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HMS Music Spotlight

Hailing from France, Parallel Minds is the brainchild of vocalist Stéphane Fradet (ex-Falkirk) and guitarist Grégory Giraudo (Coexistence). Roughly two years ago the duo started composing material together and that collaboration has resulted in their debut album Headlong Disaster. Their music falls somewhere between melodic speed metal, prog-metal and power metal with the occasional touches of symphonic metal. Think Dream Theatre, Iron Maiden (post their Somewhere In Time album) and Helloween rolled into one. That being said, Headlong Disaster is quite an impressive album with regards to technical performance and production quality.

The album opens with the very dynamic song “I Am”. It sets the bar high for the ferocious speed and expert technique we can expect throughout Headlong Disaster. Grégory Giraudo blazes through a fantastic guitar solo in this somewhat gothic sounding number and Stéphane Fradet belts out some soaring vocals. I really enjoyed the second track “Into The Void”, a very strong tune both melodically and rhythmically. “Reborn Through Hate” has Stéphane singing a little more softly and clean during the first verse, and I have to say that I much prefer it to his more throaty vocals. Great instrumental lead in to the guitar solo!

“Migdal Bavel (The Myth of Babel)” is a little long from my perspective. I understand why they would have chosen to give this song a more epic (almost religious) treatment, but it doesn’t stand out enough from the rest of the album and subsequently just feels a little self-indulgent. On the other hand, the title track “Headlong Disaster” stands out much more effectively from the pack with its frantic verses, soft refrains and soaring choruses. The high speed galloping rhythm and harmonized guitar leads draw a lot of similarities to Iron Maiden (Seventh Son). But I do love the way this song ends as it begins – with a lullaby-like prelude and postlude.

“Ghost of Sparta” has a very cool build to it, both vocally and instrumentally. Stéphane hits some outstanding high notes in this song, and Grégory really got my attention with the Zakk Wylde-ish riff that breaks out in the verses. “A 1000 Minds Away” (I think that should read “A thousand Minds Away”) is a very delicate, somewhat haunting classical ballad. The acoustic guitar work is beautiful and I really enjoy Stéphane’s vocals when he sings cleanly. I was a little disappointed when the song becomes heavy two thirds in – I actually preferred it clean. “Hyperion” is a massive song clocking in at nineteen and a half minutes! Despite it’s length it flows quite nicely, and this is partly because it kicks off with a killer groove. As the track progresses it evolves into an almost completely different song, undergoing several breaks in its initial heavy rhythm. The last two minutes contain the most interesting moments on the entire album, particularly with the vocals and melodies – even becoming an acapella for one quick moment!

Parallel Minds
Headlong Disaster
Written by: Richard Leggatt
8.5 out of 10

The final two tracks are covers: “Coming Home” originally by The Scorpions, and “Only The Good Die Young” by Iron Maiden. I thought their version of “Coming Home” was nicely done, especially with the effect on the guitar during the intro. As for “Only The Good Die Young”, well I’m a huge Iron Maiden fan and I do appreciate the passion that went into this rendition – especially on the part of the music. But it’s an almost impossible task for any vocalist to hold a candle to Bruce Dickinson’s air raid siren pipes, and I wasn’t fond of some of verses being shouted instead of sung. The chorus’ were probably the best parts of this cover.

All-in-all, Headlong Disaster is a massive effort in terms of production, virtuosity and songwriting capability. My only issues were with some of the vocal delivery. Stéphane has a thick french accent which gives the music a unique flair for the most part, yet sometimes distracts the listener from the artistry at hand. This is evident in the lower, growly registers – but yet the higher or cleaner vocals sound great.

I wouldn’t let this disuade you from giving Parallel Minds a serious listen. They’re a veritable hurricane of talent and will certainly leave their mark on the music industry.

Richard Leggatt, HMS

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