Mind Wars – “The Fourth Turning” (Dissonance Productions)
Battle Helm Rating
If you’re a fan of the short-lived genre of speed metal, then Mind Wars will no doubt be your trip! Formed by none other than Holy Terror guitarist Mike Alvord and drummer Roby Vitari (Headcrasher), who first got together whenHoly Terror was touring with Nuclear Assault and Exodus back in 1989, it comes as no surprise that this band is named after Holy Terror’s critically acclaimed sophomore. Since being formed in 2014, Mind Wars have released a full-length studio album every two years, with “The Fourth Turning” as hinted by its title, being the 4th instalment. Although occasionally going into low gear, Mind Wars is authentic speed metal from the 80s, so expect an intense performance with the hyper speed guitars of Alvord and Danny ‘Z’ Pizzi shredding in every regard while exuding jaw dropping technicality at every opportunity, be it through classy licks, mind bending breaks and awesome guitar god solos! Matched by Vitari’s anabolic drum work and Rick Zaccaro’s gigantic bass, the quartet take the glory of Holy Terror and blend it with the 80s thrash graces of Kreator and not in the least, Slayer during their pinnacle of “Reign In Blood”, even going so far as to offer a faster version of ‘Criminally Insane’!!! Conceptually covering topics of war, civil unrest, disease and authoritarian governments this time around, the likes of ‘(Who’ll Stop The) Aryan Race’ with its hostile rapid-fire lyrics and raw nihilistic riffing bolstered by dexterous fretboard work together delivered at unbelievable speed instantly hook you in as much with intensity as with intricacy. With tremolos wailing along to thick ‘n’ dirty riffs on ‘Digital Dictatorship’, the wailing melodies add to the build-up before the song detonates, driven by Vitari’s double bass blast-beating and screaming fretboard work as Alvord’s desperate vocal style is more than reminiscent of Holy Terror’s late, but still lamented singer Keith Deen. Power chording in ominously on ‘Blood Red’, the melodies add a macabre touch before the pistoning beats kick in amid more wailing tremolos while Alvord’s vocals this time also darkly drawl along to his singing, although again, it’s the dazzling twin guitar work that once again impresses, just like it did when Alvord was lending his youthful virtuosity to Holy Terror. Indeed, it’s more than pleasing for me to hear everything that was great about that band not lost but lending its hand to something modern with the potential to be as cherished.