Album: Key To The Universe
Release Date: 27 April, 2019
Label: Self Released
Review by John
The Midlands has always been a hotbed of talent for rock and metal music, and, over the last few years, one band that seem to have gone from strength to strength are Leicester’s sludgy doomsters Mage.
Following an album as good as 2017’s ‘Green’ was never going to be an easy feat. Yet somehow, Mage have again come up with the goods.
No time is wasted in laying down a statement of intent as ‘Zen Blues’ kicks into life. Thunderous bass bounces off glorious riffs to instantly grab the listener with a groove laden, fuzzed up epic.
A heavier, harder edge awaits on ‘You Hate Speech’, with an almost bluesy feel, tinged with a blast of furious anger. Every member of the band gets a chance to shine and it serves to show why Mage are so much more than just the sum of their parts.
‘Facts’ is up next, with a sludgier, slowed down sound that burrows its way into your ears and refuses to leave, before a pseudo-psychedelic mid section gives way to a brief injection of pace as the song draws to a close.
The uber-catchy ‘Grind’ keeps things chugging nicely along, with a heavy dollop of full on groove, while title track ‘Key To The Universe’ is a Sabbath-esque offering that switches effortlessly between the heavy and the hauntingly ethereal.
‘La Destin Tragique’ is a full on slab of pure beautiful doom metal, with a memorable vocal performance, before the album comes to a close with ‘Black Totem’.
Just as on ‘Green’, Mage are intent on going out on a high note, and ‘Black Totem’ does exactly that. A graceful acoustic opening opens up into a stoner metal classic, chock full of crushing riffs. At just under 8 minutes its the longest track on here, but at no point threatens to outstay its welcome.
If the bastard love child of Sabbath and Kyuss impregnated the offspring of St Vitus and Cathedral, the result would sound almost exactly like Mage.
A band not content to rest on their laurels, they continue to evolve and perfect their style, and ‘Key To The Universe’ is a fitting testament to a band who, right now, seem to be doing everything right.
9 out of 10
1. Zen Blues
2. You Hate Speech
5. Key To The Universe
6. Le Destin Tragique
7. Black Totem