Black Metal Legends Mysticum Return
It’s news that fans for black metal waited many years to hear but finally Mysticum, the undisputed pioneers of Industrial BM, have returned. Integrating samplers, drum machines and pronounced electronic influences – as well as a passion for hard drugs – the group were one of the most groundbreaking and cult acts to rise from the Norwegian black metal scene in the 90s, preceding the work of similarly-explosive outfits such as Aborym, Dodheimsgard and Blacklodge by many years.
While their unique approach raised eyebrows amongst the more conservative quarters of the black metal scene, they delighted as many listeners as they intimidated, not least the mighty Euronymous who signed the band to his label a mere week before his death. Sadly, the band’s flame burned brightly but all too briefly, the trio releasing only one album, the classic In The Streams Of Inferno, before the member’s extreme lifestyles derailed the band’s already-erratic working process. In the decade or so that followed only one song -Black Magic Mushrooms- would surface, despite continued rumours concerning the ‘lost’ follow-up,Planet Satan.
“Children, time, money, too much party for some,” ponders guitarist and vocalist Cerastes. “A few years after Euronymous’s death, the scene had become very commercial, suddenly everyone played in a fucking black metal bands. Black metal stuff in newspapers, national music awards given to bands, it all seemed very ‘house-trained’ and weak, we think that black metal lost its magic, originality and pride. This made us lose interest in staying in the scene. Also lots of drugs was used at this time, therefore Planet Satan was put on hold.”
Now finally back together as a trio, Cerastes rejoins bassist and programmer Mean Malmberg (also known as Dr Best) and co-vocalist/guitarist Prime Evil (sometimes known as Svartravn – clearly things are never simple in the Mysticum universe), who has appeared as vocalist for both Amok and the aforementioned Italian outfit Aborym in the intervening years. Their reunion also sees the group join forces with respected record label Peaceville Records who will soon be re-releasing both In The Streams Of Inferno and the band’s demo-and-compilation track collection,Lost Masters Of The Universe.
Not only that but the band are working are set to write and record what is perhaps the most long-awaited album in black metal history; the near-mythical Planet Satan. Digging out – and dusting down – both their original sampling equipment and boxes of old rehearsal tapes, the trio are drawing on inspirations both old and new, and Mean explains that the group see this as an opportunity to finally realise ideas that were only toyed with in the past.
“Prime Evil had an enlightenment in summer 2011 and produced loads of riffs,” he explains. “He contacted us and we felt that the time was right for all to get back together. After a long time being away from all music making, there’s a lot of new cool stuff that we do experiment with now. The riffs will absolutely be like the old songs, they will have a lot of inspiration from them – the sound of extreme and intense riffs and no weak parts will have to be the ingredients. As Mysticum, we have been waiting for this time, because this is what we always had in mind of music making, you will get what we thought, but were unable to do. We will at last produce what Mysticum musically really is about. We are back!”