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Mirrorthrone is an experimental symphonic extreme metal band by Vladimir Cochet, the man also behind Unholy Matrimony. “Gangrene” is the band’s third album. It is two tracks more than their sophomore release, “Carriers of Dust” and has an average length of 10 minutes. Pretty long, isn’t it? Well, it’s one flaw here, just like their former albums, for long tracks usually bore listeners, but this guy really knows how to create his music with very unique transitions and real experimentations. He is an excellent composer, simply put. The production, on the other hand, is polished. The problem with polished production is that you just can’t hear the bass that much, or worse, no bass sound at all.
I could say that he really is skilled in his instruments. The symphonic parts have a real good sense of tragedy, though these parts are sometimes shadowed by the other instruments. Together with the symphonic parts, the guitar riffs emphasize the sense of tragedy. Don’t expect solos here though. Though there are no real drums here in the entire record, Vladimir makes it to the point that the recorded drums sound realistic. The drum parts sound real throughout the album. The vocals, both rasping and singing, are average. I even find the rasping kind of bland.
Since the album is experimental, expect twists and turns (of tragedy that is) on the album. The album has the feeling of a hypnotizing trance, therefore putting you in the music itself. All songs here have a symphonic intro, whether played by a piano, or an organ, or a violin, therefore an initial setting for the mood of the album. Lastly, the experimentation is done smoothly, leaving no part out of place.
This is a very good album that is better listened at than be described. This album isn’t for close-minded people, mind you, because of the experimentalism. This album is better recommended to fans of experimental metal and symphonic extreme metal. This is like one hell of a ride you‘ll never forget.
Originally made for http:mystifymyserie.blogspot.com
Gangrene seems to be getting a lot of criticism for its overly long song lengths and nondescript and unformulaic approach to progressive black metal. While this may be justified in comparison to bands like Dream Theater, later Enslaved (who keep their songs short), and even Opeth, Mirrorthrone is a whole separate beast. Vladimir's reputation is based upon his creativity and songwriting abilities. Gangrene is Mirrorthrone's latest opus, and was easily the best release of 2008 alongside Weeping Birth's "Anosognosic Industry of the I." What we have here is six songs, averaging at around ten minutes a piece. Lets divulge into what makes this album really fantastic, and what slightly hinders it.
First things first: the songwriting has obviously improved tremendously. Vladimir Cochet is a mastermind when it comes to crafting songs greater than ten minutes long. The atmospheres basically conjure themselves if you really sit and listen to the music, letting it envelop you, with such tracks as "No One By My Side," "The Fecal Rebellion," "Une Existence Dont Plus Personne Ne Jouit," and "So Frail." As far as I'm concerned, the only tracks on Gangrene which struggle to provide any sense of atmosphere or even slight emotional discomfort are "Dismay" (as ironic as that may be), and "Ganglion". Why these two tracks? "Dismay" is simply too long, as many have complained. The first five minutes of this track are astounding- very technical, elaborate, emotional. After that, the remaining six or so minutes seem very substandard and stretched beyond recognition. "Ganglion" on the other hand, in terms of composition, simply does not fit with the other five tracks. I feel that if "Dismay" had been shortened by a good five minutes and "Ganglion" was completely removed, this album would have scored a perfect 100% in my book.
On to the actual instruments and production. Gangrene is a strange beast in terms of production. Everything seems fuzzier, yet the production somehow manages to be even more superb than it was on Carriers of Dust. The drumming is less mechanical than ever, yet manages to sound like a complete wall of noise (see the chorus of "The Fecal Rebellion" for reference). The snare sounds like a mudflap being slapped against the back of a truck driving 95 mp/h down the freeway, and the cymbals are very restricted. They're nowhere near as high pitched as they were on Carriers of Dust. This is a plus, which saves the listener's ears from being shattered. The guitars still retain that signature Vladimir Cochet sound, but this time around there is a lot more variation; the most notable change is the increase of sweeps. Not simple scaling sweeps either- these are probably the most intricate and elaborate sweeps this side of black metal. Again, Vladimir's ingenuity shines through.
Vocally, things are a bit restrained. Gangrene is huge on intricacy, rather than sheer "in your face black metal power." It's a rather elegant take on misanthropy, so naturally, the harsh vocals are mixed lower and the clean vocals are given a pretty bombastic boost (reference the chorus of "The Fecal Rebellion," the majority of "Ganglion" and "So Frail"). The lyrics are also typical Vladimir Cochet, speaking in metaphors about the human race and its futile existence. The lyrics for "The Fecal Rebellion" stand out the most here (in my humble opinion). Taking an excerpt, note how passionate and enraged his screams sound as he lets these words slip from his mouth:
"Is this just a human extension,
A part of ourselves thrown in the outside
Or is it, implying great tension,
An exterior object we can only try to abide?"
