Andy Garibaldi's review of "Memories of the Future"
SPACE MIRRORS: Memories Of The Future (TBA)
The follow-up to the groundbreaking space-rock debut album 'The Darker Side Of Art' finds keyboards/synths musician and drummer Alisa Coral reunited with the electric lead, rhythm and bass guitar talents of Michael Blackman with guest appearances from Litmus' Martin Litmus (one track), Meads Of Asphodel's Metatron (2 tracks) plus ex-Hawkwind and Starfield's Keith Kniveton (1 track), and on three tracks a vocalist, Amber.
The first thing you notice about the album, following the spacey intro, is the intensity - this is an album that takes no prisoners. Produced to sound loud to the point of explosive, this massive brew of synths, drums, bass and guitars and female vocals, strides a giant-like path through your skull as space synths swoop all around the place and this huge sounding amalgam of instrumental is positively jaw-dropping, the dirty guitar riffing allied to the soaring multi-synths and pounding rhythms, occasionally breaking it up for extra and amazing dynamic effect, the final five minutes of the twelve minute track, featuring lead guitar work that will make your hair curl as the album cruises and drives to a crushingly heavy space-rock finale. 'Travelling To The Core' pretty well begins where 'Creatures Of The Twilight' left off, with a huge sounding sea of rhythms and synths and guitar riffs, above which this incendiary lead guitar goes nuclear as this awesome solo flies out of the mix and carves a path through your head. Then, with the rhythms chugging along like a juggernaut, a synth solo ensues that allies to a world of space synths swooshing all around, and the re-entry of the lead guitar, combined with this soaring synth solo, simply takes your breath away, thundering their way through to a nine minute final point that ends considerably more sedately. 'Eternal Search' starts sedately with space synths before suddenly erupting into another ocean of synths, lead guitars, drums and bass, only this time they throw even more of the kitchen sink in, as the angelic but strong vocals from Amber enter the whole sonic soup and soar alongside the cannon fire of instrumentation that is currently whacking holes in your head. As heady a psychedelic brew and as heavy a slice of space-rock as you'll hear. The near ten minute 'Death Inc' continues the crushing assault on the senses and this time adds voice samples into the proceedings for even greater dynamic effect, this time the combination of miles upon miles of guitars, rhythms that could sear holes in diamonds at long ranger and synths that go nuclear all sounding so unbelievably overpowering that you are transfixed to the sea of space-rock fury that is being unleashed, and I promise you that, up to now and beyond, you've never heard a space-rock album as heavy as this.
But then, a surprise as the pace decelerates for 'Mysteries of an Ancient Race', as a wailing synth lead is heard over solid fuzz guitar, chiming leads, mid-paced rhythm section, swirling space synths only for a steaming guitar solo to enter briefly before giving ground to the synth lead once more as the whole track slowly marches forward, at this point in the album, the intensity giving way to mid-paced lightness, albeit still solid and full-sounding, and coming across as a beautiful exercise in album dynamics, seeming to last a lot longer than its four minute running time - a good thing, I hasten to add. 'Feed The Serpent' is another similarly paced number but this time with a much more expansive, almost choral, synths-based backing, allied to swooping space synths, while the multi-tracked bass and drums and distant guitar riffs gallop onwards, and over all of this, we have the icing on the cake as Alisa Coral delivers a vocal that intones in almost Nico-esque fashion as the slightly echoed, mutli-tracked voice glides eerily on top of the dense instrumental backing, the guitar riffing climbing higher in the mix as the intensity increases, a corking five and a half minutes of building, sizzling, slowly driving space-rock. The final 3 tracks and nearly fourteen unbroken minutes of music go under the banner 'Dune Trilogy', presumably inspired by the legendary sci-fi book, and starts with slowly moving seas of cosmic synths before a lone synth lead heralds the arrival of a huge space-rock juggernaut of instrumentation as guitars, synths and bass/drums move slowly forth, this time Amber's vocals, slightly higher register than Coral's, deliver the song as they soar above the musical maelstrom swirling down below, the vocals in classic space-rock vein and providing that extra touch to a steaming track that dies down right at the end only to segue directly into this roaring morass that is 'The Space Crusade' where the Meads of Asphodel's vocalist Metatron adds a Lemmy-like vocal over the supercharged arrangement of rampaging rhythm section, swirling fuzz and lead guitars plus cascading synths that fall from the skies as the song scorches onward in a blaze of space-rock fury, ending on lone synth and echoed percussion before once more segueing into the final part of the continuous track, with a solid drum beat and expansive synths/guitars/bass backdrop as the song drives ever on, with Amber's vocals now right upfront and soaring away, so perfect sounding in the context of such a solid space-rock arrangement, her range really showing through on this finale to the epic track, and a vocal performance to climax a massive, solid and wholly consistent second album of driving, intense, but never overbearing space-rock taken to its almighty and quite logical extreme of power and clarity, excellently composed and arranged, played to perfection and a stunning album overall.
A final, bonus, track features their take on the two Hawkwind tracks 'Opa Loka' and 'Uncle Sam's On Mars', here done as a ten and a half minute medley that stomps the original and any subsequent version into the floor as the musicians and co-lead singers of Alisa & Metatron turn an insipid original into a burning track of comet proportions as the massive sound turns the Calvert menace into a big bang of epic nature and you won't find a finer version on the planet.