Mystic Prophecy – War Brigade Review

Released by: Massacre Records

Release Date: May 6, 2016

Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Links: http://www.mysticprophecy.net/home.php, http://www.facebook.com/mysticprophecy

 

Line Up:

R.D. Liapakis – Vocals

Markus Pohl – Guitars

Laki Ragazas – Guitars

Joey Roxx – Bass

Tristan Maiwurm – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Follow the Blind

2. Metal Brigade

3. Burning Out

4. The Crucifix

5. Pray for Hell

6. 10.000 Miles Away

7. Good Day to Die

8. The Devil is Back

9. War Panzer

10. Fight for One Nation

11. War of Lies

12. Sex Bomb (Tom Jones cover) (Digipak Bonus)

 

With some bands, every time you put on a new album for the first time you know pretty much exactly what to expect, and German power metal band Mystic Prophecy is one such example. I was first introduced to their 2009 album Fireangel and have heard every album since, plus the two before, and I’ve found that while they will put in a surprise song every once in a while, their core sound remains pretty much the same from album to album. So going in to their latest release, War Brigade, I had a very good idea of what I’d be hearing going in, and suffice to say I got exactly what I was expecting, nothing more or nothing less.

For those new to the band, Mystic Prophecy play a very hard edged style of power metal, mixed with elements of heavy metal as well as some strong thrash elements, especially in the guitar work. Vocalist R.D. Liapakis has a very powerful tough guy sounding voice that fits the music perfectly for the more aggressive section, but he can also put in a bit of touch on the choruses and the occasional more melodic sections. Unsurprisingly, War Brigade largely features the same style of largely mid tempo power metal as usual, with high energy performances as always, though there are a couple surprises on the first half, to help make the early parts of the album stand out a bit more, while the second half is solid but feels a bit by the numbers in comparison.

The album starts off strong, with the up tempo opening track “Follow the Blind” delivering the kind of heavy riffing fans would expect, along with a strong chorus, while the following track “Metal Brigade” is slower, but till features some excellent guitar work in the verses as well as a surprisingly melodic chorus where the vocals shine through. Surprisingly, my favorite song on the album is “Burning Out”, where the band goes into full thrash mode with some super aggressive, and more technical guitar work and R.D. Liapakis at his absolute angriest. I generally prefer my power metal albums to be more melodic, but this track has some absolutely killer riffs and stands out as by far the most memorable track on the album, and even one of my favorite Mystic Prophecy songs to date. Another surprise is the ballad “10.000 Miles Away”, not because it’s especially exciting, but because it’s rare for the band to go this soft, so at the very least it serves as a nice change of pace. One last standout track from the first half is “The Crucifix”, a mid tempo heavy metal track that again delivers some great riffs and a strong chorus. Out of the first six tracks, the only one I’m not overly fond of is “Pray to Hell”, which has the darker tone found on their 2011 album Ravenlord, which I found to be one of their weaker albums.

From the midway point on, the album becomes a little more predictable, and we’re left with a more standard mix of faster tracks and mid tempo tracks, with no huge surprises. Fans of the previously mentioned darker sound should enjoy “Good Day to Die”, which features a pretty cool voiceover at the beginning, while fans of their speedier, thrashier side should enjoy “War Panzer”, “Fight for One Nation” and “War of Lies”. One slight oddity is “The Devil is Back”, which has some pretty killer riffs during the verses, though I find the chorus a little bit irritating something about it just seems a little off to me. The digipak features a cover of the Tom Jones hit “Sex Bomb” as a bonus. Oddly enough, they managed to make the song fit their sound pretty well, giving it more of a heavy metal sound without steering too far away from the original tune. If anything, I feel the band did a great job with it, though hearing R.D. Liapakis sing those lyrics sounds rather comical when thrown in with all these songs about war, death and the devil.

Overall, War Brigade is what longtime fans of Mystic Prophecy should expect: A solid, aggressive mix of heavy metal and power metal, with a few standout tracks, that mostly sticks to their established sound. I wouldn’t put it up there with Savage Souls, my favorite of theirs, but I’d certainly take it over Ravenlord and I’d say it’s roughly on par with Killhammer. Longtime fans should enjoy it, and I’d also recommend it to power metal fans who prefer the heavier, more guitar driven side of the genre.

 

Written by: Travis Green

Ratings: Travis   7/10

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