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Darkness gives way to the distant light. - 80%

Diamhea, July 4th, 2016

I thought that 2005's Magic Circle was decent enough, but I suppose that to many ears, it simply isn't Wizard without Michael Maass manning the primary axes' assault. His absence ended up being short-lived, and he returned to the band just in time for the interestingly-titled Goochan, which thankfully sounds nowhere near as goofy as it looks when spoken during the spoken-word intro. What exactly does all of this mean? It means a narrative paradigm shift in Wizard's camp, interjecting some science fiction elements and other idiosyncratic fare to an otherwise cut-and-dry tale of epic conflict and fantasy trappings. Honestly, none of this really matters in the end, because Goochan still sounds exactly like Wizard, for better or worse. The production values are amped up a smidgen compared to Magic Circle, and the riffs feel a bit toothier and desperate, so the band is without a doubt in better form here. But to what degree?

Wizard wastes little time answering that query, grinding the gears of war with effective returns right from rip with "Witch of the Enchanted Forest." A functional opener, this tune displays Wizard working their magic in a slightly off-kilter and interesting way, with a rollicking, almost lumbering-sounding chorus that is one of the band's most memorable. Denn's reflexive, scattershot drumming benefits greatly from Dennis Ward's (Unisonic, Pink Cream 69, etc.) production job, and D'Anna is his typical throaty, soaring self behind the microphone. Honestly, there is little to complain about here as usual, with some of these tunes sounding like castoffs from The Last Supper-era Grave Digger, like the opening riff of "Lonely in Desert Land." The production even sounds near-identical, so it goes without saying that fans of that German mainstay should check Wizard out; a recommendation I'm sure I've made before.

Goochan picks up steam as it goes, letting loose the speed metal ballistics on "Dragon's Death," which razes the landscape in spectacular fashion, helping mitigate some of the more mid-paced doldrums that drag the middle of the record down. Even further in the procession we get the competent closer "Return of the Thunder Warriors," which was an interesting choice for the requisite cheesy ass music video. It almost feels like the band totally ditches the earlier storyline in favor of giving the fans what they expect - and it works well. The hooks lack some measure of memorability compared to ...of Wariwulfs and Bluotvarwes and Odin, but the band is in decent enough form on Goochan. Still, I feel that after the opening two songs, proceedings dip into near-monotony until "Dragon's Death" reignites and demands attention.

Goochan is another more than passable entry in Wizard's catalogue, one that seriously picks up steam as it goes. Later tunes like the aforementioned "Dragon's Death" and "Sword of Vengeance" are real speed metal cookers, offsetting the more typical opening salvo effectively. If not for the middling nature of some of the numbers in between, I'd dare call this a forgotten classic. As it stands, it's fucking Wizard at the end of the day. Don't expect them to reinvent the wheel, but expect some rock-simple, epic power metal that never forsakens the almighty riff in favor of middling window dressing. When I think German power metal, Wizard are one of the first names that come to mind. I'd say that they've earned it.

The magic is revived ! - 84%

Nightrunner, February 9th, 2007

I just say this my friends, holy shit what a turn for the better. After 2005’s downstep album “Magic Circle” – where the magic was lost for sure - Wizard are now back with their seventh release “Goochan, and this time everything is better. Wizard are now back on track again, and the magic is absolutely revived.

Let’s start with the production. Dennis Ward has done a splendid job with the sound for the wizards. The guitars sounds really damn good, and bass + drums are heavier than ever. I found nothing to complain about in the sound, and this may eventually be on the top list of the best albums production-wise this year. Easily, this is the best Wizard album on that term. Vocalist Sven D’ Anna does a good work as always, and i’m sure we’ve never heard him sing as high as in the chorus of “Sword of Vengeance”, it’s fucking brilliant, and so is the whole song. The music is Wizard to the bone, not much has happened, no further direction has been taken, it’s still the same speed/power metal as we know – with some “true metal” hymn tossed in there. Though some riffs here and there may be much more “modern” than the older Wizard, threwn in at certain places - but the general structure is still the same. All is not great with the album though, since we have some fillers on here. The really ridiculous “Call To The Dragon” (why in the name of god do they have to have those sissy flower power choruses ?), it’s a plain and generic power metal song that you’ve heard thousands of times before. Skip it. The other filler is “Dragon’s Death” (surprise – dragon – surprise). A song that just goes on and on for tooo long, the verses seems like 3 minutes long each, and it just gets boring in the length. It doesn’t get better with a sucky and boring chorus either. Cut it next time, wizards.

