In a time when there is a lot of sad news to report from the tragic death of underground rock bassist hero Caleb from Cave In in an auto wreck to the break up of Seven Sisters of Sleep over horrifying things (best of luck to the other guys who must be in awful shock), I am glad I can put out some positive words today that hopefully will cheer some of you up a tiny bit. The new Sierra record is really, really good. I know it is just music and not serious like the other things I mentioned above, but good art underscores the beauty and cool parts of life and music is literally the soundtrack to our lives. With that in mind, it is awesome that in 2018 when temptation could lead the creative type to make any kind of sounds they want to, that some dudes from Ontario still care enough about rock n roll to make a near perfect hard rock album. When anyone says ,”No new rock is as good as the great old stuff” I will go so far as to say you could play them The Mirror and they will at least look a little sheepish and admit it was pretty god damned awesome even if not made in the late 1970s.
I am a huge Kylesa fan so checked out and enjoyed most of the bands Phillip Cope has given his thumbs up to over the years. Phil and Laura always have recommended awesome crust, psych and retro rockin stonery stuff to others in the scene and Sierra was one of the coolest newer bands I learned about because of them. On The Mirror (which Cope produced), the band have made their strongest statement to date. If a feel good but emotionally nuanced blend of alternative hard rock, 70s influences and even a little prog and thrash somehow melted into one seamless cohesive sound works for you, you need to check this out.
From start of the mellow acoustic and synth intro song (which doesn’t sound like it but for some reason reminded me of Mr. Crowley, if only because I know Sierra love the Ozzman and have done a rippin’ “War Pigs” cover with effin’ Wino, no less) you will want to hear where this goes. The track name “Falling” suits the cover art -which would be a great companion piece to The Jesus Lizard’s DOWN album if the Sierra guy falling ever wants a falling pet dog for company. The song itself sounds huge, big and dominant with melodic undertones like the large sound of the recent Bask Ramble Beyond stuff- for example. The guitar playing and songwriting are mature and fun and while the vocals aren’t show boaty they always fit the tunes.
My favorite lyric is probably on the anthemic “Rainbow’s End”, which exclaims relatably that ,”If you don’t fit into this world, it’s because you’re supposed to change it.” What a positive update to Saint Vitus’ “Born Too Late” message of not fitting in, haha. Just kidding. But for real, it is motivating and the song makes you feel optimistic and want to do good for the people you value or a little old lady, while rocking out hard. “The Last Time” is kinda thrashy and the solos on the record rip. The instruments sound massive and clear but not overdoing it. “The Mirror” even has slow drums that come in with the dominance of Killswitch Engage’s “The End Of Heartache” but in a different metal sub genre. All in all this is just a truly solid and enjoyable time and you will likely play it again all the way through often.
I am really into it. What else can I say? Can’t find a single damn thing wrong with it so I am giving it 5 stars.