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Mystic Circle – Erzdämon

mystic circle – erzdämon


Actually, only just recovered from the shock of Mystic Circle’s unexpected return and, subsequently, their first feat in sixteen years, the German duo is already back with a new album. ‘Erzdämon’, now the ninth studio album, makes all (last) doubts disappear like snow in the sun. The duo comes full circle with a performance that not only completely harks back to ‘Drachenblut’ (1998) and ‘Infernal Satanic Verses’ (1999) in terms of sound and imagery, but now that it comes up with a German title, we can safely say: Mystic Circle is back.

In my reviews for Mystic Circle’s self-titled album from last year and the remastered version of ‘Drachenblut’ released together with this newest album, I went into detail about the band’s history, including all the ifs, buts and controversies. And it is therefore ample time to leave history behind and let this latest work come into its own. So, let’s get started.

This latest work resembles its predecessor in a lot of ways, and thus what can be seen as the most successful period in the band’s history: the late 90’s. The heavily bombast- and melody-driven Black Metal still forms the core of the music, but in doing so, it may be noted that the band has made some pretty impressive big strides. Not only are the songs themselves a bit more exciting and diverse, but especially the almost frivolity with which the music is played shows a returned love to the classic Black Metal sound of the second half of the 90s. Although this style always remains somewhat youthful, a dose of maturity is added in the form of strong guitar leads and more-than-catchy melodies.

The variety of the music is evident both in its fluency and also in its rich tempo changes. Take for instance the penultimate track, ‘Skinwalker’, which starts almost in Western-like fashion before erupting into one of the most furious blast beat sections the band has ever featured, but the song also offers some beautifully played guitar leads that gives an overall epic feel. This is also well represented by the excellent production that adds extra punch to the music. I can imagine that for some seasoned listeners it may come across as a bit flat or neat, but in this case it definitely benefits the music. It definitely propels the bombast into even bigger grandeur.

Now that, with two new albums under their belt, we can quietly take stock of the bill, I think it’s safe to say that Mystic Circle have come back stronger than they left and that reverting to their more “classic” sound can be called a success. The years away have done the duo good, becoming more mature may not have immediately led to a different image, but musically it’s all comes together a bit better and in terms of instrument mastery it’s a huge step forward anyway. While the past can obviously never be erased, the band seems to have made peace with their musical niche more than ever, and by now I have too.