Saturday 10 December 2016

A Study of MAGMA RISE by Aleks Evdokimov

Magma Rise was born in 2009 by two musicians of the oldest Hungarian doom band Mood. After Mood split up Gabor Holdampf (vocals, bass) and Kolos Hegyi (guitars) played in Wall of Sleep and Stereochrist respectively but after few years of being with these bands they took a decision to start something new.

They have been friends since ‘82-83, and firstly Gabor did not want to found a new band, he just asked Sanyi Banfalvi, the best drummer in Hungary (played in Neck Sprain), to play the drums with him as he had some riffs and they should make some songs - without a band just for fun. Kolos offered to record the guitars and said they would need a second guitar player. He talked about playing live, about a band. Some phone calls and Magma Rise got second guitarist Mihály Janó, so the band was founded literally in 2 hours.

The debut record “Lazy Stream of Steel” had seen the light in 2010. It was same classic doom metal which they played in Mood for many years, so they knew well that to do to gain a more balanced heavy sound.

Gabor shares his impressions about this album:

I like those songs, the fans too... Also my friend Kyle Thomas (Trouble) featured on it. We recorded “Glow Burn Scream” from the Mood album “Wombocosmic”. And he made a killer job, he is in the “Gillan, Dio, Halford” league, amongst the best ones... Unfortunately the most underrated singer of all time I think”.

Yes, participant of Trouble’s frontman was a good choice, but besides that Magma Rise performed seven excellent tracks of their own production. These songs are kind of focused and well-controlled noble rage mixed with melancholic reflections and righteous intentions. The band sounds serious and more adult without any trendy stories of bong smoking with the devil.

Really, they do what they like and don't go aiming to please everyone. And someone needs to write serious songs, right? So if you had your course of anger management and like slow, heavy and true doom metal – that’s for you. Twin guitars make instrumentals diverse and more “metal”, exponential doom riffs and Gabor’s resonant low voice create quite strong impression – such are Magma Rise main features.

In the next year PsycheDOOMelic Records released 7” split of Magma Rise and The Asound. New song “Five” was included in the band’s second full-length “The Man in the Maze”. This album won the title of Album of the Year at the Hungarian Metal Awards 2013. This was the decision of the rock/metal press in Hungary - magazines, fanzines, Internet platforms that review music voted for Magma Rise and it was a big surprise for them.

The album was recorded as a 3 piece band, that time Magma Rise had not second guitar player and they decided to write, finish and record the album as a trio. However new guitarist László Herczeg joined them pretty soon. They worked with sound engineer and producer Barna Hidasi, who done a lot for this record. He took an active part in “The Man in the Maze” sessions, all songs were recorded live in a practise room at the edge of the world beside an old railway station in Budapest. It took five days to finish the album.

I suggest that the album shows band’s progress in musicianship but prevalence of mid-tempo tracks strikes the eye. These guys know how to do more dynamic and vivid songs, so it was the right time to record down one or two of this kind. Besides that, it’s highly professional work and a model of genuine doom.

On March 2016 Nail Records published Magma Rise EP “False Flag Operation”. It consists of four new tracks and Trouble cover “Pray for the Dead” that shows clearly one of the band’s core influences. Surprise! Butch Balich (Argus, Penance) performed vocals for this song.

False Flag Operation” artwork is like a collage of bad news, Gabor’s wife made the photos, as she is a professional photographer. These shattered images reflect the lyrics topics. Well, the lyrical ideas of Mood and Magma Rise look similar, but probably with Magma Gabor can share more of his social critics.

Speaking about “False Flag Operation” EP released on March 2016 he tells:

I was in some “inside world” earlier concerning the lyrics, but nowadays I am much more driven by the craziness of the outside world. You can't avoid it, unfortunately. I am much more angry now. I have children, family and I see that their future what we leave them behind seems not to be happy, not at all. There is only chaos. You have to educate survivors who are strong and intelligent enough to survive. No other chance for them”.

False Flag Operation” has been released as a digipack exclusive version with “The Man in the Maze” CD together. The stuff “The Man in the Maze” was not really supported by the label, so it was a sort of forgotten album unfortunately.

Gabor laughs speaking about Magma Rise popularity: We are the king of the unknown underground bands, we would need good, well working distribution, a booking agency in Germany for example to be able to have more popularity. We are just a so called hobby band from Hungary… with regular jobs and families, but it is great so”.

Words by Aleks Evdokimov