Mind Assault’s first album in 10 years, “The Cult of Conflict”, stands head and shoulders above the competition

Mind Assault stand heads and, every now and then, shoulders above their peers with hiatus-ending album The Cult of Conflict.

In a scene that seems set on sticking to the status-quo, Mind Assault’s first album in 10 years does enough to grab the listener’s attention, albeit without really breaking any moulds.

With a professional composer joining their ranks as well as, by the sounds of things, a new producer, the album has a new edge that makes 2011’s Metal Rites sound like a demo.

Take, for example, the opening track “Descension”. Yes there are still the expected blast-beats and the guitars do sound like they were plugged into demons rather than effects pedals but there’s a definite sense of focus and the way the subtle, chanting voices come in every now and then to give the extreme-metal foundation a sense of glamour and drama is wonderful.

Another example is “Prys Die Vaderland”, one of the three Afrikaans tracks on the album. The way the sprawling intro unobtrusively evolves from a creeping, Iron-Maiden-esque dirge to a pounding war-march is as captivating as can be. The middle section is, admittedly, a bit generic as Mind Assault double-down on their extreme metal roots, although the guitar solo that comes in just after the three minute mark picks things up and heralds an outro as chaotic as it is intriguing.

And although Mind Assault’s sound isn’t that different to their peers, the way they use the tools at their disposal makes The Cult of Conflict different enough to stand out.