Another 2016 release I was late to the party on is the debut self titled album from Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, a collaboration between Neurosis’ Scott Kelly and producer Sanford Parker. Rather than the sludge of Neurosis, Mirrors for Psychic Warfare is instead play in an unsettling noisy industrial style, with hints of metal making their way in now and then. It’s an eerie release and definitely worth a listen for fans the Cold Meat Industry label roster.
It’s a varied album, each creating an eerie atmosphere in it’s own way. Dark, drawling clean vocals open the album over industrial clangs on Oracles Hex, with noisy electronic distortion emerging to prominence slowly through the track, the vocals becoming more distorted as it goes on, all creating a sense of dread. When the guitar comes in it seems it’s all going to become a hellish soundscape of noise but they choose this claustrophobic buildup over a noisy climax, slowing down before fading out. A Thorn to See opens with eerie ambient synth textures against a percussive electronic beat, Kelly’s vocals though spoken word are brimming with melancholy, his strange thought provoking lyrics taking centre stage before a huge sounding doomy guitar riff takes it’s place, noisy electronics fluttering in and out in a wall of caustic textures. The industrial beat keeps it restrained, but they still create a haunting soundscape that sounds like the bastard child of Sunn O))), Godflesh and Brighter Death Now, utterly bleak, utterly brilliant.
CNN WTZ is the highlight of the album where the dark atmosphere they built up to in the preceding two tracks is ramped up, more of the Sunn O)))-esque droning riffs surround themselves in noise similar to Kevin Drumm’s Sheer Hellish Miasma, as tortured howls reverberate around before the track descends into an electronic noisy hell. The piano and synthesised brass of the closer 43 bring to mind neo-classical artist Arcana, a triumphant sound that contrasts in tone with the slow droning guitar riff, but all playing the same melody in different keys makes for a great dark hypnotic quality. That is before the electronics bubbling away subtly in the background come to the fore along with distorted vocals as a piercing drone hovers ominously in the background – the sense of dread growing and growing before it just ends. A great way to end the album.
I’ll Try You All is the least engaging coming after CNN WTZ, with the dissonant guitar riffs jutting around angularly, and vocals that sound halfway between chants and shouts not making a lot of impact over it’s six minute length, but as the rest of the album is so good, we can allow one filler track
Overall Mirrors for Psychic Warfare is something of a love letter to old dark ambient, noise and industrial music from Kelly and Sandford here with a metal touch applied to it, and barring I’ll Try You All it works really well in a dark and caustic album.