On the better side, we can find some cool Wizard work. The opening song “Witch of the Enchanted Forest”, is absolutely among the best songs Wizard has done in many years. Moderately fast, some cool “gang vocals” part and a great and big sounding chorus. Really neat song. The second song “Pale Rider”, a heavy one with many good riffs and long solopart. Bang that head ! The fast speed metal song “Sword Of Vengeance”, never stops and if you like speed you’ll like this one. And also the chorus as I mentioned earlier is neat, with Sven’s cool falsetto vocals. I would also like to mention “Two Faces Of Balthasar”, cool riffs and the chorus is excellent, melodic and cool – and without those flower power melodies. “Cildren of the Night” is a heavy stomper, and may be a crowd favourite on concerts, because of the big chorus. Easy to shout along, and it’s a simple but cool chorus, and so is the whole song.

Conclusion is that Wizard has done a great album, and shown once again that are among the finest power metal bands these days. One thing I also welcome is the lyrical direction, choosing a ownwritten concept, instead of those “metal and blood in the night of steel”-lyrics that Wizard tend to write when they’re not dealing with concepts. So i’m very happy for that. I also want to mention a plus and beauty for the eye for the great cover artwork. It’s awesome. And so is the album, I hope Wizard will climb somewhat regarding sales of the abum and that they be a little more known with this album, because they deserve it. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is a safe buy.

3 best songs: Witch of the Enchanted Forest, Pale Rider, Sword of Vengeance

Great story - 86%

Orklord, February 6th, 2007

German power metallers Wizard are back. With Goochan, Wizard releases their seventh full-length and this is their first concept album. Goochan is also their debut on their new label, Massacre records.

The album kicks of with the introduction of Goochan. The world is invaded by aliens and Goochen, the Witch of the Enchanted Forest, is there to stop those monsters. Further I will not explain the concept, that is for yourself. The interesting thing about the concept is that it mixes science fiction with folklore and that’s something what you don’t see often.

About the music, there are some slow songs on the album like Children of the Night and Lonely in Desert Land, but there are also some faster ones like Call to the dragon and Sword of Vengeance. The songs all have in common that you can sing along and that’s something what you can expect from a band like Wizard, does this mean that the songs are bad? No not at all, with the classic Wizard sound and the bombastic sound this album gives every true metal fan the change to enjoy the music. This album really puts you in the world Wizard creates and thanks to the great production you can enjoy their world. For all Power metal fans and true metal fans this one is for you.

Official written for Digital-steel.com

In other news, Wizard ditches magic - 58%

BloodIronBeer, January 27th, 2007

I was very, very eager to get the new Wizard. Ready to hear fresh new power metal madness from these German speed demons ... my hopes were crushed flat in no time.

Wizard does three things on this CD to botch any shot this release had at being a worthy album.

1) Slow down a lot.

2) Throw the sound that made them Wizard right out the window. Including making catchy songs. Wizard gives up the magic. (pun intended)

3) Tune down, and vie for a more American sound.

All three of these things pretty much hack this release off at the knees.

After the ridiculously long intro, the first thing you'll notice, and the one thing that will be nagging at fans of the band until Dragon's Death (the SEVENTH track) is that they've slowed down ... a lot. It's as if this album was recorded on some planet much larger than Earth, where Wizard was unable to adapt to their newly acquired mass, and were forced to just slow down.

Well, I think I've made that point clear, but the quality of the music has suffered similar damage. You'll surely notice the pseudo nu-metal groove scattered throughout. With newly down tuned guitars, and enough groove to make some nu-metal bands envious, it seems to me Wizard is out to wrangle a new group of fans - mallcore goth puppets. There are forced soft parts that remind me of the ever wussy Kamelot, taking away even more from what the band did right in the first place. There's also acoustic passages that go nowhere, and serve only to elongate the song. The overtone of most of the non-chorus riffs (because the choruses do remain somewhat like what they were), are diminished greatly in melody. They range from mediocre, to limp-dicked, weak, and boring drivel.

Yes, limp-dicked. You should have a hard-on of steel when you play metal.

Okay, in all seriuosness. I may be exaggerating, but this album does NOTHING for me. None of the amazing catchy choruses, no interesting guitar work, and not a whole lot of speed and power - especially when compared to Head of the Deceiver or Odin. It's just mediocre riff, after mediocre riff, with an undeniable lean toward newer American acts, and an absence of the hooks I've come to expect from this band. To make matters worse, Sven seems to be running out of steam, his vocals just aren’t as passionate as on some previous albums.

Maybe the band isn’t trying to sellout, per sa (though I’m inclined to believe so), but maybe simply going for a different sound. If so, I hope they realize that playing this way is something they simply can’t pull off.

I try to pick out at least one highlight track when I give an album a failing grade, and usually try to explain what made me better than the rest of the CD. But, it's hard to say any of these are at all remarkable, except maybe Dragon's Death, and Sword of Vengence (with a chrous sounding very heavy metal a la America, and the one and only track where vocalist Sven seems to wail like on previous albums) ...

If you're a big fan of Wizard from past albums, you'll probably be inclined to give this a listen regardless of what I say, but listen at your own risk. For anyone looking for great speed/power metal, check out Head of the Deciever, or Odin ... buy this at your own risk!