Review Summary: Less brood, more party.
In a time where I'm growing increasingly annoyed by elitist attitudes towards music, Sweden's Black Magic Fools comes into my life at the right time, offering up a campy, energetic take on folk metal with their colorful albeit disappointing half chubby of a debut in Soul Collector.
Armed with a bassist, a drummer, a guitarist, dueling violinists and a bagpipe/jew harp wielding frontman, Black Magic Fools arrives to the party with some parlor tricks up their sleeves. Their band image, tacky album cover, jester themed song titles and energetic romps dictate that they could be not so distant relatives to Alestorm. To some degree that would be accurate but at the same time their music still comes off as too serious at times. Even with the wailing violins and thundering bagpipes running amok in the backdrop the music tries to hard to be epic and aggressive with the heavy riffs and yelling vocals. I feel like if they dialed it back with the aggression, added a different vocalist to the mix and embraced their playful nature a bit more, Black Magic Fools would be more memorable. The acoustic interludes, bagpipe passages and dueling violinists would be better utilized with a songwriting approach that actually believed in songwriting. WHERE ARE THE HOOKS? Half the time (if you're a folk metal fan) you're pleased by what you're hearing and the other half of the time you're being bored to death by Pontus's bland yells and Daniel's banal guitar solos. At 46 minutes long there are points where you just want to vomit up all the banana rum shots you previously downed and go to sleep. The ideas are there as is the energy and the passion but the lack of fundamentals hampers Soul Collector greatly. Fortunately, Black Magic Fools ends on a high note with the renaissance themed ballad Vädjan. Driven by beautiful female vocals sung in their native tongue along with the violins, the track gives me hope for their next release.