Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Discovery: Enslaved Mirror - True Illusion EP

Germany is a beautiful country which hosts some of the finest heavy metal acts this planet has come to see. We've had bands like The Scorpions, Kreator, Edguy and Rammstein to name a few. All four acts specialise in their own way, which is what an appealing factor of Enslaved Mirror is for this EP.

It’s named True Illusion, with the first track called “H.A.T.E.” This track title seems to indicate that it'll be whiny, but when you listen to it and get the lyrics up, well it's hilarious. It’s comical but serious at the same time, which a lot of people surely must relate to. The soft piano intro isn't instrumentally talented, but it adds to the humour, until the song kicks in with guitars which are skilful. The tempo changes and musical progressions are often in this song, which is pulled off greatly. There’s a line: “Slow this shit down,” which is a highlight, shame the breakdown didn't last a little longer though. Around the two minute mark, it goes from breakdowns to Dream Theater - the clean vocals aren't James Labrie as such though.

Then “The True Illusionist” kicks in to blast through your headphones. It's pretty much the same formula as the first track, and kind of cements the thought that Enslaved Mirror isn’t the kind of metal band you will take seriously. The clean vocals grate a little bit, though not to be taken seriously, but the screams are ferocious. The piano makes its return, along with some lyrics which can be a bit of a ball ache to grasp at first; a lyric sheet would help, as they seem to be quite fun lyrics. This track acts like a rock opera, something that's beautifully done, kind of like a death metal version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

Follow Me” is next in line and offers a juicy guitar riff at the very start. The lyrical theme of this EP so far seems to be social awareness, and kind of takes a few swings at it. Enslaved Mirror’s singing style with the clean vocals sound amusing, and the screams sound fucking awesome, with the lyric: “But why should I give up my life?” sounding like an attempt at Eastern Asian singing styles, Hm. The breakdowns bring out their metalcore influences, whilst the synths make it a lot more Dream Theater-esque, as I previously stated. “Follow Me” is more akin to breakdowns and epic solos than the previous two that have had piano ballad-type music. The instrumental quality from Enslaved Mirror is superb so far in to True Illusion.

Shine” starts the second half of the EP with pretty decent fucking lyrics. This is the most in your face track on the EP, with guitar riffs chugging through the first minute and straight into a mini solo and back to the synth sounds. Another breakdown comes three minutes in, with nice melodies popping over it alongside whispering vocals. This track seems to be more of the inspiring track on the EP when you put the lyrics (if you can't understand them or read lyrics online) in to perspective.

And last but not least, there is “Inner Blaze”, the shortest track on True Illision. The piano makes another lovely appearance, while making sounds like a mini prog metal track, but it's done nicely. The breakdown is great in this track, as well as the solos, which are the most appealing factor coming from this EP. The ending of this track seems quite fast, but it's a nice way to end the True Illusion.

True Illusion offers a range of instrumentals; however the typical metal genre instruments remain the strongest due to the fast percussion, two separate breakdowns in each track, and also the melodic solos flowing within and out of each track. The piano has been a great aspect, and even though the playing is simple, it's still a fun factor. The screams are the best quality vocally, whilst clean vocals aren't really up to scratch, but I'm not sure if that is deliberate. They did a pretty fun cover of PSY's “Gentleman”, which can be seen on YouTube, showing how Enslaved Mirror likes to have a laugh. “H.A.T.E” seems to be the highlight of their EP - being solid in every way for a metal song, this deserves credit. Enslaved Mirror are heavy as fuck, yet polite in places. They’re quite like an anchor if it had a personality (yes I am aware that was a dumb comparison.) It puts metalcore on a different level in places adding synths, so like Dream Theater if they were high off of crack - I mean this in a nice way, these guys are insane and that's a win in my books.
~Matthew Clewley


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