Mystery Blue - 8Red

10 songs
50:05 minutes
***** ***


Just like a certain Gallic village fought bravely against the Roman occupation, a certain French heavy metal band has been fighting for over forty years against all kinds of new influences. Weíre talking about Mystery Blue who were founded in 1978. Although guitarist and main songwriter Francis Philippon is the last remaining member of the original line-up, the band still sounds like an authentic metal band from the Eighties. This is also because of vocalist Nathalie Geyer who joined the band for their comeback in 1995 and has since then been singing on all six albums.

8Red is the Alsatiansí eighth album, and it took me some time to get the pun. Many French people have a problem pronouncing the letter "h", so the album title sounds like a French person saying "hatred". This is a rather funny part to an album that is otherwise rather serious. 8Red offers undiluted heavy metal with all the elements you can expect from this classic genre. Some tracks like Throwaway Society and the first single Beast Within get straight to the point. Other pieces, like One Shot and Final Fight, stay more in mid-tempo territory. My favourite track is Vikings Of Modern Times on which they sound like a true US metal band from the Eighties. Yet no matter what direction Mystery Blue choose, the result is always convincing. One could compare the band to German metal pioneers Warlock, although Mystery Blue have found their own niche already a long time ago. I just donít understand why the band the semi-ballad Earth Without Humans and the ballad Introspection at the end of the album. Both songs are alright, but bundled together at the end gives the album a somewhat unsatisfactory conclusion. They would have worked better distributed throughout the album.

It was really a pleasant surprise to hear something new from Mystery Blue since itís been seven years since their last studio longplayer. 8Red comes with a powerful production which helps the album unfold its potential to the fullest. Heavy metal purists should be delighted by this album.

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