MYSTIFIER – a 25-year legacy of raw third-world underground blackness

Mystifier, as many of you should know, is one of the most long-lived black metal bands around the world and they have built a die-hard following in the four corners of this planet exactly because of their persistence and coherence during all these years of blasphemy and destruction. After several demos, some acclaimed full-lengths, eps and countless reissues of their stuff – including a boxed set covering their beginnings released by the mighty Nuclear War Now, it is not surprising that their very old works have a deluxe reissue by another prestigious underground label, the Germany Dunkelheit. Released in 2014, the artifact aims at paying a fair homage to the 25 years of this cult band that comes from Brazil, the mythic land of extreme rawness in metal, as we all know, and it presents Mystifier’s two first demos (“Tormenting the Holy Trinity” and “Aleister Crowley”) and its first ep (“The Evil Ascension Returns”). It’s about this reissue and its importance for the underground, as well as the context surrounding it, that we are going to write these lines down here..


In 1989, when Mystifier was born, the concept of underground was already strong in Europe, North America and Japan, where the favorable economic, political and educational conditions allowed a better organization even for kids to make something like a scene. In Brazil, however, although there was a metal scene since the first years of the 80’s, the concept of underground as an economically and culturally independent scene was still developing for the headbangers, since the punks already had a very consistently developed DIY ethics. So, bands like Sepultura, Mutilator, Sarcófago, Genocídio, MX, Dorsal Atlântica and several others were considered underground because they were not known by the masses, but they still believed that they could step into the mainstream and make money out of heavy metal music. This, in fact, was the dream of almost every teenage kid back then, especially because of the influence of mainstream metal bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath or AC/DC.

Yet, in this same environment, probably motivated by all these adversities, it was possible to see some kids – more often in small cities – forming bands during this first period – notably after 1985 – who wanted to make their music independently of their general precarious conditions and who did not care about the impossibility of recording a full-length, making money or appearing in a rock magazine. Thus, the first generation of headbangers consciously aware (and proud) of their underground condition was represented by bands like Bestial War, Infantricide, Necrófago, Masturbator, Dissector (first known as Cerimonyal Fúnebre), Necrovomit, Necrobutcher, Nuctemeron (first known as Mausoleum), Headhunter DC, and among others, Mystifier. Although all of them clearly assumed influences from the first generation of Brazilian extreme metal bands, they were much more worried about showing their rage by means of music, no matter how it would sound.

Tormenting the Holy Trinity

This was the context in which Mystifier was born and, although it may not seem important, the awareness of this precariousness and the will of doing the scene happen despite its adversities were fundamental to consolidate a very strong, brutal and original scene in Brazil, what may explain the peculiar traits which attract so many freaks so far to its music. So, in 1989, only four months after being formed, Mystifier released its first demo-tape, called “Tormenting the Holy Trinity”, a piece of hate and brutality still relevant up to these days, recorded by Blackhrist (bass, later known as Beelzeebubth, the only original member active so far), Meugninousouan (vocals), Lucifuge Rofocale (drums) and Sarcastic (guitars).

Despite the difficulties of recording and the absence of top instruments, the first track – “Mystifier” – breaks into the listener’s ears showing all the rage of the peripheral underground scenes, in which what really matters is to make the fastest and most aggressive sound ever. After a slow introduction, there is a fast riff which is followed by the reinless drumming played at maximum speed with no breaks at all, as well as the next track, called “Possession”. It is interesting to notice the huge influence of Sarcófago and Exterminator in the velocity of the tracks and simplicity of the riffs, which seem to come from the fierceiness of the European hardcore acts that influenced Sarcófago, and also from the first Brazilian HC bands like Olho Seco, Brigada do Ódio or Armageddon, although Armando Beelzeebubth admits that Vulcano, Poison (Ger.), the old Slayer and Sepultura and the Swiss Messiah were also his influences at that time.

The next song keep the blast-beating machine-gun furiously alive. So “Christian proscription” almost kills literally every religious mind elsewhere with its noisy and uncontrolled anger and “Cursed excruciation” slows down the pace, but not the rage. Its heavy and gloomy mood drags the listener into an atmosphere of despair and, despite the ultraspeed drumming that comes back almost at the end, its heaviness is what stands out. In terms of strucuture, in fact, this song reminds me of the great classic by Sarcófago called “Nightmare”. After this, we are knocked out to death by the extreme brutality of “Fierceness”, a song whose main feature is the length: 25 seconds of pure blasphemy, showing a feature that was very common at the end of the 80’s, when many bands used to do very short songs even in extreme metal, an influence that certainly comes from the hardcore scene.

