Magica - Wolves & Witches
AFM Records
Power Metal
10 songs (46'11")
Release year: 2008
Magica, AFM Records
Reviewed by Alex

Recently I have been catching myself in a pattern. I am eager to write reviews for those albums which made a connection with me right away after just a few spins. On the opposite, I am devoting much more attention to the ones that take a while to click and, regrettably, my first impression often remains the last.

Tried as I might, I did not want to have Romanian power metallers Magica typecast. They have a good looking female singer Ana Mladinovici and all dress in black shirts. They sing of wolves, witches, dark secrets and wind mistresses. As you have probably surmised by now, the comparisons with Nightwish and Epica, and the standards those two set, were running rampant in my mind. Subconsciously or not, but striving to give Magica some room, and on the strength of the album’s instrumental Chitaroptera, I have began searching for more native character in their sound. Successful in that endeavor, I ended up liking more of Wolves & Witches songs which did have some authentic folk character in them, whether the band intended it or not.

Maybe it is the result of the majority of Magica riffs on this album impressing me as little lethargic, simply grumbling along without skewering the senses. This is not to diminish some hooky choruses in the opener Don’t Wanna Kill or Dark Secret, but if you remove bass and guitar distortion from cuts like Hold On Tight, their poppish character would shine so bright, your eyes will burn. Thus, without “demanding” the folkiness, my interest radar perked up when keyboards brought a touch of Jok folk dance to They Stole the Sun. Much better than more progressive solos-for-the-sake-of-solos runs as in Just for 2 Coins.

Where the blame can’t be laid is at Ana’s feet. She is the face of the Magica outfit, trying to pull it along by its bootstraps. Her voice is clean like a mountain spring, a little boyish, with a definite touch of hapless dreamer to it. At times it comes off sounding rather ringing (Hurry Up Ravens), which gives little cause to a concern how much of this nightingale character is natural and how much of it is due to the sound processing. Still, without Ana Magica is not going far.

Speaking of the instrumental, Chitaroptera is a zenith to Maiastra nadir. The latter has some classic piano, Romanian lyrics and downright moodiness in its native melody, while Chitaroptera is much heavier, crisp and will have your feet tapping in the fiery folk dance.

Don’t Wanna Kill had me going along some, the fast bouncy picking in Just for 2 Coins makes the air guitar come out and the closer Mistress of the Wind leaves good final impression with its vibrato riffs and layered chorus, but there is still little mystery Wolves & Witches presented. What you hear the first time around is what you get, the album presented me with very little “development”. If you are a power metal fanatic and are willing to imbibe music on the strength of its few melodic hooks, the latest Magica output may appeal to you more.

Killing Songs :
Don't Wanna Kill, Chitaroptera, Mistress of the Wind
Alex quoted 71 / 100
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