Norwegian threesome MAGICK TOUCH appeared back in 2014, and released their debut album one year later. Following three more years of development and, presumably, live shows, the band released their second studio album “Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire” at that start of 2018 through Norwegian label Edged Circle Productions.
In the world of music, there are two extremes you can move towards in terms of approach. You can seek out new, innovative landscapes where boundaries are breached and rules are changed, or you can seek towards what has been done before and take the cues from the ones that came before you to create material using ingredients with a proven track record. But no matter which of the extremes you lean towards, you also need to create material that is good and that will appeal. That skill is the hardest to have and develop in a proper manner.
Magick Touch has that latter skill, and applies it well towards material that is of the tried and tested variety. Not totally and in a purebred manner however, as they are mixing it up quite a bit. But those in the need for truly innovative music can safely look elsewhere, as this is an album that looks back in time throughout.
Describing this retro-oriented music is the hard part I guess, as this is a band that plays around with a few different sets of what one might describe as retro-oriented hard rock. My impression is that a lot of the core foundations of these songs are set in 70′ shard rock. This foundation is then embellished with details from early 80’s heavy metal, and then given a liberal amount of seasoning with hooks and grooves from late 80’s hair metal.
The end result are tight, firm and concise songs with an effective flow, catchy sequences and a positive, uplifting mood, vibe and atmosphere to them. Many, if not most, contains certain key details that refers back to one or more of the classic hard rock and metal bands. A familiar riff here, a catchphrase there, a specific guitar or bass sound both here and there. Rarely if ever in a strictly dominant manner, more often than not as a part of a totality that also includes details of a different kind or with a different orientation. Mixing it up. As far as specific examples go, The Great Escape’s nods towards Thin Lizzy and Polonium Blues’ tip of the hat to Black Sabbath can be mentioned.
This is a good album too I should add. Made by a band paying their respects rather than replicating, and able to incorporate everything into compelling, uplifting and energetic tunes. Not at the point of coming across as future classics at this point, but well made, well developed and well performed. The mix is perhaps the weakest link here, as the instruments tends to overpower the vocals just a bit too much to my liking, but the sound and atmosphere is again one that to me comes across as one with a retro-oriented touch to it. If this is by accident or design I can’t tell though.
Magick Touch is a band that should have a fairly broad general appeal, but as far as a key audience is concerned, I’d wager a bet that the greater majority of the people that treasure 70’s hard rock, early 80’s metal and late 80’s hair metal in equal measures will enjoy this band and this album a lot. A charming production through and through.
My rating: 80/100
Under the Gun // The Great Escape // Midnite Sadusa // Believe in Magick // Polonium Blues // Siren Song // Lost With All Hands // After the Fire // Electrick Sorcery // Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire