Thursday, November 19, 2015

Magic Circle : "Journey Blind"

This Week 20 Buck Spin is releasing the sophomore outing from Boston retro rock worshippers Magic Circle. There is something raw and honest about the production. I imagine this is very much what you get live. The singer's 70's rock warble fall some where between Deep Purple era Coverdale and Lou Gramm. Ghost pulls from a similar period in time, these guys might not be as dark , but do not have the pop pretense to their music. The song's end doesn't seem to have the same focused fire the intro does despite returns to the galloping chug. In some ways this also reminds me of St. Vitus, without the drugged desperation. But they sonically have a similar proto-metal "the Damned Man" comes closer to invoking a more metallic power. Midway into the second song they hit a doomier crunch before speeding back up into a more rock n roll section.

Things begin to edge toward a more Pentagram like doom on " A Ballad For the Vultures". He singer begins to get slightly Dio like on the 'fly away " phrase. There is a brief break into a cleaner guitar tone before the go for the big rock finish. The really over dubbed sounding moment comes in the guitar solo . There drummer plays with the kinda of power needed for this style of music and brings it on home. The clean guitar that opens "Lightning Cage" have a bluesy tone that kicks blasted out of the water by the hard rocking drive of band when they bust into the verse. There are even a few old Iron Maiden guitar harmonies thrown in. This is way too up tempo to be doom. They hit one of the album's heaviest moments on this song, the vocals help with some added grit in them. The boogie the songs builds into even work and I normally find boogies to be to happy.

"Ghosts of the Southern Front" doesn't really distinguish it self to me until it slows down at the mid-way point, there are some choices of intervals in the melody to this one that remind me a little of Pallbearer. Now the message boards go crazy and call me lazy for referring to Pallbearer, but my ears seldom lie to me. The Sabbath influence rears up big time on the riff leading into "Grand Deceiver's". The production on the vocals feels a little slicker on this one , and not just because of the over-dubbed harmonies. Regardless this is one of the album more nuance vocal performances making this one of the album's better tunes as well. The closing song builds up into more of a metal direction, but I don't think it's one of the album's better songs. These guys have already shown me they can fine tune their song writing so mediocre won't do.

There are some moments on this album that are so strong I had little question in regards to rounding this one up to an 8. Is it the most original thing I have heard this year. No...but amid the heaps of influences I hear the glimmer of who they are and think they might only get better from here. If you like classic metal then this is worth your time.

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