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Shrine of Reflection – Midnight Garden

Shrine of Reflection
Midnight Garden
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 16 May 2022, 1:08 PM

From their Bandcamp page, “SHRINE OF REFLECTION is a music project founded in 2020 by Mikołaj Batyra and Maciej Miroński. The project can be described as a psychedelic trip across various emotional states and thoughts.” The album contains thirteen tracks. “Tale of the Thaw” leads off the album. It begins with clean guitars, some electronica and low harmonic vocals. The cadence in the rhythms give the song a bit of a mesmerizing sound, though the track is mired mostly in melancholic elements. “Sunset Mourns” features another mellow and somewhat depressive sound. The low vocals are just a bit pitchy. It moves forward cautiously amidst grey skies.

“The Pulse, The Storm & The Secret Bay” is a longer song that opens with a steady low pulse of electronica. Following a brief vocal passage, the music takes on a Middle Eastern theme. The music then marches towards a building crescendo. But the sound drops before it can get there. “Strands of the Past” is a ten-minute beast. It lingers in repetitive patterns throughout, along with mysterious sounds in the background. It’s another song that’s headed towards a crescendo that it doesn’t reach. I suppose that is really the point here. “In the Predecessors Hall” is another odd track where the vocals are supposed to carry much of the lonely feelings which are overly present on the album. But it just sounds off to me.

“Little Bird” begins with the chirping of crickets under the night sky. Nine tracks in and I’m afraid this is the sound we are stuck with. “Passage” is another overly mellow song with the same vocal style. I can pick up on the psychedelic qualities of the album for sure, but through thirteen tracks with little variation this appears to be all the band has going for them. “It’s Time” closes the album. It begins with, you guessed it, more melancholic tones. I understand the feelings that these type of tones can carry, but through thirteen tracks, it becomes unnecessarily repetitive. This final song is quite minimalistic and the vocals really need some work here.

Unfortunately, I was unable to really garner what this album was all about, or where it was heading. The vocals are probably the worst part about the album, although the music isn’t much better. Many of the songs have a minimalistic approach when it comes to the music, and it’s clear that many of the emotions are intended to be carried by the vocals. But when the vocals are done in nearly the same, low and robotic way throughout the album, there isn’t much to get excited about.

Songwriting: 3
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tale of the Thaw
2. Sunset Mourns
3. Inner Landscapes
4. The Pulse, The Storm & The Secret Bay
5. Strands of the Past
6. Lyndia Bar
7. In the Predecessors Hall
8. Into This Night
9. Little Bird
10. The Throne
11. Passage
12. Song of Traps Shut
13. It's Time
Lineup:
Mikolaj Batyra
Maciej Mironski
Record Label: Independent
     


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