Details were pretty minimal last month when Boston doomers Magic Circle posted two tracks from their forthcoming second record, Journey Blind, on YouTube in much the same spirit as how they released their first single in 2012. If you click that link, you’ll see that “Lightning Cage” and “Grand Deceivers” have both been taken down, so if you caught them while they were out, kudos on having a leg up. At the time, I wasn’t sure if Journey Blind would be released through Armageddon Shop, which put out the band’s 2013 self-titled debut (review here), but today we get the answer with the announcement that 20 Buck Spin will release the album — perfect for the increasing darkness of late Fall — on Nov. 20.
The artwork seems to have been pulled as well, but it’ll be back soon enough. I’ve been curious as to what Magic Circle might due to follow-up the first outing, if they’ll work in the same kind of bleak atmosphere, expand on it or turn to something else, so if the details below are a step in the direction of finding that out — and they are — then even better.
MAGIC CIRCLE: Boston Quintet Joins 20 Buck Spin Cult For Release Of Triumphant Journey Blind Sophomore LP
20 Buck Spin will round out its roster for 2015 with the release of Journey Blind, the triumphant sophomore LP from Boston-based quintet MAGIC CIRCLE. This year has already been the most productive and expansive year for the label, but Journey Blind will fit into your parents’ unwavering classic rock collection the same as it could be the hottest thing on your younger cousin’s latest playlist.
Who said anything about running out of ideas? The stubborn ones were born to linger, to nose out newer, more subtle permutations with the help from a few ragged fucks willing to practice them. The MAGIC CIRCLE mutts roll in heavy metal whatness, striking a balance with the pituitary culture it begat, and the tunes it jacked out. Suburban drag races. Basement bum wine scrum. Every collective thought burnt into a dirty tape dub of Mob Rules. Sabbath, especially in its later incarnations, hulks ephemerally among all openings, rests, and codas. When Chris Corry and Dan Ducas’ guitars aren’t jelly-legging around Iommi, they’re rekindling “Neon Knights,” brandishing “Die Young” credo. Meanwhile, Q clubs the kit like a drunken Cozy Powell. Brendan Radigan stakes big, black flag in vocal territory long occupied by Saint Vitus, Saxon, Armored Saint, and Trouble. Bassist Justin DeTore alternates creepy crawl and thunder word belch, laying yoke over each tune and driving them prejudicially underground.
But motherfuck simply “sounding” like these bands. MAGIC CIRCLE celebrates them, and in doing so honors the form they have found. It’s HEAVY METAL. Hit hard. Write riffs that clack along like rustbucket tanks into perpetuity. “Play” bass in ways that make you at once inseparable from every punch the drummer lands, and also ghosts every riff — working beneath, between, behind the rhythm. Sing that fucking story as every ancient did their Homer. It means something. It stands for something. Bring that to the tape.
And so MAGIC CIRCLE does. Tunes are rude, vicious. Some lumber ominously along, bare-fisting the downbeat through riffs raised from basements held in the odors of stale beer, mold, and want. Others stuff the song’s shape with directional changes — tipping a cap to Trouble and Saint Vitus via Sabbath. All the dots are easily connected. There’s no sport there. But, in lieu of refinement, we get an honest reckoning: MAGIC CIRCLE is a band (quickly) becoming. Through the web of influence and itchy, artistic compulsion they’ve found savage and ultimately promising ways of reanimating long since taxidermied forms.
Following their self-titled debut which was well-received in metal and hardcore circles, MAGIC CIRCLE returns with forty-five minutes of dominant, pure heavy metal on Journey Blind, a record which sees the outfit doing what they do, but doing it even better. Self-produced and recorded by the band at guitarist CC’s The Pain Cave, the record surges with the viscosity a team of top-tier producers would be proud to back.
The cover art for Journey Blind is an unused piece dating to 1979 by legendary artist Joe Petagno (Motorhead, Mammoth Grinder, Autopsy) which has been properly fitted to this modern ripper which could have been captured three decades ago yet booms with a refreshed spirit to guide today’s misguided youth back to their unbeknownst roots. Devotees to the scriptures immotalized by 1980s Black Sabbath, 1980s Trouble, Pagan Altar, Saint Vitus and the like should not pass this one by.
20 Buck Spin will make MAGIC CIRCLE’s Journey Blind a reality on November 20th in CD and digital formats, with the vinyl to follow in mid-December or whenever the pressing plants can get their shit together.
Having successfully toured with metal lifers Satan (the band, not the deity) in 2014 and more, MAGIC CIRCLE will be raging the stage surrounding the release of Journey Blind, so stand by for handcrafted flyers announcing stages to soon be smoldered to be tacked up on grimy bathroom walls in your local venue in the months ahead.
Journey Blind Track Listing:
1. Journey Blind
2. The Damned Man
3. A Ballad For The Vultures
4. Lightning Cage
5. Ghosts Of The Southern Front
6. Grand Deceivers
Audio samples of Journey Blind, review copies of the album and more are in store. Get ready to rock steady.