Greek/German Power Metal machine MYSTIC PROPHECY had come in at No. 2 for Power Metal album of the year back in 2007 with “Satanic Curses”, just narrowly missing out against GAMMA RAY, so with the style not being over the top so far this year, their sixth album “Fireangel” could be the saviour of 2009 given the track record that the band around singer extraordinaire R.D. Liapakis have had since their inception back in the year 2000. Compared to their previous effort, the line up changed on three of the five positions, with a new second guitarist and a new rhythm section, but fret not, musically we are still treated to heavy Power Metal sometimes almost bordering Thrash with outstanding vocals.
Now some may be worried that the formula might wear out at one point and I admit that good parts of “Fireangel” can be dubbed as “typical MYSTIC PROPHECY”, but acknowledging that does not mean conceding defeat, because the quality of the song material thoroughly outweighs any complains about lack of evolution. The fact that the band is a fair bit heavier than the vast majority of their competitors gives them an edge and combine that with the melodic, but still edgy voice of Liapakis and you have a winner. “Across The Gates Of Hell” probably is as typical as MYSTIC PROPHECY are going to get, but you won’t forget that chorus any time soon, but it is the second track that has me under its spell, which is “Demons Crown”, a slower and heavier track that has this brooding intensity that elevates it among its peers.
Overall the melodies seem even more infectious and catchy than on “Satanic Curses”, be it double-bass torpedoes such as “We Kill!! You Die!!”, the bristling “Death Under Control” or “Gods Of War” or the more mid-paced stream rollers of the likes of “To The Devil I Pray” and “Revolution Evil” or the maybe best track, dynamic and super catchy title track “Fireangel”, the balance between sharp and aggressive riffing, tight rhythm section and the already mentioned vocal performance is once more outstanding and grinds many other bands of the same or a similar style to dust, which is further aided by the clear and powerful production that gives the tracks the necessary oomph.
Even if you normally do not like Power Metal, I still urge you to check out “Fireangel” and MYSTIC PROPHECY overall, as they bring way more grit into their music than the bands that probably led you to dread the genre. Any way you look at it, while in my opinion not fully reaching “Satanic Curses”, this still is an outstanding piece of Power Metal that will score high in many year-end lists, I am sure.
(Online August 21, 2009)