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Hailing from Colombus, Ohio, The Magician Reversed is the solo project of one Nick Bain. Titled Arcana:Death, this latest offering from The Magician Reversed is a multi-genre exploration into deep heaviness which veers off into the occasional sidetrack of experimentation.
Released on the winter solstice of 21 December, 2022, the themes of the album centre around the occult and horror. The timing of its release being more than fitting, as the album’s timing and themes come to align, with the cold and darkness of the season nicely complementing the eerie and unsettling atmosphere of the album.
One of the strengths of this album is the level of musicianship and versatility demonstrated by The Magician Reversed. The blend of death doom, funeral doom metal and black metal tendencies is seamless, creating a unique and powerful sound. Ultimately, this shit is slow, heavy, and all encompassing, making Arcana: Death an immersive listening experience.
Thematically, Arcana: Death is a dark and brooding exploration of the occult and horror. The lyrics on this album are especially noteworthy, as they are well written and deep, touching upon themes of death, decay, and the end of the world. It’s a journey into the unknown and Bain’s conceptual vision is well conveyed through the musical delivery, and clarity of production.
Compared to the previous album by The Magician Reversed, And Deeper Still (reviewed at the link), this is a far more succinct affair. The previous record’s runtime of >100 minutes was a little bit much for even a funeral doom record without obvious thematic justification (and yes, that album length critique stands even for Bell Witch’s Mirror Reaper). On Arcana:Death, its roughly 50 minute runtime makes for a more digestible feat.
From a sonic perspective, Arcana: Death is a crushingly heavy and intense album. Bain masterfully blends traditional metal sounds with experimental elements, creating a sound that is both familiar and fresh. Track 2, “The Mist”, incorporates a big atmosphere and multi-instrumentation with deep and nasty riffs. It pulls the listener in with an equal measure of slow churning heaviness and immediacy, before spitting you out with chugging riffs and blackened shrieks. Track 4, “The Madness”, provides a sense of atmospheric depth alongside crushing heaviness.
Overall, Arcana: Death is an impressive and accomplished work from The Magician Reversed. The showcasing of Bain’s musicianship and versatility has been well executed, and the themes of the album are both eerie and thought-provoking. This album will likely appeal to both metal fans and fans of experimental music and acts as a solid entry point to the nature of this multi-dimensional work.
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