Friday, October 24, 2003

Review: Magus Beast - Say Your Prayers (1996)

Magus Beast [ Website | MySpace | Facebook ]
Say Your Prayers

New York-based Magus Beast, previously known as Agressor, changed their name earlier this year due in no small part to the obvious commonality of their former moniker. Say Your Prayers, the bands full-length debut, retains the original band name in the layout because it was actually recorded in 1996. The music of Magus Beast is clearly influenced by the sounds of Overkill, Metal Church, Iron Maiden, and Mercyful Fate - very shred-heavy old school thrash with wailing vocals.

The first track on Say Your Prayers is "Magus Beast", the inspiration for their new name. A great driving riff gives way to the ball-crushing falsetto of singer Ron Scauri. The guy has an awesome set of pipes. He hits the highest notes with seemingly little effort, and puts in a flawless performance on each track. "Death Before Dishonor" begins with Ron belting out a sustained shriek that is simply amazing. The raw, menacing guitar sound from John Rup that opens "In Vain" is very much in league with the great thrash of the '80s. The galloping bass of Dave Zob and the pummeling drumming of Steve Williams is very prominent on this track, and provides an excellent foundation for John's blistering leads. "Nightfall" has a very memorable groovy riff and a catchy chorus that makes this a standout track. The album also contains a hidden track called "Legend Of Frankenstein" that is a very good example of Iron Maiden inspired songwriting.

Crunchy guitars, thunderous drums, complex bass lines, searing solos, and Ron's scorching vocals make Say Your Prayers a very welcome return to the glory days of classic American metal. The production doesn't quite stand up against the polished standards of today's metal, but I feel that only adds to the nostalgic feel of the album. The band continues to open for great metal acts such as Overkill, Symphony X, and King Diamond but the fact that drummer Steve Williams lives in Arizona has cut deeply into their ability to record new material. They are working at it, however, so hopefully we'll see something new from Magus Beast in the near future.

Track Listing
1 Magus Beast
2 Death Before Dishonor
3 In Vain
4 Devil's Advocate
5 Born To Kill
6 Assault Attack
7 Nightfall

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