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Magenta - Metamorphosis CD (album) cover

METAMORPHOSIS

Magenta

 

Neo-Prog

3.69 | 160 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
4 stars From 2008, this is the latest release from the very important neo prog band Magenta, and is one that certainly makes you hope that the promised new material will finally arrive in 2011.

As with previous releases, this is a band that wears its influences on its sleeve, so with the opening epic track, The Ballad Of Samuel Layne, we get a massive slice of music that, in parts, could very easily have fitted into any Yes or Renaissance album. It's very good, but, to these ears, just too long, meandering, and certainly varying in quality to attain any kind of masterpiece epic status.

I adore the shorter track, Prekestolen, which follows. This is a fantastic track which takes its influence directly from Mike Oldfield's more New Age material, but turns it into something unique and flowing. The pipes, and a very strong vocal performance by Christina Booth, make this a joy. Actually, I believe the band might be well advised to include more such music in the new material due this year, for it would definitely attract those who have a massive aversion to pure neo prog.

The title track itself is a massive slice of music running at just over 23 minutes. This is far more consistent and flowing than the opening track, and a mark of this is that you, at no stage, feel that the track is meandering. The bass work is about as good as you will get outside of a certain Mr Squire, and, of course, passages scream Yes at you, including some quite phenomenal keyboard work. However, to merely describe it as Yes influenced would, I feel, somewhat demean it, in that the music flows into many different moods and influences, including a very strong Floydian tinge at times and the type of folk prog that I think the band are best at performing. The vocal performance is never anything less than accomplished, and the band themselves have rarely sounded as tight and determined as they do on this hugely enjoyable piece, especially on the gorgeous acoustic phases.

The title track flows effortlessly into the closer, Blind Faith, which clocks in at over six minutes. A quiet opening misleads us a little bit, because there is some mighty riffing here amongst the introspective and intense quieter passages. A very solid track which packs a great deal of mood swings and tempo changes in such a short time. Again, maybe a greater emphasis on this song length might be a solid direction for the band to follow, because the two shorter tracks are never filler material at all, but, instead, extremely strong and versatile.

This is a difficult album to rate overall. It is certainly not a masterpiece, but parts of it are quite excellent, and you certainly get an extremely good band musically. We don't have half star ratings on the site, but if we did, 3.5 stars would be the rating. As it is, on the strength of the title track and the two sublime shorter tracks, four stars. An excellent album from an excellent band.

lazland | 4/5 |

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