REVIEW: MYSTIC PROPHECY – “War Brigade”
There are a few bands out there that release the same albums over and over again, and this is actually fine if the band already has a consolidated career or if the music is downright awesome, but it often turns the final product into somewhat of a nuisance. Unfortunately, Mystic Prophecy falls down in the latter category. Relying on the same thrashy power metal with ripped vocals, heavy riffs and passable songwriting, these Germans go at it again with the release of their 9th album, ‘War Brigade’, celebrating their sweet 16th birthday. Unsurprisingly, this new effort features basically the same melodies seen in albums such as ‘Savage Souls’, ‘Ravenlord’ and ‘Killhammer’; overly-melodic passages mixed with heavier (even aggressive) moments.
The album begins with “Follow the Blind” (not nearly as good as the song you’re thinking of), a mid-tempo tune with a cathy chorus and a less raw vocal presentation by frontman Roberto Dimitri Liapakis. “Metal Brigade” lifts the spirits a bit, with its (already dated) lyric paying homage to the heavy metal greats and a cool guitar intro, with decent riffing throughout the course of the song. From that point on, the album dives into a sea of uninspired execution and predictable songwriting. True, there are quality moments such as “Good Day to Die”, “Fight For One Nation” and “War of Lies”, three songs that are mainly power metal with a little bit of angriness on their choruses and a heavier drapery on top, making for fun, if not good, passages, but these are exceptions to the rule. “Burning Out”, “The Crucifix” and the title-track all show great promise, only to be lowered as bland and overly-commercial. I can’t help but to think this is Liapakis’ fault, because the riffs are pounding, the rhythm section is rumbling and the drumming is aggressive. The vocals, though, range from very decent, respectably l to downright ludicrous lines that should belong far from the power/thrash metal department – and as far away from the scene as possible, for that matter – , maybe with Avenged Sevenfold or some other band that doesn’t have anything to do with the heavy metal genre. After the third or fourth song, this becomes really annoying and actually offensive to a headbanger’s ear. To close the album, the band made a cover song for Tom Jones’ “Sex Bomb”, which doesn’t help at all with their cause and feels somewhat preposterous, if not entirely comical.
If you have been following Mystic Prophecy since its inception, you will find some sort of safe harbor with ‘War Brigade’, as it features all the elements that we’ve seen in past efforts. If you’re only waiting for an alternative on the typical power metal album but don’t have any kind of emotional attachment to these Germans, though, I would suggest you wait for Paragon’s upcoming album, ‘Hell Beyond Hell’. All in all, it’s a decent but predictable output with a few standout tracks, and, of course, the album has its moments and I won’t take that away from them, but at the end of the day it’s an effort that will quickly be forgotten, especially in a year stacked with promises and long-awaited albums.