Intensity Rising – The Mind Palace Gateway (Self-Released)

Tuesday, 22nd May 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

The instrumental project of comic book aficionado Mick Mayer, he is also a part of the Massachusetts party/progressive thrash band Sonic Pulse. The follow-up to last year’s From the Beyond effort, The Mind Palace Gateway represents another four-song EP sojourn into experimental, progressive rock/metal – designed to take one on a exploratory journey of sound. What’s always interesting regarding these side endeavors is the insight into a musician and where they like to take specific ideas, coloring them in alternative, layered fashions to provide maximum entertainment value to the consumer.

In other words, fully expect Mick to assault the senses with a barrage of furious riffs, sweeping arpeggios, and drop on a dime time changes – easily attainable on “Division”, a cacophony of guitar lines melding into this sonic combustion of excitement, exhilaration, and progressive, neoclassical force. The 80’s-synth lines against darker, low-tuned, almost semi-djent groove makes “Meander to the Depths” a personal favorite of the four – the man knowing where to place the proper accents and weave in that jazzy, free-floating lead break, then go back to a more Rush/Dream Theater-like note barrage in a nanosecond without losing control of the arrangement at hand. Yes there is a lot of musical notes to consume, but in digestible three-four minute frameworks where he doesn’t forget to catch the listener through a circular refrain or idea that becomes the crux of the song to build out and enhance. He even throws a bit of progressive, fluid bass strokes into the closer “Become One” to differentiate the cut from the others.

The Mind Palace Gateway proves Intensity Rising is a viable outlet for Mick to go in directions that may seem odd, strange, or far reaching for Sonic Pulse – and intriguing enough to keep ears perked up for what may shape up in the future.

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