Mastiphal - _For a Glory of All Evil Spirits, Rise for Victory_
(Baron, 1996)
by: Brian Meloon (7 out of 10)
Mastiphal hail from Poland, and play a black metal style that sounds kind of like a mix of Arcturus (see CoC #12) and Accursed (see CoC #11). The approach is similar to both bands, but perhaps less synth-dominated. Unfortunately, it's not as diverse, interesting, or well-played as Arcturus, but at least it beats Accursed on all counts. The production is decent, but sounds a little faded due to the overly trebly drums. Vocals are standard fare raspy black metal style, and the guitar work is usually pretty straightforward. The keyboard parts are usually minimalist, preferring to just emphasize parts of the riff structures, or play simple single-note melodies. Occasionally though, they are rather involved, especially the piano parts. Due to a lack of diversity and an unfortunate sparsity of different riffs, the songs tend to drag a bit too, but not to the point of being completely boring. I guess I'd hesitantly recommend this to fans of Arcturus, but don't expect it to be great.

(article published 2/1/1997)

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