1. Chapter 1: The Revelation
2. 666 (Mark of the Devil)
3. God is Dead - Satan Arise
4. Servants of Twilight
5. Chapter 2: The Omen
6. Kingdom of Blasphemy
7. The Seventh Sign
8. Armageddon War
9. Chapter 3: The Deduction
10. Unholy Alliance
11. Image of the Antichrist

  Beelzebub - Vocals, Bass
Ezpharess - Guitars
Necrodemon - Drums

MYSTIC CIRCLE: "Damien"              mystic circle                                          
review by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo____   


The Omen trilogy divided in 3 chapters (the revelation- the omen - the deduction) seems to be the topic which inspires the whole album of the German Black Metallers Mystic Circle, a band  that so often divided the opinions, sometimes hard criticized, sometimes praised. Mystic Circle are now a trio, without keyboarder, and this is their fifth studio album. This is to say that the band is evolving, gathering experiences,  solving problems. Under this point of view the new production should reflect this kind of dynamics and indeed Damien is a more mature work. And indeed methinks that Mystic Circle are very engaged now in showcasing themselves not only, or even better, no longer as image band, but on the contrary as a band that can create  good music. The first thing that is hitting me, when listening to this album is that their Black is clearly melodic, but with a burst towards fast aggressiveness. Nevertheless some tracks and some passages sound even catchy, like for example the fast but agreeable, gloomy and atmospheric Servants of twilight. Well, one could wonder if mystic Circle are playing a pure Black Metal. I don't think and maybe Darkthrone's fans too don't find this music as a canonic Black. Mystic Circle themselves declare that the expression " Dark Satanic Metal" would represent better  their music, extreme dark oriented, with recurrent anti-Jesus Christ themes, with many characteristics of the Black, but very opened to other metal genres like Death and Dark  Atmospheric. It's the trend in order to enrich the Black sub-genre with fresh winds coming from outside. And as a result, we have here another album , that though trying to be extreme and without compromises, actually is not so extreme and there are  compromises that anyway don't spoil the work, which  can be heard by a wide audience, thing that is always desirable. Typical good stressed and fast Black schemas united with persistent assaults are hiding a sweeter heart that will keep the listeners interested, a kind of struggle between good and evil, that is not only to be found in the lyrics but also in this musical tension between melody and fast blastbeats .  


The keyboard contribution is reduced, so that we don't have that sometimes annoying keyboard backscape , in this way drums are coming more in foreground and, obviously,  guitars too . Pity that, in general, we don't hear from guitars nothing exceptional  if not the usual and typical average work of the Black guitar-soundscape. Another minus of this album is that the tracks are not that much varied,  a little bit  too uniform, united to the fact that  drums are blasting yes  but maybe too uniform , and above all too perfect like they were produced by a drummachine.  Nevertheless the sound anyway succeeds in being really impressive, this is a sign that the production has done really a good work. An interesting thing is that the song Armageddon War (the last one of the Omen chapter and one of my fav of this cd) shows  true Death Metal riffs, and some Death flavours can be heard also in The Image of the Antichrist, which , among other things, presents a very brusque end.  In Kingdom of Blasphemy, one of the most varied  among the tracks, there are catchy Heavy proceedings united with dark atmospheric inserts. Every chapter begins with a  short  instrumental presentation, and, among the 3 ones, the first (this is to say the opener of the whole album) is very atmospheric and lets grow the feeling that you will face some impending curse. More or less all other tracks of the chapters are  rather linear but effective, fast and energetic , rough, and in a way, less mystical but angrier and resolute. On the whole, Damien is a good album: accessible to many, thanks its incorporated melodic refrains and its penetrating influences from other sub-genres, but  it will anyway  not disappoint the harder metalheads thanks to its percussion and its speed, in contrast with the bass and heavy growlings. And obviously Mystic Circle fans will be satisfied cause this album is more than a confirmation. This Dark Satanic Metal, or whatever, is worth to be bought and heard, though without standing ovations.. The only thorny question could be the following: which trilogy is better: the movie, or this album?

rating   8.5/10

dalia di giacomo    

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