Instrumental music is an incredibly niche market, to say the least. For the vast majority of the music-listening population, instrumental music sounds incomplete and lacking that human touch in a way that only the human voice can provide. In the Metal genre in particular, guitar-led instrumental music can often come across as showing off how virtuosic the guitarist is without any care given to musical creation and taste in general. There are a few exceptions to this rule with Steve Vai’s Sex and Religion (Relativity) and Buckethead’s Electric Tears (Metastation) coming to mind.
Now, Born of Osiris’s very own Lee McKinney has decided to give an instrumental album a bash in the form of Infinite Mind (Sumerian Records).
If you’re well-versed in the music of Born of Osiris, this album will take you completely by surprise … in the best possible way. Although there are some minor stylistic crossovers between Born of Osiris’s material and Infinite Mind, the differences really shine through. Aggressive harsh metallic styles give way for atmospheric, delicate and articulate songwriting which trumps some of Born of Osiris’s more recent outgoings in terms of originality and tasteful musical complexity.
Throughout the record, songwriting and sound-quality really come to the fore: songs like ‘A Clock Without A Craftsman’ and ‘Rising Tide’ feature intricate saxophone lines which blend in surprisingly well considering this is a guitar-centered album. It’s not done in a purely novel way either, the saxophone integration provides a complimentary sound to contrast with the guitar.
Jumping between dynamics is the most notable trait throughout the album as well as songs like ’Astrolobe’ and ‘The Sun and The Wind” jump between stripped back atmospherics and dense, fleshed-out soundscapes which makes Infinite Mind a joy to listen to and with all the tracks staying under four minutes, McKinney crams in enough detail into every song so they can all stand independently within the context of the album and no track overstays its welcome because of this compositional choice.
With Infinite Mind, Lee McKinney has proved himself to be quite the guitarist: yes, his technique has always been impressive but what’s more noteworthy is his capacity for instrumental songwriting that keeps the listener engaged throughout the entire journey of the record.
7 / 10