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Mysticum - "Planet Satan" (CD)

Mysticum - "Planet Satan" CD cover image

"Planet Satan" track listing:

1. LSD (4:53)
2. Annihilation (4:41)
3. Far (4:43)
4. The Ether (6:49)
5. Fist of Satan (4:53)
6. All Must End (7:01)
7. Cosmic Gun (5:40)
8. Dissolve to Impiety (8:35)

Reviewed by on October 31, 2014

"While unfortunately Mysticum doesn't surpass the current crop of industrial black metal bands it inspired, it does still offer a nostalgic trip into Satanic darkness that fans of the first album should consider checking out."

The metallic comebacks and reunions just keep on rolling this year, as now the long-lost crossover innovators from Mysticum return with a new full-length: the band's first in 18 years, following the debut album “In The Streams Of Inferno.” Before France's Blacklodge or Italy's Aborym, there was the Norwegian outfit Mysticum blending industrial and black metal in a way not yet heard as the second wave of Norway's greatest export was in full swing. Now finally resurrected after an absurdly long hiatus, the band has launched into space and discovered “Planet Satan,” a place where chaos reigns supreme.

The opening track, “LSD,” has some serious dark energy to it that will get an audience pumped up (an anomaly in anything black metal related), and if you dig the Blacklodge album “Machination,” you'll be right at home here. Although it seems like it would be cheesy, the band screaming “Lucifer in the skies with demons!” totally works, going over-the-top and never looking back.

After the blood-pumping first track, a serious problem comes to light that similar bands that continued on past the '90s learned to clamp down on: the unrelenting repetition of the rapid-fire drum blasts. By mixing industrial, electronic, and black metal, the music is groove-driven even while being extreme and brutal, so there has to constantly be a beat in the background keeping the music flowing. In the case of “Planet Satan,” that's endlessly repetitive blast beats that can't possibly be played by a real human person. Even if there actually is someone behind the kit somehow using mechanical legs and arms to pull off those beats, there's no heart or soul to the sound at all. This repetition makes the five minute songs overlong, and the seven minute tracks become a headache-inducing eternity.

If you can get past that issue, the electronic backing beats propping up fuzzy Norwegian black metal guitar lines and hoarse screams is actually a solid combination, and there are a few changes that keep things interesting. A vocal change on “Fist Of Satan” sees the lyrics delivered through a thrashy harsh yell instead of a black metal screech, for instance, and “All Must End” features some truly odd, but intriguing, sound effects, while the final track ditches all the metal and goes entirely atmospheric. While unfortunately Mysticum doesn't surpass the current crop of industrial black metal bands it inspired, it does still offer a nostalgic trip into Satanic darkness that fans of the first album should consider checking out.

Highs: Industrial and black metal is always a good combo.

Lows: Endlessly repetitive to the point that some tracks become actively headache-inducing.

Bottom line: One of the earliest black metal/industrial crossover bands returns from the darkness of space to show the world "Planet Satan."

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)