Magica - Hereafter 3/5

Reviewed: 5-30-08


1. All waters have the colour of drowning
2. Turn to stone
3. Through wine
4. No matter what
5. Entangled
6. This is who I am
7. Weight of the world
8. Energy for the gods
9. Shallow grave
10. I remember a day
11. Into silence
12. Endless (bonus track)
13. Vrajitoarea cea rea (bonus track)

Major metal fans know that it's not uncommon for bands to change their style all of a sudden, and Magica is one such band. Their first 2 CDs (2003's 'The scroll of stone' and 2004's 'Lightseeker') are very much in the symphonic power metal style of Nightwish, complete with female soprano (fairly operatic) vocals. Both of those CDs are decent to good, but greatly lack originality and aren't close to the high quality of many of the Nightwish CDs, nor are they as good as most CDs from other similar bands. Still, I was quite surprised when I started the first spin of their 3rd CD 'Hereafter', as it was clear right from the start that they've left the style of their first few CDs in the dust and have gone in a different direction.

Simply put, 'Hereafter' is fairly standard symphonic/gothic metal comparable to Within Temptation, Xandria, Sengir, and there are many spots on the CD where I'm reminded of Visions of Atlantis and Coronatus. Vocalist Ana Mladinovici has pretty much shelled her dominating soprano vocals and now sings in the range typical of what we get from Within Temptation's Sharon Den Adel and similar vocalists. There are a few moments of speed on the CD, but the band has almost completely dropped power metal. Really, 'Hereafter' is very different from their first few CDs.

Despite this being the band's first CD in the symphonic/gothic metal style, the songs are actually quite good, and the CD is very consistent as well. Considering there are 13 songs (including the 2 bonus tracks), I think the band is probably succeeding in this new direction. Sure, nothing on the CD has me leaping out of my seat and, with exception of the beautiful ballad "Into silence", all of the songs are structured similarly (with the same mid-paced/bouncy pace), but the CD never drops down to a weak level either. So we end up with a solid CD for the style, and the band actually might be better off heading in this new direction. Only time will tell just how successful and popular they'll become.




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