SPACE MIRRORS - Stella Polaris

Space Mirrors - Stella Polaris

11 songs
70:20 minutes
***** ***
Atomic Age


The Cosmic Horror trilogy started in 2012 with In Darkness They Whisper, which was in my opinion the first album by international space rock collective Space Mirrors to channel all their energies into a more cohesive direction. Especially the twenty minute epic The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath left a lasting impression. The following year, the second part The Other Gods showed the band from an even catchier side. The third part Stella Polaris took double the amount of time, but now Space Mirrors are back with generous seventy new minutes of music.

So what has changed? Not that much. Apparently it’s also the first time that there were no line-up changes between albums? Sometimes I wonder if the musicians even meet when recording the music, considering they come from all corner of the world: Russia, England, USA, Italy. The main protagonists are band founder Alisa Coral from Russia who is in charge of the songwriting and playing the keyboards, synthesizers, mellotron and theremin, and Italian vocalist Martyr Lucifer who is also a member of progressive black metal band Hortus Animae. Hawkwind’s Nik Turner is also once again guesting on flutes and saxophones.

Stylistically Stella Polaris fits well into the overall concept of the Cosmic Horror trilogy, but we don’t get a twenty minute mammoth track this time, and despite there being some very accessible moments, like the opener Haunter Of The Dark, the ballad White Ship, the title track and the surprisingly upbeat Through The Storm, there are some tracks (Celephais, The Crawling Chaos) that make it over ten minutes, highlighting the band’s more psychedelic side. At seventy minutes overall running time, Stella Polaris is not always an easy listening experience. The pace is frequently mid-tempo, and Martyr Lucifer’s vocal performance gives the music a very gothic rock flair. This furthermore enhances the dark atmosphere which is full of Lovecraftian lore.

Space Mirrors thus spice up their space rock with elements of gothic rock, progressive rock and even some heavy metal parts that make their music even accessible for fans of the darker sides of metal. Especially the second half of the album feels more cryptic, with generally longer songs that take some time to unravel all their mysteries. Space Mirrors have never really had glossy productions, even in the past, and this time the basic engineering makes it possibly harder to find access to their music. In the end it’s the musicians’ unending spirit that will convince you that Stella Polaris is a worthy conclusion to the trilogy, but also that it’s time for the band to try their hands at something new. And yet it’s great to see that underground space rock bands like Space Mirrors still hang around and delight their fans with new music in quite regular intervals.

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