Alternating between high pitched black metal shrieks and low, guttural death metal growls really gives that section quite an atmospheric touch, making you question your very existence as you stare up at the darkening twilight sky. This is what I, personally, have always loved about Vladimir's work. He has the ability to touch people's emotions and really create a sense of empathy for his cause.
If you have about an hour and fifteen minutes to spare out of your day, Mirrorthrone's "Gangrene" is a monolithic album that challenges even the most trained ears. Once you can fully sit back and immerse yourself in the music, the sweeping riffs, the arppegios, and the 300+ BPM blast beats (as found in "Une Existence Dont Plus Personne Ne Jouit"), everything will come as naturally as the water that flows through streams. It's a beautiful mix of French aesthetic classical and bombastic yet progressive symphonic black metal.
Mirrorthrone’s “Gangrene” is the third product of Swiss musician Vladimir Cochet and let’s first get something out of the way – you’ve probably never heard anything like this. It’s sort of like a more grand and elaborate black metal take on Opeth – so obviously, it’ll take an entire evening and your full, undistracted attention.
Predictably, it’s not an album of tracks as it is several pieces of music held together on a CD. It’s over an hour’s worth of sweeping, epic, gloomy, diverse, indescribable symphonic black metal.
The tracks on here average on over 10 minutes, and they all play out like some sort of glorious Hollywood disaster/love-story – you’ve got the quiet, melodic sections which are dominated by a group of violins or a grand piano, reminiscent of the sort of interludes you find in folk metal, followed by the clean, choral sections, supported by the beautiful sound of an acoustic guitar or a flute, then seamlessly changing into the classic style of progressive black metal, with shrieked, raspy, dark vocals, powerful drumming and eloquent guitar riffs.
The astonishing achievement is that everything meshes together in a very cohesive, graceful and effortless manner, with a clear indication that each section was supposed to be where it is and is there for a purpose. Everything is very well-produced, sharp, crisp and clearly audible, a welcome change from the usuals of black metal.
The problem comes where you’ve gone past the first track and got over this astounding atmosphere and sound (and everything I’ve just described over the past two paragraphs) to where everything starts to repeat itself over and over. I’m not saying that Cochet recycles riffs or reuses sections; I’m implying that it just doesn’t continue to wow you or leave you in awe. It’s quite a passive experience: it all feels very “oh, it’s a good achievement; I just wish it would grab me by the balls and take charge once in a while”. It all feels very Opeth-ish, where at first it knocks you off your feet with its creativity and then it just seems to bore you.
There are other problems, too. The lyrics are pretty terrible: aside from the half of the lyrics that are written entirely in French, the English sections are basically just a very fanfiction-esque story, which really doesn’t seem to have any sort of point or purpose. They’re just thrown about amongst the place wherever Cochet feels like it. I also don’t care much for the vocals: the clean vocals are about average (nothing too special, if I’m honest) and the black metal vocals are pretty awful because they have no character or presence to them it all feels pretty generic and terrible. The songs also have no real memorable moments to them: there’s no sense of “hey, remember that bit from that track? That was amazing!”. You feel as if there could be so many superb moments from such a talented man, but because he drags everything out so long, there really aren’t any.
Overall, Mirrorthrone’s “Gangrene” is a mixed bag: yes, most of the right ingredients are there, and there really was the potential to be a great album. But because of Cochet’s pointless need to stretch everything out to such a length like he’s making an artistic statement, it ends up getting boring, stale, old and pretty senseless soon. It’s a shame, because apart from some obvious flaws like the vocals and the lyrics, everything else is here: great instrumental work, good songwriting and superb production, but this one critical flaw spoils the whole album and makes it totally forgettable. You could try downloading it to see whether it really is for you, but I would certainly advise that you avoid the purchase.
Switzerland's Mirrorthrone are certainly a fairly unique band (if you can call Vladimir Cochet's one-man living dream that) in the metal world right now. And that is about the best way to start this, as I do not know any other way to go about it. What can I really say? This is such a monumentally huge album that I'm having a hard time trying to find the right words. This is...well...a lot of things, actually, being epic, sweeping, ominous, dark, technical, thought-provoking and any number of other adjectives you can think of, all in the scope of six long, long songs that don't really feel so much like songs as they do their own individual little mini-verses.
