November 2014 marks the 20th Anniversary of Mastermind III: Tragic Symphony, the band’s third studio album. First released in Japan on Nov. 9th, 1994 on the Zero/EMI label, and a few months later in Europe, the USA, and Korea by various labels, Tragic Symphony was the first Mastermind album licensed and released worldwide, bringing the band to a much wider global audience. For many, this was their first introduction to Mastermind.
Twenty years ago today, on Nov. 20th, 1994, the original trio line up presented the premier live performance of the album in its entirety at ProgScape ’94 at Stephens Hall in Towson, MD to a receptive and enthusiastic audience. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this album a milestone in the history of Mastermind.
Home movie teaser of the Stephens Hall performance, 20 years ago today.
PS: The possibility of future lives shows is not out of the question, however, regarding the previous blog entry, the promoter was promising more than they could deliver and nothing came of it. Unfortunate, but never say never.
Greetings and thanks for looking in!
Mastermind has recently been approached about the possibility of playing some live shows this coming Summer of 2014. We are currently considering how that might work in terms of personnel, repertoire, logistics, and so on. We are enthusiastic about the idea, and if it seems feasible, we hope circumstances come together to make it possible. If you’d care comment below, your feedback and some show of support would be appreciated. If you would be interested in seeing this happen, please let it be known.
Meanwhile, winter of 2014 has been kicking our asses. Here is a video from Bill Berends solo album In My Dreams I Can Fly entitled The Longest Winter which seems appropriate right about now as yet another snow and ice storm bears down upon us. It has been brutal.
Once again, please join the mailing list to keep informed about what’s going on. Thanks.
Since the demise of Mindawn as our digital distributor, several Mastermind catalog titles have been officially unavailable anywhere online. This unacceptable situation has now been rectified by adding several new titles to our new & improved Mastermind Nimbit Webstore.
As physical CD’s released by Inside Out (Europe/USA) and Avalon (Japan/Asia) the discs have been out of print & sold out for some time with all rights reverting back to us. Thanks to the internet working for us for a change, the albums are again available as digital downloads.
We’ve made some pretty cool albums that still not enough people have heard! And since we’re not exactly competing in the trendy popular music charts, release dates are almost irrelevant for the most part. The music is timeless and could have been released yesterday.
Our Nimbit Webstore sample clips will give you a good overview of an album, but we’ll also be making albums available streaming in-full on youtube so you can enjoy them and fall in love with them. If you already know these albums; we love you! Now anyone can listen to them anywhere, whenever they please. Mastermind worldwide… for free! You can’t beat that.
The first featured album is Angels of the Apocalypse ….
Angels of the Apocalypse was a dramatic shift for us, adding a female vocalist and moving in a decisively more metal direction. It’s risky and experimental, powerful yet nimble, and quite unique sounding. Give it a listen and decide for yourself! Such wonderful performances from vocalist Lisa Bouchelle and Jens Johansson on keys are truly outstanding. I haven’t listened to this for quite some time now and have to say, it’s making my Mastermind juices flow. Mastermind juices… hahah. eww. Anyway, I am proud of this work, the music, and all the people we worked with in making it happen including my bro’ Rich Berends who’s feet were on fire making this one! Also remembering bassist and departed friend Bob Eckman. R.I.P.
The early Mastermind trio albums are all up on mastermind.bandcamp.com streaming in-full along with some exclusive digital-only releases. Our newest album Insomnia (2010) is under contract with Lion Music. Also check out Bill Berends new solo album In My Dreams I Can Fly.
Listen free! -> Love!! -> *purchase* <- thank you!!!
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progressive metal, progressive rock, jazz-metal, acid rock
September 11th, 2001… I will never forget that day. Ever. I was awakened by the sound of Tracy McShane screaming out of my answering machine “Billy, Billy!! Turn on the TV!!!” I turned it on just in time to watch the second plane slam into the south tower. No words can describe how I felt as I watched the towers collapse, live on TV. Absolute horror.
Much of the Insomnia album was written and recorded in the time between that fateful day and the “shock and awe” attack on Bahgdad which I also watched in horror, live on TV. The days that followed were very surreal and unsettling. I tried to put it out of my mind.
Listening to this music takes me right back to that time and in many ways I feel like I have ignored it because of that – still wanting to put it all of it out of my mind. For those who never made the connection – and surprisingly, not one single review ever did – that is why the twin beacons were included on the inner sleeve artwork. It was the zeitgeist, the dark shadow that malingered over everything. We went as a band to ground zero not long after the attack, saw the beacons, witnessed the destruction up close. It felt… personal.
Although this piece of music Last Cigarette wasn’t written specifically with 911 in mind, it was always in the back of my mind. Looking back, I think it probably best captures how I was feeling at the time and even though it’s been 12 years now, it’s still hard for me to listen to sometimes. Along with some other personal issues, it was a very difficult time. I didn’t want to deal with it and because of that, combined with dramatic changes in the music business, it took years to see the album released. Insomnia almost never saw the light of day.
Musically speaking, this is my personal favorite on the album. The guitar solo-turn-duet with Jens Johansson’s brilliant counterpoint is probably my favorite musical moment. Looking back now with some objectivity, I still think we made a good, solid album. Life goes on.
-Bill Berends 9/11/13
Better late than never? Uploaded a few tunes from the Insomnia album on youtube so you can listen at your leisure anywhere in the world! It took a while to convince the label that maybe people should be able to hear some of the music from the hitherto “invisible” Mastermind album. Of course you’ll enjoy it so much you’ll go purchase a copy right away! Right? Right!
