Mind Maze – Female Fronted American Power Metal
Formed a decade ago in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, USA, Mind Maze began as Necromance, a project featuring siblings Sarah and Jeff Teets. Taking inspiration from bands such as Firewind, Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, and Nocturnal Rites, the band sought to blend traditional progressive and power metal. Their hybrid style earned the band much credibility in their region, but after seven years the band decided it was time to start fresh.
“We played a bunch of shows and wrote a bunch of the material on our Mask of Lies album under that name, but three years ago we decided to rename the band for a fresh start before we released any professional albums,” explains lead vocalist, Sarah Teets.
Taking a bit of inspiration from a Microsoft game, Necromance took on the name Mind Maze in 2012 and a year later the band released their debut album ‘Mask of Lies.” This album marked a three year period of upward mobility for the band, for 2014 and 2015 each saw a release from Mind Maze with each album received better than the last. The band has certainly hit their stride since the name change, but they haven’t been without their fair share of struggles.
“So far the biggest challenge has been funding our endeavors. There is obviously a lot of hard work and the busy schedule is tough, but none of us are from a wealthy background in anyway, so it’s just been difficult for us to come up with the money for us to do a lot of what we do. We have been extremely grateful to our fans for supporting our crowd funding efforts because we really couldn’t be doing this without them.”
Other struggles include the recent loss of drummer, Kalin Scheizerhof, and a short leave of absence by bassist, Rich Pasqualone, for a period of time in 2014. Though the band did not elaborate on Pasqualone’s absence, his time away allowed for the band to temporarily recruit the talents of Mike LePond (Symphony X), which likely increased the band’s notoriety in the metal world.
Despite the loss of their drummer, the band continues to play shows, including Valkyries over Atlanta, and recently toured the US East Coast with Saxon and Armored Saint. Considering the legacy of these two bands across the world, the band was more than honored to join them on the road.
“It was definitely a learning experience for us, as it was our first legitimate support tour. We’ve done a few regional tours or small mini-tours with similar level bands. We plan to keep doing things like that, but we hadn’t done anything supporting a bigger band like this in the past.”
Feeling the urge to hit the road once more, the band has a few tours planned for 2016, but not much can be said at this moment in time. However, for fans eager to see the band live, here’s what you can expect.
“We just try to go out there and showcase as much energy as possible. We definitely follow the old school logic by trying to have tons of energy and put on a great show. None of us like to stand in one spot and just stare at our instruments. It’s all about having fun and interacting with the audience as much as possible. We’re a little limited now due to not having an official drummer in the band, but we always try to change up our set list as much as we can to give fans a lot of variety in what they see from our shows.”
Despite being without an official drummer, the band is marching on in support of their 2015 ‘Dreamwalker’ EP. There were plans to release a music video for the EP but due to lineup changes, the idea was shelved and the band will likely not release a new video until the release of their next album due out in 2017. Considering the band has steadily released an EP or album every year, some fans might be wondering why they’re suddenly breaking tradition.
“Sometimes writing is hard because you can’t really force inspiration if you want something truly great. The best songs come from feeling inspired to write them, as opposed to forcing them out just to release something. Recording can be difficult when you’re doing it on a budget and you don’t have infinite time/money to try to perfect things in the studio,” explains Teets.
The need to take a step back and take a breath is necessary for any craft, especially music, and the band seems to have recognized this. So, while they’re seeking to fill the holes in their lineup, they’re putting the most energy into the writing process for the next album. While this isn’t exactly the best of news for the coming years, fans and newcomers alike have plenty of great material to sink their teeth into in the meantime. Here’s to hoping for a fully revitalized Mind Maze in 2016!