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Power metal with dark aggression - 80%

TrooperOfSteel, July 7th, 2011

Just 20 months after Mystic Prophecy released the awesome ‘Savage souls’, these lads from Germany have a new CD hitting the shelves, called ‘Satanic curses’. It is Mystic Prophecy’s 5th full-length CD in just 7 years, so it’s good to see a band constantly churning out solid release after solid release with not much time in between. It is also their 2nd CD without axeman Gus G, who is now permanently with Greek power metal band Firewind.

‘Satanic curses’ continues Mystic Prophecy’s trend of recent CDs, where they are becoming less melodic and more dark and thrashy. But they still have a nice balance between the 2 styles and it seems to be working for them. Possibly with the departure of Gus G have the band been able to be more creative, and it also takes them out of the massive group of other bands who just play melodic power metal.

Unfortunately for Mystic Prophecy, they seem to have fallen into the trap which has affected many metal bands throughout time. And that is their song structures have stayed the same since their debut CD, back in 2001. It is your typical intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/solo/chorus/end structure which many bands follow, but Mystic Prophecy very rarely change their structure and soon enough with every song almost sounding the same you feel yourself wanting more and feeling somewhat tired of having the same thing. The other trap which Mystic Prophecy have gotten into, is track length. Around and between 4:00 and 4:30 (with a few exceptions) is pretty much guaranteed for a Mystic Prophecy track on any CD. Again, it brings me to my original point about wanting to change it up and not to make it so predictable. That may not affect some people, but I feel that with every song almost sounding the same that towards the end I get bored and wanted to hear something different from this band.

As for the music on ‘Satanic curses’, it absolutely kicks ass. If you are into power metal with gruff, aggressive and dark driven guitars with no holds bared, then this is the CD for you. The thrash element infused into their power metal sound has worked well for Mystic Prophecy, as it has given them a rough edge, although it does get predictable after a while. Going hand in hand with the speedy guitars is great double-bass pummeling and also a huge slab of bass guitar. Mystic Prophecy may not be the most creative or original band in the world, but they certainly make up for that with awesome shredding riffs, solos and catchy choruses. Martin Grimm and Markus Pohl have really outdone themselves, especially with their last 2 releases and you are left thinking Gus who? Many people thought that once Gus G left this band that the talent would follow him, but this is not the case. In fact, I believe Mystic Prophecy have improved since Mr. G departed.

Some of the standout tracks on ‘Satanic curses’ include the fast opening, and statement-making “Back from the dead”. This track pretty much sets the scene for the remainder of the CD. It’s fast, it’s thrashy, it’s heavy and it kicks ass. The title track “Satanic curses” is another standout. This one again is purely riff driven and is a bit more melodic than thrashy and vocalist Roberto Dimitri Liapakis really sings well here, as he does for all the tracks. “Evil of destruction” is next and is probably my favourite track on the CD, alongside the opening track. It’s another awesome riff driven, thrashy, yet melodic masterpiece with a top chorus and solo to boot. “Demons blood” is another top track. This one is a little slower than the rest, giving it a more melodic feel, taking me back to their sound from ‘Regressus’ (2nd CD). Finally, the last standout track is “Rock the night”. The opening riffs hit you right from the start and it doesn’t let up at all. It’s another quick, double-bass pumping metal anthem with a catchy band shouted chorus.

Mystic Prophecy have another winning CD on their hands here, much like their previous ‘Savage souls’, which made it into my top 5 metal releases of 2006. ‘Satanic curses’ is very much like the previous, but it is a little more thrashier and darker. Mystic Prophecy have certainly created the dark thrashy sounds to live up to their CD title and fans should immediately find this one as they will thoroughly enjoy it. Fans of thrash will also find something to enjoy here. Mystic Prophecy have turned a corner with their music and this should get quite a lot of attention from the metal public and give this underrated band their deserved dues.

Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com

Satanic Curses by Mystic Prophecy - 75%

MystifyXD, June 8th, 2010

I don’t remember myself being hooked on power metal that much, simply because I never remember myself listening to it much (the only time is when DragonForce became a Guitar Hero fad). Especially power/thrash, which is the kind of music German metal band Mystic Prophecy plays. Today, we will be talking about their fifth album, “Satanic Curses”.

