Magic Circle – Departed Souls


Magic Circle’s first two albums are considered underground classics of true doom metal, so when they announced that Departed Souls, their first new record in four and a half years, was going to be more “70’s sounding,” there was some cause for concern. But I can assure you that if you like your doom of the Black Sabbath variety, then you’ve got nothing to worry about here…

The title track kicks things off with more of a mid-paced Sabbathian groove, a little on the laidback side – but I’d be damned if Ozzy can hit those high notes nowadays. Things pick up the pace around the four-minute mark, a classic change of pace that recalls “Into the Void” perhaps. “I’ve Found My Way to Die” gets my head nodding off the get-go with a riff that flows from Sleep’s Holy Mountain, although they do mellow out a bit from there for a reverb-drenched verse before coming right back atcha on the chorus.

“Valley of the Lepers” is the doomiest, gloomiest cut to date, a 7+ minute super-slow-mo stomper that combines the crunchy, fuzzy riffs of Saint Vitus with the soaring vocals of Trouble. This one also features at least one tempo change, picking up speed just shy of the five-minute mark before ending things on a gloomy instrumental note.

From the outset, “A Day Will Dawn Without Nightmares” has all the making of a power ballad, with a ringing guitar that recalls the intro to Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.” But rather than melting your face off with some nut-crushing high notes, this one wallows in the mire for nearly five minutes, probably a minute or two too many.

But it’s not long before they’re back to the 70’s riff worship, with the stop-start riffage of “Nightland” showing shades of “Killing Yourself to Live,” while “Gone Again” features a call and response between soaring vocals and fuzz-drenched riff. This might be the closest they come to “true doom metal” on this one, albeit served with a slice of Uriah Heep. Dig that vintage organ, maaaan…

(20 Buck Spin)

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for

7.5 Rating

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