Mystic Charm – Shadows of the Unknown (reissue)

MysticCharm_New_Cover (200x200)It would appear, for better or worse, that the underground will never be short of relatively unknown nuggets of extreme music to excavate. But with the confluence of material being plastered before us in unending promotional campaigns and obnoxious, flashing banner ads, the ease at which even the most ‘die-hard’ amongst can inadvertently ignore something worthy of attention can be at once alarming and justifiable. Into this realm of saturation comes the re-release of 1994 album Shadows of the Unknown by Mystic Charm, and with it a resurrection of quality ’90s Death/Doom. A prologue of misty, dark ambient sound heralds the opening salvo of the title track (and in unexpected places in others), with classic Doom riffs lingering close at hand. Their harbinger: a guitar sound/distortion not unlike the one found upon the classic Beneath the Remains, but here imbued with enough bass frequency for your headphones to cry ‘uncle’ upon every plucked note. As each dirge builds in intensity, structures often take a blissful downturn, with clean, classical guitar passages – reminiscent of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost’s earlier. better days – deftly maintaining the melancholy throughout. But yes, the full-on Death always arrives, and when it does, unabashedly powered by the force of ‘Into the Pandemonium’ vintage Celtic Frost (and a bit of ‘Slowly We Rot’ vintage Obituary) the influences of the album coalesce into a character all Mystic Charm’s own. The simple energy and presence of their female vocalist’s Warrior-esque vocal rhythms – delivered in crisp barks and whispers – and the band’s demonically dirty guitars prevent these Dutch Death/Doomsters from mirroring too close the more sappy purveyors of their style from that time, keeping each track separated from the head-up-the-ass affliction inspiring snores amongst other like-minded albums. Mystic Charm’s only full-length remains a quiet killer of an album, having aged gracefully in the dustier regions of (hopefully) more than a few obscure Extreme Metal vinyl collections.

Remastered by the original members and featuring a new (and, for once, better) album cover, Shadows of the Unknown does what every moody Doom Metal album does, but without sacrificing any of the raw attitude that also awards it the Death Metal tag. The re-release’s inclusion of the Endless Sickness EP will confirm your suspicion all along that, under all the atmosphere, a DIY-(almost) punk arrogance lies pulsing within, just as it once did with their obvious Swiss hero from Hellhammer. Mystic Charm, come back and bring more of that audacity with you. Extreme Metal enthusiasts could use bucketloads more of it. -Jim

Memento Mori

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~ by cliftonium on June 5, 2013.

2 Responses to “Mystic Charm – Shadows of the Unknown (reissue)”

  1. This is really good. Listening now on youtube. Good choice.

  2. Fuck man, never even heard of Mystic Charm. Gotta check this out.

    I figured you would be reviewing the new vinyl reissue of Acrostichon – Engraved in Black.

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