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Third time's the charm, it seems, with the Imagika guys finally delivering a thoroughly solid, vicious metal assault with And So It Burns. None of the ingredients saturate the mix this time, thrashing madness and melodic sensibilities working together to give birth to one tasty piece of their by now nearly trademarked form of power/thrash. The blandly titled "Intro" is but a small build up to the scorching opener that is "Chaos to Murder", an excellent showcase of what the album has in store for us; no frills, ravenous and crunchy metal, with a fondness for shrieking vocals and furious palm muting.
Far from a varied record, And So It Burns sticks mostly to a format of punchy, energetic tunes that are both intense and catchy enough to engage the listener, while remaining short so as to not overstay their welcome. Well, save for maybe the closer, "Fade Away", which, while initially ear-catching, feels very forcefully lengthened, not being nearly well written or interesting enough to warrant its monolithic size. That said, there's also very little in the way of actual highlights here, its consistency being one of its main strengths. Pretty much every tune besides the aforementioned closer is an exemplary instance of power/thrash, and even if they blur together a bit, headbangers such as "Annihilate", "My Dominion", and the pseudo-titletrack seem to be tailor made for fans of Slayer and early Blind Guardian alike.
Performance-wise, the band is on fire (pun absolutely intended), with David Michael nearly popping a vein out of sheer grit and ferocity, pushing himself to the edge with his rough barking and demented, Halford style shrieks. His delivery remains a far cry from the crazy, man-of-a-thousand-voices performance of the debut, but he makes up for it with sheer attitude and balls out anger. The true star here, however, is Steve Rice, who keeps it simple in the lead department, but man does he deliver when it comes to riffs. A pleasantly saturated, brutal guitar tone is the icing on the electric cake, giving that special Imagika touch to the barrage of palm muted riffs that is ASIB. Nothing to fear from the likes of Bobby Gustafson this guy has, no sir.
And So It Burns proved to be a massive improvement over both the debut and the sophomore; catchier, more violent, and just generally better in all fronts. The best part, however? This wasn't the best the band would offer. Not by a long shot, mostly because a special someone was yet to join their ranks; a gifted singer that would eclipse even the dementia of D. Michael, and bring with him the best songwriting Imagika ever showcased.
It's rare to hear a new release that really captures that 80's Bay Area sound, but And So It Burns is a great throwback to the golden age of Exodus, Death Angel, and other heroes of yesteryear.
Imagika takes a more modern approach with a thick guitar tone and solid production and couples it with ripping solos, riffs galore and over the top thrashy vocals.
Wisely choosing to forsake any plodding ballads, And So it Burns is all guns blazing with tracks like Chaos to Murder, My Dominion, and Darkness Has Come a testament to true old-school Bay Area thrash. The result is an effort that is especially poignant in an era when every thrash band you can name is churning out a "comeback" album, with very mixed results. Rather than sounding dated, the sound is both classic and full of vigor - just listen to the intro on Fade Away. As the album closes, you feel the song Fade Away start to die down, only to start rolling into a crescendoing explosion with a riff so intense every thrash fan is obligated to be familiar.
With superior execution, a polished sound and solid songwriting, there's a hardly a weak moment on the whole album.
It's nice to see that a thrash band can come out with an album in 2000, sounding like 80's thrash. Not only does it sound like 80's thrash, its the fucking BAY AREA! Plus it is more heavier than 80's thrash. This album is not a waste in one bit. Guitar Riffs are really jamming, great riffs (like Testament). Best riff on this album would have to be the opening to Darkness Has Come! Vocally this album has its moments. Sometimes they are cool screaming thrash speedy, other times they are inconsistent and too low for this type of music. Lyrics are also cool, murder, death, chaos, the usual! Solo's are really great, like Testament or Exodus style! The drumming is excellent, but I think they could have toned it down a bit on the drums. Sometimes the drum overpower everything else, except the vocals. This is a great album to get if you want to headbang nonstop! Honestly, even the intro is filled with headbanging delite!!! Great sons to check out are: Chaos to Murder, It Burns, Fallen One, Darkness Has Come, and some others. This album is here to prove that thrash has survived its long decade of superior madness!!!!!!
Imagika are a relatively new metal band from the San Franciso area. So what should you expect when you're going to hear it? Machine Head and Skinlab? or Testament and Forbidden? Well, get ready for some bay area THRASH!
For their third album Imagika enlisted Uwe Lulis (ex-Grave Digger) to produce and mix the album and the sound is quite good, even though it's focused a tad too much on the bass drums. The bass drums dominate too much and you end up losing some of the bite from the guitars and the cymbals are slightly lost in the mix.
As far as the music goes the songs work as a slightly modernized bay area thrash with touches of traditional metal thrown in. The songs are played well enough, but the main problem comes down to the songwriting. There are good riffs here but nothing spectacular, the exceptions being "Fallen One" (awesome riff), "Atrocity" (I love the way the double bass works with the guitars from around 2:17 on), and "Hell" (The vocals are great on this one). These three songs prove that Imagika does have a future in thrash and can write something that's just amazing but the rest just kind of passes buy and doesn't make you feel anything about the music, it's just there.
The three bonus tracks are solid and were recorded during the sessions for the previous album but were never released. They are good but a slight step down from the rest of the album. This shows that Imagika have improved and there's hope that they will continue to improve with their next album.
The album as a whole (minus the three bonus tracks) works well but things just don't seem to click as well as many other thrash albums out there. There is hope for Imagika as it is evident that they are improving and hopefully they can write an album that's full of classics in the future. Imagika are definately a band to watch out for in the future.