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Infernal Satanic Verses

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Album Review

If you looked up symphonic black metal in a dictionary, Mystic Circle's pancaked faces would probably be staring back at you. Not because the band offers the best example of this seemingly bottomless metal subgenre (heavens, no), but because they truly epitomize its many attributes more evenly (and capably) than most. Like most examples of the style, Infernal Satanic Verses is a complex journey through oppressive landscapes of sound, but Mystic Circle packs so much diversity via alternating female vocals, occasionally clean metallic riffing, and a constant barrage of synthesizer backdrops that very memorable songs quickly materialize out of the sonic murk. Extended pieces like "Hordes of the Underworld," "The Devilstone," and "One With the Antichrist" approach sub-Opeth ambition and achieve sub-Emperor intensity while retaining their own very clear identity. A very impressive album by a quality band.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of Germany's most popular pure black metal bands, Mystic Circle was formed at the tail end of 1992 in Ludwigshafen by the colorfully named Graf von Beelzebub (bass/vocals) and his partner in crime, Aaarrrgon (drums). 1993's Dark Passion was the first of three demo tapes which, over the next few years, helped spread the band's satanic gospel in the German black metal underground. Three 1996 EPs (one, a split with fellow Teutonic terrors Blood) led up to their full-length debut with 1997's Morgenroete-der...
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