Imperative Reaction – Mirror (Album Review)

Imperative Reaction – Mirror (Album Review)

For those whom are a bit unclear who and exactly what Imperative Reaction is, they are an American Industrial band that has going strong since 1996. Founded by a duo named Ted Phelps and David Andrecht, their sound is progressive, at times dark, but always impressive. Now, the EBM giants, solely Phelps at this time, are ready to unleash their seventh album, Mirror. An album that has been in-the-works four years, on Friday, January 15, 2021, Metropolis Records will deliver it unto the ears of anxious fans. 

Their first full-length album in a decade, Mirror comes with 11 songs and lasts for a full 49 minutes. Something that has anticipated by followers, Each song will cause your muscles to twitch, and just maybe, even get then going along. Though the electronic bass lines of each track are much louder than the vocals, somehow Phelps still finds a way to reach your ears loud and clear. And yet, to actively listen to the lyrics, you really have to give them your fullest attention. That said, if you pay close attention, you can tell that Phelps’ words are quite personal. 

Overall, these tracks takes you by the hand, the rhythmic arrangements pull you onto the dance floor, and the soft voice of Phelps guides you along smoothly. In fact, the emotion in the vocals create images and stories before your inner eye. Each song carries strong emotions, whether it is despair, anger, love, passion or pain, this album is interesting and has it all.

Some songs even have quite an aggressive sound, and this anger might even shake you to the core. For example, “The Scales” is quite intense, with shouted lyrics and rhythms that you can almost feel the anger. Similar songs are “Ignite” and “Like Swine.” 

But on the other hand, there are also songs on this album that are more easygoing and almost remind you of Synthpop—songs like “Disavow,” “Glass” or “Intertwined.” And there are just as many songs that are a little bit of both: melodic with a touch of anger. The songs that fall into this category are “Alter Ego,” “Half of One,” as well as “When There Is Somewhere.” 

The arrangements of a handful tracks might feel repetitive to some that are not familiar with the EBM genre, while other songs are quite mellow and a pleasure for a broader range of listeners. Tracks such as the aforementioned “Intertwined,” which is quite nice, follows right after “Ignite,” which features a shouted chorus that screams out all its anger, might feel a bit jolting. However, that really all depends on you and your mood. If anything, it is quite diverse. 

When it is all said and done, Imperative Reaction is back with new music and Mirror is an album for all types of EBM fans. For people who mainly listen to other genres and only occasionally dip into EBM, this album includes a few gems, but also some songs that might get skipped. But again, that is up to each listener to decide. One thing is for sure: you should give every song a chance and listen to the entire album at least once, because it is certainly worth it. For this, Cryptic Rock gives the album 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

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Nina Mende
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