Mystic Circle


Mystic Circle - Drachenblut ©1998 Pavement
1. Ancient Words
2. Notrum - The Sword Of Might
3. The Dragonslayer
4. King Of The Nibelungerhord
5. Shadows Over Worms
6. Hagen Von Tronje
7. Blood From Xanten's King
8. Rheingold

I can see Black Metal Purists® cringing madly at this album. Bearing a distinct resemblance to Dimmu Borgir's Stormblast, the "true" crowd will go to great lengths to deny Drachenblut's worth in the universe. Their loss, I say. Mystic Circle's keyboard/symphonic driven form of black metal is quite enjoyable and full of grand scale sounds. As already noted, the album does bear similarities to Dimmu Borgir as well as Ukraine's Nokturnal Mortum, who have the closest sound with Goat Horns. There are plenty of passages that are very sweeping, using keyboard arrangements to augment the mid tempo assault. Yes, you've heard the trademark black metal vocals before. Yes, you have seen other bands use similarly silly corpsepaint cover photos. And yes, you've heard bands use traditional folk elements in their black metal. So in that regard, Mystic Circle is not breaking any new ground. But needless to say, what they do accomplish is a very solid piece of work that should appeal to anyone who can handle a bit of over the top keyboards in their black metal.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/1999

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Infernal Satanic Verses

Mystic Circle - Infernal Satanic Verses ©1999 Mercenary Records
1. Intro -- The Daemons Call
2. Undestructable Power Of Darkness
3. Hordes Of The Underworld
4. The Devilstone
5. Thorns Of Lies
6. One With The Antichrist
7. Black Legions
8. Fallen Christian Empire

When writing an album review, it can be difficult, nay, nigh impossible, to find exactly the right word, the perfect phrase that will do a band justice, especially in the case of a symphonic black metal band of Mystic Circle's caliber.

And particularly if one is cackling hysterically the whole time the album is playing, plagued by such impulses as ripping the CD out of the player to give to the cats and brandishing it up in the air for all to see as a prime example of grotesque goofball tripe.

I am at a loss to describe how intolerably inane this entire album is, from the food-fight-at-the-bakery faces in the band picture to the cookie-cutter-pseudo-scary-pompous-choir-symphonic-junk music itself, not to mention the bandmembers' pathetically hilarious stagenames, which I shall not repeat here out of decency, and the laughable song titles (complete with typos). The songs are replete with completely standard keyboards, fast guitar riffs ā la, well, everybody else in the genre, undermixed drums, black metal shrieks, ridiculous slowed-down-to-a-frightening-low-pitch-warble male spoken bits, and Tristania-knockoff female sopranos and choirs. The chord progressions are as inspiring as drying cowdung (check out the absolutely hysterical keyboard progression at about 1:28 in "Undestructable..."), the lyrical themes would sound hackneyed even to a retarded redneck junior-high-schooler raised on Cradle of Filth, and most insultingly, the music is simply a patchwork of substandard impressions of other, more famous bands. If the band weren't so obviously and tragically in earnest, you'd think they were dropping names to impress girls at the prom: echoes of Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Gehenna, Tristania, Bal Sagoth, and countless other symphonic black metal bands can be heard at every corner and every turn.

Let us be fair for a moment: the music is competently performed, and the production is more than decent enough to let the dull uselessness of the album's complex rrangements filter through. If Spam and Jello sounds like an idyllic Easter repast, if Ancient is your idea of creative genius, and if your greatest regret in life is not to have met Chris Farley, this album is for you.

That such a thoroughly redundant mound of intestinal slough ever saw the light of day is one of the 21st century's first great injustices. Fornicating with a leper at the final stages of the bubonic plague sounds considerably more appealing than sitting through any of the eight ludicrous tracks that sully the coating of this poor CD, which surely deserved better.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 07/2002

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