October 23, 2019

“A German quintet on the path of salvation” was one description of this new alternative rock /metal band when they launched their debut album in the summer of 2017 – largely because the album was called Path of Salvation! This was a well-produced mixture of classic rock/hardrock/metal tracks with strong melodies and good vocals – hard to classify as being one particular genre but pretty fun to listen to, all in all, without being massively exciting or ground-breaking.

On this, their second album Lost in Paradise, Mirrorplain deliver eleven new tracks, all competently performed (heck, I wish I could remotely command any instrument the way any decent musician can!) and the album benefits from a powerful and transparent production from Hilton Theissen (Dark Millenium), but it feels like they’ve settled for NOT having their own USP. “Alternative Metal” was a tag that arose as an aside from Grunge, and there are definite overtones of Nirvana here, together with Linkin’ Park. And that’s the problem, there are hundreds of other bands that could be described in the same way.

The opener is the single “Northstar”. Now this is a genuinely great opener, it’s really catchy, very reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold, Singer Christian Doring sounding uncannily like Mr. Shadows from A7X. Which is fine! It’s a tuneful, poignant song with straight-forward riff that works well.

“Speak to the Deaf” has a similar tone, more like Linkin Park, Doring does have a strong vocal range and he’s working really hard here. “No. 1-0-7” sort of sounds the same, particularly the riff / keyboard combination, and that gives a hint of problems later on the album. “Judgement Day” starts differently with some lovely melodic acoustic guitar work before the heavy stuff kicks in, it’s a good track.

“Lost in Paradise” looks to stand out as you would hope and expect, as befits a title song, it opens with understated acoustic guitar work leading into nice solo work, softer vocals building up from lower tones. The heavy stuff then comes in but lumbers, the mix of riffs and keyboards is something I’ve previously described in other reviews as “standard euro-rock”….

“Listen Up” is quicker, and more urgent, without ever catching fire. But “Sealed Off” and “Drowned” and the rest of the album are back to a more mid-tempo, they all feel much the same, sort of dark and brooding without offering much if any variety of tone or atmosphere.

It’s quite difficult to review this album because, although “okay” to listen to, it’s hard to write something specific and unique regarding the selection of songs other than to say “it’s quite good”. Fans of Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold and lots of others will like it without being passionate about it? There are no specific flaws to pick up on other than lack of variation, and that’s the problem – not many highlights or special moments – it’s just a decent album that washes over you. The band obviously like this style and they’re quality musicians, especially Christian Doring’s vocals, but I’d like to see them try to be a bit more daring and step out of their comfort zone!  

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