2018 kicks off with a bang as power trio Magick Touch from Norway deliver a loud opener with whipping guitars on “Under the Gun”. Describing themselves as a “power trio with the emphasis on power from the southwestern coastal town of Bergen, Norway”, guitarist/vocalist HK Rein, drummer Bård Nordvik, and bassist/vocalist Christer Ottesen produce music reminiscent of Dokken and Ratt. The solid second track “The Great Escape” continues that trend with a dual guitar sound perfect for overlaying solos. The first notes of “Midnite Sadusa” reminded me of a Judas Priest riff, but the cool bass line and great guitar work change the tone and create another winner, even with distorted guitars in the middle. Track 4 “Believe in Magick” softens the hard rock with its message of believing in your dreams. The vocals get pretty low – maybe a little out of Rein‘s comfortable range – but it’s a nice transition into the variety of the middle of the album.
The songs have been short and sweet so far – the entire album of 10 songs is just 39 minutes – but “Polonium Blues” is a much different sound than we’ve heard so far. Being named after a metal on the Periodic Table, it’s one of the heaviest songs on the album (pun intended), with fuzzy guitars, time changes, and minor harmonies. It’s more Zakk Wylde than George Lynch with a ripping solo and bluesy groove, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. “Siren Song” starts with some jungle drums and a slow build of the guitars to the main riff – the 80s are back! With its feel of urgency and the alternating guitar solos really putting this one over the top, this might be the best song on the album.
Not done yet, “Lost with All Hands” starts with a strong intro and a good, if subdued riff. The voices get distorted to give it yet another feel – for a collection of 3-4 minute songs, there is certainly enough variety to make the whole album fun to listen to! “After the Fire” brings a heavy, mid-tempo groove and clear vocals reminiscent again of Dokken. Moving into the final stretch, “Electrick Sorcery” starts with another drum and guitar intro, which leads to high energy melodic hard rock. The final tune is their epic 6+ minute title track, “Blades, Chains, Whips, and Fire”. The guitars start with a Zeppelin-influenced Eastern riff, while the vocals are more Alice in Chains before it breaks into really heavy guitars and screaming vocals. The song is all over the place, and maybe a bit too ambitious, even if it has some good sections.
As a follow up to their 2016 debut, Electrick Sorcery (not to be confused with the song on THIS album), Blades, Chains, Whips and Fire is a successful album with the right combination of hard rock influences and great musicianship. Magick Touch has also been tapped to tour this winter with Audrey Horne (who’s new album releases next week) throughout Europe. It promises to be a big 2018!
Both Blades, Chains, Whips and Fire and Electrick Sorcery are available on Amazon (handy link below).
Rock on! – Dave