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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Magna-Fi

Burn Out The Stars

Review by Gary Hill

I got this CD as part of my coverage of the bands that will be performing at Ozzfest. As much as I like heavy metal, there is usually a certain sameness to the vast majority of the bands that perform there. This one was definitely a pleasant surprise. I wouldn't even call this band metal, but more hard rock. They combine a healthy dose of punky textures with alternative rock, and some metal influences to create a catchy and very appealing mix. I guess some of the bands that might come to mind when thinking of these guys would be Foo Fighters, Buck Cherry and Green Day, but truly they are not stuck within those confines. This album is certainly one my favorites of the year, and a great listening experience. I would label it "good fun band with an entertaining album".

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 

Track by Track Review
Where Did We Go Wrong?
A punky sort of texture begins this, but as the song proper takes over it's in an angry, but quite catchy alternative hard rocking style.
When I Have You
This feels a bit like equal parts of bands such as Buck Cherry and the Green Day school of tunes.
Down In It
This one definitely has that punky texture, but it's quite catchy.
Drown
Based in a poppier more commercial type of vein, this still has its share of crunch.
This Life
Starting balladic, this gets crunchier later. It is a well-written and satisfying song.
TV Killed Me
One of the hardest rockers on the disc, this comes in with a killer fast paced riff. It drops to an almost techno-oriented punky verse, but the opening riff returns as the bridge to the piece. This track also includes some of the best vocals on the whole album.
Beautiful
A cool percussion texture starts this, then an almost funky and proggish mode takes over. As the vocals enter, this has just a touch of Radiohead to its sound. Once the chorus shows up, though, the mode is more in the punky pop rock that makes up most of the album. This cool track is a definite change of pace in many ways from the other material on the disc. It includes a very progressive rock tinged jam late in the piece.
Seconds, Minutes, Hours
Starting with a reflective and tentative guitar line, this mode continues, but a driving punky drumbeat provides a contrasting backdrop to the vocals of the verse. The chorus is in the alterna-metal hard rocking vein, adding to the luster of this unusual piece.
My Heaven
A slightly twisted bluesy mode being this great number. It is quirky and a bit chaotic at times, but still catchy.
Bradbury Heights
This has a mellower texture, very off-kilter, but still very poppy. It's a cool cut, but I think there might have been a stronger choice to end the CD.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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