MAGIC KINGDOM – SYMPHONY OF WAR

Out now on Limb Music

“Symphony Of War” has been six years in the making.  Quite a time frame between releases yet its not as if band leader/guitarist Dushan Petrossi has been resting on his laurels as this time frame has seen 2 releases from Petrossi’s neo-classical band Iron Mask.  That said, just one listen to the intricate nature of this new Magic Kingdom album shows that a massive amount of work has been put into it. 

First off was the small matter of writing the epic story behind “Symphony Of War” (yes the album is of a concept nature), the tale is for all to see in the very impressive inlay booklet where it seems no expense has been spared (and I heartily recommend the limited 2 cd slipcase edition for loads of extras! ). Then there was the task of finding a lead vocalist to replace the departed Max Leclerq,  no mean feat yet the band have pulled in a worthy successor in the guise of Olaf Hayer (Dionysus).  Couple this with the actual recording, production and mixing of the album which was delayed due to a serious injury to mixer/masterer Uwe Lulis and you can see how the years might build up.

Sonically “Symphony Of War” appears like a soundtrack for a blockbuster history movie. The sound is influenced by classical music, heavy riffing, big choirs and mighty melodies, notwithstanding first-class Metal attacks and a well-balanced heaviness. All in if you like metal chances are you will be able to get into this, if you don’t mind a big grandiose delivery.

It would be easy to say the album is more of the same from the band, as from a quick initial listen all the Magic Kingdom trademarks are present and correct.  Yet Petrossi has seen fit to throw in a little more aggression and more melody this time around amongst the barrage of speed riffs and frantic drumming. Olaf Hayer works incredibly well with his vocal power and range being perfectly well suited to the pompous sound.  To give a detailed analysis of each song would be akin to writing the lord of the rings trilogy such is the depth of the music on offer.  Yet each track works well on its own sitting with personal favourites coming in the form of “We Rise”, “Evil Magician” and “In The Name Of Heathen Gods”.

If the 10 tracks of “Symphony Of War” weren’t enough the ltd edition bonus disc has the 5 part movement “Metallic Tragedy – Chapter 2: The Holy Pentalogy”.  This clocks in just shy of 30 minutes and is arguably better than the other disc.  Divided into 5 separate movements which is almost half an hour long (29min 06) the music is even more grandiose and enriched with strong orchestration and a very vision of its intent. 4 different vocalists (Olaf Hayer/ Roma Duadketsju / Geraldine Gadaut / Herbie Langhans) play different characters whilst narration of the story comes from Lance King (Balance Of Power).  Sonically it’s not produced to quite the standard of disc 1 yet as a bonus there can be no complaints. Add to this a video clip for “We Rise”, a video interview with the band, some pc wallpapers and a poster of the great album artwork round out the ltd edition version – the value for money judge says “case dismissed!”.

Overall “Symphony Of War” must go down as the strongest Magic Kingdom release to date.  Given that its predecessor “Metallic Tragedy” was rather darn good shows how impressive this is.  Certainly it’s Dushan Petrossi’s most ambitious releases to date and epic metal fans should make this a part of their collections today without hesistation.

Highly recommended.

Rating – 95%

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