Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Review: Violet Magick – demo 2011 – Latin doom part #1 - 74%

What we have here is a solid slab of heavy/doom from a new Mexican band called Violet Magick. The members of this trio are all using pseudonyms related to alchemy (Mercury, Salt and Sulfur to be precise) and that's reflected in their lyrical approach. Despite being firmly established in the occult doom scene, this band can't be incorporated in the doom rock movement alonside The Devil's Blood or Blood Ceremony but also can't really be linked to their Mexican brothers Maligno. I can't really find the huge usual Sabbath influence in their stuff either, their biggest influence is certainly the Italian doom school (Paul Chain, Death SS and Black Hole).

Their songwriting is fast paced, 3 songs for a little more than 16 minutes of music and it's pretty solid. I personally like the production, it's rough and a bit lo-fi but it fits their atmosphere and it gives a stoner edge to their compositions. For a demo, I would definitely consider this sound to be a success. The riffs are good, there's a good variety and the demo never gets boring, the solo on the second track "Spirits Rise" is too buried behind the wall of riff, but it fits nonetheless. The ones on the last track "The Ethereal Path" is great though. The demo starts with an organ intro with some bells, it's gloomy and sets the occult tone for the whole thing. The bass playing is damn tasty, simply listen to the bass solo at the start of the second track, there's a fun alchemy between the 3 musicians and it's clearly apparent. Violet Magick are a very apt power trio, the instrumental side is lovely for a first release and shows great potential. Nevertheless, I can't really get into their vocals, they're clean but the accent is quite thick and a little bit laughable at times. Nothing extremely bad though, it's decent but they definitely need improvement especially in the range and power departments, both are truly lacking. It's kind of the deal breaker for me about them, I think this style of doom metal needs a strong and charistmatic vocalist, Violet Magick doesn't have that...yet. The band has good chops and if they improve the vocal part, they could easily become an household name of Mexican metal. They'll be even better if they include some Mexican influences in their music, some accoustic guitars perhaps? That's something that we can find in Maligno's music, it would set them apart for sure. Albeit, they're not a generic band and I'll admit that originality can be dangerous.

This demo will please almost all the fans of traditional doom, there's a very good mix of influences in their music, mixing the Italian school with some touches of the American one. It's vintage, don't expect any groundbreaking ideas here, it's a well done hommage to their doom fathers but at the same time, they're free of the conventions chains. Hopefully they'll continue their good work and release a solid full length in the near future. To conclude, this a solid demo plagued by subpar vocals, but put this band in your watch list.

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