As a slow-growing doom metal fan, it’s good to check out all branches of the genre, even the ones I struggle with a bit. Epic doom is a harder pill to swallow, and the band Mind Of Evil out of Frederick, Maryland, cast some pretty wicked spells with their brand. A Journey To Nowhere is their third album since formation in 2016. It’s very much a serviceable grower in the context of accessibility.
I say this because the layout is rather unconventional and loose, but that also makes it captivating enough to prevent stagnation. For one thing, the vocals are the hardest part to get behind. Picture a whinier Ian Anderson delivery style crossed with some Manowar energy. It’s different, but at least it fits the musical aesthetic. Particularly, this rides well alongside the ancient-sounding songs that dial the heaviness back. “Through A Distant Mirror” passes by strictly on epic-built keys and somber rhythms, and “The Battle Of Tolbiac” achieves this with acoustic layering and haunting tones. The odd choices of instrumentation and layout are what really grasp this feeling.
But of course, there’s plenty of traditional doomisms to get behind too. “Baba Yaga” lets this style on quite heavily, and it gives off some funky basslines as well. There are a lot of screeching leads here, which I can’t say I find enjoyable, as it gets somewhat overbearing. In fact, that’s the one thing about A Journey To Nowhere that somewhat brings it down at times. There are a few tracks that feel overblown, or perhaps too saturated.
On the plus side, you’ll get a hefty serving of emotion. The second of the two title tracks closes the record off on a much more uplifting note, adding a sense of hope to what is overall rather dreary. “Depths Of Grief” hits the opposite side of this, crafted on pianos and an atmosphere that drives vibes of sorrow into your brain. The background almost sounds like a pool table (you know what I mean) in what feels like a musty bar, as the vocals reflect a hopeless drunk. Compelling, but as usual, requires a certain mood.
For something that I haven’t much experience with, I will say that Mind Of Evil made a solid record that has a lot to dig up. This is one of those efforts where you pick up on something new every time you hear it. Fans of the epic doom genre should definitely give this a couple of spins. But as a warning, you’ll need the right setting and plenty of patience.
A Journey To Nowhere came out on February 28th, 2020. Find it digitally and in CD format right here.