Released: 2012, Pure Legend Records
The pure metal albums have been rolling in for me lately, no confusing folk or symphonic leanings, just straight ahead meat and potatoes metal. The Mystery certainly falls into that category, this excellent German band continuing their high quality brand of power metal, infused with NWOBHM and US Metal elements. APOCALYPSE 666 introduces new singer Iris Boanta, formerly of all female AC/DC tribute band Black Thunder Ladies, replacing Korry Schadwell. Schadwell’s vocals were undeniably female, inspired by and similar to Doro Pesch. Not so with Boanta, who sounds every bit as gruff as a man and unless you are in the know, you would never guess that Boanta is a woman.
Based on the Anvil/Spinal Tap-like album title, you would never guess that APOCALYPSE 666 is a killer metal album. True, there is no reinvention here, everything has been tried and done before. However, the melodies on here are damn catchy, the band really adept at writing a hook and sinking it into your brain. Likewise, the choruses are memorable and deliver as a payoff in each song. The title track delivers Helloween-like speed chugs during the verses mixed with tasteful melodic fills that lead to a memorable bridge and chorus, citing that indeed the Mayan calendar date of 2012 will be the end. One of the real gems on the album is “Outlaw”, a highly infectious power metal anthem, buoyed by bright and optimistic guitar harmonies. Offering some variety to the speedy and mid-paced tempo of most of the album, is the tasteful and traditional semi- ballad “In Heaven Or Hell.”
The production on the album is a perfect complement to the band, as they employ tight rhythms combined with the unmistakable influence of 80s metal’s penchant for melodic twin guitar harmonies. When the dust settles, the band has blazed through 12 compact, quick hitting tracks. Consider me highly impressed, the real mystery here being how is this band not huge? Fans of the group’s previous material might require some adjusting to Boanta’s vocals contrasted with Schadwell’s, but if this is your first taste of The Mystery, you will likewise be highly impressed. This one is highly recommended for fans of Iron Maiden, Saxon, Dio, Helloween and other bands of that ilk.