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Imagika - Only Dark Hearts Survive Award winner

Only Dark Hearts Survive
by Quinten Serna at 23 September 2019, 6:00 PM

Amidst a career of lineup changes and hiatuses IMAGIKA remains true to their origins despite, existing somewhere between the lines of Thrash and Power Metal yet never in full embrace of either. There remains a power and admiralty that lies within retaining the voice that makes one true to their origins, a quality that few possess—bands or human beings (though the human condition is a matter on its own)—and whilst the interests of bands grow and evolve over time few are able to keep themselves tethered to their original driving force and create music that longtime fans can still headbang to, without the folly of attrition.

The album begins in a repeating progression which commences the song “Where Our Demons Dwell”.  The balance of guitars is immediately heard as each one is isolated within their respective channel drawing emphasis on the subtle and explicit intricacies that vary between each delivery, such as the pinch harmonics in the left channel and elongated chords in the right prior to the chorus. The use of sweet vocals for the chorus contrasts the dark progressions and overall dissonant voicings of the strings creating a distinct tone. This tone is met through different methods in the follow-up song “Cast Into Damnation,” a heavy driven song with a stilled refrain; Matt Thompson’s syncopated grooves capture the attention and imagination of the listener as the song returns to its normal drive albeit it cradled with a piercing solo. “Prisoner Of Fate” begins in the silence of the preceding track and wastes no time making itself known, with a speed infused riff differing between each channel as the bass livens up the subtleties with powerful staccato.

The band has a powerful approach to space and carving out their own tones with the guitars providing similar voicing in each channel yet uniquely themselves, something of which few other guitarists ever pursue—Dave Navarro and Buckethead being the only others to come to mind in short thought—and the implementation is of mastery. The bass is constant and powerful solidifying every track and laying out the foundation in tandem with the drums. The vocals are reaching and cut through the instrumentation with ease, each syllable glides through every torrent of the strings and drum accent with ease.

IMAGIKA is seeing a powerful reinvigoration and continues to produce and create Metal in their own eldritch manner; for having never heard the band before I was compelled by the intricacies of the music just as much as the band’s drive laden throughout every track.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Where Our Demons Dwell
2. Cast Into Damnation
3. Prisoners Of Fate
4. Suffocate On Hate
5. The Spiteful One
6. The Faceless Rise
7. Firefight
8. Only Dark Hearts Survive
Jim Pegram —Bass
Matt Thompson —Drums
Steve Rice —Guitars
Norman Skinner —Vocals
Record Label: Dissonance Productions


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Edited 27 May 2020

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