Mystery Blue: Conquer the World

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Mystery Blue: Conquer the World
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Mystery Blue: Conquer the World
Heavy Metal
Road Show Productions
December 21st, 2012
Release length: 54:03
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Mystery Blue has existed for quite some time, but chances are good you’ve never even heard of them before. They are a female fronted Heavy Metal group from Strasbourg, France that formed back in 1978. Their self-titled debut dropped in 1984 through Axe Killer Records, which was followed-up with Circle of Shame in 1986. They did a few demos, and eventually released their third album in 1998 through Road Show, titled Spirit of Your Song. A few more demos later, they released three more albums, and for 2012 find them issuing their seventh full-length, Conquer the World, through Road Show Productions once more. After such a struggle through the years, does this release actually offer anything of interest to the listener, or is it just another generic Heavy Metal recording?

The overall audio quality of this album does end up leaving a little more to be desired due to how crisp, as well as open it can be. However, it’s far from bad. The bass guitar does stand out quite a bit in the mix, and ends up a very crucial role in the material present. The guitars have a sharper distortion to them in a typical Heavy Metal fashion, coming through a bit in the middle of pitch. The drums are pretty good too, but can be a bit open at times. The cymbals aren’t always allowed to ring out, leaving the music a bit open, while the deep snaps of the snares and the louder click of the bass kick do a decent job filling the rest of the audio up. Finally there’s the vocals, a clean singing approach that, when softer and innocent, do clash a bit with what’s going on, often lacking the commanding authority the style needs to stand out over the louder gutiar and bass. But, when performed with a little more heat, they end up sounding great, especially when handled as falsettos, or just generally layered.

“Conquer the World” kicks things off on a strong note. The main verses have a galloping approach to them that works out quite well, though the vocals are much weaker than they are in the grander, melodic chorus. This is where the song really gets catchy, and the additional artillery firing sound effect nicely compliments it as well. “Innocent Crime” is also pretty catchy and engaging, though again, the vocals in the main riffs just aren’t as strong as they need to be. The layered pre-chorus section sounds fantastic in comparison, and it makes you wish they did it through this track, as well as plenty of others. But, even with that fault, the music is great in all areas, and does make for a rather memorable experience that shows the quality Mystery Blue is capable of, even outside the proper accomodations.

“Evil Spell” is another enjoyable track, though showing a bit of a traditional Heavy Metal approach to the music. It has a deeper sound overall with a simpler, catchier chorus that is pretty commanding. There’s also plenty of falsetto vocals to be found, as well as a deeper growl during the chorus that helps to make this one stand out a little more. Then there’s “Keep on Dreaming,” a acoustic ballad piece. The main verses are backed with soothing guitar performance and strong bass presence to fill the music. The drums are simple, such as being a cymbal tap through much of it. There are some layered vocals as well for good measure, and the chorus that merges into later bridges has a much more symphonic, even Folk Metal touch with additional keyboards and what sounds like a flute in the background. Of course, if you love this one, you’ll be happy to know it’s revisited on “Accroche-toi à tes rêves,” which is just “Keep on Dreaming” performed in French, and with a slightly stronger vocal presence.

Sadly, there are a few here that just aren’t too impressive. “Road to Despair” is more of a typical Heavy Metal performance overall. The music is pretty catchy, but the crisp audio does leave it a little sterile and open. The vocals also aren’t quite as powerful, leaving them to be lost in the mix for much of the track, though not really the softer innocent approach found on “Innocent Crime.” “Ticket to Hell” has a simpler chug to it as well that brings in a bit of a Hard Rock authority with it. The song itself isn’t too bad, but it’s the kind of song you have heard repeatedly by countless other Heavy Metal groups over the years. The chorus stands out a bit more compared to the verses, using the clean singing to it’s advantage, but overall it simply doesn’t stick out among the rest of the tracks offered. Finally, while not a bad song, there’s the horrible digitally altered child’s spoken word segment at the start of “Behind Those Walls” that is hard to sit through. Thankfully it’s short, and leads to a deeper track at a much slower pace that picks to up the heaviest, and fastest performance. Unfortunately, this does drown out most of the vocals except for the falsettos.

Overall, Conquer the World by Mystery Blue isn’t a bad album. Some of the material clearly shows their roots, but with a far too crisp audio quality, which does hurt things a bit. The clean singing of their female vocalist does end up a bit too weak, and the music doesn’t quite feel rich enough to really make an impact. But, there’s still plenty of great songs on here worth checking out, such as the title track, “Innocent Crime,” and even a few later on scattered about some of the more traditional, and even overly exhausted foundations in the style. If you haven’t heard of this long-running group by now, Conquer the World is as good a place to start to introduce yourself to Mystery Blue, as it’s an album still worth checking out as some point.

01. Conquer the World – 4:29
02. Innocent Crime – 4:51
03. Running with the Pack – 3:59
04. Evil Spell – 4:38
05. Cruel Obsession – 4:28
06. Ticket to Hell – 4:52
07. Keep on Dreaming – 5:12
08. Road of Despair – 4:21
09. Behind Those Walls – 5:34
10. Guardian Angel – 6:25
11. Accroache-toi a tes reves – 5:14
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Mystery Blue (band)
Mystery Blue

Digital review copy of this release provided by Road Show Productions via Rock ‘n Growl Promotions.