Tuesday, 28 October 2014

MAGE - Last Orders (Album Review)

Last Orders cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 31st October 2014
Label: Witch Hunter Records

Last Orders – Track Listing

1.Dark Matter 04:47
2.The Fallen 05:27
3.Old Bones 04:53
4.Lux Mentis 05:31
5.Beyond 06:00
6.Violent Skies 04:07
7.One For The Road 04:38

Bio

Mage. Five unholy wizards compelled by the power of the riff and dark, dark magic. Forged in dragons fire atop a lightning lashed mountain in the year of our Lord two thousand and ten. Rumbling riffs combined with finely hewn words of power to conjure up images of otherwordly things creeping forth from the darkest reccesses... *ahem* ...Sorry about that... If you have a low "fantastical bullshit" threshold, we're basically five guys who've been around in a variety of bands over the years, brought together by a shared love of "THEE RIFF" and a desire to jam and see what happens. Turns out that what happens is a Stoner/Doomy/Metal type thing, but with a whole bunch of other elements thrown in. First studio EP released in 2011 and first full album recorded 2012. Come worship at the altar...

Members

Ben - Guitar
Andy - Drums
Tom - Vocals
Mark - Bass
Woody - Guitar

Review:

It is good to see that Mage have lost none of their fury and anger on their 2nd album - Last Orders. One of the debut albums strongest points was Mage's style of Doom, Stoner Metal, and Hard Rock with elements of NWOBHM and Thrash keeping the atmosphere violently loud. What you have here is 35 minutes of pitch-perfect riffs and angry vocals make this a very loud and satisfying album indeed. Starting off with the heavy thrash sounding - Dark Matter - the album fully explodes into life with lead vocalist Tom influenced by James Hetfield and Ronnie James Dio as his delivery verges between Thrash and Doom with the dark lyrics giving Mage the perfect start to thrill you with. The instrumental work has a sneering punk/stoner metal vibe holding things together.

2nd track - The Fallen - ventures further into the doomier and seedier side of life that sees Mage thrive and possibly fulfilling their potential, they hinted at on their debut album. Mage add almost ambient like noises and creepy sound effects to give The Fallen a dark unsettling vibe, which may prove too jarring for the Stoner Rock/Metal crew to actually listen to. To tell you the truth - Last Orders - does not change course that much as Mage are on a collision course with danger and terror. Mage still include Hard Rock and Stoner Riffs to rock out to it is just that it is buried under a ton of violent, noisy rubble. That rubble being a thrash/doom/apocalyptic dark force starting to wake up and devour everything in it’s' wake.

The album gives the impression that Mage are leaving the Stoner Rock/Metal realm behind and has now joined forces with Satan himself. It is quite a bold and dark album to come out with as Mage leave no stone unturned in proving a few thrills along the way. Lux Mentis proves this point as Mage play a dark and dangerous game with viewer’s emotions as they mix brutal riffs with great vocals to match. I once classed Mage as natural successors to Orange Goblin but on this form, they have ventured down a darker route that I never expected. Mage now fall under Church Of Misery's dark world but with their own great take on the Doom Metal scene.

The 2nd half of the album or the last 3 songs - Beyond, Violent Skies and One For The Road features some of the heaviest riffs and vocals on the album with Mage making sure you don't go away disappointed. If Mage wanted to show the UK Doom/Stoner Metal scene, they are a different band from a few years ago then mission successful as this is a very different band compared to their celebrated debut album. Last Orders is an excellent album to follow up Black Sands. Which album do I prefer? This or Black Sands. That is very hard to say at this moment in time. I applaud the darker tone and vision that Mage went for but I kinda miss the Stoner Metal riffs they created on Black Sands. Only time will tell which album will speak to me the most. Until then - Last Orders - is still a heavy and thunderous success on every level. Check this album out. You will not be disappointed. Excellent stuff.

Thanks to Chris at Witch Hunter Records for the promo. Last Orders will be available to buy on CD/DD from October 31st 2014.

Words by Steve Howe

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