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INTERVIEW – Mage have a chat with The Jitty webzine – Mage interview at The Jitty

LIVE REVIEW – “And to bring the night to it’s magnificent conclusion, Mage, with a hushed audience bracing themselves for the anticipated riff maelstrom that is about to hit them. Each band up until now had been excellent, all professional polished performances that warranted a larger stage, but with Mage, there’s something more. You almost expect Russell Crowe to be yelling “At my signal, unleash hell”, before Mage let loose. With hefty songs like “Cosmic Cruiser X” and “Star Born” it’s a savage set list that highlights why Mage are highly regarded. Mage don’t rely on one or two star musicians or tricks to thrive on, but have 5 exceptional musicians hammering out their songs.” Hunter – The Jitty

Black Sands Original and Repress

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “From the outset, the band’s passion and well-honed dynamic invite you along for a high-octane ride. ‘Cosmic Cruiser X’, the album’s straightforward opener, is enjoyable and establishes a pounding 4/4 time signature framework for the album, but it does not quite prepare you for the Thrash metal influences to come. By the time the second and third tracks burst from the speakers, however, it is clear that this band offers something different. ‘Black Sands’ is indeed an album full of mood swings that both excite and disorientate: one moment they sing of fantastical space adventures, the next they rage about anger (mis)management! There are moments of beard-shaking fury and heavyweight Traditional Doom, as well as sun-scorched Desert Rock that seems far-removed from the band’s hometown of Leicester, UK…” – Steve Bidmead –

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Crawling from some desolate, druidic Anglo fiord, Mage stomp across the wasteland, trampling all bloody corpses in their way. “Cosmic Cruiser X” is an epic of doom, grunge, sludge and stoner all brewed together into a battlefield assault of crushing riffs and maniacally heavy bottom end. With bands like Grifter, Stubb, XII Boar, Tricorn, and now Mage plowing through the UK subteranean tunnels and catacombs, it’s safe to say that the heavy rock underground in the UK is breeding a special brood of mutated ugliness. It’d be a fine place to get lost. Check these cats out. Black Sands is a true beast.” – Racer – The Ripple Effect

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “That’s what we’re here for, really. If you’ve been dulled by modern metal records with all their production values and erring on the side of caution, Black Sands is a breath of that stale, sweaty air that we’ve come to associate with being drunk in crap-but-fantastic pubs, deafened by up-to-11 bands that don’t really care what you think, and are having a great time doing it. Mage love what they’re doing, and you can tell.” – Dan Egan – The Jitty

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “’Black Sands’ can also boast the rare feature of having no filler, and therefore runs very smoothly from start to finish. Without a doubt, it’s a filthy, rocking riff-fest with a lot of grit and energy. In doing this, MAGE add a metallic edge to their heavy rock and out comes a very timeless, refreshing blend that doesn’t wallow in a totally nostalgic 1970s sound. Sure, it’s got that Orange Goblin and High On Fire influence and heavy groove that characterizes modern heavy rock, but there’s more to MAGE than just worshipping their heroes. They also have a keen sense for melody, both in the vocals and in the riffs. This leads to memorable songs that will grow with repeated listening. ‘Black Sands’ is a dark album, but it’s not depressing or bleak. It’s rather very powerful and MAGE has a good understanding of composition and how to manipulate dynamics.” – Klaus Kleinowski – Cosmic Lava

INTERVIEW – “Interview with Ben from Mage conducted by Chris Barnes of Hellride Music.” – Chris Barnes – Hellride Music

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “The nice thing about Mage, though, and what ultimately makes Black Sands a really solid metal album, is that they manage to play heavy, Sabbath-influenced traditional Doom without coming off sounding like Sabbath clones. Yes, the album is chock-full of BIG RIFFS, but riffs alone don’t make song, which is what a lot of the more interchangeable modern stoner/doom bands tend to forget. And after 30 minutes or so BIG RIFFS alone can get kind of old. Fortunately, Mage knows how to switch it up, like the almost thrash-like (or very Motorhead-sounding, I keep changing my mind) portion of the intro riff to “Rust,” or some of the fantastic guitar solos on the album, especially on the simmering “Witch of the Black Desert,” which may be the album’s standout track. The album also swings like a motherfucker—the rhythm section of Andy (Drums) and Mark (Bass) can hold a groove like few in metal.” – C. Rex – Iron Hops

