Imagika - Devils On Both Sides
American band Imagika started their career in 1993 and the time has now come for them to release their fourth album. And Devils On Both Sides also sees the first changes in the line-up since they debuted with Headless Corpse in 1995. Norman Skinner and Elena Luciano come in to fill the vacant spots of vocalist and bass-player and while they where at it, Imagika brought in a second guitarist in form of Pat Toms, completing the line-up. Since this is my first acquaintance with the band I can not really say what these changes have done to the band but I can say that is sounds really good with the current setting.
Bay Area thrash is forming the foundation for Imagika and bands like Testament and Sacred Reich are obvious sources of inspiration with the heavy pounding rhythms. Although Imagika show a good variation with their music and the base is thrash, they also have a lot in common with Iced Earth and the early albums with Matthew Barlow. Dark, atmospheric and straightforward music with a good sense of melodies and of building up emotions in the songs. They have a tight rhythm section which deals out some really great riffs and sets a heavy groove going, while they also have the delicate touch with leads and solos spicing up the music which also have a more complex side to it in likeness with the sound of Nevermore or perhaps their predecessor in Sanctuary.
With a track like Back To The Beginning they show their versatility as it switches from calm to more straightforward, fast and heavy while it holds emotion as well aggression in a good balance. While tracks like Dead-Eye Stare and Hexed are more of the pounding thrash, all of the tracks on the album have a similar feel and there is a homogeneity that makes the album very even. I don't know how their former vocalist sounded like but I doubt that it has been a step back with Norman Skinner. His powerful voice gives the music a melodic touch as he is capable of both emotional vocals as well as the more aggressive areas - once again a similarity with Iced Earth and especially Mat Barlow.
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