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Mystras – Empires Vanquished and Dismantled

Mystras
Empires Vanquished and Dismantled
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 22 January 2022, 7:27 AM

 From Athens, Greece, comes Medieval Black Metal Band MYSTRAS, formed in 2019. Mystras/Mistras (Μυστράς) is a fortified town in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. This is his second album, and without any information in their EPK, we are once again going to have to let the music be our guide. The album contains nine tracks of varying length.

“The Nightingale” leads off the album. It opens with folk instruments and an easy sway. Layering begins as other symphonic elements join in. I really like the timpani for percussion, as well as the flute notes. “On the Promises of Angels” goes full Black Metal out of the gates, with horrid vocals and a wall of guitars and drums. The vocals transition to darker and meatier utterances, and suddenly you feel as if you are being led down the stairs to Hell itself. It fades out with vile spoken words. “Ah Ya Zein” is a short, two-minute track of what sounds like Middle-Eastern influenced flute and guitar. It’s not a bad tune, but the four-bar melody is repeated.

“The Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem” is a near-15-minute opus, beginning with a distorted guitar run. Drums ease in, and that Folky, mesmerizing sound is catchy. Vocals enter, and it becomes a hybrid of Black and Folk Metal. It stays in this mesmerizing tone throughout the song, darting in and out of variance every now and again. “Cheragheh Zolmezalem (Oppression's Fire)” opens with dark and mysterious flute notes. Chanting fades in and out of the background. You picture an endless desert…one where the sun beats down mercilessly. One could also meditate to this even-keeled offering.

“To the Builders” reverts back to the traditional Black Metal style. The vocals rage and the guitars and drums are unrelenting. More of that Middle-Eastern sound makes its presence known here as well. Spoken words come in a trance like mode, along with some background ambiance. “Wie Schändlich Es Ist” is a short Folky number with female vocals done in German. “The Favor of the Saints” goes back to the harrowing Black Metal style once again. A spastic guitar solo joins close to the half-way mark, with plenty of energy. “In the Company of Heretics” closes the album; a deeper and more raucous Black Metal sound. For the first few minutes, the chaos is hard to detangle. It settles into a slower groove then. With that mesmerizing sound still ever-present, you hardly notice the passing of the minutes. The sound drops towards the end, finishing with quiet, Folky tones.

I found this album to be a pleasing compliment of two varying styles of Metal that have been linked together more than once in the past. But the way that MYSTRAS links them is original, and fresh. The horrid elements of Black Metal are of course there, but the Folky melodies mix in well, almost as if the mistrals were undead in their carnival performances. This was an original, and quite pleasing album.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Nightingale
2. On the Promises of Angels
3. Ah Ya Zein
4. The Fall of The Kingdom of Jerusalem
5. Cheragheh Zolmezalem (Oppression's Fire)
6. To the Builders!
7. Wie Schändlich Es Ist
8. The Favor of the Saints
9. In the Company of Heretics
Lineup:
Ayloss – All Music
Record Label: I,Voidhanger Records
     


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