MÄGO DE OZ - MI NOMBRE ES ROCK'N'ROLL (Commented discography)

Speaking of Mägo de Oz, the top name of the Iberian metal scene, evokes in me an ocean of sweet/bitter memories of the good old days. I discovered this band thanks to a song included in a compilation attached to a magazine and I was immediately captivated by their proposal, first of all for the use of the Spanish language, rather unusual, and for the truly suggestive mix of folk and power metal. I discovered then the difficulty in finding their albums (at the time Amazon was a chimera).

On the other hand, when I went to Spain, I was surprised to see that they were so famous that their records even sold 8 street vendors on the sidewalk (and that's not a joke); even the largest Spanish shopping center, El Corte Ingles, had a real column with all their works in the music department. A real ritual began for me whereby, on every trip to Iberian land, I had to get at least a couple of their albums as a souvenir... all this until the paternity blocked my flights (at which point I made up for with Amazon, but honestly it's not the same thing).
Here is a very concise and approximate treatment of their discography. I state that the group has a titanic series of releases, including studio albums, collections, cover album and live, so I limited myself to studio recordings with almost all of their pieces.
To you, cabrones !!!!

MÄGO DE OZ (1994) Unripe debut (to pay it a compliment) and light years away from what would have been the stylistic canons of the band. Starting with an embarrassing cover, the album comes with a rather conventional hard rock, albeit sung in Spanish, and very few concessions to the folk that emerges only at times. There is no shortage of interesting pieces, such as "El Lago", but everything still appears too immature.
JESUS ​​DE CHAMBERI (1996) The first album with Josè Andrea on vocals and first concept album by the group, a sort of rock work about an imaginary return to the present day of Jesus in the Spanish suburbs, preaching free love and the legalization of soft drugs. A desecrating work, musically more mature, distant from the hard rock of the debut and more moved to the folk side, without forgetting the influences of Rainbow and Iron Maiden. The title track and the long "Fin del Camino" are memorable. There is still a little way to go and fewer tracks would have helped the fluency of the listening, but it is a problem that we will often encounter with these guys.
LA LEYENDA DE LA MANCHA (1998) Things start to get challenging, already from the concept, obviously Don Quixote. Behind a beautiful cover - finally - there is one of the best works of the group, perfectly balanced between metal rides, folk moments and acoustic passages. If the opener "El Santo Grial" and the title track are a real blow to the teeth, the single "Molinos De Viento" will become a must in live performances. Other songs worth noting are the rocking "El Balsamo de Fierabras" and "El Templo de l'Adios" (cover of Rainbow's "Temple of the Kings").
FINISTERRA (2000) Further maturation for the group that tries, this time, the double album card with a concept album this time the fruit of the founder Txus de Fellatio. The folk component integrates perfectly with the classic metal soul, as well highlighted by the opener "Satania". Numerous songs of impact, including Fiesta pagana, Hasta que el cuerpo aguante, El que quiera entender que entienda, La dance del fuego and Santa compaña. 3 covers this time, Duerme (inspired by the traditional Scarborough Fair), Es Hora de Marchar ("Rainbow Eyes" by Rainbow) and "Kelpie" (Jethro Tull).

GAIA (2003) The beginning of a monumental work spread over 4 issues for a total of 6 CDs. A story that, starting from the present day with the execution of the death penalty against an innocent who claims to be the reincarnation of the spirit of the earth Gaia, traces the history of the world from the colonization of the New World to today. Beyond the concept, and applauding the rich and exhaustive booklet that will accompany each release, a greater artistic maturity should be noted, accompanied if we want by some progressive nuances that make the compositions longer and more complex, even if the involvement. The long title track is as intense as it is apt, the live Alma as intense as the single "La Costa del Silencio" is as entertaining. It is impossible not to get excited with "El Albor de la Noche Triste" and with the ballad "Rosa de Los Vientos". Another long song, "La Venganza de Gaia", closes the disc wonderfully, leaving expectations on the sequel.

