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Magenta - Revolutions CD (album) cover





3.57 | 178 ratings

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2 stars Oy! I must say that I envy Gatot (see his review below); I very much wish I had heard what he heard, and felt the same way he did. However, like my colleagues Bryan and Fitzcarraldo, I must also defer to James Lee's extremely on-target review of this album. [N.B. to visitors and newbies to the site: It should definitely "say something" to you that three "official" reviewers all defer to the same review.] However, I do want to make a few comments of my own.

What we have here is some diligent "students of prog" attempting to "filter" their obvious influences (primarily Yes, Genesis and Renaissance). And although they are far more successful than, say, Starcastle (...), they make little attempt to create anything all that new. They stay safely within estabished "prog parameters" and are obviously trying VERY hard. Indeed, one really WANTS to like them. Unfortunately, although there is some legitimate creativity here, there is little that is "new," much less inspiring.

The first suite - Children of the Sun - is the "brightest," with a "happier" feeling than the others. It is also more "cohesive" (if not necessarily as "creative") than the other three. And can any band play and sing for 19 minutes and say so little? It's not that there is anything "wrong" with it, and it is certainly pleasant to listen to. But it's like Chinese food: an hour after you eat, you're hungry again. [Note: no insult meant to our Chinese friends here...]

The first "interlude" - Opus 1 - is "hopelessly Howe," but actually not that bad.

The second suite - The White Witch - has a few notable "unfiltered" moments. Near the end of the song "The White Witch" there is a heavy instrumental section that sounds suspiciously like something from Genesis' "Duke" album. The end of "The Plague" is in similar manner extremely "Yes"-like. "The Spell" is even MORE Yes-like. (Indeed, one can only imagine what Yes could have done with this!)

The third suite - Man and Machine - is the most maddening of the four, because it could have been the most cohesive and interesting. It also has a couple of "unfiltered" moments. As others have pointed out, the song "Man and Machine" opens with an arrangement that is lifted piecemeal from the title track of Genesis' "Trick of the Tail." And "War" has an instrumental section very reminiscent of "Apocalypse in 9/8" from Genesis' "Supper's Ready" suite.

The second interlude - Opus 2 - is also "hopelessly Howe," but is also not that bad.

The fourth and final suite - Genetesis - is a jerry-rigged collection of Yes bits (with a little bit of Genesis thrown in for good measure). The opening theme of "The New Age" is an only slightly modified version of the opening theme of "Visions of Angels" on Genesis' "Trespass." And the remainder of the piece - from 2:38 to the end - reminds me strongly of something from Yes' "Tormato," with another hopelessly "Howe"-like guitar and very Yes-like vocal harmonies. "Renewed Purpose" has a series of Wakeman-like keyboard solos, as well as Yes-like vocal harmonies at 3:45-4:00 and 4:15-4:40. "A New Life" has a section (2:10-2:47) that sounds like it was lifted almost directly from Yes' "Parallels," as well as yet more Yes-like vocal harmonies. Finally, "The Creed" is extremely reminiscent of something else from "Tormato" (or perhaps "Going for the One"). This suite might have been called "Gen(et)esis," or even "Gene(Yes)is."

I agree completely with James Lee that the final composition on the album - The Warning - is a Genesis-like composition that sounds unfinished: as if they had to record the piece before they had written the last few minutes, and simply included an over- long fade-out.

I also agree with James Lee that: "the musicians are...skilled players and the performances are tight and beautifully recorded"; that "there is a dedication to the sound of classic prog and an accessible quality"; that "Ms. Murphy has respectable control and range...her clear and assured delivery suits the slick sound nicely"; and that she "provides the band's main hook" - that "with a male lead singer this band would be significantly less interesting."

There is admittedly a great deal to digest here, and perhaps these four compositions should be listened to one at a time and digested individually before listening to the others. Although this would not make this album any less derivative or lacking in inspiration, it might make it easier to appreciate it for what it is: somewhere between the completely unfiltered, "influence-on-the-sleeve" approach of a group like Starcastle, and the (mostly) perfectly filtered approach of a group like Marillion.

maani | 2/5 |


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