Another characteristic that calls my attention here is the way Mystifier explores the mood of the songs, mainly in the slow parts, like in “The six celestial desires of the virgin” and “The almighty Satanas”, whose doom-like moments create a somber atmosphere, much before doom metal was popular in extreme music scene. By the way, this also anticipates something that Mystifier would abuse later in their following releases, which are these macabre slow tempos that would be adorned by the use of keyboards in full-lengths as “Wicca” and “The world is so good (...)” in the middle of the next decade. Many years later, lots of bands would work upon these moods, especially in black metal, showing the avantgarde attitude of the band.

The Evil Ascension Returns

The short intro of this ep, released in 1990 by Maniac Records, reminded me of the intro created by Josh in Bode Preto’s “Inverted blood”, released in 2012 and, regarding the respect that Josh shows towards Mystifier, it really seems that the old band influenced and will influence a lot of bands that want their music to have the trademark  of obscurity and evilness. “Ancient prediction (my eternal nightmare)” keeps the same style shown in the first demo, i.e., that somber and raw atmosphere worsened by the satanic screams of despair and that Sarcófago-like speed that would characterize the contemporary pure black metal of bands like Deiphago, Grave Desecrator, Morbosidad or Prosanctus Inferi, just to mention a few that probably pay tribute to Mystifier in our days. In fact, personally I think that, along with Sarcófago, Blasphemy and Beherit, Mystifier is one of the most important bands of this total evil, satanic and raw kind of black metal.

It is impossible not to call attention to the format of this release if one considers the year in which it was conceived. At that time, it was almost impossible for a band in the style and size of Mystifier to record a vynil in Brazil, because, as said before, only bigger bands, like the ones mentioned in the beginning, from Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, could think about it. In the case of Mystifier, coming from Salvador, in the Northeast of Brazil, it was unimaginable! Add to this the fact of Mystifier being a very extreme band in terms of look and music and also the fact that it was formed only by black men, something uncommon even in Brazil, where black people are responsible for a big share of the total population.

By the way, despite all the affinities of the band with the occultism/satanism and other very subjective matters, is noteworthy that, they have never forgotten their mundane origins, encompassing a strong and acid criticism towards racism, nationalism and capitalism, as we can see in the front covers of their demos and in some passages of interviews, in which they even confront nazi black metal openly. In fact, this kind of criticism was a common trait shared by many underground metal bands, especially in Brazil and other third world countries, where it was impossible not to have an eye on the social and political problems faced by the population, as many headbangers also came from this background of poverty and discrimination.

The next song, “The sign of the unholy cross/ The cult continues” is a re-reading of “Christian proscription”, as well as the first one is a new version of “Mystifier”, from the debut demo. The difference between these new versions in relation to the demo are the slightly better production and the increase of complexity in some parts, but this does not mean that the band became more technical. Of course, as its natural for every musician, it’s impossible not to learn some new tricks and evolving each time you play, but in the case of Mystifier, despite these more complex structures, their music became more aggressive and brutal, with no signal of virtuosity or changing into thrash metal. By the way, at that time, changing your raw noisy music into thrash metal was a clear sign of becoming commercial, at least in the closed-minded conception of the die-hard headbangers, me included, of course!

Aleister Crowley

Finishing this superb work, “My gloat/Osculum Obscenum” comes slowly presenting that macabre mood that triggers terror and immediately spreads Satan’s wings over the listener. Slow-paced in its exordium, “Osculum Obscenum” soon is taken by an uncontrolled riffing and drumming that whips the Christians without mercy, as if one were being dragged into the chaos of the final judgement. “Defloration (The Antichrist lives)” keeps the dirty and satanic tone and brings that old Brazilian approach to extreme metal, just like Sepultura, Holocausto, Mutilator and Exterminator did in the times of “Bestial devastation”, Warfare Noise compilation and “Total extermination”, respectively. Blasting in 1 minute and half, there is no time to breathe, absolutely!
Following this scenario of destruction, there comes a classic black/doom hymn called “An Elizabethan devil-worshipper’s prayer-book”, whose crawling rhythm hypnotizes the listener and takes him or her to a stunning and hazy ritual of black magic. The next three songs – “Hyoscyamus Niger”, “Tormentum Aeternu” and “The Dark Kingdom” – offer only high speed and the feeling of total obliteration of peace and love, stimulating orgies of noise and grinding riffs, putting the entire body into intoxicating ecstasy with everlasting violence. “The Dark Kingdom” has an amazing shitload of speedy riffs which are astonishing as fuck and shows no remorse at all for all that is sacred in terms of christianity! Finally, “Mystifier (Satan’s Messengers)”, with its blasphemous tone, only leaves the final message: “After the dreadful day of judgement (...), we celebrate our victory with the holy flesh and blood of the celestial beings. Now only we reign in spiritual world.” And this is definitely true: nothing sacred lasts alive on Earth, because their music has put everything down “with fury and hate”.

