Approaching a full forty years on from 1980 – arguably the greatest year in its history – it can be vanishingly difficult in there here and now to find bands who can summon up the true elixir of traditional heavy metal in all its gory glory. Certainly, there have been manifold variants of this supernatural force in the last four decades, yet for all the power-metal diversions and Pro-Tooled machinations that have crossed our transum, the blood-simple formula of steel-plated grandeur and street-level grit remains mystifyingly elusive for even its most long-standing proponents .
Lucky for everyone therefore, that the Cypriot denizens of darkness Mirror have returned. The brainchild of former Electric Wizard and Satan’s Wrath bassist Tas Danazoglou, Mirror’s second album sees them building on the heroic vibrations of their self-titled 2015 debut, summoning forth nine triumphant anthems that are equal parts lethal and life-affirming. Deftly avoiding the lure of pastiche and parody, ‘Pyramid Of Terror’ arrives once again at the cusp of an audial era in which the widescreen sweep of late-‘70s rock, a la the cinematic splendour of Dio-era Rainbow, crosses swords with the stripped-down panache of the NWOBHM – somewhere akin to a danger zone between first-two-albums Iron Maiden and the occultist allure of debut Angel Witch – to set passions dramatically ablaze.
Carrying on the torch of the band, it’s a slightly different Mirror from that of the eponymous debut that launches itself above the parapet this time around – having moved back to his native Cyprus from London, Danazoglou set about putting together an all-living-and-breathing domestic line-up free from the long-haul frustrations of the international project that the band previously manifested. Although the strident tenor of vocalist Jimmy Mavromatis remains, the band now sees guitarists Constantinos C. Bynd and Nikolas Spirits Moutafis joining the fray, alongside new drummer Danny Koullis Georgiou Conway (although erstwhile producer Jaime Gomez Arellano did handle drum duties before his departure)
Regardless, from the ‘Balls To The Wall’ style intro of the opening title-cut, via the glorious fist-shaker ‘Running From The Law’ to the B-movie vibrations and epic palpitations of ‘Black Magic Tower’, this is a still more charismatic and potent troupe, confident in the bravura showmanship of their delivery and alive with vibrant chemistry. Now as ever, Mirror exist on a dusky promontory whereby latent forces of denim-and-leather-clad heroism are summoned forth in the here and now to triumphant avail. Utterly devoid of irony or nostalgia, ‘Pyramid Of Terror’ is no less than a transmission straight from the heavy metal motherlode, and a glorious testimony to a spirit that will doubtless outlive us all.