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Mage are back with another reason why you should be proud of the British music scene at the moment. Formed in 2010 they’ve been rumbling forward with crushing riffs and a sound even Kyuss would be proud of. With their second full length, Black Sands definitely has a ballsy rock’n’roll feel, just adding that extra something to the doomy atmosphere this record conjures. Like a breath of clarity in a sweaty biker bar. I can picture these guys not being out of place on any aggressive music line up- with music like this it fits in amongst so many different things without ever seeming too wildly out of place. So, even if you like primarily doom, or rock, or metal, these guys will slot in nicely and shake things up a bit. If you like your stoner metal and new music, these are guys for you and Black Sands should definitely make its way into your collection.” – Kat Preston – Echoes & Dust

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Mage’s groovy, desert metal sounds absolutely massive. Songs are built around huge, bludgeoning riffs that will lodge themselves into your mind and stay for days. Guitarists Ben and Woody do an amazing job of throwing their most memorable riffs at you over the course of these 10 tracks. The songs generally build to a crescendo which is punctuated with an impressive solo. This really is the stuff headbangers’ dreams are made of. Also doing a rather fantastic job is vocalist Tom who’s enormous, booming, half-sung, half-yelled vocals give this album its’ biggest draw. The vocals on Black Sands are so brilliantly executed that it really only takes a single listen for the lyrics to stick with you. You can actually picture yourself in the audience at a Mage show, bellowing all the words back at the band accompanied with a beer in one hand.” – Lewis Clark – UK Scumscene

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “With furious power and magnitude comes a new band from the UK, scorching the earth and laying waste to all in sight this band rules the land. This band I talk about is Mage. The music contained within their latest release “Black Sands” is a testament to the power of the riff. Combining an earth-shattering breed of devastating Stoner/Doom along side a straight forward in-your-face metal approach, the band succeeds in making a brilliant piece of work that is not only HEAVY, but also one that lays down groove and melody. Along with blazing guitars, thundering drums, rumbling bass and gruff vocals you are consumed by the ominous and dark nature of the band. Mage’s debut full-length “Black Sands” is no doubt a thrilling listen through and through, but if I were to have choose a few standout tracks they would be “Cosmic Cruiser X”, “Rust”, “Surfing Temporal Tides” and “Witch of the Black Desert”. Killer release! It comes as a very high recommendation.” – Reg – Heavy Planet Stoner Rock Blog

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “It’s a monumental achievement that the album, despite being entirely independent, sounds and looks so professional and it’s clear that this is the result of a group of musicians working (at the risk of sounding like a trailer for a Hollywood war movie) not for money or fame but for the love of crafting something that excites them first and foremost. With Mage’s music freely available on bandcamp (and streaming below) there really is no excuse not to check them out – currently one of the UK’s best kept secrets Mage are awesome.” – Phil –

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Every track is a highlight whether it be the Down-ish sounding opening track ‘Cosmic Cruiser X’ or the stoner thrash of ‘Rust’ or ‘Degenerate.’ The thrash element (which is pure 80’s by the way) makes this a unique brand of stoner-metal that is one part nostalgia, one part modern and original. The band often sound like what would have happen if Metallica turned doom metal in the mid 80’s. Or to put it another way imagine a more metallic and doomy Orange Goblin and you will be getting closer to the sound of Mage.” – Jack Sabbath –

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “A speedy sound with a lot of groove is Mage’s business card. “Black Sands” offers everything what a Stoner Metal listener want to hear. Song’s like “Degenerate”,”Rust”, “Star Born” and “Hulk Out” are killer song’s and also the rest of the album kicks ass. So it’s a good idea to buy this album because for only 4.99 pounds you can’t make a mistake with MAGE…do it!!!” 7 from 10 Stonerpoints – P. Stonerhead – Stonerhead Let Groove Your Brains Tonight

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Stoner rock, however gnarly and fucked up it gets is always kind of welcoming and comforting for most hard rock fans. You can sit back and be sure of some meaty guitar grooves and some enjoyably bad attitudes. And so it proves with Nottingham five-piece Mage‘s sophomore album “Black Sands”. It launches with ‘Cosmic Cruiser X’ , a slinky space rocker with a trusty riff you could hang your leather space suit off. You know you’re in for good trip…” – Chris Ball –

