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The Black Mages - The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight CD (album) cover


The Black Mages


Progressive Metal

3.09 | 30 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars After a long hiatus of four years, the Black Mages return with a great new album entitled The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight. While some of you readers find the previous endeavours of this band mediocre and weak (especially their last album, which was terrible at most times), you will most certainly not be disappointed by this new album. Nobuo Uematsu, after reflecting for four years, finally came up with a full-proof work of Progressive Metal. First of all, the musicians have come a long way since the last album. The drummer Arata Hanyuda has done a remarkable job here, with non-stop action, and keeps up perfectly with the rest of the band. The guitarists Tsuyoshi Sekito and Michio Okamiya are in constant fight for dominance, resulting in explosive reefs and solos and whatnot. Last, but not least, the keyboard, the main instrument of this band, is down right to genius. The production of this album isn't squeaky clean like the one in their last two albums, and is a lot more dirty, giving the album an overall feeling of a Metal album. The drums are a lot more powerful, the guitars rely a lot on bass sounds and the bass is perfectly audible, however the keyboard still has a clean, crisp sound. The reason for this is quite obvious: keyboards must sound like this, no matter which kind of music you intend to play with it.

A few comments about the musics and the band in general: while listening to this CD, you have to keep in mind that a couple of tracks can become slightly repetitive, since they were originally video game musics. Thankfully, the band did an awesome job in keeping variety, something they hadn't quite nailed in their last CDs. Also, there is only one track with vocals, Darkness and Starlight, which is, in fact, an Opera Rock piece. While this might not seem like an important detail for some people, for others that alone is enough for them to not listen to this CD (a shame, really).

While this is a great album, there's a track I'm not particularly happy with: Distant Worlds. For starters, this music had a weak rearrangement. Also, this music has a slow pace, and that alone kills the momentum built by the previous tracks. And to top it all off, this music wasn't composed by Nobuo Uematsu himself. Why the hell did they even bother rearrange this music? I have no idea.

The other tracks are non-stop action, being the most powerful tracks Bombing Mission and Grand Cross, both of them demanding a constant headbang and air guitar, if you know what I mean. Darkness and Starlight is also an interesting and fun Opera Rock music. Some people might complain about the voices, but I personally like them.

Overall a great album, 4* material. If you're looking for a different experience, or for an oriental Progressive Power Metal album, this is it! Also, I highly recommend this album to all fans of the Final Fantasy videogame series.

Lopson | 4/5 |


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