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Celtic waste - 32%

VforValmont, August 28th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, Digital, DRO

Celtic Land

Celebrating their 25th anniversary, spanish band Mägo de Oz recorded new versions of some of their songs. Just let me give a few lines of history: a couple of years early, long-time vocalist José Andrea left the band due to internal differences, and Mägo de Oz choose an unknown vocalist named Zeta, that is a José-like but less interesting voice, let alone the lack of power in the high notes. So, recording recent songs sounds unnecessary, right? And it is not only unnecessary, it's not even good. But that was only half of the idea: the other one was to publish some Mägo de Oz songs recorded by other singers. I mean, this album is a complete mess of collaborations, a few decent ones, lot of poor ones, most of them unnecessary.

Disc 1 features eleven Mägo de Oz' songs re-recorded, but now in English, departing from the band's native language. I must say again, before writing about the songs themselves, that this is a 25th anniversary album, yet six of the songs in this disc one are from Mägo's last album. Sorry, that detail makes the album completely loose the spirit of celebration. One point less, we're having a rough beginning.

But let's go with the album. The whole versions could improve seriously without Zeta, half of them because his out-of-place voice, all of them because he sounds nor in his full voice nor comfortable singing in English. However, Celtic land, with Korpiklaani's Jonne sounds awesome, he really owns the song, which once was a simple song with stupid lyrics, but now even lyrics are good. Actually, translations are quite well done. But even if guests do a serious and committed work, like Eric Martin or Ralf Scheepers, most versions turn out to be uninteresting (I believe, Find your love, Vodka'n Roll), and the fact that half of the disc comes from Mägo's last album makes it boring, since Hechizos, pócimas y brujería is a pretty lame album. The last song of this disc one, Love never dies, is version of the other good song in Hechizos..., and the cover turned out quite good, as Celtic Land did. And that is all about disc one: two out of eleven.

Disc 2 is the one with the re-recordings, and the upsides of the album are as few as in disc 1. Zeta's lack of power is more evident now, and no collaboration can help to disguise this. Not everything is completely lost: "Sigue la luz", sung by Carlos Escobedo, sounds quite good; “Desde mi cielo”, sung by Leo Jiménez, can be something interesting to hear; there's also one cover of a band called La Trampa that sounds ok; and a cover from Mägo’s drummer horrid sideband named Burdel King, where Zeta has no trouble surpassing vocals from the original (that's easy 'cause Txus is an awful singer). This version actually sounds nice, but that's it, only four good tracks out of sixteen. It's not that I wanna be too hard: the versions that were actually re-recorded (and not only mixed with new vocals) add nothing to the song, and no collaboration is really outstanding. Worse of all: Zeta's voice sounds weak and uncomfortable (the few occasions he sings), lacks a convincing style and has zero performance ability. His work in "El líder" is pitiful to say the least, and his high notes and screams in the whole album sound like a first class student. There are other guests (Tete Novoa, Víctor García) that are completely forgotten when the disc is over, and there’s a guest called Christian Bertoncelli that has an awful raspy voice and has two (yes, two) versions... wait, there's something even worse: some of this songs are not even the most memorable from Mägo de Oz career (just like in disc 1), something that, as I just wrote, makes no sense if you think that this is a 25th anniversary album.

(Note: Mägo de Oz has had a long legal issue with their former company, Locomotive music, a battle that holds legal rights over Mägo de Oz' music from their first fifteen years. This issue is supposed to explain why they have only done versions from songs of the last years... yet, I still wonder the need for doing an anniversary album when you know you can’t launch it without your most important songs.)

Truth be told, I strongly recommend not to waste time with this double album. While it's not the complete disaster and painful experience that Helloween's 25th anniversary album was, the worthy tracks could fit in an EP, and I’m sure you can find lots of things better to invest your time that listening to this album. You deserve more. Seriously

Highlights: Sigue la luz, Celtic Land, Love never dies