Yes, Mirrorthrone's music is big. No, not big, huge; titanical even. These are not songs that you'll be hauling out for easy-listening pleasures any time soon, that is. This music is really dense, being mostly Symphonic Metal with loads of different parts and influences, mostly drawing from the fruitful wells of Black and Death Metal. Every song is composed frenetically, but also with a lot of precision and care, and the end result basically sounds like Mr. Cochet didn't intend to make an album full of songs this long, but just happened upon it because he had so many damn good ideas to throw in there. And it works, too. This isn't perfect (I'll get to that later), but for the most part, the songs on here are always attention-grabbing and always challenging, and for the more adventurous music fan, this is a goddamned utopia of refinement! Everything sounds confident, calculated and cool, with no weak spots at all, and Mr. Cochet's ambition seems to know no bounds as he makes his way through the dark mire of destructive beauty that is Gangrene.
Talking about individual songs here almost seems a bit silly, as the whole thing flows like a symphony made by some sort of insanity-ridden cacodaemon, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway: The first song is titled "Dismay," and it starts off with a piano melody so beautiful that I was actually sort of disappointed when everything got distorted and the harsh, rasping vocals came in, but the song is a good one, towering high and carrying itself majestically through a wasteland of blackened filth. "No One By My Side" ups the ante, as it is even better, with a more epic and theatrical feel to it, and "The Fecal Rebellion" is the best on here, fifteen minutes long and absolutely wonderful, with great faster sections and some killer, almost proggy, licks here and there, all combining with the symphonic nature of the music with class and style to spare. Songwriting this good should be punishable by law.
After that, though, Mr. Cochet seems to have turned on the Autopilot switch, as "Ganglion" is not quite as good as the three monstrous slabs of esoteric filth previously slagged at us, although it does provide some nice atmosphere. It does tend to drag on toward the end, with the sense of direction that was so prevalent before slightly losing itself now. There is a charm to "Une Existence Don't Plus Personne Ne Jouit," as it does feature some nice riffs and symphonic parts here and there, but it seems to drag on too, and while part of me wants to say that this is just because the first three songs sum up everything about the music and that it's no reflection on the rest of the material, that isn't really true; the songwriting just sort of slipped here. "So Frail" is a good song, but by this point I'm usually not as interested in the album as I should be, sadly. The final verdict on this one? Good, but a bit bloated. The first 35 minutes of this are really amazing, though, so for that I can't help but give this a 4/5. Ambitious, creative and certainly a curiosity at the very least, Mirrorthrone has produced quite a daring piece here. Recommended.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
Even though I'm not a huge fan of Cochet's work, I still like to listen to his work from time to time. The main reason I got this album is because of the length of the songs. By most people's accounts, he is a pretty good musician. When it comes to writing and playing music he certainly knows what he is doing. However, when it comes to ideas for his music, he may come up a bit lacking.
To be totally honest, this one reminded me a lot of Love and Death. The albums are different but by the same token they are still similar. Like Love and Death, the album has some good songs and some pretty mediocre ones. Best songs here are No one by my side and Une Existence dont plus Personne ne Jouit. Ganglion is actually pretty annoying because of a synth found on that track which is high-pitched and is repeated excessively. Dismay, The Fecal Rebellion and So Frail are all decent.
Vladimir has a pretty nice voice; I would have liked him to do a track on here which consisted of just clean vocals. As for his "extreme" voice, he isn't the best in the business. His high pitched shrieks are nothing compared to some other vocalists, notably Pehr Larsson. While his deep are not really that deep at all, it's more of a deeper black metal voice. Don't get me wrong, he isn't a terrible extreme vocalist; he's just nothing special, i.e. average.
Musically, the album is brilliantly performed. The production is crystal clear; the guitar work is complex as is the drum programming. Enough said in this department.
Overall, this is well performed, above average black/death metal. The general consensus among Mirrorthrone fans is that this is the best of the three. I would recommend you download this first and then make a judgement of whether to buy it or not.
Conclusion: The above is recommended for download or purchase.
Mirrorthrone is yet another solo project by Vladimir Cochet, only this one stresses the symphonic aspect more so than the others. Some regard Vladimir as a musical genius, and I'm inclined to agree. This man operates on a level of musical thought and comprehension well above the typical musician, and nowhere was it shown more than Carriers of Dust. While I don't believe Gangrene is definitively better than Carriers, I do believe it stands on equal ground.
For those new to Mirrorthrone and Vladimir, prepare yourself for round after round of truly dismal and hateful symphonic black metal intent on showcasing the ugliest possible side of humanity. The themes listed under Mirrorthrone's page here are quite accurate. Dismay, the opening song, reveals how truly hateful this guy and his music is towards mankind. The lyrics and music do admirably in establishing the sick, hopeless atmosphere which remains consistent throughout the entire album.
