Jimmy Rowe’s review. Rather, this version hail from Montreal in Canada and play feisty, hook-laden rock with expansive passages of progressive experimentation.
Two years in the making, this mouth-watering beast is just the kind
of tempting morsel that is far too easily discarded. It’s a worthy
long-player that rewards those who persist in the same way that the
offerings of their forbears Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Deftones,
those that they are so quick to name-check, did. Essentially, Mire
imbue their work with an organic, rhythmical flow with room made for
builds, spaces and crunches of varying length. On an emotional level,
the album, rather appropriately, heads inward to the point of axis, ‘Limitless’, before heading back outwards. It is all, at once, both portentous attack and release music and expansive, progressive fare.
Kicking off strongly, ‘Complex’ strikes with biting rock in the style of Incubus, and to a lesser extent Audioslave,
to quickly establish an early momentum yet, even this early, Mire
aren’t afraid to vary the pace and utilize ethnic instrumentation to
stir up the formula a little. Going one better ‘Tyrannicide’ is
chock-full of hooks, striding out with skidding guitar and
scene-setting keys which reach out to tug down the most infectious of
choruses. J. P. Lachapelle’s vocal is powerful enough to grab your
attention, his strong, melodious affectations aping those employed by
Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, Fates Warning), Maynard James Keenan (Tool) and even those of Jethro Tull‘s Ian Anderson, but it’s Stephane Boileau’s dominating tribal drumming that holds it.
The central core of the album provides the majority of the ambient noodling and sprawling melodies. The two-part ‘Limitless’ stands apart gripping the listener with plucked verses, suitably soft boy-girl harmonics that echo O.S.I. in their occasional brushstrokes of electronica. Oddly, the central track, ‘Beast And The Machine’, tries all manner of styles but never fails to ignite fully. Any lack of impact is balanced by the enormous hitting power of ‘Catalan Atlas’, in which we are asked to “crack the code of God:, and the mind-blowing ‘Open Circle’.
The latter increases the pace, throws in plenty of rhythmic punch and
comes loaded with sweet, soaring pop-rock as it juggles gut-rumbling
bass and fizzing riffs.
There are moments of instrumental goodness that retain that sense of space that the album allows for. ‘Mantra Cymatic’ is a throwaway gimmick, much unlike ‘Convolution’
where you are thrillingly encased inside the amniotic sac of some vast
machine where ear-to-ear drift takes you warping through a series of
clanking anomalies. Later, these effects splinter and take on a
visceral, infinitely more industrial edge for the very Tool-esque cosmic
rush of ‘Upheaval’.
Lyrically and thematically, it’s a hugely memorable album. Toying
with the concepts of (at a guess) self-aware machines, ultimate power
and humanity, there are powerful lines that emerge to grip us. From the
instant “Why don’t you leave me alone / I don’t wanna have to go” via
the desperate “This addiction is a crime / Just kill to keep alive” and
out to the sensitive “Crafted hatred, stripping naked / Fuck with my
heart, crushing my head”.
Despite Inward/Outward being an impressive opening salvo,
there is still very much the sense that Mire are still feeling their way
around their sound; sticking to the paths well-trodden. Progressive
rock, of course, is a genre that will allow them time and room to
experiment because they do need to find a new path of their own to
journey down. The grittier, more emotive tracks here suggest they are
more than capable of locating that.