|Review: Wizard - Magic Circle|
Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: November 21, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 2.86/5 (57.14%) (7 Votes)
A big disappointment from Wizard. I liked "Head Of The Deceiver", even though it wasn't what I'd call really good, and "Odin" was their best yet. So I was hoping they'd keep the upward trend going. No such luck, as "Magic Circle" is pretty darned lame.
The first thing you notice is that Wizard have traded in the powerful, punchy production of "Odin" for what is probably the worst recording job I have ever heard on an LMP release. The guitar sound is more raw, which I like, but the recording is weak, and the mix has no life at all. The drum sound sucks, and the most clearly audible instrument is Sven's painful falsetto. Not good. So the production blows goats. Let's be clear – it's bad enough that in a lot of places you can hear the blips and blurbs of recording artifacts on the tape as the takes are punched in and out. It's so amateurish I'm amazed LMP didn't send it off for a real remaster job somewhere.
The second thing you notice is that the songwriting has taken a turn for the worse. Some silly people accused "Odin" of sounding too 'happy', so I guess they were trying for a more raw, angry sound. "Magic Circle" does sound more aggressive in places, but overall it's just boring. Opener "Fire And Blood" is just tedious as fuck, with maybe the most boring chorus Wizard have ever cooked up. A lot of the songs here are just dull: "Death Is My Life", "Metal", "Uruk-Hai", "The Magic Goes On" – all just boring. Very very boring. Here and there, the old Wizard magic pops up, as on "Call Of The Wild", or the fun riffs of "On Your Knees". "Circle Of Steel" has a good chorus, and "No Way Out" conjures up a little energy. The only place they band seems really kicking is on "Warriors Of The Night", which they almost kill by dragging it out too long and putting in a lame slow part in the middle. And let's not even discuss the laughable ballad (yes, I said ballad) that closes out the album.
The music on "Magic Circle" is competently executed, but poorly recorded and only rarely exciting. What we have here is the sound of a band going through the motions just to get an album out the door. This isn't a worthless CD, but I can't say it has much to recommend it.
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