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First, I'd like to say that there's no easy way to describe Vladimir's project, Mirrorthrone, because there's very little in metal that it can be compared to. I've looked for ages to find a band that uses a similar style as well, and I'd actually love for someone to show me one.
The complexity of the songs in "Carriers of Dust" makes me think of classical music. To elaborate, the songs in Mirrorthrone almost make me think of an actual conversation; one "idea" is expressed, and it's followed up on and built upon later. I suppose this is a rather odd way of explaining music, but try listening to some of the songs in the album and try to find a general theme in the music, then listen to the theme change throughout that same song.
What really impresses me is that Vladimir can keep a song going for 20 minutes and not "Burzum it", as I like to say. Instead of repeating the same riff over and over again, he is very creative and the songs actually have direction. I'll be fair to Burzum, though; a lot of metal bands don't really give their songs direction.
The actual production quality of this album is amazing as well. The songs are very well mixed, and everything seems to fit together. Importantly, the drum machine doesn't sound ridiculous, and trust me when I say drum machines can sound awful.
Vladimir uses a bunch of different vocal styles, all at the right moment. The actual emotion put into his lyrics and his singing is very noticeable; I think someone else mentioned this, but I really do have a hard time not singing (attempting to at least, because I pale in comparison to him in that regard) along with some of his music. The intro to "A Scream to Express the Hate of a Race" would be a good example of a difficult place for me; the power he puts into the first few vocal lines of that song is incredible.
Vladimir's guitar playing is interesting as well. He uses a bunch of unusual riffs and changes them up quite a bit. His guitar playing is pretty good as well, and while it's not the best, he can play some pretty complicated and fast stuff. His song "Mortphose" shows this the best.
Vladimir doesn't show off his keyboard skills as much in this album compared to the others, but he still does a decent job with the keyboard. Overall, his use of synthetic instruments is superb. Though he uses synthetic instruments quite a bit, he still manages to keep it sounding good while making the song very complex. Instead of sounding noisy due to overuse of computerized instruments, the songs fit together perfectly.
My dad, who played violin for 20 years and can hear pitch differences of about half a cycle, once said that the only "bad music" is boring music; in that regard I think that this album is pretty much perfect. I have yet to get bored with any of these songs, and I have listened to them quite a bit... I just wish there were more of them.
The easiest and most accurate way to describe Mirrorthrone is that it's the music that Dragonforce fans listen to when they become really pretentious but can't pretend to enjoy black metal enough to be convincing. The insane reverence that the metal scene at large has for this band at once makes sense at doesn't. I see why so many are so infatuated with it; everything's very fast and has very clean production, the music is dominated by huge, soaring, painfully obvious melodies, and every instrument is played (or programmed) in a very technical manner.
At the same time though, what the hell, really. What sort of cognitive dissonance is needed in the metal scene to accept this band which embodies everything that the underground scene has been whining about for over a decade? Mirrorthrone is a modern pinnacle of flash over substance; granted it's really good flash though subject to the same sort of faults that a band like Dragonforce does, but it's still flash and two minutes into this album you've heard the sum total of the ideas present anywhere else on it. There's so little going on that it actually gets less enjoyable the more you listen to it until it just becomes frustrating.
Yes, Vladimir Cochet can certainly play the guitar very well and craft some not-quite-memorable-but-familiar keyboard lines and riffs, but it's all so tooth-grindingly obvious and saccharine that I can barely listen to it. Listening to this album is like listening to 'Inhuman Rampage' in that it's exhausting and painful after a couple tracks. Again like Dragonforce, all the music sounds exactly the same: a very fast, very ridiculous, very fake sounding drum machine blasts and erupts into overly complex fills in equilibrium with neoclassical sweeping or mindless melodic tremolo riffs (there's occasionally a slow part to be epic), keyboards are all over the place with synthestra, and the vocals alternate between a ham-handed growl and some reasonably executed clean vocals that are all in all probably unnecessary but god damnit the listener expects some soaring clean vocals so they'll get them.
