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End of Mirrors is the new album from Oakland’s Alaric. Operating at height of their powers, the quartet delivers a claustrophobic, gloomy, epically grandiose work. Shane Baker’s lyrics are deeply personal and universal in scope. They reflect hard times in a fallen world at a time of monumental change in the lives of the band members. These are emotional and deeply physical journeys; inky, blackened stuff, but not without a glint of hope. It could be moonlight shining through a crack in the wall or maybe just a sickly glow visible out of the corner of one’s eye. Jason Willer pummels the drums, driving forward with power and finesse, and then dropping down into a roiling boil of tribal toms. Bassist Rick Jacobus’s woozy but solid lines carry the melody while filling out the sonic space with riding drone notes. “I am going for a ‘sheets of electric rain’ guitar sound,” says guitarist Russ Kent, a master of his craft. He creates scintillating, cascading moments of beauty that open into crushing and aggressive distortion. As with their previous efforts, the new LP was recorded and mixed by Skot Brown at his Kempton House studios. Brown’s contributions have been crucial to realizing the vision of the band, expanding on its creepy and complex soundscapes while giving the songs a chance to breathe and shine with exceptional clarity. The band also enlisted the sound artist and experimental electronic musician Thomas Dimuzio to contribute his unique atmospheric investigations to End of Mirrors. Dimuzio employs a Buchla Polyphonic radio tuner, modular analog synthesizers and non-traditional methods. Make no mistake, this is not passive listening. These are instant classics for a new dark age.