• Mystica Girls - Gates of Hell (2014) - Charismatic metal attitude from an all-female band - 77% (15/07/14)

    Mystica Girls - Gates of Hell (2014)

    In a male dominated metal world, an all-female heavy metal band from Mexico is still something that stands out and grabs my attention. In general, there are a couple of interesting all-female heavy metal bands from Latin America such as Highway. For a male reviewer, it’s important to talk about the music alone, and not the charming looks of these four lovely women. There is nothing to worry about here though, because the band didn’t just choose stunning cover artwork, but the forty minutes of music are actually quite energetic, entertaining, and joyous.

    Musically, the band delivers grounded, mid-tempo heavy/power metal tracks that are all rather short. The band focuses on dark, sharp riffs as seen in “No More!”, but also come around with a few faster and lighter passages, such as the opening riff of “The Spirit Has Won”. What impresses me even more is the vivid rhythm section. The drum play is solid, but what really stands out on this album is the dominating bass guitar that shines in almost every song. Kathy Whitewolf is absolutely convincing on her instrument, and this band does her often-underutilized instrument some true heavy metal justice. It has been a while since I have heard such strong and pronounced bass guitar work on a record, and it’s probably due to this great instrumental work that four out of twelve tracks on Gates Of Hell are instrumentals. This is something that would usually bother me a bit with other bands, but the approach works very fluidly here.

    The vocals sounded a little bit too dark, low, and reserved to me in the opening of “The Gates Of Hell”, but from then on, Chilean singer Monserrat Bustamante Laferte delivers an absolutely stunning performance. More than that, her vocals have a unique character and make her stand out in a crowded scene. I find it hard to compare her to anybody in particular, which is already a good sign. Her vocals are powerful and quite charismatic. The catchy, almost danceable and rhythmically-orientated potential hit single “The Boogie Biker”, with its slightly lascivious vocals, makes you nod your head, shake a leg and sing along. It’s not all poppy though, as the singer also performs the joyous power metal song “Tiny Blue Dot”, with its more demanding and varied sections quite brilliantly.

    The band unites all of the aforementioned strengths on certain songs. A true album highlight is “The Conquest”, for example. It has a varied vocal performance with a lot of heart and soul, sharp riffs, a great solo, a tight drum performance, and incredibly dominating bass guitar play. This is maybe the track that presents this band best overall. The most unusual track here is the half ballad “Why Should We Need?”. In comparison to other genre bands’ entries, this song has guts and melody, and doesn’t sound watered down at all. The melodious vocals are performed with a lot of soul and are an absolute delight. Even in this song, the bass guitar absolutely rules, and is on the level with the melodic guitar play in the laid back solo. Along with “The Boogie Biker”, this is definitely the catchiest song on the album.

    Despite the weaker opener, “The Gates Of Hell”, and the unspectacular closer, “Spooky Cookie”, Mystica Girls delivers only killer tracks in between, and will charm your pants off with heavy metal attitude, charismatic vocals, and great musicianship. The quartet from Mexico City that once started as a cover band deserves the attention of heavy metal fans throughout the world. Give their second album a few spins and keep the band on your radar for future endeavors, such as the recording of a live DVD and a possible tour through Central and North America (and maybe even Europe and Japan) that are mentioned on Mystica Girl’s official Facebook page.

    Originally written for Black Wind Metal

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