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Of Wind and Weeping is Vladimir Cochet's debut album with Mirrorthrone, and it's more or less just a simple re-recording session of his previous two demos. This album reeks of neo-baroqueism throughout its duration, and Vladimir does a very nice job controlling the atmosphere set by the keyboard and synth in the background.
Overall, this is a very hit-and-miss album. You either love it, or you don't. If you've heard Vlad's second output, Carriers of Dust, or even more recently, Gangrene, it may be hard to adjust because the lack of incredibly "in your face" synth and prominent guitars are so different on this release than his others. Now, that's not to say that this album is bad, by no means is it bad. I personally enjoy it quite a lot, and would place it in my top ten favorite albums of all time (then again, Mirrorthrone is one of my top five favorite bands).
The album opens with Racines Dénudées, an eleven minute "epic," if you will. This is a very solemn song with a few harsh passages. Most notably the keyboards set the stage for Vlad's experimentation with Baroque-era classical right off the bat. Upon drawing to an end, the very promptly titled Florilège Lunatique Occultement Révélateur et Néantisation Caduque Engendrée comes in with even more subtle insanity. The drumming on this release is simply astounding, though sounding incredibly mechanical at times. Vladimir uses this to his advantage, however, and is most prominent on songs such as Beyond the Mirrorthrone and The Notion of Perfect.
This being his debut album with this project, it should be noted that unlike his other musical forays (Weeping Birth, Unholy Matrimony), the use of 300+ BPM blast beats are very constricted, if used at all. The drumming is very tom/floor tom oriented, and the cymbals are toned down significantly less than they appear on Carriers of Dust. That's not to say it takes away from the value of this album or the project itself. As stated earlier, this album is very experimental and comes from a variety of influences (Vlad openly admits to Tori Amos being a notable reference).
The guitar work on this album is absolutely magnificient. Creating the melody and lines for the drums to syncopate behind, the timing and execution is flawless. There's not really much to say except for the fact that Vladimir has always been a fantastic guitar player. Fun fact: Vladimir Cochet plays the guitar left-handed, which makes for an even more interesting perspective.
The bass is very minimal, at best, and usually just follows the guitar lines. It's not a standout instrument, and is played on a four stringed bass guitar. Vladimir has said that he really only uses the bass to create a backing wall of sound so that the rest of the instruments don't seem flat or lacking in substance, which is understandable. It would be weird to hear a bass solo in the middle of a blasting, neoclassical symphonic black metal song (imagine a break for bass in the middle of the solemn, yet moving Beyond the Mirrorthrone--it just wouldn't fit.).
As for the synth itself, well, it isn't as prominent as it should be but it does its part very well. Creating the backdrop for the guitars and drums, the self-programmed neoclassical epic that is Of Wind and Weeping maintains its incredible essence within this one sole instrument.
One more note that should be mentioned: there are absolutely NO harsh vocals on this album. Vladimir sings purely in his clean voice, and it sounds magnificent. He has female vocal assistance from a woman know only as "Marthe." Her wonderful voice coupled with Vladimir's deep, heavily European accent make for an outstanding duet leading truly passionate music. I feel this album was created by Vlad to remind him of his romanticism (with possible girlfriend/fiancee/wife?). This is truly a work of art for those seeking pure, true love.
As a whole, this album cannot go overlooked. Vladimir Cochet's debut venture into the world of symphonic black metal in the vein of Anorexia Nervosa-esque classical inference is an awesome delight.
Wow what a great album. Beautiful lush classically influenced keys, mixed with inventive guitar lines, deep warm layered dark clean vocals and wonderfully fierce black metal shrieks. Long epic songs with poetic dark lyrics and wonderful composition and variety. Intense and beautiful album. Only problem is the programmed drums do sound occasionally fake due to the EXTREMELY fast blast beats used in certain parts. Songs may be too long for some music fans also, but they are well worth absorbing over time if this is a problem. For fans of dark powerful intense beautiful lush organic extreme metal.
