Saturday, July 10, 2010

Matthew Mills - The Neoclassical Journey Remastered 2010 CD review

Matthew Mills - The Neoclassical Journey Remastered 2010 CD (Matt Mills Music)

One thing crossed my mind when I got Matthew's fifth solo CD in my hands: "Good to have you back, Man!". For all of us who cannot attend Matthew's shows and guitar clinics, his albums prove that Neoclassical Metal still has some loyal and talented "servants". After I listened to "The Neoclassical Journey", I believe that probably is his best solo effort. The talented virtuoso contributes his finest guitar work in splendid songs like the opener "Thoughts Of Time", which once again highlights his favorite songwriting style: strong, catchy and melodic riffs combined with astonishing guitar cadenzas that established his reputation over the years. "Dark Matter part 2" is deeply emotional, sentimental and European-flavored song, with strong Baroque influences. Matthew reaches the limits of his performance and always tries to set new standards for his favorite musical style. Its difficult to follow a Neoclassical Metal path without being repetitive but Matthew proves this opinion wrong. Just listen to the song "Night Time": Melody and atmosphere combine smoothly and the result is wonderful. For all the above reasons, I cannot stop listening to Matthew's musical creations, even though I am not a guitarist, so that means a lot. 
"The Neoclassical Journey features also two guest appearances: David Shankle (DSG, ex-Manowar) contributes two solos on "Dragon's Fire", while Joe Stump delivers his distinguishable guitar solo in the song "Fire Storm". For all arpeggio fanatics, the closing track of the CD, "Arpeggio Travel part 3" ends Matthew's "arpeggio trilogy" that began in his second album titled "Neoclassical Rock guitar" delivers his insane performance and makes everyone ask for more! "The Neoclassical Journey" is  a highlight of modern Neoclassical Metal, proving that the genre still stands strong. You can buy the album through or digitally download it via iTunesMatthew Mill's official web-site

Dimitris Starakis

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Arryan Path – Terra incognita CD (Pitch Black Records) CD review

Arryan Path – Terra Incognita CD (Pitch Black Records)
I’ve been following Arryan Path’s career since its early stages and I was fortunate to receive their newest album which should be already considered as the band’s highlight. At the same time, I was curious to find out why this band chose this particular name and I asked the singer of the band, Nicholas Leptos, if the band is connected to any racial segregation theories. Nicholas replied back to me immediately, assuring me that Arryan Path has nothing to do with hate doctrines. I was satisfied to know this, since Magic Starlight ’zine is not associated with extremists and does not support racial hate at all.
“Terra Incognita” begins with one of the finest songs ever composed by the band. “Cassiopeia” is a solid and uplifting Power metal tune, featuring, along with Nicholas’ splendid vocal performance, Vagelis Maranis of Sanvoisen fame! The “vocal duel” is a remarkable effort and really places Cassiopeia among the greatest songs that were released in 2010! The album was recorded and mixed at Maranis Studios in Germany and the band manage to feature Vagelis in the song, while they also gave us the opportunity to realize that he is always in great vocal shape.
    Another favorite of mine is “Open Season”: majestic and triumphant, with wonderful chorus, full of glorious emotion, it definitely brings to mind the finest moments of US Power Metal! The self-titled song of the CD incorporates folk elements of Eastern and Greek music, with the outcome being refreshing and interesting. Moreover, it reflects the intention of the band for broaden mind inspirations and experimentation, something which will not keep them stagnant. “Ishtar” is another pick of “Terra Incognita”, with the Eastern music influences being dominant once again. Some other favorite songs of mine are “Elegy” (melodic, vividly emotional and atmospheric again), “Angel With No Destination” (check out the galloping chorus) and “The Mind” (catchy guitar riff and overall a more simplistic song, yet the same interesting as the others). Every time I listen to an album from the beginning to the end without a single pause or skip, I know it’s a good one. Definitely the best effort from the Cypriots…till the next one (this is a prediction, guys don’t let me down)! Order the CD from their label’s website. Band’s mySpace profile:
Dimitris Starakis

Friday, July 2, 2010

RagenHeart – S/t CD review

RagenHeart – S/t CD (Metal On Metal Records)

