Back in the mid-late 80's the novelty of bands doing metalized versions of various classic rock or other covers was a fun novelty item. Celtic Frost doing Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio" was one of the first cover in my memory that was chosen outside the realm of rock, though there could have been others previous. From that point, the choices have become more bold, especially when Children of Bodom first went for Britney Spears. Covers are fun, especially as bonus tracks or EP filler. Lately, there has been a rash of covers albums, usually "while you wait" albums that the time it takes to connect original releases. Mystic Prophecy has seem to jump aboard that ship two years removed from the latest original "War Brigade." While there is nothing structurally wrong with the performances or sound on "Monuments Uncovered," the general idea is stale and overdone.
With no desire to disparage a very good German power metal band, the decision to do an all covers album at this point is a bit lazy. In this day and age where cover acts make more money than original acts, a long established - and powerful - original band releasing an album like this gives credence to the problem. No one blames Mystic Prophecy for representing the bands and songs that influenced original songwriting in a heavy fashion, it seems best for the live stages. "Monuments Uncovered" sounds more like a Devil's Train release than a Mystic Prophecy album.
With that said, it doesn't mean that "Monuments Uncovered" doesn't have its moments - the best of which appears as the album's bonus track, ironically. Billy Squier's "The Stroke" is made to be a metal tune and the band's rendition is one of the best I've heard - with a few out there. The choice of covering lessor known German hard rock band Tokyo's "Tokyo" wins the prize for rarity and the band turns it into a metallic classic. Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" is fun, as is the Mike Oldfield's "Shadow on the Wall," and I much prefer R.D. Liapakis style than Roger Chapman's shrilly vocals in what is otherwise a strong tune that sounds much better metalized. The low tone of Monster Magnet's Dave Wyndorf is a perfect match for Liapakis so "Space Lord" was a nice addition.
While I am positive the choices of Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way," Credence Clearwater Revivals' "Proud Mary" and T. Rex's "Get It On" were based on influential forces, they feel a bit overplayed and tired - even in a metal setting. The production is top notch as expected, but the real prize of "Monuments Uncovered" is the stunning artwork from one of the best artists in the business - Slovenia's Dusan Markovic. This cover is an absolute must for posters and t-shirts!
Mystic Prophecy is one of the finest German power metal bands and while "Monuments Uncovered" is performed with excellence and with great production, the idea of a covers release at this point is odd. There are some stellar moments, but at best "Monuments Uncovered" serves as a novelty album of what sounds like a collection of bonus tracks for future original releases.