Hailing from one of the few remaining truly regional scenes in heavy metal, White Magician have a lot to live up to considering the output of contemporaries like Borrowed Time and Demon Bitch. Though, much like their neighbors and alter egos (every member of White Magician is also in Demon Bitch), they’re not remotely content to rehash genre tropes. Dealers of Divinity is a breath of fresh air into the modern heavy metal scene and does valuable work in morphing the sonic mold of modern heavy metal before it hardens and stagnates.
The Blue Oyster Cult esque album cover does a good job of prepping you for what you’re in for; the album is very much an exploration of occult rock being approached from a sturdy heavy metal background. While a lot mellower than these guys’ other outputs, the virtuosity that makes Demon Bitch possible is still very much present. They can’t resist the occasional jam-out and it does a great job of keeping the album fresh for its runtime. “In Memoriam Love and Magic” in particular feels like the band indulging themselves towards the end, featuring familiar frantic drumming and ripping dual solos. Despite these occasional moments of digression, the album feels very cohesive and well thought out, an underrated quality in my opinion. No songs feel tacked on, out-of-place, or worse, C-sides of a different band.
Dealers of Divinity also represents to me the development of all those involved as musicians. Those familiar with their past outputs know that they were not slouches to begin with, but it’s so cool to hear them get better and better with time while maintaining the same taste and restraint. I cannot express my disappointment were this scene to devolve into self-indulgent prog… instead, they’ve chosen to go the way of 80s Helstar and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
More than worth a listen and more than likely one of the best albums to come out this year, if you’ve been into Michigan and Canada’s heavy metal output as of late, you’re sure to love this one as well!
Favorite Track: In Memoriam Love and Magic