A nice cover that smiles at me off MAGICA’s debut “The Scroll Of Stone”, good start, I would say! Unfortunately the info sheet of the quite new Mexican label Divenia is not exactly informative, only research on the internet brought to light that MAGICA are a band from Romania, consisting of several former members of INTERITUS DEI, a band that I had heard several years ago.
The intent of the band was to combine the main influences of guitarist Bogdan “Bat“ Costea, meaning RHAPSODY, NIGHTWISH and STRATOVARIUS. That was back in the year 2002, the same year that the song writing and recordings for “The Scroll Of Stone” took place. From these bands we have the female vocals of NIGHTWISH, the bombast of RHAPSODY and at times the riffing of STRATOVARIUS, just how does the class of the whole thing look?
Well, first of all I should mention that this is a concept album, which deals with Princess Alma, who gets screwed over by a demon and loses her soul. To get it back, she searches for the scroll of the stone and this album tells her story, introducing it with a piano and cello intro. What then follows is partly classically influenced Melodic/Symphonic Metal, with the vocals of fronter Ana Mladinovici, who does not have the usual soprano, but has a deeper, quite soft voice, which bears the compositions of the Romanians, just unfortunately at times lacking power and expression.
“A Blood Red Dream“ is the first real song and shows that the gentlemen and lady are fit on their instruments and also use the flute and medieval elements to give their songs an own identity. Unfortunately these together with the cello, which sees its use every now and then, are the only real highlights in terms of originality, because apart from that the Romanians are still a bit too close to their role models.
Still a “Road To The Unknown“ with its two-layered vocals and good drive is a very good song, just like the following “Daca“, with Romanian lyrics, which brings us a mix of Gothic and Symphonic Metal, with the dark and velvety vocals of Ana, very good! And even though the title is repeated ad infinitum in the chorus, the following, equally Romanian, “E Magic” is a good one, too, while the speed burst “Mountains Of Ice” suffers a bit from the double-bass, which just sounds a bit too synthetic to me, still a good song.
This definitely has not been an easy review, because I for one have to hold it for the band that it is their debut and everything already was recorded a short time after the formation of the band. There definitely is potential and if they manage to work on this own touch and Ana gets a bit more power into her voice (and stays in the deeper regions, which definitely suit her better), then the soon following second album “Lightseeker“ should mean a good step forward. (Online August 26, 2004)