Preview: Mire- Inward/Outward
Self-released, 18th march 2014
Review by Mabh Savage
Mire’s PR team likened them to Tool, A Perfect Circle and Pink Floyd. Well, they certainly know how to get my interest! After the first few bars of the opening track, Complex, the Tool comparison is well and truly confirmed. A pseudo tribal drum beat with dark but melodic vocals complements a harsh, pure metal guitar sound. A good start!
Mire are a new band, hailing from Montreal, QC. It’s a long time since I’ve heard a new band with such a dark, prog style, and I’m eager to get stuck into this album. On band camp they’re described as a mess of musical backgrounds and what a delightful mess it is. The album flows effortlessly from song to song, and while the influences are strong and obvious at times this does not take anything away from the bands’ excellent song writing and the overall sound.
Stéphane Boileau, the drummer (also described as performing electronics!) is a bit of a hero even though I have only just heard of him. Throughout the whole album the way he intertwines rhythm and power with the guitars and melody, and knows when to tone it right down and build it back up; some drummers are there to add rythm and balls. Stéphane does this, oh yes, does it in spades, but he is a true musician and he uses his kit like a percussive orchestra, layering, subtracting and creating an almost hypnotic sound.
I was also impressed with the way the gloriously melodic keys worked with the aggressive rhythm guitar. It was no surprise then to find that guitarist Bruno Chouinard also plays the piano parts! Clearly a band that plays to their strengths, and it works, very well.
Jean-Philippe Lachapelle’s vocals are folky at times, enhanced by what seems to be some beautiful female backing vocals; I was unable to find out who this was though. Please leave me a comment if you know who this is! At other times he is aggressive and punchy, but always melodic and every word is clear.
Track 5, Convolution, begins with somewhat industrial sounds reminiscent of Pink Floyd, quickly overcome by beautiful, major key guitars reminiscent of German Metal bands like Halloween. The industrial rhythms strangely counterpoint the melodies, creating an oddly organic sound which is at odds with the mechanical feel. It changes constantly, until it settles into the dark and satisfying rhythm of Beast and the Machine. I only saw the title of Beast and the Machine after I had coined the ‘organic vs mechanic’ description, so bravo Mire, your music makes me think of apparently exactly what you wanted it to!
Moving along to Catalan Atlas, we start with gorgeous open chords and the sweetest touch of chorus and delay, lending a firm yet slightly eerie backdrop to Lachapelle’s vocals. This song builds and builds. Mantra Cymatic starts with an almost croaking, groaning sound that is layered by more beautiful vocals and a surprising melody is built. Short and very sweet.
My only concern with this album is that if you are a Perfect Circle/Tool fan, the similarities are very close to the surface. You can’t not hear the influence, and while that’s not a bad thing in itself, it does mean this band are going to have to work very hard to make their style their own, and to break away from the inevitable comparisons. Having said that, I adore this album and have now had it on three times and heard new bits that make me go ‘Ahhh!’ in satisfaction each time. Definitely one to buy, and definitely a band to watch out for.