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Album Review: MYSTICUM – Planet Satan

While everybody is making their lists of Best Albums of 2014, I’m putting Planet Satan on my Top 10 Unique Albums of 2014 list. It was hit and miss. It was love and hate. And this by far was one of the hardest reviews that I’ve done as we wrap up this calendar year.

Mysticum’s otherworldly release is a mechanized interpretation of your average black metal record, and that leads to some unique discoveries and conundrums. The overall production level is very shallow; if you’re looking for something deep and abysmal this record is going to sound like nails on a chalkboard for you. The surface level quality of production lends itself to a very raspy, unearthly quality that is satisfyingly chilling on songs like “LSD” and “Far.” However the continuous flatness of sound just becomes grating about halfway through, especially when discussing percussion. The paper-thin snare snaps grew very tiresome by “Fist of Satan,” in which the same annoying rhythm repeats itself for four minutes. The greatest oddity in this album was definitely “The Ether;” I don’t always listen to industrial metal, but when I do I don’t think it’s supposed to sound like Deadmau5.

The greatest highlights of the album occur within the first three songs. There’s some really powerful vocal parts and a vivid pulse in “LSD,” a reflection of old-school Bathory in “Annihilation,” and “Far” is a culmination of a number of factors in the former songs mentioned. There was so much amazing black metal songwriting to be had in this album that I feel like got lost in the midst of all the synthetic, industrialized effects. But to play devil’s advocate, Mysticum found a niche that rarely any metal musician has touched and have proved that they are bold enough to go where no black metal has gone before.

Rating: 2.5/5

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