Mystery Blue - 8RED - (3/10)
Published on September 13, 2019
France’s long-running, female-fronted classic metal band Mystery Blue have released their eighth album after a seven-year break from their previous. 8RED (which I can only assume is a play on the word “hatred”, and also maybe on the “Blue” of the band name) was promised to be “a collection of unforgettable metal hymns and in-your-face rippers, alongside epic, original and melodic pieces”, but it falls short on all counts. There are no rippers. It’s all but epic, and, for anybody who’s been around heavy metal for any amount of time, it’s not original, either. It is, in a word, forgettable.
What we get instead is an album full of slower, darker songs. Which would be fine, except for the fact that they’re not great and that the band teased at just the opposite. There are a couple more upbeat tracks, like ‘Throwaway Society’, ‘Final Fight’, and ‘Vikings of Modern Times’, but 8RED begins and ends with too many laid back tunes. To make matters worse, most of the songs are longer than five minutes, and waiting for the next song to play gets painful at times. ‘Final Fight’ is probably the best song on the album (it’s actually really good), but every other track is plagued by at least as much bad as it has good.
8RED, to say it kindly, was hard to get through. And, unfortunately for my sorry ass, I got to do it three whole times! I may as well have not even bothered, though, because there’s nothing to be gained by listening to it any more than once. It’s straightforward and offers nothing new upon consecutive listens. No hidden background parts, nothing to really break down. It’s just bland.
However, there’s always (usually) a silver lining. One thing to like about this album are the guitar riffs. They’re nothing special, but they’re the strongest part of the album and they keep the energy flowing as much as they can. Some of the better guitarwork can be found in ‘Vikings of Modern Times’ and ‘Killing Innocence’. The drumming is also pretty good, but the one-dimensional songwriting and monotonous vocal lines prevent the rhythm section from elevating the music very high on its own.
The biggest problem with 8RED is that it sounds like an inexperienced highschool band. Now, this wouldn’t be as big of an issue as it is if the fucking band hadn’t been around for, oh, I don’t know, MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS. Yeah, there was a six year break in the 90s and they’ve gone through numerous lineup changes, but there’s no excuse for a band that’s run for this long to sound the way it does. It’s uninspired heavy metal with weak melodies, wonky vocals, and amateurish tropes.
Originally written for PowerThorn.com