Released: 2009, Bernett Records
Mystery Blue is one of France’s longer running and better power Metal acts. In a country not traditionally known for a diverse and/or vibrant metal scene, Mystery Blue has been one of the genre leaders.
HELL & FURY is album #6 for the veteran act and it is their best to date. Believe it or not the band has been around almost 30 years. They had a long period of inactivity through the 90s, however the band are on a roll with three solid albums in six years, culminating in this one.
The quartet have increased the intensity and heaviness on this release. Everything seems a bit darker and heavier, including the lyrics, production and even packaging. The albums gallops along at a good pace, not all-out speedy Italian style power with lots of keyboards, but more of a mid-pace crunch with bursts of speed.
The vocals of Nathalie are still strong and reminiscent perhaps of Lee Aaron or even Jutta of Zed Yago. She is certainly not of the soprano, operatic school. Her performances aren’t especially harsh, like Gossow either, just nicely in the middle of the range. Some critics have suggested her vocals sound strained, but I wouldn’t agree.
On the whole, this is a fun and easy CD to listen to. Melodic soloing accent the songs without being overstated or full of shred. The melodies are catchy and easy to sing along to and/or band your head. This band keeps improving with age, and for long-standing true metal fans without pretensions, excessive frills, that is a welcome listening experience.