The tag “progressive” is assigned loosely today, with every band that features poly-rhythms or non standard time stamps hailed as innovators. However, being “progressive” doesn’t have to necessarily lie in the complexity of your music or a wide swerve off accepted musical norms. It should instead be placed in changing the genre you work in by introducing new elements or interpreting existing norms anew. This is the core idea behind Mirrors for a Prince; Wings Denied strive to graft onto a metalcore theme new ideas and structures. However, is this creation cohesive enough to convince the listener?
Initially, Mirrors for a Prince sounds quite fresh. The main difference are the vocals featured on the album. Instead of relying heavily on growls or screams, they draw their power from higher pitched sounds not unlike Rush or Queensrÿche. The combination between this more emotionally varied singing and the harsher sounds of the instruments is certainly intriguing. On tracks like ‘In Search Of Sunrise’ or ‘Courtesan’, riffs echoing Misery Signals or Alaya exemplify this tension by adding a cloying twist to the vocal range and accentuating its unique timber.
The problem with this technique is that repeated listens soon wear out the initial charm held in the original encounter with the vocals. Upon losing its luster, the original emotional hook must now be kept alive by the instruments and these fall just a little short of their goal. To be certain, many interesting moments can be found throughout the album, like on the excellent closing track ‘Six Years and a Day’ which features several smooth transitions and engaging leads. Special attention should be directed towards the bass in description: instead of resorting to a masticated and drawn out role, the bass on Mirrors for a Prince is exquisite and unique. This can be heard not only on the closing segment of the album but also on the track ‘Signs’ where the bass truly fleshes out the entire range of sound. That being said, a lot of the riffs are disappointing in their sterility: none of them are poorly executed, on the contrary. Wings Denied are undoubtedly very skilled musicians.
Instead, too many of them rely on established conventions and accepted tones. This ultimately holds back Mirrors for a Prince from being a truly masterful and unique album. What innovation and emotion were held in the vocal uniqueness presented in it is alas squandered in less than engaging instrumentality. It remains to be seen whether Wings Denied can further refine the unique arrangement presented here and perhaps polish and deepen their instrumental ideas to bring forth a true innovatory creation. At the end of the day however, one can definitely derive much pleasure when originally encountering this album: the vocals hook you in, the ideas are refreshing and the execution skilled. We await their next release with eager ears.
Wings Denied – Mirrors for a Prince gets…