Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Magic Circle - Journey Blind

By Karen A. Mann. Composed of veterans from a slew of well-regarded Boston hardcore bands, Magic Circle are about as unlikely a doom band as you can imagine. They’re also not terribly visible.
By Karen A. Mann.

Artwork by Joe Petagno

Composed of veterans from a slew of well-regarded Boston hardcore bands, Magic Circle are about as unlikely a doom band as you can imagine. They’re also not terribly visible. There’s no Facebook page or dedicated Bandcamp page (you can find some info on their website and the 20 Buck Spin Bandcamp page), and they don’t seem to play live very often. Any publicity about Magic Circle is almost entirely word-of-mouth from dedicated doom fans and blogs. After gaining a lot of underground attention with their 2013 self-titled debut album, they’ve just released Journey Blind on 20 Buck Spin.

Photo by Carmelo Española.

Magic Circle’s music is just as unexpected as their story. The title song begins with a melodic interlude, followed by a slow, lumbering riff that seems firmly inspired by Black Sabbath. It sounds like some funereal doom, and as the song begins to build, it takes on a kind of Pallbearer-ish feel. But then the song stops, and a new, rocking NWOBHM-ish riff with nods to Witchfinder General begins. Magic Circle isn’t planning to plod along forever. They’re going to grab you by the throat and force your fist into the air.

The band does know when to slow it down and give a good dose of molasses-thick melodies, like on “A Ballad for Vultures” and “Grand Deceivers,” and but they never creep for long. Witness the sweet “Metal Gods”-like breakdown in the middle of “Lightning Cage.”

Photo by Carmelo Española.

The real revelation comes when vocalist Brendan Radigan opens up and lets loose with one of the finest doom (or, really, metal in general) voices since Trouble’s Eric Wagner.

Trouble and, and to a lesser extent Saint Vitus, really are major touchstones for Magic Circle, from the riffing to Radigan’s powerful delivery to the introspective, cathartic lyrics. Magic Circle want to take you on a journey through the history of doom, and they don’t need a bong or a copy of Drawing Down the Moon to do it.


Tagged with 20 Buck Spin, 2015, Carmelo Española, doom metal, Karen A. Mann, Magic Circle
1 comment:
  1. These guys rule!

    Their 2013 S/T is all killer.

    True to your description of their low profile I only started listening to them this year after stumbling across them through the multitude of other bands these dues play in.

    Great stuff.

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