Mirror are a Cypriot quintet (that used to initially have an international lineup, which folded shortly after their debut). Their style is uncompromised 70s hard rock that is amalgamated with 80s metal in an alchemical union that has mostly in the past produced only gold… out of the leaden elements it’s made up off.
Led by Tas, well known as multi-instrumentalist, former Electric Wizard bassist, Black/Death Metal Merchant extraordinaire (Diavolos and Satan’s Wrath) and tattoo artist (with a full face of them fancy artworks), along with one very capable Jimmy Mavromatis, (Armageddon Rev 16:16 and many cover bands) on vocals and the now fully integrated newer members both Daniel Georgiou (Winter’s Verge) who beats tirelessly behind the drumskins as well as the dynamic duo of Costandinos (Blynd) and Nikolas Moutafis (Solitary Sabreed) who offer an endless array of heavy motifs, as well as some inspired lead work on guitars, Mirror manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.
“Infernal Deceiver” has this Maidenesque, bass rattle going on right from the go, reminiscent of the Dianno era, but also manages to marry the 70s warmth of Uli Jon Roth era Scorpions with the occult themes and somewhat doomy sound of acts like early Demon, Witchfynde and the like. All great influences, expertly accumulated, regurgitated and spawn out as a fully graduated example of all these grandmasters of rock an’ metal. Awesome.
“Souls of Megiddo” had me initially a little dubious, as it were a little top heavy, a lot more doomy. With Jimmy’s wails, a little reminiscent of a more twisted, “evil” version of Jon Oliva. But I must say that this feeling of doubt, subsided right after the intro. I mean it works beautifully in the flow of the album – again largely carrying the same set of influences, only turning up the doom to 11, this time around.
“Savage Tales” begins with some intense guitar work, only to untangle into vintage metal territory, somewhere between the heaviest moments of Savatage and the earlier works of Manowar… which is nothing to complain about frankly. Loving the doomy/epic shit these guys are coming up with really down to the cool choral part.
“All Streets Are Evil” doesn’t fail to follow the tradition of its predecessors; only this time things turn a little more Maidenesque/NWOBHM again.
“Fire and Hell” is a lot more speedy and guitar centric, smartly accumulating a Maiden cadenza, but presenting it in a completely reworked and nightmarish fashion, within its own folds. Probably one of the top songs on offer here, along with the opening, double salvo of tracks.
“Stand Fight Victory”, by its title alone, had me looking for a bottle of baby oil, as any true Manowarrior would, but thankfully it’s lead work, kept me from getting all oily and messed up. It’s more reserved pace, makes for an interesting change, but it’s often forays into Maiden territory, keep things from becoming too stale and one-dimensional.
“Sleepy Eyes of Death” is anything but lethargic and it reminded me of earlier Mirror releases, seasoned with a bit of Satan and Loudness for good measure. It’s the usual evil, demonic shit fare, in no uncertain Mercyful Fate terms, not to be taken way too seriously, but also used a little more seriously than for mere effect.
The intro of “Demon Candles” has a certain Judas Priest quality to it, while the rest of it is a weird mix of a lot of different influences, bits and bobs of Priest, Candlemass, Maiden and who knows what else make up this pretty cool 70s flavored metal hymnal.
Last but not least, the piano/synth intro of the title track “The Day Bastard Leaders Die” had me thinking – wot, a piano?!! Not for long though, as the ultra heavy combo of bass and guitar, crashed any doubts to fine powder. A Sprawling epic of some almost eight minutes, it carries the proto-culture of metal, in a Dorian simplicity, not unlike the earlier works of Manowar, the same cool factor, without being too verbose… but with a more occult and 70s touch; the sort of mystique that a lot of 70s Psych musicians managed to infuse their tunes with (Diabolus, Dr Z etc. and even Arthur Brown – although he was a 60s child).
Well, the only qualm I have is the bass heavy busy mix, which does not allow everything to sound as clearly as it could. It’s a minor complain though. Mirror have managed to pull off a cool hat trick, with all of their three albums being some of the finest examples of traditional heavy metal in recent memory. Uncle ‘arry’d be proud!