Book of Numbers – Magick Review

Though many of my family are religious, my initial thought was that Book of Numbers was a phone book. But I guess I’m way off. It turns out it’s biblical and shit. Not only that, but it sounds like it’s a big deal. Being that it’s the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. But what’s the connection here? The only connection I can make between band and the Book of Numbers is the trek through the wilderness. Hailing from my native Arizona and harboring in the mighty city of Phoenix, I can tell you we got some wilderness. It might not be obvious in the city limits but venture south. There you’ll find your wilderness—thorny shrub, cactus, bone-dry land, haboobs,1 and sun. Lots of sun. Sure, it won’t take you forty days to find shelter on foot, but it won’t be a pleasant trip. I guess the only other connection between Phoenix’s Book of Numbers and Moses is maybe they’re all the same age. I can’t confirm that but they do play the old shit. Specifically, Dio, Rainbow, and Black Sabbath. I know, it’s not like ancient shit. But, no one can prove Moses wasn’t actually Dio.

Though Steel threw this at me because of the Phoenix connection, what really got me was the promo whitepaper. None other than David Thoener mixed the Phoenician’s debut record. And for him to say that the quality of Magick reminds him of his work on Rainbow‘s Rising is a big deal. So, I began spinning the record. And, right away, the opening title track definitely gives off some impressive Dio/Rainbow vibes. It’s filled to the brim with ’70s/’80s rock love and a slick little solo. It’s not over the top; it’s just good shit. You’ll find a similar vibe from the horribly titled “Contact/Kissing Laughter.”2 Despite its cringey title, it takes the simplistic character of the opener and expands on it. Specifically, the introduction of the song, where it displays some Malmsteenian guitar wizardry. When it does settle in, it chugs along at a pleasing pace.

But, in no way is the band afraid to flex some metal muscle. “Optimism” and “Yesterday’s Nightmare” aren’t only the heaviest of the bunch, but they are great pieces. “Optimism” spends six-and-a-half minutes exploring the band’s repertoire. It ranges from a gentle, clean-guitar intro to a crushing, rocking riff. It climbs and falls, building up from the smooth guitar soloing to a monstrous ending. “Yesterday’s Nightmare” also knows a thing or two about heavy. It’s a touch milder than its compatriot, but it follows a similar flow. After the song transitions through a spacey interlude, it bashes and batters its way to the end.

But Book of Numbers also has a few Jørn tendencies. Case in point: “The Jester’s Crown” and closer “Our Dying World.” With these songs, you’re brought into a world of the wacky and wonky. I can only describe these songs as mini rock operas. Both navigate through the typical rock structures but dig deep. The first song uses an eerie, pinched guitar lead to give the vocals their well-deserved support. The closer ventures into a spooking mid-’90s Mercyful Fate lick that takes the song to a whole new level. The closer, in particular, is off the hook. It uses everything to create the epic soundscape. This includes gentle guitars, a chuggy doom lick, the aforementioned nod to Mercyful Fate, and a rip-roaring finale to finish it off.

I’m gonna level with you: I laughed my ass off when I first saw the band name, promo pic, and album cover. But, fuck me, these dudes are pretty good at their trade. Especially considering their ten-plus years in Ozzy cover bands. The only low points on the album have to be the cover of the Sabbath classic “Children of the Sea” and “White Turns Black to Grey.” The cover is good—don’t get me wrong. But they don’t bring anything interesting to the song that wasn’t already there. But “White Turns Black to Grey” is one of the sappiest ballads I’ve heard in a long time. And its repetitious chorus only makes it worse. These issues aside, I rather enjoy this album. It’s a fresh album from a group of musicians that know the style. It’s nothing new and won’t be AotY material, but lovers of Dio will enjoy it.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Pride and Joy Records
Websites: bookofnumbers-music.com | facebook.com/bookofnumbers777
Releases Worldwide: August 20th, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Mmmm, haboob wine. – Steel
  2. Seriously, a fucking forward-slash?? Why not “Contact (Kissing Laughter)” or something to that effect?
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