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Ten tracks of groove filled, riffmongous rock and roll. It touches on doom in parts, it has a healthy lungful of stoner rock, flirts with some old school classic sounds and even dips its toe in the muddy waters of thrash on occasion, such as the frantic intro to “Rust”. Each track rips along on a succession of killer riffs backed up by Andy’s innate sense of groove on the drums that never fail to get your toes twitching and a more than cursory nod of the head. Mage don’t go in for any tiresome prog theatrics…thank fuck. The riffs are simple and are best served as a result being both catchy and sufficiently meaty. Tom’s vocals once again are a high point, his raw voice displaying a keen sense of melody that has shades of both Wino and Hetfield. Structurally the songs don’t set out to confuse or bedazzle…only to drive the point of the song home as the riff and melodies are given space and time to develop, build and immerse themselves in your psyche.” – Ollie Stygall – The Sleeping Shaman

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Mage has a fairly simple recipe that works really well: one part deep heavy guitar/bass work laden with monster riffs; one part huge monster drums; one part clean-yet-raspy vocals that are both catchy and slightly menacing. The result is an album that probably should have been on my best of 2012 list last week. There are riffs so monstrous I have to wonder if perhaps Tony Iommi is getting royalties on them. At the very least I expect Tony would give them a nod of approval.” – George Washburn – Metal Disciple

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “A count-off to 4 and UK’s Stoner Doom magnates Mage unleashes a torrent of unabashed riff-heavy Stoner/Doom rock n’ roll in the Old School UK tradition trailblazed by luminaries such as Orange Goblin, Cathedral and Acrimony. Mages’ Black Sands is the follow-up to 2011’s self-titled album and it’s a fun as hell, fist-pumping, back slapping and table slamming collection of heavy, riff-centric tuneage. Mage is the kind of band I’d like to see at the Underworld some day a couple of pints under. Love the Mage, Long live the Mage!” – Chris Barnes –

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Finally, we have a full-length from stoner rock crew Mage, entitled ‘Black Sands’, which the promotional flyer calls ‘for fans of Kyuss, Corrosion of Conformity and Goatsnake’ And wow, as a fan of all those bands, I was not disappointed. True, vocalist Tom possesses some of the same tones as one John Garcia, and you might swear you’ve heard some of these riffs before, but these are some mighty grooves from start to finish. There’s no harm in lifting from your peers if you sound good, and Mage sound great. Tracks like ‘Rust’ and ‘Super Supremacy’ are full of attitude and powerful riffs, emphasised by thick chunky bass that gives this quintet even more roar. Every self-respecting rock and metal fan should get this. I, for one, am seriously impressed.” – Peter Clegg – We Must Obey

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “We found these guys in a roundabout kind of way. Checking in over at the Heavy Planet site they mentioned Witchhunter Records. One look at their badass label, and we had to check out what they were all about. One of the bands signed to their label is Mage. A band with a sometimes sludgy, always heavy sound that combines elements of biker and sludge metal and immediately got our attention… “Cosmic Cruiser X” is the opening track, which as the name suggests, is a great cruising song. A nice down tuned riff and head banging groove makes this a great track to have handy for those highway moments. Things pick up a little bit in the speed and heaviness columns on “Degenerate”, bringing a little more metal to the party. If things got heavy on “Degenerate”, they start out downright thrashy on “Rust”. Lighting fast drums and guitar kick off the song, but the band settles into a heavy groove recalling another U.K. biker metal band in Orange Goblin…” – Slades – Stoner Rock BBQ

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Mage play a whirlwind style of Stoner Metal mixing in Doom, Fuzz, and Desert Rock and even thrash metal to crush the senses to. They have just released their superb debut album – Black Sands. A 39-minute blast of pulsating riffs spread over 10 equally loud tracks. Mage have delivered a top-notch album for their debut release. It showcases another great Stoner Metal band to check out from the UK Scene. The album is expertly produced and you can hear everything loud and crisp. The way good Stoner Metal should be. If you are a fan of Orange Goblin then give Mage a try as these guys could be natural successors to Orange Goblin’s crown.” – The Sludgelord – The Sludgelord

