There is hope yet for the Dutch power/thrash metal scene. After their mini CD "Mend or End" (1994), Wicked Mystic have now released their full-length debut, "The Paramount Question". It's an album full of well-written, well-produced music with pretty autobiographical lyrics.

The album kicks off with "Stand Alone", a fine track, followed by the even finer "Shadow Dancer", making interesting use of the acoustic guitar. "Depth of Mind" (lyrically a kind of tribute to their influences) is a bit less, with moderately interesting faster sections and better slow sections. It is around this point that I started to wonder what is holding back the overall band impression, and I couldn't conclude anything other than that it's the singer. Vocalist Remko Roes isn't irritating - like the guy in genre similars Cirrha Niva - but he's definitely not my cup of tea. A matter of taste, I guess.

Musically, however, the album has much more to offer. The title track, for example, is a supreme example of a rather laid-back song that somehow doesn't sound like a cheese sandwich and manages to crescendoe near the end. Good stuff. "Stepped Out" is good, too, though the vocalist leaves just a bit too much of an impression. "Mind-Bomb", an anti-war song, is musically one of the most interesting tracks on the album. "Chronic Remorse" is a great track, too, as is "Welcome to Life" (a track with somewhat innocent sounding lyrics celebrating a child's birth). A nice surprise is the band's cover of The Who's "Pinball Wizard". Good stuff again.

If "The Paramount Question" is anything to go by, we well no doubt hear a lot more of this band in the future.



Written March 2001


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