As with their 2015 self-titled debut, Mirror’s second full-length album, Pyramid of Terror offers a rather exotic take on traditional metal. An emphasis on ultra-melodic vocals and hard rock swagger gives the songs a late 70s flavor while the riffs and leads are driven by Middle Eastern scales and motifs. The inspiration is clearly rooted in the more grandiose ventures of Judas Priest and Dio-era Rainbow, but one could also draw comparisons to A Sultan’s Ransom-era Cloven Hoof or the works that Satan has been peddling lately.
These core elements remain crucial to the Mirror sound, but Pyramid of Terror executes them in a more aggressive manner. The title track demonstrates this right off the bat, matching upbeat riffing and relentless drums with soaring vocals. That energy is sustained through the Scorpions-esque fire of “I Am the Freak” as well as the more urgent “Black Magic Tower” among others. The production does feel claustrophobic at times, but it never detracts from the performances or atmosphere.
Thankfully the band isn’t afraid to show off their epic side either with the scope soaring even higher this time around. “Master of the Deep” makes for an early highlight, slowing things down to a mid-tempo stadium march before giving way to a faster climax. “Apollo Rising” and “Nitocris” push those eastern flourishes to the forefront reinforced by Maiden-style bass runs and gruffer vocal excursions on the former and more unorthodox time signature transitions on the latter.
While Mirror’s debut album was a strong first impression, their second full-length somehow takes their classic metal sound to even greater heights. Their Eastern tinges were already enough to give them a unique edge in the revivalist scene but the more aggressive tendencies in combination with a grander scope are enough to make them a true standout. Anybody with a love for the more epic side of 70s metal can consider this essential listening. Hopefully, it won’t take them another four years to issue a follow-up!
“Pyramid of Terror”
“Master of the Deep”
“Black Magic Tower”