Mirrorthrone is the work of one Swiss man going by the name of Vladimir. Vladimir is notorious for his many solo projects covering many different genres of extreme metal. With Mirrorthrone we hear a softer side when compared to his other projects like the crushing death metal of Unholy Matrimony. The sound of Mirrorthrone could fall under the category of melancholic, gothic, romantic, baroque neo-classical and occasionally doomy with touches of prog as well. Quite a mouthful indeed but when put all together the final result is something amazing. Of particular note is that all of Vladimir's works are recorded, mixed, mastered and programmed in the comfort and solitude of his own bedroom. Quite a remarkable feat for a nineteen year old indeed. Mirrorthrone however iss no standard shitty bedroom project, rather Mirrorthrone is epic and grand and strong enough as to be signed to the rather large Red Stream label. If you have ever seen the hard work put into any of Vladimir's websites you will know that anything other than perfect and stunning just will not do. This perfection is also a prominent trait in his music. There are a number of factors which could be improved which I shall look at later but in retrospect 'Of Wind And Weeping' is an outstanding album for the majority of its duration. There are a number of passages on this album which still hit me as hard as the night I was introduced to Mirrorthrone.
'Of Wind And Weeping' opens with an epic eleven minute track entitled 'Racines Denudees'. Beginning with the sounds of a thunderstorm and neo-classical baroque pianos we are soon treated to a sweepingly atmospheric and doomy outburst similar to My Dying Bride if they were raised on classical music. Vladimir sings mostly in his clean voice throughout this album which works with the harmonies the synths and pianos are forming to an effect that is very powerful indeed. Ebbing to and from slower and faster passages and varying vocal styles from clean to black the power this song holds is incredibly strong. Cloaked in a gothic romantic atmosphere the music of Mirrorthrone brings forth strong feelings from within. It is around the six and a half minute mark when Vladimir makes the final stab and you are hooked. If that isnt enough the next song, impeccably titled 'Florilege Lunatique Occultement Revelateur Et Neantisation Caduque Engendree' works on another similar build up which hits you even harder when the music finally breaks out into the ultimate crescendo of emotions. The next track 'The Four Names Of The Living Threatening Stone' opens with a quick paced classical intro before launching into a more aggressive number. There is indeed a Norwegian black metal influence when it comes down to the synths in this song ala Emperor. There are still a few slower respites to hold the attention of those drawn to the softer elements of Mirrorthrone's sound. Lush female vocals are present in 'Beyond The Mirrorthrone', another well crafted song with a good use of dynamics. For a comprehensive overview of the broad spectum of Mirrorthrone's sound in one song then this is it. Vladimirs clean voice is heard well underneath Marthe's lush vocals giving it all an overall nice balance between male and female. 'The Notion Of Perfect' opens with Celtic melodies played on acoustic guitar. This reminds me quite a bit of the acoustic passages in Primordial's sound. There are more contrasting vocals this time between Marthe's ethereal voice and Vladimir's black metal rasp. This is another solid song, but didnt appeal to me along with the next song 'Moi Mort...' as much as the first few songs did to me although 'Moi Mort...' does feature some interesting organ work and a melodic riff which reminded me a bit of earlier Cradle Of Filth. The final track 'Of Wind And Weeping' is a very cinematic and orchestrated outro concluding the album perfectly.
The main aspect about 'Of Wind And Weeping' which weakens it would have to be the very mechanical sounding drum machine leaving blastbeats sounding weak and mellow. At times the synthesised drum patterns are racing way too far ahead of the music losing some of its feeling. This is more noticeable during slower parts. The guitar sound also seems very thin at times. Nevertheless Vladimir has created a masterpiece with the equipment at hand in his bedroom. Through correspondence with Vladimir it seems that a lot of hard work and effort is being put into Mirrorthrone's second masterpiece, being put together as I type this. The strength of the opening few songs is enough to make this album a worthwhile listen. Vladimir has captured the gothic romantic essence and crafted it into his own vision working well. I eagerly await the sequel to this album.