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Magrathea - Legends CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 33 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Despite being a confirmed Progaholic of many years standing, I rarely feel the need to write reviews. On the occasions when I have put pen to paper, it has been because, 1) I have had the misfortune to come across an utterly worthless piece of unlistenable garbage from a band who should know better, (see Genesis: Duke), in which case my aim is to warn other Proggers to avoid the recording at all costs.or 2) I discover an overlooked gem as in this case, which deserves much greater attention from the Prog world.

There are many outstanding elements to this recording. The two Multi-Instrumentalists who comprise Magrathea have clearly studied their craft and have learned the essential lesson that there is more involved in the re-creation of a lost and greatly-missed sound than endless layering of mellatrons, Gabriel-impersonations and 20-minute epics. At the very heart of the music on 'Legends', are some superb melodies around which all else has been built.

Whether deliberate or not, the 10 even-length tracks fall neatly into 2 halves - in vinyl terms you could say that the first 5 are the light side (effortless, unashamedly accessible prog, with rich melodies and sparkling instrumental passages), and the second 5, the darker side (requiring greater effort from the listener, a harder, more complex approach that pays back richly for your perseverance).

'Shadows of Ignorance' is an bloody terrific song, great harmonies and arrangements, a joy - best track on the Album, enough said!

'Magical Box' has a definite 'Your own special way' feel about it initially. Actually, that isn't a particularly flattering comparison as that track was one of the weakest on Wind and Wuthering. Magical Box is a considerably better song.

'The man who loved flowers' seems to have a fairly brutal eco-message although, as the lyrics aren't included, I'm not entirely clear about this. The music has a harder edge as befits the subject, but it isn't all dramatics and the track has a chorus to die for!

'Galadriel' is a pretty track with a precise vocal, rather too syrupy was my first impression, however it is a song that, with subsequent plays, gets its claws into you till you see it for the joyous ballad that it is.

'Brainwash' is, compositionally, not the strongest track however the musicianship and interplay between the vocal/guitar/keyboard elements is outstanding.

'Birds of fire' opens with an absolutely infectious rhythm and tight guitar plucking. When the vocal comes in, its free-flowing nature is in contrast to the crispness of the backing. Another great song.

If I had to pick a duff track on this album, it would be 'Agoraphobic', it's a personal thing but I really dislike the distorted vocal. That said, the song does develop, and there are, as in every track, some excellent instrumental passages.

'Fear of the Unknown' has a waltz-time verse that flows into a beautifully arranged chorus, and the track finishes on a blissful instrumental passage that simply makes you want to 'dive in' !

Conclusion: What we have here is melodic prog at its most inspiring. I havnt heard any of Magrathea's other recordings (3 albums I believe, but not currently available), however if 'Legends' is anything to go by they are a pair of talented, mature and complimentary musicians who have the ability to write and produce awesome prog. I believe they are currently unsigned which is little short of criminal. Similarly it would be a crime against music to let Magrathea 'get away' due to lack of exposure. Buy this album!

progaholic | 5/5 |


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