Mountain Mirrors


Mountain Mirrors

Mountain Mirrors - Mountain Mirrors ©2006 Self-Released
1. Stay Evil
2. The Demon's Eye
3. Karmic Dogs
4. Your Time Has Come
5. Calm Before The Storm
6. Alone In A Crowd
7. Deploribus Unum
8. Praying Mantis

If you've been sitting around your house pining away for a cross between gothic "deathfolk" music and doom metal, I have just the solution for you. Mountain Mirrors, a solo endeavor from Jeffrey Sanders, is an acoustic foray into brooding, somber music that borrows from various elements and provides an appropriate contemplative, pensive style. This self titled CD, while a product of the imagination of Sanders, is fortunately not one of those one man projects recorded in one's bedroom while mumsy and pops are out grocery shopping at CostCo. Rather, Sanders enlists help from a few friends to flesh out his musical ideas. The resulting sound features plenty of acoustic guitar, some cello, piano, keyboards and percussion. You can think of this as Antimatter without the lush overkill or Anathema circa 1996 all stripped down. There are hints of the deathfolk world that Current 93 inhabits, but without all the dross. Again, one must visualize deathfolk stripped down. One may notice a pattern here, in fact. Mountain Mirrors is somewhat minimalistic in its approach, but without taking away, you know, the instruments. Sanders' voice is expressive, although not displaying a huge range. However, this isn't the sort of music that requires multi-octave wailings.

If I have but one gripe about this CD, it is the production of the percussion. The snare, in particular, is a bit too bright and snappy for a style of music that essentially should be restrained, weepy and brooding. Otherwise, this is an above average release that hints at doom metal without resorting to the bombastic sledgehammer approach. Recommended for those who just can't get enough misery in their lives.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2006

Back to top 

Dreadnought

Mountain Mirrors - Dreadnought ©2008 Self-Released
1. Born Deranged
2. Field of Grass
3. I Don't Belong
4. End of Days
5. The Elemental
6. Your Dirge
7. Riot Within
8. Birds in a Rat Race
9. Better Days
10. A Spell to Block the Sun
11. Angelic

Jeff Sanders is back again with his Mountain Mirrors despondent-rock project and the good news is that the snare drum sound that bothered me on the previous album has been totally taken care of. That automatically makes Dreadnought a more enjoyable listen than its predecessor.

The better news is that there are many other reasons Mountain Mirrors' 2008 musical entry is an improved album. Dreadnought shows Sanders slowly and adeptly progressing his musical vision without biting off more than he can chew. One might notice that, as far as this sort of gloomy thing goes, Dreadnought is a more upbeat album. But let's not get carried away here. It's still a pensive, introspective album that isn't going to challenge They Might Be Giants for cheerful music anytime soon. The interesting thing about Mountain Mirrors is how it successfully avoids any particular genre pigeonhole. There are elements of doom metal, deathfolk, acoustic folk rock and even traces of intelligent alternative rock, yet it's nearly impossible to classify Mountain Mirrors into a single category.

One of the more noteworthy songs on the album is "Field of Grass", which sounds like Sanders somehow channelled the spirit of Mark Sandman as this tune captures the unique vibe of Morphine (without baritone saxophone wailing, though). And if you need some proof that Dreadnought is a bit more upbeat release, "Better Days" is downright slaphappy. But keep that in the context of this sort of morose music.

Mountain Mirrors is the sort of band that should appeal to fans of Katatonia who want something a bit more earthy and acoustic. Dreadnought is a step up from the band's last effort and an above average CD worth seeking out.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2008

Back to top 

The Immortal Deadbeats EP

Mountain Mirrors - The Immortal Deadbeats EP ©2009 Self-released
1. Owned Again
2. Ascension Vibes
3. Immortal Deadbeats
4. Wash me Away

I find it somewhat ironic that The Immortal Deadbeats EP is a digital only release for Mountains Mirrors as this album happens to be unabashedly rooted in the past. It serves as more proof that life is irony. Or life is pain. I'm not sure which. Anyhow, Mountain Mirrors continues their upward trajectory as a project that just gets more and more interesting with each release. Mainman Jeff Sanders' has tapped into a warm, organic and lush feel for this EP, giving it firm footing in fleeting hints of good progressive rock of yesteryear but fortunately not caving into the pretentions of that scene. More importantly, The Immortal Deadbeats does not sound dated. And unlike most progressive rock outfits, Mountain Mirrors does not spend your precious valuable time noodling away on throwaway exercises in musical dexterity.

Much like last year's Dreadnought, The Immortal Deadbeats is based on dark acoustic guitar. The EP finds a more prominent place for warm keyboards and a loose, but strong drumming performance by Magnus Brandell (who apparently contribued immeasurable "badass vibes", which you can hear at the two minute mark of the title track if you just turn down the treble on your equalizer). Jeff Sanders seems more and more comfortable with his singing. The best track of the four is "Wash Me Away", which has a nice oldtime Genesis fade. Well, at least to my ears. I couldn't stomach most 70s prog rock, so I prefer to compare everything to oldtime Genesis.

This short, but highly enjoyable EP is available for a recession priced bargain. In these uncertain times, you just can't go wrong with the latest Mountain Mirrors.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2009

Back to top 

Asylum Acres EP

Mountain Mirrors - Asylum Acres EP ©2012 Self Released
1. Your Angels
2. Dead River Co.
3. Full of Flies
4. Asylum Acres
5. Spell
6. Purgatory Chasm

I've been following Jeff Sanders' Mountain Mirrors project for a number of years now and having heard his latest EP, Asylum Acres, I must commend him for having found a musical niche that fully fits his particular muse. It's the sound of a moody loner who probably does just fine in social settings and very likely has no urge to sit in a coffee shop on a Macbook writing inane poetry about his feelings and how they relate to blades of grass. Despite the fact that Mountain Mirrors is a mostly acoustic project, it avoids the folk rock pitfalls that feature the moderately unbathed stylings of a vegan named Starr (with two R's). Instead, as Asylum Acres demonstrates, Mountain Mirrors is a brooding sound that avoids being goth and silly.

Rather than rant on about what Mountain Mirrors is not, I should probably point out these songs are built around acoustic guitar, the violin of Kurt Baumer and a subtle, but steady rhythm section. Jeff Sanders has a voice that might not burst out of the gates with virtuosity but aptly expresses the moods of the songs. "Your Angels" almost has a swampy feel with the guitars while "Spell" has a slight psychedelic yet pensive sound to it. The most impressive thing is that Mountain Mirrors remains consistent with their previous releases but still sound fresh on this EP.

If you're at all a fan of melancholy rock, Mountain Mirrors is worth an ear-gander. Fortunately, with the help of the internet, you can head right over to their Bandcamp site and give it a preview.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2012

Back to top