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Some Great Ideas with No Cohesion - 75%

raoulduke25, September 12th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, High Roller Records

Mythra is another band in a long line of legacy acts who reformed decades after their initial active period to put out follow-up efforts. Still Burning, their latest, is perhaps a clever title showing how after more than three decades, they’re still carrying the torch. In the case of this particular release, it’s clear that Mythra are not merely still going, but also that they’ve journeyed pretty far from where they were back in 1979 when their debut EP was released. So whilst the Death and Destiny EP was a hard-hitting and gritty, Deep Purple-infused release, Still Burning is a far more refined and straightforward heavy metal album with a very different sound.

In spite of its polished finish, this album is still very old school in its feel. The riffs are classically composed, and the production is still enough on the rough side of things to have that eighties feel to it. The solos are inventive and varied, and the vocal lines are melodic and occasionally catchy. I would go so far as to say that this album is chock-full of great ideas, from beginning to end. The problem is that in spite of all the great moments of brilliance, very little of it sticks because it lacks the cohesion necessary to make it a truly great album. Instead, it comes across as a bag of loosely joined trinkets as opposed to a completed work of art.

For instance, lots of the songs have absolutely killer opening riffs. The album opener, as well as “Survival”, “Silence in the Sirens”, and “Sands of Time” all have absolutely splendid riffs to get things moving, but all the energy and momentum they generate fizzle out as soon as the rest of the song begins. So what we end up with is some great intros, some cool solos, and a bunch of unmemorable music in between to tenuously hold them together. In fact, what makes so much of this album run together in my mind is that apart from the intros, most of the rest of the music all sounds so strikingly similar. You can easily pick out the cool openings, but everything else just kind of melts into the same bucket and gets reused over and over again.

I feel like I’ve been overly harsh though, and that’s because at the end of the day, this album is still a remarkably competent display of musicianship. Aside from the dull “We Belong” and the somewhat campy chorus on “A Call To All”, there isn’t really any bad material on here. And for all the sameness of much of the remainder of the material, it’s still a solid effort and a reflection of the dedication of the band. It just so happens that I had a hard time really tapping into the album as a whole. And that’s too bad, because there really is no shortage of good stuff here.

Originally written for The Metal Observer.