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Review: Magica - Dark Diary
Dark Diary

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 42:32
Tracks: 11
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: August 4, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Dark Diary

Rated 3/5 (60%) (6 Votes)

I was not exactly enthralled by my first exposure to Romania's Magica, their 2007 release Hereafter. As a result, I was hoping for better from their newest album, Dark Diary, but not really expecting much. I stand, pleasantly, corrected, as Magica has stepped up in a big way on Dark Diary. Some bands would be content to be their country's best entry in the sounds-like-Nighwish category, without really trying to forge their own identity. With Dark Diary, Magica seem to have decided they have more to offer while staying true to the Symphonic Power Metal genre.

Let me offer Magica a huge thank you, right up front, for starting Dark Diary, not with the typical, clichéd keyboard driven, short intro. Nope, the band jumps right in with the double kick killer "Tonight" and doesn't let up the pace of speedy riffs and soaring vocals until the third song, the mid-paced "Wait for Me." How refreshing to hear a Power Metal band start an album with an actual song, and an excellent one at that (do I hear the band's live opener in "Tonight?") The pace picks back up on "Need" and rolls at mid to fast pace until the second to last song, making for a consistent and quite enjoyable listen. While none of the songs are on the level of Nightwish's better stuff, for the most part they are catchy and entertaining, something I would not be able to say about Hereafter. The last song is a bit of a throwaway piano and vocal piece. I would rather have heard Magica end with something huge, which would have really upped the replay value. Still, the rest of the songs more than make up for it.

Singer Ana Mladinovici is in fine form and the rest of the band does a great job of playing Power Metal without sounding so technically proficient that they come across as automatons. There's a bit of the "garage" in their performance that enhances the music and reminds you that you are listening to a band, not a machine.

Excellent female-fronted Symphonic Power Metal from Magica. It's always nice to hear a band take that next step in their career and come up with something special. Magica are definitely on to something with Dark Diary.

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