Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mystic Prophecy - Fireangel (2009)

Mystic Prophecy have established themselves as a go-to band for decent power metal, yet they eschew the anthem driven German veneer of their peers to produce a heavier style that almost borders on thrash. 6th album Fireangel is another solid effort, though it doesn't quite live up to some of their past albums like Savage Souls. The band have had numerous lineup changes since the previous Satanic Curses, adding new drummer Stefan Dittrich (Karkadan, Saidian), bassist Connie Andreszka (Circle of Pain) and melodeath guitarist Constantine (Descending, Nightrage) into their mixed Greco-Germanic troupe.

Like most of the material on this album, "Across the Gates of Hell" starts well enough, with some plowing, low end guitars thrash dowsed in Roberto Dimitri Liapakis' vocals. He's got a fairly mid range compared to many peers, but it does work well with the more powerful thrust of the guitars. The chorus isn't quite as catchy as one would hope, but "Demons Crown" is a more powerful song altogether, with some forceful vocals and an escalating nature worthy of its title. "We Kill! You Die!" is faster, with brazen speed metal guitars and a thrashing bridge rhythm in the verse. "Father Save Me" has a dirtier blues metal edge to it, reminding me of the 2nd Halford solo album. Other worthwhile tracks include the title track "Fireangel", a real rager, and the triumphant punch of "Gods of War".

Studio-wise, Fireangel sounds just about as good as any of the band's previous works, in particular the guitars and vocals really blaze the tracks with a nice crunch to them. The vocals are charming enough and there are enough riffs to captivate your attention for a short while. If you can find the 2-CD Digipak version of this album, you get some Japanese bonus tracks and live material. Some of these tracks like "Crimson Devastation" are just as good as anything on the main disc, and the lives are alright if you enjoy Mystic Prophecy and actually care for live recordings (though the vocals sound shaky on a few of them). Fireangel is not some mold-breaking power metal release, not even a high point for the band, but considering they supplanted more than half the band for this, it's got enough shine to appeal to fans.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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