Monday, 28 February 2011

EP Review : Magari - A Crescent Dream

Magari are a new, three-piece psychedelic rock slash prog-metal band from Connecticut, USA. Their debut EP – ‘A Crescent Dream’, released February 1 – shows real promise, and Magari could well turn out to be welcome additions to a genre dying for some new blood.

‘A Crescent Dream’ has a mini-concept running through its three songs – a dream sequence covering loss and its subsequent displacement, and the journey for getting back on track. Clocking in at 20 minutes, this EP is an ambitious first release for a band with clear aspirations to transcend genres and inject some excitement back into prog-metal.

Track one (or perhaps I should say part one) – entitled ‘Pensive’ – is a sublime instrumental with eerie keys and layered of ambient guitar noodlings. It’s post-rock of the highest caliber, which despite being lyric and vocal free manages to convey a strong sense of melancholy. ‘A Look Through Fog’ is the first time we hear the harmonious vocals of the trio, and marks a shift from prog-rock to prog-metal, with sludgy metal riffing entering from about half way through the track. To be in honest, the vocals aren’t the most striking element of Magari’s music – they’re fairly bland and slightly flat in places. But this band is about progressive instrumentation, and this is shown no better than on the final segment of the EP ‘Oceans Away’. 

Kicking off with some tinkling piano and acoustic, folk strumming this epic, nine-minute track is reminiscent of prog-metal overlords Opeth at their most somber – it’s a tender and affecting intro. Then, just before the two minute mark, it goes all loopy when some crazy, Celtic-inspired synths are introduced – although it took a couple of listens before I could decide that these synths worked, love it or hate it this is innovative stuff. The melodies of this song have a similar style to the clean vocals from the first From Autumn To Ashes record ‘Too Bad You’re Beautiful’. Towards the end of the end of ‘Oceans Away’ some of the music from ‘Pensive’ is spliced into the song, and there’s some divine, chilled guitar soloing.


Now, ‘A Crescent Dream’ certainly shows a lot of potential, but it’s not without its faults. As already mentioned, the vocals could do with some work. But what lets this EP down is the production quality. I understand that this debut must have been recorded on a shoestring budget, but the metal of this prog-metal outfit almost goes unnoticed because the guitars are too low in the mix – the heavy metal aspect needs to be heavier! Saying that, the raw vibe does make the music that little bit more intimate. For fans of prog-rock and prog-metal it’ll certainly be worth your time keeping an eye on these newcomers. // Magari \\

III. Oceans Away by Magari

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