Sorceress of Sin – Mirrored Revenge Review

I decided to go for something epic to wrap up the year. It’s been a while since I reviewed any power metal or even just vanilla heavy metal, so I figured, what the hell? I’ll pick up UK’s Sorceress of Sin. Now, I’m not the biggest trad-heavy or trad-power fan, and 99% of the time the thing that kills my mood with the genre are vocals. Regardless of the skill exhibited, there are too many greats who adopt a tone and style that just does not appeal to me. Can Sorceress of Sin break the curse with their debut album Mirrored Revenge?

Musically, Mirrored Revenge owes a great deal to the olden greats Iron Maiden and, to some extent, Helloween, among others. Vocals channel many of the legendary frontmen to further underline the ancestry this album reveres (I’ll leave the listener to decide who those are, since everyone inevitably hears who they wanna hear). You get power metal gallops, some trad-heavy thrashings, a ballad or two and a boatload of attitude from the quintet across these forty-six minutes of trveness. Some of these ideas work just right, others don’t quite nail the proper balance, and once or twice the attempt just falls on its face. That’s okay, because most (actually, all but one) of the misfires occur at the very beginning and are quickly forgotten as the band scrubs them out with an enjoyable, if flawed, slab of heavy metal.

I’ll start with the negatives. Vocalist Lisa Skinner possesses ridiculous range and charisma, but her execution lacks control. She makes odd choices when concluding a nasty wail or a powerful belt. Sometimes, she lets her chords break (which normally comes into play as an emotion-based embellishment, often used to symbolize a cry or plea), which doesn’t fit the music behind her. Other times, she fades away into the music with a wispy sustain. I think she could instead cut the note down where it stood, letting reverb handle the fade. Perhaps another avenue would be to hold the power through the note and slightly bend the pitch down at the tail end before letting go (like King Diamond often does with his wails). Either approach would infinitely improve the experience. Additionally, the first two songs are really difficult to get through. Something feels awkward about their pacing and overall delivery, almost as if the band isn’t quite in sync. Lastly, operatic ballad “Echoes of Existence” is overwritten, filled with extraneous layers which refuse to let any moment land gracefully.

Now, let me tell you about everything Sorceress of Sin do right. First of all, aside from the aforementioned oddities, Lisa Skinner acquits herself quite well. She can wail, she can opera, she can belt, she can grit. A voice as versatile as this only comes with rigorous and consistent training, so I respect the hell out of her for showing it off here. Second of all, the record opens badly but recovers quickly with a righteous four song marathon. These songs have a lot of meat on their bones. “Wicked Distortion” and “Splintered Shard” especially feel energetic and entertaining despite doing what heavy metal bands have done for forty years. “Aradia” is very cool as well, blending heavy metal riffs and solid basswork with Lisa’s more operatic flair, and “Parallel Lines” pulls off a kinda-sorta pop-punk bounce that’s unexpectedly natural. It’s a cool twist thrown into a tried and true formula. The closer “Empire of Stones,” however, steals the show with the most ripping guitar/drum tag team to be had, and the track as a whole feels the most energetic and compelling of the lot. An album filled with shit like that would list for sure.

Mirrored Revenge is much like many debut heavy metal albums. It’s got solid hooks, great guitar work, and a fantastic vocalist. It’s rough at the same time, however, and exposes considerable weaknesses. Songwriting that worships the ways of olde is fun and nostalgic for those who grew up with this style, but it also forms a gulch between immediate enjoyment and long-lasting attachment. Tack on a vocalist of great skill who needs to fine tune a few techniques to better fit the band’s overall sound, and you have a debut record that serves as a suitable proof of concept. Keep it up, O Sorceress!

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Release
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: November 27th, 2020

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