|Mage – ‘Green’ (PledgeMusic)|
|Written by Nick Russell|
|Tuesday, 28 February 2017 05:00|
For this, their third full album, Leicester’s very own stoner demons Mage went down the pledge campaign road, proving more than successful. Their target was reached well ahead of schedule and they subsequently headed up north to the home of heavy, Skyhammer Studios, back in November. Now a four piece since the untimely death of original guitarist Ben back in 2015, his memory is still very much with them as some of the material here goes back before his passing. There is also some contribution from Garganjua/Beholder guitarist Scott Young who initially helped out with some live gigs.
The opening track ‘Nowhere To Nothing’ starts with an up tempo bouncing stoner riff before the brakes are applied in a hail of squealing feedback and it’s slow and heavy ahead. Behind singer Tom’s spacey vocals, there’s a guttural growl in the background, a little more on the owner of that later. It’s followed by one of my favourite tracks on the whole album, ‘Heroic Elegy’. With its simple riff and wickedly heavy fluent bass runs from Mark, it starts of at a steady doom pace before it slows to a heavy crawl about half way through. From there it’s a slow heavy trippy riff, the song just keeps building and building, with guitarist Woody adding some cool little flourishes and drummer Andy keeping a superbly heavy rhythm, bringing it all to an emotional slow crescendo. An absolute stoner doom gem. Then it’s straight into ‘Primative Drive’, a slow and steady paced tune with the added growls of a certain Mr John Loughlin from Raging Speedhorn, giving it a bit of menace behind the heaviness.
The title track is guaranteed to make you headbang, in that nodding and more deliberate fashion, with its wah-wah infused riffing and nice little solo from Woody again. ‘Eclipse King’ fair crawls out of the speakers with the foot still on the wah-wah pedal, very heavy, Tom really gets to stretch his voice. By comparison, ‘The Wheel’ fair sprints along with its galloping COC-like stoner riff, heavy and chugging. The album finishes with one the longest songs they’ve ever done, ‘Vultures Mass’, an epic mix of crawling heavy riffs and Speedhorn John adding his vocal might again, a mega heavy way to end.
The production here isn’t quite as in your face as the previous album, ‘Last Orders’, but that in no way distils the heaviness on display here. If anything, Chris Fielding’s work here has given them a slightly different dimension, along with Russ Russell mastering the record, it sounds superb. Add to that a band who’s playing is top notch and their song writing just keeps getting better. It all points to an absolute cracking record.
The British stoner/doom scene is absolutely flooded with bands these days and only the best will rise to the top, Mage are unquestionably one of few floating above the masses.
‘Green’ is released on 18 March.
Mage play the United In Fuzz all dayer – alongside Witch Tripper, Master Charger, Cybernetic Witch Cult and many more – at The Black Market in Market Warsop, Nottinghamshire, on Saturday (4 March). They then support Crowbar and Burden Of The Noose at the O2 Academy 2 in Birmingham on Thursday 16 March.
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