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The Black Angels - Wilderness of Mirrors (Album Review)

Thursday, 29 September 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

The message delivered by the Black Angels’ sixth studio album ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’ is clear: survive these turbulent times in your own way but wake up to the dangers and deceit that lie at every turn. The band spent a year and a half creating their first LP in five years thanks to lockdown, crafting a dose of reality and a response to the chaos of recent times.

Lead track El Jardin was a majestic, pounding re-introduction as they tackled the destruction of Mother Earth, and other impressive singles followed. The best of the bunch is Without a Trace, also the album opener. Drawing on their love of fuzz, its sinister spoken word and claims of “we’re invincible” puncture the noise intermittently.

But while the fuzz is a constant companion, newest band member Ramiro Verdooren, who contributes bass, guitar and keyboards, has, according to frontman Alex Maas, provided something new—a fresh ingredient to the melting pot. As such, ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’ is noticeably more eclectic than previous offerings.

The excellent Icon sounds like psychedelically altered country music while the weaving guitars of 100 Flowers of Paracusia are a delight, much like the ominous and eerie-sounding Empires Falling, where a riveting melody stands out alongside a spidery lead and driving bass. 

Psych-rock legends aplenty are mentioned on The River, with the track serving up a more stereotypical Black Angels vibe thanks to its mesmerising, hypnotic core. The title track, meanwhile, resembles a thriller based around the politicians running the world through deception, resulting in delusion and confusion.

The running time of about an hour does feel a tad too long at times, with the boundary-pushing Firefly, Make it Known and A Walk on the Outside being B-sides at best, but the duds are few and ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’ is perhaps the most consistent long player the Black Angels have put out to date. The message may be a dark one from the Austin psych-rockers but they’re spot on—immersing yourselves in their world might provide the wake up call you need.

The Black Angels Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat February 25 2023 - BRISTOL SWX
Sun February 26 2023 - LIVERPOOL Invisible Wind Factory
Mon February 27 2023 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Wed March 01 2023 - GLASGOW QMU
Thu March 02 2023 - MANCHESTER New Century
Fri March 03 2023 - LONDON O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

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