DS Review: Fabled Mind – ‘Project Paradise’

disclaimer: I do volunteer PR for Nasty Cut Records. But I heard this album before it was added to Nasty Cut Records. And this review was underway BEFORE Fabled Mind got added to the roaster.

Hey, Fabled Mind, welcome back to earth! It’s been four years since Passenger was released, and for those four long, very long years, it’s been radio silent on their end. But with good reason. The band has had something unique and cool planned for their sophomore album. “Another generic skate-punk album?” Oh, babes, so, so much more! Fabled Mind returns with a concept album. It’s something that isn’t that rare, but when you turn it upside down and listen to the album – it’s rare enough.

Two years ago, Dion Finne – lead vox from Fabled Mind, quit his job to focus solely on his music. He spent two years writing songs and melodies, demoing, and sending the demos to his band members to regroup. And those two years have been spent well. Because that became the birth of Project Paradise, the album I’ll focus on for today’s review. What can I say about Project Paradise apart from the info I’ve already dropped? As I mentioned, it’s a concept album and, to quote their press release, “electrifying full-length dystopian concept album, emerging from the shadows as an experimental hybrid-genre phenomenon, deeply rooted in a love for the exhilarating punk rock from the 90s.” Well, that’s something, which is probably what intrigued me the most, when I started listening to the album. Let’s dive into it before you all start wondering how to get your fingers on it. Because that is one fun choice of release that we should dive into.

So, basically, Project Paradise is about AI taking over the world, which fucks with my head enough. But Perfect World starts us off with some lovely robot lady that speaks as monotone as we’ve seen in movies—a solid opener for getting an idea of what the listeners can expect. Next up, Project Paradise,” the lead single and title track. This one started as my least favorite song on the album, but I’ll happily admit I was wrong. After a few play-throughs, it grew on me. Between Leo Wallin’s (yes, Leo, that’s basically in every punk band in Europe) rapid drumming, the mix between Dion and Brian’s guitar riffs, and Dion’s skill for penning catchy lyrics throughout the song – I finally understood why it became the lead single.

Something I find funny when I review concept albums is that it’s hard not to mention every song – because they are so connected. The story continues in every song, and “Algrothrim” goes harder than your usual punk song. It reminds me of Cigar, which we all know I don’t mind. “Awakening” sees the protagonist in the story discover that things aren’t as they appear. It’s noticed in the lyrics, “It’s time to destroy this invisible cage now” – break loose!

We will skip a song because while “The Program” isn’t a skippable song, the intro to the song poked at one of my fears with a robot repeating “Critical thinking detected” on and on. There are plenty of good riffs, and it is very futuristic. “Vultures” might be one of the album’s most catchy songs, we hear lyric-wise on the album. I tend to joke that if the songs on the album are “Instagram Caption Worthy,” it’s a good album. When Dion screams, “So get on board, we’re leaving now / We’ll fucking burn this holy place down to the ground,” I get goosebumps, and the hairs on my neck stand up. The harmonization of the vocals and instruments nails it. It’s incredible.

My somber heart yearned for a sweet acoustic ballade after six songs that went on with full force. I needed a palette cleanser. And indeed, “Heirs Of The Stars” serves as one. Starting in the band’s native language, Danish, which isn’t a made-up language, Dion somberly sings, “I dybet af mit sind, forsøger jeg at nå dig alligevel” and added with the humming from the backing vocals. It haunts me that a band with such force can produce something delicate and sad. I’ve cried a few times to this song, indeed.

You’ve been along for the ride so far; let’s wrap it up with a few words about the other songs and spoilers.

After sadness… comes something ska-inspired, with trumpets, synths, and much fun. And that’s what I hear before the chorus comes along, and we go back to the skatepunk sound in “Architects of Deception.” I swear the lyrics are taken from the point of view of the resistance group that has formed and the protagonist. Still, the experimental sound of the song gives it the catchy hooks it needs. When “The Great Hack” came on, I won’t lie. I thought the TV show’ X-files’ came on. I’m not punching down on the song. It’s heavy and fast when it needs to be.

“Altered Reality” certainly takes a different spin on the album sounds, with more robotic effects. It’s the AI system’s views on humanity and reasoning for being unreasonable. Let’s go, “Interlude”! It was 1:06 minutes of what sounded like throat singing in the beginning, and barely any instruments apart from vocals. “Time Machine,” the last track, babes! We made it, and it was one captivating ride to be on. For nearly eight minutes, we are taking into battle between the AI system and the protagonist. But forget the lyrics; the sounds that we hear throughout the song are what catches on. It’s fantastic to listen to some aggressive drumming to some pop-punk to… I’ve tried to talk about this song to multiple people, and words have failed me each time. Because it’s unique, there’s some funk after that five-minute mark. But the song, without a doubt, ends the story and sends a throwback to “Perfect World with Dion’s backing vocals singing,” Another day of tripping out in paradise…”

So, now you’ve read my thesis on Fabled Mind – And I mentioned how you get your hands on it. Well, Fabled Mind went with an untraditional marketing plan for the album. It would be best if you bought it to listen to it. Our streaming platforms only have the released singles, and it’s scheduled for release on all platforms in January 2024. So, the question is – why do this review already now? I’ll get to that, but I want to add if you like Bad Religion, Coheed and Cambria, and general skatepunk, it’s worth every minute. The harmonization that comes between the instruments does a big deal in making the album sound coherent. They might experiment with some different synths, pop-punk, ska, trumpets, aggressive punk, some funk, and much more. But it does work on the album; it adds volume to the lyrics, and that is noticeable during “Time Machine” where Fabled Mind has different genre-inspired melodies that set the mood for the closing song. In certain, the album thrives on the added sound effects and robotic voices and brings in a different dynamic when it comes to working with skatepunk. They tore up the rule book and decided to expand their own creative search for themselves. I would argue that I mentioned earlier that Dion was skilled with a pen. But to be able to create a story like this goes to show that when you mix fantasy with some personal stuff. You get a great concept album.

Project Paradise takes you on a ride, where you start to visualize the story between the AI system, impending doom, and the protagonist and their resistance group. For some, it may be a hit or miss, a grower, or whatever you can think of. But it’s undoubtedly an album one should add to their vinyl collection.

Listen to “Vultures,” “Time Machine,” “Heirs Of The Stars” & “Architects of Deception”

Buy it here

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