Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Battlefield Magic! - 92%

Larry6990, April 6th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, AFM Records (Digipak)

Having been a massive fan of this band for at least 8 years, their 3 full-length albums have thus far been enough to whet my appetite over that time. After 2010's glorious "Symphony of War", I had abandoned all hope of another Magic Kingdom album - assuming that its mastermind, Dushan Petrossi, would be focused on his more prominent Iron Mask project. So these last few months have been like an explosion of excitement upon the announcement of Dushan's return to Magic Kingdom. A new album with a new vocalist, a new drummer and incredible new artwork, was on the horizon! Let me say without any hesitation - this is, and will be, the best power metal release of 2015...

Why? Simply because, despite the scares of having to abandon this band altogether, this still sounds like a continuation of the Magic Kingdom we know and love. Petrossi's Malmsteen-esque fretwork, the explosive choruses, the lyrics about dragons/knights/wizards etc, the harpsichord, that pseudo-medieval atmosphere... It's all here in droves! Kicking things off is the sweeping orchestral intro "In Umbra Mea"; in which the synthesized orchestra is presented very nicely indeed. This crescendos appropriately towards "Guardian Angels", the first two minutes of which are purely instrumental. This acts as a sort of continuation to the intro which establishes the convention that this is an 'epic' - not just an album.

Michael Brush's stunning effort behind the kit follows the classic double-kick euro-power gallop we all love, whilst embellishing with style whenever he can. Petrossi's famous Baroque-esque guitar work is never disappointing. Even Vassili on the bass has some stand out moments, especially in the album's slower periods. But of course, we are without the familiar soaring vocals of Olaf Hayer this time! Ex-Adagio man Christian Palin has stepped in - and he fits like the melodic equivalent of a jigsaw piece! He brings a natural edge to the lyrics which I can imagine being a real hit live. Just listen to his vocals in the closing seconds of "Full Moon Sacrifice"...very nice indeed!

The impressive thing about Petrossi's songwriting, is that he chocks both his Iron Mask and Magic Kingdom albums full of variety, whilst remaining stylistically loyal. The previously mentioned "Full Moon Sacrifice" and the title track are moody, mid-paced stompers, not dissimilar from their 2006 track "Barabas". There is a semi-ballad in the form of "Dragon Princess" which picks up the pace wonderfully in its latter half. And of course, there are the up-tempo, vibrant, soaring, catchy melodic power metal hymns like "Rivals Forever" and "With Fire & Sword" which never fail to raise our invisible axes!

Particular highlights of this gem include the guitar solo of "Ship of Ghosts" (Beethoven anyone?), the furious finale of "Battlefield Magic", the monstrous roar at the end of the title track, and the entirety of "Four Demon Kings of Shadowlands" - which is, frankly, a masterpiece of the genre. For perfectly incorporating blazing guitar shredding, impressively composed symphonic segments, full-sounding riffs, and choruses which are catchier than the plague - this album deserves a nod towards 'album of the year' territory.

I am somewhat disappointed at the lack of growled vocals, considering how much they enhanced songs like "We Rise" and "Unholy Abyss". Palin is clearly capable of it, so why lose that extra dimension? The only other qualm I have is that Petrossi decided against adding another chapter to the grandiose 'Metallic Tragedy' saga. I could always do with a huge 20+ minute epic containing narration, characters etc. However, these are the complaints of a tiny mouse clinging to the back of a roaring lion with a jetpack. "Savage Requiem" is a symphonic power metal treasure, and you should own it!

"I dedicate this song,
This Savage Requiem,
To every man on Earth
To live this life with passion!"