Greg Puciato – Mirrorcell (Album Review)

Greg Puciato – Mirrorcell
Released: July 1st 2022

Line Up:

Greg Puciato // Vocals/Guitars/Bass/Keyboards
Chris Hornbrook // Drums

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No one could ever accuse Greg Puciato of being lazy. Since the breakup of his ‘main’ band The Dillinger Escape Plan back in 2017, the Baltimore born/Los Angeles-based musician has been keeping himself extremely busy. From the electronic project The Black Queen, metal supergroup Killer Be Killed, collaborations with Jerry Cantrell and his own output, it’s been an exceptionally productive few years for Puciato.

Puciato’s newest full-length Mirrorcell is his second solo release, following 2020’s excellent Child Soldier: Creator of God. While the sophomore effort diverges into a large number of musical avenues, the heart of Mirrorcell lies in the alt-rock/grunge style of the 90s. However, this is far from a retro-sounding record; rather Puciato takes the best elements of the decade’s alternative and heavier aspects and brings it into 2022.

The opening duo ‘In This Hell You Find Yourself’ and ‘Reality Spiral’ are a full-throttle album kickoff, with chugging thick riffs and powerful drumming that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Killer Be Killed project. On these tracks, and a decent chunk of the LP, Puciato’s voice alternates between a powerful, yet clearly enunciated scream, and cleaner, emotive singing. The pulse-racing ‘No More Lives To Go’ has a real Soundgarden/Alice In Chains vibe with its heavy, odd-time signature attack, while the electronic, synth-driven ‘We’ steps fully into Depeche Mode territory.

While some of Mirrorcell sees Puciato wearing his influences clearly on his sleeve, the record’s best material is more unique and original, with the two preview singles comfortably amongst the finest tracks released this year. The earnest ‘Never Wanted That’ drops the pace and focuses on more melodic, restrained vocals and guitar melodies, whilst the incredible ‘Lowered’, featuring Code Orange’s Reba Meyers, packs huge vocal hooks and diving, shoegaze-style guitar work. Both tunes show off Puciato’s extremely impressive songwriting chops – they are so catchy and instantly ear-grabbing, yet far from poppy or saccharine.

Much like his debut LP, Mirrorcell features the drumming talents of Poison The Well member Chris Hornbrook, with all other instrumentation being held down by Puciato himself. For a musician who is mostly known for being a vocalist – and an extremely good one at that – his guitar playing in particular is excellent. He never shows off; rather happy to lay down riffs, melodies, and the occasional lead break that solely serve the song. ‘Rainbows Underground’ and ‘I, Eclispe’ keep the back half of the album’s momentum going, with massive grooves and more memorable and dynamic passages. The first half of the epic closer ‘All Waves To Nothing’ is almost suffocating in its intense vocals and repeated motifs, before the piece opens up into more melodic pastures, then climaxes with Puciato’s powerful screams and wild guitar work.

Making rock music in 2022 that isn’t purely derivative of the bands that came before isn’t easy, but Greg Puciato has absolutely nailed it. He is a powerful lyricist, exceptional singer, and an all-round super talented musician – but most telling, a commanding songsmith. If there is any justice in the music biz, Puciato will become a huge name in the rock industry on the back of Mirrorcell. It has the near-impossible balance of credibility and accessibility that so very few possess in the heavy music game. Mirrorcell is the work of an artist at the top of his game.

Greg Puciato – Mirrorcell tracklisting:

1. In This Hell You Find Yourself
2. Reality Spiral
3. No More Lives To Go
4. Never Wanted That
5. Lowered
6. We
7. I, Eclipse
8. Rainbows Underground
9. All Waves to Nothing

Rating: 9/10
Mirrorcell is out now on Federal Prisoner. Grab it here
Review By – Andrew Kapper. Twitter: @andrew_kapper

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