Yes, it’s been already almost 4 years since the release of the band’s first demo release titled “In The Name Of God” and time has finally come for this superb band to release its first album. I always distinguish RagenHeart from the average Power Metal bands since they have something special that I really cannot describe it completely. I think it has to do with their music attitude in composing songs that stress emotion, melody and lyricism. Their self-titled debut now prepares the ground for a great career, if they overpass the obstacles that a newcomer band faces in today’s music industry (lack of sources to fund their recordings, poor distribution and a few more). I was from the very beginning obsessed with John Koroneo’s voice: touching, expressive and melodic, plays an important role in the band’s musical structure, while Angel’s fire-blazing guitar work is the band’s trademark. Moreover, RagenHeart compositions ranked them among Greece’s brightest hopes. The album includes re-recorded versions of the tracks featured in their brilliant demo, but also new songs like the opener “Illusion Of Life”, which prepares the ground for the rest of the album. The Eastern music - influenced intro “Winds From The East” and the majestic “Talos” showcase the quality that the Athenian quintet has. “Black Gold” is the darkest RageHeart song and will satisfy the fans that want them with a stronger edge. I also loved the re-recorded songs since the production is better, as expected, with the needed clear and powerful sound. It is really encouraging for the fans not to witness and dull or weak song in a debut, so this is the greatest advantage of this album!

Allow me to feel overwhelmed by the song “Here I Am”. I am pretty sure that if this power ballad was released during the 80’s, it would surely become a huge success. Almost no band can capture the shivering feeling that such a song creates to the listener and I really cannot stop praising this divine musical composition. You should definitely check it for yourselves, since the band rearranged the song and added also a powerful break near its end.

RagenHeart raised our expectations by releasing such a debut. I wish that their follow-up will be out soon. The genre needs bands like this, the brightest hope of the Greek Metal scene.

You can buy RagenHeart’s debut via through Metal On Metal's shop. It comes in two editions: Regular CD case and Special Tin Case Edition. Special tin case Edition includes 2 exclusive photos, plus the booklets of the normal case edition CD, Price for regular case is 14 Euro and Special Tin Case Edition costs 18.50 Euro (all above prices include postage + shipping rates worldwide). Here's the link: Band’s official website and mySpace profile.

Dimitris Starakis

Fibonacci Sequence – Numerology CD review

Fibonacci Sequence – Numerology CD (Fibonacci music / Independent Release)

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…..well, you are not reading my futile attemps to write a code or turn Magic Starlight ‘zine into a host for math lovers (well, also math lovers are still welcome here!). What you have just read is the Fibonacci Sequence. Now what is this sequence? Let’s see what Wikipedia tells us about: “By definition, the first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. The Fibonacci sequence is named after Leonardo of Pisa, who was known as Fibonacci (a contraction of filius Bonaccio, "son of Bonaccio"). Fibonacci's 1202 book “Liber Abaci” introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics, although the sequence had been previously described in Indian mathematics”.
So now you got the definition of Fibonacci’s sequence, since you already know the band from Milwaukee, WI that quite amazed me, after listening to their first ever release titled “We Three Kings”. I recently received their debut full-length album titled “Numerology” and since then it is once again my pick when I want to enjoy music that stimulates the soul.
10 instrumental songs cause the desired tension to the mind, which prepares the ground for objective judgement. That is what Socrates believed, so if we accept his opinion, then “Numerology” can act as the gadfly that will upset the status quo in your brain and make you realize that music without vocals is quite expressive and creative. It is really hard to pick up a certain favorite from the album. “Primrose Path” has the most versatile change in a song, from acoustic, groovy style to mystical eastern paths, followed by a sentimental piano solo that makes the song grandiose. “Work In Progress” has brilliant electric guitar and bass work, while acoustic parts and keyboard solos combine so smoothly. “Catlord” can easily become one of the finest and heaviest “hits” of the band. “Io” closes the album with its atmospheric intro and the guitar riffs and solos expresses intensively the word “farewell”. Yes, “Numerology” is a fine piece of art, destined to become an instant classic. I feel so lucky that I have expressed a concern for the band some months ago and believe me, I have already became a fan of their talent. I am sure that you will do the same. Last but not least: “Music without vocals carries the same passion and magic, just let the gadfly free in your mind”. You can (or should I say must?) order the cd through CDbaby or download it via iTunes. Band’s Facebook and mySpace page.

Dimitris Starakis