Magica – Lightseeker – 2004 – Divenia
1. The Circle
2. Bind You Forever
3. Bittersweet Nightshade
4. Dance of the Wasp
5. A New Paradise
7. Witch’s Broom
8. The Living Grimoire
9. Black Lace
10. Curse for Eternity
I don’t think I have ever looked forward to an album as much as this one right here. After hearing the Romanian Magica’s debut album “Scroll of Stone,” I fell in love with the band. There isn’t anything new or innovating here. If you wanted to be shallow you could just call them Nightwish rip-offs. True, the bands both play a similar style of female-fronted Power Metal, but there is so much more to Magica that makes them stand out in an often repetitive genre. Singer Ana Mladinovici has such a beautiful voice. And her Romanian accent gives the music a little ethnic flavor, which I love. A lot of people hate when someone is singing in English with a noticeable accent, but personally I find it exciting. This plus some guitar magic from Bogdan “Bat” Costea made me like Scroll of Stone a lot. Little did I know that Lightseeker would surpass it by a huge amount.
For this album, the band found a permanent drummer, Cristi Barla, instead of having to use a drum machine. Likewise, 6Fingers joined the band on keyboards. This probably made the biggest difference in overall quality of the album from the first – 6Fingers helped Bat write a lot of the songs, not to mention his incredible skill at playing his instrument. I can confidently say he is one of the five best keyboardists in metal, up there with the likes of Janne Warman and Trollhorn. When he and bat combine forces and do alternating solos, like on “Bind You Forever,” it is utterly amazing. Never before have I seen a band so skillfully utilize this combination. Aside from when he is soloing, 6Fingers keeps up a great atmospheric feeling in most of the songs, especially in “The Living Grimoire” during the chorus (which, by the way, is one of the album’s overall high points).
Lyrically speaking, this album isn’t a concept album like “Scroll of Stone” was, but the subject matter of the lyrics is all relatively similar – usually themes relating to romance or magic. One song, Inluminata, was written entirely in Romanian by 6Fingers. The rest of the lyrics were written by Bat and although not groundbreaking, his ability is quite good and “Dance of the Wasp” is a particularly interesting song. Like I mentioned before, I love Ana’s voice to death. Her best performance is by far on “Bittersweet Nightshade.” The album’s best track, however, is “A New Paradise,” where everything just seems to come together perfectly.
As far as recommendations go, I would recommend this album to anyone. Not any metal fan, but ANYONE. It’s very, very tough not to like. Even my mother, who had a pre-programmed opinion that all metal is garbage, fell in love with them immediately. Inevitably though, I have to make some comparisons, so I’ll say that fans of Nightwish, After Forever, Tristania, and Sirenia will especially enjoy this.