Greg Puciato continues to show us how he's more than just the singer from The Dillinger Escape Plan. I mean, don't get me wrong, being the singer from Dillinger is no small body of work on its own, but Puciato, in his second solo record, takes listeners in even more varied and diverse directions. I have quickly grown quite fond of Mirrorcell in just a few short days. I particularly love how Greg integrates a wealth of influences into a tightly crafted LP that offers so much for so many. Yes, it is vastly different than The Dillinger Escape Plan and you're looking for that sound, well… keep looking. But if you're a Dillinger fan with an open mind and an open ear to different styles of music, you might find (like I did) that Mirrorcell is pretty brilliant.
Having just completed a collaboration with the legendary Jerry Cantrell on Cantrell's 2021 Brighten, Puciato's work shows some heavy influence from his close friend. This is especially apparent on "No More Lives to Go" which is a heavy, grungy Alice In Chains inspired rocker. Greg evokes some of the best of the 90's in this track not only with his guitars (he plays all of them on the record) but with making the most of his signature vocal range.
Of course, it isn't all about the 90's on Mirrorcell. In fact, "Never Wanted That," has a distinctive 80's aura to it. Between the heavy reverb on guitar and the nostalgic vocals, "Never Wanted That" is a clear nod to the darkwave that took hold in the underground at the beginning of that most amazing decade. It's a little bit Sisters of Mercy, a touch of Love and Rockets but then with a bit of Alice In Chains again to add some circa 1992 influence as well. Similar sonics are heard on "We" which also introduces a sound reticent of an R&B beat and a voice to match. It's the blending and bridging of genres and sounds on this record that really lures you in and keeps your heightened interest. Think Faith No More. Yes, it's at that level. It is that good. Greg is that talented.
That same 80's vibe is apparent in "Lowered," which might have fit perfectly in a Michael Mann production. This is the song you put on in the middle of the night while you're taking a serious solo drive along the long winding highway right after you left your ex-girlfriend's house for the very last time. It's dark, shadowy, contemplative and honest. Reba Meyers (Code Orange) gives the vocal performance of her life on this track and Chris Hornbrook crushes it in on the drums. The three of them together is pure fucking brilliance.
"I, Eclipse" is yet another brooding banger where Greg's voice just completely overtakes your very essence. He demonstrates that Chris Cornell quality here in his delivery. That comes up again in "Rainbows Underground." When you hear him sing, it's like you have to stop whatever you're doing. You can no longer focus on anything other than Greg, his music and what it is he's singing. It's like your drawn into a great thriller of a film and nothing can really redirect your attention until it's over. "All Waves to Nothing," in similar vein, combines some of the early Soundgarden angst interspersed with Nine Inch Nails like rage all culminating in a crescendo of layered, emphatic guitars.
Again, if you're familiar with Greg's solo work, you know it's far different from Dillinger, but you might still be just as amazed. Puciato is an artist at the very top of his game right now, continuing to challenge himself and immerse his entire being into his art. In this respect, maybe he hasn't ventured that far from his time in Dillinger after all.
After Greg's first solo record, I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't think 2020's Child Soldier was all that good. It wasn't bad, but it needed more seasoning. Perhaps I underestimated Puciato a bit as frankly I wasn't expecting something THIS downright amazing as a follow up. The songwriting is so much better and varied on this newest record.
Mirrorcell, while not the blistering rocker you might have expected, is the record you might just realize you actually needed. It's one of the best records of 2022 without any doubt.