Album of the Month

The debut full-length from Greek band Automaton is weighty, sludgy, coffin-lid-slamming Doom perfection.
(Read more)

Random band

From Oakland, California, Secrets Of The Sky mix Post-Metal-tinged atmospherics with largely mid-tempo melodic blackened Death/Doom, including both clean...
(read more)

Mage : Black Sands

From the outset, Mageís passion and well-honed dynamic invite you along for a high-octane ride.

Mage is a Stoner Doom band with a wonderfully mixed-up personality. They combine the fighting spirit of Pantera, the jangling basslines of Overkill, the structural efficiency of The Obsessed, the radio-friendly energy of Monster Magnet and the steam-train chug-chug-chug of Sacred Reich!

From the outset, the bandís passion and well-honed dynamic invite you along for a high-octane ride. 'Cosmic Cruiser X', the albumís straightforward opener, is enjoyable and establishes a pounding 4/4 time signature framework for the album, but it does not quite prepare you for the Thrash metal influences to come. By the time the second and third tracks burst from the speakers, however, it is clear that this band offers something different. 'Black Sands' is indeed an album full of mood swings that both excite and disorientate: one moment they sing of fantastical space adventures, the next they rage about anger (mis)management! There are moments of beard-shaking fury and heavyweight Traditional Doom, as well as sun-scorched Desert Rock that seems far-removed from the bandís hometown of Leicester, UKÖ And the mini-Hetfield vocal style drips with sufficient malice and misery to hold it all together perfectly.

The album consists of ten extremely tight tracks, each based around one simple idea that is bludgeoned into shape with the violent skill of a swordsmith forging a blade. From the muscularity of 'Rust' to the incredibly catchy chorus of 'Surfing Temporal Tides', Mage come up with a barrage of four-minute explosions that burn your ears off.

Albums that straddle different genres can sometimes feel like a compromise, uncertain of their own place. Not this one. 'Black Sands' is big and bold; it has plenty to discover and everybody will have their own personal favourite song. The sign of a good album is not how easily it can be categorised Ė itís about whether or not you want to play it again. And Mage's debut is definitely the kind of energised, inventive Metal album that you will want to listen again and again and again.

Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.

Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Cosmic Cruiser X
2. Degenerate
3. Rust
4. Danse Macabre
5. Star Born
6. Drowning Doom
7. Surfing Temporal Tides
8. Witch Of The Black Desert
9. Super Supremacy
10. Hulk Out

Duration : Approx. 39 minutes

Visit the Mage bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-07-15 by Steve Bidmead
Aesthetic Death
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com