Magica is one of my favorite bands. Not just from Romania, but anywhere. They came into being in 2002 when two of the key members of the famous (among enthusiasts of the genre) Interitus Dei left the band to dedicate a new project. These members included guitarist Bogdan Costea and vocalist Ana Mladinovici. They were not put off by the indifference and lack of support of the Romanian mass-media, but continued on their way very seriously, producing two valuable albums : The Scroll of Stone (2002) and Lightseeker (2004). Unfortunately, the Romanian public was not appreciative of the band's true value. Such as "magicians" have had to face a dilemma at a times and face calling it quits, so did Magica. But love for music, talent, and perseverance have finally won through.
Impressed by the quality of previous material, the well-known label AFM Records (who is in charge, among others, for the legendary Udo and goddess Doro) decided to take a risk and signed a contract with Magica. This occurred in 2007 with Hereafter, the first material under the care of the AFM Records label. Feedback appeared in the west and was more than encouraging, as the band managed to at last form a solid fanbase which was soon awarded with overpowering tours in Germany and Italy. Encouraged by these results, AFM Records gave them another shot. So in 2008 came another album titled Wolves and Witches. However, the band's true moment of recognition came in 2007, when the band's exceptional lead singer Ana Mladinovici was invited by the famous Axxis to join them in the "Hellish Tour" tour (Also including Helloween and Gamma Ray) that spanned into 2008 and ran all across Europe.
Last year, MAGICA released their fifth album of their career, entitled Dark Diary. Often unfairly compared with Nightwish, Magica has managed to find their own identity and create a personal music: accessible and full of melody and profesionalism. They haven't created any new direction, but have always managed to make good music. Unfortunately, since they are not from the capital of Romania they are barely promoted here. Like Negura Bunget, Magica are much better known and appreciated in the west.
More details about this wonderful band you can find on their MySpace page, and please see below for a quick review of the band's latest release, Dark Diary.
One of the few known Romanian bands in the west returns with a great album. Even if they don't have the exuberance and innocence of their first albums, Magica have not forgotten to write good songs. The band's music has evolved, is much darker, more "powerful", and is now in total contrast with the truly sensational voice of Ana. The exceptional "6Fingers" returns with its magical sound in the keyboards through magnificent and exceptional scores. The guitar riffs are very addictive, Bogdan's skills being very impressing, and the bass is fluid and sustains with full force the entire musical concept (just listen to "Need"). There aren't any fillers here, every single track is a superb piece of modern power metal done wisely. Dark Diary is the maturity album of the band and is a turning point in the band's career.
Magica can always stand proudly beside names like Nightwish, Epica or Edenbridge. For me, this is one of the serious candidates from 2010 for my album of the year.
Favorite songs: Anywhere But Home, Tonight, Wait for Me
Ciprian's Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Content originally written for Ciprian's blog, MetalBelieve