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Nick Magnus - Hexameron CD (album) cover


Nick Magnus


Symphonic Prog

3.64 | 42 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars It must have taken more than six days to make this album?!

Hexameron is, if I'm not mistaken, the collective name given to the six days it took God to create the world as described in The Book Of Genesis in The Bible.

As I mentioned in my review of his latest album, Children Of Another God, Nick Magnus is most known for his membership in Steve Hackett's backing band in the late 70's and early 80's where he played keyboards on such important Hackett albums as Spectral Mornings, Defector and Highly Strung. Like on Children Of Another God, no less than four out of six members of the Spectral Mornings and Defector line-up is present on this album, including Steve and John Hackett on guitars and flutes respectively and vocalist Pete Hicks and, of course, Magnus himself. But despite Magnus' background with Hackett and the presence of the two Hackett brothers as well as Pete Hicks on this album, the music found here is not really a lost Steve Hackett album (even if Steve adds some wonderful guitar lines to a few songs). The music here is closer to Mike Oldfield and even sometimes Vangelis than to anything Hackett. The music here is symphonic in structure but rather soft and laid-back for the most part with some Celtic and "New-Age" influences. It is hard to put a label on the music; though both "symphonic" and, in some sense, "progressive", I hesitate to call the majority of it Symphonic Prog.

Hexameron opens with two rather long instrumentals that together run for more than 15 minutes. This gives you the impression that the whole album is instrumental, but it isn't. Though the two first tracks are more than listenable, I get the feeling that the album doesn't really get off the ground until the third track, Marduk, which is the first vocal number and the first I would call Rock. The lead vocals on the first part of the song are by Peter Gabriel-sound-a-like Tony Patterson which makes this song sound like a lost Genesis song. It is, however, a conceptual song that also has lead vocal parts by others playing different roles. It is one of the highlights of the album for me and probably the most progressive song.

Sophia's Song is a lovely Celtic-sounding tune with nice female vocals but hardly progressive in any sense of the term. The strong diversity of the songs of this album makes me feel that the album as a whole lacks direction. Magnus is evidently a very good composer, but he wasn't quite sure what kind of album he wanted to make here. Next up is a wonderful Classical instrumental that is dominated by the two Hackett brothers on acoustic guitar and flute respectively. This one would have fitted nicely on almost any Steve Hackett album. Brother Sun Sister Moon is sung by Pete Hicks and is more of a melodic Pop Rock song. The two last tracks are back again to the style of the first two even if Seven Hands Of Time have some vocals.

Overall this is a good and quite beautiful album with no weak tracks as such. However, as I said above there seems to be no real direction and the individual songs take you to radically different places. Limiting the number of lead vocalists or opting for a wholly instrumental album might have benefitted this material. Having this said, I must add that this will certainly please any fan of the softer side of Symphonic Rock.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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