The immediate improvement that comes to mind is the drum programming. Yes, Vladimir programs all drum sections on this album as well as his other projects. His experimentation and learning since Carriers has clearly paid off, the drums actually sound as if they “could” be human performed the majority of the time. Also staying consistent with other Mirrorthrone albums is the guitar work. While the production has definitely improved, the intricacy and abundance remains. Most often they're heard in the form of sharp, heavy riffs, though not quite crushing. No One By My Side and So Frail showcase them the best.
Keyboards, synthesizers, and pianos play a much larger role in Gangrene compared to the earlier albums, and Vladimir's aptitude with these instruments has grown as well. All of the English written songs open up with a short yet beautiful piano piece, lasting just long enough to satisfy the listener while not becoming an annoyance. Though rarely standing alone, the keys and synths act as a constant, underlying layer of each song, blending in such a way as to not outshine any other instrument.
Vocals border in overabundance, and it's a consistent aspect of Vladimir's music that can become tedious at times. Scanning any given track on this album shows immense lyrical saturation. This isn't always a bad thing, especially with songs such as Dismay and So Frail where the lyrics are fairly understandable, but if you aren't familiar with the French of 4th and 5th songs it may feel slightly overwhelming. Vladimir's vocals are the same great style as with Carriers and Wind, those disgusting growls and gurgling death-oriented shrieks, complimenting the feel of each song extremely well. He also offers several clean sections throughout the album, most notable being the intro of So Frail.
Alright, so despite the clear improvements in all fields of musicianship on Gangrene, the same problem is persistent here as is on every other Mirrorthrone album. There's simply too much going on in any given song, with the exception of So Frail, and not enough variation in tone. To elaborate, the keys and drums sound as if they're on the same pitch level, and the vocals and guitar on their own too. If the listener turns away for even the briefest of moments it's possible to lose track of the song's identity entirely, and instead be swept up in this wall of sound.
Still, Mirrorthrone and Vladimir offer some of the better solo black metal you'll find. The musicianship, songwriting, and composition are simply fantastic despite the threat of death-by-sound-wall. The definite winning song of Gangrene is So Frail, showcasing the absolute best of Vladimir's abilities. If you're one for solo projects, misanthropy, symphonic black metal, and exceptional music, Gangrene is worthy of your time.
Mirrorthrone is the project of one Vladmir Cochet from Switzerland who writes the songs, plays guitar, keyboards and bass and also does the drum programming, all in his bedroom. Mirrorthrone is just one of four projects that Cochet is presently involved in and Gangrene is Mirrorthrone’s third album. He’s been pretty prolific and is still mostly unknown outside of a seemingly small circle of ardent fans.
Mirrorthrone is essentially symphonic black metal but it’s also a bit more than just that. Album opener Dismay starts off in typical black metal fashion like early Dimmu Borgir but Cochet shows off his interest in other genres pretty quickly as he effortlessly melds black, death and classic heavy metal to create a pretty unique sound. Also, the mix of clean and harsh vocals works quite well. The song is a lengthy at over eleven minutes and occasionally comes across as a bit cut and paste through the transitions from part to part. As it turns out, that’s pretty much the only problem on this album. The songs tend to be too long with the six songs on offer clocking in at well over 60 minutes. No One by My Side has some terrific guitar parts and keyboard playing and again the mix of harsh and clean vocals works well but the problem is the same. It’s just a bit too long to hold my interest right through. It’s on album closer So Frail that Mirrorthrone really comes into its own. A lot shorter than the other songs at just under seven minutes, it has a melancholic feel to it that works well and is a terrific album closer. If only the rest of the songs were a bit shorter.
There’s no doubting Vladmir Cochet’s talent. His guitar playing is quite terrific and there’s a certain sense of ease with which he goes from playing black metal to the occasional technical death metal riff to nicely done acoustic parts and the odd blazing solo. The drum machine sound took a while to get used to but in the end it’s a negligible criticism. This album reminded me a lot of Scholomance which was another extreme metal band with some very talented musicians. Gangrene though is a much blacker beast and while the sense of romanticism is all pervading on this album as well, I think Scholomance benefitted from better song writing.
All in all, this is an album worth checking out if you like your extreme metal played with plenty of skill. I think the songwriting needs to be tightened up a bit as some of the sections just seem a bit pointless but overall Gangrene is a pretty good album. Those of you who remember Scholomance will find plenty to like on this album and even otherwise, if you like epic symphonic black metal you might find this to your liking.