What has your life morphed into during an existence of never-ending uncertainty? Have you mostly kept to your schedule of the Before Times, clinging to habits like a life raft? Have you taken the situation as an opportunity to grow in some form? Have you fallen into a chasm of despair…or a combination of all three? Each of us experiences this sea change in individual ways, with individual reactions, as we wander through this new labyrinth of spirit. In tarot, the Death Card signifies a new shift, a transition. What appears as an ending is a fresh start for something else.
This is the underlying philosophical message in The End Is the Beginning, (Wave Records) the debut album from Norwegian post-punk/gothic rock project Mirror of Haze. Taking inspiration from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, this Goth-tinged number evokes the anxiety and isolation in a post-COVID world, floating between the realms of rationality and chaos.
Mirror of Haze sculpts an ethereal soundscape of reverb-drenched guitars, driving bass, rhythmic drum machine beats, and commanding vocals. The Chameleons and The Fields Of The Nephilim are heavy influences in their sound, as well as their modern counterparts Drab Majesty and Then Comes Silence, but the band’s uniquely Norwegian ambiance comes through strongly.
“Lyrically, the album builds on eternal philosophical questions of life and death in the dystopian post-apocalyptic setting,” says the band. “Behind shuttered windows and closed doors, our distant memories are slowly drifting into the void of reality. There is no present, past, or future, just this elusive feeling of eternal loneliness. The flowers bloom and fade away an infinite number of times, across infinite time and space. The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end. Our attempts to break the circle bring us to the place where it all started. Forever lost in the maze of life, unseen and unknown, this very moment is already forgotten.”
Recorded in isolation during the pandemic months of 2020, it captures the mood of this strange and unprecedented time of modern history. The accompanying lyric video of a static still life encompasses the feeling of the suspension of time; the delicate fragility of plants juxtaposed against the timelessness of ancient statuary, as sands slip through an hourglass. It’s simple, poetic and extremely timely in this bizarre era.