Denver Supergroup Mind Incision Creates a New Metal Subgenre | Westword
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Denver Supergroup Mind Incision Creates a New Metal Subgenre

The band will make its Mile High debut at the Bluebird Theater on Friday, January 12.
Local "supergroup" Mind Incision is making its Denver debut this month.
Local "supergroup" Mind Incision is making its Denver debut this month. Courtesy Mind Incision

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Local musician Jason Neil knows what it takes to be in a nationally touring band.

Before becoming the frontman of Denver’s newest supergroup, Mind Incision, Neil had the opportunity to share the stage with several heavy hitters, mainly Megadeth, Bullet for My Valentine and Butcher Babies, during a seven-year run with now-defunct outfit Arcanium, which was put to rest in 2014.

Now Mind Incision, which includes members from former Denver hard-rock act Less Than Under (guitarists Jon Maggard and Kyle Loucks) and California nu-metalers Motograter (bassist Aeon Cruz), is eyeing a similar path, having already garnered interest to do runs with such bands as Cradle of Filth and DevilDriver since forming in 2022. After releasing a handful of singles and music videos, including “Torn” this month, Mind Incision is shopping tours for 2024 and prepping to hit the road for the first time together.

“We're ready now,” Neil says. “I think the difference with us and any other band is we can just literally pick up where we left off.”

Before plugging into the national circuit, Mind Incision is playing a debut show at the Bluebird Theater on Friday, January 12. The Burial Plot, Carnal Contempt, Thrash Hard City and Defected are also on the bill.

Landing opening slots on cross-country tours and playing unfamiliar markets isn’t easy. As Neil sees it, it’s a completely different ball game. “The difference is you have to have your ducks in a row for national tours,” he shares. “You can’t go out on stage like that and not have the experience of doing it. I think that’s the bonus of having done it already. You see these bands come out, and you watch them set up thirty times in a tour. You watch them do their soundcheck. You watch how professional they are with other bands on the tour.”

There are a lot of lessons to be learned once a band makes the jump to “the other side of the fence,” according to Neil.

“When you’re a local band, you’re on one side of the fence. When you move to that national level, you’re on the other side of the fence,” he explains. “Then you start meeting all the people that you idolize, admire and are influenced by. You become a part of that team.”

In 2009, Neil, then with Arcanium, supported Megadeth during the thrash titan’s Endgame tour, which also included Machine Head, Suicide Silence and Warbringer. A month in, Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine decided to kick Suicide Silence off the bill before the last two dates and asked Arcanium to take one for the team.

“I get a knock at the door, and it’s Dave," Neil recalls. "He asked, ‘Hey, Jay, mind if I come in for a minute?’ Then he was like, ‘Listen, is there any way you can play an extra ten minutes tonight? I’m going to kick Suicide Silence off this tour. If you can cover forty minutes for the next two shows, that would really help me out.’”

Of course, Neil, who was a “Megadeth kid” growing up, agreed. He didn’t bother to tell Mustaine that Arcanium didn’t have an extra ten minutes of tunes lying around. It didn’t matter that the band’s bus broke down the night before and they had to load everything into a U-Haul truck just to make the show in Reno that night, either.

“As soon as the door shut, I look at the rest of the band like, ‘Shit, we don’t have another ten minutes' worth of music,’ because we’re thirty days into the tour with a thirty-minute set, man,” he recalls. “We’ve been playing that thirty-minute set for sixty days, because we had thirty days of practice before the set. These are the things that throw you off-kilter.”

But all’s well that ends well, and Arcanium killed it. Neil says it’s just one example of how life on the road can throw bands an unexpected curveball if they’re not properly prepared. And that’s why Mind Incision, which also includes drummer Kelly Morse, is treating the upcoming Denver concert like the first night of a lengthy tour. “For this show, for example, this is how I would prepare for a tour,” Neil explains. “We are practicing our set for this show, and it’s set in stone. We have it timed down to the second. That’s how you come out and be professional.”

The plan is to play previously released singles, including “Tattered,” “Zero230” and “Slaves to the Game,” plus a bonus Korn cover. “I know the crowd will be into that,” Neil says of the cover, which is a nod to the group’s nu-metal influences.

Mix that with 2000s metalcore (think I Prevail and Falling in Reverse), and the Mind Incision sound can best be described as “nu-core” — a tag Neil has embraced since a Brazilian outlet, Metal Pedia, dubbed the band founders of the new subgenre.

“In an interview, I said, 'We’re nu-metal with a lot of core values,'” he says. “I thought it was pretty cool.”

It’s clear that Mind Incision is indeed ready to bring nu-core to the masses, too.

“It’s important this year to get out there and stay out there,” Neil concludes.

Mind Incision, 7 p.m. Friday, January 12, Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $22.50.
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