Review by Vladimir on April 24, 2023.
When you mention Germany, you don’t really think of black metal, do you? Although it’s a country predominantly recognized for having a catalog of heavy, thrash, speed metal and even death metal bands, black metal isn’t really a genre you’d associate with Germany. However, some bands do get recognition from fans worldwide and are even signed to major labels, so the topic of today’s discussion will be the band Mystic Circle.
Mystic Circle has been around since the early 90’s, and has had multiple splits and reunions over the years, until it was successfully resurrected in 2021, with Aaarrrgon and Graf von Beelzebub being the only active members. Last year they released their eighth self-titled album Mystic Circle on February 4th as the band’s comeback album, while their ninth full-length album Erzdämon has been released this year on March 17th via Fireflash Records. I’ve already heard the single 'Scarecrow' which also got a music video released the same day, and it was a promising glare to the album’s overall output. Let’s take a look at this vile three-headed archdemon and see what Mystic Circle has to offer with this beast.
Off with a good start as the title track 'Erzdämon' opens our album with melodic guitar lines and double-bass drumming, while the harsh singing vocals join along during verses. The song also switches to catchy mid-tempo during verses, while also throwing in some d-beat and fast drumming, and back to double-bass drumming just for good measure. The second track 'From Hell' gives us a very calm synth section in the beginning before black metal starts blasting with hellfire, while also providing some mid-tempo and melodic guitar lines during chorus and bridge sections. There are some symphonic vocals that can be heard during the melodic sections of the fourth track 'Scarecrow', which for the most part has the same style as the rest of the album, although still an enjoyable and memorable tune. The fifth track 'Asmodeus And The Temple Of God' give us some pretty epic and gothic choirs which build up some feeling of impending doom before melodic black metal kicks, but the vocals this time introduce some badass guttural growls during the chorus next to the harsh singing style which was predominantly used. The eight track 'Skinwalker' is pretty interesting since it starts off like some music taken from a western movie, even with a sound of harmonica heard in the background, before continuing with standard melodic black metal and blast beats. So far, I must say that I am genuinely pleased with the album’s output in terms of songwriting and overall execution of ideas, which provided some nice melodic riffs and leads from start to finish, and I could probably consider this album far superior in comparison to the self-titled album which came out last year. What tops that album for me is the fact that the songs on that album weren’t so powerful and mesmerizing as the ones on Erzdämon, which have a much grander and more epic feel to them. Production-wise, Erzdämon is similar to its predecessor, with a high-quality sound which doesn’t sound sterile and you can clearly hear the guitars, bass, synths, drums and vocals, without there ever being a moment when one instrument crushes the other in the entire mix.
Erzdämon is indeed a banger of an album, which thanks to its blood offering of melodic black metal, managed to bring every bit of music to its highest extent. Mystic Circle isn’t exactly a band I listen to quite often, but I was really impressed with their older albums such as Drachenblut and Infernal Satanic Verses when they were in their prime years so to speak. I always thought that Mystic Circle is a quite underrated and overlooked band, but thanks to the previously released self-titled album and Erzdämon, they managed to get back on track and from what I’ve seen the reactions have been nothing but positive. For fans of melodic black metal mixed with a bit of death metal, check out the band Mystic Circle and their new album Erzdämon, it really is an archdemon.
Rating: 8.8 out of 101.48k