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Open The Gates Of Hell

Germany Country of Origin: Germany

Open The Gates Of Hell
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: September 22nd, 2003
Genre: Black, Melodic
1. Morbid Signs Of Destruction
2. Beyond The Black Dawn
3. Satanic Rituals
4. Awaken By Blood
5. Wings Of Death
6. Deadly Ghosts
7. Open The Gates Of Hell
8. Book Of Shadows
9. Burning Souls
10. Demoniac Dimension

Review by Felix on December 15, 2023.

May I be honest right from the start? It will always remain a mystery to me why Mystic Circle was given the chance to release 9 (in words: nine) albums. At least nine albums. Already their debut was actually a kind of suicidal action and despite its interesting lyrical concept, “Drachenblut” also did not fully convince. Anyhow, here we are confronted with “Open the Gates of Hell”, a full-length with ten titles, a playtime of 33 minutes and a childish artwork, done by a dude without talent who had no other colours than yellow and red. This is not the biggest problem. The production spreads an aroma of sterility and in particular the drums sound powerless. Yet even this is not the biggest problem here.

The album starts with a meaningless, theatrical intro. Richard Wagner (remember "Drachenblut") still seems to be an inspiration for the band, but it goes without saying that the guys do not reach his class. By the way, I see or hear not the smallest one of the “Morbid Signs of Destruction”, but okay, let’s go on. The intro leads to three under-average black metal songs without remarkable flair, charm or inner strength. The deep throat sounds rather absurd than demonic, the guitar lines are sometimes more or less okay, sometimes they fluctuate between trivial and annoying. Especially “Satanic Rituals” is hard to endure, is this a death metal wannabe? Shredding guitars and interspersed blast beats which get almost lost in the weak mix do not automatically create a strong piece. If you are among the lucky ones, you do not realize the chorus, if not, you will suffer from its total insignificance.

“Deadly Ghosts”, a synthetic sounds instrumental, makes clear that Mystic Circle are a kind of Dimmu Borgir minus success. This number kicks off the second half in a very poor way. The final four tracks pick up the approach of the three tracks after the intro. I listen to them patiently, but the only thing that excites me is my personal degree of indifference towards these songs. A few parts are okay (“Burning Souls” and the closer have a small number of comparatively expressive moments), but the melodies mostly remain on a mediocre, cheap level. Yet the “best” is yet to come.

“Wings of Death” is the name of Mystic Circle’s absolutely embarrassing attempt to gain commercial success. Overloud keyboards, discreet disco beats, and female vocals that give the song its most characteristic feature. Of course, they are in the vein of Theatre of Tragedy and comparable combos, not the smallest dust particle can be found here. Foolish lyrics which have never been written before (“we are all born to die”) complete the catastrophe. Is this gothic, dark pop or just cheesy nonsense? Anyhow, it caricatures the oh-so-hard other songs. Published under another name on another album, the song would be acceptable, here it just kills the band’s integrity completely. And so I close the gates of hell and recommend this album to everyone who wants to waste half an hour of their lives.

Rating: 2.5 out of 10