Mysticum - _In the Streams of Inferno_
(Full Moon Prod., 1996)
by: Henry Akeley (4 out of 10)
There are quite a few black metal bands whose sound really grows on you over time, once you've become used to their bleak, savage, and typically under-produced style. After giving the debut from Mysticum its fair share of spins, though, I'd put these guys in the class of bands who just get slightly less annoying. The main reason is their reliance on a drum machine which produces about as much sonic power as a typewriter can. Plus, the guitar sound is incredibly high and thin, and the vocalist sounds like he's really been hitting the helium too. Still it's not really their squeaky recording that holds these guys back. As we all know, it takes a lot more than crappy sound to keep a good black metal band down! No, the problem is that Mysticum's songs are simply monotonous. There is a huge shortage of engaging riffs and interesting changes in tempo, and whatever atmosphere the band manages to create with keyboards rapidly becomes stale. If your idea of a great black metal jam is to repeatedly blast Emperor's most one-dimensional songs with the bass turned all the way down and the treble cranked, then these guys are for you. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

(article published 9/6/1996)

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