When it comes to power metal bands out there that a lot of people don't know but should, Mystic Prophecy jumps right to the top of the list. Their albums are consistently excellent, with their SATANIC CURSES being a tremendous effort that's still in steady rotation in my IPod almost 5 years after it was released. With every band though, when you set the bar extremely high, you have that moment where you fall back a little bit. Being fair here, I do really like RAVENLORD, but it's simply not as good as their past releases. It's solid, but probably the worst of their catalog.
Again, not a bad album by any stretch. There are times when these guys turn up the speed and just launch. "Die Now" is probably the fastest and heaviest song of the bands career; complete with vocalist Roberto Dimitri Liapakis snarling his way through the song instead of using his more clean vocal that he's known for. As always though, Liapakis is the solid leader of this band. He roars throughout, reminding at times of Tom Englund of Evergrey in choruses.
Regardless of Liapakis, Mystic Prophecy will always be a band that lives and dies with their guitar players. The band once featured legendary guitarist Gus G., and now features Markus Pohl and Constantine. They are equal to the task once again on RAVENLORD. They rip it up, specifically in the solo, on the album's best track, "Eyes Of The Devil". Constantine and Pohl are stablized by a rock solid underbelly created by bassist Connie Andreszka and fairly new drummer Claudio Sisto. They rip as a unit on "Damned Tonight".
While most of this album is solid, Mystic Prophecy suffer a few bumps along the way, and one jarring misstep. That misstep comes with their over the top, pretty horrible cover of Ozzy's "Miracle Man" from NO REST FOR THE WICKED. This one is just all over the place. The guitars are kind of out of control, centered around the excitement of throwing in pinch harmonics every two seconds a la Zakk Wylde, but with far less control. The guitars are not the issue though. The vocals from Liapakis on this song are terrible...and I mean really terrible. Simply put, Liapakis tries and fails at putting on an Ozzy voice, and it almost sounds like they didn't put the effects on his voice that gave him the booming quality on the rest of the album. This song is horrible, sloppy, and really puts a bad ending on an otherwise solid to extremely good album.
PITRIFF RATING - 75/100 - Most of this kicks ass as power metal goes, but the ending is a total downer. RAVENLORD is a solid effort from a band that generally delivers far more than a solid effort, so it's a bit of a disappointment. Still, it's worth having. While not the best effort these guys have ever done, if you leave "Miracle Man" off your IPod, you won't be disappointed with the listening experience at all.