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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

Magna-Fi

Live at Ozzfest, 2004, Alpine Valley, WI

Review by Gary Hill

After having listened to and very much enjoyed Magna-Fi's Burn Out The Stars album, I was looking forward to their Ozzfest appearance.
I thought that they would be a well-needed respite from the barrage of extreme soundalike bands that after a time can weigh very heavy. Unfortunately they didn't deliver that relief. Their live show came across as more of the same old run of the mill sound practiced by extreme bands all over. I am not sure if the album is a poor representation of the true sound of the group or if they simply altered their live sound for the Ozzfest crowd, but it was really a disappointment for this reviewer.
     
They were certainly competent at what they did, but the true magic to the album is not the heaviness or hard rock textures of the songs, but rather the fact that the group can do this all within the structure of a catchy, well-written song. That essence was lost in the performance, only showing up in the occasional effective chorus. Part of the problem may have been the sound at the second stage, as it was a constant problem throughout the day, but I really don't think that that can be blamed for the entirety of it. The band certainly had a high energy level and came out and delivered, giving the show all that they had. The problem is that they need a more clear and distinct sound live to bring out the more subtle aspects of their material that are what really sets them apart from much of the rest of the bands that were on the bill.
     
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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