Review: Magic

Magic, is the sixth and final studio album from the British heavy metal band Gillan. Together with Colin TownsIan Gillan wrote and recorded eight original tracks and a cover of the Stevie Wonder classic, Living For The City.

By the time Magic came out, it was clear that the band Gillan were ready to fold. With Bernie Tormé being ousted from the group before the recording of Double Trouble and being replaced by the now well known Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers, it is clear that something was missing from the band. Though Gers puts on a respectable performance over all, the guitars have been thrown into the background for a more keyboard driven sound. It is a far cry from the ultra heavy approach found on the albums, Mr UniverseGlory Road and Future Shock.

Despite its flaws, the album itself is pretty decent. I personally enjoyed the opening track, What’s The Matter, Demon Driver and the Living in the City cover version. The rest of the album is a hit or miss depending what you’re looking for. Interestingly enough, the tone of the album gets quite dark in places, particularly on the previously mentioned, Demon Driver. You’ll similarities to the material that made its way onto Black Sabbath’s Born Again album from the following year, particularly the lyric style and vocal delivery. Talking of vocal delivery, it is clear that during the recording sessions that Ian Gillan was struggling with his voice. His high notes are mostly non existent and he seems to struggle with keeping his middle range consistent through out. It is no secret that Gillan’s voice went a bit funny in the ’80s and this is a good example of what happened and when.

If you plan on buying this release, you’ll get a number of bonus tracks that are varied in quality. I quite enjoyed the bands cover version of The Beatles Helter Skelter and the song Purple Sky. But songs like South Africa and Fiji just left me cold. These tracks are great for completionists but not necessary by any means. Of all the Gillan albums, Magic is without a doubt the weakest of the lot. The song writing just isn’t there and the sound really misses Tormé. It is a decent album for what it is but don’t go out your way to purchase it.

Rating : 7 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. What's the Matter
  2. Bluesy Blue Sea
  3. Caught in a Trap
  4. Long Gone
  5. Driving Me Wild
  6. Demon Driver
  7. Living a Lie
  8. You're so Right
  9. Living For the City (cover)
  10. Demon Driver (reprise)
  11. Breaking Chains
  12. Fiji
  13. Purple Sky
  14. Helter Skelter
  15. Smokestack Lightning
  16. South Africa
  17. John
  18. South Africa (12" extended version)