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Estate - Mirrorland

by Jason "Monotonija" McCraw at 22 March 2018, 1:23 PM

For a sophomore full-length record, "Mirrorland" by Danish Metal outfit ESTATE proves to be a very nicely polished offering. With guest appearances from both Mark Boals of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and Mats Leven of CANDLEMASS fame, the album roars with Power Metal glory. Programmed drums provide a perfect backdrop to the fiery bass and guitar work, the gravel-laden vocals of Iliand Ferro fitting into the mix like a hand into a warm glove. Well placed synth lines deliver a fresh edge to a sound that is all their own, and ESTATE seem to fall into their very own niche with this one.

"Mirrorland" opens with its title track, pulling no punches as the power of the music is instantaneously apparent. With a guitar that just never stops, the song flows ceaselessly like a whitewater rapid, taking the listener deep over the lip of the Metal abyss and plunging them into the fathomless depths that its music creates. The second track, "The Ghoul", has much the same effect, blending straining vocals with those chopping, fast guitar lines of old. The lead guitar work of Peter Filevsky truly dances here. The album itself picks up speed here, and this particular song is one of its shining moments.

Altogether, this record is epic in scope, exhibiting many style changes mid-song, a flashy sort of originality, and memorable musical moments throughout. The slower stretches on "Mirrorland" have that mystifying quality that only great Power Metal can provide, causing one to close their eyes and feel as if they were floating over giant chasms of shining crystal through a lavender mist high above in the starry night sky. When the album offers up speedier portions, which it does in abundance, it has the power to keep heads banging happily. The vocals have moments of low-end glory, where they take on an almost vampiric semblance amidst the bass driven portions of some of the songs, giving us something different for a change in a subgenre that has nearly always been defined by its high-pitched vibrato vocal style.

"Lady Wind" is one of the more epic tracks on "Mirrorland", from its intro that sounds like it belongs in a newer James Bond film to its dueling guitar and synth lines that rage on through its entirety. Although it is undeniably Progressive Power Metal, this tune is hard to pin down with any one label. One thing is for sure; it's simply a great chunk of emotional and nicely executed Metal. The track entitled "Silvery Skies" takes the record in yet another direction. One is reminded of Bowie's slower works on the soundtrack for the hit movie Labyrinth as the track introduces itself, and then it just takes off with a nonstop piano line that drives it on to new heights until its end. This is undeniably a wonderful ballad, if I've ever heard one!

By far the most interesting part of "Mirrorland" are its closing two numbers, which are two tracks already heard on the album that have been reworked to include the talents of two guest musicians. The first is "Knight Of Hope", which features the vocal talents of Mark Boals. The song is perfectly mystical, its echoing keys injecting atmosphere alongside the blistering guitars quite nicely. "Matter Of Time", where ESTATE is joined by Metal legend Mats Leven in this different version, closes out the record with a graceful twist, the rhythm section paving the way for some amazing lead guitar work that keeps the chills coming for those who appreciate six-string mastery and domination. In the end, what we have here is a new and aggressive form of the older, formulaic Power Metal that seems to have basically disappeared from the scene altogether in the past decade. It's quite fulfilling to hear something like this emerge from the vast ocean of Heavy Metal, rear its reptilian head, and roar into existence the way that it does. A fun, and, at times, phenomenal outing from Danish rockers ESTATE.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Mirrorland
2. The Ghoul
3. Stolen Heart
4. Winter Kingdom
5. Storm Of The Age
6. Knight Of Hope
7. Lady Wind
8. Silvery Skies
9. Matter Of Time
10. Springtime
11. Knight Of Hope (Mark Boals Version)
12. Matter Of Time (Mats Leven Version)
Iliand Ferro - Vocals
Vadim Lalayan – Bass
Dmitriy "Mauzer" Efimov - Keyboards
Peter Filevsky - Guitars
Record Label: Mighty Music


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Edited 25 March 2019

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