Mystic Prophecy – Ravenlord
Mystic Prophecy used to be the kind of band I would only check in on when I had worn out my copy of their latest album. Thusly I missed Satanic Curses while I was still spinning Savage Souls and got back in touch with the band with the release of Fireangel. As my rave review so subtly hints at, I am quite fond of that record so I couldn’t wait for the follow-up Ravenlord, to see if the Germans had kept up their shift in gear to a first-class power/thrash act.
High expectations almost exclusively lead to disappointment, so at first this disc struck me as terribly underwhelming. Not only does the demonic savagery of Mystic Prophecy require a certain kind of mood (downright hatred against stupid people screaming on the train for example), compared to Fireangel the melodies didn’t soar quite as much as I hoped they would. Been there, done that, what else is new? Then I realized that Mystic Prophecy never really changed their sound drastically, except for the surge in quality on the predecessor and even that was a result of more focused songwriting, not of a stylistic detour.
In that regard Ravenlord cannot be faulted for anything else than not being Fireangel, because the traditional Mystic Prophecy-elements are all present. Brutal riffs and often vocals, slow chugging songs switched up with fast aggressive ones and devilish lyrics dealing with all kinds of hell. At this point we’ve heard it all before, but recycled albums are not per se bad albums. Look at how Sabaton carefully repeats every decent album (Primo Victoria and The Art Of War) with an inferior yet still somehow enjoyable carbon copy of it (Attero Dominatus and Coat Of Arms).
Ravenlord is in the same vein. “Die Now” is this album’s “We Kill! You Die!” in the category of subtle songs about killing people, the excellent “To The Devil I Pray” gets an equivalent in one of the album’s highlights “Eyes Of The Devil”, et cetera. Even though there is less diversity than on Fireangel, every song is easily recognizable with the title track, “Hollow” and “Endless Fire” being the standouts. The cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Miracle Man” falls flat and I feel a cover of Stormwitch’s classic “Ravenlord” might’ve been more in order.
Mystic Prophecy might’ve peaked with Fireangel and they may never be one of the premier bands in the genre, but they’re reliable and consistent. Fans of the band should find something here to like, detractors will still hate it. I for one will set my expectations lower once again so next time I may enjoy a Mystic Prophecy-release immediately for what it is: an ass-kicking ball of pure power/thrash malevolence.
Arno Callens’ Rating: 3.5 out of 5