Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
Leicestershire, UK’s Mage are back with an ultra-dense slab of stoner/doom and heavy rock they call ‘Green‘ and we call fantastic! The origins of the band date back to less than a decade ago, in that time they have released three well-received earlier releases before this latest effort.
In 2015, Mage suffered a devastating loss and setback when guitarist Ben Aucott passed away. Thankfully, the lads were not deterred and with steely resolve, they determined to carry on the band to honor Aucott’s artistry and their collective brotherhood. Now, vocalist Tom, drummer Andy, bassist Mark, and guitarist Woody recently unveiled ‘Green‘ and it has arrived with a pummeling crush here.
The seven-song ‘Green‘ is a massive monstrosity of thick-as-a-mountain riffs, robust rhythms, and sweltering drum work. Right out of the gate, we get the scorch and stomp of “No Where To Nothing“, a sweaty, uptempo groover that channels non-stop energy. Keeping it in focus, the song drives forward at all times and has some killer, tight-knit playing.
With the bar set so high from the start, things manage to astound even more with the hazy “Heroic Elegy” and the phenomenal “Primitive Drive“. The funk-dank doom of title song “Green” arrives with plenty of wahhed-out flares to spare. Man, this song is exactly what the hell stoner rock is all about, my friends.
The men of Mage take things down a bit with the Black Sabbath-meets-Orange Goblin-meets-Down styling of “Eclipse King“. Keeping a fluid, ongoing pace where the music crawls beneath the epic vocalizations, the Southern touches are undeniable. The quartet throws caution to the wind, stomps the pedal, and takes “The Wheel” for a dizzying spin of uptempo hard rock. Chugging guitars power the track’s intensified delivery before ultimately winding it down a bit for a bit of psyche-tinged doom mid-way through.
As good and amazing as the previous six cuts have been, the seventh is a wonderful slice of trippier tones and psychedelic touches. Yes, “Vultures Mass” is the coup de grâce of gargantuan doomended elements, intermingled with tranquil, sedate moments. Grandiose vocals permeate the airwaves and even take on some heavily effect-laden nuances in places as well.
Mage‘s ‘Green‘ should resonate well with fans of multiple genres of heavy rock and doom. This is a triumphant return for the band, after undergoing such a tragic event, one that many bands don’t survive. Mage has survived and emerged on the other side of it as a strong, resilient entity and ‘Green‘ testifies to that fact.
Mage‘s sound is one I’d describe as “Grand Magus melds with ‘In The Arms Of God‘ era Corrosion Of Conformity” for the uninitiated. If that is you then don’t meander, charge into the Bandcamp embed below, and experience the riffened rage of Mage!