Whenever I hear the term “power/thrash”, what comes to my mind is music with thrash riffs and soaring high vocals, and just as I thought, I would hear those here in this album. Anyway, the vocals indeed has range and melody, and although the vocalist is no Bruce Dickinson, his voice really suits the music in the album (Well, except for the few moments of those "harsh" vocals). Meanwhile, the thrash riffs played here are nothing out of the ordinary but they were played rather neatly (with some riffs even sounding frantic, in the good way). Lastly, we have the melody here mixing between being edgy and fun and being melodic and smooth, with the speed usually being fast or mid-paced.

Firstly, we have here “Back from the Dead”, a song that served well as an album intro by having the right speed and edginess, while “Sacrifice Me” took a more melodic approach, with a little melancholic touch. The title track, meanwhile, is a mid-paced thrash song with good vocals and even a better guitar solo that brought the song more justice. “Evil of Destruction” has its lightning-fast riffs and an anthem-like chorus to astonish the band’s listeners. Another melancholic, mid-paced song here is “We Will Survive”, with its soaring vocals adding touch to the music. Lastly, we have here a Black Sabbath cover, “Paranoid” (no surprise for us here), with the band adding their own style to the song, and it turned quite good too.

The songs here have many chorus parts, and some song have too much of them, but that’s not the issue here. The thing is that the overall music isn’t that memorable, which is important to “strike” the listeners’ ears. Heck, after five listens to this album, only three songs were stuck on my mind (namely, “Back from the Dead” and the title track’s chorus and the intro of “Evil of Destruction”), not counting the Black Sabbath cover. This is a good album, but unfortunately, it is lacking in some form or another.

Originally made for http://mystifymyserie.blogspot.com

Good vocals, otherwise forgettable - 40%

linkavitch, March 10th, 2009

Let’s face it, Mystic Prophecy have never released anything spectacular, or worth owning. Mystic Prophecy plays for the most part German power metal. Play it loud and proud that’s their motto, and that’s all this album accomplishes. Satanic Curses is pretty much what you would expect, just some boring new age metal.

Some things Mystic Prophecy do, they do nicely…to some extent. One of the best features of Satanic Curses would be the vocals done by Roberto Liapakis. He’s a pretty damn good vocalist, and without a doubt the best aspect to Mystic Prophecy. His voice is smooth and soaring throughout the whole album filled with bombastic choruses. However whenever he does harsh vocals it’s a tad annoying. Personally I think vocalist should stick to all clear or harsh vocals for most vocalists can’t pull both off, and Liapakis is one of those vocalists.

This is a very fast paced album, and that also makes it bad at the same time. Even though it’s fast, it’s also very sloppy. Take the song “Damnation” for example, its starts out really fast, but its too damn sloppy in the beginning. The lead does this quick scratchy like solo real quick in it and it just sounds like a high pitch keyboard. The rhythm for that part is muffled, so it sounds lower than the way it should be played. The drumming is the most annoying part of the fast pace of the band. Much like the beginning to “Damnation”, the drumming is sloppy for the most part. Listening to the drums feels as if the drummer was tripping all over himself to try and keep up with the guitarist. At times it feels like he didn’t know what to do even, like he was just blasting away on the drum set (especially on the cymbals).

Mystic Prophecy apparently does some sort of hell concept with their albums, which you can pick up one by hearing some of the songs on the albums. Some songs don’t belong on this album, for not fitting into the concept and for the fact that they just plain suck. The song “Rock the Night” just plain sucks, the choruses are awful and doesn’t really go anywhere, it’s just a filler track. There is also a cover of the song “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. Cover songs to me are nothing but filler; I mean all you did was record someone else’s song for your album. And the drummer bashing on the cymbals is kind of annoying on this cover. They are overloud compared to the guitars and it can get annoying.

Well it does have excellent production, mostly for the guitar and vocals. The bass is inaudible for about half the album, every other song it seems that you can and can’t hear it. The guitars are very crisp with a bold and heavy tone. The drumming for the most part feels like it’s only hitting different cymbals for the album. You pick up on a snare drum at all I noticed, some bass drums but that’s about it other than cymbals.

There’s something about the whole loud and proud way of metal that kind of irritates me. For some odd reason people will believe that as long as a band plays their music as loud as they possible can while playing it proudly that it will automatically be great. Yeah fuck that. Get past the vocals and the slick production you’re looking at a mediocre album from a mediocre band, just like every band that tries to play as proudly as the 80’s.

