Magick Touch - Blades, Chains, Whips and Fire 01Welcome to the future, dear readers! Once again, we’ve braved a lap around the sun. 2018 looms ahead, and I get to look forward to another 12 months of somehow always picking the shittiest promos. Magick Touch don’t appear very interested in looking forward, however. This Norwegian power trio prefers to look back into the 1980’s, strolling along the edge of hard rock and heavy metal and exhibiting a sensibility for catchy hooks all the way through. Sauntering between the likes of Deep Purple, Van Halen and Boston, BDSM Shopping List takes everything you expect in a Top 500 Rock Album and puts in on spin cycle. That’s right, it’s time to turn the wheel of dad metal once again!

The first thing you notice upon spinning “Under the Gun,” the high octane opening track, is the band’s complete confidence in both songwriting and performance. With a rock ‘n roll flair straight from The Atomic Bitchwax, the hooky guitarwork and strong vocals bring the song home even as it’s weighed down by titular over-repetition. “The Great Escape,” with its Van Halen meets Boston vibes, fares better in comparison, making good use of the background vocals. Fans of fellow nostalgics The Night Flight Orchestra should pay extra attention to unabashed AOR track “Believe in Magick,” the catchiest song on the album by some distance. But the real highlight comes late with the eponymous closer, a mid-paced, heavy-hitting stomper that utilizes Middle-Eastern melodies and a wrecking ball of a riff, combining into a whopper that closes the album on a highly satisfying note.

The biggest problem, and one of the hardest to avoid for any dad metal album, is the amount of deja-vu the music induces. Although the album is completely cohesive, and the style is tight and well-defined, the songs are a parade of “where have I heard this before”s. It’s hard to define exactly what causes these resurfacings, as they’re not defined in certain melodies or rhythmic qualities. Furthermore, one can argue that those feelings of nostalgia are the aim (primary or secondary) of any dad metal band. But the line is fine and hard to read, between taking inspiration from the past and using it to craft an identity for yourself, and sounding like you’re copying the greats of old. Magick Touch has a tendency to walk the line unsteadily, and can’t always put their own stamp on the music they make.

Magick Touch - Blades, Chains, Whips and Fire 02

It’s the strong performances that pull the album over the line, however. Particularly the lead vocals, which have a classic quality to them, a strong presence with just an edge of grit. Combined with the solid use of backing vocals in well-wrought compositions, the vocal section is a solid whammer. The guitars don’t slouch either: the riffs are catchy, the solos are solid, the sound crisp and defined. Actually, the production as a whole does not disappoint. The master is dynamic, and even though the bare bones instrumentation doesn’t give a lot to work with in showing off the layering, the plentiful use of stacked vocals demonstrate the quality of the mixing work. The drums sound great as well, a rich and natural sound that never gets dull or flat. Only a stronger bass presence would have been a significant improvement on the production work here.

Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire is a lovely little homage to the music of the past. It has the classically strong definition, the anthemic vocal style, the catchy riffs and the ‘hell yeah’ attitude music from that era requires, with the vocals a particularly strong point. The band does get a little too caught up in the trappings of other bands, and they can’t always differentiate themselves from the pack. But the music’s aim does not seem to be doing something brilliant or unique; this trio just wants to rock hard and have fun with old school music. I can’t fault them for that, and with an execution this solid, neither should you.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Edged Circle Productions
Websites: magicktouch.bandcamp.com | magicktouch.no | facebook.com/magicktouch
Releases Worldwide: January 5th, 2018

  • Brian Hudson

    Are you guys going to review the new Abigor?

    • Selby

      Off topic, but, I’m loving your avatar. The more I listen to Finisterre the more I like it. I think I listened to it every day last week. I’m actually worried about listening too much and getting burnt out. I regret not naming it my favorite metal record of last year. It just has this culminating emotional intensity that gets stronger with every spin. Incredible.

      • Brian Hudson

        Thank you sir, it was in my opinion, one of the best black metal releases if not the best black metal release of 2017.

  • Cherd

    *Sees album cover*
    GIVE IT A FUCKING REST SWORDBOR…oh. Sorry GardensTale.

    • Thë Brycërøy

      My initial thought as well! The new resident Power Metal Guy is downright prolific.

      • He can’t be stopped, but may have to be contained.

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          Let him roam free and graze upon all things fey and double bass drummed.

        • Thë Brycërøy

          I feel we are rapidly approaching a precipice, beyond which containment is but the fevered dream of a madman.

    • Iain Gleasure

      I question the authenticity of this GardensTale review. The music doesn’t suck.
      I mean seriously have you seen the albums that guy reviews?

      • Nukenado

        Nah, the streak can’t last long.

      • Thë Brycërøy

        I think I’ve told more people about that Until the Sky Dies travesty than anything good from last year. He should review more garbage.

        • GardensTale

          Sadly, Grier volunteered to do the new Machine Head already.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            That’s kinda like volunteering for a suicide mission. Then again, only volunteers are allowed on suicide missions because otherwise it would be homicide on the part of whoever sent you , right?

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    MORE COWLED PEOPLE!
    AAAAAAAHHHHHH!

  • NuddhistPunk

    I think my favorite part of this review is where the title was changed to BDSM Shopping List.

    • GardensTale

      Mine, too.

      • Thë Brycërøy

        These guys need discipline.

        • NuddhistPunk

          And a safe word.

  • This tune is ridiculously catchy, but I constantly keep coming back to the band photo and wondering…
    WTF is going on there?!

    • Nukenado

      He’s riding an invisible unicorn while sipping invisible orange juice

    • Kurt Kapferer

      Out of the way. I’m shitting.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Album title sounds like a personal ad on Tinder.

  • Solrac Avan

    Guy in the middle giving the magick touch to his fellow band members.

    • Thë Brycërøy

      Looks like they need an adult.

      • Solrac Avan

        If by adult you mean Jesus, then yes.

        • Thë Brycërøy

          Hmm, no, not what I meant at all. Unless he can score them discounted rates with Mary Magdalene, I suppose.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            You knocked it out of the park!

    • Septic

      Especially the fellow to the right based on his facial expression

      • Thë Brycërøy

        He knows where that hand has been…

  • Maximos662

    I enjoyed that track more than I expected to, or feel I should have.

  • Iain Gleasure

    Is that Steve Harris on the right?!

  • Kryopsis

    This is surprisingly decent for what it is. Not particularly memorable or original, but well executed and the performance is convincing.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Textbook example of what “Damning with faint praise” means ;)

  • Lithophyte

    These guys are good. I don’t think it’s strictly dad metal, because they do enough to make it interesting and have enough energy to stop it being too staid. The Thin Lizzy is strong in the embedded track but the whole album rollicks along without any one influence being too strong. I turned off most metal in the 80s because it was boring and this is better than that. The production is certainly better.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I heard no Thin Lizzy at all until I read your comment and the one above. Now I hear it a lot.

  • Nola Trash Talk

    We already had Thin Lizzy….and I guess Black Star Riders. We also already have Dear Lord and countless others. We good.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I heard no Thin Lizzy at all until I read your comment and the one below. Now I hear it a lot.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    BDSM Shopping List… Awesome!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    This is not Dad Metal, this is what grandkids think Dad Metal sounds like. Get off my lawn!

  • Bruce Jones

    No mention of Def Leppard? First thing that I heard when I started the preview track.

    • GardensTale

      Yeah, that would’ve made a good reference too. I spent a lot of time in that ‘I don’t know where I heard this before but I heard this before’ mode.

  • John Stormbringer Demiris

    Saxon Junior?