The Plot Sickens Mystik - The Plot Sickens (Massacre Records) 1992

1. "Intro" [instrumental] (1:25)
2. "Reflection of the Dying" (3:20)
3. "Psychosis" (4:08)
4. "Commandment" (4:39)
5. "Death to All (Peace at Last !)" (4:28)
6. "Method of Madness" (6:53)
7. "Red Rum" (4:27)
8. "Evil Oil" (4:30)
9. "Laid to Rest" (4:03)
10. "The Plot Sickens" (6:16)

I had the pleasure of hearing Mystik's second album before hearing this, their debut. That album had a classic, traditional heavy metal sound with gothic overtones. "The Plot Sickens" also falls into the classic heavy metal category, but this one seems to straddle the fence between speed metal and classic metal at times. While a song like "Death to All" is built upon those galloping classic metal riffs, there are also traces of thrash metal thrown in here and there. Vocalist Patrick Hughes is 100% pure traditional metal, right down to the high, falsetto screams. Ken Easterly's drum work is a standout on this CD as well. He's not overly fancy, but solid and very fast at times. There are no covers on this release, but man, I swore when the opening notes of "Method of Madness" kicked in that they were going to be playing a cover of Aerosmith's "Nobody's Fault". When the song started I actually grabbed the CD case to check the track listing. However, after the opening guitar intro, the song goes into yet another galloping heavy metal number that is far and away removed from "Nobody's Fault". "The Plot Sickens" is a high caliber, traditional heavy metal release. I've read that this album was also released on yellow vinyl, as well as CD.

Perpetual Being Mystik - Perpetual Being (Massacre Records) 1994

1. "Perpetual Being" (4:51)
2. "Silent Anger" (3:43)
3. "Born to be Hanged" (6:03)
4. "Buried Alive" (5:04)
5. "Here Today Gone Tomorrow" (4:33)
6. "Black Thing" (4:15)
7. "Ball and Chain" (3:16)
8. "Politically Incorrect" (3:35)
9. "Lord of the Thighs" (3:28)
10. "Curse of the Damned" (4:20)
11. "To Be Continued" [instrumental] (4:02)
12. hidden track (4:05)

Mystik are a U.S. traditional heavy metal band with a nod towards all things dark, gothic, galloping, and Ronnie James Dio. Thats not to say that Mystik are a Dio clone, but listening to this album does remind me of those gothic metal overtones of songs like "Egypt (the Chains Are On)" and "Mystery". At times Mystik also have similarities to traditional metal bands like Omen and Metal Church. For the most part, this album is pretty heavy, but offers some dynamics and slightly progressive songwriting. This is especially true of "To Be Continued" which is a dark, heavy, speed metal instrumental that gives the band an opportunity to stretch it's musical muscle. However, the overall feel here is not towards progressive songs, but rather to head banging riffs, speedy guitar solos, pounding drums and a classic heavy metal attitude. Patrick Hughes sings in a clean, yet aggressive, clean, mid-range style that works well with the band, but isn't all that distinctive. Still, had "Perpetual Being" been released in 1984 instead of 1994, I'd be willing to be that Mystik would have had a big cult following. As it stands, Mystik are relatively unheard of in metal circles.

"Lord of the Thighs" indeed is an Aerosmith cover and a decent one at that. The band gives the song a slightly more metallic sheen than the original, although no one could ever match the original in my opinion. Still, any band that would cover classic Aerosmith is alright in my book. The hidden track which is burried in track 11 (at the 5:02 mark) is a bizarre, doomy, evil, bass driven, experimental piece.

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