Magic Sword’s Debut Is a Sci-Fi Face Melter
What do you get when you mix early Daft Punk’s crescendoing synths, bit crushed soundtracks, and sci-fi comic adventures? Something close to Magic Sword‘s debut Volume 1. The electronic duo’s sound snakes between the repetitious and infectious swells of Daft Punk and the indie half-acoustic, half-synthetic live show of Slow Magic, the atmospheric tapestries of Styx and the wall-shaking bass of Skrillex. In short, Magic Sword is poised to be the new act to take the electronic/dance scene.
With a live show that as theatrical as it is taut, Magic Sword is taking the plethora of genres they combine to another level. Featuring LED swords, cloaked figures that look like cyborg-druids, and complex light shows, when Magic Sword take the stage, they’re prepared to take their audience on a journey through space-time.
The band weaves their songs together using Vaseline-smeared 80s synth sounds and a soundtrack-like tension to create an album that is brilliant on the micro and macro level. Volume 1 starts aptly with the song “In The Beginning.” With its dark patches and crystalline leads, the track gives the album a foreboding feel. Exploding around the 3 minute mark, “In The Beginning” sets the bar high for Volume 1.
And throughout the album, Magic Sword keeps raising the bar. “In The Beginning” washes into “Sword of Truth” seamlessly. Sounding less like an introduction and more like a track proper, “Sword of Truth” tightrope walks between being a dance-floor anthem and a brooding collage of distorted synths and heavy percussion.
Volume 1 definitely has a soundtrack feel, and that’s because it is–partly. Each album tells the story of Magic Sword, a story that is illustrated in the comic book that comes with each album. With that in mind, it’s easy to see John Carpenter’s influence on the band. Volume 1 sounds like an epic metal-thinking of Carpenter’s most taut scores.
One of the most stand out tracks for me is “In The Face of Evil.” The song begins briefly like a danceable revision of the Halloween theme before blasting into the growling bass stratosphere. The mix between minimal theme and maximal dance elements makes the song a powder keg for epic sounds. In a way, the track acts as a microcosm for the album as a whole. Volume 1 is meant to be a face melting, sci-fi romp–and that is exactly what it is.
Apart from the music on the album, Volume 1 is presented in a way that only adds to the mystery and excitement around the album. Pressed on double picture discs and packaged in a pop-up double gatefold (and, as I stated before, complete with a comic book), Volume 1 sets a new standard for the presentation of an album. Combining super-epic electro-dancescapes with packaging that tells a story, Magic Sword is probably the most intriguing act I’ve found in a while. If you’re looking for a new favorite band (or even if you’re not), you’re search will end with Magic Sword.