review by: Roberto Martinelli
Weíve got a soft spot for what we call lunatic-alone-in-his-apartment metal. Thereís something about a craft thatís done entirely by one person Ė from beginning to end Ė that, although often objectively inferior to something whose tasks were handled by multiple people, has a certain irresistible charm.
So when such a LAIHAM (thatís our new coined term) project also happens to make some of the most impressive AND great sounding music, itís really cause for celebration.
Mirrorthrone is one such project in which one guy does everything. And by everything, we mean writes all the music, plays all the instruments, and then mixes AND masters the recordings. Ok, fine, so the drums are programmed, but they, too are done in such a maniacally intricate and complex way that it fits the scenario to a T. Whatís more, put the drums in Carriers of Dust up against the drums on Dimmu Borgirís Stormblast re-recording (where itís a person playing), and see which one sounds better.
We loved the first Mirrorthrone, Of Wind and Weeping. Ok, we probably rated it a little too high in our exuberance, but itís still an essential record. Romantic and intense symphonic black metal with soaring melodies and parts that traded off from blistering rumble to stained glass window-shattering segues that will be forever memorable.
Carriers of Dust is an improvement on the debut in a few areas, most notably in the production. The debut sounded great, but since the recordings were done at different times, there was a definite sonic (and stylistic) seam to the record... the first three or four tracks were markedly more developed musically, and sounded better, too. The new album, although much shorter at 46 minutes (composed of four lengthy tracks), stands much better as a cohesive body of work. But as great as it continues to be, it doesnít stand up to the best material on Of Wind and Weeping. And the production is incredibly professional. We need to find out what heís using.
Carriers of Dust in particular is roughly in the genre that Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth mainly made popular. However, Mirrorthroneís energy and delivery make it feel much more sincere and powerful. Itís like the romantic, gothic feeling is more pure and stirring, being more Saint Vitusí church than lovely, vampiric girls whose feet barely touch the ground, floating down dark stairways. For our money, weíll take this relatively humble project over anything that the two behemoths have recorded any day. And the irony is that it sounds just as great if not better. Sure, you can tell the string sections are synthesized, but itís some of the highest quality synthesis that technology can offer. And what do you expect a lone lunatic to have? An entire philharmonic worth of instruments and knowhow?
Regardless, it makes you wonder what this particular maniacís apartment is like. Does he have tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment where he lives, or does he live in the janitorial closet at a local pro recording studio owned by a benevolent man with a soft spot for black metal? Whatever, Mirrorthrone is just about the best LAIHAM metal project EVER. The musicianship is unbelievable: tight, razor sharp technical precision at whizzing speeds, and layered in highly engaging, musical ways. The vocals are also exemplary... particularly the clean ones, which benefit immensely from wise effect and harmony usage, making the simple melodies sung from a decent talent seem like God in comparison.
As if this werenít enough, the same nutcase behind Mirrorthrone has at least one other project, Weeping Birth, which is also utterly fantastic, being more harsh and brutal death/black metal, played at perhaps an even higher level of intricacy and technical detail. Get all this guyís stuff, itís well worth it. (8.6/10)