Magick Touch
Cakes & Coffins

Listen, it’s nice when you discover an album, and it just blows you the hell away, right? Be it with originality, technical mastery or creative genius – the kind of album where you get a sense you’re listening to something special, a new benchmark upon which all releases after will be judged. Especially if it’s something that comes out of left field, like recently when BlackBraid‘s debut LP decided to just crawl out of the mountains and become one of American Black Metal’s most exciting acts without any kind of warning. On the rare occasion you can stumble into that situation – it’s cool as hell! Embrace it. Appreciate it.

But expecting that kind of experience as the “norm” is a fool’s game – one that leaves you, more often than not, bitter, disappointed, and generally disgusted with everything around you – rendering you DEEPLY unpleasant to be around. Don’t be that guy! That guy sucks.

All this is to say – I’m not always, or even often, looking out for greatness. Most of the time? I just want a good time. And hoo boy,  Norway’s Magick Touch delivers a really, REALLY good time.

And for me, this run-in with these highly energetic, very Rock & Roll-forward Heavy Metal  maniacs is an entirely new experience – both giving me an entirely clean palate on which to make judgement on the endearingly-titled Cakes & Coffins, and makes it slap all the more righteously! Opening track “Apollyon” is everything I could possibly ever need to perfectly back a Friday evening, post-work beer and decompressing brew-ha-ha with buddies to let loose and watch as the worries of the week slip away beneath the band’s intoxicating mix of driving Rock & Roll riffs, 70’s-inspired harmonies, and the kind of higher-register singing that, for one reason or another, never fails to put a smile on your face and encourage you to sing right along with the pair of bassist/vocalist Christer Ottesen and guitarist/vocalist HK Steen. All of it is backed by Bard Heavy Nordvik’s perfectly balanced drumming that appropriately and deftly strides the line between the righteous early Heavy Metal might of Rainbow‘s Cozy Powell or Saxon‘s Nigel Glockler, and the more upbeat, Punk Rock& Roll stylings of Turbonegro‘s Chris Summers or The Hellacopters’ Robert Eriksson (the combination of those four bands perhaps as appropriate an amalgamation to describe Magick Touch‘s sound as any).

That same energy and sense of fun carries on with tracks “The Judas Cross” and “Demons and Rust,” the latter of which swaggers out the gates of Hell itself with the kind of 70’s-drenched Thin LizzyMontrose or Narazreth-inspired riffs that just beg for the most wicked, epic mural-painted van to come speeding down the road, speakers blasting and smoke pouring out the windows. This is nothing new being brought to the table, it’s just a fantastic tribute to the sounds that helped build the world of heavy metal we know today, and I feel the hair on my chest getting thicker with every single listen. These tracks also showcase another aspect of Magick Touch‘s sounds which makes this album all the more a joy to listen to – a dark, occult-worshipping and demon-loving underbelly that permeates the entire run of the record. Hell, if you really want a good time, you don’t want a bunch of choirboys, right? Bring Beelzebub himself for some Jager shots. Some tracks go even more all-in on the vibe, like “When Eating a Wolf” which sounds like the listing all the dishes needed to perform a proper Satanic rite, all with the tongue-and-cheek attitude of a Rob Zombie-concocted fun house of mayhem and macabre. “Raven” haunts with an airy, mysterious quality of classic Blue Öyster Cult or Deep Purple, right down to the spacious clean guitars and moody synth accents that make you want to get high and take a midnight stroll through an old cemetery just to try and catch a glimpse of the reaper himself. It’s certainly one of the album’s more serious tracks, but by no means does it detract from the fun – it just piles on another timeless bit of nostalgia to enjoy along with the rest.

But as fun as those more moody, “dark crypts and candles” moments certainly are, it’s when the band really lets loose and just rocks the hell out that see Magick Touch at their strongest and keep me coming back. The more metal-forward, Priest-inspired tracks like “M.I.N.A” and “Guillotine Dreams” pack all the kind of classic riffs you could possibly want into their 4-ish minute timeframes, taking you on a studded, leather-bound trip through Heavy Metal’s golden years. The friggin’ killer solo on the former is enough in and of itself to get me air-shredding along like an absolute dweeb and I lover every damn second of it. One of my favorite tracks, “Boots,” carries a bit more of a gruff, ass-kicking and name-taking attitude that carries every bit of piss and swagger as “Breaking the Law” or “You Got Another Thing Coming,” bursting with the kind of metal machismo that makes you want to flex your muscles regardless of whether or not you have any to flex. It’s brimming with the kind of confidence that gives Magick Touch the air of credibility many similar acts can only hope to replicate. It’s just so goddamn good.

This is a band that packs so many elements that make them an automatic “fuck yeah!” in my book. I don’t care that they’re not bringing anything new to the table, it’s the band’s delivery that makes Cakes & Coffins such a win. I will certainly be diving into the band’s back catalog to get more of this in my life, but just know that Magick Touch fits in beautifully with Norway’s robust Rock/Heavy Metal scene alongside the likes of Audrey HorneSpidergawd, The Good The Bad and the Zugly and so many others, while providing a distinct flavor all their own. If a good time is what you want, then by gods you can’t do much better than with this Norse trio.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
June 13th, 2023

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