Michael Phillips – Mirrors Within Mirrors (Roxx Productions) 2009
Michael Phillips is best known as the guitarist behind bands like Deliverance and Fasedown. "Mirrors Within Mirrors" is Mike’s first solo CD and features guest performances by artists such Jim Chaffin (Crucified, Fasedown), Mark Solomon (Crucified, Stavesacre), Jimmy Brown (Deliverance, Jupiter VI), Devin Shaeffer (Fasedown/Once Dead), Matt Davis (Oh Sleeper), Bill Bachman (Neal Morse) and Scott Waters (Ultimatum/Once Dead). What you will get on this CD is a solo album in the truest sense. Rather than try to create and album that is a solo Deliverance or Fasedown album, “Mirrors in Mirrors” is very experimental, yet quite coherent and enjoyable at the same time. The album is technical, progressive, melodic, heavy, and diverse. Imagine mixing Dream Theater together with thrash metal and some hardcore and you might get a mental picture of what is going on here. The odd thing is, though these styles seem diametrically opposed, it all works together really well.
The album starts off with a very Satriani/Vai like instrumental before breaking into the magnum opus of the CD, the lengthy title track in many pieces features long instrumentals, as well as some shorter vocal parts featuring the harsh, abbrassive vocals of Devin Shaeffer and the clean vocals of Jimmy Brown. This song is a musical journey and offers a plethora of emotions. If this CD had featured these two songs alone, the CD would have been worth the price of admissin. However, "Mirrors Within Mirrors" also has several other tracks ranging in style from pure thrash metal, "It's the Beat" to a sweet worship number "I Will Praise Him Still" to some more beautiful acoustic pieces "Who Am I?". "It's the Beat" is indeed the classic Deliverance song given a kick in the pants, thanks to some fancy guitarwork from Mike. Basically, Michael's solo CD is exactly what you might expect from one of Christian metal's best guitar shredders.