Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 
Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Magnolia

Magnolia

Review by Gary Hill

According to the bio information on this group, they took their name from a song by Blue Cheer. In fact, that group is listed as the major influence on this Swedish outfit. While I can hear that on some songs, I’d say, Cream and Black Sabbath are the major inspiration, at least to my ears. This is actually a very good album for fans of that late ‘60’s early ’70’s type of hard rock and heavy metal. While it’s easy to point out the influences on certain songs, all of these elements are taken by these guys and woven into a sound that’s quite uniquely their own. The Swedish lyrics, while making it tough to have a clue about the concepts of the songs, adds an interesting sound at points. This is the debut release from these guys, and I hope to hear a lot more from them. They definitely show promise. Fans of that older era of guitar music should definitely pick this one up. They will find plenty to like about it. For more information (or to get the disc) check out the band’s myspace site or the Record Heaven site.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Resa Utan Slut
OK, that last word in the title has some connotations in English, so I should point out that I’m sure there’s a different meaning in Swedish. This one has a great groove to it. It feels a bit like vintage Black Sabbath, with a bit of Cream and Hendrix thrown into the mix. This is a stomping rocker with some smoking guitar soloing. While I don’t understand a word of the lyrics, they sound cool.
Kvarnsten
The ultra heavy Blue Cheer sound is all over this rocker. It’s another sheer screamer with a great retro texture. I can also hear shades of Sleep on this one. The guitar solo here is a frantic one and is exceptionally tasty, feeling a lot like something Tony Iommi might have come up with.
Forsvunnen
The Black Sabbath leanings are back in full form here. This one is fast paced and has a great riff at its core. The chorus here is an odd sort of psychedelic meets metal approach. While a bit weird, it works really well. The guitar solo has a very classic rock ’70’s rock god sort of sound, calling to mind Mountain quite a bit. “Försvunnen” is one of my favorites on the disc.
Trollbunden
A bit mellower, this has a spooky sort of groove to it. It reeks of black magic and dark mysteries. This one has a lot of that psychedelic sound to it. It’s definitely different from the sounds presented to this point and is one of the highlights of the disc. I really can’t point to any sound that it emulates, as this one is pretty wholly original, but also extremely catchy. It drops back to a stripped down approach later, over which weird humming (mixed with psychotic laughter) is presented. You really have to hear this (mostly) instrumental piece to fully appreciate it.
Stanna till!
Another smoking riff is the basis for this cut that feels a lot like Mountain. The Blue Cheer inspiration makes itself known here and the vocals are presented with a distorted texture. The faster paced segment here has early Black Sabbath (think of the Paranoid album) written all over it.
Magnolia
The title track comes in with more of a Cream texture. This one is not so metallic and quite a combination of blues and psychedelia. It’s a hard-edged, extremely potent instrumental that one could easily hear appearing on an album by Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. The bass in particular shines on this one, but everyone gets their time in the sun. Parts of this remind me quite a bit of “White Room.”
Natt blev dag
This comes in a little plodding. It’s a slower cut with a garage band sort of texture. Once it drops into the Cream-like riff, though, this one really kicks. It has late ’60’s hard rock indelibly stamped all over it. There are more Blue Cheer sounds in this one, too.
Dalslandsk Polska
And now for something completely different – brass instrumentation is brought into the mix on this odd little jazzy tune. This meandering instrumental is definitely a change of pace, but I’m not sure I like it. I hear a little bit of early moments in the Who’s career (think “Boris the Spider”) but there is also some old school jazz in this collage. If there is a loser in this set, I’d have to pick this as it.
Vem bestammer
The Black Sabbath elements jump back in on this riff-based cut, but Cream and Blue Cheer are certainly in the house, too. I suppose the last cut helps to make this one seem to rock out all the more. They definitely chose a great tune to end the disc on a high note, as this is one of the best on the album. I particularly like the expansive jam segment. This definitely becomes a spaced out guitar shred-fest late in its duration.
 
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Non-Prog
Progressive Rock
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2019 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com