Released: 2006, Crash Music
Legends of the underground, Imagika, have made their triumphant return with their 5th studio album, and second with vocalist Norman Skinner. With MY BLOODIED WINGS, fans get exactly what they’ve come to expect from this Bay Area power/thrash metal band - an ass kicking!
MY BLOODIED WINGS starts with the cool intro “Tongue of Nyx” featuring some clean guitars and layers of guitars that sound almost orchestrated. Don’t sweat it, it’s not orchestration...no fairies or elves dwell in this neck of the woods! After the intro, things slam right in with “Hunter’s Moon”. Great song to use as an opener as you’ll be shouting along the chorus after just a listen or two. The next really bright spot comes with the metal anthem “Throw the Horns”. The riffing in this one is intense and is quite thrashy even for Imagika standards. The lyrics are in the vein of a Priest metal anthem with lines like: “A metal scream ignites the masses. Heads banging as the guitars blaze.” If you find that corny, then to heaven with ya! Norman hits some retardedly high notes in this one. In a couple of places it’s uncomfortably high and I would rather if it didn’t strain into those registers... Just a minor complaint though as the vocals on here are very well executed and the clincher - they are varied. Norman is primarily a melodic singer, but he very often heavy’s it up, at times sounding not far removed from Chuck Billy’s deathly growl. Other highlights include the heavy “Forever Darkened” and watch out for the ballad “One More Day”. It might not be my favorite track musically, but it offers a different side of the band and of Norman’s vocals. One ballad is enough though, but it’s nice to have one on here that is of this caliber. The last track I’ll mention is the album closer / title track “My Bloodied Wings”. I love this song! It’s the best on the album and is one of my favorite Imagika tracks to date. It’s not typical Imagika sounding, but still sounds like the band. The thing that really makes this one is the riffing and melodies - I love the way it builds up and when the drums come in it’s just pure metal bliss.
The album’s sound and production must also be mentioned. This is perhaps the bands best sounding album to date. Andy La Rocque did a great job as did whoever else helped mix and master this bloodied beast. The drum sound is killer and highlights what I think is one of Henry’s best performances....just wow. The lead playing also shreds. There are two guitarists on the album, but since the recording one left, leaving Steve Rice (the original guitarist and primary songwriter) alone on guitar duties. Not that this will have any noticeable impact since Steve is main songwriter here.
I’ve been reviewing new Imagika releases since way back when they sent me their very first self titled. Since day one, the band blew me away and I’ve been waiting for them to become huge. However, in the past 10 or so years I’ve seen so many less worthy bands come and go yet Imagika still stick together, and to their guns, in a perseverance of wills against a seemingly uncaring metal world. This my friends is an example of a supreme quality metal band who are playing the music they love, to hell with trends...love ‘em or fuck off!!!