The Jaguar Priest

Universal Mind Project

Founded in 2012 by guitarist and songwriter Michael Alexander, Universal Mind Project (UMP) launched as a joint project of musicians from around the world, whose core consists of the singers Elina Laivera and Henrik Båth together with Michael Alexander and Alex Landenburg. The compositions on the album were written by Elina Laivera and Michael Alexander. An illustrious group of guests could be won for the production of the album. Now the result of the work is available. “The Jaguar Priest” was mixed in the Domination Studios by Simone Mularoni (Ancient Bards, DGM, Vision Divine). The impressive artwork on the album cover was designed by Jan Yrlund (Apocalyptica, Korpiklaani, Leah) of Darkgrove Design.

In the epic “The Bargain Of Lost Souls” can Nils K. Rue, the Pagan’s Mind vocalist, be heard as vocal partner. Somehow quiet then starts “Awakened By The Light”. Acoustic and electric guitars alternate first. Later, the electric guitars dominate and the drums drive powerfully ahead. Diego Valdez gives his vocal calling card here. In the piano ballad “A World That Burns” Elina puts a lot of feeling in her singing. The song really invites to dream.

The title track is the longest song on the album. Here, the former Dream Theater singer Charlie Dominici shows his skills. The spoken intro is followed by fascinating progressive inspired melodies, with some melody and rhythm changes, thereto punchy guitars with filigree solos. For me that is highlight of the album, that fading out with pure piano accompaniment for singing. And to “The Force Of Our Creation” Johan Reinholdz plays an amazing guitar solo.

The perennial work on “The Jaguar Priest” has paid off. The result is a masterpiece of progressive Melodic Metal. For the project, a number of outstanding musicians could be won which made their contribution to this exceptional sound experience. Very good vocal performances and discreet set, song relevant growls combined with also outstanding, powerful guitars, driving drums and keyboards that accompany the song melodies, these are the ingredients for this album. This is magnificent.

Universal Mind Project – “Truth” feat. Mark Jansen (Official Music Video)

Elina Laivera (ex-Seduce The Heaven) – Gesang
Henrik Båth [Darkwater] – Gesang
Michael Alexander – Gitarren, Growls
Alex Landenburg [Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, 21Octayne] – Schlagzeug

Mark Jansen (EPICA, MaYaN) – Gesang
Nils K. Rue (Pagan’s Mind) – Gesang
Mike Lepond (Symphony X) – Bass
Charlie Dominici (ex-Dream Theater)– Gesang
Diego Valdez (Helker) – Gesang
Emanuele Casali (DGM) – Keyboards
Alessandro Bissa (Vision Divine) – Schlagzeug
Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda)– Gitarren-Solo

Label: Inner Wound Records
Out: 29.04.2016
Duration: 58:37

Track list:

  • Anthem For Freedom
  • Truth
  • The Bargain Of Lost Souls
  • Dreamstate
  • Awakened By The Light (Universal Mind)
  • A World That Burns
  • Seven
  • The Jaguar Priest
  • The Force Of Our Creation
  • Xibalba

Release date: 29-04-2016
Reviewer: Rainer Kerber
Score: 9

Rainer Kerber

This author is no longer associated with Metal On Loud Magazine.

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