Last words

Completely astonished after such a bestial and savage experience, the listener has no option of turning back, only love it or hate it. This release is a perfect example of how the so-called third world gave birth to some of the most degenerated and raw songs of blackness, being all proof of how the underground really works out when their warriors really put the soul into the music. Mystifier for sure fits this description and its longevity and dedication to extreme music clearly account for that. 

Besides all these dark feelings stimulated by the music itself, it is impossible not to highlight the excellent job done by Dunkelheit Produktionen, since the cd is a deluxe A5 digipack edition, with the artwork signed by the Peruvian artist Alan Corpse, including an A2 poster of the front cover, which is based on the cover of the first version of “Tormenting the Holy Trinity” cover. Surely, the drawings selected to illustrate this masterpiece are fucking heretic and blasphemous, and it couldn’t be different, of course! It also includes a great booklet with all the lyrics and also the old xeroxed black-and-white demo-tape covers, which give this release that special feel of the late 80’s/early 90’s crudeness. In short, “25 Years of Blasphemy and War” is a must for those who, like me, get entirely mad when listening to these old gems of the underground. This is a totally recommended release for obscure freak-minded folks who worship the old school magic or for the younger kids who wish to know the hard roots of extreme music. Certainly, Mystifier’s legacy couldn’t be better honored!


Considering this special edition of the old Mystifier’s stuff, we decided to make a few questions to Bernd, the man behind Dunkelheit Produktionen, who is also a big fan of the old underground music.

1.    Hi, Bernd! Why did you decide to release “25 Years of Blasphemy and War” containing the very first recordings of Mystifier? Is there anything personal involved in this choice?

Greetings Cristiano. Thanks for your interest in Dunkelheit, for sure I will try to answer your questions in a good way. Well, MYSTIFIER is a South American cult band that deserves respect, honor and support ! Since I listen to extreme metal music, MYSTIFIER always was a name for me. I choosed the re-issue of the demos, incl. Their remastering because I think it is something unique and good to have their first releases on one medium, especially as their demos are not available for an long era.

I wanted to release their demos in a special box, with poster and exclusive artwork, remastered... something limited and unique that the band deserves !

2.    What has impressed you most about the music of Mystifier?

The combination of Southamerican raw metal ov death and their obscure melodies.

3.    How do you analyze the importance of Mystifier in the context of underground music? Do you think that they influence the current raw black metal scene?

MYSTIFIER is an old goat in the metal scene, well known and has their place. No more comment needed.

4.    Which is the impact of Mystifier in Germany? I saw they played in NWN fest some years ago in your country. Could you see them live? If so, what were your impressions?

In June 2014 we made a exclusive Tour for MYSTIFIER in Germany, Poland and UK with the support of other bands from our label such as GOATBLOOD (Germany), HORRID (Italy) and SATANIZE (Portugal). For sure every concert was an unique ritual.

5.    Does Dunkelheit have any future plan of releasing any other stuff by Mystifier ar another classic band like them, with all their demos, rehearsals and such?

Be surprised...

6.    Well, thanks a lot for your attention, Bernd! Feel free to leave your last comments or saying anything I didn’t ask...

Thank you for your interest in Dunkelheit, everyone who is into extreme metal, anyway where he/she is from can reach us at:

In case you still have any doubts about the importance of Mystifier or if you want more clues to understand why they have become a cult band, we decided to collect some testimonials about the band by some important people from the international underground. All of them were unanimous: Mystifier is a powerful force which emerged from the underground just like the devil comes from the underworld to destroy everything that breathes over this damned Earth!


Mystifier is very important to me because it’s a proof that you can create something strong without conforming the acts and thoughts to any moral rule. But apart of that we also have to recognize the quality and consistency of the work itself, on records and live, when they reveal to be an entity for itself, going beyond art expression. For me they are one of the five most important bands in Brazil that are active now, and I see that they start to have the well deserved recognition on the worldwide level, for being one of the few bands that keep it true to very depths of the intuitive and warrior soul. “TRIUMPH WITHOUT BLOOD, VICTORY WITHOUT CORPSES”.


