Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia by Mystifier
“For many Christians that already heard part of the legacy of MYSTIFIER, the mention of that name makes to come to the mind: "Devil-Worshipping, Satanism, profanation, gibe, anger, noise, hate, radicalism, Black Metal, and so on". Things that His founder Beelzeebubth doesn't deny them: ‘Yes, 100%!! I Formed the Group to intone the most violent Musick style never created by man and to violate the whole ethical code and biblical western capitalists' principals!"
Well, you heard it here first, kids! Actually, cited straight from Metal Storm biography/interview with the entity Himself, Beelzeebubth, main songwriter and heretical mastermind behind the legendary cult that is Mystifier. Forming and tormenting the holy trinity in tropical lands of Northeastern Brazil, now celebrating their 30-plus year reign in the wicked & criminally overlooked Brazilian Underground; Mystifier return after a cicada locust-style-17 year hiatus with an album of beyond comprehendible power, passion, spite, and of course, a crucifying stench of blackened death METAL. “Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia” is a triumphant return to form for the underground legends, while simultaneously serving as militant introductory lesson for those previously unaware of Mystifier’s plaguing legacy.
Guilty as charged, as at the time of writing this I am prying myself from the vicious and ever awe consuming black hole of the Brazilian underground metal scene of the late 80’s to the early 00’s that I had unwittingly hurled myself into upon doing my (often times inconceivably excessive and unnecessary) research for this review. As I, yes even someone as seemingly infallible scholarly as I, admittedly and ashamedly, was one of those unfortunate souls previously unaware of the awesome work of Mystifier. Atoning for my sins, I dug into their history like a grave; unearthing the skeletal remains and rotting corpses of their early (1990’s) records, shoveling through the maggot and rigor mortis rampant extremities of even their demos and EPs (Alastor Crowley for the win), and cracking open the casket of old magazine interviews and live footage of classic heavy metal destruction. Aaaand the same pattern followed suitI for just about all bands of Brazilian metal descent during or around that time. Wether they were bands I was privy to (obviously Sepultura, Holocasto, Sarcófago) or those I was beyond enthralled with to discover (Headhunter D.C., Pentacrostic, Sextrash), I unearthed a whole lotta coffins worth of material for my listening and masterclass in heavy metal learning pleasure. To my estimation, that could have been a factor contributing to why it took longer than I wanted to it to churn out this review, allegedly. Either way, along that journey I discovered a few things; 1. I have some for of mental disorder. 2. Mystifier absolutely kicks ass. 3. The Brazilian metal scene in general does not get near enough recognition or credit that it deserves for all it did to pioneer extreme metal. We will divulge into the latter two topics in this review today and I will leave you to use context clues to pick at my mental disorder and explain to me who wakes up at 4:45 AM to begin tearing down the hyperbolic walls of the Brazilian underground extreme metal scene with eyes wider than the portal to hell Mystifier creates on this record!! Lot’s of coffee as well may be the culprit. Alas, I digress, again. Ever see that symbol of the cobra eating it own tail - wait I did it again. Shit. third and final degrees of the night, freaks. HERE WE GO.
The Brazilian metal scene is home and nurtured far more phenomenal and grotesque metal bands that would go way beyond the scope of this review as well as have all of you that didn’t already whole heartedly click on the X at the top of your screens as you mouthed “what the fuck” yet gone, so we’re not gonna get into that too much. But, what I WOULD like to get into is, and for whom this service is being held, Mystifier. I would like to examine their new record as well as their legacy, Brazilian metal culture that oozes with blood and pride; and just how all of that fits together with Mystifier’s underlying message and brilliant metal music. Sounds like this is gonna be short and sweet right? WRONG. Nice, so, as established with Mystifier (and specifically Beelzeebubth) being a the forefront of the little South American extreme metal movement, with early records such as “The World Is So Good That Who Made It Doesn’t Live Here” or songs like “Invocacione / The Almighty Satanas”, it is rather apparent that they are not ones to tell it us how they really feel while not trying to scare away the Christians and the posers, eh? Fast-forward some 30-odd years later, Mystifier, although having charged forth through several lineup changes and all the devilish good and bad that comes along with that; one glimpse into the new record, Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia, and you’ll see good ‘ol Beelzeebubth is still relentlessly beating that same ‘ol demon-filled drum. Or.. is he?
