‘Smoke and Mirrors Volume 1’ album review

Image courtesy of Mtown Records

album: Smoke and Mirrors Volume 1
artist: 12 Stones
genre: hard rock
release date: November 13, 2020
star rating: three out of five

review by Noah Yager

12 Stones are veterans of hard rock, and Smoke and Mirrors Volume 1 shows what that experience brings to the table. By this stage in their career, it’s refreshing to hear that their sound is this polished and consistent in quality. This five-track EP exhibits a good spread of their sound and capabilities.

The best praise I can give the EP is that the instrumentation is excellent. 12 Stones plays with so many rhythms and guitar tones, and it’s just plain fun to listen to. The best song on the album is, hands down, “Gone Away.” The pacing in the song does a great job of balancing upbeat and mellow sections, and it ends with an awesome ’80s-style guitar solo. “Anywhere but Here” is also a great, catchy rock song.

Smoke and Mirrors Volume 1 is not without its flaws, however. “In Flames” is probably the weakest track on the album. It’s a high-energy opener to the EP, but some of the lyrics don’t flow super well. Additionally, there’s about two minutes of silence at the end of the track, which is a real pain to listen through or remember to skip. I’m wondering whether the silence was a creative decision or a mistake, but, either way, I’m not a fan of it. Also worth mentioning is that the chorus in “Sever” sounds almost identical to the chorus in “Disappear” off of their EP The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday. “Sever” does enough different, though, to still be very enjoyable.

Once Smoke and Mirrors Volume 1 ends, you are left with a solid hard rock album and a good time. If you’re a fan of 12 Stones or hard rock, you’ll probably enjoy the EP as I have. If you’re neither, I’d still take a listen – if only to hear a fine-tuned example of a rock band. As for me, I’m primed and ready for Smoke and Mirrors Volume 2.

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