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Magic Pie - The Suffering Joy CD (album) cover

THE SUFFERING JOY

Magic Pie

 

Symphonic Prog

3.88 | 325 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stig
5 stars This is an excellent album, and in my view one of the best symphonic releases over the last years.

In The Suffering Joy you can hear something of the golden age (that would be the 70s), different styles (symphonic, neo, metal... even some jazzy elements that is neatly fused into the more rocky grooves), beautiful vocal harmonies and great craftmanship blended into a modern, Scandinavian (mostly Swedish, although the band is Norwegian), style that is the band's own. And the result is just what it is supposed to be ? A Magic Pie.

Yes, you may recognize the formula and the ingredients here. The 24 minutes "A Life's Work" in four parts is clearly "symphonic" for instance. The formula may be Genesis, but it sounds a lot like Dream Theater. This also has the careful intro, the keyboard and the guitar, the powerful riffs, the solos, the really difficult parts, the more melancholic parts, the timebreaks, the different themes returning, and the grand finale. But it has different and better vocals, more creativity and more beauty. DT may be the best musicians in the (prog)world, but Magic Pie is not far behind and they are just better composers. A masterpiece this one.

The other five songs are also good to great, varied and a little less complex. They may also remind you of DT and other, not so metallic, bands, some mentioned in other reviews here. Indeed, the whole album does not really explore a lot of new territory. But what is covered and how it is done should grab your attention nevertheless.

For this magic pie is not just clever use of known ingredients. Instead, it stirs your emotions and makes you FEEL. And like all magic it may be just outside your reach and point to something beyond itself that opens your imagination. It is YOU who become the interpreter and the creator of the actual experience. The mindstuff may be threads of history, or it may be the contemporary, but it may also be emotions and feelings and stories and thoughts and images, in a vast space that can be explored again and again.

On the weak side, the production is not perfect, the drums sounding a little muted and some of the riffs sounding a little pale. But unless you are a hifi-freak, these are minor complaints. Some would argue with some lack of originality, but let history be the judge of that. On the stronger side the musical ability is excellent, the vocals (three bandmembers plus one female guestvocal) perhaps being the strongest. And then of course comes the music itself?

This album is beautiful, it is powerful, it is complex and varied, it is light and dark, suffering and joy, it takes influences from the past and blends it (successfully) with the now, in a way that is relevant today. And the album makes an integrated whole.

For me, that blend is what symphonic prog is all about. A highly recommended album. 4,5 stars.

stig | 5/5 |

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