Mystic Prophecy – Metal Division Review

Back in 2007, I ran across the Myspace page of a band called Mystic Prophecy. My fire for trve heavy metal was still in its incipient stage at the time—a time that saw Manowar, Iron Maiden, and Iced Earth as my favorite bands—so when I heard “Demon’s Blood” and its immense bottom-end power metal attack on that soon-to-be-obsolete social media platform, I was giddy. It was the preview track for Satanic Curses, the fifth full-length from today’s featured Germans, and I successfully wrestled my then tender, religious conscience in order to purchase the album. While there’s nothing groundbreaking on that record—except for the nearly literally groundbreaking guitar sound—it quickly became one of my favorite modern heavy metal albums. In the years since, Mystic Prophecy have released one covers album and four LPs with each of the latter containing a few bangers and a varying amount of filler tracks, but will Metal Division be able to bring back that Satanic cursin’ feelin’?

On 2016’s War Brigade, the single was “Metal Brigade.” Well, it looks like the lead single has received a field promotion this time around as “Metal Division” mobilizes the proceedings as the album’s opener. A mid-paced armored assault, the track opens with a drum salvo before a massive chord strike is dropped from above. The song’s massive bass combined with a loud as fvkk production literally exploded my small bathroom Bluetooth speaker. While this should probably be seen as a negative, heck! I’m not even mad. That’s amazing! I listen to Mystic Prophecy when I want some heavy-as-hell heavy metal, and “Metal Division” starts things off perfectly.

Second single “Eye to Eye” dials the speed up into thrash territory and showcases one of Mystic Prophecy‘s most potent weapons: the voice of founding member R.D. Liapakis. His register is lower than many power metal vocalists, but he can still soar high when the music calls for it. This allows him to match the aggression of these heaviest of metal tracks while also crafting memorable sing-along choruses like those found on the Maiden-esque “Hail to the King” and “Here Comes the Winter.” Bluesy hard rock is no longer safe as “Dracula” gets the Mystic Prophecy treatment as a weaponized rumbler1, and the band celebrates its power/thrash roots on both “Curse of the Slayer” and “Die With the Hammer.” Overall, Metal Division feels more consistently solid than some of its predecessors with very little that I would consider filler. The final few songs aren’t quite as strong as the front 75%, but this album is easy to enjoy for a full playthrough.

Many will take issue with the loud production, but as I alluded to above, Mystic Prophecy‘s target audience will not be expecting to sit down with headphones to carefully mine this record’s dynamics. We listen to this while we counterphobically deny our fears and insecurities by doing tough guy and girl things. For instance, I’m currently preparing for my first powerlifting meet, and Metal Division has been an excellent soundtrack for my training sessions. Liapakis gives an impassioned performance, and when combined with the gargantuan riffs and sizzling solos from longtime guitarist Markus Pohl and relative newcomer Evan K., it elevates even the less compelling tracks. As far as standouts go, the title track, “Eye to Eye,” “Hail to the King,” “Dracula,” and “Die With the Hammer” would make it on my Mystic Prophecy playlist.

Well, Metal Division‘s campaign might not have succeeded in dislodging Satanic Curses from its rigidly entrenched position in my heart, but it’s certainly not for lack of effort. This version of Mystic Prophecy brings nothing new to the table, but fans of bands like Brainstorm and Dream Evil will find a lot to love here. Dial up your speakers with care, lest they meet the same fate as my throne room device.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: ROAR! Rock of Angels Records
Websites: mysticprophecy.net | facebook.com/mysticprophecy
Releases Worldwide: January 10th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Jørn will not be amused. – Steel
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