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Ugly, industrial, grey, frantic....it's all here. - 100%

PhantomMullet, November 10th, 2011

If someone was interested in industrial black metal and I could only show them one album, In the Streams of Inferno would probably be that one album. It encompasses everything one might look for in industrial metal; it's frantic, ugly, mechanical, grey, and uneasy. After listening to a quiet, one minute introduction with only some percussion in the background, "The Rest" kicks in in full force with very machine-like and militaristic drumming, and distorted riffs to complement the aggressive tempo taking place. Vocals range from higher pitched shrieks to inhibited yells, drowned out by the rest of the music. Synths and samples occasionally fit in to add an extra dose of industrial terror.

That is the main formula for most of these songs, but the music is a bit more complex than that. Each track has its own set of smaller ideas that help differentiate them from the rest. After listening to this album, you'd be amazed at learning how versatile industrial black metal can really be. A good example is in "Crypt of Fear." The song starts with roughly 100 seconds of uncomfortable synths that paint an atmosphere of bleakness. Then, the heaviness and speeding drums pop in abruptly. This time, as opposed to higher shrieks, the vocals have a more yelling sound similar to what you'd find in some older thrash bands. They're catchy enough so you can "sing" along in your head. All of a sudden, the music slows down unexpectedly and the vocals revert back to the higher shrieks. The music is now bleaker than ever, showing a new shade of grey ugliness that Mysticum capitalizes so well on. It's an absolutely menacing song that will make you see how miserable this world really is!

On the other hand, "Wintermass" has a more moderate tempo, focusing a lot more on synths; however, the synths are hard to hear so you'll need to listen well. The music reminds me of something you'd hear in an old, abandoned factory that still produces...This track is also a great example of how influential the riffs are in making that atmosphere. The notes played are incredibly deep and foggy thanks to the unclear production. Again, there's a sense of misery and tension coming out of these tracks and the members of Mysticum really hit the nail on the head in accomplishing that ambience.

At the end of the day, there isn't too much more to say about In Streams of Inferno. It has everything that makes an industrial black metal album great and more! Even the cover art is cool - a blackened landscape being drenched by a storm-infested ocean. Nothing bright is to be found! I gaurantee you'll find something interesting about this album. Even if you thought industrial metal was lame in the past, or never really got into it, the guys behind Mysticum might be able to tell you otherwise. In Streams of inferno was(and still is) a one of a kind album that no doubt influenced many newer bands like Blacklodge and it didn't happen for no reason. Buy this album and you'll be please that you did.

“With my Master the Devil my Friend” - 94%

Apteronotus, June 16th, 2011

Aggression is such a common feature in metal that we often take for granted the value of musical violence. Mysticum’s “In the Streams of Inferno” is a special instance of aggression because of how well each part of the music forms into a cohesive whole, similar to how fingers form a fist. This album is a monument to industrial black metal and fans of black metal in general will not be disappointed.

The vocals here are incredibly harsh and savage even by black metal standards. High-pitched and reverb-saturated screeching permeates the album. For reference, think of Ihsahn’s vocals before “In the Nightside Eclipse”. Guitars likewise come across as inhuman, the standard tremolo picking of black metal is almost indiscernible because the high-gain, ultra-treble tone makes the notes fall seamlessly one after another. A chainsaw rips through wood by using many tiny blades acting as one.

Mysticum does more than just subject the listener to endless tremolo strumming. We are also given heavy palm muted riffs to complement the all ready pounding drums. If you can listen to this album without picturing rusty gears grinding above a raging lava flow, then you have no imagination. Speaking of drums, here we have a machine rather than a real drummer and this in no way detracts from the music. The drums’ empty mechanical nature fit the music just as aptly as Godflesh’s “Streetcleaner” did for that album. This more industrial-sounding style should be no problem for fans of Thorns or Samael. However, unlike Samael’s dance music period, “In the Streams of Inferno” is savage black metal through and through.

The synths and vocal samples give off a slight campy sci-fi feel, providing an excellent break for the otherwise unrelenting music. Take for example the best song off the album, “Crypt of Fear.” It opens with a long synth intro that walks on the proper side of the fine line in metal between cheesy and fantastic. After that, you are subjected to a blood curdling scream, dual vocal work, heart-pounding drumming, and that chainsaw guitar. Even the most hypnagogic of listeners will feel this album pulse through their arteries.

An additional reason for this album’s excellence is how the songs carry so much momentum. As the album progresses with each wave of notes over the pounding drum machine, you get a feeling of inevitability. Just as a song starts to get stale, other bands would throw in some filler. Mysticum, however, continue to deliver the goods by adding something interesting, such as light touch of synthesizer. “In the Streams of Inferno” closes with low rumbling, creepy piano, and unsettling yet angelic vocals. This pacing is perfect and serves as a cool down from the strenuous music that it follows. It is evocative of the album’s cover art because it sounds as if you are listening to the roaring of a river in hell, or perhaps “In the Streams of Inferno.”


Also, here are some extrinsic background reasons why Mysticum is awesome:

1.) Too tough to wear shirts in band photos.
2.) Angry message to fans on website illustrating a poor grasp of the English language and an excellent grasp of aggression.
3.) The band offers this release for free download on their website, so you have absolutely no excuse not to listen.


Originally written for: http://theoakconclave.blogspot.com/