Once again I found myself at what is rapidly becoming my favorite venue outside of Philly, Reverb. It was a Thursday night and I was there to see a fantastic band that I’ve gotten the pleasure of getting to know, MINDMAZE. Take the best ingredients of IRON MAIDEN, early QUEENSRŸCHE, FATES WARNING, and DIO, blend on HIGH for 30 seconds and that’s what you get with this group.
Up front you have vocalist Sarah Teets, guitarist and Sarah’s brother Jeff Teets slings the six-string, and bassist Rich Pasqualone and drummer Kalin Schweizerhof command the rhythm section. And throughout their all-too brief set you could really see how much they all enjoy playing together.
After the intro the band ripped right into “Back From the Edge” from their latest record of the same name. I’ve never been at the front of the stage at Reverb. Usually I’m content to just hang by the bar and watch the bands from that vantage point. This time though, I WANTED to be front and center to support my friends, and I have to say the sound up there was crisp and clear. MINDMAZE never sounded better!
Sticking with that record, “Consequence of Choice” was next, and on this number the band really shines both collectively and as individuals. Jeff’s guitar tone, to quote an ANNIHILATOR song, “Burns Like a Buzzsaw Blade”, Rich’s bass is high up in the mix and you can hear him in total lockstep with Kalin, whose patterns and fills totally spice up the tune. And when Sarah lets fly you can feel it all the way in your toes, just a cracking job! We were graced with one more from this disc in “End of Eternity” as all in attendance chanted “HEY! HEY! HEY!” just like they do at a DORO show.
“This Holy War” from the debut record Mask of Lies was definitely a highlight of the set for me, not just because it’s arguably my favorite MINDMAZE song but also for the fact that live it’s razor sharp like a Great White’s teeth. But the most amazing stuff was yet to come. “Destiny Calls” is 8:46 of sheer musical heaven. I love epic, sprawling numbers like this, but what made it even more special was that the band worked in a few bars of DIO’S “Holy Diver” towards the end. Sarah gave the crowd this wide-eyed look as if to say, “You BETTER know this one!!” as it was happening. Even more fitting that they did this two days before the anniversary of Ronnie’s untimely passing.
Five songs may not seem like a lot, but let me tell you something. In that short span, MINDMAZE rocked the balls off the place, and the few in attendance who were NOT clad in the band’s shirts quickly rectified that at the merch table afterwards. I also saw a lot of people buying CD’s, photos, and patches as well (get yours HERE). MINDMAZE are on their way up, and I couldn’t be happier for them. They keep playing their asses off like they did at Reverb and they’ll be a household name sooner rather than later.
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: CAPTURED BY MEGAN DESIGNS