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Review: Mystras - Castles Conquered and Reclaimed
Castles Conquered and Reclaimed

Label: I, Voidhanger Records
Year released: 2020
Duration: 51:43
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: July 31, 2020
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Castles Conquered and Reclaimed

Rated 3.8/5 (76%) (5 Votes)

This is essentially a studio project by Ayloss, the mastermind behind the Greek Atmospheric Black Metal band Spectral Lore, and I wouldn't care about that except this is one of the most impressive albums I have heard this year. Cloaked in medieval garb and rooted in rock-solid compositions, this is a beast of a Black Metal album–epic, ambitious, and powerful.

This reminds me quite a bit of Obsequiae, with the mix of epic, majestic Black Metal riffs and moodier acoustic passages laced with genuine folk instruments. There is no skimping on the metal, and when this album cranks up, it absolutely crushes, still never losing the melodic, folky edge to the riffs that makes this compulsively listenable, even when songs stretch well past the 10-minute mark. This is a long album that doesn't feel long, because it never wastes your time and never settles for being good when it can be great. The production is just the right balance of raw, harsh aggression and sufficient space for the melodic nuances to come through. All in all, I would call this the best Black Metal album I have heard in 2020.

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