In this weekly series, we’ll cover someone’s favorite Album of the Week. This time, it’s up to Nano!
Exploring new music and discovering new bands is always fun. Without music we couldn’t even listen to all of our great gear. Music is what unites us and as such we are reviving a very old series, in which we each week talk about one specific album. In short: “The Album of the Week”!
Last time, Lieven gave us his insight regarding a Belgian band called dEUS – more specifically their album “How to replace it”. A very nice album that allowed me to discover a rock band, that I’ve never heard of before, even if I’ve been living in their home country for more than 5 years now. Shame on me!
And now that’s it my turn, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite album, from one of my favorite band: Volume 1, from Magic Sword. An epic frenzy, narrated by masked musicians – and no that’s not Daft Punk – highlighted by a Brütal Legend vibe and topped by a metal touch. What’s not to like?
Formed in 2013, Magic Sword is a relatively enigmatic electronic music trio hailing from the vast expanse of Boise, Idaho. A cosmic triumvirate has garnered a cult following, primarily due to their distinctive synthesis of retro-synthwave and epic fantasy themes. The masked musicians, who prefer to remain anonymous, are referred to as The Keeper (keyboard/synths), The Seer (guitar), and The Weaver (drums). But, if their face remains unseen (yet), altogether they forged a set of fantastical albums that transported me to another realm – and maybe you after this review.
Released in 2015 under the Tender Loving Empire Blazon – an indie label based in Portland, Oregan that’s more familiar with indie rock/folk bands like Typhoon, Loch Lomond or The Family Crest – Volume 1, was Magic Sword’s debut album and a groundbreaking entry in the world of electronic music. The album’s distinctiveness lies in its masterful fusion of synthwave, ambient, and videogame-inspired soundscapes. Not only did this unique combination capture the nostalgia of classic 80s arcade games – more on that below – but this blend also resonated with a broader audience, eager for a fresh approach to the genre. The album serves as a compelling narrative, recounting an epic fantasy tale that unfolds throughout the course of its 14 tracks. A seamless blending of music and storytelling that results in an immersive, emotionally resonant tale – kind of like Carpenter Brut did with their first album.
Delving into the specifics of Volume 1, the album chronicles the story of the Magic Sword, an enchanted weapon wielded by a valiant and enigmatic hero. The tale begins with the emergence of a dark and malevolent force, the Demon Sword, which threatens to consume the world in chaos and destruction. Our protagonist, the chosen one, embarks on a perilous quest to vanquish the Demon Sword and restore balance to the universe. The album is an odyssey through this fantastical realm, each track meticulously crafted to evoke the trials and tribulations faced by the hero, as well as the inevitable clash between the forces of light and darkness.
The album’s cinematic and engaging compositions, such as “In the Face of Evil” and “Sword of Truth,” artfully blend soaring synths, pulsating basslines, and atmospheric guitar riffs, transporting listeners into the heart of this epic struggle. Magic Sword’s signature sound is heavily influenced by classic video game soundtracks, like those of Castlevania and The Legend of Zelda, paying homage to the nostalgic 8-bit era while simultaneously infusing it with modern electronic sensibilities.
With Volume 1, Magic Sword has accomplished a rare feat in electronic music – crafting an album that not only serves as a cohesive and engaging narrative but also as a collection of standalone tracks that stand on their own merits. Personally, this album has undoubtedly left an indelible mark, blending just the right amount of Rhapsody/Eh-Man/Justice in a fantasy tale where music, showcase vivid pictures in mu mind. It’s an album that I’ve been listening to, repeatedly, since its release and each listen revealed new layers of depth and complexity to its intricate, mesmerizing soundscapes. That’s why it’s my album of the week.
And just so you now, there are now three books/album available – Volume 1. / Awakening / Endless – and a real comic book, in case you’d like to delve even deeper in their music.
Check out the album here on Tidal, and here on Spotify.
We feel and hope that this new series can be a way to recommend new music to our fellow headphone enthusiasts and so we’ll be posting a new recommendation each week on Saturday. If you want to see your favorite album being featured here, head over to our contact page, or hit us up on Twitter or Instagram. (hashtag #albumoftheweek or #AOTW). If we like it then you will be featured in this series.
See you next week!
Check out GoGo Penguin, instrumental jazz, with a modern twist. Quality musicians.