|Review: Mystic Prophecy - Regressus|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: July 12, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.15/5 (83%) (20 Votes)
I heard great things about this band, and since they’re on Nuclear Blast, I was able to pick "Regressus" up at the record store without having to order it. This is the second album from these Germans, and in many ways it’s a tremendous achievement, and in others a dissapointment.
To begin with, Mystic Prophecy play a hard and heavy style of power metal very much of the German Paragon/Primal Fear school. There are no happy melodies or keyboard-syrup gaypreggios here, this is brass-knuckles metal with meat on its bones. The sound is tremendous, with the guitars crunchy and loud and a booming lower end. The mix is perfect, and so heavy that during the thrashier parts you would almost think this was death metal – yes, it is that heavy. That this isn’t death metal is proved by the soaring, hard-edged vocals of frontman Rob Liapakis. He has a powerful midrange voice reminiscent of Matt Barlowe or Blaze Bailey, strong and somewhat rough. On top of the powerful production, his strong voice makes for a kinetic sound that really grabs your attention. The best tracks on here: "Calling From Hell", "Night of the Storm", "Forgotten Soul" could almost serve as blueprints for ‘how to write METAL’.
That said, this is not a perfect album. For one thing, it goes on too long. Now I know that sounds odd when I just said what a killer this album is, but too many of these songs lack identity and blend together. Eight tracks would have been fine, maybe they could have focused the songs more and given them more variety and individual flavor, but Twelve songs (Fourteen with the bonus tracks) is simply too much. By Track 9 I was thinking "did I hear this song already?". The riffs and solos are all really cool, but they sound too much alike for my money. Yes Rob Liapakis has a powerful, soaring voice, but after half the album is over, you wish he’d stop. There are other ways to sing besides just powering out looooong note after loooong note, and the lack of variety in the vocal approach really wears thin by the end of the CD. The lyrics are not bad here, but they aren’t great either, being of the school of lyrics where the chorus is always the title of the song. If the song is called "Sign of the Cross" then you can be sure the singer will be belting ‘Sign of the Cross’ over and over again. Mystic Prophecy also share the Maidenesque tendency to have choruses that repeat and repeat and repeat and . . .
The CD package is classy, with a very cool cover painting and decent, if uninspired art design inside. The lyrics are here, as I mentioned, but are nothing special, as I mentioned. It’s a fairly typical NB package.
This is a very cool CD, and I don’t want my enumeration of its drawbacks to dampen enthusiasm for it. Fans of Primal Fear, Iced Earth, Nevermore and Cage should find a lot to enjoy on this disc, and with a sophmore album this good I see great things for the future of this band. A lot of people are claiming this as a power metal masterpiece, and while it isn’t quite that, it is a damned good slice of muscular metal from a band with enormous potential.
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Interview with vocalist RD Liapakis on March 18, 2012 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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