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Mystic Charm - Hell Did Freeze Over

Mystic Charm
Hell Did Freeze Over
by David Hough at 05 September 2022, 1:15 AM

MYSTIC CHARM were making their brand of death/doom metal throughout the 90s. They called it quits sometime around the year 2000. This release of their EP, “Hell Did Freeze Over,” has been re-recorded with a handful of extra tracks from earlier albums. I must admit that this re-recording is my introduction to MYSTIC CHARM. When they were making new music, I was more concerned with the output of the “big four” of thrash than I was interested in finding new music.

The first track on the album, “Hell Did Freeze Over,” is an intro with wintry sounds, church bells, and eventually a door opening leading into “Beyond The Darkside.” This second track starts with some groovy, fuzzy riffs, and then you hear Rein Doze’s evil, unnerving vocals, which are both raspy and easy to understand at the same time, a feat that few metal vocalists have been able to undertake properly. There are also some sweet breakdowns and a haunting guitar solo, making this track one not to miss.

The next track, “Bloodshot Eyes,” opens with more winter sounds. Then it gets slow and angry. Doze’s disturbed vocals are a high point as well. While this song doesn’t have many lyrics, they make up for it with excellent, catchy riffs and expertly executed drumming. There’s another nice fuzzy breakdown that’s worth mentioning. While this is a slow, deliberately paced song, it never overstays its welcome by staying just under five minutes.

Into Thy Hands” begins with what sounds like a woman speaking. It’s difficult to determine what she’s saying under the music, but it still works for atmospheric effect. The vocals also stand out on this track. There’s more excellent musicianship as well. There’s a nice, wailing guitar solo to look out for, and the song finishes as it begins, with the same woman speaking.

As “Into Thy Hands” ends with the beeping of a heart monitor, “Recipe Of Fear” continues the beeping until the heart flatlines. Then the song begins with fury. Rein Doze sounds particularly unhinged here and gives off just the right kind of deranged vibe. This is another doom metal slow burn with some killer riffing midway through and rounded out with a spooky guitar interlude.

One of the bonus tracks, “Crushed Virginity,” has a more modern production and still features noteworthy drumming and fuzzed-out riffing. The sparse vocals are easy to understand at first but become more incomprehensible as the song continues. The music is also catchy and easy to listen to. It’s a deep cut that has been upgraded on this release.

My introduction to MYSTIC CHARM is a great release and a sort of “greatest hits” record with the five bonus tracks added. It’s got a lot of old-school charm, and with updated production, this version of “Hell Did Freeze Over” is definitive and a must for those craving some old-school death/doom.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability:8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Hell Did Freeze Over (Intro)
2. Beyond the Darkside
3. Bloodshot Eyes
4. Into Thy Hands
5. Recipe of Fear
6. Lost Empire
7. Endless Sickness
8. Deadly Embrace
9. Crushed Virginity
10. Beyond Darkness
Lineup:
Herwig Schuiling - Guitars
Gerlach Timmer - Bass
Rein Doze - Vocals
Hans Spijker - Drums
Egbert Berenst - Vocals (Additional)
Record Label: Personal Records
     


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Edited 02 December 2022
 

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