Tragic Magic is the 4th release from Vancouver’s SPELL, who are described/labelled as ‘hypnotic heavy metal’. Hypnotic is one word, but there’s a number of words that spring to mind in describing the band’s latest album. First and foremost, they are Canadian, so I hear the likes of Rush in their sound, as well as Harlequin and Red Rider, maybe it’s the vocals, the melodies with the latter… And then there’s the cool hooks, riffs, and fantasy type songs that have elements of Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Wishbone Ash…. Tragic Magic has all the elements of a classic 70s early metal album, but with clever melodies, perfectly timed uses of 80s synths, and songs that will grow on the listener, and elements of prog and space-rock, Each track offers something unique that will demand repeated plays. “Ultraviolet” may be the standout track here, but this album keeps me interested with every tune, the latest single being “Fever Dream” instantly reminding me of early 80s Rush and Red Rider, like this could’ve been a big arena favorite 40 years ago! Favorites include “A Ruined Garden”, “Cruel Optimism” (with that heavy riff, lighter verses, and hard-edged chorus) , and “Watcher Of The Seas” (love the 80s Rush, and metal feel of this). Album ends with the short instrumental “The Watching”, a bit space/prog rock., a great ending. Ten tracks here, most of which come in under 4 minutes, but yet one feels there’s much more. +Tragic Magic available on vinyl LP (multiple colors), CD and digital
*for more info, check out the press release and links below. Highly recommended!
Hypnotic Heavy Metal Band, SPELL, Streams New Video “Fever Dream”
Vancouver Progressive Duo to Drop New LP, ‘Tragic Magic’, October 28
“Music is magic, and Spell is a spell. Fundamentally, it is a forum to make our dreams come true”- Spell bassist/guitarist/vocalist Cam Mesmer
Fantastical heavy metal band Spell will release its new LP, ‘Tragic Magic’, on October 28 via Bad Omen Records. Featuring ten tracks of prime, progressive heavy music flooded with mesmerizing atmospheres, ‘Tragic Magic’ sees Spell take a decidedly grittier lyrical approach, leaning less into escapism, while confronting real life challenges of modern times. Striking cover art (Frenzy of Exultations by Władysław Podkowiński, 1863) featuring an angelic woman riding a frenetic horse, portends the palpable potency that the record promises. In its review of the new Spell song, “Ultraviolet”, Metal Injection says the band’s sound treads “the line between dreamy progressive rock in the vein of King Crimson and more straightforward old-school heavy metal like Blue Öyster Cult.” Pre-order ‘Tragic Magic’ at THIS location.
In advance of the release of ‘Tragic Magic’, Spell streams a video for the new track, “Fever Dream”, (Directed by Scotti Gibson, with cinematography by Kyle Samuels & make up effects by Caitlin Rose Delaplace and edited by Vince Edwards) an enticing earworm that fuses darkwave and progressive psych in hypnotizing fashion while exploring the realms of “nightmares and sleep paralysis”.
“Fever Dream” comes directly from the most evil and frightening moments I’ve experienced in the depths of illness and sleep,” offers Spell vocalist/guitarist Cam Mesmer. “These things may not make sense in the light of day, but once they take hold you have no choice but to follow their twisted path. Deep within nightmares and sleep paralysis, I have conflicting desires: first the urge to shake myself and escape, but also a second, deeper instinct – to give in to the feeling and allow it to conquer me completely to see where it will take me. This song represents your darkest subconscious, urging you to allow that evil inside of yourself and give it the agency to take you somewhere new, somewhere unholy. Now go back to sleep…”
‘Tragic Magic’ is the highly anticipated follow up to Spell’s critically acclaimed 2020 LP, ‘Opulent Decay’, a record hailed as “fantasy rock” by Blabbermouth, “enchanting” by Heavy Blog is Heavy, and “captivating” by Revolver. The record’s songcraft is steeped in the atmosphere of the arcane, yet the hooks are more razor-sharp than ever. While influences like the esoteric charge of the aforementioned Blue Öyster Cult and the elemental expansions of Camel drift through these crepuscular melodies, Spell are as likely to be influenced by the life-affirming energy of ‘60s Motown, the ethereal dimensions of Cocteau Twins, the strident woe of Candlemass, and the classic songwriting chops of Russ Ballard.
Another taste of what ‘Tragic Magic’ holds in store can be ingested now on the previously unveiled video for the LP’s radiating first single “Ultraviolet”. Created by Sean Edwards for Ramble Films (Freeways), the eye-catching clip showcases Spell at the height of its powers.
“The themes on this album are more concrete, guided by personal experience,” offers Mesmer. “Tragic Magic’ has to do with mental illness, ageing, the death of a loved one, the decay of time… this is what ‘tragic magic’ means to us – loss and tragedy outside of our control, which fundamentally alters our perceived reality. This album is our response to the world as it currently is music for an ascetic age. The identity of Spell came into sharp focus as it was always intended to be.”
Ultraviolet” explores the hidden terror of forces that rule us but cannot be perceived or understood,” says Spell vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Cam Mesmer. “Our world is shaped by powers that the limitations of our physical bodies prevent us from directly encountering. Will we fall victim to the lust for that which cannot be ours, or harness them to fulfil our wildest dreams?”
“If this band was a van, they would be the raddest, most pimped out airbrushed 70’s van with plush interior and a BOOMING system. SPELL is a perfect name for them, because their songs are jamming heavy metal magic.” – Cvlt Nation
“Psychedelic space rock exploration steeped in sludge and fuzz. Tipping their caps to a range of classic hard rock influences like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Rush and even old-school Mercyful Fate, Spell captures a dreary, overcast and lo-fi vibe” – Exclaim!
SPELL is: Cam Mesmer: vocals, bass, rhythm guitar/ Al Lester: vocals, drums, lead guitar. (* Synthesizers by Gabriel B)