Reviewed: May 2019
Released: 2019, Dark Essence Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Fancy a musical trip back to 1983? Black Magic have got you covered!
Black Magic make no secret of who they are and what they do, it’s evident right from the first note of Wizard’s Spell: this is classic heavy metal, 100% old-school, through and through. Think Mercyful Fate, Angel Witch, Manilla Road, Satan or Riot, all at the top of their heyday games. The sound is dank and cryptic, intentionally so, the vocals eerie and echoing (think Witchfynde or even Danzig), and the romping, galloping riffs are always front and centre.
What’s most impressive here, even more so than the song-writing (which itself is not lacking) is the sheer authenticity of the sound. Listening, I had to keep checking to make sure this wasn’t another instance like Hell or Pagan Altar, where an old band makes a comeback and re-releases their decades-old material. This -is- a re-release, but only from 2014 (which also includes a 2010 demo, Reap of Evil, as a second half). No, these boys just get it. Wizard’s Spell is absolutely old-school in its approach and sound, managing to carry it off without just sounding badly produced.
The galloping rhythm towards the end of “Rite of the Wizard” is proper vintage, like classic Maiden or, more recently, Slough Feg. “Thunder of the Undead” gives us a taste of proto-thrash that instantly calls Satan or Venom to mind, rough, dirty and gritty in all the right ways. “Night of Mayhem” is similarly vicious, a wicked headbanger of a track with wild, frenzied vocal snarls to match the atmosphere of satanic carnage. Instrumental “Voodoo Curse” has a gleeful, prancing bounce to it, deliberately calling up images of witches and pagan rituals.
If you fancy something classic in 2019, something that perfectly captures that feel of when metal was still newborn, with forms like doom, power and thrash still emerging, I don’t think you could do a whole lot better than Wizard’s Spell. If Black Magic can develop their songs further still while maintaining this ridiculous level of old-school charm, they could really be something special.