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Smokey Mirror: Smokey Mirror

From Dallas, Texas comes Smokey Mirror, a young band who find themselves on Rose Above Records for their debut self-titled album. While perhaps not quite as straight forward doom as much of the rest of the Rise Above roster, Smokey Mirror are certainly inspired by heavy & hard rock bands of the '70s. The band are comprised of:

Mario Rodriguez: Guitar/Voice
Tyler Davis: Bass
Cam Martin: Drums
Caleb Hollowed: Guitar

This debut is chock full of frantic, uptempo arrangements, stomping blues & boogie, stoner grooves, and a musicality that lends some prog & metal virtuosity. "Invisible Hand" and "Pathless Forest" kick off the album, and you couldn't ask for two better songs to grab the listener right away, with images of Captain Beyond, Grand Funk Railroad, ZZ Top, and Black Sabbath floating every which way, while the beefy and quite psychedelic "Magick Circle" passed the 8-minute mark and contains a wealth of sizzling guitar interplay. The intricate "Alpha-State Dissociative Trance" shows off their psychedelic and prog side (Frank Zappa meets Atomic Rooster anyone?), and the bluesy doom of "Sacrificial Altar" is like a marriage of Pentagram and Cactus, complete with some scalding guitar solos and tumultuous drumming. The haunting blues rock shuffle of "A Thousand Days in the Desert" is terrific, and huge doom riffing combines with scorching blues rock guitar solos on the dark "Who's to Say".

Drawbacks? Well, both "Fried Vanilla Spider Trapeze" and "Recurring Nightmare" are brief little acoustic guitar excursions, one blues and the other classical, and though both are nicely done, I'd have rather had another 3-4 minute banger. Mario's vocals are pretty good for what they are-I wouldn't say his voice is the highlight of the album, but he fits the style of the music quite nicely, and I'd imagine he will only get better with time. Overall though this is a kick ass album of retro hard rock/garage rock/stoner/psych music, and I'll be keeping an eye on this band really closely going forward. I'll bet live they are a trip as well. Recommended!

Track Listing
1. Invisible Hand 04:55
2. Pathless Forest 04:24
3. Magick Circle 08:10
4. Alpha-State Dissociative Trance 02:42
5. Fried Vanilla Spider Trapeze 01:11
6. Sacrificial Altar 07:29
7. A Thousand Days in the Desert 05:31
8. Who's To Say 06:16
9. Recurring Nightmare 01:39

Added: July 9th 2023
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 388
Language: english

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