Mystic Charm "Endless Sickness" LPNuclear War Now
Often overlooked in most reviews of early 1990s European death metal, Mystic Charm remains one of the more unique and intriguing acts from that era. Originally formed in 1989 by guitarist Herwig Schuiling and female vocalist Rini Lipman, the two began writing songs together and working with other various local musicians, but Mystic Charm’s lineup was not settled until early 1992 with the inclusion of bassist Gerlach Timmer and drummer Gerard van Assen.
The band relentlessly rehearsed their original material and recorded a studio demo that year entitled “Endless Sickness.” At the time, Mystic Charm’s rehearsal space was located in a barn, but they were forced to relocate after the owner blamed the band’s loud music for miscarriages suffered by the horses. That same year, Mystic Charm entered Harrow Studios, where fellow Dutch death doom legends Asphyx recorded their early material. And though the comparisons to Asphyx are inevitable because of their common temporal and geographic origins, Mystic Charm’s sound was doomier and more melodic and ethereal. The band’s subtle usage and tasteful placement of keyboards further distinguished them from many of their contemporaries. The dense atmosphere of the music and Lipman’s raspy vocals yield a sound more akin to the burgeoning black metal scene, particularly early Samael. Any points of similarity between the two acts, however, were due to common influences, particularly Hellhammer/Celtic Frost. Owing to the studio production, “Endless Sickness,” despite being a demo, remains one of the strongest death doom recordings from the era. The demo earned the band a recording deal with the new Belgian label Shiver Records and, in 1993, the band released its first 7” EP, also recorded at Harrow, called “Lost Empire.” This new reissue collects together both the demo and EP, which have long been unavailable. Additionally, this new collection includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks—one live and one rehearsal recording.