DISTORTED MIND are a fickle three-some but I cannot particularly blame them. “Thin Air And Empty Shadows” went through 2 different sound engineers and took over half a year to mix and master. Yes, that is somewhat outrageous for a debut EP but when one experiences the music itself enlightenment directly results. The 3 malicious compositions found on this album have a very distinct and raw sound, elegantly mixing harsh vocals with a raw guitar tone which grabs you by the throat.
The easiest way to describe this project is a thorough mix of EDGE OF SANITY progressive flavored Death Metal (particularly in the riffing and song structures) and a classic SABBATH doom sound all rolled into one extremely abused and outright raw package which is anything but fragile. The songwriting is particularly engaging as the band makes ample use of each of the members and a multitude of tempos. The vocal interplay with the melodies is unrelenting and when you hear those harsh and throaty Black Metal-esque rasps layered over the trebly riffing your head will bang and your brain will bruise.
Will Bozarth spits riffage like swallowed barbed-wire. The best axe-work is immediately discernable when the songwriting focuses on those middle-paced and almost bouncy rhythmic passages. The 2 minute mark of “Frozen Reflections” is the best example found on this disc when your skull is kicked the fuck in as your brain matter and bits of bone adorn the boots of DISTORTED MIND. The drums compliment the effective riffing with violent force as Ian McCann masters a breadth of tempo variance. Whether plodding through the Doom-infested sections or the more up-beat and at times Thrashy riffing this band threatens castration and if you are not careful they may very well succeed.
A couple things are tearing at my nerves which I must confess. First of all, I dread EP’s in most circumstances. “Thin Air And Empty Shadows” is no exception as the music clocks in at and thus I have a hard time recommending this disc when one would be better off waiting for this band’s debut long-player. The second area of incongruence would have to be Bozarth’s clean vocals. They sound a bit like Corey Taylor, which is of course never a good thing. Fortunately they are not over-bearing except for perhaps in the final track, “Division Of Past” in which I find myself a bit distracted. They seem to find their cathartic niche in (surprise, surprise) “Frozen Reflections” where they are utilized almost as a lead-guitar flowing into the harsh rasps which comes across as completely vicious, boasting the potential to cure impotency.
The bottom-line: this is an EP. The music is solid while not immediately inducing an aneurism. Talent is definitely here and this Jersey band certainly warrants support as I suspect their debut full-length album will be vicious, malignant and worth every penny. (Online March 21, 2006)