut? The answer is no, so I have to go lower. Being an average album the perfect rating would be 2.5 stars, but being impossible in our system,. have to go with 2 stars.

Due to the quality of the musicians and some interesting moments, I will wait for their next release hoping that MIND FURNITURE are able to find their natural path and release a great album, because I believe they can..

Ivan_Melgar_M | 2/5 |

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