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Magic Circle : Magic Circle

Magic Circle's debut is a charismatic and enjoyable Doom album.

The Beastie Boys did it. So too Ministry, Genesis, Burzum, Depeche Mode. Whatever your tastes, there are examples of musical genre-switching that may surprise or confuse, but they are few and far between. And now here come Magic Circle, a band with a name immediately suggestive of the intoxicating Traditional Doom within, but a band that is made up of four stalwarts from Boston’s Hardcore Punk scene – a supergroup with a difference.

This is a rare and fascinating meeting of cultures that may flummox Metal fans and have punks crying ‘Sell out!’ - but the music is so compelling that before long nothing else matters. There is little trace of the band members’ Hardcore background in this self-titled release, which despite their apparent aversion to social media was launched on YouTube. They have, however, brought with them a crackling intensity that drives each song and lifts the guitar solos to frantic levels. More evident than their own recent past are the influences of the revered Pagan Altar as well as a certain 1973 album called 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath'. There is also the raw feel of ancient NWOBHM in parts, such as on the second track, 'Rapture', which could be taken from a dusty Iron Maiden demo.

The guitar tone is emphatic without being particularly heavy and the drums clatter and crash with impressive gusto, but the biggest star of the show is singer Brendan Radigan. His high-pitched, high-octane style is as redolent of Robert Plant as it is of Ozzy, with a bit of Pagan Altar’s Terry Jones thrown in, and his throaty, thrilling melodies create a perfect counterpoint to the plodding riffs. Radigan clearly has plenty to get off his chest and is relishing this opportunity to showcase his vocal range, which is understandable considering that his work with bands such as The Rival Mob and XFilesX has consisted of an awful lot of shouting. He should consider switching to the doom world permanently because his voice sounds perfectly at home here.

The songs are intelligently constructed, flowing naturally even when they speed up a few notches (as they regularly do – this is far from the doomiest Doom ever made), and this is a noteworthy accomplishment when you think that Magic Circle tracks, averaging around the seven-minute mark, are considerably longer than what these guys usually play. There are brief occasions when the songs sound a little similar and six tracks seems at least one too few for a full-length album, but this remains a charismatic and enjoyable Doom debut from a group of guys who were bold enough to try something different. It’s not as ground-breaking as Lee Dorrian’s move from Napalm Death to Cathedral, but is full-blooded and gripping and leaves you wanting more.

Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. White Light
2. Rapture
3. The Greatest Escape/White Shores
4. Scream Evil
5. Conquering Nocturnity
6. Magic Circle/Cloven In Two

Duration : Approx 41 minutes

Visit the Magic Circle bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-09-12 by Steve Bidmead
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