Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats return with their sophomore effort, Mind Control, and it’s a masterpiece of trippy ‘60s-era acid . As a whole, the album has its undeniable doom qualities, a genre that many are shoving Uncle Acid into, but the band and the album have a wider appeal than what’s offered in that pigeonholed classification. For one, there are plenty of superficial “happy” moments, but that plays into the overall theme of the album (more on that in a bit). But what makes Mind Control accessible also limits it, so let’s just say that, whether you’re old or young, if you appreciate the classic psychedelic rock and doom metal of the ‘60s and ‘70s, you’re probably going to love Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats’ Mind Control.
From the moment the fuzzed-out guitars of the opening track, “Mt. Abraxas,” kick in, the Black Sabbath influence is obvious. What listeners may not hear right away, however, is the influence from late-era Beatles. This is most apparent in the vocal harmonies throughout the album, and in the almost sitar instrumentation on the George Harrison-esque “Follow the Leader.” Only, I don’t think The Beatles ever dreamed dare tackle the subject matter that Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats have done on Mind Control.
Mind Control is a concept album, delving into the dark territory of cult, cult leader, and mass killing. See, could you imagine The Beatles putting out such a theme in the Helter Skelter era? They’d be crucified for inviting more Manson-like characters to act out. I love how the protagonist shifts from talking to his disciples in “Mt. Abraxas” to addressing us, the listener:
”I’ll show you God on the highest/Up where no one can see/Up where no one can find us
As you look through the window/On your mind getting high/You won’t know that we all have to DIE
They don’t know/They don’t know there’s nothing up there at all”
The story of manipulation, persuasion, control, and death continues throughout all nine of Mind Control’s tracks, culminating in “Devil’s Work.” The album’s final track gives us perspective on the protagonist’s state of mind, “I am the devil/And I’m here to do the devil’s work.” If that’s not frightening in the “ stomach drop cross your legs because that looks like it hurt” way, then you might be the devil yourself.
“Mind Crawler” and “Poison Apple” definitely have the most pop rock influence (which is the happy stuff used by the cult leader on his disciples), but for me it’s the rockin’ riffs of “Evil Love” and “Devil’s Work” that get me excited. These are two very different songs, where the former is an uptempo track, resembling something like “Children of the Grave,” and the latter is a far heavier track with lots of chugging guitars and atmosphere, kind of like “Electric Funeral.”
“Evil Love” and “Devil’s Work” are my two favorite tracks on Mind Control, but if I were asked for a third, “Valley of the Dolls” would be an easy pick. It captures everything this album aims to be; it’s heavy, slow, doomy, melodic, and creepy.
The Verdict: [rating:4]
You shouldn’t miss this album if you’re a fan of Ghost. Tone and themes are similar here, but the tracks are longer and more sedating. Mind Control is definitely going on a favorite 2013 list.
Rock Hard \m/