Mirage – The Sequel Review

A couple of weeks ago I lamented the fact that the band I was reviewing was releasing albums too fast. Thankfully Mirage are here to average things out. The Sequel is the Danish band’s second album, hot on the heels of their 1985 debut, …And the Earth Shall Crumble. Now that’s an album cycle I can get behind! With eight songs spanning forty-two minutes, that’s an average of 1:08 of songwriting per year. A pretty relaxing schedule to be sure. I wasn’t fortunate enough to come across their debut back in ’85, but a quick search and listen expedition reveals a pretty decent hard-rocking debut that, had it come across my plate back then, I surely would have grabbed. Twin guitars, some organ, and energetic songs made the debut sound like a mashup of Iron Maiden and Deep Purple.

The Sequel pretty much picks up right where the debut ended – which it should, since these songs were written decades ago. “In the Days of Rama” opens like a band that’s been away forever, a massive crescendo of guitars and drums with an awesome Hammond organ blaring through a Leslie cabinet roaring in the background. Much like the songs on …And the Earth Shall Crumble, there’s plenty of twin guitar work and that sumptuous organ. Also much like the debut, although maybe even a bit rougher, the vocals are the weak point. Torben Deen’s voice wasn’t a highlight to start with, but it hasn’t aged well and he struggles to hold his own slightly.

“Guiding Light” and “The Emperor” are also strong rockers, loaded with energy and great guitar and keyboard work. Mirage is an interesting band. Two people play all the music, and two others do all the singing. Certainly, Søren Ahm must be called out for his exceptional guitar and keyboard playing. His solos on both instruments are outstanding, and he has a knack for great arrangements. I could listen to an all-instrumental, all-Søren album all day. Sadly, as the album progresses the strength of the songs weakens. The opening trio are The Sequel’s high point; after that, the songs don’t have much staying power – aside from some excellent solos, as already noted. The album does end on a high note, though. “When Autumn Comes” is the most complex song on the album, and the arrangement is great, showcasing all that is good about Mirage.

Aside from the DR5 mastering job, The Sequel certainly sounds like an album that could have come out in the mid to late-eighties, right when it should have. The musical style fits in and this isn’t much of a change from Mirage’s debut. The songs are melodic hard rockers that, despite being a bit rough vocally, definitely retain some old-school charm. According to the PR blurb, all these songs were written in the late 80s. I wonder what the band would come up with today? On one hand, it’s handy that The Sequel is a svelte forty-two minutes, but after all these years one would think they could tack a couple of more recent efforts on.

I admire Mirage. To get the band back together and execute on a dream after nearly four decades is pretty cool. Sure, it’s a bit rough in places, especially the vocals, but the intentions are noble and Ahm is a tremendous musician who needs to be featured on more albums. Who knows which reviewer will be around to tackle Mirage’s third album, likely scheduled for a 2059 release date. Maybe Dr. Wvrm’s little bundle of joy? Hell, how many band members will be around? Time will tell – or maybe it won’t.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: From the Vaults
Website: facebook.com/Mirage
Releases Worldwide: July 15th, 2022

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