Oregon metalheads Magnabolt were featured in Ferrum Templor’s Crusade of Power earlier this month, but on reflection we here at Sentinel Daily felt the album was so strong it deserved a full dissection in order to do it justice. Ferry was spot on, of course – the band’s thunderous mix of old-school names like Brocas Helm and Omen really hits the spot- but the band are actually a whole lot more than just a grim-faced nostalgia machine.
The superb production on the record helps them out no end – the sound is well-defined, allowing you to hear all contributions from the band members, and it’s also gratifyingly loud – but, as many bands have proved over the years, you can sound like shit even with a million-dollar production if you’ve got no songs.
Luckily Magnabolt don’t suffer from this affliction, and, whilst nothing they bring to the table could be described as groundbreaking, there is genuinely something to enjoy on every one of the nine tracks offered up. The band rarely leave the early-to-mid eighties stylistically – why would they? Preferring instead to refine a raw and heavy sound that, at it’s peak on tracks like Masters of the Cosmos and Tongue of Fire is heavily redolent of Yngwie Malmsteen before he glossed up his sound with the help of Joe Lynn Turner. That said, guitarists Peter Sylvia and Alex Ponder never overdo the shred, only inserting the fruits of their flying fingers as and when required, thus helping the band to maintain it’s well-balanced and devilishly satisfying metal assault.
At times Sylvia, who also sings, goes for a King Diamond-approved high note, but for the most part he settles for a strident bellow that fits the music oh-so-well and puts the band into a similar theatre of operations vocally as American doomists Argus. However once again he, like the rest of the band, possesses enough of his own identity to stop the music becoming simply a tribute fest to better-established artistes.
Don’t Question the Master is classic heavy metal done right, everything in place to guarantee fun times for headbangers everywhere, but the general standard of material here is so uniformly high as to render the picking out of highlights pretty redundant. If you’re not itching to put the whole record on again after the final excellence of closing track Art of War then this metal game might not be for you – If it is, then Magnabolt is one of the best straight-up heavy metal propositions you’ll have heard in a while. Have a listen and tell me I’m wrong!
Magnabolt is out now.