Forgotten Gems-Mystic Force-The Eternal Quest
Every state had and have their own hard rock and metal bands. I grew up in Maryland in the 80's and didn't really go to that many shows but knew of some local bands. KIX are likely the hard rock band most associated with my state from that time which is a shame because they really weren't that great, but people know them because they were on a major label and the local radio stations played them to death. I Child's Play were another mediocre hard rock band from the area that got some press. Far better than those two was metal act Wrathchild America (formerly Wrathchild) who knocked out two decent albums on Atlantic records before getting dropped and changing their name to Souls at zero. Twenty some years ago Wratchchild America would have been my favorite local metal act from back in the day. However there albums have not aged so well. They are still good, but flawed. Another band I heard back then who I like better know is Baltimore's Mystic Force. They formed back in 1983 and eventually knocked out a few demos, EPs and full length albums. Instead of following the more popular trends of thrash or hair metal these guys went for the early progressive sound. Think early Queensryche, Mercyful Fate, Fates Warning, Iron Maiden and Crimson Glory. Now "The Eternal Quest" includes a number of songs that appeared on previous demos, but it's a quite a few songs and it's a good representation of what this band was capable of. It shows a good variation of what they could do. "Shipwrecked with the wicked" is a flat out amazing tune that goes this way and that with more riffs than you can shake a stick at. "Temples of exiles" twists back and forth with vocals leading the way. "Another world" eases on with a late 80's Maiden vibe before gliding into a smooth flow. Mystic Force were tight in all areas and there is never a moment here where I felt like they missed and opportunity. They fill every second with sounds that make their songs more powerful and complete. Now they may be called progressive metal, but since they played the style year ago their brand of progressive metal pulled more on being heavy and less on trying to flash technical prowess. That last part is something that Mystic Force excelled out. These guys are back again these days playing shows in the area. It's a shame they never got discovered by a label that could give them the exposure they deserved, but if you never heard them that shouldn't stop you from tracking down some of their material and checking them out.