Il carrello è vuoto
etichetta: Nuclear War Now
On the strength of their 1992 demo and 1993 7” EP, Dutch death doom pioneers Mystic Charm entered Harrow Studios to record their first full length album. Released on the Belgian label Shiver Records (which was still in its infancy at the time but would put out dozens of releases over the next decade or so), “Shadows of the Unknown” is a doom-laden masterpiece of atmospheric death metal. Mystic Charm’s reputation and legacy have always been tied to the vocals of Rini Lipman. The gray, charcoal rasp of her voice adds a sinister quality, darkening the abysmal landscape conjured by the instrumentation while leaving intelligible the sullen and evocative lyrics, most of which were written by Lipman herself. The songs are composed from seamlessly stitched riffs that traverse the chasm between relentless death metal and haunting, melodic doom. Interspersed among the dense, swelling walls of guitars are subtly placed keyboards, whispered vocals, and acoustic guitars, adding a melancholic dimension to the tracks, all of which is braced by the mechanized precision of the drums. Compared with the band’s earlier recordings, the album is more tightly performed and produced. Mystic Charm went dormant following the 1996 release of “Shadows of the Unknown,” but reemerged in 2001 with the very limited “Hell Did Freeze Over” CDR, which featured a mixture of new and re-recorded material. This new double LP, featuring both “Shadows of the Unknown” and “Hell Did Freeze Over,” is the first official vinyl reissue of either recording.
Often overlooked in most reviews of early 1990s European death metal, Mystic Charm remains one of the more unique and intriguing acts from that era. Originally formed in 1989 by guitarist Herwig Schuiling and female vocalist Rini Lipman, the two began writing songs together and working with other various local musicians, but Mystic Charm’s lineup was not settled until early 1992 with the inclusion of bassist Gerlach Timmer and drummer Gerard van Assen. The band relentlessly rehearsed their original material and recorded a studio demo that year entitled “Endless Sickness.” At the time, Mystic Charm’s rehearsal space was located in a barn, but they were forced to relocate after the owner blamed the band’s loud music for miscarriages suffered by the horses. That same year, Mystic Charm entered Harrow Studios, where fellow Dutch death doom legends Asphyx recorded their early material. And though the comparisons to Asphyx are inevitable because of their common temporal and geographic origins, Mystic Charm’s sound was doomier and more melodic and ethereal. The band’s subtle usage and tasteful placement of keyboards further distinguished them from many of their contemporaries. The dense atmosphere of the music and Lipman’s raspy vocals yield a sound more akin to the burgeoning black metal scene, particularly early Samael. Any points of similarity between the two acts, however, were due to common influences, particularly Hellhammer/Celtic Frost. Owing to the studio production, “Endless Sickness,” despite being a demo, remains one of the strongest death doom recordings from the era. The demo earned the band a recording deal with the new Belgian label Shiver Records and, in 1993, the band released its first 7” EP, also recorded at Harrow, called “Lost Empire.” This new reissue collects together both the demo and EP, which have long been unavailable. Additionally, this new collection includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks—one live and one rehearsal recording.