Mystras – Castles Conquered And Reclaimed

You are currently viewing Mystras – Castles Conquered And Reclaimed

Year: 2020
Total Time: 50:25
Label: I, Voidhanger Records

       Mystras is a spur of mount Taygetos, where Guillaume II de Vilehardouin built the fortified city in 1249 and ruled the land until 1259, when it was captured by the Byzantines and remained a strong political, military, spiritual site for almost 2 centuries and it’s annexation to Ottomans in 1460. The last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos was despot at Mystras before he came to the Byzantine throne.

          MYSTRAS is also another one one-man project by tireless music worker Ayloss, the leader of SPECTRAL LORE, whose recent incredible split EP with MARE COGNITUM is still in the process of assimilation by our brain. “Castles Conquered and Reclained” consists of 9 songs, 3 of them are instrumentals and work as interludium based on medieval and Ars Nova scripts and describe the nobility and braveness of Middle Ages as seen not by the nobles, but from the common folk.

      The first same titled song invades with raw Black Metal tune, savage riffing, constant yet ruthless blastbeat, primrose sound and the deliberate rough production. In “Cutty Wren” the violin and viola lead us mentally to 13th Century in medieval England and presents us the Peasant’s Revolt which held in 1381 under  the leadership of Wat Tyler, the first folk revolution in English history, the fall of London and his death by the King Richard’s II supporters due to a medical “error”. A song that reminded me of early CRUACHAN in guitar riffing, rhythm section, hymnic choruses and agonizing narration. “Contre Douleur” is a study on Ars Nova (New Art in Latin, a term which is used generally for the 14th century music which was freer and influenced by popular music) with extensive usage of flute. “Storm The Walls Of Mystras” bring us back to pure Black Metal with the despair shouts, the labyrinthine riffs in the background and the byzantine like choirs haunting the place, talking about the revolution of the Albanians of Mystras. The ending lyrics “All Empires fall, The end of Byzantium is near” sounds like a strong message throughout History. “O Tsakitzis” (who was according to History was a popular hero, a thief who robbed the rich in order to endow young destitute ladies, something like Robin Hood) is an instrumental song based on tambourine and is perfect way to lead us to my favorite song “The Zealots Of Thessaloniki” an almost 10 minute track with a fiery start and a calm middle part almost like zeibekiko as a layer where upon it guitar arpeggios are weaving a net until the final persistent blastbeat. Just like the athmosphere of Thessaloniki, Byzantine Empire’s second largest city (it remains the second largest in the history of new Greece after the liberation of Ottomans). The reference on the Mutiny of Zealots as an anti-aristocratic movement which took place from 1342 until 1349 strengthens Ayloss view about the mutiny of the masses, the people and the fact that there is not widespread from many authors. “Ai Visit Lo Lop” is an old song of the 13th century written in Oxitane language (actually current Catalan language) transfers us somewhere in southern medieval France to calm us a bit until the ending song “Wrath And Glory”, an hymn to the fight against the injustice of the oligarch, a war cry song, a paean, a coat to arms, because “the fight against injustice is eternal and Eternal we shall become”.

      MYSTRAS have created one of the most interesting records so  far, their music keeps me in vigilance while the lyrics are taking me out of History’s watertight. The fiery guitars, the intense melodies and the medieval majestic atmosphere got married with an excellent lyric concept that I adored it. Not quite long ago a guy from Facebook page posted MYSTRAS and he mentioned that “Everyone knows about Ayloss and if you don’t just do it”. I couldn’t agree more and I also recommend it to you. I will let Ayloss to end this review with his own words. “MYSTRAS is Medieval Black Metal against Empire and Aristocracy.”

Rating: 8/10
Editor: Dimos Karadimos
Related Link: MYSTRAS Facebook Page

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