Edit: fixed mistake.

Good, solid rocking fun. - 80%

Empyreal, September 11th, 2008

Never did get around to checking out these guys before hearing this one, and for that I admit to having made a mistake. Satanic Curses, while not offering anything special to its chosen field of crunchy retro German-styled Heavy Metal, is quite a visceral and fist-pumping exercise all the same.

Mystic Prophecy bases their sound around the powerful, smooth vocals of R.D. Liapakis, which are easily digestible when combined with the warm, thick guitar tone and the heavy attack of the riffs. Sure, this won't win any Pulitzer Prizes, but Mystic Prophecy know how to rock, and they'll show you that in the 45 minutes or so that this album takes up. This is goddamned fun.

There aren't any real bad songs here, just some that are better than others. The whole album is just a damned solid exercise in revisiting the strengths of past greats, with songs that have no frills or fringes, just back to basics Heavy Metal the way it should be done. There are all sorts of cool moments, like the monster shout-along chorus of the title track, the ultra-melodic and soaring "Sacrifice Me," the complex chorus and pounding guitars of "Demon's Blood," which is probably the best on here, the singable and fist-pumping anthem "Rock the Night" and of course the rather cool cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid."

With no further ado, I will recommend Satanic Curses to anyone tired of music being pretentious or bloated with harsh vocals and synths. This is a good time in aural form, so go check it out next time you're feeling down.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com

A Mystic Prophecy exactly as we know them! - 75%

Nightrunner, November 25th, 2007

Mystic Prophecy are once again back with a new album, and as always these German/Greek metallers offers no real surprises what-so-ever. It’s still the same thrashy power metal with heavy riffs and melodic choruses and still the same simple song-structure in the standard formula A. Intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus, that’s how it goes and how it has been for about 90% of all material these guys has nailed on their albums. They totally stay with their concept, and it makes all their albums sounding like each other a lot, and in the end it can feel a bit tedious. It feels like they can at least change the song-structure on 1 or 2 songs and make a good surprise to the fan listening, but no – not a chance. Still one can’t say that the band isn’t good, but the variation factor always lowers the score. And so also this time. Even if one can hear at least a little slight change for a more dared direction in the melodies.

The melodies, yes. Melodies, lyrics and chorures is all credited to singer Liapakis of course, who actually has brought at least a minor portion of variation into some choruses. While he still does sing out the words long like “destruuuuuuctioooooooon” on nearly all of them, like he has always done, there’s still some melodies of mostly the choruses that surprises me and it sounds good. “Dark Forces”, “Satanic Curses”, “Demon’s Blood” and “We Fly” has the most noticeable changes in the choruses compared with the past. These have awesome choruses and it’s is very nice to hear and it’s also good to hear that Lia tries to deliver some variation. Another step more forward and it’ll crush i’m sure. Lia also does his best performance ever I think, he has a very own voice and a good one that is perfect for the stuff MP does. Dare I hope that he will dare to develop a further step with melodies to the next album? Another important part in MP’s music is the guitarriffs. Of course it’s always important in metal, but this band really needs them and as always the album is filled with really great, heavy guitarriffs, all composed and arranged by Markus Pohl & Lia, according to the album’s booklet. We all know that Markus knows his riffing, since he does a splendid job with it in Symphorce too. So no complaints in the riffing-part of the album. It’s top notch and Mystic Prophecy to the bone.

The production of the album has the most “warm” sound so far in the band’s career. All albums so far have had a really raw and cold sounding-production. Guitars and vocals lies highest in the mix here still without having the drums and bass falling in the background. It all sounds professional of course and that guitar sound is raw the way it is, these guys will hopefully never ‘soft down’ their music and guitarplaying. The whole band does solid performances as always and Martin Grimm does a nice work in the solo’s, wish they could be a little longer though.

All in all, despite few little changes, it’s still ‘more of the same’ here from MP. And while I think that this is solid heavy metal and it’s a good album, I feel like it’s maybe time that they with next album tries to make it a little bit more diverse, some more new fresh ideas. If it would happen, and Mystic Prophecy would do it the right way, the score probably won’t be 75% being good/OK. No, it would reach for higher score. This band has potential I know it, they just have to dare to change their concept more and try new things. A recommended album nevertheless for those who look for some serious riffing and catchy melodies.

Best songs: Satanic Curses, Dark Forces, Evil Of Destruction