Philosophy doth not quite music make, and that revelation seems not to have entirely hit Grant Valdes yet. An anarchic soul with little in the way of back-down, and that's a very good thing, he imbues his music with Nietzschean manners but fails, as the ringmaster here, to fully understand just how his idol, Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, managed to create the masterpieces he's famed for.
The Empty Mirror starts to capture the Pumpkin ethos pretty damn well. They're brash and forceful, producing a billowing platform as a trio (bassist Ante Ruich and drummer Bill Kim balance out Valdes well, especially Kim) but then miss a few elements. One is the engineering, another is the vocal component, which, when strong, is on point, but, when lacking, weakens the ferocity of the attack and melodics Corgan specialized in. Nonetheless, the compositions are absorbing, contrasting despair with ferocious force, and Valdes claims to want to move in the direction of pure instrumentalism.
I'd welcome that but would be just as receptive to more of this same under improved circumstances. The composer plays well and has great ideas but hasn't slipped under the wire yet, part of the problem lying in not fully developing his themata and melodic structures. Then again, this is an EP, so perhaps it's testing waters rather than setting matters in stone. An excellent move, then, was made when the group decided to let Abstracted Catholic out for free at TheEmptyMirror.net. If you've any interest in metal, alt rock, Kafkan nightmare music, and all that sort of thing, I recommend you give it a whirl.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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