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Mysteriis is a Brazilian black metal band that was active between 1998 and 2006, but haven't released anything since 2000. The band ultimately resurfaced in 2011 and began recording the aptly titled comeback album“Hellsurrection”. Pretty much everything about this band screams standard South American black metal: album artwork, satanic imagery, corpse paint, song titles, etc. So, unless you're familiar with the band's previous work, you'd be pretty surprised to hear the atmospheric, keyboard laden backing to the music here, with a production that isn't layered into twenty feet of filth.
Unlike the band's previous work though, “Hellsurrection” comes across as tepid and banal, as Mysteriis seems content to sink into mediocrity with an extremely safe approach. This is still very much a black metal album, but there's nothing expressive about “Hellsurrection” at all: it's all by the numbers and formulaic. Yes, the lyrics, artwork and imagery are evil, but it seems like an afterthought. The band is, without a doubt, proficient on their instruments, but that can only take you so far with weak and forced songwriting. The entire album is rife with blasting drums and fast paced, chaotic trem picking and deep raspy snarls and shouts, as evidenced during the entirety of “Nazarene Shall Fall” and “Ave Mysteriis II – The Second Coming”, but it's always with a healthy cloud of atmospheric keys in the background. The band does toy with with varying tempos, such as the doomy, almost gothic vibes during “Torment on the Tomb of Christ” and “66 Infernal Legions”, which utilize simplistic power chord progressions and fairly innocuous double kick patterns. Both tracks seem to plod along to no end with simplistic patterns and overarching keyboard lines. “Torment on the Tomb of Christ” does pick up to a rollicking double bass run, but the rest of the instruments fail to follow suit and the song just trails away monotonously. I guess that a theme here, monotony, as everyone just goes through the motions.
Monotony aside, there are some solid chunks of metal in this album, if you can stand being bored with the rest of the album. “Temple of Disease” shows off the only actual tastefully incorporated lead guitar line on the album, which has somewhat of a Mediterranean feel to it. It does fade back into mediocrity, but it's a nice change of pace. I cannot fathom why they waited until the end of the album for that lead line, but oh well. Yes, yes, there are other leads, like the spastic noodling on “Nazarene Shall Fall”, but it really does nothing for the music. “Hell Hath No Limits” steers away from the “too safe” approach and throws in some Discharge flavored punk riffs that are simplistic yet catchy, but it's nice to add some hooks into music that doesn't have anything else really going for it. Hell “Vatican Decays” even delves into the realms of thrash, with some fairly groove-laden, headbangable riffs that ultimately get buried by the rest of the album just blasting away and going nowhere.
The musicians are good, but the songwriting is weak. This is one of the most by-the-numbers types of albums I've ever listened to. It's got that “oh, so evil” imagery, but some floating keyboard atmospherics and blasting drums don't make the album feel any more evil than any other bands It's heavy, yes. It's black metal, yes. This is such a tepid release that it has no lasting power whatsoever. None of the tracks want to me to re-listen to them. There's nothing screaming to me, “Shawn, you have to here this riff again!” “Hellsurrection” is a boring black metal album; it's as simple as that. You work hard for your money so spend it on something else.
Written for The Metal Observer:
Some resurrections are really surprising. This is the case for Mysteriis, a Brazilian band that knew certain notoriety when their first album was released. Launched in 1999, About the Christian Despair practically introduced symphonic black metal in South America. Strongly inspired by Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth music, which were triumphing at this time, this record generated strong reactions among local fans, used to uncompromising and extremely brutal metal. However, this adventure was short-lived and the group ceased operations at the turn of the new millennium.
Its reformation announcement (with three members of the original lineup) and the release of the aptly named Hellsurrection therefore naturally arouse curiosity, accompanied by skepticism. After all, much blood has flowed under the bridge since 2000 and black metal has changed profoundly since symphonic kitsch triumph. Did the band take notice? Partially.
General impression that emerges from the album is mixed. Production is solid and musicianship is impeccable. Discomfort is rather coming from compositions that sound devilishly ersatz. Obviously, the band did not want to take any risks that could jeopardize their return, thus obtaining a rather banal result. Despite their twelve years silence, Mysteriis members seem to have experienced the same stylistic mutation as their idols of yesteryear. Less gothic and closer melodeath / metalcore movement, the band’s musical evolution is highly reminiscent of Cradle of Filth’s own metamorphosis during the last decade. Songs are well built to appeal fans of easy riffs, catchy melodies, a hint of keyboard and a smokescreen « Satanism ». Nazarene Shall Fall is the only song to really distinguish itself with a frenzied rhythm and a real black metal atmosphere. Rest of the album unfortunately fails to match this first flash.
Brazilian black metal has never really been recognized for its originality and it is certainly not Hellsurrection that may change this prejudice. It is unfortunate that the band did not take this long break to get away somewhat from their original references and explore new horizons. They certainly have the capacity, but desire has perhaps not followed. Pity.
Originally written for Métal Obscur.
Recently reunited and eager to spread their satanic gospel throughout the black metal realm, Brazilian band Mysteriis have coalesced once more after their rather uninspiring stint as Darkest Hate Warfront to release only their second full length album, and this isn’t just any old resurrection, it’s a fucking hellsurrection! Aren’t they clever? You’d think given the tragic album title, horribly trite cover art and the band’s history you’d expect to music to be similarly shallow and intolerable; I was certainly prepared for the worst, but the material present on Hellsurrection actually isn’t as dreadful as I initially anticipated.
The first half admittedly lags behind significantly compared to the latter half of the album which contains the stronger material. From the off you’re initially struck with just how poor the production is, it’s a plight that hangs over the album continually; the guitar tone is far too clean and clinical, which is a shame as they can sew together some impressive riffs and harmonies which as shown scattered throughout Hellsurrection. A good deal of murk and grit would have added so much more to this album.
Execution wise, although fairly formulaic and extremely predictable, the songs hold their own and occasionally there are some inspired moments such as the soloing in the second half of the opener and “Torment on the Tomb of Christ” which is arguably the strongest track here along with “Heaven’s Monotony” and it’s rather quirky Arabic styled guitar flurries. Agares’ guttural rasp is sufficient enough but far too one dimensional, something which could be said of the majority of the album, it all kind of just coagulates into one big pool of extreme mediocrity. At times there’s even a few keyboard passages spread within but they’re sparse and sounds as if the band aren’t too sure whether they want to take the melodic road or not.
I would liken their sound to mid-period Ancient and at times there are shadows of Emperor circling, but for the most part it falls within the ‘safe’ category that Ancient themselves eventually fell into. I suppose it’s no surprise the mid era Ancient vocalist Lord Kaiaphas makes a cameo as does Lord Belial’s frontman. It’s vicious and harbours a good deal of intent with all the elementary aspects performed well enough but when push comes to shove it’s nothing more than an a severely average black metal album, something of which there are enough of infesting the planet as it is.
As far as a showcase for Brazilian black metal goes though it never had a huge scene to begin with, I don’t think Mystifier have much to get concerned over, there are better artists out there. It lacks the unique characteristics and variety which is needed to elevate a band such as this to the next level. There’s all manners of blasphemy and unholiness crawling out of every orifice here and if that’s your thing you might find something present, though I struggle to find a reason to go back to it really, for although an improvement on the previous (that wasn’t hard), it’s still too much of a non-event.