When reading other reviewer’s opinions of Black Metal, I often raise an eyebrow when they complain about some bands offering nothing new to the genre and so, for that very reason any rating, if given, is reduced. I often listen to the same CD and find I would have scored higher. Unfortunately in the case of MAGOG I would have found myself in complete agreement.
“Artglauben” is a soulless affair that leaves me unmoved for the most part. There are moments that I enjoy, but the vast majority of this album is run of the mill Black Metal that sounds like the band are just going through the motions, they just sound bored. This is a shame because MAGOG use variety throughout this disc, but they don’t match it with conviction. I have played “Artglauben” many times to see if it is a grower, it isn’t. Speculating on the reason for this is pointless, as it is no excuse for this lack lustre performance. It is all the more disappointing when you consider the album on a technical level because the band does everything right from a purely compositional perspective.
Here, lofi production which suits many similar bands proves to be a disservice, blunting the impact of the drums, which may have otherwise pepped up proceedings. The guitars also sound subdued, though on tracks like “Lebe, Kämpfe, Tote, Siege” they do fire up, providing a nice, warm, buckets of blood deluge of riffs. Most of the songs here are mid-paced to fast with occasional once more into the fray gallops. I tend to find with Black Metal that this is the most dangerous territory to cross, as, for me, speed always make me sit up and take note and though I am not usually keen on slower songs, they usually possess a heavier, often morbid quality. Bands that wander the middle ground have to work harder to gain my appreciation. The trouble with “Artglauben” is that even the speedy sections lack impact, meaning they let themselves down on all levels. Some of this is down to the production which has softened MAGOG’S blow, but the blame cannot lay there alone.
Have a listen to MAGOG’S “Weisheit Und Ahnenkult” to see what the band could have done, using the same tools. It almost sounds like a different band, they certainly sound much more interested in what they are doing than they do here, which is a damn shame, a damn, damn shame. (Online April 21, 2005)