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Mirror Review

by Alexey Eremenko

Mirror is an effective and slightly camouflaged adaptation of Rammstein to Japanese soil. D'Espairs Ray make a nice job of hiding it, but the synths over the marching thunder of distortion in "Sixty Nine" totally give them away, even though it must be noted that the same song incorporates the very obvious Marilyn Manson vocalizing, for one, and generally the band spans a lot of influences, down to ultra-heavy Europop in "Kogoeru Yoru Ni Saita Hana." However, the core of their sound is still that chugging but not oppressive guitar work that Rammstein derived from the likes of Die Krupps and Skinny Puppy, and that is usually called nu-metal in the Western hemisphere. Mirror also benefits a lot from whatever niceties J-rock (as a musical style) has developed: fast (but thankfully not hysterical here) playing, a melodramatic rendition of a Jim Morrison baritone for vocals, and the cinematic feel of the music. What's even more important, the boys excel at balancing heaviness and pop hooks. Too many Japanese bands that go for the same type of sound are either too lightweight or lose it from intense headbangin'. D'Espairs Ray, on the other hand, are not afraid to crank up the guitars but never lose track of writing emotive songs. There are but a couple of uncomfortable moments on the album (the chorus in "Hollow" must go, seriously), and while D'Espairs Ray never offer something on par with "Engel" or "Du Hast," songs like "Angeldust" could almost give Sevendust a run for their money, and generally, Mirror is a very worthy acquisition in the "gloomy, fast, and heavy" department. [The D was also released with bonus tracks.]

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