Alright, here it is. Already. In my review of the remastered reissue of ‘Drachenblut’ earlier this year I predicted that this album would see a remastered version of itself being reissued in 2024, marking its 25th anniversary. But instead, about half a year after the release of ‘Drachenblut’ (which actually is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year) the band and/or label decided to launch the definitive version of ‘Infernal Satanic Verses’.
From the old “classic” Mystic Circle material this album has always been getting the most praise, being the band’s best effort in terms of musicianship and musical, dare I say it, maturity. Still, everything about Mystic Circle has to be put in a certain perspective, without repeating what I have already written in my previous Mystic Circle reviews, this album too was never really taken seriously by the Black Metal connoisseurs and fans of the time. The question is of course, as always, how justified is or was that?
Now that we have arrived in 2023 and are, indeed, almost 25 years older ourselves, it might be easier to let go of all the preconceived notions tied around the band and approach the album as freely and objectively as possible. So let’s start the analysis…
To get right to the point and start with the overall sound: the remaster has definitely done the album justice. Indeed, the album was already the best produced and mixed work the Germans unleashed on us, but the remaster has given the album extra power and now shines even fuller in its bombastic splendour. With that, of course, we hit the crux – this must be your kind of music. Should Melodic or Symphonic Black Metal not be your ball game, you won’t appreciate this album – not then, and not today. But having let this final version blast through the eardrums a number of times, and, once again, letting go of all the negativity and fringe perils, there’s really no other way to conclude that this is an album that very proudly reflects the zeitgeist.
On ‘Infernal Satanic Verses’, the band’s recipe has actually remained largely unchanged since the band’s first musical steps in the mid-90’s: synth-driven Black Metal brimming with melody and uplifting uptempo rhythms. The blaring vocals and the here and there well-placed atmospheric sections and guitar leads complete the picture. The keyboard-heavy compositions are quite well put together and catchy enough to stick around, and the production does the rest of the work. As icing on the cake, the band also gets the help of Sarah Jezebel Deva, who at the time was a staple of Melodic Black Metal and provided records by Cradle Of Filth, Graveworm and Covenant among others as well as Mortiis and Therion with her angelic vocals. In short, if we were really able to listen to the album in its own right, possibly erasing the band’s name from the cover, we could actually conclude that it is pretty much equal to the Old Man’s Child’s of the time.
Sure, ‘Infernal Satanic Verses’ still sounds like what it is: a product typical of late-90’s Melodic Black Metal. But that in no way disqualifies the album, I would almost say quite the opposite. Never since those mid-to-late 90’s has the musical climate been so favourable to this kind of music, we are presented with one reissue of genre classics after another with bands being duly reinstated. And now that we even get old and new Mystic Circle records thrown at us with regularity, I think anything is possible. Although I suspect that polishing and re-releasing ‘Morgenröte – Der Schrei Nach Finsternis’, the band’s debut, could be called a challenge: I am genuinely curious.