MAGICA - First Impressions
A word in advance: I'm totally hooked on Ronnie James Dio's voice, his lyrics and his music. It's hard to say what I like most - probably it's the mixture of all three components that makes his new album so irresistible. Finally, finally! - after three years of waiting a new studio album has appeared.
My first impression? Ronnie sings better than ever before!
The individual songs seem done very affectionately, closed in themselves but nevertheless part of a whole - what I basically mean is that it would be best to listen to the whole CD over and over again... the tension prevails at first ("Just how will the next song sound?"), but the subtleties appear only after repeated listening - like the touch of a Gregorian choral at the end of "Lord Of The Last Day" - there's much to be discovered here...
MAGICA is an atmospherically really dense CD that tells a fantastic story .. the story of a long abandoned planet that has lost its two suns long long ago and is now covered - without warmth and light - by a thick layer of ice. Visitors from an alien world discover MAGICA - the magic book of a sunken civilization - and the past comes alive...
The eternal fight of Good against Evil gets fought out here once again, and in a very attractive way, from a musical point of view. Do I really have to mention that Good wins again...?
As far as I'm concerned... Ronnie breaks through open doors with it - because I KNOW that he's good, and I dare to predict that he'll gain a lot of new fans with this album, since it's very hard to escape the magic of MAGICA.
A LOT of mystical characters disport themselves on DIO's new record - so, how about an overview?
Here's the complete story!
MAGICA - Song by song
The Aliens begin to speak - with a
computer-generated voice that invites to further investigation of MAGICA.
MAGICA Theme (instrumental)
To me, this definitely sounds like film music - instantly, wild imaginations awake, yes!, a MAGICA film adaptation, it's a natural thing, since, in this case, the music is already there... and if Ronnie played one of the magicians of MAGICA, hmm, THAT would be perfect!!! It's really a pity that the MAGICA theme is very short with only 1:16 minutes...
Lord Of The Last Day
The Evil takes the floor... dark, mysterious, and full of self-confidence. A song of the night, a slow, heavy number and surely a song that sounds best when the moon already shines in the dark sky... normally, I'm only fixated on Ronnie's voice, but in this song even the instrumental parts are quite attractive.
Here, Ronnie lends his voice to the Good and is already going a bit livelier - obviously on the run from temptation. Surely a catchy number that fits in well, but doesn't really stand out - but it will find enough fans. in my opinion.
Turn To Stone
Despite the fact that I like stones as such quite a lot - this is not a song that instantly "clicks"... of course, it might well be that I simply don't like the request in itself. The beginning drags on a bit, it takes a good minute until Ronnie finally starts to sing! A rather fast song with some speed changes - probably that's what somehow makes me nervous. In the middle, there's a more melodic part, that I like - especially where Ronnie sings: "Pray for a miracle" - that's nice! However - "Turn To Stone" could be a very fine song when played live.
The Aliens interfere again, and I gather from their chat that their culture doesn't exactly match my ideals - but it makes a very good transition to the next song.
Feed My Head
Hard, compact, intensive - a song to get hooked, hum along, and sing along - even for those who DON'T have English as their native tongue. Also recommendable for headbangers of every age! Definitely one of the highlights of this CD and, with a slow middle part and the following guitar solo, once more "true" DIO. It will surely become a classic - very good for repeated listening, too!
This song has a very interesting start, too - namely an angel's choir, if only for few instances - probably because of the nice contrast, since the following can absolutely be described as hellish good, which can be attributed mainly to Ronnie's vocal capabilities - well, that's what the whole album lives from. Ronnie might well sing a bit more in this song, however; the parts where he doesn't seem quite long to me in places.
Yes! Powerful and good for the self-confidence: "... and if you think I'm angry just come over ..."
A fast, electrifying song that sounds the better the louder it's played! The refrain invites joining in and the vitality in Ronnie's voice is once again absolutely thrilling. "Challis" will surely become a DIO classic, and a great one at that!
Once again, the Aliens interfere - and philosophize in a very simple way about love - presumably to shape the transition to the next song a bit less abrupt...
As long as it’s not about love
A slow, deep ballad with a lot of emotions and at the same time one of my personal favorites. I ask myself - has Ronnie ever sung with more feeling? A song that touches me deeply and that has a decidedly positive end, despite all of its inherent melancholy. Can't get enough of that!
Losing My Insanity
Probably the best song on this album. From the start it's a real pleasure - for some moments, I can really see the medieval tumblers hop before my nose, but that's only the start: slowly, the opening builds up into a powerful, rousing song, that finally ends with acoustic instruments again. "Losing My Insanity" - it's tomorrow's classic today!
Surely not a song to hear only once - this is one of the songs that reveal themselves before me, that I grow fond of, after some time only; a process that's best compared to some friendships, that sometimes need time to develop, too - and it's these that tend to be the most durable... well, however, the begin of Otherworld is quite swinging, then it continues a bit more moderate...
MAGICA - Reprise
Again, not really long - around 2 minutes. It's a real pity - I'd like to hear more of that. On the other hand - if I had my will, Ronnie wouldn't produce anything but double CDs...
Lord of the Last Day - Reprise
... and here we see that Evil managed again to survive...
... narrated by Ronnie himself, and that makes it something special. A real treat. A special stroke of luck, so to say, and of course FAR nicer than to simply read the exact story from the booklet supplement... the story of nearly 20 minutes has only a slight musical background and sends me involuntary into dreaming. First, as already mentioned, of a MAGICA movie - in my opinion, a set of audio tapes with Ronnie narrates fairy tales wouldn't be bad. If his autobiography should ever come out, I'd really like to get a spoken version....
There's no doubt, MAGICA will stay a regular guest in my CD player...
... and, apart from that, I'm really looking forward to hear how it all will sound LIVE???