Magdalene Rose – “The Prelude”


Most everyone is familiar with female-fronted metal outfits, but the first impulses are usually symphonic or power metal bordering on opera, which is a well-worn track for women. More extreme female-fronted metal is probably not top of mind. What about a lady that can out-death growl 90% of male metal vocalists? The pool of women then dwindles with Maggie English formerly of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh being a proud member.

Magdalene Rose is Maggie English’s solo project that emerged from the dissolution of GFM. GFM was formed by three sisters, CJ, Maggie and Lulu who had a passion for both heavy music and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were a touring band before any had reached the age of 20, with their family embracing touring as a lifestyle. I find their passion for music and spreading God’s word in a dark place at such a young age an inspiration and my hope for my own children. In December 2022, after releasing one album, four EPs, several singles, and touring for years, GFM announced it would be rebranded as Magdalene Rose where Maggie would continue to carry the mantle of beautycore, their bespoke genre for all-women metalcore. The dissolution was amicable as CJ and Lulu decided to focus on other interests while Maggie wanted to continue forward with music.

With the new branding comes a change in imagery. Gone are the cheerleader outfits and teen girl band vibe, replaced with a creepy goth look, spider webs and a prevalent rose motif. To back Maggie up (whom I am assuming is playing bass and keys), the writing credits show that members from Seventh Day Slumber have been collaborating (whom I assume also recorded).

“The Prelude,” spans 16 minutes with each of the five songs having its own unique identity while retaining a family resemblance. Similar to the eschewing of the teen girl band vibe, the musical direction is decidedly heavier than the pop-punk infused metalcore of GFM while still retaining some of the melodic elements. The heaviness is not just the music, though. Lyrically, this little EP is trying to change the world by giving light to sensitive subjects such as viciousness of family relationships, spiritual oppression, and human trafficking.

The EP opens with “Gorilla Warfare” which is a truly brutal track featuring Maggie’s characteristic death growl. The song has a chop-and-stop metalcore vibe to it with plenteous layering of synths and other elements. I was surprised with the lack of melody, but that changes with the next track, “Shark Spray.” There is more of a punk style using some interestingly dissonant chords used in the main riff. The verse and chorus showcase Maggie’s decent melodic vocals. It has a slight pop princess vibe that is completely torn away in the bridge where she lets loose on the death vocals.

“Something Spiritual” is the most melodic and has more of GFM‘s pop-punk feel with some nice lead guitar embellishments. The lyrics touch more directly on her Christian convictions by exploring unconditional love. “A Bad Residential” lands back in melodic metalcore land and has Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath) trading verses with Maggie. The lyrics are dealing with internal spiritual oppression and fighting against inner demons. “Modern Genocide” highlights the atrocities of human trafficking and Maggie points the barrel of her voice at the perpetrators of these crimes. Although unlikely the perps themselves are listening to this album, hopefully those listening are inspired to be a part of the solution. The disgust and anguish of the situation is palpable in the track and a fitting conclusion to the EP.

I will admit, that I did not have high hopes starting out, but was pleasantly surprised. I was afraid that beautycore would be wielded as a gimmick and the extent of the interest on this EP, which is clearly not the case. The songwriting is quite interesting where there is a packing of entire storylines within a short three minute span. The songs keep interest high with frequent twists and turns using electronic beats and synths as well as the usual metalcore arsenal. Production value is pretty high as well as the musicianship quality. Best of all is that the highlight of the album is Maggie’s vocal performance making it a clear solo project. Based on this EP, I think that there is a bright future for MR.

Rating: 8.0/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – Gorilla Warfare
2 – Shark Spray
3 – Something Spiritual
4 – A Bad Residential (feat. Spencer Chamberlain)
5 – Modern Genocide

Magdalene Rose is:
Maggie English – vocals, bass and keys

Co-writer Credits:
Blaise Rojas (Seventh Day Slumber)– tracks 1-5
Weston Evans (Seventh Day Slumber) – tracks 1-5
Joseph Rojas (Seventh Day Slumber)– track 2
Sage Rojas – track 2
Elijah Grainger – track 3

Release Date: November 10, 2023

Record Label: RockFest Records

Social Media: Facebook | Instagram | X (Twitter) | YouTube | Spotify

Video for ‘Sharks Spray’

Lyric Video for A Bad Residential (ft. Underoath and Spencer Chamberlain)

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