COURSE OF FATE – MINDWEAVER (Rock Of Angels Records / Gordeon Music)

Review by Stefan

Fredrik Stad, Viken in Norway is the place where these guys come from, formed back in 2003 by guitarist Kenneth Henriksen who started writing new songs shortly after the release of their first EP entitled “Cognizance” which was preceded by a few demos. Available through Rock Of Angels Records, the new piece “Mindweaver” will be available as tri-fold/digipak CD and silver/white/black-marbled vinyl on May 15th. 2020.

This worldwide release is a must-have for all those into Progressive Metal akin the sound of milestone albums like Theater’ “Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory”, “Operation Mindcrime” (Queensryche), even Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” comes across my mind while listening. Singer Elvin Gunnessen and Kenneth Henriksen started to write the songs back in the day, “Mindweaver” unfolds a story about a  man experiences visions of world’s end. This brilliant concept album comes into its own from the first moment of a total playing time of 45 minutes.

Classy Progressive Rock/Metal from the top shelf, I wonder why this band hasn’t released an album much earlier. Course Of Fate consists of six members who I can say with conviction that they are overloaded with exceptional technical skills… each one delivers an outstanding performance. I really like the clear and stable vocals, the technical guitar licks and tricks, the quite complex drum techniques, strong bass line… even the fact keyboard actions are not really my cup of tea, the man behind these actions within the fold of COF offers me a moments of joy !

On three of the 8 songs you will hear, besides the usual male voice, also the female backing voice of Jeanette Heldenstrom who has worked with many great artists in the past. Female choir on ‘Drifting Away’ done by Catharina Damman. The beautiful, masterful cover artwork & professional lay-out delivered by Stan-W Decker, the good looking band image has been offered by Terre ‘Metaworks’ Johanssen.

The feast on outstanding ProgMetal starts with ‘There Is Someone Watching’, a dark minded intro with subdued guitar use, dramatic vocals and agonizingly slow but loud beats from the drummer in charge. This takes 90 seconds before the real work begins, ‘The Faceless Man Pt.1’ and right from the start and from the beginning I’m sucked into a fantasy rich world of graduated Progressive Metal. The songwriting is real good and all of the musicians taking me by surprise with such a talented way of acting. Would I dare compare with American based ProgMetal artists Ghost Ship Octavius or Witherfall ? Sure I will, maybe you’re not familiar with these groups but please, check ‘em out and you’ll have a real good time !

The song about the apocalypse ‘Endgame’ follows the modern way for at least 7 minutes, feels complex but delivered without musical imperfections. Halfway through there is a nice surprise when a quiet jazzy/fusion-like tempo change provides variety. Good song, not as strong as previous one, too much electronic/synth passages in my opinion. Still the musical skills are top-notch ! ‘Utopia’, and its running time of 7:02 running time, comes along with a quite long instrumental to start with but hell, what a superb composition full of melody and intense emotion, so technical and pure this one really makes me speechless. Progressive Metal at its best, sounding in the vein of Vauxdvihl, Queensryche, Divinity Compromised, Images Of Eden,… fans of Pink Floyd are recommended to check out the song as well, you’ll soon find out why !

‘The Walls Are Closing In’ is a short interlude with acoustic guitar use and some melancholic vocals lines in a starring role. Next up ‘Wolves’ leaves me breathless, again ! The musical level reach a sky-high level. A dark feel breathes down my neck, awaiting the wolves to grab me by the throat. Technical with excellent structures and very strong, well-fitting vocals and shred guitar tactics, another highlight from these Norwegian progressive masters ! Those into the guitar sound of David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) better reach out for ‘Drifting Away’ where instrumentation plays an important role. Speaking for myself, this song brought me several unexpected moments that sometimes felt a bit awkward but after a while I got used to it and was able to enjoy this wonderful performance to the fullest. A ballad type song, full of surprises ! The last song ‘The Faceless Men Pt. 2’ takes almost 9 minutes and a half and showcases the strength and professional approach of the band. During this song many Dream Theater influences occur. It’s not everyone given to be compared to these pioneers of ProgMetal but it is what it is, Course Of Fate is more than worth the comparison.

This Norwegian band delivers a real top record with the dark, conceptual “Mindweaver”. Everything points in the direction of a promising future for Course Of Fate. If you can deliver a full-length debut album of this kind of quality, there can be no doubt that there is a success story in the making. To be continued… COF online: https://www.facebook.com/courseoffate/  /  https://www.instagram.com/courseoffate/ Pre-order this masterpiece at: https://roar.gr/produ  

My rating: 89/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

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