MYSTIGMA - GEBETE
Reviewer Score: 8 out of 10
UNDESERVEDLY FORGOTTEN VETERANS OF THE GOTH SCENE
I was itching to write something about the new Mystigma album after the very first listening of it. But, having shown miracles of endurance, I decided to listen to the release a couple of times more in order to formulate my thoughts on this matter more succinctly.
In general, I think that Mystigma is one of the bands that is undeservedly bypassed by the attention of the general public. And I see drawing of this very attention as one of the main tasks of this review, so I want to start with a retrospective journey into the history of the band.
Few people know that the band was formed almost 30 years ago, in 1993, under the name Tears of Mystigma.
According to different sources, the guys played Death/Doom Metal on their first demos, but I personally haven`t heard those records. And the material of Tears of Mystigma that I managed to find could already be labeled Gothic Metal in the form it existed in the mid-late 90s. The band`s familiar Dark Rock sound began to form in 2005, when the musicians shortened the name of their band to Mystigma, softened the sound a little and diversified their mixes with more electronics than on their previous releases. It should be noted that in the same period of time, German-language tracks began to appear on their releases, but in baby steps so far. The album called "Unzerbrechlich" was the band`s big break in this regard, on which a good half of the compositions was already recorded in their native language. Apparently, the record was well received by the audience, because three subsequent full-length albums, including the new "Gebete" release, were already almost completely in German. I personally quite liked the material of the band that was recorded in ENG, but I must admit that German suits them quite well, and in this case, I think that Mystigma went the right way. Moreover, in recent years the band has become much more interesting in terms of the melodic composition of their tracks. And now, perhaps, is the most suitable moment to move on to the review of the "Gebete" record itself, Mystigma`s 6th album after the name of the band was changed.
In general terms, we see a great example of the German Gothic Rock scene, with its inherent drama, mixture of styles and attention to detail as well as the atmosphere. But such a short description will not work. It is also worth adding to this the peculiar, slightly detached, but charismatic vocals of Thorsten Beumer (the founder and permanent vocalist of the band), female backing vocals (that do not hog the blanket over themselves, but are always measured and are exactly where they are needed), as well as a rather high level of sound production, which, in turn, does not turn the recording into a plastic stamping, but retains a slightly blurry, voluminous gothic-rock sound that suits the band perfectly.
While listening to the album, I caught myself thinking that I was unconsciously drawing analogies with another cool genre novelty of the year - the "Leidwerk" album by Kaizer. Basically, this is not surprising: stylistically close works that were released within a short period of time made a more than favorable impression, and the musicians in both bands are about the same age. So the parallels suggest themselves. I am not pursuing the aim of knocking two truly worthy releases together, but I would like to share some of my analogies with you. Hopefully this comparison will help you better understand the pros and cons of the "Gebete" release.
The next point that I would like to draw your attention to is the conceptual integrity of "Gebete". No, this is not a literally conceptual album. I’m rather talking about the fact that the record by Kaizer is perceived as a collection of very good, catchy songs, united by a single type of sound production. Mystigma`s release seems to be a little deeper: it seems that the songs flow into one another, forming some kind of a single music canvas. At the same time, song melodies and guitar riffs of the band are perfect, and it is the guitar work that clearly wins the round against Kaizer. Here, there are riffs close to Industrial/NDH as well, there are purely gothic-rock passages and even slightly rock`n`roll melodies.
I must admit that Kaizer`s album is still more catchy. Mystigma has a more classic Dark/Gothic Metal work, with an emphasis on the overall atmosphere. But here, too, almost every track can be distinguished due to certain distinctive features. For example, there is an almost a-la-Lacrimosa song called "Herzakkord", with keyboard passages and a typical rhythm section. There`s an almost all-electronic "Erlösung", or "Lebenslänglich" and "Schockraum", which riffs many Industrial/NDH bands can be jealous of. And nearly each track has its own peculiar feature. At the same time, the album has a very integral sound, a single mood, if you like. And I would call the icing on the cake of the record a cool cover of a classic Swedish metal track which is called "Sacrificed", recorded by the band that has long ceased to exist, but left a noticeable mark on the entire metal scene which is called Edge of Sanity. The only song on the album that was recorded in ENG, but is incredibly cool, just like the original.
Although my favorite song "Für Diesen Augenblick" by Mystigma is on the 2016 "Schattenboten" album, "Gebete" is the best full-length record of the band. This is the band`s most professional and balanced record. And I am invariably pleased with the situations when bands, after a good 30 years of their creative path, release such cool material. Be sure to check out this album. I am sure that there is something for every fan of the genre in "Gebete". Even if you are not into Gothic Rock/Metal, still give this band a chance. I think you won't be disappointed.