HOUSE OF MIRRORS - DESOLATION (2006, ESCAPE MUSIC, ESM 131)
Pekka Rautiainen - vocals
Jaakko Niitemaa - guitars
Jankke Kuismin - bass
Jonne Valtonen - keyboards
Jimbo Makelainen - drum
It was only a few years ago that we threw the pen at House Of Mirrors debut album 'Nightflight To Paradise'. That effort caught our eye as well as our ears, and lo and behold they turn up two years later with their new one 'Desolation'. This one I believe is slightly heavier, with moments bordering on melodic power metal. Yes, the melodies are still prevalent, but doses of commerciality which may have been evident on the debut have been passed in for the beefed up sound. Instead, look for eighties styled comparisons to Pretty Maids
and 220 Volt
, and on occasion, they even chuck in a few party tricks by trying to emulate one of GLORY-DAZE's favorite bands.. Stage Dolls
. Strange, but true.
The title track gets us underway in impressive fashion, the guitar/keyboard interplay very noticeable from the outset. Even the Malmsteen like flurries toward the end do not diminish this song in any way. 'Fallen Leaf' does indeed take a leaf out of the page written by Pretty Maids
, the mid-section acceleration a Danish trademark. The tempo varies throughout 'Broken Soul', perhaps reminiscent of a band like Dionysus
, especially the neo-classical parts within. The tune 'Where Are You Now' is very nice, showing all the pre-requisites required for a ballad in this genre. A pass with flying colors! Chugging along equally well is the mid-tempo rocker 'Waiting In The Wings', great chorus and a brief but scorching solo from Niitemaa. Rocking the house is 'On The Red Line', this one is prime-time Uriah Heep
, blatantly so, but good on them! Perhaps the surprise package is the very cool and very acoustic 'Gone With The Summer'. The flamenco guitar parts are a bright and breezy interlude, the song a smooth pina colada among the beer swelling rockers found elsewhere on the album. 'These Chains' I found less interesting, probably due to the overplayed riffs, while 'Masquerade' has that sparse but melodic sound found on all the Stage Dolls
albums with a hint of On The Rise
, which means this song is excellent, and it is! Similarly 'Sparks Will Fly' has the same approach which our aforementioned Norwegian trio made famous. The album closes with the power ballad 'Heart To Heart', piano laced, mid-tempo mostly, guitars to beef up the choruses and solo. A nice way to finish up.
As mentioned, their debut album from 2004 was a very impressive effort. Nothing has been lost since that time. Though the sound is beefed up a bit, no compromise has been made with the melody, which is everywhere on 'Desolation'. There is a good mixture of material, most if not all, is very listenable indeed. Musically a tight band, though if there is one slight critique it would with be some of the vocals, though again, on an album this good, that would be overly picky. Investigate with a thumbs up recommendation from GLORY-DAZE.
02 Fallen Leaf
03 Broken Soul
04 Where Are You Now
05 Waiting In The Wings
06 On The Red Line
07 Gone With The Summer
08 These Chains
10 Sparks Will Fly
11 Heart To Heart
House Of Mirrors - 2004 Nightflight To Paradise
House Of Mirrors - 2006 Desolation
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