SPACE MIRRORS - In Darkness They Whisper

Space Mirrors - In Darkness They Whisper

10 songs
59:44 minutes
***** ****
Record Heaven / Transubstans


In the past, Space Mirrors was the brainchild of Russian keyboard player Alisa Coral with a lot of creative input from Australian guitarist Michael Blackman. On their fourth album In Darkness They Whisper, the latter left, but Ms Coral didn’t despair and once again assembled a whole crowd of musicians around her. The most notable guests this time are Nik Turner (sax, flute) and Alan Davey (bass) of Hawkwind fame, and like in the past, the influence of these space rock pioneers is very noticeable.

The departure of an important contributor may have caused some damage, and it is true that Space Mirrors have changed their sound, but for the better, I am happy to announce. While I always liked their earlier, more freewheeling sound, the new songs are much more focused and show how great a songwriter Alisa Coral is when she puts her mind to it. The production is still quite garagy, and I get the impression that most, maybe even all, of the drums are programmed, but that doesn’t diminish the overall fun. The first couple of songs are all between five and seven minutes and boast real structure. The keyboards generally take a step back only to come up at the right moments with impressive solos or sound sculptures. Main actor this time are the quite heavy, distorted guitars that add a certain metal flavour. The vocals are deep and monotonous, yet also oddly chilling and hypnotic, giving the music a strange yet fitting gothic touch. This all works well with the lyrics that deal with the mental architectures of H.P. Lovecraft.

The album ends with the epic Kadath, a twenty-minute behemoth subdivided into eight acts that take up three tracks on the CD. This monster piece gives the collective ample room to freak out into whatever directions they feel like: space rock, psychedelia, progressive rock, metal,… The inclusion of instruments like saxophone, flutes and violin of course help to enhance the intended atmospheres. As a bonus, we are treated with Through The Dream Lands, a four minute radio edit of the preceding Kadath, that distils all of the band’s virtues into airplay compatibility.

I am deeply amazed that Space Mirrors were able to come up with such a great album. Not that their previous output was bad, but this time they really surpassed themselves, coming up with Hawkwind inspired space rock which is rendered even tighter by an unexpected metal angle, and while the vocals would have sounded trite in any other context, they make perfect sense of In Darkness They Whisper. This is one hour of purest listening joy, succeeding in staying true to its roots and expanding into welcome futuristic dimensions at the same time. Highly recommended!

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