Here comes high octane Hard Rock´n´Roll sprinkled with Heavy Metal from the rainy musical melting pot Bergen of Western Norway to brighten up the coming summer days.
While the monsters of 70s and 80s Hard Rock still stagger around vast venues around the world, bands like the trio Magick Touch have picked up the baton to keep this kind of music vivid and relevant. Magick Touch has done it since 2015 and comes speeding out of the barn with their fourth full-length album. While previous albums had flamboyant covers and touched themes of the supernatural and witchcraft with a twinkle in the eye, this album has a darker presence hanging over it. But it is just as musically dazzling as the previous ones.
The black cover is an amazing work of art because it sums up the album´s themes as it shows a wolf surrounded by coffins and eating cakes out of one of them. It might be hinting at the times we live through. And then there is the song on the album, ”When Eating A Wolf”, which is yet another example of the raw and energetic musicianship that is at the core of Magick Touch as it opens with a acoustic guitar before some heavy metal riffing raises the melodic theme to support the slightly resentful vocals singing about a village empty of nutritious food and ”we’re boiling cardboard / for the kids”.
With this bleak background, the heavy music has a haunting and captivating melody at the bottom, especially when the chorus joins in. One of the trademarks of the band are the harmonies shared among the band members. Although the vocalist carries the songs through, he is always supported by the two others joining in and more than once turning the songs into a crowd-pleasing sing-along, like the chorus in ”M.I.N.A”.
The way they execute their music - firm, fast, fierce, and with breathtaking guitar solos and a rhythm section which makes you want to wriggle some body parts - it is impossible not to be infected by the joy that seems to radiate from the band as they pour out one strong song after another. You are yanked into the music as the first drumstick hits the tom-toms in the opening song ”Apollyon” and the bass and guitar join in. The riff yanks out a melody and bursts out with pitches in between the lines. And you notice another trademark: the grooving, rolling deep-end bass that provides depth throughout the album and sometimes carries the melodic theme while the guitar flies into high-pitched impressive solos.
The drums tie it all together energetically marking the transitions into new sections of the songs as in the midsection of ”Boots” when the drumsticks are flying softly over the kit and the bass follows until the guitar takes over the sonics. The transitions between the harmonious vocals and the guitar riffs are sometimes nearly inaudible and impressive, like on the song ”The Judas Cross” where the vocals slip into the glissading riffs from the guitar.
For those about to rock, there is a lot to enjoy on this album. Like ”Guillotine Dreams” - a straight rocker with a harmonic chorus and impressive guitar arrangement when the guitar slides in beside the vocals riffing and soloing until the end. Or “Babylon, Baby!” that is driven forward with staccato and stomping tempo that makes you headbang before it loosens up and the harmonies set in.
But there is also a soft side from the band on the song ”Raven” that might be the closest they come to a love song on the album. It is light with beautiful soft vocals singing in endearment and wonders with a foreboding undertone ”I know I wasn´t the only one / but I’m certain I was one of them / you make me / watch you destroy yourself walking in your sleep”. A distorted guitar is working tirelessly in the background, the melody floats along with the bass giving depth to the emotions the melodic theme offers and the guitar underlines.
Purified in rain in front of the seven mountains that surround Bergen Magick Touch has for the fourth time released an engaging album. Although the themes and music are darker than on the previous one, the music still disgorges sweaty energy in the wake of their ancestors. It might be a new direction for the band, as they hint at in the fast and urgent last song ”World Is Coming Down”: “it may be time to / leave the comedy behind / stop waiting for the bus / in the streets of the wrong town / I´ll do everything for another rainy Bergen night / move into the shadows / step away from the light.”