Mystic Charm - Shadows of the Unknown CS
On the strength of their 1992 demo and 1993 7” EP, Dutch death doom pioneers Mystic Charm entered Harrow Studios to record their first full length album. Released on the Belgian label Shiver Records (which was still in its infancy at the time but would put out dozens of releases over the next decade or so), “Shadows of the Unknown” is a doom-laden masterpiece of atmospheric death metal. Mystic Charm’s reputation and legacy have always been tied to the vocals of Rini Lipman. The gray, charcoal rasp of her voice adds a sinister quality, darkening the abysmal landscape conjured by the instrumentation while leaving intelligible the sullen and evocative lyrics, most of which were written by Lipman herself. The songs are composed from seamlessly stitched riffs that traverse the chasm between relentless death metal and haunting, melodic doom. Interspersed among the dense, swelling walls of guitars are subtly placed keyboards, whispered vocals, and acoustic guitars, adding a melancholic dimension to the tracks, all of which is braced by the mechanized precision of the drums. Compared with the band’s earlier recordings, the album is more tightly performed and produced. Mystic Charm went dormant following the 1996 release of “Shadows of the Unknown,” but reemerged in 2001 with the very limited “Hell Did Freeze Over” CDR, which featured a mixture of new and re-recorded material.