Mystifier – Profanus Reissue (Vic Records)Wednesday, 6th December 2017
For ’80s Brazilian metal, there was Sepultura and everyone after. The Seps had the good fortune of proper label backing (Roadrunner), an unrelenting work ethic and above all else, killer songs, which instantly set them apart from the pack. Beyond them, it is a mixed bag, including Mystifier, an outfit formed in 1989 by bassist-turned-guitarist Beelzeebubth. The usual array of demos, singles and splits would ensue, with the band’s most recent full-length foray Profanus seeing the light of day in 2001.
An album that sounds like it could have been yanked from the aforementioned ’80s, Profanus finds Mystifier weaving, among typical death/thrash, clean vocals and keyboards, of which come into focus on album opener “Unspeakable Dementia (Utter Nonsense).” While cuts such as “Supreme Power of Suffering” and “Beyond the Rivers of Hades” pile on rampant thrash (the guitar solo on “Unspeakable Dementia” is rather choice), the band’s sometimes odd-ball use of clean vocals throw the album off balance. Mystifier, it seems, was more interested in tossing in the kitchen sink than doing what they do best, which is straight thrash.
Since this is a reissue, the fine folks at Vic Records have tacked on some bonus live cuts. However, the real purpose here is to re-introduce an album that got lost in the shuffle upon its release. And if you want to take a deep dive and get granular, a lot of what Mystifier was doing on Profanus was a bit ahead of its time. Even though Mystifier probably went too far out on a limb with these ideas, there’s something to be said for sticking one’s neck out, even if recognition comes well after the fact.