Mystic Prophecy - Metal Division

Mystic Prophecy Metal Division cover
Mystic Prophecy
Metal Division
ROAR! Rock of Angels Records
2020
6
Mystic Prophecy have been around for two decades now, with a plethora of albums and a plethora of lineups that have included modern day metal luminary Gus G., among other pretty capable players. They’ve never made it to the premiere division, not for lack of trying, I imagine, but probably due to the unsteady line up and circumstances beyond the band’s control (ie the company they were signed to). While they have always been blue collar, workmanlike rockers, they hardly ever delivered an album that was amazing (with maybe “Fireangel” being their best), despite always coming up with albums that one would be hard pressed to find some major fault with.
 
After many years, they change from Massacre, which these days has little relation to the company that once had King Diamond, Skyclad and others, to the Greek Rock Of Angels Records (ROAR), doesn’t come like a complete surprise, but on the other hand is not a switch to one of the premiere labels within the genre. The label switch follows the major personnel shift that happened within the band since the last studio album, (but was reflected on the cover album they released one and a half year ago or so) and while it offers the band a new dynamic and chemistry, doesn’t seem to translate 100% to the holy grail of an album, some people might have been expecting from the band, but rather more of the same.
 
“Metal Division” begins with its title track, a typical mid-tempo stomper, which features a who’s who of mostly German metal journalists as it’s harmony chorus, probably getting them all biased up and a bit of a tribute/rip off, lifted from Riot’s “Fall Before Me”, as a bridge/prechorus… which is rather obvious.
 
“Eye to Eye” is a swifter tune, with riffs and melodies that once again owe to anyone from Virgin Steele to Ostrogoth and others, but at least – sounds more fun than its predecessor.
 
“Hail to the King” feels like a pastiche of Manowar lyrics, themed around the epic tale of Alexander The Great. It’s funny how Liapakis who’s of Greek origins slightly mispronounces the birthplace of the King of Kings, at least in its Anglicized form. It’s the first song that didn’t make me cringe because of its borrowed riffage, but for other reasons, but at the same time, it’s fairly enjoyable, if you’re cheese tolerant.
 
“Here Comes the Winter” is an unassuming, by the numbers, heavy ballad that might not be exactly imaginative, but is half decent.
 
“Curse of the Slayer / 666: 8 Messiah” is a satanic heavy metal bouillabaisse, with a nice cut right at the chorus, but not much more than fire and brimstone to try and impress... perhaps it’s enough.
 
“Dracula” is a funkier mid-tempo that builds and has an enjoyable chorus, which sees, RDL going for a more exotic “Romanian” pronunciation of “Dracula” instead of the more often used Anglicized one. I could also live with less “Attack Attack” references.
 
“Together We Fall” follows suit, but kicks the funk out of the equation and goes for a more direct approach.
 
“Die with the Hammer” is another straightforward metal tune, which makes more than a few references to classic tunes lyrically and even somewhat musically, but not to the point of saturation. While it gets the atmosphere right and its chorus is not exactly bad, it does leave a bit to be desired and this in this case would be originality.
 
“Reincarnation” is a pretty cool track with a nice solo, its melodies are quite alright, but it suffers from an abruptly wrapping chorus, which takes away a bit from how good it could potentially be.
 
Speaking of which, the also melodic “Mirror of a Broken Heart” is another decent track that will neither drive you nuts, nor make you press skip. It falls under, decent, likeable material, which doesn’t quite hit the spot, unfortunately, despite its nice solo and chorus. Maybe some additional harmonies would have helped it to become more likable.
 
“Victory is Mine” is not a Virgin Steele cover, although the latter would be hard pressed to write a vocal melody such as the one on this chorus… if the song was its chorus it would be a winner, since most all that is around it (ie the basic riffage) bar a short riff and a lead, is rather forgettable. The growly vocals also are quite ridiculous and don’t fit the style too well.
 
All in all, a fair album that however doesn’t rise above mediocrity. A couple of tunes that seem to borrow heavily from others, mar the impressions it leaves significantly. Other than that… it’s all good… Metal(!)