Mystic Prophecy – Hellriot

Mystic Prophecy – Hellriot
ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records
Release Date: 19/05/23
Running Time: 41:32
Review by Simon Black

Since they first got going properly in 2002, Mystic Prophecy have been nothing if not prolific, clocking up no less than twelve studio albums in their twenty-one years. Despite my deep love of Power Metal acts hailing from Deutschland (it’s arguably all Helloween’s fault anyway), Mystic Prophecy have not been an act that registered too much on my radar. Okay, I’ve had a copy of 2011’s “Ravenlord” for ages, but to be honest haven’t heard too much from their stable since Spotify suggested them to me in a playlist all those years ago and I impulse purchased a copy on CD (which if we all did every time we heard a track we liked would vastly improve the finances of every working band around the globe), but after that I’ve not engaged. 

I suspect that is in no small part due to the problem that plagues many similar acts from mainland Europe, which is the lack of investment in touring the UK market, so while they have a healthy following over there, no-one’s heard of them over here. I go on about this a lot, but that’s because it really, really bugs me that a sub-genre of Metal that I really enjoy doesn’t even get off the starting blocks over here. The root of the problem is very few promotors and venues are willing to risk an unknown act whose fees seem disproportionate to the size of their potential audience pull, except perhaps in London which is a prohibitively expensive distance away from the vast majority of the UK population. This is the fault of British promotors countrywide, who would rather get a local support act in prepared to play for free (and still desperate enough to give away half their merch revenue) than actually pay for an established professional act from elsewhere (you know, one that’s had to fly or float themselves, their gear and their crew to another country with all the joy that brings with it since Brexit), which tells you everything you need to know about why this country is absolutely FUBAR when it comes to grassroots live music.

As always, it’s the British punter that loses out, because those Power Metal acts that do persist rapidly reap the rewards (Sabaton and Powerwolf being a couple of examples that now pack the arenas over here, having paid their dues in the toilets countrywide to get the ball rolling). And we really are missing out here with acts like Mystic Prophecy, about whom I can find little evidence of touring in the UK apart from a single live show on British shores yonks ago in their tewnty plus year history. That’s a damn shame, as straight away the quality and consistency of “Hellriot” is bang on to the same high watermark I heard on “Ravenlord”, reminding me that there’s another act whose back catalogue I really should spend some time mining if I can ever get this massive pile of new review releases down enough.

It’s not the longest of records, wisely choosing quality over quantity with eleven tracks that average a punchy and consistent three and a half minutes across the forty-odd minutes of run time. As I said earlier, Mystic Prophecy have been at this for a while, and have their song-writing machine nicely oiled. At this stage of their careers many acts merely go through the motions in order to justify continued touring, but it seems this is another example of why this model does not work when you have such a crowded scene on the mainland. Put simply, in an environment with literally thousands of genre-peers snapping at your heels, if you snooze you lose.

From the smack in the face that is title track ‘Hellriot’ this record really doesn’t pull its punches, with an incredibly consistent and powerful delivery. I’ve always had a soft spot for Roberto Liapakis’s voice, as for me it’s the perfect aisle-crossing style of delivery that appeals to most Metalheads. He has a phenomenal amount of power, with a gutsy Rock ’n’ Roll timbre that’s clean enough to hit the high notes effectively, but dirty enough to stay real and thoroughly gutsy. Put those together and what you get is a tangible sense of charisma and presence that is hugely enticing and pulls and holds you into the songs.

Musically this is the deep down, dirty and heavy end of the Power Metal spectrum, more akin to the USA variant of the genre and a million miles away from the showing major chord upbeat tone of so many of their peers. Which is probably why I like them so much, as even when they throw a few Synthwave tropes into the intro for ‘Road To Babylon’, it works because the riff is pure headbanging heaven. The band are incredibly tight and fluid, and the guitar interplay between Markus Pohl and Evan K. is quite frankly phenomenal, with the kind of harmonic weaving and fluidity that makes it impossible to tell which of them is taking the lead.

With a lavish production sound, and enough variety in the pace of the tracks this album is so consistently good that I really am struggling to highlight any weaker moments. My previous encounter with them had clear highs and lows, but this is one hell of a consistent banger of an album with absolutely no lows at all.

‘Hellriot’ Official Video

01. Hellriot
02. Unholy Hell
03. Demons Of The Night
04. Metal Attack
05. Paranoia
06. Revenge And Fire
07. Rising With The Storm
08. Road To Babylon
09. Azrael
10. Cross The Line
11. World On Fire

R.D. Liapakis – Vocals
Markus Pohl – Guitar
Evan K – Guitar
Joey Roxx – Bass
Hanno Kerstan – Drums


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