Mystifier’s first album in 18 years is cult Brazilian metal at its best

Brazil’s subterranean terror squad return in malevolent splendour with Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia

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Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia tracklist

1. Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia
2. Weighing Heart Ceremony
3. Witching Lycanthropic Moon
4. Akhenaton (Son Mighty Sun)
5. Six Towers of Belial's Path
6. Demoler las Torres del Cielo (en nombre del Diablo)
7. Soultrap Sorcery of Vengeance
8. (Introcucione d’la Melodia Mortuoria) Thanatopraxy
9. Al Nakba (666 days of War)
10. Chiesa dei Bambini Molestati

Still rabid after all these years, Mystifier return after an 18-year gap with  a record that almost casually reaffirms the Brazilians’ absolute mastery of underground metal. Vastly more inventive and dynamic than 2001’s Profanus, and yet every bit as raw and uncompromising, this 50-minute hellride deserves to be heard by an audience much broader and bigger than the one Mystifier are nominally concerned with.

But then, of course, mass appeal was never the point of this stuff. You can almost reach out and touch the defiance that drives these diehard cultists as it oozes through warped fissures that erupt from lumbering but ornate death metal diatribes like Witching Lycanthropic Moon and Soultrap Sorcery Of Vengeance. As ever, fizzing layers of King Diamond keys and other horrifying textures make Mystifier’s often primitive material seem wilder and more maliciously disorientating than it first appears.

There is something profoundly impressive about the way they deftly evoke the spirit of the mid-80s, when today’s subgenres were still swirling in primordial soup, while gleefully messing with any formula that holds their attention. At times, most notably on grim thrasher Akhenaton (Son Mighty Sun), it’s like listening to a post-detox Sigh. Elsewhere, particularly midway through the pitch-black doom grooves of Thanatopraxy, Mystifier seem to be simultaneously channelling the spirits of stripped-down South American death metal and unfettered psychedelic self-indulgence. Meanwhile, the cudgelling Al Nakba (666 Days Of War) veers from staccato blasts to stately morbidity, like Krisiun jamming with Shape Of Despair but way more evil.

Only their fifth album in nearly 30 years of bellicose service, Protogoni… reveals a band righteously in sync with the underground’s perpetual pulse and hitting a rich vein of inspiration into  the bargain. It’s brutal, untamed, out of its tiny mind and a worthy addition to a scabrous legacy.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.