If there was a way to tell how an album would sound just by knowing who the musicians that are playing in it are, it wouldn’t be possible to do so with Mcstine & Minnemann‘s self-titled, debut album (McStine & Minnemann). The duo consists of multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats) and Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance). In all honesty, I had never heard of Mcstine or Lo-Fi Resistance, but I am familiar with Minnemann’s work, particularly of his work with Steven Wilson. If you’re wondering why it could not be possible to guess how this album is going to sound based on the knowledge that these two musicians are working together, well the reason is that Minnemann really is a very versatile musician that can play a lot of genres that do not necessarily fall in the realm of Metal.
McStine & Minnemann (McStine & Minnemann) brings a collection of songs that may be very pleasing for fans of the most commercial side of Progressive Metal. Fans of bands like Dream Theater and Haken can enjoy this album, though it definitely delves in very Pop Rock lands from time to time. Tracks like ‘Program’, which sounds like a mix of Mr. Bungle with Pop vocals, ‘Your Offenses’, and ‘Activate’ bring a very commercial side of the duo, reaching the maximum level on the track ‘The Closer’ which is a slow ballad. Now, this doesn’t mean that the album has some total bangers, tracks like ‘Falling From Grace’, which has a very nice Death Metal influenced guitar picking, and ‘Catrina’, my favorite track on the album, bring us a more interesting side on the musical perspective and direction that duo wants to pursue with this album.
The positive side of this album is the fact that it consists of ten short tracks that keeps things moving fairly smoothly and quickly through the album and does not fall in the, sometimes, boring world of the infinite “Progressive Metal Epics songs” that last 15 minutes and no one really has time to listen to. My biggest props for this album is the fact that both of the members of the band were able to do whatever they wanted to do as far as ideas and influences, without caring about boundaries, which definitely makes it fun for the musician, but sometimes it does not land well with the audience. However, my respect goes to any musician that puts his/her creativity in front of any “sell-out” attitude that may jeopardize their creative process towards writing music. If you’re fan of Progressive Rock/Metal that likes to showcase the amazing dexterity while you can sing along to their songs, this album is for you.