That’s just some of the imagery that comes to mind when I listen to Mountain Mirrors. Beautiful acoustic passages plucked and strummed from the guitar act as a backdrop to Jeff’s lyrical paintings of desperation and doom. “Stay Evil” opens the disc with an acoustic riff and is complimented by the mesmerizing drone of keyboards, and vocals that act almost like a chant. Guest musician Oren Selas lays down some exceptional keyboard textures towards the middle of the tune that give the song an almost ‘70’s classic rock quality. “The Demon’s Eye” is quite possibly the most important song on the album. It has that Damnation era Opeth feel as the tune opens with another beautiful acoustic guitar line, but then explodes into a glowing ball of sound, pushed along this time by percussionist / keyboardist Elad Fish.
I state this song as being the most important as to it being the first tune that I heard from Mountain Mirrors some time back. Basically, if I never heard this song, I wouldn’t be telling you all about it now, ergo . . . most important song. “Karmic Dogs”, “Your Time Has Come”, and “Alone in a Crowd” all carry on in a similar vein as one another and draw from various influences, most notably the acoustic works of Pink Floyd. The cello work (provided by Claire Fitch) on “Karmic Dogs” is worth the price of purchase, and adds a doom laden piece of class to an already heavily textured work of art. “Calm Before the Storm” is the epic centerpiece of the album and is a chilling tale of the end of days that will ultimately have you reaching for a sweater. Goosebumps, baby! The album ends with the ambient and emotionally charged instrumental “Praying Mantis” that acts as the perfect closer to the disc.
While the album never takes off and rocks you, it’s probably because it was never really meant to. Mountain Mirrors is more of a soul searching, remorsefully contemplative album than anything else. Underlying social commentary mixed with solitary dread. You’ll get lost in the eerie musical passages rather than feel the need to let your hair down and freak out. Jeff Sanders takes the listener on a journey of inner reflection and holds a mirror to our moral conscience. Depressing? Far from it. More along the lines of hopeful in the face of extreme adversity. Kind of like that earlier hike through the woods when it looked like things were at their darkest, then suddenly seeing the light of the sun breaking through the clouds. The light and warmth is out there . . . it just takes a little time find, and that path isn’t always the easiest to traverse.