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Mirrors for Psychic Warfare is a two-piece Industrial/Folk project featuring Scott Kelly of Neurosis and producer Sanford Parker. The pair formed in 2016 and are most likely based out of the pacific north-west of the USA but there is no town of origin listed I could find. This album is the second release from this band and a follow up to their self-titled full length. This project is an interesting blend of the two listed genres and even a few others leading to a very cerebral calming sound. That also has moments harshness and a few truly tense and unnerving moments throughout. Going into this and seeing the tag of Folk I was under the assumption that this would lie somewhere in the space of Neurosis or Scott Kell’s solo work, I had never been so wrong! While it contains his signature voice there is little to no guitar work involved. In their place, the senses are flooded with a grey soundscape of industrial and ambient beats and samples that at times border on ideas of drone metal or even some trance!
I actually heard of this album through an article about Scott Kelly and how he had to cancel this group's upcoming tour due to issues with mental health! In this album, anyone who listens to it can hear the very torture in his voice at times which is very raw and definitely a stand out of the album. As I am not well versed in industrial songwriting, I found this album to be quiet unique in compared to the metal I usually listen to. Within these songs though, I still hear some Neurosis vibes outside of the vocals. There are parts like on the song “Crooked Teeth” with the percussion work of older Neurosis work. This among other things is leading to the vibe of two people working together to make a record as opposed to a producer wanting to bring in an artist for a mostly complete album, to add a voice to it all. The production work is really smooth, the lyrics are cryptic yet eery. This all mixed with the interesting loops and beats that keep the ears engaged while also smoothly flowing the listener through this album as it flys by and is over before you realize it. Upon its end, it has a way of leaving the listener a bit jarred at where the forty minutes just went. This like the new Deafhaven album is one of those albums that would be ideal to go into a room, turn off all the lights maybe light an aromatherapy candle pop in some headphones get submerged into some warm water and enjoy the trip!
The only downsides I can say would be the intro track “Animal Coffins” is a bit harsh and kind of hard to listen through all the way. To the point this almost made me go find a different album to listen to but overall was glad I didn’t let it scare me off. There are times where it gets a little repetitive lyrically and the singer Scott does not really leave his vocal comfort zone. So I hope listeners like his midrange gritty yet dreamy voice because he all but never strays too far from it.
“Tombpuncher” and “Crooked Teeth” would be the standouts of the album! They are both really embracing the best of both artists involved and like stated the percussion on crooked teeth was very well put together. Honorable mention to the final track “Coward Heart” as it is a perfect close out track leaving the listener a bit silenced after it ends with a resounding thud.
I would give this a strong C+ or a solid B-. Lots of great ideas but can be a bit harsh or repetitive at times! But overall is a trippy dark and moody good time!