Wednesday 9 January 2013

Review: The Magik Way - 'Materia Occulta 1997 - 1999'

'Materia Occulta 1997 – 1999'

Italian occultists The Magik Way are about as obscure as it can get, so much so that in the thirteen years since the songs on this album were originally released as promos they've recorded nothing else. Initially forming as a black metal outfit in the mid-90s, the band crept into more ambient and ethereal territory which makes up the majority of the collection here.

The first four tracks explore the bands heavier black metal fascinations and sounds, unsurprisingly, like mid-90s black metal complete with some very tinny, low-fi production. While it is catchy in places –  such as 'The Knowledge...' – and does feature some nice use of spoken vocals, it doesn't immediately assert itself, despite the band's occult intentions.
However things get more interesting as the album progresses through tracks like 'Le Maschere di Pietra', 'Gloria', 'La Quiete', and 'Pianto ed Estasi' which all show of an incredibly diverse range; taking in dark ambient, neoclassical, world music, noise and even operatic influences, with plenty of nods to the likes of Dead Can Dance along the way.

In terms of production quality, it is still obviously the product of a shoestring budget, and the heavy reliance on synthesized classical sounds has dated the music substantially. However the songs are well composed and methodically performed which gives them an undeniable allure.

The Magik Way may be an obscure footnote, but with the internet as it is there is always a second chance. If 'Materia Occulta' is a hint at what might have been, it would be interesting for the band to rally round and put those thoughts to rest with some new material.

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