#Mephisto Carpathian Tales

3 min read

Band: Mephisto
Title: Carpathian Tales
Label: Brutal Records
Release date:  011 March 2024
Country: Cuba
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording 

This is the reissue by Brutal Records of the original album that was released in 2000. It was the debut album by Mephisto, a band from Cuba that was formed in 1996. Well, it’s my first time listening to this and, honestly, it has surprised me a lot. This is a mix of Black and Death Metal with symphonic elements and some Gothic too, and I can assure you, the result is no other than magnificent.

Let me tell you more about “Carpathian Tales”; it’s a very well-crafted album, with a perfect sound. All the instruments sound well balanced, none of them is buried under the others, and that’s what I enjoy the most: when I can focus on just one instrument all through a particular song, and this is only possible when there’s no predominant one. 

And about the music… I particularly enjoy the kind of Symphonic Extreme Metal that these guys play here. They wrap their sound with a gloomy and mysterious fog, sometimes their music is powerful, some others it has an ethereal and almost fragile touch, but it always has a tenebrous feel, mostly due to the use of the keyboards, sounding like an organ, a piano, or adding some orchestrations to the songs. For me it’s captivating, emotional, with the power to move me. I can feel some chills down my spine at some moments, which is very good.

This is definitely an album that has to be listened to a few times before you can be aware of everything that’s going on in it. Because it has so many elements that you run the risk to not appreciate it the way it deserves. Let me highlight the keyboards and orchestrations, because for me they make the difference between a random Symphonic Extreme Metal band “from the pile” as we say in my country, and Mephisto. They managed to create a “beast” with their debut, 24 years ago (!), not a surprise that now it’s re-released. Because it’s too good to pass into oblivion.

Everything in this album deserves a highlight. While guitars play Black Metal riffs and also some melodies in a somber style, the bass sounds solid, strong, adding an extra layer of thickness to the whole. And when it’s time for the lead guitar to unleash some solos, they turn out to be impressive. “Under Moonlight I Wish” and “One Dead Kiss… in Aeternum” are  perfect examples of this. 

Vocals are raspy and dark (even extremely dark at times), and there’s room for a few narration passages. Besides this, some ethereal choruses are responsible for the gothic touch (besides of some keyboards of course). Like a congregation of immortal souls that want to be heard through this music. 

Drums can deliver fast and furious (like at the beginning of “Mausoleum of Immortals” after the brief intro), but besides the brutality and speed there’s a lot of times they play many skilled variations in rhythm, I love this. Drums can also be the path where the rest of instruments walk along and play, even disappearing for a while so that the keyboards shine. Every instrument has its moments of enhancement.

This is a great album and I recommend it to all of you who enjoy Symphonic Extreme Metal, you are in for a great ride. For me it’s been an awesome “discovery”! I give this 9,5/10  Sílvia



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