MINDS EYE, Minds Eye (1992, self-released)
Gnarly logo (with embedded eyeball!) splits skull. The concept couldn’t be simpler, and yet pretty much everything about this painting is wrong. For starters, the way the skull is opening up suggests it’s malleable and not, in fact, brittle bone. Then, if you imagine the two halves coming together, the left half would be like two inches taller than the right half. And while the idea was obviously to cleave the skull neatly down the middle, a perspective error has it looking like the split is slanted. But despite all that, I still love this cover. It’s adorably ridiculous in the way only an amateur painting could possibly be. The fuzzy reproduction of the already hazy art makes it feel like soft-focus skull porn from the 70s. Brilliant!
Minds Eye played a distinctly early-90s hodgepodge of styles: some thrash, some traditional metal, some groovy blues, all thrown together in a weird creative bid to move metal away from the hairsprayed excesses of the 80s without altogether eschewing the possibility of commercial appeal. Some of the best music of the time was like this. But, this is not some of the best music of the time. The songs are run-of-the-mill, guitar tone is thin and bad, and the vocals are weak, although I’ve certainly endured much worse without complaining. All that said, I do have a soft spot for this sort of thing, especially for bands with enough vision to self-release a CD in 1992, and you can be sure if I ever ran across a physical copy of this, I’d pick it up in a heartbeat. It’s probably worth a fortune, too. But, if I really wanted to hear this kind of metal I’d make a beeline for my Wrathchild America discs (and since Minds Eye were also from Maryland, it’s impossible to imagine Wrathchild weren’t an influence). Hell, even Mindfunk were probably a little better at this game, and if that’s not a damning comparison, I don’t know what is (and I say this as someone who inexplicably owns all three Mindfunk albums.)
— Friar Johnsen