Mystic Prophecy – Killhammer
Written by Arno Callens
I’ve grown a bit tired of figuring out what exactly Mystic Prophecy is doing. Last year I saw them live for the first time, and for some inexplicable reason they played almost exclusively Ravenlord material. Promote an album all you want, but how about some Fireangel, huh? Anyway, I figured Mystic Prophecy is just going to do what they damn well please, and for that I cannot fault them. Especially since their latest arrival, Killhammer (more on that title later), is a step above Ravenlord, if not quite up there with the aforementioned Fireangel and also Savage Souls.
Killhammer. I wonder how long it took R.D. Liapakis and co. to crack the security code of Udo Dirkschneider’s mansion, break into the vault, and steal his album title ideas? Is it purely meant for killing, or are there carpentry applications as well? How did Mystic Prophecy get an exclusive look at Thor’s lines for the Avengers-sequel? Who is ‘Hammer’ and what has he done to the power metal community? Ok, I think that about covers it.
As you’d expect from such a title, the opening and title track is appropriately monolithic. It’s about as subtle as a vicious hangover after getting kilhammered in a bar the night before. It sounds a bit like “Ravenlord”, but with different words. As it plodded on, I didn’t feel a lot of excitement for what was to come.
So it goes on for most of the first half as well, with the notable exception of the strangely sensitive “To Hell And Back” (which is proof that Liapakis can properly sing if he wants to) and the stomping “Kill The Beast”, which almost left my car floorless from tapping along too hard. I’m telling you, scraping the highway with the sole of your foot at 120 km/hour (whatever that is in those silly ‘miles’) gets you a mean set of blisters.
The turnaround in the second half saves Killhammer from an abundance of bluntness. Briefly venturing in Sabaton-country, Mystic Prophecy delivers punch upon punch with the Spartan tribute “300 In Blood”, and Viking adventure “Warriors Of The Northern Sea”. Satan is left on the sidelines, and the music is better for it. “Angels Of Fire” brings back the Biblical assault, and “Set The World On Fire” proves that neither Symphony X nor Firewind have exclusive rights to awesomeness when it comes to that all-too-common song title. For Ozzy-fans, there’s a cover of “Crazy Train”, which sounds like an Ozzy-song covered by Mystic Prophecy.
If the whole of Killhammer was as great as the second half, Mystic Prophecy would have delivered another classic, but as it stands now, it falls just a little short. No worries, though: this is a bunch of fun and proves there’s still enough life left in Germany’s thrashiest power metal band. Last pun of the day: Killhammer nails it.
3.75 // 5