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “I’m not sure exactly how many deserts they have in the UK (I believe the answer is less than three), but if those deserts were littered with desolate graveyards, then Mage’s sound would fit the landscape perfectly. The rhythm is bludgeoning, the guitar is dry as a mausoleum, the vocals are sweaty. Together they whip up one hell of a beer spraying storm creating a suffocating atmosphere.” – Lucas Klaukien – Paranoid Hitsophrenic

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Mage are rocking out, simple as that. This is 10 tracks of Sabbath-infused good time Doom Metal. It’s nice to see bands with doom influences that are not bothering with the occult-shtick Scooby Doom nonsense that’s so prevalent these days. As soon as Cosmic Cruiser X blasts out of your speakers, it’s time to crack open a cold one and enjoy. The song grooves along, with the rhythm section of Andy and Mark working together to lay down some serious bedrock for the twin guitar attack of Ben and Woody to play across the top of. Tom’s vocals are classic heavy metal in the vein of Pepper Keenan or Ben Ward, and when it all comes together…well, I lost count of the amount of times I started playing air-bass or nodding along when I gave the disc it’s first spin! All in all, this is a real stomper of an album, covering all kinds of ground, and Boulty’s production really puts the band right in your face. Brilliant.” – Patchie Clancy – Thee Claw

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Its Riff’o’clock in MAGE world, in fact its Riff’o’clock all day everyday… unrelenting riffs piled up higher than the bloody empire state building and then some! This band don’t just wear their influences on their sleeve, they wear them as a bloody armoured chest plate with a million un-removable padlocks!! You can hear all the obvious comparisons in there and its this that is their strength.” – Gareth Kelly – When Planets Collide

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Mage really do pack an impressive arsenal of gigantic riffs, swooping solos and majestic vocals that paint pictures of the fantastical. It’s some seriously cosmic stoner doom. Fans of Electric Wizard and Orange Goblin will be right at home with Mage’s dope-smoke thick riffery and grumbling bass tone and the songs are extremely well constructed, revealing a lot more experience in the band members than their short time together would suggest. The base formula of stoner metal is left largely untouched and you won’t truly be hearing anything unlike what’s gone before, but that never matters when it’s pulled of with as much heart as this, and with such a reverence for their forbears.” – TTTN – Tight To The Nail

BLACK SANDS REVIEW – “Five dudes with burl enough for seven, UK-based riffloaders Mage make their full-length debut with Black Sands, a record that serves as their diploma earned by graduating from the Down/Orange Goblin school of dudely thrust. Tones are thick, songs are straightforward, drinks are drunk, heads are smashed and tasty basslines abound across the 10-track outing, which is strong in presence and large in sound. They seem to know they’re not fucking with the formula, but they also seem to know which parts of it they want to make their own. Elements of thrash and show up in “Degenerate” and opener “Cosmic Cruiser X” and the later “Surfing Temporal Tides” speak at least to a lyrical affinity for that which rocks and is stoner, but the mood remains relatively consistent throughout the album, which is a well-written collection of songs obviously geared toward a live setting, where they can be consumed with both proper volume and inebriation.” – JJ Koczan – The Obelisk

EP Original and Repress

MAGE EP REVIEW – “Listening to the tracks they have recorded, starting with the infectious ‘Chariots on Fire’, I get a sense of all sorts of interesting flavours. Everything from Lynyrd Skynyrd, through early St Vitus, Corrosion of Conformity and even modern-day Southern Sludge are inflected with a unique sound that brings to mind early Metallica. These guys know their chops, with a dense fog of distorted guitar riffing moving slowly over a solid foundation of downtuned basslines whilst the whole powerful sound is underpinned by chunky, cymbal crashing drum slaps. Tempos move from slow to fast and back again. Interest is maintained as the styles change, which in itself is a good thing, as it proves that Mage know how to put a song together – a skill that lamentably few bands seem to have mastered.” – Rip It Up Webzine

