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Magica - The scroll of stone 2.5/5

Reviewed: 1-28-05


1. The wish
2. A blood red dream
3. The sun is gone
4. The sorcerer
5. Road to the unknown
6. Daca
7. E magic
8. The silent forest
9. Mountains of ice
10. The key
11. The scroll of stone
12. Redemption

It's always a thrill for me to discover new female fronted bands, especially if they're in the power metal genre. Magica definitely fit in with Nightwish, Edenbridge and Visions of Atlantis, and there's also a slight influence from the Turkish band Almora. But Magica have their own sound, especially musically. They're a lot more guitar oriented, and less symphonic than the mentioned bands. There are plenty of really cool guitar solos, as opposed to strong symphonic arrangements. They're missing something with their overall sound though, maybe something with the production. The lead guitars and drums just aren't at a high quality.

There are also some weak moments vocally. Even though Ana Mladinovici sounds very similar to Tarja of Nightwish, or Nicole of Visions of Atlantis, her voice isn't as strong at the soprano parts. Her voice is great at the mid-ranged (alto) parts though, and this singing style also fits the music better. Magica should probably avoid trying to be the next Nightwish, and instead focus on their more original guitar oriented power metal sound.

We certainly get some highlights with this debut though. Track 2 "A blood red dream" has some nice folk influences that we also hear later with track 11 "The scroll of stone", similar to Almora. Track 5 "Road to the unknown" has some very creatively layered vocals, and track 7 "E magic" has some outstanding guitar solos and a great chorus. Track 8 "The silent forest" has me thinking of Nightwish, and the fast-paced track 9 "Mountains of ice" is pretty good. The slow track 10 "The key" is probably my favorite, as it has some brilliantly layered vocals, similar to what we heard with track 5. But there are songs where the vocals aren't at a good level, track 6 "Daca", and the final track "Redemption" are examples of this.

Magica definitely show promise, but they need a crisper production and to settle into their own sound. They really excel with their guitar solos, and the songs that are similar to Almora are really good, so they certainly have strong aspects they can focus on. Major fans of the mentioned bands will find this to be an interesting debut, but we'll have to hope for an improvement with their next CD before getting too excited.




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