STEP INTO THE CIRCLE
“A magic circle is circle or sphere of space marked out by practitioners of many branches of ritual magic, which they generally believe will contain energy, and form a sacred space, or will provide them a form of magical protection between themselves and what they summoned, or both” ~ Wikipedia.
Awesome, isn’t it? What can possible make this witchcraft and wizardry even more fascinating? A huge dollop of doom of course. Of all the lyrical boundaries that Doom metal has implemented into its art form it is the fascination of doom with witchcraft and the occult that has often yielded the best results and timeless classics. So, when an occult drenched traditional doom metal band consisting of 4 members rises from Massachusetts whose doom scene has blessed us with acts like Upsidedown Cross, Grief, Elder, Ice Dragon, Tentacle and Blue Aside to name a few your heart is bound to skip a beat.
Magic Circle has members was formed in 2011 by a members from local hardcore bands which went by the names of Mind Eraser, Rival Mob and The A-Team. Having gained quite a reputation with their power punched gigs the band finally released its self titled full album early in 2013. True to its reputation Magic Circle does not disappoint. Starting off with a heavy lumbering riff the band announces its presence when vocalist Brendan Radigan goes ‘Out of the darkness I emerge’ and from there on there is no looking back. The band plays a style of music that encompasses influences from the riff-centric and occult drenched imagery of Hour of 13, the NWOBHM tinge and soloing as on Pagan Altar’s magnum opus ‘Mythical and Magical’ backed by song writing skills evocative of Mistreater’s ‘Hell’s Fire’ along with the tendency to milk out riffs as much as possible and add small noodling solos all throughout as was a hallmark with the legendary heavy metal doomsters Trouble. There music is generally mid paced but alternates between mid paced and up tempo so expect no dragged out tempos as present on releases by Pilgrim and Reverend Bizarre. While most tracks follow the similar structure of starting off but slowly and eventually morphing into a burgeoning piece with its plodding grooves and ritualistic riffs and drums there are tracks like ‘Rapture’ where the band goes all out right from the get go. The bands sense of melody is unparalleled and the band manages never to drift from its predominant intent of creating a cohesive and entertaining album that manages to stay fresh through with its chugging riffs, towering solos and dominant drums whether the band is playing a rumbling riff which is a calm before the storm or a whiplash inducing chorus. Another aspect which thrusts this band to newer heights and gives it an added dimension is the garage styled production of retro doom that lends its innate coarse harmony to the music which aids the foursome to better attain what they wished to.
However much the song writing skills, the sense the melody or the raw talent be praised here what cannot be exalted enough is the performance by vocalist Brendan Radigan. His passion fueled performance is what makes the record what it is. His tonality, which can be described as a weave of Pagan Altar front man’s Terry Jones’ nasality and Lords Of The Crimson Alliance’s front man’s Far Cry’s towering vocals, is the lubricant which binds the band with such malleability which in turn evolves the band into a mass wrecking ball in front of which intransigence in nugatory. As on the end of February this album which has come out of nowhere is my favorite metal release of the year so far and may well be the doom metal release, if not THE album of the year.
SCORE - 92/100