Mystic Prophecy is one of the best up and coming metal bands coming out of Germany. It’s hard to believe that Killhammer is the bands eighth studio album and the third with the current line up of RD Liapakis (vocals), Markus Pohl (Rhythm guitar), Laki Ragazas (Lead guitar), Connie Andreszka (Bass), and Tristan Maiwurm (Drums). The band straddle the fine line between energetic thrash, power, and classic heavy metal with finesse and have been cranking out albums since 2001. The band are just beginning to hit their stride, playing ProgPower USA metal festival in 2012.
The title track kicks things off with a blast of sinister metal aggression in the tradition of early Black Sabbath. Vocalist RD Liapakis’ gritty delivery fits the song perfectly. Armies of Hell takes things up a notch with pounding double bass drums of Tristan Maiwurm and blistering guitar riffs from lead shredder Laki Ragazas. The chorus is a raise your horns in the air shout-a-long. Their latest single/video for To Hell and Back is a sing-a-long mid tempo rocker with a melodic verse and a powerful memorable chorus with soaring harmony vocals. Kill the Beast is another fast paced high-octane metal anthem with a heavy verse and an almost thrash metal shouting chorus. Hate Black begins with a middle-eastern flair and kicks into a headbanging Metallica inspired mid tempo guitar riff reminiscent of the title track of their last album Ravenlord. A shred-tastic guitar solo by Ragazas. The next song Children of the Damned (no not the Maiden song!) is a pounding heavy and melodic metal skullcrusher. This is the type of song that the band excels at, a blend of heaviness and melody with a strong chorus.
The band shows their penchant for writing powerful thrash metal anthems with the blitzkrieg of 300 In Blood, which judging from the lyrical content, is based on the graphic novel/film 300. Angels of Fire is a power groove of a metal song with RD’s growling yet melodic vocals taking no prisoners during the chorus.
The boys take on epic fantasy war metal subject matter on Warriors of the Northern Sea and Set the World On Fire. The last track, a cover of the Ozzy classic Crazy Train, while well done, is unnecessary to cover such a renowned song and could have been left off the album to make way for another original song or to have a more cohesive effort with ten strong tracks. In comparing Killhammer with the bands previous effort Ravenlord, I found many similarities in the writing style between the two albums. The band knows their sound and they don’t try to push boundaries by incorporating different styles or genres into their music. Killhammer is exactly what it sets out to be, no frills, balls out heavy fucking metal, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that!