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Magnésis - L'Immortel Opéra CD (album) cover




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3 stars The band description tells us that this typical French neo band is a sort of blend of early Genesis, Marillion and Ange. And after having listened to this album a couple of times I think this is not too far from the truth. The live performace resembles Genesis mainly where the theatrical displays are concerned, the lyrics and vocal performances show the likeness of Ange but that´s mainly due to the French language in which they sing. And Marillion is the neo aspect in the comparison story but here I fail to see much resemblance I´m afraid. Because Magnesis is - as the title of this album already reveals - more of a semi-classical opera tending band and there was not much of that in Marillion I feel. The classical work Magnesis is inspired by must have something to do with Mozart because he´s the rock and roll star Magnesis will be singing about (4th and 5th track).

Anyway, the album starts with an overture, confirming my statement above. What strikes immediately is the strange and very mediocre (if not poor) production of this album. If this would have been an album from the eighties or early nineties I would have understood but this is from 2005 so what is going on here ? And it´s a pity because it´s destracting very much from the main thing which is the music itself of course. I´m not very impressed with the music either on this opener. Fortunately the album gets better later on I can reveal right now otherwise we would have a two star contender here I fear. 2,5 * for this overture.

Act 2 is called Le Pacte and starts with vocals and the same sort of heavy guitar play as on the overture. This lasts for about three minutes when acoustic guitar takes over in a lovely display. After this bit the whole orchestra takes its turn obviously one by one with some wind instruments. This is a wonderful passage that is a great example of the increasing level of musicianship and composition I was talking about in previous song. Unfortunately the last part suddenly gets very dark, on the other hand this means we are dealing with a versatile track. Also the semi-classical idea I mentioned is very present here. 3,25 *

The beautiful wind contribution from previous song also plays a part in Act 3 and I believe it´s the most enchanting feature of Magnesis. I see no wind instruments in the line-up though so I believe these parts are done by the synthesizer (?) Also this composition is intriguing and well done by Frederic Przybyl but also here the moderate production quality destracts too much. 3,5*.

Act 4 is the one that´s really about Mozart but with this track Magnesis returns to the rock ´n roll style which was also partly present on Act 1. Some fine guitar here in first minutes later followed by other very nice instrumental parts. Also this is a very fine composition. The guitar in last two minutes is even mindblowing. I fail to see the connection with Mozart though. 3,75*.

Also Act 5 is about Mozart introduced with a short story followed by some nice piano. This is not semi-cassical but 100% classical for 1,5 minutes. Rest of the tracks is about 75% classical with a slightly more modern approach. Is it clarinet I hear after 3,5 minutes or is it the synthesizer ? It´s truly becoming a nagging matter now but alas no conformation to be found anywhere in the booklet. 3,5* for this finale.

All in all a great album by Magnesis and if the production (sorry, but it´s an essential element here) would have been good this album would have deserved four stars. As it is I will have to leave it at three I´m afraid.

Report this review (#224396)
Posted Saturday, July 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars After listening to L'Immortel Opera and owning as well Les Voyages De Mikado one can only wonder the road traveled by this fine band. Their latest opus shows how well they matured over time. This album is as the title suggest a mini opera based on the central character of Mozart (there is also a disclaimer in the sleeve notes saying the story is purely a work of fiction aiming to entertain and not soil the memory of the great Wolfgang Amadeus) making a pact with the devil to be reincarnated as a rock star. A great album from start to finish and from what I hear an excellent stage production as well as Magnesis carries the tradition of Ange, Genesis and other highly theatrical bands. Lots to enjoy any way you look at it...
Report this review (#230656)
Posted Saturday, August 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars One concept album too far.

I have a soft spot for this French band. A band who has taken up the baton from Ange, Mona Lisa and Atoll. They are listed as neo-prog, but their sound is most definate French symphonic prog. Hence my soft spot for this band.

So it is a logic step for a band like this to do a concept album, a symphony no less. Which is a great plunge into the unknown. Just like the battle of the bridges in Arnhem during WW2. The risk is massive and mostly underestimated.

I have to confess Magnesis has fallen flat on their face on this album. There is no good melodies here. The music is everywhere and sounds unfocused. It is like a unskilled cook getting together a big dish where cod, chicken, oranges and strawberries is mashed into one big dish. It is not a dish I would like to tuck into. The music here is a blend of folk rock, hard prog rock in the vein of Spock's Beard, rock'n'roll, symph prog, classical music and some other strange tones too. The end is not a joined together symphony. It is a disjoined symphony. There are some good parts here, but most of this album falls flat on it's face. I hate writing reviews about bands I like, but this is how I see it. Sorry.

2 stars

Report this review (#555442)
Posted Sunday, October 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After some 15 years of existence and 5 self-productions Magnesis eventually found their home on a major label, after being offered a contract by Musea.The band would welcome a second keyboardist in 2002, Alexandre Moreau , and two years later they found a new bassist, Fabien Lo Cicero.With a six-piece line-up they entered the La Praye Studios in October 2004 to record their sixth album ''L'immortel opera''.The recordings lasted about 9 months and the album was launched in 2005.

Propably the most symphonic of all Magnesis albums, this one met the high expectations and ended up to be a nice experience of yet another ANGE-like lyricism, surrounded by MARILLION-esque and GENESIS-like keyboard parts and the edgy guitars of the modern Neo/Symphonic Prog genre.The sound of the band contains now some narrations and some heavier guitar leads towards an updated style and the music remains rich and varied, featuring acoustic parts among the electrified atmospheres.''L'immortel opera'' is characterized by the more intense Classical influences displayed ina Magnesis album, like the opening church organ on ''Ouverture'' or on the last moments of ''Le pacte'' and the academic orchestrations on ''Final'', flirting a bit with THE ENID, although the string sections do sound a bit fake.Rest of the material is not far away from what Magnesis are used to, very deep synthesizers in a symphonic vein, guitars with both angular and melodic offerings and decent compositions with theatrical and poetic edges.One th other hand the vocals seemingly cover a lot of the album's length with some spoken parts being doubled by extended atmospheric soundscapes, that do sound rather minimalistic compared to the regular flow of Magnesis' sound.The decibels are up and so is the energy of the group, the tracks are pretty long with the combination of organ and synths being quite efficient and the result is a good work along the lines of symphonic-oriented modern Prog Rock.

Not the best but far from the worst Magnesis album.Synth parts are excellent and keyboard/guitar runs come next, the vocal lines are not particularly convinving with the chosen mellow background, but overall this was a nice effort by the group with a slightly upgraded style.Recommended.

Report this review (#1280552)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2014 | Review Permalink

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