posted on 2/2005 By:
Mystic Prophecy is a German power metal band that has abandoned the typical style of their homeland for a more gritty American approach. The band shares members with a constellation of other German power metal acts—guitar wiz Gus G spent time in Dream Evil, and plays in Nightrage and Firewind, while R.D. Liapakis also sings for Valley’s Eve, for whom Martin Albrecht (ex-Stormwitch) also plays bass, guitarist Markus Pohl is in Symphorce, and drummer Klaus Sperling is in My Darkest Hate and Wasteland. Never Ending is Mystic Prophecy’s third album (following ‘01’s Vengeance and ‘03’s Regressus) and the final installment of a multi-album concept piece that, according to the band bio, tells “a story about a monk that is sentenced to burn at the stake because of heresy. In Vengeance the monk takes his revenge to his tormentors by haunting them in their dreams and finally driving them mad, making them kill themselves. All songs in Regressus tell little murder stories. The monk incarnates and returns to kill the descendants of his tormentors. In Never Ending the monk´s revengefulness is finally satisfied, and the four horsemen come for him and tear him into four pieces, burying him at all four cardinal points. But is this really the end of the story? A curse by a god should give him eternal immortality, as he was the soldier who stabbed Jesus nailed to the cross…”.
Mystic Prophecy’s brand of power metal is rooted in ‘80s American metal, although the sound has been updated a bit by adding some thrash elements. How ironic that a band with prophecy in its name has exactly zero forward thinking tendencies, preferring to revel in the past, balancing precariously on the fence between sounding old school and extremely dated. In truth, they frequently fall off into the dated side of the fence, probably ripping their acid washed Levis in the process. Although the album has a lot going for it, the mullet, like the proverbial glass, is half full or half empty, depending on your perspective. As a power metal album, Never Ending fairs pretty well. Gus G is a talented guitar player with a classic metal style, and the songs give him plenty of room to roam and showcase his talent. Liapakis’ vocals are varied and he thankfully breaks up the stereotypical soaring, high pitched wail with a gruff mid-range approach. This fits well with the band’s heavier and somewhat darker take, accomplished by tossing in some thrash riffing and rolling double bass. The opening track, “Burning Bridges”, is one of the heavier and better constructed songs on the album, combining some speedy thrash riffing and frequent leads with a more melodic approach that gives the song both hook and crunch. Likewise, several other tracks like “In Hell” and “Time Will Tell” pack a punch, although the songwriting is a bit inconsistent. On the other hand, the band does itself no favors by insisting on material that is so rife with cliché. Even the song titles themselves are yawn worthy (Never Surrender”, “Time Will Tell”, “Burning Bridges”, “Wings of Eternity”). The same is true of segments of the music, which often resort to presenting familiar material in a familiar way. The predictable ballad “Never Surrender” is the worst offender, and it’s honestly hard to imagine someone writing such hackneyed material. On the other hand, the album outro, “Never Ending” is an excellent instrumental exhibition of Gus G’s chops, as he solos over an acoustic line for two minutes.
If you’re a big power metal fan you can probably add a point to a point and a half to the songwriting score. For the rest of us, this is one to approach with some trepidation and check out before you pick up, although if you can get past the album’s shortcomings, Never Ending has quite a bit to offer.
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