Released: 2007, Independent
Magnus Rising hail form my home province of NL, Canada. These days the band has relocated thousands of KM’s away at the other end of the country to Vancouver, BC. Who can blame them really, there’s not much of a scene here to make a go of it so perhaps moving away will do them some good. I’ve seen the band live several times and that’s where they won me over, especially thanks to the lead playing of guitarist Roger Cranford. His fluid playing, tone, melody, and shred-ability bring to mind a less aggressive Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society with some Dimebag Darryl thrown in for good measure.
The band shares similarities to 90’s Ozzy and to the more recent BLS material but that’s where the comparison ends as the vocals are not at all like Ozzy (or like Zakk for that matter). Vocalist Aaron Hawkins has a sound and style all his own, I can’t think of any vocalist like him…there may be a tiny bit of a Tool influence, but Aaron is much more metal. Much of Magnus Rising’s material is mid-paced and this is the one bone of contention I have with the material. I prefer faster (not blast beating fast) stuff, so the faster parts of songs like “Counting the Numbers”, “Evidence in Safety”, and one of my favs on the CD, “Crisis”, stand out. Oddly though, it’s a semi-ballad that nearly steals the show in the form of the great song “From These Ashes”. The solo in this one steps out of normal phrasing and scales offering something more classically orientated. What the band might lack in speed is however more than made up for with heavy groove….they have that in spades and even on the slower tracks you’ll find your head nodding along as if in agreement.
For fans of grooving heavy metal with great lead guitars, look no further than Magnus Rising. The band have a come a long way since their demo and with more shows and experience under their belt they could go places. The one thing that might slow down their march towards “making it” (however you choose to define that) is that their band of metal is not the “in” thing these days. With the kiddies gobbling up the recent surge of hardcore-meets-thrash, not many labels will be jumping all over a band playing 90’s sounding groove metal . Why things have to always be so bloody trendy I’ll never know, good metal is good metal no matter what is currently “hot”…lets just hope enough ears and minds figure that out and listen to the metal not the hype.
Band's MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/magnusrising