Maybe not reinventing the wheel, more polishing it up till it’s shining like new…
Review by Brian McGowan
Release date: 25 May 2015
When the Vinnie Vincent Invasion got burned down by the label on the cusp of the nineties, the rock & metal band Slaughter rose from the ashes. Anyone remotely interested will know the band’s subsequent history, and it’s perhaps not surprising that Mark Slaughter has used this first solo opportunity (produced by Michael Wagener) to personalise his music.
His signature vocal timbre is present and correct, but… it’s less metallised, it’s not so shrill, and his music goes beyond the visceral simplicity of classic metal, adding complexity and melody and… it’s got soul. And an abundance of energy… opener ‘Away I Go’ scorches the page, a road trip metaphor, eventually erupting into a cacophony of call-and-response. That’s only the beginning of a revitalised pocket of activity, where Slaughter adds width and texture to a traditionally narrow frame of reference. It will astound and delight you. Maybe.
Most albums have a centrepoint. A pivotal track around which all other tracks revolve. Yet every track here seems to be circling every other track, each one in its own distinct orbit, each one within its own world. That said, you could make an argument that the fabulous ‘Deep In Her Heart’ just edges ahead of the rest. It’s a 7 minute odyssey through popular music’s most interesting late twentieth century developments, from the Beatles and Pink Floyd to Spocks Beard and Savatage. Rock music spiked with psychedelia, powered by a gorgeous rush of pop optimism, spinning through the evocative sound of string quartets and an operatic, progmetal middle eight. An ultimately undefinable piece of music that is a delight to pick over. It’s the album in microcosm.
While present day rock music prevaricates over moving on or looking back, Slaughter does both. From ‘Baby Wants’, blatantly and affectionately assembled from Alice Cooper spare parts and old Slaughter albums, to the imaginative production and brilliantly baroque stomp of ‘Miss Elanious’, this is an album that is equally a waltz down memory lane and a lesson on how to write great rock music. Luxuriate in the languid, fading pop grandeur of ‘Carry Me’, or reminisce with ‘Don’t Turn Away’, a nostalgic, big production duet with Gena Johnson (the studio engineer), full of slamming crescendos, emphatic beats and melodic axework.
From that point onwards, the rear view mirror is the album’s all-consuming force. ‘Never Give Up’ is an anthemic blast from an illustrious past, and ‘The Real Thing’ suspends us in eighties AOR aspic, revealing a memorably melodic hook, stamped on like a tattoo. There’s not a weak moment on Reflections In A Rear View Mirror. No, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it polishes it up till it’s shining like new.
9 out of 10
- Away I Go
- Baby Wants
- Carry Me
- Deep In Her Heart
- Don’t Turn Away
- In Circle Flight
- Miss Elaineous
- Never Giving Up
- The Real Thing
- Somewhere Isn’t Here
- Velcro Jesus
Love this album, it makes me back to 80’s and 90’s. Good times with very good music.
Thankyou Mark Slaughter fans!
You all have exceedingly good taste!
Mark is a very talented musician. Reflections In A Rear View Mirror is something special Mark created. Congratulations to him for his wonderful music.
Agreed! It is great to have refreshing new music from a rock legend! Mark showcases his endless array of talents and abilities throughout the whole album. Each song definitely has its own feeling and unique sound. A true album to sit back and listen to in its entirety. With Velcro Jesus being my number one. :)
Awesome music I have the Iditty card and will buy the CD soon love love love it
“Reflections In A Rear View Mirror” by Mark Slaughter is outstanding. There are melodies in each song that rock perfectly. There absolutely is a Slaughter type sound to this album and a it’s a very melodic type rock album to a point with a lot of other music influences mixed in. The chorus often tell a story in each tune. Mark’s talent is undeniable great guitarist, plays bass as well, vocals right on with that Slaughter high octave falsetto, and the writing of this album makes “Reflections In A Rear View Mirror” a must have for that rock fan.
Mark’s new CD is a Masterpiece! I agree that the lyrics flow with the melodies. The lyrics are meaningful and soulful, the way songs should be. I can’t stop listening to it! Mark is a very special person who is a true “Rockstar” who makes his fans happy with giving us superb music. We are privileged to have such wonderful music to listen from a man who chooses to share his wonderful talent with the world. Thanks Mark!!
Thank you so much for the excellent article Mark Slaughter’s new CD reflections in a Rear View mirror. It is one of my favorite CD’s. It is rare for me to find that CD that I can listen to from start to finish and I am happy to say this is one of them. Mark’s vocal work is amazing as always. If you haven’t picked up this CD, I urge you to do so… it rocks and in true Mark Slaughter fashion there is something on the CD that will please everyone. Thank you Mark for continuing to share your awesome music with your fans… luv and hugs always.
This cd is amazing, great review
The album is amazing! If you haven’t listened to it you don’t know what you are missong! Mark is awesome with music and the lyrics!
All I have to say is Mark rocks! His new album is amazing; love it!!
Mark’s new solo album is a mix of things. It’s got a retro vibe that I love along with so much inspiration. It begins like a storybook and you can’t wait to flip the page to see where the story is going to take you. His creativity is at its best. His musical talent is phenomenal. The album is incredible. Great review on Reflections! You definitely got it right!
I couldn’t agree more! This is definitely a feel good album that takes you back yet is still with the times! I have always loved Mark’s voice and he does not disappoint on this release! It was worth the long wait!
The melodies seem to flow together perfectly. It’s very rare these days when you can listen to a cd from start to finish and this is one of those cd’s!!!!! .Great album from a great artist!
I love the CD so much, I can’t even pick a favorite song. Thank you for another great release, Mark! It fixes my Slaughter fix. Love it!!!
brilliant CD love it
Love it love it love it…nuff said :)
Hi Midlands Rocks, I agree with your article. Mark Slaughters “Reflections in the Rear View mirror” goes beyond the visceral simplicity of class metal, adding complexity and melody and it’s got soul. It has so much energy and each track does have it’s own distinct orbit, Within it’s own world. Thank you for such a great article. Mark Slaughter fans appreciate it!! P.S And yes it’s shining like new!!
As I said on Mark’s page, I refer to his new cd as “deja vu new.” It’s like taking you back but to somewhere you’ve never been. It’s Slaughter-esque on some songs and all Mark on others. If you haven’t bought the cd yet, don’t miss out. It is the BEST current music for 80’s and 90’s music lovers.
Comments are closed.