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Metal Mirror - III Award winner

Metal Mirror
by Daniel Fox at 27 January 2014, 5:11 PM

When compilations like this come around, they are quite often true gems in the rough of a sea of Metal. A compilation of the career of a classic, yet ultimately underground (and now effectively defunct) NWOBHM act METAL MIRROR is soon to be released by their record label. When people think of British Heavy Metal they almost never look past IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST; that is when they look past the cracks between which bands like this slip away, almost unnoticed. Speaking of the MAIDEN, most of the tracks off this compilation do not sound that alike to the great "Killers" piece, the last of the Di'Anno era.

"Lady" is an infectiously up-beat piece, taking the niceties from classic Hard Rock and early IRON MAIDEN pieces. The musicianship is intellectual and thorough, surprisingly so for what was often generalized as vulgar and colloquial music, however the inescapable tendrils of the old, great British punk vibes are creeping through in parts of this track, and the rest of the album. "Knives and Dives" had predisposal cemented itself as my favorite track in this eclectic compilation; at 7:54 minutes long, it had plenty of time to evolve and diverge from the meat-and-potatoes backbone of the genre, and felt more like a winding passage of subtly-changing riffs, with some strong BLACK SABBATH vibes.

"Montana Violation" stood out to me as one of the more unique tracks on the list. This far down, most of the tracks were noticeably more raw in sound-quality, obviously earlier recordings. At this point, I am extremely tempted to purchase it on vinyl, for I believe it would sound absolutely delicious on a turntable, unlike most of my own music library. Within this track I heard something quite special to me: galloped, lead-bass lines; a motif I originally thought originated with and was pioneered by IRON MAIDEN; it turns out they were not the only band chugging out this immortal riff at the time. "Living on English Booze" caps off this glorious collection, taken from the band's very first recording; a single released in 1980. Forget about the muddy production; it only works to enhance the organic and honest Rock N' Roll sound pounded out by this exquisite band. This track reminds me of why classic Heavy Metal was special; riffs and melodies at the time were the epitome of creativity and imagination, and were never able to be replicated in the modernized world of what is often (unfortunately) generic riffage.

Like I stated. Forget about this CD purchase; I'm heading straight for the vinyl, and I don't even have anything to play it on yet.

5 Star Rating

1. Lady
2. Wild Cat Strike
3. Knives and Dives
4. Tiger of the Street
5. Midnight Eyes
6. Crazy
7. Mean Liar
8. Montana Violation
9. Hard Life
10. Getting Higher
11. Crazy
12. One Night
13. Commit no Nuisance
14. Rock'n'Roll Ain't Never Gonna Leave Us
15. Living on English Booze
Cameron Vegas – Vocals
Paul Butterworth – Guitars
Andy Barnett – Guitars
Benjamin Reid Franklin III – Drums
PJ Phillips - Bass
Record Label: High Roller Records


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