Mirror Queen are a four piece who hail from NYC. The band play a blend of progressive rock with lavish helpings of 80’s NWOBHM and a glazing of psychedelica and stoner rock for good measure. Formed from the ashes of another NYC band, Kriesor, in 2011, Mirror Queen look to follow up on their debut release in 2011, “From Earth Below” with this latest release. Let’s take a climb and have a look from the sky shall we?
Title track “Scaffolds Of The Sky” opens the album and that Blue Öyster Cult influence is noticeable right away. The laid back feel, simple verse riffs and solid mid-tempo rhythm sounds like a track which wouldn’t have been out of place on BÖC’s Agents of Fortune or Spectres album. The vocals are almost hypnotic and the guitars have that vintage classic rock feel but with a little more punch to them. The lead guitar chops are precisely delivered and played with plenty of expression. Round the 2:10 mark, the song enters a trippy sounding section. It has a very slow pace here and it sounds very Pink Floyd like with the cymbal use, simple rich sounding guitars and interesting effects on the guitar and sound effects used. It’s very spaced out. The song eventually kicks back to the rock feel and builds up once again before a twisting solo which ends the track. In all, a great appetiser for the album. “Quarantined” follows up with some heavy fuzz and pounding drums. The vocals are a little harder, almost sneer like sometimes in their delivery and it goes great with the heavy chugging feel of the verses. The groove to this track is great and the lead fills are fantastic as they work their way across the riffs. Round the 3:30 mark there is some full on Iommi worship with some great sounding, heavy as fuck riffs.
“Strangers In Our Own Time” is a 9 minute epic. It has a slow, steady feel in the intro which has a clear stoner rock sound. The guitar in the verses is muted initially but it steadily grows in volume, rising with the vocals which have that trippy feel to them. The chorus picks up the pace and there are some interesting eastern styled melodies in the fills and breaks. The song teases between hypnotic and slow paced for the first half and more Iommi worshipping riff sections with heavily layered and hypnotic lead sections in the second half. It’s a convoluted mess of stoner brilliance and to top it all off, the song returns back to its usual slow pace with some real blues inspired soloing to cap it. “Vagabondage” opens with a twisting melodic intro which descends into a full on rock groove with some slick sounding lead guitars over it. Full of attitude and a stomping feel, the verse is fantastic and is a great change of pace to the previous track. The simplistic riffs, little lead licks and great bass-line is effective and the bare bones approach works great. Round the 2:50 mark it slows a little. There is hint of a Hammond Organ at play with some real echoed guitars and a laid back feel before a Buck Dhrama-esque guitar solo sweeps across the track with plenty of feeling and wah-pedal usage before the groove returns to cap the track.
“At The Borderline On The End Of Time” has some real chunky sounding riffs to its moderately paced groove which is heavily emphasised throughout the song. The verse is littered with little fills which compliment the groove and the chorus keeps the same feel of the verse but with a few more layered guitars – riffs, ringing arpeggios and lead fills all top it off. The vocals have that hypnotic feel to them and despite it being a short track, it comes off really well and full of energy. “Dark Ships Arrived” is an instrumental track. It begins with a moody sounding intro with a rich bass sound, steadily building drums and a subtle lead line. The lone guitar break before the band comes in leads to a slow paced feel and the bass is hypnotic when it combines with the lightly overdriven guitar and its off-paced feel. It has a twisting solo and some interesting chord progressions too, showing that Mirror Queen know how to keep things interesting without vocals.
Closing the album is “Wings Wetted Down” which once again revisits the BÖC styled sound. The drums are great at the start and the vocals have that spaced out feel to them again. The verses stand out a lot more than the chorus musically but the vocals really come to life in the chorus. The second verse and chorus has a bit more of a kick to it and the lead section has a very expressive solo – its controlled, has a great tone and really builds the atmosphere and mood of the song, setting up the final verse and chorus which have more life in them. The song is just right to close the album off. It has that classic rock feel in the vein of BÖC but also that trippy feel of The Doors and like all good retro rock, the classic big ending where everyone goes nuts on their instruments closes the song and the album.
“Scaffholds Of The Sky” holds up well. It takes a few listens to fully appreciate it which is required for bands like Mirror Queen. The slower songs are very calming and you can easily drift off whilst caught up in them. The faster songs have a real kick to them too and the balance of calm to kick is just right. It’s like a modern day BÖC just not as grand.