Mystic Prophecy - Fireangel 4.5/5

Reviewed: 8-7-09





Tracklist:

1. Across the gates of hell
2. Deomns crown
3. We kill!! You die!!
4. Father save me
5. To the devil I pray
6. Fireangel
7. Fight back the light
8. Death under control
9. Revolution evil
10. Gods of war
11. Forever betrayed


German power metallers Mystic Prophecy have had quite a few line-up changes over the years. Beginning with the departure of wizard guitarist Gus G in 2005, the band expanded their group by adding a 2nd guitarist. Markus Pohl and Martin Grimm were fine assets to the band and played on both ‘Savage souls’ and ‘Satanic curses’, released in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

In 2008, the band had numerous line-up changes again, with guitarist Martin Grimm leaving for Headstone Epitaph. Also, bassist and co-founder Martin Albrecht and drummer Matthias Straub have too left the band, leaving vocalist Roberto Dimitri Liapakis and guitarist Markus Pohl in search for new members. Enter bassist Connie Andreszka (Circle of Pain), drummer Stefan Dittrich (ex-Saidian, ex-Crisis Never Dies) and guitarist Constantine (Descending, ex-Nightrage). With the new line-up complete, the band was ready to move on to record their 6th full-length release, entitled ‘Fireangel’.

Mystic Prophecy changed their sound slightly with the ‘Savage souls’ release, opting for a harder and aggressive modern power metal sound. The same harder structure progressed further on ‘Satanic curses’, which at times the tracks almost bordered on thrash metal. ‘Fireangel’, their newest effort is a revert back to the sound of their early days (‘Regressus’, ‘Never-ending’), but keeping that heavier aggression found on ‘Savage souls’. Mystic Prophecy have always prided themselves on their ability to make splendid and memorable riffs, melodies and solos, and this is very much the same for ‘Fireangel’. I like to compare their style of riffs and melodies to bands like Firewind and also early Primal Fear. Vocalist Roberto Dimitri Liapakis is perfect for this kind of sound, as his strong and throaty voice really packs a punch with each track.

I feel that there is a lot more creativity and preparation on this CD, compared to their previous release ‘Satanic curses’. Reverting back to their original sound, which made ‘Regressus’ so enjoyable, has brought back a lot of melody in their sound and also in the voice of Liapakis; which is one of his amazing strong points. Still retaining their recent aggressive element which stood tall in the last 2 releases, the combination melded together is indeed a winning combination. There are, still, a few ferocious thrash sounding tracks to be found on ‘Fireangel’, in the names of “Death under control” and “We kill!! You die!!”. Both songs contain thundering double-bass, fast and furious riffs and aggressive vocals; including a death metal growl at the start of “We kill!! You die!!”. There is no doubt that both those tracks are standouts on the release.

The guitar orientated melodic tracks which Mystic Prophecy are renown for, were overshadowed on their last 2 CDs, but make a welcomed return on ‘Fireangel’. I speak of the brilliant “Demons crown” in this instance. A slower but bombastic track, full of angst and emotion; Liapakis is on fire behind the mic. With a catchy hard rocking chorus and solo, “Demons crown” is easily one of the best tracks on the CD. “Father save me” and “To the devil I pray” are both tracks reminiscent of Mystic Prophecy’s earlier work. Quite melodic, with a touch of groove metal thrown in, the 2 tracks are prime examples of why ‘Fireangel’ is a top-notch CD. Other tracks that will get your head banging include the CD opener “Across the gates of hell” (a superior mix of old and new), the title track “Fireangel” (bombastic, speedy and melodic track full of power and force), and “Revolution evil” (slow building track, disguising itself as a ballad, but then rips into a thumping fist-shaking riff with an awesome “sing-a-long” chorus).

Overall, I’d make a claim here and say that ‘Fireangel’ is arguably the most consistent and well-balanced CD Mystic Prophecy have released to date; and if that classifies as their best CD, then so be it. On previous releases, there has always been just that little something which didn’t make the CD whole, but ‘Fireangel’ has filled in all the holes and is a very solid and very good release, that pleasantly surprised me, and should surprise you too. Die hard fans of the band, the purchase of this CD is a no-brainer; while fans of power/melodic metal and modern heavy metal should make an effort to track this one down.



SEAN




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