Something different from both Napalm Records and Belgium for us today. It’s not typically grunge/radio rock you first think of when you think of music from either, but Black Mirrors seem set to change that with their second full-length release. I’m definitely curious to hear it, so let’s dive right into it!
Their most recent single, ‘Snake Oil’, starts the album off with a bang, a fast-paced, simple riff running through it all. It drops back a little for the verses, Marcella Di Troia’s distorted vocals coming in perfectly over the top. It builds up into a huge chorus where her vocals clean up and a very catchy melody comes in. It’s grunge, but it’s also definitely dark and a little heavier. It’s giving me Twin Temple vibes just as much as Alice in Chains. Also, the outro building up more and more for a solid minute plus is fucking fantastic. It’s one hell of a way to finish an opening track and is a very satisfying crescendo. Playlisted!
Another single from the album, ‘Lost in Desert’, feels a little lighter and more radio-friendly. It almost has a bit of a British indie vibe to it, or even a US alt-rock style. It’s giving off massive ‘Bohemian Like You’ by Dandy Warhols vibes. The chorus is another massive, catchy one, and almost feels uplifting despite the subject matter. We get a pretty decent solo to close out the track too. I’m loving these extended outros the band are doing, hopefully we get them throughout. This was another awesome track, and one I can see being play everywhere if given the chance. It’s the perfect single to introduce new fans who otherwise lean more towards the pop side, and it’s definitely a wise decision by the band to have a track like this. Hopefully it catapults them to the top where they belong!
The album’s title track is closer to a straight-up rock track, giving off big Soundgarden feels with the riffs and arrangement. The ‘oh’s and ‘ah’s over it still give off that same American alt vibe, though, it blending together well. The chorus is massively catchy, thanks in part to the awesome backing vocals. It’s another great radio-rock track, this time also giving off vibes of Halestorm and Dorothy in Marcella’s vocals. It’s maybe my favourite performance of hers on the whole album. Great stuff.
The final and lead single off the album, ‘Hateful Hate I’ll Kill You’, reminds me a lot of the opening tracks. It’s somehow a perfect mashup of the first two songs on the album, dark and heavier while still keeping that poppy, radio-friendly edge. It is a fun track, again despite the serious, deep lyrics, and one I’d love to see live as it seems they give a high-energy performance. It’s another easily added to the playlist.
‘Ode to my Unborn Child’ is, understandably given the name, the slower ballad of the album. It starts off low and acoustic-y and builds into a pretty folky track. It’s completely different to the rest of the tracks in all the best ways. The sound fits the sombre tale perfectly and is honestly a beautiful track. It’s a dark folk-rock track, a genre that is getting very popular at the minute, and it handles the shift perfectly. This is another playlisted track. Damn, it’s good.
‘Through the Eyes of a Giant’ somehow opens on a similar folky sound, but builds so seamlessly back into their previous sound throughout. The whole track feels like one big buldup, and I can’t help but love it. It almost had some Tool vibes in the middle part with the guitars. Y’all know how much I gush about Tool, so of course I loved this whole track. Just another track to make our playlist!
After a couple of epic folk-rock tracks, it felt slightly jarring heading into the most grunge track I’ve heard in years. The track is Alice in Chains as fuck, from the riffing to the double, harmonised vocals. I assume the lower harmony, the Jerry Cantrell of the track, is guest vocalist Alain Johann. He does an amazing job and adds so much to this track. It’s the first one so far I’d class as full-on grunge, and I love it. Another fantastic song!
‘Anthropocene’ is another more alt-rock track, going back to the first few songs in terms of sound. It’s not bad at all, but it does feel a little like I’ve heard this now. The final two tracks, however, do feel different. Both are a bit slower than ‘Anthro…’ and have a similar epic feel to the folk tracks. ‘Tears to Share’ is especially fantastic, building to a huge chorus that again reminds me of Dorothy. Meanwhile ‘Say it Again’ is a suitably heavy, fun way to close the album.
Overall: this was amazing. It’s rare to find a band so effortlessly hop between different sub-genres while all the while maintaining their own sound and style, but Black Mirrors do it perfectly. Be it grunge, radio-alt-rock or folk, everything they did was great. There isn’t a bad track on the album and they did a phenomenal job at keeping me interested and entertained throughout. There are going to be plenty of tracks that I’m listening to for long into the future. These guys are going right to the top of the music industry, just you watch!
The Score: 9/10