An intriguing collaboration on paper.
Taking the eclectic, yet heavy approach of Italians Zu, and getting David Tibet of Current 93 (a fascinating man whose beliefs in Crowley, God and Noddy would drive Jordan Peterson mad) to sing over the music sounds like it could work really well.
Especially considering how good the last Zu LP was.
Best known for being described as ‘apocalyptic folk’, Current 93 have been releasing LP’s since 1984.
Touching upon industrial music, psychedelia and progressive folk, it’s a body of work that, once you’re hooked, you can’t let go. People like Nick Cave, John Zorn and Burton C. Bell will testify to that.
With the two groups first collaborating in 2011, this is their first full release.
‘The Coming of the Mirror Emperor’ is a sombre, dark folk number with the tiniest amount of string augmentation and Tibet’s unmistakeable voice, as he sings about how the “big moon was in her face that night/sucking away like a Pilate.”
The notable lack of chimes and awkward orchestration makes this a different beast from Current 93. A bit more stripped back and minimalist. An intriguing, atmospheric opener.
‘Confirm the Mirror Emperor’, by contrast, is very C93.
Almost Om like in places with the rolling, booming bass sound. The chiming guitar lines work especially well in the middle when the bass is substituted for a guitar line. Combined, it creates an almost psychedelic effect.
The one/two of ‘Enters the Mirror Emperor’ and ‘To the Mirror Emperor’, where it goes from drone to campfire invocation. Hearing Tibet unleash his inner preacher as he hollers about the titular Mirror Emperor, but in a way that offers little to no guidance gives the feeling of a possession and exorcism. Like Regan McNeill having a discussion with William Burroughs.
It certainly goes without saying that this is not a metal album by any stretch of the imagination.
But, when taken in consideration with C93 albums like ‘Aleph At Hallucinatory Mountain’ and their split with Om, ‘Inerrant Rays Of Infallible Sun’, it’s obvious that ‘Mirror Emperor’ certainly explores similar territory to those LP’s.
It would have been nice if Zu had upped the heaviness factor and made it almost doom like but, as it stands, ‘Mirror Emperor’ is a fine release.
Much like Tibet’s work in Hypnopazuzu, it ends up that there is not a massive difference between this and a standard Current 93 LP. However, what Zu bring to the album is a clear love of the C93 back catalogue and they have the imagination to indulge Tibet’s whims, and they do with aplomb.
Take time out from your day and devote yourself to the music. It’s worth it.
3.5 / 5 –Christopher Owens ::: 08/07/18