You may or may not have heard of Mystery Blue before, but this 4 peice band from France has been around since 1982 touring France, Belgium, and Germany opening for bands like Saxon, Motorhead and Def Leppard then calling it quits not long after that. By 1996 the band Mystery Blue is born again. They add Nathalie Geyer as lead vocalist to give the band a change in direction in the vocal department. Her voice is fantastic. Probably the best choice they made next to reforming the group was adding Nathalie to the band's already powerfull Heavy Metal sound. ("Hard Beyond Driven")
After getting bombarded with a ton of progressive metal releases as of late, it was truly a pleasure to receive the latest release from Mystery Blue (who we featured about a year ago in our Fresh Blood section). While the 3 track demo release we received last year whet our appetite (they all appear here as well), the full length 11 song disc proves that Mystery Blue are more than competent in delivering an overall strong CD. The French, female fronted metal band has been around in one form or another for 20 years now. Although, I have yet to hear the material with their previous vocalist(s), Nathalie certainly is a diamond in the rough with her Rob Halford meets Betsy Bitch / Doro Pesch vocal delivery.
"Slave To Blood" sounds like Judas Priest ("Painkiller" era) meets Bitch with a relentless, aggressive pace. During "S.T.A.G.E." and "Roller Coaster Ride" Nathalie goes into vocal wails that would make Halford or Bruce Dickinson proud. The mid-paced "Dark Visions" shows that Mystery Blue can slow down a little bit without losing their heaviness at all. Overall, there is no one track that would be considered a ballad so to speak. The song "Metal Dream" recalls "Ride You Through The Night" by D'Priest, especially the drums of Vince Koehler who provides a heavy, pounding back-end throughout the entire CD. "Metal Dream" rocks really hard and features the old-school guitar style of Frenzy. Frenzy's guitar work is a real treat for fans that want to hear serious shredding without the pompousness of running scales only. The guitar tone is crisp and razor sharp throughout. "Angel" calls to mind obscure bands such as Malisha or Vixen (Hawaii) with vocalist Kim LaChance. As a change of pace, Nathalie's vocals seem to get grittier during "Land Of No Return". Closing track "Cry Out" ends the discs on an intense high note and some more piercing metal screams.
Considering how many 2nd and 3rd tiers bands have major metal label deals, it is a shame that Mystery Blue has yet to be picked up by a label such as AFM or SPV. Hopefully, reviews like this one will open some people's minds to look beyond the safe (and quickly becoming stale) metal borders of Germany and Sweden for some quality talent. Most of the tracks on "Metal Slaves" stick in your mind after only one or two listens while still retaining a heavy edge that keeps calling you back for more. ("1heavymetal.com")