Heavy metal proves hit-or-miss for most death metal fans; it too easily slips into what pop and rock are, which is a musical utilitarianism that likes color notes, melodic minor slips, and bouncy rhythms. The rare band captures both a mood and a transition through contrast.
State of Mind combines the deadpan churning rhythm of Witchfinder General, the atmospheric repetition of later Saint Vitus, and the spacious melodic twists of early Queensrÿche. Perhaps a Pantera and Metallica influence creeps in through the leads, which are both oddball variations on known standards and creative tangents that work enough to add a subtone of weirdness to these foot-tapping anthems.
Expect verse-chorus composition with a turnaround here, inspirational choruses in the older style before religious music and emo swallowed them up in the power metal style, bluesy riffs that somehow creep toward a chromatic angularity, and vocals that push the limits of the technical abilities of this vocalist but add Iggy Pop style color and grunting emphatic timbre.
Although this band seems like they are lagging behind the crowd and possibly stranded in 1989 and 1979 simultaneously, State of Mind presents something that is complete as a concept: a style that is all their own, bringing together the best of Americanized NWOBHM and mid-paced doom metal.