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Wolves and Witches [Bonus Tracks]
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  • Having a female lead singer with a darkly angelic vocal style is not mandatory in gothic metal; some gothic metal bands have all-male lineups. But it is certainly quite common, and Magica are among the many European gothic metal outfits who have an angelic-sounding female singer in charge of lead vocals. Ana Mladinovici, Magica's classically trained lead singer, comes across as the quintessential gothic metal vocalist on the band's fourth album, Wolves and Witches -- and yet, there are certain things that separate Magica from other female-fronted gothic metal bands. For one thing, they are from Romania, a country that, as of 2009, hasn't had nearly as much gothic metal activity as, say, Italy (home of Lacuna Coil and many others). And also, Wolves and Witches has a strong power metal influence, which isn't something that most gothic metal bands are known for. But in fact, melodic yet hard-rocking tracks such as "Dark Secret," "Don't Wanna Kill," and "Hurry Up, Ravens" offer an effective blend of gothic metal's dark, haunted enchantment and power metal's chops-minded bravado. Mladinovici's vocal style is decidedly goth, but the guitar solos of Bogdan Costea (who wrote most of the material) underscore his appreciation of headbangers like Iron Maiden, Helloween, Judas Priest, and Queensr?che and give Wolves and Witches much of its power metal appeal -- and if gothic metal is the CD's primary ingredient, Costea sees to it that power metal is also an attractive part of Magica's sound. Wolves and Witches falls short of mind-blowing, but it's a solid effort that succeeds in terms of both aggression and craftsmanship. ~ Alex Henderson
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