I spent some time with the first few tracks of the album and, well, it doesn’t quite have the same intense impact on me that Satanic Curses had, but so far I’m liking it. “Ravenlord” felt more like a traditional Power Metal song with a little bit of a commanding, anthemic style to the music with some slower passages that give it an additional ballad feeling. To me, as a first track, this is pretty ballsy of Mystic Prophecy. It definitely doesn’t feel like it should be the first song of the album, but I have no complaints whatsoever with it. I really like the energy of the band behind it, especially the vocals, and just the general commanding approach they have with the music. “Die Now” also struck me as a pretty strong track that shows a good deal of aggression with a Power Metal twist, immediately making me want to hop out of my chair and start moshing right where I stand. The hard hitting chorus with simple lyrics even had me joining in, but with a more guttural vocal style which is the only thing I felt that could possibly make this song anymore intense then it is. I found myself headbanging along with it as well as I fed off the energy of the song from start to finish.
Returning a bit to the start of the album, “Eyes of the Devil” kicks in with another strong track that sems to have a chorus more on the side of ballad then anything else, almost as if a Glam Rock band decided to dabble in Power Metal and it was good. This is perhaps not the best way to describe it, but the song itself feels a little emotional and made me feel like I was experiencing the eighties brand of Rock and Metal all over again for the first time with a powerful and even emotional sounding track. What took me by surprise here was the scream towards the end of the song that comes out of nowhere but nicely matches the energetic sound of the song. This bled into “Cross of Lies” which felt like a darker song, but it really didn’t intrigue me all that much, even right at the start. The song just didn’t feel too energetic and even had more of a generic vibe to it but with a little more aggression to it musically then you would find from other bands.
But, before I could put this album down and walk away, I couldn’t help but hear one more track: “Miracle Man.” This is the band’s cover of the classic by Ozzy, but not before catching wind of the opening chords of “Hollow” that bare a striking “Don’t Fear the Reaper” similarity. However, “Miracle Man” is a decent cover of the original with the band’s Power Metal approach. The big problem with this though is that the chorus to the song sounds barren as well as bland. The rest of the track sounds alright and rather close to the original, but overall this cover really isn’t as good as the original. This didn’t surprise me at all, as it’s rare for a band to do a cover of another song out of their genre, but what let me down is that this is actually the end of the album. Maybe if I listen to the album the whole way through I’ll appreciate it more, but it just didn’t work for me. Yes, there’s a bonus track that expands the album a bit more, but without it this is where the album would sadly let off.
When it comes to Mystic Prophecy, I really hold this band up the highest standards. With Satanic Curses being in my top 10 albums I heard in 2009, and what I could say was one of the best albums to be released in 2007, it’s hard to not expect the band to carry that legacy with the next album. Sure this could be a feeble hope as many bands really don’t live up to their previous works usually, but a man can dream. So far, I can’t say this is going to be one of my favorite 2011 albums, or even one of the best albums released this year given “Cross of Lies” and “Miracle Man” not really exciting me, and the fact that “Miracle Man” technically ends the album on a bit of a bad note. All I know is that I am still excited to hear the album, and I just hope like hell the rest of the album after “Cross of Lies” picks up and doesn’t come off as more stereotypical yet aggressive material, or worse. If I can give this album a legit nine or even 8.5 out of ten and feel happy about it given how I feel at this point, I could walk away saying the band didn’t let me down too much. So, here’s to hoping for at least that.
Article based on digital review material provided by Massacre Records.