Something Went Wrong...
To have a Grammy Award-winner at the helm of your latest album is a coup for any band. The associated prestige that comes from working with such a notable luminary of the music world must bring with it a comforting sense that whatever happens in the production process, all will be fine. How could it not?
But sometimes the finished product can pose rather a problem for the listener. When an album is fairly average and seems to have liberally borrowed sounds from others, but administered by someone of such widely celebrated status, it is hard to know if the producer has seen a winning formula and repeated it or if the band have become a little too lazy, knowing that, yes indeed, a turd can always be polished in the right hands.
Produced by Grammy Award winning producer, Nick Raskulinecz, notable from his work with Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains and Marilyn Manson, ‘Black Magic: All Mysteries Revealed’ is, in some regards, a disappointment. With the sound of some of past Raskulinecz collaborators seeming to have bled quite heavily into the album, what we are left with is something more than a derivative to say the least.
With vocalist Daniel Davies voice having somewhat of a Manson tone to at times (‘Love Like Blood’) and with riffs not to dissimilar to something from Alice In Chains (‘Stranger In My Room’) you get the feeling that what could be a perfectly acceptable rock band has been a little marred by the influences and sounds of those who came before them.
The concept for the album is one which seemed fruitful with potential, also. Based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s banned 1929 novel, ‘The Master and Margarita’ which deals with issues of good and evil, disappointment, spiritual unrest, traitors and dreamers; it offers timeless, universal themes ripe for exploration. But you also get the feeling that this interesting concept hook hasn’t been fully exploited enough either. With these ideas merely glanced upon and underused, the dynamics and drive of this album seem rather miscalculated.
Whether this lack lustre effort is the fault of the band or the producer, or both, is debatable but ultimately what seemed like an interesting offering is more than a little disappointing.