Magic Circle – “Journey Blind” (20 Buck Spin)
What do you get when you cross Sabbath with Maiden played by a buncha hardcore dudes – Magic Circle! As if too good to be true (or possibly your worst nightmare?!) their self titled debut two years definitely turned a few heads. But on “Journey Blind” jaws are gonna drop cos they’ve added a 70s hard rock groove to the melting pot. Monster fuzz toned riffs trippin’ along to a rollin’ groove with tons of Maiden warbles set the pace that vocalist Brendan Radigan stakes his black flag in the form of his Wino meets Ozzy high wails, while the rhythm section of bassist Justin DeTore and enigmatically named drummer Q just pound and smash their way into the heaviness. Thanks to the deliberately 70s organic production with its whole fat basement sound, through it all come Chris Corry and Dan Ducas’s Iommi approved solos although I detect more than a hint of Cathedral’s Gaz Jennings in there too. However, the resultant sound is anything but a weed inducer or cosmic carrier, but actually an epic warrior quest that I’m sure Conan himself would feel proud to listen to, befitting the cover art that is an unused piece dating to 1979 by legendary artist Joe Petagno (Motorhead, Marduk, Autopsy)! That’s certainly the case on the longer tracks like the stone heavy monolith of ‘A Ballad For The Vultures’ or the lamenting ‘Grand Deceivers’ with its cool layered hippy vocals and on ‘Ghosts Of The Southern Front’ a very Southern rock groove – hippy rednecks ya cry – well, why not when you’ve got hardcore hippies already ha ha! Yeah, I can see why Magic Circle are making the waves by connecting all the dots for oldsters and newcomers alike, all bonded by the same love of down to earth, far out, power resonating heavy metal that “Journey Blind” is.