Over the course of recent years a lot of promising new heavy rock bands are coming from the UK. This includes MAGE, who released their first album 'Black Sands' in 2012. It showcases the band's ability to create adrenaline-pumping songs full of booming riffs, and roaring yet unobtrusive vocals. '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. That is (almost) all there is to say about 'Black Sands'.
Oh well, before I finish, I would like to point out that even the packaging is tasteful. This album comes in a six-panel digipack that looks pretty nice. In conclusion, it's an enjoyable effort all the way through, and I really suggest that anyone looking for a good metal-tinged heavy rock album should give it a listen.