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The first time I heard all the songs from this CD, it freaked me out. I found it all to be too weird for me. But after I burned it, I was able to fully appreciate the full beauty of it. The Sham Mirrors definitely changed my ignorant perspective of black metal as a bunch of evil, shrieking, Dani-clones. This CD has a timeless quality to it made by the Garm's relaxing vocals and the dark electronic atmospherics.
The first song really kicks the CD into gear with the extended introduction and the guitar intro. It mixes proggy sounds with a sort of eighties techno-pop mentality that flows very well.
The second and third songs I don't pay attention to very much because they lack the drama of the first song, but then "Collapse Generation" chimes in and the better "almost-half" of the CD starts. This track stands out because of the driving double-bass sound and the corresponding piano piece. It's a great song to listen to if you're not in the mood for much vocals and just want something to chill out to. There are vocals in the song, but they only come in later and disappear quickly.
"Star-Crossed" is one of my favorites of the album, if not my very favorite because it has, IMO, the best piano work of the album. The opening piano sequence reminds me of the piano-playing on certain electronica albums such as Moby's Play, but only much better and much darker. One can only wonder how one can play the piano in such a fascinating, frenzied way as is evident on the ending of the intro to this song. These guys give Little Richard and Jordan Rudess a run for his money.
After "Star-Crossed" comes "Radical Cut", which is reminiscent of "Collapse Generation", only faster and with snarling, raspy black metal vocals. The synthesizer solo near the end is captivating and takes you into another dimension.
The last song, "For to End Yet Again", is the epic song of the album--much like "Scarred" is to Dream Theater's Awake album. This song stretches on for over 14 minutes but manages to stay interesting throughout the whole song. The intro is very Addams Familyish and the outro is just as inspiring with a sound that makes you want to sail the high seas in search of adventure and treasure. I would recommend this album to fans of black metal, progressive metal, death metal, and electronica.