I first started noticing MYSTIC CIRCLE around the time when “The Great Beast” was released. Never heard their music but supposedly they were the shit so obviously I read a few reviews to get a more specific description of this German Black Metal outfit and then it struck me, this band didn’t have anything that I already had gotten from nearly any other band in the genre. I also passed on “Damien” and the recent “Open The Gates Of Hell” and now as I’m writing this review I am certain I won’t be a MYSTIC CIRCLE fan ever.
Guitarist Ezpharess and bass/vocalist Beelzebub (the core of the band) have been battling posers and Christianity since the early nineties and now with “The Bloody Path Of God” commences the seventh onslaught against those of the light. The album starts with an intro speech that’s fittingly taunting before the title track showcases the band’s knack for blackened song writing.
Although they’ve always been labelled as Black Metal with Death influences or the other way around I prefer Dark Metal as the moniker for their haunting and yet so hellish sound and so does the band as they claim to play Dark Satanic Metal according to their webpage. The images conjured from church organ sounds and almost vampyric keyboard shades don’t always come out cold or evil, they tend to be more suspenseful and… well just not from the Black Metal drawer.
Grooving tracks like “The Grim Reaper” and “Hellborn” captures the traditional side of the band and “Unholy Terror” makes sure you get at least one ill tempered Black Metal tune because blastbeats are pretty much a rare ingredient afterwards and in no way does that negate the albums intensity, you’ll find plenty of skilful fills as well as the expected extreme drumming. A couple of the songs use clean guitar passages and quite catchy lead melodies accompanying the traditional death/black riffs, sadly many of them sound very much alike which is too bad and too late to rectify. Vocalist Beelzebub does sound like the incarnation of Lucifer when doubling his screams with death growls but has his pathetic spots as well where he just annoys me.
There’s nothing phenomenal about “The Bloody Path Of God”. Having said that, the album does have some interesting structures pressed into fairly short songs, keyboards have their moments too but it just isn’t all that brilliant… and by the way, a cover of CELTIC FROST’s “Circle Of The Tyrants” just isn’t a surprise anymore. A good Dark Metal album with a brilliant sound production, that’s all. (Online April 18, 2006)