It would be one thing if people admitted they just really wanted to listen to some very fast Dimmu Borgir, but people are treating Mirrorthrone like it's pure genius despite how inherently derivative every part of it is. It's just an ultra-refined set of very old ideas, so why exactly is this so important? There's one of two directions to take it: one's the beer and tits direction of 'I love the face-melting solos, bro!' The other, more sinister one, is that people actually believe that 'Carriers Of Dust' is a stirringly original and ingenious piece of work despite how ridiculously thin the musical ideas are. Really listen to this album: there's exactly ONE melodic style, there's exactly ONE song that can be shorter or longer; the music is all so samey that it practically stands still, which I guess is why Cochet decided at the end of the day to just do a 22 minute song instead of pretending they were all different pieces.
The lyrics are probably a good microcosm of the album as a whole: they're a lot of epic words haphazardly strung together via clumsy metaphors that don't actually go anywhere or tell any sort of story, they just give the illusion of it via being really loud and big. It's the Jerry Bruckheimer production of the metal world and it's sort of amusing that everyone's so easily deceived by it. I'm being rather harsh on the album because musically it's not bad, per se, and makes for a relatively enjoyable listen provided you keep those listens few and far between and don't think about it too much. But the rampant cocksucking of Cochet that goes on in the metal scene really demands some sort of contrasting response, and as such I can't really hear anything in this music that reveals anything more after the first listen.
'Carriers Of Dust' isn't bad; it's very professional and cleverly produced and catchy, but ultimately I'd say it's musical candy with possibly even less actual value to it than Amon Amarth. You'll probably like it and I do give it some grudging acceptance since it's just so well composed, but on the other hand I always feel like I could be listening to something else and getting more out of it. Those who are interested in this album already have it and I don't really regret the purchase, but it certainly isn't the Homeric epic that so many are making it out to be.
Vladimir Cochet's sophomore effort with his critically acclaimed symphonic black metal project, Mirrorthrone, can definitely be regarded as one of the top underground black metal albums of all time. This is fact, not opinion. As Vladimir's production has improved, so has is songwriting and instrumentality. The factors that make this album so perfect rely on one heavy quality- maturity. Mr. Cochet has improved his skills so greatly over the past seven years (starting in 1999, when his fist project, Weeping Birth, was barely getting off the ground with the Officium Tenebrarum demo). He evolved from a simplistic, brutal death metal force relying on power chords and tremolo picking to a more complex, coherent progressive and structured black metal (as well as hints of avant-garde, yet alas, there is no predefined method for playing such a style). But, yes, there are hints of progressivism within Mirrorthrone, and this is best displayed on this masterpiece of an album, Carriers of Dust.
As a whole, this concerto of four songs clocking in for a total of forty-six minutes takes the listener through a vast array of emotions, starting with pure anger (via A Scream to Express the Hate of a Race), trudging through contemplation and deep thought (ala Mortphose, . De l’Échec et de son Essentialité
[point 1. marginalité démystifiée]), and climaxing through a whirlwind of sorrow, hate, and fury (Ils Brandiront Leurs Idoles). The synth is the cause of these atmospheric emotion swings, and it is some of the most masterful synthesizer utilization I as an objective (yet still significantly biased Cochet fan) have ever heard. His scale runs, his chord progressions, and complex rhythmic patterns syncopate perfectly with the other instruments.
The guitar work here is insurmountable. Meshing with the drums at times, the heavy chugging of the palm muting fuses perfectly with the double bass drums of the incredible Drumkit from Hell that Vladimir uses for all of his drumming needs. Strumming along in perfect sync with these deep bass drums, the bass guitar itself provides a large wall of sound to reinforce the impact of the harmonizing low-end of both instruments, giving it a battering ram as a brace for the terrorizing onslaught of downtuned tremolo picking fury.
The most prominent portion of this album is the drumming. It's simply unreal. Inhuman. The 300+ BPM blast sections that keep time perfectly with crashing cymbals and bellowing toms creates an atmosphere of its own. The one part that stands out to me the most, is during the last four minutes of Ils Brandiront Leurs Idoles. All instruments but the drums go silent. There's a cymbal roll, and then everything is built up by an almost drum-line like snare roll. And then, all goes silent and a five note cymbal crash is heard, in which everything comes in at full force as the crescendo reaches its climax. The orchestration within that one single instrument, and a drum machine, no less, that Vladimir has created is mind-blowing.
The vocals here are pretty standard black metal, yet he does break into clean, almost choir-esque sections quite nicely. They fit so well, and add so much more character to the songs, especially during A Scream to Express the Hate of a Race and Ils Brandiront Leurs Idoles.
Overall, this album cannot go overlooked. It's truly a masterpiece, and will leave listeners hooked and yearning for more.
