My Bloodied Wings
Imagika - My Bloodied Wings - 2006 - Crash Music
1. Tongue Of Nys
2. Hunter's Moon
3. Second Coming
4. Throw The Horns
5. Heart Of Icarus
7. The Darkest Of All Secrets
9. One More Day
10. Forever Darkened
11. My Bloodied Wings
San Francisco power thrash act Imagika have been honing their skills since the mid-90s, releasing five solid albums thus far of underground steel. Much like other red, white, and blue sensations such as Seven Witches and Iced Earth, Imagika have established a firm fan base domestically while still being a fine export to countries like Japan and Germany. Through constant festival and club circuits as well as a number of compilation appearances, Imagika have, in my opinion, finally established themselves as a top tier metal act. The band have a new record out on Crash Music entitled "My Bloodied Wings", a fine outing that finally showcases maturity and growth from the group.
This is the finest hour from the talented and metallic hard hitters. Incorporating the thrash metal backbone of the '80s metal movement (see Overkill, Anthrax, Metallica) while injecting a youthful, European frenzy of melodic soaring captivates the market and fan base of this particular genre. Like the bands mentioned earlier, Imagika combine on those two strengths in a "new metal movement" of underground US power thrash. In a lot of ways this band reminds me of those Metal Blade hopefuls of the '80s, the talented, scorching acts that displayed the razzle dazzle Euro flavors while still firmly embracing the blue collar US metal sound. However, I hope that this band can emerge as a serious mainstream and mainstay contender in a market where fantastic musical talents are set aside in a search for extreme, over the top 'core ramblings that are senseless and uninspiring. Imagika are a modern band, much like Iced Earth and Seven Witches, that can possibly change the tide here stateside and finally put the spotlight on quality, talented acts that support HEAVY METAL bands and please the denim and leather crowd.
You can look at fist raising anthems like "Throw The Horns" as rousing stompers that motivate and ignite the listener, a stormy sensation that is punctuated by vocalist Norman Skinner's energetic performance. Standing front among a wall of chaingun riffs and rigid bass lines, it is Skinner's use of low to mid-tempo vocal patterns crossed with an over the top falsetto range that is a throwback to Rob Halford or even Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys). Skinner also writes this record, with his emphasis on dark and sinister themes running rampant through this entire effort. "Hunter's Moon", "The Darkest Of All Secrets", and "Forever Darkened" are all dark lit passages through horrific fantasy, almost acquiring a sort of traditional horror aspect to the lyrics. His writing is also uplifting and moving as well, evident in the inspirational "Heart Of Icarus".
Musically both Rice and Toms are fantastic on the strings here, each working a furious riff charge that is led by melodic twin leads and a rich emphasis on the bay area thrash movement. Bassist Elena Luciano provides quick bass backings that are both rigid and up-front on the recording. The skins are handled by long time drummer Henry Moreno, who does an excellent job with the patterns but does suffer from more of "click" sound than a solid "thump". I like my drum sound a bit more thick with these recordings. The production is handled by famed producer Andy La Rocque at his Los Angered studio. Highlights are "Heart Of Icarus", "The Darkest Of All Secrets", and "Second Coming".
Bottom Line - A fantastic power thrash offering that finally puts Imagika firmly in the driver's seat. This band has become a leading force in the power metal community through hard work, dedication, and the striving purpose to innovate and energize what has become a rather stale "new" metal market. This is the best work of their entire career and one that hopefully gets them the mainstream recognition they so deserve!