Thursday, 15 December 2016

Magic Circle – Scream Live EP (2016) / 95%

Magical object from another era

The quintet from Boston is currently the best American metal band. Yes, yes, I know, this may seem a hyperbolic statement but their blend of high octane doom metal furled with heavy metal is just so damn contagious and mesmerizing. I had the opportunity to see them live twice so far and they’re even better than on record and that’s no small feat considering the quality of both the self titled (2013) and Journey Blind (2015.) This limited live tape (also available as a digital download) captures their stage energy quite well.

The EP was recorded live on a local Massachusetts radio so it’s not the exact same thing as a full blown live album with an audience but it’s simply a joy to listen to those guys play that it doesn’t really matter. Brendan Radigan is an absolute beast of a singer and he’s always stepping his game live. I think I prefer the tone of the vocals found on this tape than the ones of the studio albums, they’re a bit more upfront. Radigan is just an unhinged force of flawless manliness, he makes the entire band rise to an almost unmaintainable level of quality. His best performance is perhaps the title track of their newest full length album where he declares dark poetry with the conviction of an enlightened madman.

Ancient heroes from ancient wars.
In the arena the lions roar.
Fed to the fires they'll surely die.
Life to the wind. They journey blind.

The guitar duo of Ducas and Corry is so dynamic and busy that the strength of their abilities almost outshines the tremendous compositions they’re playing. The bass of DeTore (you can also hear his drumming skills on the Sumerlands’ debut album) is unfortunately not loud enough and that’s one of my only complaints about the sound of this recording. Their dense doom approach works very well in the live setting, their tracks full of twists and turns, slower and faster moments are just astounding.

Five tracks for thirty minutes is just enough to get you started for the day since their sound is so rich and complete. We get three songs from their sophomore, “Scream Evil” and “Rapture” from their magical debut, a good balance. Their albums aren't too long either and it's perfect since their music while captivating drains you of your energy as it's so emotional and powerful!

The band was apparently so happy with the results of this radio show and that’s why they decided to release it as a physical object. I can see (and hear!) why as it reflects the kind of guys they are. Magic Circle are a band without any frills, they’re like a beautiful woman who doesn’t need makeup to truly shine. Natural, honest, hard-working traditional metal is what they play and that’s what we get. Great live tape.

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