After a 16 year absence, two members of Germany’s most underrated black metallers, Mystic Circle, have revived the band and created one hell of a respectable album in the process. The duo have unleashed their eponymous 8th opus and it’s one that fuses their 90’s style keyboard-driven symphonic sound with an aggressive black metal assault that’s worthy of bands like Marduk and Dark Funeral, with shades of Dimmu Borgir bleeding through.
Both Graf von Beezlebub (vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards) and Aaarrgon (guitars, drums, keyboards) have reemerged with their extreme metal weapons intact and are primed for an anti-Christian global assault and, with this 2022 release, Mystic Circle have created an album that deftly combines both raw black metal with polished death metal.
The balls-out video for “Letters From The Devil” is full of wonderfully over-the-top Satanic visuals – a dark priest in a Satanic skull mask, demonic women, plenty of fire, black candles and the band with fully painted corpse paint and spikes and leather – all the tropes are accounted for and it’s everything you could ask for in a melodic and intense extreme metal song.
The production on Mystic Circle, courtesy of the band and Producer Nils Lesser (guitarist for German industrial metalcore band Cypecore), is both heavy and vibrant and affords the band plenty of room to breathe. The insane and demonic cover art by Brazilian Artist Rafael Tavares also suits the blasphemic aesthetic of Mystic Circle perfectly.
With this eponymous release, Mystic Circle reminds us why black metal is still a vital art form. The Germans may not be re-imagiinng the metal wheel but this duo know exactly how to make memorable Satanic songs and Mystic Circle is more than merely a solid album. 7/10
Mystic Circle‘s self titled album was released on February 4th, 2022 via Atomic Fire Records