That’s the idea anyway. Here you go… Insomnia playlist (youtube)
Thanks for listening! More to come.
It’s been a while since things have been updated here. We all hope everyone had a nice holiday season and your 2013 is off to a good start!
We’re kicking off 2013 here with some new music from Mastermind guitarist Bill Berends. The Kickstarter campaign to fund the release (see previous blog entry) was a resounding success and Bill’s new solo album In My Dreams I Can Fly is available now. You can check out music samples and purchase CD’s or downloads on CD Baby and a variety of other sources.
Lots of melodic tunes and guitar work on this album, and although it’s more straight forward rock compared to Mastermind releases, so far feedback from Mastermind fans has ranged from positive to highly enthusiastic. Read the first review here for a more objective view and stop by CD Baby to hear some samples.
Prog-rock fans may know Jason Gianni, the drummer on this album, from his work with the Neal Morse Band. Jason is a real powerhouse and gives the album a different feel, making it more of a ‘solo album’ rather than a reworked Mastermind release. It’s generally an upbeat and positive sounding album… “Joyful” was the word Keiko Kumagai of Ars Nova used to describe it when she heard it. It’s also a good album to play in the car! It just may get you where you’re going a bit faster, so check it out.
In Mastermind news… there is no news really. There is a new album in the works, but it seems to be painfully slow going for a variety of reasons. But it will come, sooner or later. There is lots of new music written. The Berends Brothers Band has been playing a few old Mastermind tunes in their live set, but that doesn’t always go over so well in mixed company. Rich Berends has been playing with the Philly metal outfit “Frost Giant”, his son-in-law’s band, and Bill is gigging with Treasures of the Spirit Mahavishnu tribute, but there are currently no concrete plans for any future Mastermind shows. That could change.
If there was a good reason to get Mastermind up and running again it could be done. We could have a concert set ready to go in a fairly short period of time… make us an offer! But playing out locally as a progressive band, in all honesty, there isn’t much of a demand for it. So we will continue to make recordings and see where the road leads us. Never say never. Thanks for reading, check out the links above, and best wishes for 2013! -Bb
ps: Mastermind’s 2010 release Insomnia is also available on CD Baby now.
Less than 26 hours left to go till my solo album Kickstarter campaign wraps up! I couldn’t just leave things hanging with the last video, so here’s a post storm wrap up. It’s been a long, stressful month, but I am super pleased with the outcome!!! If you haven’t already, please get your pre-orders in now, if possible, it may be a while before normal sales begin… however, I may continue pre-orders on my web site ( billberends.com )for another week or so. Check there in a few days to see if that comes together. For now, please go check the kickstarter page here… http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/billberends/1920478859/
Again, many MANY THANKS (!) and a garland of martian fire flowers to everyone who kicked in to help bring this album to life!! You guys ROCK!!!
Hi folks!! My solo album on Kickstarter as mentioned below has reached its target goal, so this CD will be happening and I couldn’t be more pleased!! You guys are awesome!!! THANKS to ALL of you who helped me reach my goal!!
Now solidly in the funded zone there is still a week to go on Kickstarter and I am cautiously optimistic about hitting a stretch goal of $3,000, in fact, it’s more than halfway there now. So while I am sitting here waiting for hurricane Sandy to come kick my ass (yikes!) I made a new video for your amusement with hopes that a few more folks and Mastermind fans will kick in with pledges and pre-orders before November 5th. Hoping all my east coast friends get thru the storm unscathed and happy Halloween to you all!
To make a pledge or pre-order a CD on kickstarter just go here… thank you!!
Thanks to those who have kicked in already!! Be safe in the storm and wish me luck!
Hi folks, Bill Berends here. I’d like to tell you that I have finally finished my solo album of guitar instrumentals!! I’ve been hinting around at it for awhile now, well… now it is done! But rather than go the traditional route of trying to find a record label, I want to bring the music directly to you and I am asking for your help. I am now taking pre-orders on Kickstarter to raise the funds to get the CD pressed and I am hoping you will participate.
The album is called In My Dreams I Can Fly and features 12 brand new original instrumental works for electric guitar. Sort of in the vein of Joe Satriani or Eric Johnson perhaps, but with my own style and substance. I’ve put a lot of work into it and think it turned out nicely.
There are two videos on Kickstarter that feature sound clips from the album and a bit of a presentation by yours truly. The one down at the bottom seems to be getting the most interest, so please, stop by and have a listen. And, if you could, help me get the word out by sharing anywhere you can… forums, music blogs, facebook, myspace, anyplace. Thanks. The funding drive ends at Midnight, November 5th, 2012 so there isn’t a whole lot of time!!
This is an all-or-nothing proposition with Kickstarter, so your money is not at risk. I either reach my goal and the CD gets pressed, or I don’t – in which case you won’t be charged. I really hope you can help me bring it to fruition by placing a pre-order now. I think it’s a great album that Mastermind fans can enjoy, but it’s good for classic rockers as well, and certainly for guitar enthusiasts! For prog fans I am pleased mention I have Jason Gianni of the Neal Morse band helping me out on drums for this record and Jason kicks ass!
I really hope I can get the CD out to you THIS year because this is a very important record for me. After this album gets released there will be a new Mastermind album coming, possibly next year, but a lot depends on if I can get this new album funded, so I am asking for your help. Thanks for reading and go check it out!