Mystic Prophecy – Metal Division (Rock of Angels Records)Sunday, 12th January 2020
Steady as ever, Mystic Prophecy has been a part of the metal scene for almost twenty years, releasing nine studio albums plus a special covers tribute record in the process. Metal Division follows suit in engaging their listeners in their power, speed, thrash, and traditional-oriented material, serving up eleven tracks that showcase a veteran quintet who play to their strengths – but also understand the need to diversify under a natural parameter for dynamic retention and career longevity.
A sturdy set of power chords, pounding tempos at various mid-tempo to speedy/thrash paces, and sterling metal melodies with proper gang-chorus support are fixtures of the Mystic Prophecy outlook. The title track immediately engages the listener through its resounding, call to arms chorus, the nature of the riffs anthemic while the lead break from Evan K evoking that guitar hero in us all. Drummer Hanno Kerstan plays his kit with killer chops, sweet double kick / fill maneuvers during the Priest-like “Eye to Eye” while executing a bit of a bluesy melodic hard rock meets modern metal shuffle during “Dracula”. When the band chooses to get a bit heavier and speedier for “Together We Fall”, you can expect guitar work that takes Markus Pohl into Arch Enemy meets Primal Fear territory along with galloping tendencies as R.D. Liapakis’ smooth, gritty vocals glide effortlessly over the top. What’s most enjoyable regarding these songs is the diverse output – the band unafraid to explore some extreme elements with heavier vocals and darker musical combinations for “Die with the Hammer” and then be more catchy and commercial during “Mirror of a Broken Heart”, showcasing the wide array of influences the band can boil down into their style. The closing “Victory Is Mine” will get that thrash blood pumping, R.D. rearing back all over his multi-octave lower to higher register as the riffs fly at varying paces and the tempo changes from groove-like to heads down speed momentum part to part.
Metal Division proves Mystic Prophecy rolls along in their own power/speed/thrash lane with a great mixture of songs that keep fists pumping, hands clapping, and listeners riveted from beginning to end. If you have loved the band, your love affair will continue – and newcomers would be wise to start here for a good primer into their excellence.