The second chapter of the Gaia saga, in double cd. The style takes up the characteristics of the previous chapter, focusing more on the "aggressive" component. Superb the fast title-track as well as the rocking "Hazme un Sitio Entre Tu Piel" but all the work is kept on more than good levels, even if there is a certain prolixity, fewer tracks and perhaps condensing everything into a single disc would have benefited the whole more. Two covers, "En nombre de Dios" (again Rainbow, this time "Gates Of Babylon") and "Mañana Empieza Hoy" ("Hymn" by Ultravox).

The group takes a break from the challenging concept they jumped into by releasing a record with a drier and more direct spirit and structure. The compositions are all more classic, with easy-to-catch choruses and without particular upsets. The result is extremely entertaining and engaging listening, as well as of limited duration. The title-track is perhaps a little too much based on Iron Maiden's "Dance of Death", while pieces like "Y Ahora Voy A Salir" unleash the most tavern keeper souls. Curious reinterpretation of "39" by Queen which here becomes "Resacosix en la Barra". A pleasant and successful interlude that reminds us that Mägo de Oz can also be fun.

The third act of the story of Gaia and once again a double cd. The great variety of styles encountered is surprising once again, from the classic power folk by and Que El Viento sople a tu favor ", the epic opener Dies Irae, the Rammsteiniana" Für Immer "and the wild" Vodka'n'Roll " What is missing, perhaps, is a bit of synthesis, so in the long run everything is verbose. The use of the first lines sung in the first piece of the first album of the trilogy in the finale of the long title track is moving.

The title is misleading, as it has nothing to do with the concept, in fact it is a collection of unpublished songs and songs presented in some collections and remastered for the occasion, the fact is that this is the last work with Jose Andrea to the item. Songs with a shorter duration and a style closer to the standard canons of the group without major concessions to experimentation; indeed, if you like, this album has a more rock sound. There are no particular peaks, except for the epic ballad "Adios Dulcinea" (really moving) and in general, it is a pleasant listening that adds nothing or detracts from the group's career.

Microphone debut for Zeta, who, however hard he tries, fails, in my opinion, to cover the vocal spectrum of the bulky predecessor, for a work that roughly follows what has already been heard in the recent works of the band, with an annoying feeling of already heard and few ideas. Raise the average the final part of the album, including the beautiful title-track, but in general there is a need for the group to find its own identity.

ILUSSA (2014)
The concept album formula is back, this time on a single disc (Deo Gratias), in a circus setting. The group shows itself to be more cohesive and with a renewed desire to have fun and entertain so, net of the absence of real new classics, we can breathe a sigh of relief: the power folk of our people has regained their lifeblood and listening to it turns out to be pleasant and promising for the band's further career, and songs like "Pensatorium", "Abracadabra" and "Vuela Alto" are a great feeling.

IRA DEI (2019)
Again a double album, with a cover that once again preludes to religious themes, but I must admit that there are no moments of tiredness. The whole record flows very well, with interesting inserts of growls here and there to give a bit of healthy ferocity but in moderation. New classics are missing, but this is now the trend of the new Mägo de Oz, but 90 minutes and more without yawning are already an achievement. It is difficult to indicate one trace compared to the others, really all the work deserves to be appreciated; for those who speak to you the best of the Zeta era.

The comic cover is back, this time with a pirate theme, and the desire to return to the more markedly folk dimensions returns, too bad that there is really little substance behind the packaging. Nothing frankly bad, except perhaps the too dilated and not exactly insightful opener "Al Abordaje", and "Resacosix en Pandemia" entertain, as well as other tracks here and there, but the feeling of already heard and too marked; I then add that the use of the instrumental theme of "Bella Ciao" (just that one) for the song "Tu Madre es una Cabra" sounds almost offensive. The vocal flatness of Zeta then unfortunately does not help the songs to take off and everything remains rather flat. Not a boring record, God forbid, but maybe the best ideas from the band are in the previous records.

Until next time!

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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