I knew this album was going to awesome, but this is better than awesome! We were given early insights into the songs on NEW WAY HOME’s debut ‘Mirrors’ with demos for ‘Blackeyes’ and ‘Soul’ which have both been floating around for a while now. When I first heard them the high end production quality was candy to my ears but they are just blueprints now when compared to their final incarnations. ‘Soul’ has an extended intro and beautiful outro that’s PINK FLOYD-esque for a fleeting moment. ‘Black Eyes’ now has a broody, vaguely mechanised opening before that pummeling opening riff comes crashing in. And the bridge is bang your head PANTERA / MACHINE HEAD mosh-pit action… squeelies and all.
Then there are the songs that I haven’t heard before like ‘Autumn’. This is my favourite song on the album and probably the closest thing to atmospheric metal perfection I’ve come across in a hunt that has going on for the better part of a decade I can tell you! It’s super heavy, super spacey and the layered vocals send shivers down my spine… pure epicness. At the same time some of the lighter moments of this song remind me of a shoegazed version of ‘Down In A Hole’ by ALICE IN CHAINS. Come to think of it, When AIC released ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’ I remember Zorran commenting that there was some Jedi mastery going on with that recording. He must’ve paid a visit to Yoda since then because this track along with the rest of ‘Mirrors’ has that same epic depth of sound.
Just like the songs I’ve already mentioned the rest of ‘Mirrors’ is a beauiful balance of heavy and ambient. The soundscapes created by so many different guitar layers and other textures, counterbalanced with metal / hardcore aggression sets this release apart from anything else I’ve heard recently. What’s really cool is that with such depth in the music more and more nuances become apparent after each successive listen. It’s like a cosmic convergance of bands like MESHUGGAH, DEVIN TOWNSEND, KATATONIA, SOILWORK and everything else that’s cool in ambient metal.
And finally frontman Richard Simpson’s vocals deserve a special mention. It’s not just his ability to dish them out both coarse and clean but the experimentation with harmonies as well. The variation is amazing and sometimes it’s like a totally different person singing for example the opening verse of ‘Paper Hearts’ which reminds me of Pasi Koskinen ex-AMORPHIS.
NEW WAY HOME have quite clearly poured their hearts and souls into this album and maybe tapped into some divine power as well. A few years in the making maybe, but every day, hour, minute and second has been worth the wait. The bar of New Zealand metal has been raised once again! Check out the video for ‘Autumn’ below:
Buy New Way Home – Mirrors
High quality MP3 with digi artwork and lyrics booklet
Worldwide distributed physical CD