Mystic Prophecy - War Brigade
Massacre Records
Heavy Metal
12 songs (48' 22")
Release year: 2016
Mystic Prophecy, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Andy

Mystic Prophecy has always been a band considered more solid than inspired in its output, with its half-thrash, half-power metal sound capable occasionally of strength, hampered by rather insipid songwriting. War Brigade falls into the same category; it's got a few decent tunes on here, though a large amount of the album's tracks are simply not very energetic.

The production and sound is still spot-on, resulting in some songs that can get some fist-pumping going when the band rouses itself and puts its heavy rhythm guitar and fast riffing to use. Burning Out is an example of this: Quick, chunky riffing, with Roberto Liapakis's gritty baritone underscoring the guitar-dominated mix. The Crucifix also slathers on the heavy and pairs it with a melody that gives the song a few memorable hooks but doesn't stray too far into poppiness, and the power ballad 10.000 Miles Away, which succeeds in emphasizing the shading Liapakis can put into his voice without detracting from the guitar-driven heaviness, is also a good listen.

But the songwriting gets tired and stumbles at times, and when it does, the result is unmistakable filler. The Devil Is Back sounds like something that, say, Iron Savior would leave on the cutting-room floor, and the triumphal sound of Metal Brigade, something that is very hard to screw up, just sounds tired -- its pasted-together callouts of past great metal albums sound more like obligatory name-dropping than a saga-like enumeration of the heroic past. At least they didn't put another Ozzy Osbourne cover on this one.

The covers aren't gone, though. Instead they cover, of all things, the Tom Jones single Sex Bomb, which I have mixed feelings about. They easily make the song heavier and more driving -- in other words, more like something a metal listener would like, and the palm muting driving the verse section is a lot more fun to listen to than the bass-and-keyboard of the original. But one feels a bit cheated by an album whose original tracks are already rather humdrum finishing up with a pop cover, which I see as a sort of victory lap for the metal band that covers it. Couldn't they have kicked our asses a bit more, beforehand?

War Brigade isn't a bad album, but it's got few things to recommend it, either. I don't feel like this is a sharp decline in output quality or anything, so much as a slow downward trend from a band that was mostly a B player in the first place. Big Mystic Prophecy fans probably won't feel an incredible amount of disappointment, but anyone who just wants some decent heavy metal could easily find better offerings elsewhere.

Killing Songs :
The Crucifix, 10.000 Miles Away
Andy quoted 69 / 100
Other albums by Mystic Prophecy that we have reviewed:
Mystic Prophecy - Ravenlord reviewed by Thomas and quoted 80 / 100
Mystic Prophecy - Fireangel reviewed by Thomas and quoted 75 / 100
Mystic Prophecy - Satanic Curses reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
Mystic Prophecy - Savage Souls reviewed by Marty and quoted 88 / 100
Mystic Prophecy - Never-Ending reviewed by Mike and quoted 73 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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