The hard melodic rock band Mentalist was formed in 2018 in Saarbrücken, Germany with A Journey Into The Unknown being the band’s second album following on rapidly from the well received Freedom Of Speech which came out in 2020. The debut showed an exceptional band with a flair for songwriting and an aggressive power metal style that was of an incredibly high standard for a debut album. However, this should not come as a surprise given that the band was founded by drummer Tomen Stauch (ex-Blind Guardian) with Peter Moog and Kai Stringer (Starchild) on guitar, Florian Hertel on bass and a performance stealing Swedish vocalist in Rob Lundgren, all five being tight, composed and excellent musicians. Lundgren came from the route that many singers seem to be taking these days having been spotted on YouTube and it is bringing to light some quality singers so why not use this route?
The debut was a power metal album based on NWOBHM particularly Iron Maiden and Diamond Head plus, quite obviously, elements derived from Helloween, Blind Guardian, Freedom Call and Accept. Put them all together and you have a very heady mix and a metal album to savour. Thankfully, the line-up remains virtually the same so A Journey Into The Unknown continues where Freedom Of Speech left off and, if anything, sees the band reinforcing the power metal side of their sound so what you have is another wonderful slab of metal at its finest with soaring vocals, vocal melodies, hooks aplenty and twin guitarists running wild. Over this, Rob Lundgren again holds court and gives another masterclass in the art of rock vocal delivery, oh boy, can this man sing. The big difference is that Florian Hertel is no longer with the group but Mentalist has pulled off a major coup by bringing in none other than the legendary bassist Mike LePond of Symphony-X fame and his power, might and majesty takes the band to a whole new level and his name alone should be enough to warrant your interest in this exceptional metal album. They also have Oliver Polotai (Kamelot) on keyboards throughout plus backing vocals from Henning Basse (Metalium/Firewind) on all tracks and he duets to great effect with Lundgren on Live Forever.
This album has so much going for it with amazing vocals and wonderful, soaring guitars plus a collection of songs with enough hooks and harmonies to keep to enthralled for an age. The debut was good and deserves your attention but A Journey Into The Unknown is in a different class altogether and it truly is a must have album from a band that will surely be flag bearers for heavy metal for many years to come.
A Journey Into The Unknown track list
- Horizon (1:11)
- A Journey Into The Unknown (5:37)
- Modern Philosophy (5:46)
- Evil Eye (5:49)
- An Ocean So Deep (4:25)
- Dentalist (4:04)
- Soldier Without A War (6:37)
- Torture King (5:45)
- Battle Dressed (6:48)
- Live Forever (8:10)
- Manchild (bonus track) (4:04)