Mystic Prophecy’s twelfth album, Hellriot, initially surprised me. I expected a bombastic, over the top power metal album and heard an album filled with grit, groove, catchy choruses and virtuoso guitar leads. The Bavarian quintet do not play around and strike for the jugular. The title track opens the album with a chunky, galloping guitar riff and frantic drumming. Frontman R.D. Liapakis’s vocals are gruff, but soar over the metallic onslaught, a welcome deviation from the conventional operatic vocals of many power metal acts. However, the guitar virtuosity of Evan K steals the show as he unleashes a fiery solo towards the track’s conclusion.
“Unholy Hell” is a slower number with a staccato riffs interspersed over a nice groove. Rhythm guitarist Markus Pohl shines on the track’s midsection as his riffs match the rhythm of the drummer before Evan K lays out another stellar solo. The band gives ode to metal on the swinging “Metal Attack.” However, this is not a cheesy track as Pohl and Evan K lay out some lumbering riffs over Hanno Kerstan’s pummeling drums and Joey Roxx’s pumping bass line. “Rising With The Storm” is another raging track with a fast tempo and some melodic riffing reminiscent of Megadeth.
The production on Hellriot is outstanding. It is punchy with a full bottom end that gives each instrument more power. Thus the riffs on tracks like “Revenge and Fire” and “Cross The Line” pack an extra wallop. The album is cohesive and none of the 11 tracks goes over four-and-a-half minutes. Thus Hellriot is 41 minutes long and does not wear out its welcome. Mystic Prophecy are in top form as each member showcases their musical prowess without overshadowing the whole song.
Hellriot is a great record that should satisfy fans of power metal or metal in general. The musicianship is top notch and the songs are sure to induce headbanging. This album could certainly cause a riot in Hell.
Check out the band’s official website here: http://www.mysticprophecy.net/