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Karfagen Magician's Theater album cover
3.84 | 142 ratings | 5 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

- ACT I -
1. Magician's Theater (Overture) (6:25)
2. The Birth of Mankind (5:49)
3. Turret (1:31)
4. Yuletide (5:31)
5. Figment of the Imagination 1 (1:19)
6. The Fibber's Diary (4:29)
7. The Juggler's Boast (3:24)
- ACT II -
8. Figment of the Imagination 2 (2:25)
9. Magician's Spell (21:05) :
- a) Bewitch
- b) Mime
- c) Evolvement
- d) Scene Changing
- e) The Story of a Furious Doll
- f) Cosmopolitan Idol
- g) Glorious Within
10. Magician's Theater (Final) (5:35)

Total Time 57:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Antony Kalugin / keyboards, voсals, percussion, guitars, Fx, arrangements, co-producer

- Mathieu Speater / electric guitar
- Max Velichko / acoustic & electric guitars (7)
- Sergii Kovalov / bayan & voсals (1,6,7,9,10)
- Lesya Kofanova / flute (2-4,7)
- Alexandr Pastuchov / bassoon (6)
- Michail Sidorenko / alto saxophone (9g, 10)
- Kostya Ionenko / electric bass
- Pascal Gutman / Chapman Stick (4,9c,f)
- Ivan Rubanchyuk / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Alla Navrotskaia

CD Caerllysi Music ‎- CM14014 (2014, UK)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KARFAGEN Magician's Theater ratings distribution

(142 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

KARFAGEN Magician's Theater reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For prog listeners that adore vintage symphonic prog, there's not many other artists working in progressive music today that so strongly capture that particular style in a modern setting as convincingly as main Karfagen composer Antony Kalugin. He delivered a career best work with the lush and lavish `Lost Symphony' back in 2011, and `Magician's Theater' offers more of the same, just with an increase in heavy guitars this time around. Predominantly an instrumental work, it's fifty seven minutes of the bombast and classical flare of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Triumvirat, the romantic guitar moods of Camel and even the quirky qualities of the early Steve Hackett solo albums, but with added Ayreon-styled heavy guitar bite. Anthony handles all the keyboards (and make no mistake, this is a very keyboard-dominated album!), with additional musical guests brought in to bring a more full and rich satisfying sound.

All of the ten tracks flow into each-other, creating a varied and continuous musical adventure. The title track overture opens the first Act of the album with booming and dramatic E.L.P synth fanfares full of regal pomp and crashing stomp, a nice plodding groove and roaring electric guitar powering it forwards. Dream Theater fans will like the driving guitar soloing over wavering synth caresses throughout `The Birth of Mankind', with plenty of dreamier relaxing moments to balance it out too. `Turret' is a pretty synth, flute and classical guitar interlude full of mystery, then `Yuletide' throws in everything from Jethro Tull-like flute over rambunctious folk guitar, an upbeat repeated synth theme and even brief Celtic flavours, really foot-tapping stuff! `Figment of the Imagination part 1' is a short regal synth theme, and the amusingly titled `The Fibber's Diary' lurches along as a heavy crashing fanfare that's actually almost comical in a few spots, before the wild heavy metal attack of `The Juggler's Boast' closes the first half.

The second Act begins with the stirring and gently melancholic `Figment of the Imagination part 2', with gorgeous flute and choir Mellotrons singing together over electric piano and acoustic guitar. Then what would a symphonic prog album be without a twenty one minute epic?! It's a tour de force for Kalugin, as he unleashes all manner of symphonic synths, creaking grand organ and whirring Moogs galore. It takes Karfagen's music to new levels of sophistication and daring, with fleeting sedate classical guitar tastefulness, brief electronic diversions, brooding moody guitars, maddening spoken word passages, reflective thoughtful breaks, triumphant medieval fanfares, and even some whimsical Steve Hackett child's toy-like percussion sound-collages. Be sure to listen out for the nice introduction where accordion duets with menacing gothic Mellotron, and the heartfelt then joyful saxophone solo in the climax over delicate piano and chiming guitar. The album then finishes on a gutsier heavy guitar reprise of the opening piece.

Sadly, the only particular element holding the music back here a little that stops it achieving constant greatness - the frequent heavy wailing electric guitars. If you're a listener who loves plenty of soloing hard-rock guitars, or are a fan of the above mention Ayreon project, then this won't be an issue. But for others, it can get a little draining in several spots.