It´s been a long time ago since I bought a defected copy of Wicca LP at a Metal/Rock stand in the center of Rio. The vinyl wasn´t in good sounding, strange. So I got really disappointed! Meanwhile, I wrote to the bastard Beelzebubth in order to purchase their demo-tape, TTHT. That was the first time I really listened to the music. Actually, I only heard about the mythic commentaries that surrounded the band´s legacy those times, and it made all the situation even more exciting! Mystifier was a great jewel, the process from the old Brazilian sonorities from middle 80´s into satanic Black/Death/Thrash Metal. They were so brute, ugly, evil that I immediatelly fell in total worship! We do try to keep that true essence from the demo days until “Göetia” in our band! Later I got a better copy of “Wicca” in vinyl and it became one of my all time fave Black/Death albuns so far! Long live Mystifier!

But, hey "Beel"... Fuck you, bitch!!! Hahaha!!!


Talking about Mystifier for me is something very important. I speak not only about the music itself, but about all the ideological aspect that the band means to the black metal today! They were the gateway to the world of the true underground, the underground of the survival and fidelity! They never let down their guard! They pioneered and built their reign among trends, false ideologies infiltrated in the underground and envious people who insisted on disqualifying the band somehow. In the midst of these storms and debris, Mystifier remained standing, without ever having fled from their mission. Lucifer, proud, smiles!

When my brother (Adamantos Flagellum Cristus) and I first heard it, it was like opening a portal that was triggering the most wicked demons of hell, which immediately embodied in us! Years later, we baptized our band after a song which, for us, is an absolute anthem of black metal: Osculum Obscenum, the coming straight from the almighty Mystifier! I still have the old stuff that I keep as untouchable relics to anyone! It’s as if they were ancient manuscripts of witchcraft and the occult, of knowledge, power and strength! And they are still powerful today...


First three releases I got from Mystifier years ago were a bootleg of the Tormenting the Holy Trinity Demo, then the first Vinyl re-issue of the same recording on From Beyond with that fantastic frontcover and a luxurious oversized digi DCD of Wicca and Goetia albums. All the early essential stuff that would influence bands of the same era i.e. Blasphemy and bands during later periods like Black Witchery with their raw and crude Black Metal of Death! Last but not least influence my taste and pushing the synapses in my brain responsible for raw sounds even more.  A hard hit in the stomach of all N.S.B.M. pricks.


I've discovered MYSTIFIER in 1994, when a friend of mine bought "Wicca" and "Göetia" from OSMOSE Productions. We were curious to hear more from the Brazilian underground, as we didn't know so much about it back then. I was just beginning to learn about it, especially with SEPULTURA and SARCOFAGO. Not mentioning that in Europe, it was the peak for the Scandinavian Black Metal movement, which sounds very different, even if ironically, it influenced a band like MAYHEM. So listening to the MYSTIFIER albums was a real shock of evilness! Raw and bestial, sick and chaotic, satanic to the bone, an infernal infrasound from the abyss!!! I especially love the mix of fast and intense parts with mid-tempo or even slow ones, which gives a completely morbid and dark atmosphere. Fortunately, I could get the original Brazilian pressings of the 2 first LP's and the 7"EP thanks to friends out there. At this time, it was exactly when I wanted to know more about the worldwide underground, especially South America with all these insane hordes, a consuming passion that led me to create LEGION OF DEATH Records in 2001. I discovered the MYSTIFIER demos pretty late, in 2002 with the LP released by FROM BEYOND. Well, what can I say, they are even rawer, and knowing when they got recorded, you can only respect the guys for such dedication to bestial Metal without compromise. There are real classic songs on those, some even got re-recorded on the 2 first albums. Very few bands were playing this way in the world, even if it was already a tradition for some years in Brazil! Even if their first albums got released by OSMOSE which is a French label, it took a lot of time before some bands from the so-called western world got inspired by MYSTIFIER or the Brazilian scene in general, so I believe this is music for the die-hard maniaks only. As I've said, MAYHEM was an exception as Euronymous and Dead were really into underground scenes all over the world but so many people still think that Black Metal has been invented in Norway by DARKTHRONE or something, which is obviously ridiculous if you look back on the history and chronology of Metal. MYSTIFIER is a legendary band that must be hailed for their creativity and longevity as well. My band MANZER is extremely proud as we could share the stage with the mighty MYSTIFIER on the 2nd May 2014 in Paris. Great memories, and such humble guys, opposite to the typical and pretentious Black Metal Rock-Star system in Europe... Long live the mystified ones, all hails MYSTIFIER!
Shaxul from MANZER / LEGION OF DEATH Records, February 2015.

Cristiano Passos

Poprawiony (poniedziałek, 30 marca 2015 15:19)