|Review: Mägo de Oz - Finisterra|
Label: Locomotive Music
Year released: 2000
Genre: Folk Metal
Review online: April 15, 2010
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Rated 4.09/5 (81.82%) (11 Votes)
Mägo de Oz is a band that I hold dear in my heart as this was the first time that I've ever listened to metal sung in Spanish. For those who don't know them, they play a catchy and happy sounding brand of Folk Metal with Power Metal influences. But if you are worried that they sing about princesses, dragon tales and saving the world, don't be, they are much more intelligent than your average Power Metal band. Anyway, by the time this came out, they already had a couple of records under their belt and this double album was an effort to expand their sound. Finisterra was also their first work to include a flute player, and it did wonders (both in the studio and live) as it added layers to their already rich songs.
Finisterra has an underlying story (more details are found in the booklet) and with the lyrics obviously being in Spanish it is a great benefit to know the language. They touch on different social topics like religion, technology's control and homosexuality. But the music is so strong here that it doesn't matter much, in fact I can't think of a metal group that resembles this band. Maybe recent Skyclad comes to mind at a stretch but overall they've created a sound of their own. Their songs are catchy beyond belief, you'll be mumbling something from this album as soon as you finish listening to it.
Speaking of which, Finisterra features some of the best songs that the genre has to offer, regardless of language. Tracks like "Satania", "La Cruz de Santiago", "Fiesta Pagana", "Los Renglones Torcidos de Dios" and the title song are instant classics. Because of this, the inconsistent songwriting pops out occasionally; there are fillers here like "El Señor de los Gramillos" and "Conxuro", mostly on the first disc. There is a lot of variety in their compositions; you have everything here from ballads to pure folk epics. And with the quantity of instruments used, you never listen the same thing twice.
The members certainly have the chops, each of them is given a lot of room to shine. There's a lot to choose from, as there are nine members total: a singer, drummer, violinist, flutist, bassist, keyboardist and three guitarists. They are all very good players and channel what the band is trying to do very well, but to me the best part of the album has to be the great vocals of José de Andrea. The man is simply amazing, as he can hit the high notes without breaking a sweat and make memorable vocal lines.
I don't know if this is the band's best work (I haven't listened to them all) but what I do know is that this is a great album. Finisterra is an awesome introduction for those who haven't heard of this band before and from there they can explore the rest of their catalogue. I can fully recommend this to fans of Folk Metal as it rarely gets any better than this and while this isn't a classic it comes damned close.
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Review: Gaia II:La Voz Dormida (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: Gaia III: Atlantia (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
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