The song titles are not nearly as straightforward and otherworldly for one, not as if that matters, but there lies a clear distinction between what was then and what is now. This record is overall a more mature sound, in the most sincerely intelligent and better of ways. The production is just grimy enough to have that old school feel but it is very much still fresh and in some cases, I would even venture to say experimental (more on that later). The songs are bold, rich, sinister, and well-composed (like I like my coffee and women); while the lyrics ooze with history, philosophy, and mythology (of course spiced with some 666). Mystifier were never intended on being a shocking heavy metal band just for that sake of it; they have purpose in meaning behind their music. They are African and Brazilian nationalists. They are social activists. They are against racial and religious oppression and wish to incinerate it in scenarios only dreamt up in their music. Their songs are rooted in culture and history that celebrate their glory. Sounds like they’d fit right in with the social justice crowd today? Yeah, I wouldn’t go THAT far. Only because they were doing this shit in Brazil in ’89, pussies. Killers riffs and brutal artwork fall by the wayside when that is the true point and focus of the music, I supposed, but the crushing riffs never hurt anyone. Back to the current record; what I was most surprised to discover, is that once I began actually listening to the record more and more… is I like their new stuff pretty much way better than their “classic” material. Shocking as that may seem, especially for me, and especially with extreme metal; the consensus reached is almost alway the polar opposite. Read: the old shit, man!! That’s what rocks, man!! Play the old shit!! Guy in the back row: “Butchered at Biiiiiirth!!” While I do not disagree with said proposed man’s ethos and in fact I love him for it and am guilty myself, I have to stand by my statement and go against a lot of what I believe in to say Mystifier’s 2019 album is their essential release. Not to mention, quite the bold as hell statement that they are very much still here to hold it down for the underground… literally. Like, Hell. Get it? Sorry.
Spewing forth the introductory lyrics “In the beginning, there was no light in the dark. The absence was a negative state of being. The blue sky was like a dead ocean. The dark night holds the secrets to life and death.” Way to keep it light hearted right off the bat. As mentioned, throughout the record you will find songs drenched in cultural history and haunting mysticism of Brazil, Africa, ancient Egypt, Gods, Devils, as well as terror (literally and politically) and recounts of guerrilla and high artillery warfare; all encapsulated in the flames of Satan himself. So, the opening lyrics of the record, could very well be in line with the rest of the song that’s recounting Pharaohs and Ancient Virgin Black Goddesses in a time well before our own. OR… is it a metaphor for the time Mystifier served on the throne in the underground metal scene of the rich-as-ancient-Egypt (adjusted for inflation) Brazil? It sounds to me, like it very well could be. Using their passion for music and desire to spawn heavy metal in their homeland so devoid of it (at the time), could be the light in the dark. Their absence was negative. Using the secrets found in the dark as inspiration, they played a key left hand in pioneering a musical genre to last for generations to come and many to follow in their awe-inspiring footsteps. However, to build on that, the whole album may be in place to serve as a metaphor for their legacy.. which would make the 17 year lead up to its release all the more appropriate, and make the record itself all the more triumphant. To this day, in the current metal scene and otherwise, Brazil holds a strong passion, desire and pride for everything; making it sacred ground. Especially in heavy metal. OR it could be really badass lyrics to a really badass metal song and all of that means nothing but I’ll beg the challenge to let you think outside the coffin on that one a little bit.
My conspiracy theories aside (for now), Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia, proves to be a cohesive and unique sounding extreme metal record that leaves an impression on the listener well after it hath ceased. Many of the songs employ experimental arrangements such as spoken word done over devilishly croaking bass guitar on “Witching Lycanthropic Moon”, interestingly complex yet immediately catchy patterns and chord progressions on “Six Towers of Belial’s Path”, or the triumphant and orchestral arrangement on “(Introcucione d’la Melodia Mortuoria) Thanatopraxy”... just to name a few. It is important to note as well that despite a bit of experimentation going on, this is without a shadow of a doubt a heavy extreme metal record… but it is not bursting with blast bests and screams, not that there’s anything wrong with the latter, but this eclectic approach to songwriting is just way more compelling for Mystifier. This is a record truly unique to them with their own sound; as I can already hear echoes of the comparisons to Nile, Behemoth, Septicflesh, etc. That may certainly be valid, but this is more like the record all of those bands should have been making the last few times they churned one out. Mystifier summon energy from a lot of thrash metal, a little bit more death, throw some black in there, and give it a unique vibe and presentation very unique to their Brazillian flame. They do not overpower you with how crazy good they are and/or what masturbatory shredders are. Rather, the unholy anthems found within this record are built on huge, classic riffs and atmospheric bass lines and propelled by intense mythical lyricism and coliseum-ready war cries. It is quite simply, very powerful and unique extreme metal that will reign in immortality.
Do yourselves a favor and become privy to the hellfire -fueled genius that is Mystifier and check out what is undoubtedly one of the best metal records we’ll see all year right here:
Gym rating: 5/5