Mirrors For Psychic Warfare - Mirrors For Psychic Warfare (Neurot Recordings)

Atmospheric US heavy rockers aim high but fall short of the summit on their eponymous debut

Released May 12th, 2016 via Neurot Recordings / By Erick Mertz
Mirrors For Psychic Warfare - Mirrors For Psychic Warfare (Neurot Recordings) One of the joys in writing about metal, or heavy music as I like to classify the wider genre, is the expansion of vocabulary, particularly synonyms for the word big.

This is, after all, the bedrock quality of heavy music. Size does matter, making words like mammoth, huge, robust and gargantuan valuable in a well-written review.

Mirrors For Psychic Warfare's eponymous five-song record opens with the six-minute lead single, Oracles Hex which is a menacing track, full of Sunn O))) or Earth styled dark ambiance. There are cultish chants in the background and an uneasy (and wholly uneven) breeze that seems to wash in and out and that continues into the next track the 14:47 length A Thorn To See. Rather than chants though, the band changes over into spoken vocals, words deeply embedded, echoing from the back of the mix giving it a definitely harrowing feel. Lyrics like “the God of water/becomes a tower” and “the eyes are not the host/they are windows to the sky” are plentiful throughout, oblique but obviously Pagan influenced.

Eventually, A Thorn To See rolls over into a loud, driving guitar riff that rings out like a call to arms. Something is coming and it’s awful. The band offers a mammoth sound (there’s one of ‘those words’ again) and really drives home the bleak themes of darkness and warfare. What follows though, is a lot of suggestions of menace. Songs like CNN WTZ run right up to the edge but never really grind home that tempting concept. Mirrors really tries to seize on the melodic (or anti-melodic) sweet spot of the aforementioned bands, but their missing something. This isn’t as elemental as Earth and cannot quite capture the freaking discordance of Sunn O))). Vocals hit the nail right on the head. They name the dread. Underneath it all, the percussion feels pale, more of a rattle than thunder. I’d like these songs more without drums, perhaps more care given to the mix but that always seems to be on the horizon rather than in the air.

Regardless of what they might say, size does matter. And I believe the lads in Mirrors For Psychic Warfare know that pretty well. What this record seems to capture is a feeling of looking up from shadows at the titanic leviathan threatening the realm, rather than the unwieldy power of operating within. It’s a fine line but the songs never take the helm and in that regard, I’m impressed but wholly unimpressed with the result.