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Mystic Force - The Eternal Quest CD (album) cover


Mystic Force

Progressive Metal

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3 stars "The Eternal Quest" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US power/progressive metal act Mystic Force. The album was released through Rising Sun Records in 1993. The band´s debut full-length studio album "Shipwrecked with the Wicked (1990)" was a bit of a patchy affair with tracks recorded at three different sessions and that trend continues on "The Eternal Quest", which is bookended by two tracks from the debut album.

Other than that we´re presented with new material, which is pretty obvious because the two "older" tracks are in a US power metal style while the rest of the material are more progressive in nature. The band master both styles with great conviction though. In fact Mystic Force are a very well playing act. High pitched vocals delivered with great skill, a powerful and tight rythm section and some very skillfully played guitar work (both rythm and lead). Artists like Queensr˙che, Fates Warning and Crimson Glory are valid references. While the music undeniably features a progressive edge, we´re talking "regular" length tracks, and you shouldn´t expect longer instrumental sections either. Considering that "The Eternal Quest" was released in 1993, it´s actually rather old school/traditional progressive metal sounding and could easily have been released in the mid- to late eighties.

The sound production is decent, but lacks slightly in the power department. It´s a minor issue though and along with the slight stylistic inconsistency of the material, that´s about the only complaints I have with the album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#1060204)
Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Eternal Quest album by obscure metal act Mystic Force features music that falls partly in progressive metal category not abandoning the US power metal fundament. The sound of the band is somewhere between early Savatage and early Fates Warning. Rather heavy, yet frequently melodic. Howe some parts of several songs have tangible trash edge which reminds of Watchtower (don't be afraid - no superagressive freaking-out riffing, however just listen to Structure Of Uncertainties!). The overall mood of songs seems to be gloomy, morose, desperate, at times energetic and even mysterious. Although the song structures are not overtly complex, they don't follow blindly the standard riff-verse-chorus-solo formula. And what is really good ? you can really find catchy and haunting riffs, melodies and choruses here and there. No comments about mediocre sound production that spoils the impression a bit.

Concerning the musicians, the drummer surely deserves a serious praise. He makes it just like Mark Zonder (my private drum hero)!!! Chris Lembach's drumming is apparently influenced by the ultimate drum-genius of Fates Warning. Being very versatile, quite diverse and inventive it utterly helps to create and maintain not only the groove and punch, but also the melody and atmosphere. Guitarist Rich Davis is extremely technical - what about some sweep picking? He composes rather heavy and memorable riffs, but for some reasons fails to deliver stunning (in the sense of melody and emotions) solos. Bass parts by Keith Menser are really ok. So his occasional keys inclusions are. Vocals are so-called "quasi-operatic" and really similar to early Ray Alder with a touch of Midnight as well. But regardless the vocal range and beautiful singing Bobby Hicks lacks his own vocal identity, image, you can say. Not that he copies the styles of renowned singers like Tate, Alder or Oliva, but his personal timbre don't stuck in memory like the voices of aforementioned vocalists do.

Moving to songs, I can highlight: Shipwrecked With The Wicked (my fave one), Answers Of The Mystery, Vicious Obsessions, Reach For Tomorrow (the most light song on the record filled with atmosphere of hope which builds images of enchanted elven forest in my imagination), Eternal Quest and, perhaps, Dimensions. The tracks like Structure of Uncertainties, Eternal Quest and Premonitions will probably draw attention of advocates of prog complexity.

In the end we have a rather good progressive record of medium to superior musical quality with slight diversity in style, which however lacks own identity a little bit and suffers from mediocre production. It would a pleasant listen for admirers of old-school 80s prog-heavy metal.

Report this review (#1824392)
Posted Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Review Permalink

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