MISSION IN BLACK – PROFIT REIGNS SUPREME
LABEL: El Puerto Records
RELEASE: May 12th, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings
01. Profit Reigns Supreme
02. What Does It Take To Be Alive
03. Patron Of The Downfall
04. Dead Alive
05. The Darkness Within
06. Silence Of A Distant Sky
07. This Curse
09. Kill Your Idols
10. A Glimmer Of Hope
I’ll admit I didn’t know what to expect with this album. Melodic thrash is usually in my ballpark for likes, but it’s always a punt when you don’t know the band. MISSION IN BLACK have been around for 13 years, but only released their first album “Anthems Of A Dying Breed” in 2018. Vocalist Becky Gaber departed shortly afterwards, with Steffi Stuber replacing her.
It’s obvious that the blueprint for the band’s style follows the likes of Arch Enemy, Holy Moses and many more of the now rampant growling female vocals that were once as rare as hen’s teeth, but now appear in many bands. Thankfully, Stuber has a decent set of pipes and her mix of soaring cleans bring some parity to the more aggressive and generic roars. It’s the harmonies and melodies that catch the ear more than the snarling wild cat delivery.
Behind Stuber is a very solid metal band. There are riffs, double kicking drums and a thick, crunching sound that works in just about every way. This is combined with a melody that eases the heaviness along but allows the songs to linger, to loiter in the memory for ages. Just one example is the driving chorus on “Dead Alive”, which is a real earworm and a superb track with Stuber bringing the song to life with a fabulous performance.MISSION IN BLACK can bring the hammer down though. The title track carves open fresh wounds, slashing and tearing but with an almost symphonic metal element that makes it a little different. “The Darkness Within” has a hammer drill impact, a relentless battery but tempered once more by the melodic parts that bring balance, a light to the darkness and turns the song into one that is memorable for all the right reasons.
The songs aren’t overlong, paced at the right tempo to be both instantly interesting and memorable enough to want to play it again. At times the band stray into melodic death metal, which isn’t a problem as they temper the harshness with those harmonious cleans. Listen to the explosive pace of “Dreamcatcher” and you’ll find a Trivium “Shogun” era sound.
Musically the band are on point. The guitar work of new man Eddie Stübner and Daniel Tschoepe is razor sharp, whilst the engine room run by founder member Andy ‘Black’ Flache and bassist Simon Schorp is as solid as anything you can find. “Profit Reigns Supreme” is a worthy second album. MISSION IN BLACK have made a statement. Described as “a musical bastard from In Flames & Kreator with female vox & growls”, it’s hard to find a better description. The mission continues and is in rude health.