But there's still no denying that Antony Kalugin is a musician of great talent and variety (fans of this project should also investigate his solo album `The Water' from 2002 and his project the `Anthony Kalugin Kinematic Orchestra' from 2013 for a different side of the artist), and each new Karfagen release hones his vision of fantastical and colourful progressive music even further. `Magician's Theater' is a true love letter to symphonic progressive music, jammed full of memorable themes, performed with so much confidence and conviction, and it's yet another Karfagen album well worth discovering. Antony and his musical associates here should be immensely proud of their efforts!

Four stars.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Karfagen - this excellent band that for some good years is a name in prog rock circles, conducted by no other then Antony Kalugin - the head master behind the band, responsable for all the music is to be heared here as on previous albums. Magician's theater is the name of the game here, and is a truly great work in same league with Solitary sandpiper journey and Lost symphony (their most acomplished works so far, at least for me). Graced by another excellent art work, as all presentation, Karfagen done it again, musicaly speaking this is awesome, lots of twists and turns, musical mystical adventure is all I can saying about this release. Fans of vintage prog, will love this one as previouses releases , lot to offer and Antony Kalugin is a name to remember and a true talented musician in prog circles and is respected all over the world with each band where is he involved as Sunchild or Hoggwash for example. Each piece is great, maybe with a plus on ending giant tune Magician's Spell , clocking around 22 min, this is pure pleasure and delight, here is happening lots of memorable instrumental passages and all is magic. Symphonic prog complexity with acustic guitars, folky parts, all is here at highest level . So, all in all Magician's theater is another worthy album in Karfagen discography and this band is among the best and most intresting ones listner ever experince in prog rock realm. 4 stars for sure.
Review by Matti
4 stars On waiting for the new, soon-to-be-released KARFAGEN album, here's a look at one of the earlier works of this Ukraine band led by keyboardist and composer Antony Kalugin. It's almost entirely instrumental, and seems to be conceptual, the key words being magic, magician, imagination etc. "Magician's Theater is my interpretation of the reality... so step into the Figment of the imagination of a man, who loves fairytales and believes in miracles?", Kalugin writes.

'Overture' opens with fanfare-like synths slightly reminding of ELP, but the electric guitar has a heavier tone than on Karfagen's music averagely. I'm not very fond this bombastic track. 'The Birth of Mankind' has interesting synths and some use of voice in the background. Enjoyable presence of mellotron-like sounds and flute. There's a melodic and delicate CAMEL-like approach on the brief and beautiful 'Turret', while 'Yuletide' uses the flute as a folky ingredient. I like the way the tracks follow each other seamlessly. The next brief instrumental has an orchestra-imitating sound, and 'The Fibber's Diary' has great, fusionesque moments.

The album as a whole is a bit too bombastic for my taste, instead of focusing on the more airy melodicism heard especially on some later Karfagen albums. Undoubtedly the most ambitious track is 21-minute 'Magician's Spell' in seven movements, although the rest of the album follows the similar, suite-like formula with plenty of sonic variation between the tracks/movements. Some parts are better than others... The one with some vocals is quite heavy. 'Final' sounds similar to the overture.

I think I can safely say that personally this album is not among my favourites from Karfagen, but if you enjoy bombastic, keyboard keyboard-oriented instrumental prog (in the vein of Rick Wakeman, ELP and such, but with occasionally heavier guitars) more than delicate melodicism, this would certainly serve as a good introduction to Karfagen. 3½ stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars The reason why I chose to listen to and review this album was I really liked the previous album "Aleatorica" from 2013 and also that I was so amazed that this was a Ukrainian band. I actually visited Ukraine with my brothers this summer(Lviv and Kyiv). Unfortunately "Magician's Theater" doesn't ... (read more)

Report this review (#1373919) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Friday, February 27, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The new "Symphorock Adventure" AKP heralds another instrumental masterpiece from the musical king from the east. Two dynamically contrasting lead guitarists light the flames for the famous Kalugin keyboard sounds, add some brutal bass and drum sounds, gorgeous sax and flute and he has created ... (read more)

Report this review (#1178492) | Posted by CAERLLYSI | Friday, May 23, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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