If there is one thing that every (well, almost every) metalhead has, it’s an undying love and affection for J.R.R. Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. That literature has such a huge impact on the metal: bands with such a connection include Amon Amarth, Black Sabbath, Burzum, Blind Guardian, Cirith Ungol, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Nightwish, Orange Goblin, Summoning… the list goes on. Calgary’s own Maglor is no exception. The black/folk hybrid trio has been churning out Tolkien-inspired material since their re-inception in 2010 and, through some tireless work in their own home studios, has produced their very first album, Call of the Forest.
The members – who all requested to be referred to by their pseudonyms – include Beren Tol Galen (Matt Zimmerman), Luthien (Jen Gibson) and Draendil (Clint Kilmer), all describe themselves as multi-instrumentalists who all have equal part in the recording and writing process. The power trio all took their skills to each instrument when it was their turn.
“Our stuff is always changing and very dynamic. It’s not the verse-chorus-verse chorus kind of thing,” says Tol Galen, who rattles off bands like Moonsorrow, The Summoning and Opeth as being musical influences on the group’s work. The former in particular is a clear comparison, as the lengthy and complex atmospheric compositions serve as the foundation to build on with darker and organic melodies.
“We try not to repeat as much as possible. We always try to change and evolve it,” agrees Draendil.
Lyrically, the band draws on themes straight from Middle-earth while creating their own unique storyline. Call of the Forest is a concept album telling the tale of the final days of a heathen warrior.
“It deals strongly with nature, which is really important to us. It’s a big theme,” says Luthien, who emphasizes the band’s attention to the atmospheric elements in their music. It’s a distinctive ingredient, to be sure, when considering the band’s extensive use of double-kick drums, growled vocals and tremolo-picked guitar riffs.
Maglor, whose name is taken from the great Elven poet in The Silmarillion, all agreed that they don’t feel limited creatively by the Tolkien mythos. In fact, they came together through their shared love of their stories during their time in university, something that Draendil says still holds true to the day.
“We incorporate what is important to is and it evolved into what we play now.”
Presently, Maglor is planning to take a long break from recording before attempting to figure out something to help translate their music into a live environment. Having never played live with these amount of instruments before, the group is facing challenges in rounding up the right individuals. Not only that, but the band also wants to take the extra mile and do a full, costumed stage set-up to go along with their live music.
Which means the calling card is out, boys and girls: tell your LARPing friends and ask around at the Comic-Cons, because Maglor wants YOU!
by Brandon McNeilAB, Alberta