Progressive rock/atlernative/post-rock from USA, discography of five full-length albums released between 1987-1995.
US band MIND OVER FOUR was formed in the early 1980's, and would put their mark on the metal community with a handful of quirky efforts until dissolving in 1995, in particular in the later stages of their career their level of sophistication saw them compared to acts like Faith No More.
The first effort by the band was the self-released EP Desperate Expression in 1983, the band at that time probably consisting of Dan (drums), Mike Jensen (guitars), Jeff Keogle (bass) and Spike Xavier (vocals). Various sources indicates several different line-ups at this point in time though.
When they issued their full length debut Out There four years later the line-up is less contested. Xavier and Jensen are still members at this point, now flanked by Dave Hamilton (bass) and Mark Fullerton (drums). Hamilton left the band in 1988 though, replaced by Dan Colburn (bass). In 1989 their sophomore effort Mind Over Four appeared, and by now Colburn had left the outfit as well, replaced by Rich Castillo (bass). This edition of the band would remain relatively stable, issuing The Goddess in 1990 and Half Way Down in 1993. Prior to folding in 1995 Castillo left though, and for the final album Empty Hands Mind Over Four's official line-up consisted of Xavier, Jensen and Fullerton.
For their last detectable release - which like all other Mind Over 4 releases sank very quickly into an undeserved budget-bin oblivion - the band is reduced to a three-piece combo, with lead screamer Spike, in particularly amelodic mood here, assuming bass duties. This album is by far the most raw and difficult-to-love of all their releases, and also contains some of their lesser lyrical indulgences, but as all Mind Over 4 releases, it follows its own peculiar muse and rewards the patient listener. There are some undeniable attention-getting masterpieces, including the head-nodding "Quick Bright Things" which occupies a weird space between hip-hop, metal and post-rock, while "Phobos Y Damos" has a strikingly different mix, built around a central guitar mantra and Led-Zeppelin-Ocean-style drum sound.
On other tracks the band is free to play loose and psychadelic with the mix. "O'Othham," with its slow vibe and wide-open spaces, reminds me very much of some of the darker moments on their eponymous 1989 album. Only "Rise" hearkens back to the tight, storming progressive-metal of _Half Way Down_. There are a lot of amusing puns and quirky bits of humor laced into the liner notes - for example, Jason Everman - alternative rock's version of Pete Best - and here referred to as "Tackle Box" - is given a songwriting credit for every song EXCEPT for O'Otham, Colony, Chemical Portrait....in other words, every song on the album...that is, other than the nonexistant track 12 "Bill Fold Rules", itself a likely jab at the magic number of twelve tracks that a record label usually restricts to doleing out songwriting royalties for. Although long out of print, this is worth seeking out - but give it some time to grow on you. Of particular note is the fact that a picture of Jason Everman appears in the inside cover in full military garb.