Now twenty three years in existence, Mystic Prophecy are still best known as being the launchpad for Greek axe God Gus G; But he actually left the band eighteen years ago, and the band has gone about their business largely unobtrusively since then, amassing an impressive back catalogue of solid Euro power metal.
And in that respect, it’s very much business as usual with the band’s new album Hellriot. The band delivers, as always, a set of solidly dependable, anthemic heavy metal, but, to my ears at least, there’s an extra sparkle present this time around. Exuberant radio rockers like Demons of the Night just seem to boom out of the speakers with a little more oomph, and if this isn’t exactly the sound of a band reborn, or a career-defining performance, it is pretty exiting nonetheless.
Lead guitarist Evan K pulls out a series of sparkling solos and leads, and his partnership with longstanding rhythm axer Markus Pohl really hits hard on tracks like the stomping Metal Attack. RD Liapakis has rarely sounded so energised behind the mic, whilst the rock solid engine room collaborations of drummer Hanno Kerstan and bassist Joey Roxx anchors everything just a syou’d like. Kerstan in particular shines throughout with some impressive performances.
Paranoia is bone-crunchingly heavy yet impossible not to chant along with, whilst the staccato axe attack of Revenge and Fire harks back to the band’s early days in rip-roaring, double-kick powered fashion. It’s incredibly old hat, of course, but that’s all part of the allure – this is Euro power metal exactly as it should be, and it’s bloody marvellous!
The sheer weight of albums that come out in this genre each year makes it easy to forget just how good Mystic Prophecy’s chosen style of music actually is, so when an album crops up like this – an album that just gets everything spectacularly right – we shouldn’t miss the chance of reminding ourselves just how bone-splinteringly good proper heavy metal can still be in 2023. This is what we want!
Hellriot is out now.