Magica - Dark Diary review


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Band: Magica
Album: Dark Diary
Release date: May 2010

01. Anywhere But Home
02. Tonight
03. Never Like You
04. Wait For Me
05. Need
06. Release My Demons
07. On The Side Of Evil
08. My Kin My Enemy
09. Used To Be An Angel
10. We Are Horde
11. Dear Diary
12. Victory [digipack bonus]

I have a soft spot for frilly, other-worldly, majestic, symphonic metal (especially the female-fronted kind), adding bonus points if it has a good grasp of the genre's power metal roots. That is not what this album is. Did I just lie? Yes. To some listeners' ears it is exactly that description, but to me; it is not entirely composed of these expected (and attempted) aspects. To me, this album is an exciting exercise in piecing together impressive elements to give birth to a confusing contradiction. All the components of a screamingly fun ride are there for the taking, yet the twists and turns have not been placed in the right spots to ensure the optimum amusement. So, having said this, I sure don't feel like a liar.

Technical proficiency is not lacking here. The musicians do well enough to impress anyone who chooses to focus on the often showy power metal characteristics. This is especially refreshing to the more neo-goth/symphonic fan, as a lot of these types of bands tend to lose the gripping intricacy and replace it with more fluff as quick as they begin to gain notoriety...that is- if they ever had it in the first place. So, what in blazes is the problem here, you ask?

Well, it's become a bit of a personal problem for me to behold a bunch of wonderful and capable musicians that can't seem to make my heart flutter, touch my soul in an aching, bittersweet way (like their obvious influences can), or at least leave me humming their tunes while I clean my house.

I'll be completely honest. A band can make it blindingly evident that Nightwish are their idols and still win me over. Recent output by Xandria has proven this to me. I'm a sucker for a good, fantasy-based theme, a fetching album cover, and appealing packaging. One thing that none of these coats of candy can replace is songwriting.

Don't get me wrong, Magica can structure a tune or ten. There is just something lacking if the only memorable aspects of a listening experience you are left with are how fast a solo was, or how tasty a few drum fills were. And sure, we lovers of this type of mythic metal are fools for a pretty voice atop all the fireworks, but shouldn't it give you just a tiny tingle...somewhere?

Dark Diary has it's enjoyable qualities, yet I'm the kind of guy who has to fall for you a little bit before you try to touch me there.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 9

Written by Tristus Scriptor | 29.04.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Magica has always been a solid band releasing solid albums and Dark Diary is no exception, in fact it's a huge step forward for the band. They'll probably never top any charts or release anything ground breaking, but I find myself enjoying their albums often enough. Dark Diary is by far their heaviest release yet and would be most appreciated by fans of power metal with fantasy lyrics belted out by a nice female voice.

published 24.09.2010 | Comments (7)

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