Home > Music > Mystifier – Wicca (1992)

Mystifier – Wicca (1992)


Brazil and South America have something of a reputation for making simplistic, but extremely pummeling extreme metal. Mystifier’s debut (Wicca) may have evolved from such trends, and it certainly revels in its degraded violence, but like much of what I’ve written about in the last month or so, it would be nothing (or at least not very much) if it didn’t partake of the infamous “extended songwriting” Kool-Aid that I keep passing around. Want some? It’s delicious.

What this really boils down to is the idea that Wicca has a great deal of content lying under its surface just waiting for someone to notice. The obvious genre comparisons here are probably Immortal and Darkthrone‘s earliest black metal LPs, which came out at about the same time and also have their share of lengthy songs. Besides that, they rely heavily on contrasts of tempo and dynamics to shape their songwriting. Mystifier, at their peak intensity, is far faster, although never quite to the point of complete incoherence. They generally know not to overextend on the playing technique – the blasting sections on Wicca approach, but do not exceed the limits of the band members’ abilities to play at extreme velocities. This general approach actually also applies to the production, which is strangely thin but not too difficult to follow once you’ve acclimated. As far as I know, Mystifier tightened up their instrumentation when they entered the studio, but these songs don’t seem that hard to play.

At this point, it’s worth giving special attention to Mystifier’s “horizontal” complexity. As I implied earlier, the whole ‘extended songwriting’ thing was hardly special in ’90s underground metal, although in the specific case of Brazil I honestly don’t know how much of that approach crossed over.I do know that Mystifier’s fellow countrymen in Sepultura tried it a bit before they went blatant stylistic shift on Chaos A.D. Wicca‘s compositions are usually coherent and interesting, but several have problematic and irritating filler, as if they were trying to extend them further for no reason than that they would thusly be longer. It’s not saying much that the shorter tracks aren’t thusly afflicted, although I’m glad they aren’t. Still, having a strong grasp of more basic structures is a good fallback in case things go sacrilege-shaped.

The fact that I personally like this album and the fact it’s a prominent “second wave” recording from a country better known for its earlier, less differentiated extreme metal make it hard for me to be objective about it. I don’t know if I’d put it on the same level of quality as Immortal and Darkthrone’s aforementioned efforts, but it’s still a noteworthy recording on its musical merits alone, and I recommend that you check it out.

Highlights: “Osculum Obscenum”, “The Almighty Satanas”, “An Elizabethan Devil-Worshipper’s Prayer-Book”


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