Magistral - I Am (demo)
Self Financed
Speed / Power Metal
5 songs (29'37)
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Ben

Wow. That’s what I kept saying while playing Magistral’s I Am EP. These guys play fast, and I mean fast, speed metal with a certain degree of technicality to it and a whole lot of shredding. They manage to stay away from the Power Metal cliché’s of happy, happy, joy, joy song structures and have intricate instrumental sections in every song. A little bit of band bio: Magistral was originally based on Chile but migrated up to Houston, Texas recently to pursue their dreams in the US. They’ve been gigging around the Houston area extensively and why this band isn’t signed yet is a complete mystery to me.

From the blistering fretwork of the opening title track you know that this band doesn’t take matters lightly. Speedy melodic riffs mold around the vocals of frontman Lucho Silva. Now here is where some, repeat SOME, listeners might be turned off because Lucho sings HIGH. I mean stratospheric high akin to Ben Soto from Heavenly. In fact some passages border on unintelligible because the vocals are so high. This doesn’t happen too often but does occur throughout the disc at inopportune times. If Lucho can tone down his voice somewhat, then future scores on albums can expect to be increased by several points, a very talented man but he needs to learn that sometimes less really is more. A lengthy solo section allows guitarist Danilo Vargas to show off his skills and man, this guy can play a wide variety of varying styles. From the super fast shredding solos to a heavy, crunchy, headbanging riff he plays with class and emotion instead of trying to fill in each measure with as many notes as possible. A very new and interesting solo segment (at least in Power / Speed Metal) is the brief but killer flamenco section. Unique stuff like that, that make you look up at your stereo and go, “Hey that’s cool,” are few and far between nowadays in new Power Metal acts so more power to Magistral for that. Let’s hope they continue implementing this practice in the future. How is a midtempo heavy tune that chugs along at a moderate pace and has a very classic sounding solo to it reminding me of Iron Maiden or Helloween. After another speedy number (Strike of the Angels) that is another high standard tune comes the pseudo ballad, Infinite Void. A slow acoustic intro with some of the more restrained singing by Lucho segues into another speed ridden song about two and a half minutes in. As usual it is again, another very enjoyable song. The final track on I Am bears the namesake of the band and ends the EP on an extremely high note. The only real out and out Power Metal song on here, Magistral is uplifting, soaring and has a chorus to die for. Awesome solos and an extremely passionate performance by Lucho makes this a true killer.

I am in serious wonder on how come Magistral hasn’t landed a lucrative recording contract yet. In this day and age when I am bombarded by standard fare Power Metal left and right (look at my Thunderbolt review) Magistral has produced music that is both fresh and exciting to my ears and that says a lot. They have several distinctive elements that make their songs stand out amongst the sea of material I am bombarded with every week and a band like this will definitely help the scene out and make it rise above mediocrity. Fans of Power / Speed metal with technical, well structured instrumental sections should check these guys out post haste.

Killing Songs :
I Am, Strike of the Angels, and Magistral
Ben quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Magistral that we have reviewed:
Magistral - Demo 2005 reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
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