Mirrorthrone is a very dark and depressive one man project. Vladimir Clotchet is the genius behind one of the more underrated and unheard albums of 2006. This release is full of dark, grim and melonchonic atmosphere. In todays metal scene atmosphere is thrown around a lot and in my eyes for all the wrong reasons. You hear the faux organs and violins attempting to create a vast other world within the listeners head. Most bands try to copy such acts as early Emperor or Bathory. And let's face it most fail.
Mirrorthrone on the other hand knows how to handle such a broad and touchy subject such as atmosphere. The best thing about the keys is that they actually have a musical backround to back the up. The keys sound as epic and majesitc in the Eastern European fashion like no band has ever done before. There's such a wide variety of instruments used with the keys ranging from organ to piano to oboe. The keys leave a lasting, yet chilling atmosphere as the music carries on. Even after the keys trail off you have the drumming (which is programmed) carry on through blast beats and double bass. The vocals are a screeching and terrifying sound, one of my personal highlights on the album. At times there will be a sort of chanting which blends in perfectly. The guitars are relentless, ranging from the very slow and droning to the lightning fast minimalist black metal speed. The contrast of the two are amazing on this release. Some of the riffs are even remnisent of melodic death metal. Very nice variety of riffs.
The fact all this is done in Cochet's own mind and played out perfectly with his own fingers blows me away. The keys bring on this chilling atmosphere, the drums pound away constantly, the guitars highlight the keys when together and stand out as the more refined part of the album when without keys, and the vocals just compliment the three previous instruments to perfection.
A must for people who enjoy atmospheric black metal.
Well, I must start by saying that when I first got this album I was easily just expecting some wild dark ambient atmosphere combined to some more so progressive black metal riffs. What I got was a major concoction of epic dark ambient symphonics with extreme melodic death metal riffing combined with an overall black metal atmosphere. This album is fully on the extreme side of metal. The album is full of brilliant drum programmed blast beats that only add to the intensity and epic feel it presents. And yes, the album is only 4 tracks long, but you get the same experience out of it that you would a 8 or 10 track album full of the same style.
A Scream to Express the Hate of a Race is probably the best representative track of the album. It begins with a solemn, yet powerful organ intro and immediately jumps into Vladimir's intense harsh vocals, blast beats, and intricate chord riffs. It almost feels as if a church laid in ruin whilst an epic battle was taking place around it. Nothing ever clashes in the song; every riff change melts perfectly into the next. The most notable part of the song is where the music takes a sudden drop in sound and all you hear is Vladimir's clean vocals reach through in a (yet again) solemn, yet powerful interlude, and just as immediately as it came it dropped back into the epic sound accompanied by his clean vocals. The song ends just as brilliant as it begins, leaving no wholes for you to lose attention.
Mortphose is a continuation in the previous song. It has an obviously different sound, but mixing in so well in comparison to the first one. This song shows some of the more accessible moments of the music. The music is somewhat less intense as the first, but don't let that keep you from being uninterested. For it has just as many beautiful moments as previously.
De l’Échec et de son Essentialité (Point 1. Marginalité Démystifiée) starts off with a much more ambient sound. I feel the main purpose was to calm the listener for a good minute in order to comprehend what comes next. Slowly the opening riff comes in with the same ambience still being shadowed in the melody, and the intensity arises when the blast beat programming comes in and you are once again enthralled with the intense and emotional feel of the song. And thus far, everything about the album has probably enthused you to keep listening.
Ils Brandiront leurs Idoles is the final track of the album. After 3 previously long and enthralling songs, the final song strikes you. With the fullest symphonics that are shown in the album. It then quites down, and the song slowly catches it paces and continues to reside at a medium pace of soothing symphonics, intricate riffing, and moderate well implemented blast beats. This song somewhat differs from the rest of the album. It's a 22 minute song with a more atmospheric crushing sound rather than an intense epic in your face sound. Let that not discourage you because you will be just as interested in the atmosphere of the song as you were in the intensity of the previous tracks. This track shows basically all color from the entire album, while not being as intense as the previous. It still has it's own originality and similar influence in order to keep your attitude of the length at on par levels. I wouldn't say I appreciated this track the most on the album, but I'm very glad that the album managed to actually shift in style, yet still keep the atmosphere each song before it had. If your at all interested in intense epic black metal, this album CAN NOT go overlooked.