A review by The Buried Herald
⚰️ Too heavy for the horse to carry ⚰️
Reasons for listening to music are countless and often impossible to describe. One can deem music as merely a source of entertainment, another sees it as a confessional and someone else might use it to drop out of reality. This self-titled debut by MAG fulfills one’s needs for communicating with demons while burying the listener under tar-drenched cauldrons of distortion. Close your eyes, lift your chin and speak no more as the magus starts to brew his devilry.
The album dropped on the 10th of April 2019 and was crafted in the city of Torun, Poland. An old medieval town that is the birthplace of Copernicus and home to one of the most twisted figures of the contemporary history of Polish Catholicism. All things considered, this setting feels crucial to the themes that make this album what it is. There is talk about demon spawn, dark rituals and even a whole track dedicated to… you guessed it – H.P. Lovecraft. What you’ll find in MAG’s debut is a lo-fi crossover between doom and black metal, haunting vocals sung in Polish and eerie synths that summon both the living and the dead. It’s time to grab your torch and head for the crypt…
Kambion opens up the record and immediately spits some gnarly distortion at your feet, Return Trip-style. Musically, it heavily relies on fuzz, repetitive riffs and occasional blackened intrusions (those blast beats are fire), but it’s precisely the dynamic vocal line that holds the thing upright. At one point the shrieks hold power to pierce one’s soul, while sometimes the mysterious chanting dangerously lures you closer to the speakers. Same thing can be said about the next song, Pragnienie. It’s a rough, 9.5min ride that resembles a beast trapped in a gilded yet cursed cage. The creature’s confinement initially drives it mad resulting in outbursts of anger, screams and brutality in its purest form. As time passes, life is being gradually sucked out of the captive and all that accompanied by tightly knit drumbeats and hypnotic guitar riffs that pierce the air until there is nothing left but void. And while I really enjoy the heavy and occult sides of the first two tracks, Czarci Chwost that comes right after repeats the same formula for the third time which feels as a drag. However, the striking similarities between the first three songs made me think that perhaps they are best perceived as an entity. As an ancient scroll consisting of three, equally important interpretations of a long-forgotten spell…
Samotnik z Providence continues with malevolent riff worship but in a more refined fashion. Lyrically, it's clearly a homage to Lovecraft but what the underlying message is, is hard to tell. The structure of the song is clearly laid out and split into 3 parts of which the opening and closing ones are fairly similar and evoke the rhythm and heaviness of before. But the core of this track is perhaps its best moment. Just as it passes the 4:20 mark, the immense distortion, punishing cymbals and Kostek’s mind-boggling voice suddenly all fade out and give way to a cut that is as spooky as it is tranquilizing. Everything feels fragile now as the only audible sounds are single guitar chords, drumbeats pounding in the distance and a seriously unsettling synth line. The sense of peace that comes with this major shift in tempo feels like a trick pulled from the wizard’s sleeve. It by no means wants to calm down the already freaked-out listener, oh no. The aim is to leave people to their own devices and let the imagination do the dirty work.
And as if that wasn’t creepy enough, Dobieram Nastepna z Talii Zaklec follows up with a similar set of mysterious sounds that serve as background noise to some unintelligible incantation spanning the whole length of the track. Whatever it is that MAG wants to summon, curse or enchant, he does a tremendous job in crafting an intricate atmosphere that closes the album in an uneasy fashion. There is no climax of any sort. The spell simply dissolves and you’re left wondering whether you actually fell victim to some unspeakable rites or whether you maybe unleashed something by swallowing the whole record on one go. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
MAG entered the stoner doom dimension as if he has been there from the beginning. While Electric Wizard was busy with drowning the world in their bong water, MAG was locked up in a basement and fed with Polish literature, some Lovecraftian excerpts and a whole lot of volumes on black magic. Things got out of hand and he eventually forged a portal to the year 2020, settled in Torun and put out a record that evokes his eternal passion for doom and the occult. Dare to check out?
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Thanks for the read and be sure to listen to MAG, support the band and follow them on their socials: