~reviewed by Joel Steudler
I had a whole other review of Mirrorworlds, the reissued 1998 Eucharist classic, written and ready to go... but something gnawed at me until I caved in and set out to rewrite it. I should not like this album nearly as much as I apparently do. Eucharist follows the Swedish Melodic Death Metal formula to the letter. All the riffs, all the tempo shifts, all the ideas on Mirrorworlds (except for one exception I'll detail later) have been heard a billion and one times- mainly thanks to the extreme commercialization of the genre following In Flames' ascendence to popularity.
For an almost entirely generic album, though, it sure is good. Too often, albums released in an over saturated genre sound manufactured, crafted specifically to cash in on a trend. Mirrorworlds sounds like it was created by people who really cared about the music and put all they had into making it the best it could be. The dirty, scratchy, raw analog production probably helps to dispell that 'studio-robot perfect' feel that sellout albums tend to get. There is a real energy and fury in the way Eucharist plays that the production renders beautifully, capturing each derivative but highly catchy riff in all it's raging glory.
There are two elements on Mirrorworlds, though, that really make it stand out from the masses. The first is Marcus Johnsson's agonized rasp, so full of emotion and forlorn intensity that even the most jaded listeners will not be able to dismiss its stirring vehemence. The second element was quite a surprise - track seven, 'In Nakedness', is a hauntingly beautiful neoclassical composition for oboe, guitar, and bass. I certainly had no idea I'd run into as artful and moving a piece during a rote (though redeeming) exercise in genre metal. I don't think I've ever run into an oboe on a metal album, in fact, and this track certainly elevates the artistic merit of 'Mirrorworlds' a notch or two.
The performances of each of the bandmates are passionate and well crafted, though not technically impressive. The songs are full of cliched riffs and melodic progressions, yet they're catchy, propulsive, and never lost my interest. The production is old, fuzzy, and dated, yet it has a charm that sometimes seems lacking in crisp digital recordings. Mirrorworlds is a perplexing album, but I have a feeling that it's about as good as Swedish Melodic Death Metal gets. If you're not burned out on the genre, this is a classic you may have missed once, but should not let escape your grasp again.
The End Records (US):