“Dealers of Divinity”

By Dr. Abner Mality

They say that no one has really been able to duplicate the sound of 70’s BLUE OYSTER CULT. Well, the claim has been made that GHOST has done it, but no honest music fan takes that seriously. I can say that Detroit’s WHITE MAGICIAN has probably made the best stab at emulating BOC that I can remember.

That’s not to say they equal the CULT in full flow, because almost nobody can do that. But the BOC fingerprints are all over “Dealers of Divinity” and it makes for a pretty unique album. This really does have the authentic 70’s feel to the production. The guitars are not as distorted as we’re used to in this day and age and they have a lot of that “jangly” feel to them. Poppish melodies and clean vocals are also found in abundance here, but where BOC keeps their songs economical and compact in almost every instance, WHITE MAGICIAN are definitely more epic and are not afraid to jam for extended lengths of time. That doesn’t always work in their favor.

It’s a peculiar album, even for Cruz del Sur. The absolute best thing about it is the excellent fluid lead guitar work. Now I consider Buck Dharma about the best guitar player who ever lived, at least in hard rock, and the gentlemen of WHITE MAGICIAN are very much inspired by him and they keep pretty close to his high standard. Great guitar solos are all over the place here...there’s even a peculiar gypsy/flamenco acoustic instrumental called “Fading Into the Obscurity of Ages”, which goes a little bit too long. In fact, a couple of the cuts here kind of outstay their welcome, especially the last cut “Spectre of A Dying Flame” which really dragged. There are times when the vocal tones of The Great Kaiser (that’s his name, believe it or not) get kind of syrupy in the same way that Papa Emeritus do. And yes, there is some GHOST influence here, although with a lot less keyboards.

The lyrics all seem to be really mystical and the song titles are long-winded and odd. Even the cover art  has an “Agents of Fortune/Spectres” feel to it. It all adds up to a sound that’s not perfect, but is entertaining in its way and vastly different from most of what I’m hearing. Not a bad thing.