Mindwars – “Do Unto Others” (Dissonance)
If you didn’t get it already from the obvious pointers, then this band is closely related to 80s cult speed metal band Holy Terror! Formed by guitarist Mike Alvord, the band’s name is taken from Holy Terror’s renowned second album title, with this album’s title being derived from a Holy Terror song offa “Mind Wars”! The origins of Mindwars funnily enough also go back to that time when Mike and drummer Robb Vitari met in 1989 when Holy Terror was on tour in Europe, funnily enough promoting yep, you guessed it – “Mind Wars”! With Mike’s parents originating from the same part of Italy as Vitari’s – Calabria – both immediately connected and 25 years later, lo – Mindwars was born! Completed by bassist Danny Pizzi, this power thrash trio sought to recapture the essence of Holy Terror speed metal that also incorporated punk, NWOBHM and traditional heavy metal influences. Over the course of 2 prior albums as well as tours, Mindwars have laid and perfected the foundation for that, and on this 3rd release, I gotta say it’s pretty good considering Holy Terror were a truly fearsome 5 piece! Alvord’s guitar is still amazing, equal in fluid dexterity as well as wildness in his solos and aggression in his riffs as he was back in the day being the youthful twin axe attack along with Kurt Colfelt (aka Kolfelt, Kilfelt etc). Now also handling vocals, which definitely take a rougher and twisted element I haveta wonder if they’re also inspired by the late Keith Deen, who many saw as a big part of Holy Terror’s signature sound. Whatever the trivia, Alvord has formed a streamlined beast of his own, resplendent in speed metal aggression completed by Vitari’s double bass hammerings and technicality, but equally plenty of fast, intricate guitar work also drawing inspiration from heavy metal’s greats. Together, they’ve created 11 tracks that will definitely satiate any lover of 80s speed metal and certainly disciples of Holy Terror while not necessarily being classified as ‘retro’. From subject matters ranging from government control to conspiracy theories on the assassination of Pope John Paul, Scientology and Sun Tzu, Alvord shows that his technical prowess is matched by his intellectual capability, thus resulting in the quality compositions on show here. From the bombastic ‘Blacklisted’ with its dirty, chugging riffola and galloping beats bringing on a frenzy of hyper speed wailing solos to ‘In God’s Name’ with its crashing cymbals and slow, dark riffs before speeding up to usher in another solo taking in epic heavy metal then speed and finally classic heavy metal, it’s all here magnificently thanks to Alvord and his buddies. And if its evil you want, then ‘Allegiance To Death’ is classic Holy Terror all the way, right down to the controversial (if topical) theme of the military being used not to serve the people, but the political elite. In his prior releases I could see what Mike Alvord was up to and heading towards but on “Do Unto Others” he certainly has and most righteously achieved it indeed!