Title - 'Songs For The Dead'
Artist - Magenta
I'll be quite honest, but before this CD arrived here to be reviewed, I had never even heard of Magenta. Well, after listening to their brand new album, Songs For The Dead, I have now, in more ways than one! For this intriguing, quite formidable new album from Nowegian band Magenta is, simply put rather a musical masterpiece of dark and savage beauty combined!
So, allow me to introduce you a bit more - if indeed you also need it - to the band, for it's an interesting read, that's for sure. Magenta are, simply put, although there is nothing "simple" about their music, are an industrial rock/alternative rock band formed by Vilde Lockert and Anders Odden (of Satyricon) during the summer of 1995. They released their first EP, the self-titled Magenta in 1997 and the song "Secret Sky" entered the charts in Norway and established their career immediately thereafter.
Now making their ways to our distant shores, Songs For The Dead is the very first Stateside debut album from the duo - Anders Odden and Vilde Lockert; with both Daniel Hill (bass guitar) and Erik Engebretsen (drums) joining in on live performances - and features guest appearances by Ministry's infamous Al Jour and Apoptygma Berzerk!
Interestingly enough, Songs For The Dead was actually recorded way back at the start of 2013, and was slated as Magenta's "comeback album," at that time. As we listen to tracks, such as the freak show, ringmaster supreme opener "Dance Macabre," "Im Paradisum," "Die Young," and both "All Year Long" and "Descending," it is very obvious, even to the most musically untrained of us listeners, that the band have returned to their roots of dark and moody music. But, more importantly, their enchanting vocals are now all in, for the most part, English!
Further tracks such as "Ghost," "The Pentagram," and "Mirror" are also prime lyrical examples of how Songs For The Dead actually came to be. Not a happy story, by any stretch of the imagination, it was born out of a deep tragedy. The Magenta family had been invited to stay at Ministry leader, Al Jourgensenís 13th Planet Studios compound during the Xmas of 2012. They arrived the same day that Ministry guitarist Mike Scaccia left after finishing some recording.
Shortly after, on December 22nd, news reached them that Mike had died. Everyone at Alís compound was overwhelmed with grief. To try to get somewhat back to normal in the midst of this, they all decided to record an album. Vilde and Andersí daughter, Regine, had written a song called "Ghost" in the castle of Duke Hank Von Hell (ex-Turbonegro) the Xmas before. They recorded this track, with Al's magic touch, and the idea for the album spiraled onward from there. Ergo, Songs For The Dead is very appropriately named, for it is dedicated to those who have past on.
With both "The Day I Die" and "Only Death," wrapping the album up, it's been known through the press the band have done that Magenta see Songs For The Dead as the first recordings they have undertaken that fully represent them as the kind of musical entity they want to be. Out this month via Cleopatra Records in North America, there's no doubting that they will succeed with this album here in the States, and that their musical messages, to both the living and the dead, will be heard equally. [Available 10/16 on both CD & vinyl!]