With a new album “Ravenlord” coming out on November 25th, I felt the urge to put on Mystic Prophecy’s previous release “Fireangel” once again. (Can we just reflect for a minute on how awesome that album title is? … I know, right?!) Let it be clear, I don’t really need an excuse to revisit this record, as Mystic Prophecy, who already were a force to be reckoned with in the power metal field, really stepped up their game with this diabolical diamond.
I often thought and said that Mystic Prophecy might be the heaviest power metal band out there. Their riffs are dirty, thrashy, and thunder over you like a convoy of bulldozers, or a deranged herd of armored elephants trampling everything to dust. Yet for all the heaviness, they never lose sight of the melodies either, with Greek singer and producer R.D. Liapakis guiding you from one blare-along-chorus to the next. Their dark, often satanic imagery fits the grimness of the music really well, and even though I’m not fond of devilish lyrics, it’s hard not to yell the refrain of “Across The Gates Of Hell” or “Demon’s Crown” at the top of your already croaky voice. And even though it sounds borderline retarded, there is no saying no to “We Kill!! You Die!!”. Judging by one of the working titles of “Ravenlord”, it even gets a sequel in “Die Now !!!”. To hell with subtlety!
My favorites on this album filled with possible candidates are in the middle, where the diptych “To The Devil I Pray” and the title track are enough on their own to rank this album among the band’s best. They are gloomy but powerful songs with choruses for the ages. Other highlights include the Firewind-like “Fight Back The Light” and the very aggressive “Death Under Control”.
What makes “Fireangel” the best of their career so far, is not so much a change of formula, but the best possible product concocted from that formula. Guitar riffs crash, drum beats pound and vocal lines soar like never before, and I bet the band members themselves don’t even remember Gus G. used to play with them back in the day. Dream Evil barely survived his departure, but Mystic Prophecy came out of that split stronger than ever. With all this and more, it’s safe to say I’m stoked for the follow-up “Ravenlord” and if I’m granted the opportunity, I’ll be here to tell you how it caved my skull in with the intro alone. For now, FIRE…ANGEL…BURN!!!
Arno Callens' rating: 4.0 out of 5