Reasons Behind – Project: M.I.S.T. Review

It is not often a cyberpunk themed metal album presents itself for review by us goons at Angry Metal Guy. I snatched up Reasons Behind‘s new concept album too eagerly, without any prior research apart from ensuring none of my colleagues covered the band previously. I’ve operated in this fashion in the past and been burned on countless occasions. Spoiler: this time was no different. In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting going into reviewing an album classified as synth metal. A heavy soundtrack to accompany a film like Blade Runner or Tron, inspiring visions of bright, neon lights reflecting off rain-slicked city streets? Seemed entirely plausible. Using the soundtracks to the Tron films (the scores for both the 1982 and 2010 movies are great in their own way!) as a point of comparison was a mistake to begin with. To put it lightly, Project: M.I.S.T. failed to meet my expectations.

Reasons Behind is a four-piece Italian symphonic power metal band trying their hand at synth metal on Project: M.I.S.T., their second full-length album. Given that Reasons Behind‘s debut album sits squarely in pure symphonic metal territory, I can imagine the band had fun getting their hands dirty experimenting with synths and chasing after more trance or dubstep inspired sounds for their new release. With “Unplugged,” Reasons Behind kick off their album on a promising note. The track is ominous, celestial, and epic in nature. It’s full-on 80s synthwave, and I would gladly listen to an entire platter of tracks similar to this one.

The “metal” ingredient of Reasons Behind‘s synth metal comes into play in second track “Fireflies in the Wind,” but this is unfortunately where my distaste quickly started to set in. It’s apparent that vocalist Elisa Bonafè has a beautiful and powerful voice but the selected vocal processing which beats her voice into a pulp is overdone and unpalatable. Project: M.I.S.T.‘s tracks are so obnoxiously candy-coated I fear another listen through the album might cause my teeth to start falling out. While “A Hidden Thread” (which reminded me of Rebecca Black‘s infamous “Friday” during a particularly heavy dose of autotune) is a slightly heavier track than others on the album and “Ghostwired” features captivating synths, another one of Project: M.I.S.T.’s downfalls is the severe lack of variety. Elisa’s vocals are excessively commanding on nearly every track. The album would have been more compelling if the synth builds and guitar lines played more of a forefront role.

By the time I made it to jittery seventh track “Living a Lie,” the Cascada “Everytime we Touch” vibes became too much, and my cheese threshold was easily surpassed. “Between Here and Awake” came to the rescue with its innovativeness, however. Samples of other tracks on the album slowly fade in and out, inducing a dreamlike state. Probably caused by my abnormally high consumption of TV shows and books concerning time travel as of late (Dark, Dark Matter, Devs), listening to this track made me feel as if I was oozing through time. Now that we’re on the subject, maybe there is a parallel universe or alternate reality in which I actually enjoy listening to Project: M.I.S.T.! Don’t mind me — I’ve been pondering Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment one too many times lately.

Project: M.I.S.T. is no soundtrack to the next best cyberpunk film nor is it fit to accompany your reading of William Gibson’s genre defining, cyberpunk novel “Neuromancer.” The only place I see appropriate to play Project: M.I.S.T. is a congested club blasting other shallow, overproduced tracks — think Amaranthe‘s “Electroheart.” Does Reason Behind‘s second album deserve a review to join the ranks of Angry Metal Guy’s angriest reviews? Absolutely not, but let’s just say I don’t think I’ll be coming back to Project: M.I.S.T. anytime soon.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Scarlet Records
Websites: facebook.com/scarletrecords | facebook.com/ReasonsBehind
Releases Worldwide: August 21st, 2020

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