It’s snowing outside, which means it’s either time to review a black metal band or a power metal band. As it happens, a power metal band I’ve grown to really enjoy recently have just released a new album. Magic Kingdom’s Savage Requiem is out now via AFM and if you’re a fan of the genre, it’s a must listen.
For those new to the band, I should tell you now that despite the name, there is no Donald Duck themed track despite my fondest wishes there was. Though if anything, Donald Duck would be a black metal singer. He’s got the rage, the voice and the pasty colouring.
Even if you haven’t heard a single note from Magic Kingdom, you know exactly what kind of music you can expect upon pressing play based on two clues.
A) They’re called Magic Kingdom.
B) On the cover they have a fire breathing dragon getting hacked at by a giant battle axe wielded by some Gimli looking dwarf.
You can be fairly confident it’s not going to be a politically driven attack on US politics, nor will it be tales of bloodshed and gore. No, we’re firmly in power metal land, and that means fun, epic and quests.
Magic Kingdom aren’t “silly” though, not silly compared to the likes of Gloryhammer anyway. Perhaps it’s the heavy neo-classical influence present that keeps them from falling down the power metal cliché path. It is a match made in metal heaven. Classical licks on electric guitar compliment the power metal genre so well, and Magic Kingdom utilises them perfectly. From the beginning with In Umbra Mea and Guardian Angels, the classical presence is heavily evident and it lasts until the final moments of Battlefield Magic.
There’s a thin line between musical and wanky when it comes to neo-classical. Magic Kingdom fall on the right side. The classical moments add a frantic excitement to the energy that you don’t get with an ordinary riff. Think Malmsteen if he restrained himself a bit. If you play guitar though, prepare to feel quite bad about yourself.
I love power metal because it’s an interactive genre in a way. When you listen to death metal etc you’re a guy in a chair, just listening to some tunes. When you listen to power metal though, it has the power to transport you away into your imagination whether it be to a deck of a ship or snowy mountain. Magic Kingdom provide this entry way throughout the album, if escapism was a musical genre, it would be power metal and bands like Magic Kingdom hold the key (there’s a concept album in this..).
As you can probably assume from the above, the song writing is spot on. Despite songs like Four Demon Kings of Shadowlands (marvellous song title) breaking the seven minute barrier, you don’t get bored, nor do you feel overwhelmed by everything that’s going on. The constant high paced drumming accompanied by solo after solo and lick after lick should in theory exhaust the listener, but the hugely catchy choruses are thrown in at just the right moment to break up the shred fest.
Fire and Sword almost has a Symphony of War type sound to it in the verse section which helps tie the new Magic Kingdom to the old which is helpful when they’ve gained a new singer. Track of the album though goes to Battlefield Magic which contains some of the catchiest guitar and vocal segments of the album in my eyes/ears.
Special mention has to go to the title track, Savage Requiem, both because it’s a refreshing pause in a sea of speed and because of the Dio worthy riffs and vocal delivery throughout.
Magic Kingdom are criminally underrated in the power metal world, or at least in the UK anyway, I can’t speak for mainland Europe where they’re power metal crazy.Savage Requiem is another solid piece in the bands arsenal though and will hopefully be the stepping stone into bigger and better things. Like I said at the start, if you’re a fan of the genre, you really have to listen to Savage Requiem.
Savage Requiem is out now via AFM. Click here to visit the band on Facebook for more