Mind Matter is the striking debut album from Cyprus-based singer songwriter, composer, keyboardist Joakem; a release which just blossoms and further impresses play by play. Woven in a magnetic blend of progressive rock and metal it shares tapestries of craft and imagination, they all created with an instinct to tempt.
Joakem (Stelios Ioakim), from his beginnings as a classical pianist, has formed and played in a host of bands including alternative rock outfit Slightly Offensive and melodic death metallers Tørment. Musically, as in rich evidence within Mind Matter, he embraces various threads of styles and flavours in his atmospheric and progressively nurtured sound and as proven by his first full length, it makes for one seriously enjoyable proposition.
The album instantly began to keenly lure ears and attention as opener A Peaceful Place teased with rapaciously edged guitar, its full entrance joined by an equally enticing coaxing from keys. Already what proves to be a distinctive flavouring to the latter is working away on a swiftly found appetite before just as potently Joakem’s vocals add to the temptation. Immediately too, there is an infectious touch and tenacity to the song, one which as the track evolves and reveals a wealth of imaginative twists and turns only intensifies while across its irresistible length, various metal bred colours from extreme to melodic ignite progressive rock instincts to create one fascinating and thrilling start to Mind Matter.
The following Resurgence makes a just as persuasive first impression; Joakem’s almost carnival-esque keys dancing with ears and imagination as riffs reveal a similar creative bent. Lively rhythms soon add to the swiftly captivating incitement before an atmospheric calm if one carrying crepuscular shadows, emerges. This in turn breeds a new wave of tenacious enterprise with keys, vocals, and guitar colluding in the casting of a richly compelling aural painting within which its creator’s classical breeding is a perpetual lure as too the Dave Greenfield (The Stranglers) scented those keys.
One of the album’s early singles is next up, Generation Z a fiery fusion of rock and metal with a snarl in its breath and irritability in its body yet equally a song sharing a reflective calm and spirited animation in its respective tempting and rousing roar. Maybe not as immediately gripping as its predecessors, the track only needed one round of its chorus to banish doubts, that carousing bred on the ever alluring presence of Joakem’s voice and keys before Illusory stepped forward to share its own intrigue lined exploits. It too has a dark edge and tone to its bold exploration of a shady world in sound and word but as potently a melodic radiance which only adds to the thick intimation.
Through the constantly tantalising journey of The Path, another previous single which awoke plenty of attention the way of Joakem, and the mercurial trespass of Terra captivation tightened. The superb first of the two is a blend of aggressive disposition and melodic elegance, though charm fuelled by fire bearing melody while its successor shares an instinctive earthiness with almost psychotic inclinations, twisting and turning with almost bedlamic mastery. A track which took a touch longer to persuade in comparison to others, it emerges as another big highlight as Joakem makes use of his obvious vast palette of sound and imagination.
Treacherous is a far less tempestuous affair though it too erupts in a cyclone of composed melodic and metallic fury led by the driven winds of keys. As with all tracks, it fluidly surges and slips through an array of contrasts and contradictions, impressing with its unpredictability and bold imagination before Departure brings it all to a great close. From an evocative caress of piano, the final song serenades and arouses the senses before rising up in virulent coercion of vocal chords and ardour providing a glorious end to an equally magnificent release.
Wrapped in the stirring artwork of Alexandros Papantoniou, at times Mind Matter is simply sublime and in other moments ridiculously captivating, throughout casting a web of easily addictive enterprise which only leads to our recommendation that you go treat yourselves.
Mind Matter is available now for download/streaming on all digital platforms with physical copies available @
Pete RingMaster 12/03/2019
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