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Excelsior Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 Oct. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Inside Out Music America
  • ASIN: B00004XSOF
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,313,035 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. On The Road By Noon
  2. The Approaching Storm
  3. Tokyo Rain
  4. The Red Hour
  5. Decide For Yourself
  6. Sudden Impulse
  7. Sky Dancer
  8. When The Walls Fell

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 7 July 2001
Format: Audio CD
Excelsior (as far as I know) is the first Mastermind CD to include keyboards (Jens Johansson); and the difference is impressive. Mastermind was originally the Berends brothers playing a diversity of guitars (including a lot of midi guitar) and drums. While the musicianship has always been impressive, the inclusion of keyboards has broadened out Mastermind's sound most effectively. The compositions are now better rounded and have more depth. I should point out that this is an instrumental album with the guitar very much to the fore.
For anyone looking for aggressive, bombastic progressive music structured around the guitar, then I can highly recommend this CD. It finally fulfills the earlier promise that was never quite achieved in previous CDs.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An absolutely killer overlooked album in the instrumental prog rock spectrum. Taking its cues from Mahavishnu Orchestra this is heavier that its influence with a more modern sound and approach, yet is full of stellar songwriting and first rate musicianship from guitarist/bassist Bill Berends and keyboardist Jens Johansson. Not a duff track on the release. "Excelsior" will instantly find a welcome home in your collection.
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Format: Audio CD
There have been several attempts by bands to recreate the sound of the legendary jazz rock band, Mahavishnu Orchestra. The Mahvishnu Project, with a line up of jazz musicians, recently pulled it off, impressing Johh McLaughlin to boot. The Japanese band Kennedy did a knock about version of the "Birds Of Fire" tune, on their "Live" album (Musea Records). However, to me "Excelsior!" is the best recording with the feel of Mahavishnu, without the wholesale lifting of compositions and arrangements. The addition of Swedish keyboard master Jens Johansson to the brothers Berends, is inspired - Johansson (when not doing his day job with Stravavarious), is the modern day Jan Hammer. Apparently, Mastermind started out aiming for a tight, instrumental, heavy progressive album. Instead, they have managed to go much further and produce a latterday jazz rock gem. It should be noted their European record label SPV insisted the term "jazz rock" be avoided in publicity - but what do record companies know?

All tunes are excellent. The opening track "On The Road By Noon", is an obvious reference to MO's "Noonward Race", but is no slavish copy. While there is the tight interplay which was one of the hallmarks of Mahavishnu O, (heard as call and response between two or three lead instruments), the arrangements and excellent playing skills on "Excelsior!" differ. Bill Berends has claimed he is an inferior guitarist to McLaughlin, but what he produces here is free of the obvious progressive rock cliches: it is fresh and grips you. And then there is a lot to be said about the synergism generated by between Berends and Johansson, it is phenomenal.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
There have been several attempts by bands to recreate the sound of the legendary jazz rock band, Mahavishnu Orchestra. The Mahavishnu Project, with a line up of jazz musicians, have most recently pulled it off impressing John McLaughlin and Jan Hammer to boot. The Japanese band Kennedy did a knock about version of the "Birds Of Fire" tune back in the late 80's, on their "Live" album (Musea Records). However, to me "Excelsior!" is the best recording with the feel of Mahavishnu Orchestra, without the wholesale lifting of compositions and especially arrangements. The addition of Swedish keyboard master Jens Johansson to the brothers Berends is inspired - Johansson (when not doing his day job with Stravovarious), is the modern day Jan Hammer.

Apparently, Mastermind started out aiming for a tight, instrumental, heavy progressive album. Instead, they have managed to go much further and produce a latterday jazz rock gem. It should be noted their European record label SPV insisted the term "jazz rock" be avoided in publicity - but what do record companies know?

All tunes are excellent. The opening track "On The Road By Noon", is an obvious reference to MO's "Noonward Race", but is no slavish copy. While there is the tight interplay which was one of the hallmarks of Mahavishnu O, (heard as call and response between two or three lead instruments), the arrangements and excellent playing skills on "Excelsior!" differ. Bill Berends has claimed he is an inferior guitarist to McLaughlin but what he produces here is free of the obvious progressive rock cliches: it is fresh and grips you. And then there is a lot to be said about the synergism generated by between Berends and Johansson, it is phenomenal.
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Progressive Metal with Integrity Intact 15 April 2015
By Terry Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Berends brothers have always followed their own muse. This is progressive metal done with passion and intensity. I got to speak with guitarist and composer Bill Berends prior to their opening for Fish. They also opened for Rush and Joe Satriani. Bill is a monster on guitar and guitar synth with a very unique approach. His compositions, although often quite long, are song focused without a lot of the wanking that sometimes, for me anyway, detracts. As much as I love Dream Theater and John Petrucci, he sometimes gets caught up in his technique at the expense of the song. His brother Rich is an amazing drummer, kind of a cross between Keith Moon and Neil Peart. He has the technical chops to play anything he wants but you never know when he’s just going to explode into some manic kick drum assault. These guys have sometimes been compared to ELP although I don’t see it because the keyboards are rarely the focus of a given composition. This is an instrumental album, which I think is a plus. Rich is, at best, an average vocalist, and his lyrics can be a bit unsettling at times. Given that, “Excelsior!” is my favorite in their catalogue. This is a great band that has never gotten the acclaim I think they deserve. They've followed a tough road, following their muse with integrity and recording primarily on small labels. If you’re a fan of progressive metal, they’re definitely worth a listen.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars for the musician 7 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Just a few lines to tell people that this CD is great
I have listened to all the Magna Carta releases (this is on SPV Inside Out) and this
is in that class. Master Mind are a great band musicaly
and I recomend this CD strongly. It contains no vocals
if you consider the past and present efforts its a good
thing , Just great Keys , Drums , and guitars. It is more
for the musician or mature listener, and is compatible
to Alan holdsworth at his very best and a tad bit heavyer,
More epic as well.
and the musicianship more balanced
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUDDEN IMPULSE 18 Aug. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Just a few lines to tell people that this CD is great
I have listened to all the Magna Carta releases (this is on SPV Inside Out) and this
is in that class. Master Mind are a great band musicaly
and I recomend this CD strongly. It contains no vocals
if you consider the past and present efforts its a good
thing , Just great Keys , Drums , and guitars. It is more
for the musician or mature listener, and is compatible
to Alan holdsworth at his very best and a tad bit heavyer,
More Classic as well.
and the musicianship more balanced
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