Thursday, May 25, 2006

REVIEW: Mago De Oz - Finisterra

We all know Prog Rock is a melting pot of music ideas and genres. Any possibility under the sun has been mashed into another in an often violent and sometimes unpleasant way. This album falls as the perfect example of genre mashing. (I’d like my steak with a side of mashed genre please!) This is the only album by this band that I own, and the only one I plan on getting by them for at least a while. They are mainly a Celtic influenced band. They are mainly a Heavy Metal band. Um... which one? Both! And if the strange merger of music from the northern British Isles being combined with the crunch of Dream Theater wasn't a hard enough image to put between your legs without getting cramps, then you better get comfy and adjust your boxers before reading the next paragraph.

These fine Celtic Metal lads are Spanish. Yup! You read that quite correctly. Spanish Celtic Folk Metal. I’ll give you a second to regain consciousness. (…….) Fell better? Good. Let’s continue.

This two-disc album (!) follows a pretty strict formula. Either the song will start off with a pretty folksy section and then explode into a barrage of crunchy metal goodness, or the other way around. (Picture Mostly Autumn had an unwanted child with Metallica. Gory image indeed!) The melodies sound to me like they are lifted right from the pages of Ireland's folk-lore, but it all rocks as hard as Symphony X.

The problem is it all sounds very similar. Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy this album. Who wouldn’t love head banging in a green field with sheep and green beer and whatever other imagery you associate with such places? It just ain’t a horribly dynamic listen. It all plods along at a very even pace. Even though I've listened to the entire thing 4-5 times already I still can't pick out which tracks are better then the next. That’s this album’s biggest flaw for sure.

The one track that may be the most striking is the 15 minute long title track at the end of the second disc. It starts off with a powerful Carl Orff-ish choir chanting, then moves through the different hard rocking and softer violin lead movements with skilled charm. It even reprises some of the better moments from earlier in the album, so you don’t have to waste your time listening to all 19 tracks that came before. It's a really good track, highly recommended.

What can I say? It’s good! It’s good for maybe 40 minutes at most. I can’t take an hour and fifty minutes of this regardless of how much Guinness I’ve been drinking. Listen to the sample track on Prog Archives and decide if you really must have the rest of the album. I’m happy I have, and recommend it to you if you’re as amused by such silly things as I am, but don’t bother if you’re terrified of gothic-looking men with dark long black hair wearing kilts. (I don’t know for a fact that’s what these guys look like, but I wouldn’t be surprised…) It’s not dark scary metal either. It’s all very happy and bouncy. It’s a fun album. Nothing life changing, just fun. Thus my mediocre rating below.


No comments: