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Magica - "Wolves and Witches" (CD)

Magica - "Wolves and Witches" CD cover image

"Wolves and Witches" track listing:

1. Don't Wanna Kill (4:57)
2. They Stole The Sun (5:01)
3. Hold On Tight (5:40)
4. Hurry Up Ravens (4:48)
5. Maiastra (2:36)
6. Dark Secret (1:00)
7. Just For 2 Coins (5:05)
8. Until The Light Is Gone (5:07)
9. Chitaroptera (2:53)
10. Mistress of the Wind (4:57)

Reviewed by on May 28, 2009

"There’s enough similarity in their sound that if you like Sirenia, Magica may be worth checking out."

Magica stands out among the metal music scene as one of the few bands to herald from Romania. However, once you get past this little tidbit of trivia, and look at the music that makes up their fourth release, "Wolves and Witches," there isn’t much else to make them stand out in an ever growing crowd.

Some call their style gothic, others symphonic, and even power metal. Personally, I didn’t find any trace of power metal on their new album, but there’s enough similarity in their sound that if you like Sirenia, Magica may be worth checking out. Having said that, though, don’t expect Magica’s music to blow you away.

Unlike many acts today, Magica relies solely on their classically trained female lead vocalist, Ana Mladinovici. Don’t expect any nice little male death growls in this bunch. While her voice is strong, and very classic sounding, it is not operatic, and not as clear and flawless as say, Simone Simons’. Mladinovici’s voice is truly an alto or possibly second soprano, but many of the compositions find her struggling to reach the first soprano range, and coming off sounding nasally. The mellow, piano-accompanied piece “Maiastra” admittedly does work well for her voice, and brings to mind other slow gothic tunes like Tori Amos' "Winter." Mladinovici unfortunately also has a strong tendency to go flat anytime they move into a minor chord, which is most obvious in the closing track, "Mistress of the Wind."

I can’t find anything really wrong with the instrumentals, though they do favor repetitive opening riffs that weigh some of the compositions down. Really, the instruments are the best part of the album, and for once, the instrumental track, "Chitaroptera," is probably the best track on the album. It’s a surprising switch from the mellow sounds that permeate the rest of the songs, and is a unique mix of chugging tempo, gothic guitar, and even a bit of a Celtic sound. If more of the tracks were like this one, "Wolves and Witches" would be a much better pick.

"Hurry up Ravens" is a decent, more hardcore tune, but again, nothing makes it stand out next to other gothic and symphonic acts. If you’re an established Magica fan, you probably won’t find any fault with "Wolves and Witches," but if you’re looking for something to blow you away, you better keep looking.

Highs: The instrumental track, "Chitaroptera," is a solid piece.

Lows: Mladinovici has a tendency to sing out of her range, and her voice goes flat in minor chords.

Bottom line: Just another female-fronted gothic/symphonic act, with mainly mellow tunes.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)