Mirrorcell is the second full-length by The Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato, a work of collaboration with some of the artist’s favourite musicians and producers resulting in a dark, despondent dive into the psyche of one of heavy music’s most celebrated frontmen. A wall of feedback on “In This Hell You Find Yourself” is the threshold over which the listener crosses, launching into “Reality Spiral.” Like much of the album, it’s a heavy, mid-tempo entry that sounds like the alchemical result of boiling down Cave In, Alice in Chains, Deftones, Black Sabbath, and Soundgarden. And also much like the rest of the record, it’s catchy as all hell.
The choices around melody and arrangement, from guitar tone, soloing, or riffs, to Greg’s impressive range of vocals, to the percussive brilliance displayed throughout the album, always cohere to a theme, both musically and lyrically. What distinguishes this record is the almost instantaneous parasitic embrace the music takes over the listener, joining in a blood pact with ears and wriggling its way into its prey. Reader, if you listen to even one track on this album, it will stay with you.
If you had to choose one, then, you could do worse than to let “Lowered” take you over. It’s a brooding masterpiece of restraint, summoning up impressions of My Bloody Valentine, Merchandise and Soundgarden. His duet with Reba Meyers (Code Orange) works on levels, from the heart to the heat to the hearth, a marriage of alt-rock, shoegaze, and post-punk that feels timeless and current at the same time. The chorus is impregnable; an epic, despondent cry into the abyss that demands voices to be raised in unison.
The musical arc of experimentation that Dillinger Escape Plan carried on throughout its time always hinted at gothic, industrial, and post-punk influences. Which is perhaps why “We,” a Depeche Mode-style pseudo-new wave track that abruptly shifts the melodic soundscape, isn’t such a surprise upon reflection. It’s a dark pop song, steeped in black nails, cold synths, and Greg channelling Trent Reznor on vocals.
That abrupt tonal shift, on another note, is consistent throughout. The album is liquid mercury, shifting and morphing to reflect the facets of an artist who has challenged themselves to achieve a singular persona. The track order contributes to that, lining up the first two to make their initial impression clear. By the time “We” plays, we’ve already seen enough sides of Greg to know what he is and what he has chosen to leave on this recording. But just like that, there is another shift back into the rock realm, with “I, Eclipse”’s chugging guitar sounding like something Godflesh would have devised, only to morph again into a dirge that offers visions of Deftones.
By the time ominous closer “All Waves To Nothing” begins, we’ve experienced Greg as viewed through various lenses, but instead of seeing a different picture each time, we’ve begun to see the multi-faceted, mercurial artist through each influence played out as an idea. So it is perhaps with welcome familiarity that we greet Greg’s shrieking in this final track, because we’ve been treated to a buffet of ideas, but with an overarching vision always rooted in the fiery performances for which Greg has become infamous. As an album, Mirrorcell is a compelling instalment in what is shaping up to be one of the most riveting musical arcs in contemporary heavy music.
Mirrorcell Track Listing:
1. In This Hell You Find Yourself
2. Reality Spiral
3. No More Lives To Go
4. Never Wanted That
7. I, Eclipse
8. Rainbows Underground
9. All Waves To Nothing
Run Time: 43:59
Release Date: July 1, 2022
Record Label: Federal Prisoner