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Mage : Green

A strong return for Mage, with their self-released third full-length Stoner outing.

Three years have passed since Mage's sophomore album, 'Last Orders', during which time guitarist Ben Aucott tragically passed away. Returning now as a four piece, with 'Green', their third full length album - a release made possible with the help of the group's fans via a Pledge Music campaign - it's a welcome comeback from Leicester's finest after what surely must have been a difficult few years. And this time they're joined by John Loughlin of British metal stalwarts Raging Speedhorn for guest vocals on three tracks.

Even before starting the CD, the album artwork promises of Stoner bliss to come, with some impressive fantasy/horror themed artwork featuring skulls, a young lady in a state of undress, and plumes of pungent looking green smoke that serve to preserve the modesty of said maiden. When opener 'Nowhere to Nothing' starts up, it goes straight in for the kill; a bludgeoning riff with a swaggering Stoner groove provides a burst of high-tempo attitude before slowing down to a grinding, monolithic pace as it draws to a thumping conclusion. Mage, it is clear, are back, and, in the face of adversity, couldn't have provided a stronger opening statement.

Guest vocals from Loughlin add another dimension to Mage's sound; his harsh, guttural growl complementing Mage singer Tom Smith's gravely Stoner drawl, particularly on the ferocious 'Primitive Drive', one of the more aggressive tracks on the album. Such different elements combine to create a rich, rewarding experience; changes of tempo from colossal, high-tempo Doom riffs to trippy instrumental passages, even touches of desert rock, all serving to add variety and depth.

Title track, 'Green' is worth the entrance fee alone, with a bluesy groove and gleeful references to, well, green. 'Forget about me/Green is where I want to be' and 'Get yourself high/green is where I want to die' Smith bellows to an irresistible Stoner riff that's impossible not to bang your head, or in some way shake your Doomfeather to. There is a slight dip in quality after the high (pun intended) point of 'Green', with a couple of tracks that are solid, but not quite on a par with the rest of the album, but it's a temporary lull and the best is left for last. And then some. Clocking in at over ten minutes, which is over a quarter of the total running time, 'Vultures Mass' is an epic Stoner Metal masterclass with a rifftastic performance from guitarist Woody, and devastating dual vocals from Smith and Loughlin, and rounds the album off to a storming conclusion.

Overall, this is a very strong return from Mage. Those fans that dipped into their pockets to help fund 'Green' via the Pledge Music Campaign will surely not be disappointed with their investment, one that has contributed to the creation of a fine album. Next time around, there will, I suspect, be even more acolytes of the Mage keen to pledge their allegiance, and perhaps their green.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Nowhere To Nothing
2. Heroic Elegy
3. Primitive Drive
4. Green
5. Eclipse King
6. The Wheel
7. Vultures Mass

Duration : Approx. 39 minutes

Visit the Mage bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-05-26 by Nick Harkins
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