Words: Craig Hartranft
If recollections serves me, when I was getting back into heavy metal at the turn of the century, Germany's Mystic Prophecy was one of many bands recommended to me. Some 14 years later the band power along with the ninth album, War Brigade.
And the same thing can be said about this album that was said in my last encounter with 2011's Ravenlord: Mystic Prophecy is indefatigable and predictable. They keep churning out the same thrashy heavy power metal stoked with sharp heavy riffage, a deep rumbling rhythm section, and abundance of fiery guitar solos (probably the best part of any MP album). Vocalist R.D. Liapakis basically sounds the same with his raw, nail gargling, presentation. To be fair, he is trying to do something new. He throws in a few death vocal screams at the beginning of a few songs like Pray For Hell and Burning Out. Whatever. Then within 10,000 Miles Away, a metal anthem, he dials it all back for a more melodic metal voice.
So does that make Mystic Prophecy less predictable. Probably not. The dirty screams just makes them sound a bit like a "modern" metal band. Mostly Liapakis seems to get hammered in the mix. But basically that's what Mystic Prophecy does: hammer you with relentless riffage, thundering bass and drums, speed, and just plain thrash-like heaviness. All that means is that War Brigade is just Mystic Prophecy being Mystic Prophecy.
Yet, some mention should be made of the 600 pound gorilla in the room. That would be their cover of Tom Jones' (yeah, that Tom Jones) Sex Bomb. You read all that right. It's hilarious, if not so preposterous to be ridiculous. It will definitely stretch your heavy metal credulity. But, at the very least, it shows that Mystic Prophecy can get their groove on. It's also the only reason I gave the album an extra half point.
War Brigade is just Mystic Prophecy being Mystic Prophecy, churning out the same thrashy heavy power metal stoked with sharp heavy riffage, a deep rumbling rhythm section, and abundance of fiery guitar solos.
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