MAGE EP REVIEW – “This damned 4 track EP has been living in my car, possessing my driving habits since it’s release. I’m not entirely convinced that the phrase “Yes officer, but I was only doing a hundred, but the music made me do it, and I’m very sorry about the numerous casualties” will work in a court of law. The opening track should probably come with a warning, starting off with a dark moody guitar riff that gives a hint of what’s to come. If you are holding a beverage of any type, put it down, for the love of god, for the sake of the children, do it. It’s not just the sheer volume, it’s the transition from a clever subtle little riff from Ben, to a force 10 vicious metal onslaught of just literally, everything, ripping out of your speakers, “Slow burn, One thousand ways to feel, The Earth turn”. Mage have arrived, and they’ve just taken a 10lb lump hammer to your house…” – Hunter – The Jitty

MAGE EP REVIEW – “Wow! ‘Chariots On Fire’ just hits you so perfectly as it kicks in with a stoner metal riff the size of a house; the groove is awesome, the sound vast, and the song moves along at an immaculate pace. ‘Legacy’ eases off the groove and piles on the doom with some granite riffs and rough, soulful vocals. Throughout the huge riffs and great hooks of ‘Respite’ and ‘To The Edge’, I can’t stop smiling, enjoying vague memories of Hangnail amongst the rich guitars. These songs would just crush delivered at monstrous volume from the stage of a sweaty club. Mage are a bit special, and I love ‘em. – 5 out of 6” – Chris Kee – Zero Tolerance magazine

MAGE EP REVIEW – “There are gorgeous grooves, raw yet melodic vocals, and it displays a superior writing skill that spells out class with a capital C. The opening cut should have got the juice’s flowing but if not, the following track, ‘Legacy’ should do the job. This is classic doom, the old-fashioned way but showing some real ‘stylistic range’ within its context. It is “quintessential” stuff for the most part but they also throw in a thrashy section just to keep you on your toes. Then comes ‘Respite’ which is epic sounding doom stuff even though it is not that long of a track, this one is extremely infectious, going from pure trad-doom style to fuzzy stoner-metal riff-a-rama and back again with ease. The promo then ends on ‘To The Edge’ which floods the mind with more catchy grooves and thick riffage… as a teaser for the future, this one of the most exciting promos released this year. When they do deliver a full-length album, all I can say is watch out… 9/10.” – Ed Barnard –

MAGE EP REVIEW – “…the Leicestershire five-piece bombards the listener with a rich mix of Sabbath riffing and tripped-out howls; none more so than during the heads-down stomp of ‘Legacy’, while the driving, down-tuned power chords of ‘Chariots On Fire’ is vintage stoner-rock. Despite borrowing from their doomy-metal forefathers, this clean and crisp recording soon gives way to a cacophony of noise and aggression; a rare and polished statement from a band, who, after all, are still at the beginning of their career. A bright future beckons.” – Chybucca Sounds

MAGE EP REVIEW – “I can’t say enough good things about the music. It’s heavily armored for maximum volume (as you’ll discover midway through “Chariots on Fire” and “Legacy” when your face melts), has a great groove and is perfect for fist-pumping, toe-tapping or head-banging with a frosty, alcoholic beverage of your choice. I hope Mage plans to stick around, at least for a full length release. The EP has me fired up.” – Chris Barnes –

LIVE REVIEW – “Second band, Mage, are five men from Leicestershire who “were brought together by a shared love of ‘thee riff’.” And lucky for us they were as they smashed the place apart with their own brand of doom laden, progressive metal. A loud cheer greeted the opening chords of ‘Legacy’ where lead singer, Tom Smith’s, tonsorial antics were reminiscent of Deep Purple’s David Coverdale. The sheer grinding determination of the thrashing drums as provided by Andy Moore was a marvel to witness and Mark Challis provided the thunder for Mage’s musical storm.” – Bee Tovey – Arts In Leicestershire

MAGE EP REVIEW – “Mage are clearly out to kill and the guitars are set to crack ribs at 60 paces… Vocalist Tom possesses a tough edge to his voice yet retains ample clarity to allow his melodic sense to come to the fore… Recorded in just one day this truly puts a lot of bigger budget releases to shame with its truly weighty mix allowing the guitars to come to the fore without sacrificing the grunt of the bass and the propulsive push of the drums… From the cover to the production to the tunes this is an impressive package… the UK can proudly add another killer stoner/doom band to its growing list, definitely ones to keep a very keen eye on.” – Ollie Stygall – The Sleeping Shaman

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