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NICK MAGNUS

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Nick Magnus biography
Nick Magnus is a composer, keyboard player and producer, starting his musical career in early 1976 with the cult symphonic rock ensemble The ENID. After that Magnus joined a band which was called AUTUMN. They recorded some tracks but it wasn't until 1999 the recordings were released on a mini CD. Magnus is most known for his work with the formal GENESIS guitarist Steve HACKETT. In 1978 HACKETT put a band together for touring with the "Please Don't Touch" material. When HACKETT recorded the next album "Spectral Mornings" Magnus was playing the keyboards and wrote some of the music as well. They released another magnificent album "Defector" but after that the band fell apart. When HACKETT released "Cured", Magnus was the only musician to appear on that album. After that they released two more albums on which HACKETT and Magnus were accompanied by various session musicians. After his adventure with GTR HACKETT recorded another album with Magnus and several well known vocalists. At the time the record business had completely lost interest in the GENESIS guitar hero, it wasn't until 2001 "Feedback 86" was released.

Meanwhile Magnus played the keyboards for progressive and mainstream rock albums of Duncan Browne, China Crisis, RENAISSANCE and many more. Later on Magnus was involved in the production of various compilation projects. In 1993 Magnus released his first solo effort "Straight On Until Morning". This album was a typical product of a keyboard player : very smooth but barely exciting album. In 1999 Magnus released "Inhaling The Green". This album was more exciting to listen to and contained a lot of other influences. In 2004 Nick Magnus created his masterpiece "Hexameron". This album has a sound which is much more organic than his other solo projects. "Hexameron" is a return to form for Magnus. More than ever it is clear that this man's contribution to the sound of Steve HACKETT was essential.

: : : Jan Holvoet, BELGIUM : : :

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N'MonixN'Monix
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Imports 2014
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$10.98 (used)
HexameronHexameron
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Camino UK 2008
Audio CD$24.99
$24.94 (used)
Children Of Another GodChildren Of Another God
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101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$21.98
$32.42 (used)
Sun Arise 7 Inch (7Sun Arise 7 Inch (7" Vinyl 45) UK Polydor 1984
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NICK MAGNUS discography


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NICK MAGNUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.04 | 8 ratings
Straight on Till Morning
1993
3.48 | 13 ratings
Inhaling Green
1999
3.59 | 36 ratings
Hexameron
2004
3.85 | 88 ratings
Children Of Another God
2010
3.45 | 45 ratings
N'monix
2014

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NICK MAGNUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Children Of Another God by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.85 | 88 ratings

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Children Of Another God
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Nick Magnus is without hesitation one of my fav musicians and keyboard player ever, his contribution to first period of Steve Hackett solo albums is exemplary, albums as Spectral Mornings and Defector are still regarded today as some of the most intresting prog albums ever made. Aswell Nick Magnus was part of The Enid at the very beggining of this band, his started his career with this symphonic prog band, then moved to form Autumn in 1977 and then was membership to Steve Hackett in his most prolic solo career. As a solo artist his first album will come in 1993 and since now he released 5 albums. His forth album Children of another god issued in 2010 is to me and for many fans his best album as solo artist . This is truly an elegant release with pleasent warm complicated prog, very reminescent of mid to late '70s and aswell smells in many pleaces with Hackett albums, specially Spectral and Defector. It's obviously that this album remind me a lot of Hackett albums, 4 out of 6 musicians from this album were present aswell on Spectral Morning and Defector - Steve Hackett together with his brother John, Pete Hicks and Magnus of course.

Beautiful arrangements, old school, type of prog, with the killer title track being the highlight, such strong and catchy tune, very good, The rest of the pieces are strong aswell, the instrumental Twenty Summers follow as second. In some parts I can trace besides Hackett influences, some Alan Parson passages and even some Manfred Mann's Earh Band elements here and there.

All in all definetly a worth album to have, this si the type of prog that was made decades ago still being fresh today with many intresting parts. Nice package overall, digipak format. 4 stars from me, excellent, warm, pleasent and catchy.

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 N'monix by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.45 | 45 ratings

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N'monix
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "Let's not be hasty, some insects are tasty!"

Four years after the very good Children Of Another God, Nick Magnus has released a new album in a similar vein. Many of the same people are involved again this time, including Steve Hackett - with whom Magnus used to play in the late 70's and early 80's on albums like Spectral Mornings, Defector, and Highly Strung - and Pete Hicks who also sang on some of Hackett's early albums. Tony Patterson, who sang some of the best songs on Children Of Another God, is also singing some songs here. Patterson has a rather Peter Gabriel-like voice and Gabriel-era Genesis is indeed a noticeable influence on the music of N'Monix. Other apparent musical influences include Gentle Giant, Alan Parsons Project, and The Beatles. Not surprisingly, some of the classic Hackett albums also provide a good reference point.

The opener Time is the album's best track in my opinion and it holds up well in comparison with the better songs off Children Of Another God. The same could be said about a couple of the other songs here, but overall N'Monix is not as good as Children Of Another God (but the cover art is much improved here!). Memory is out of place here with its high female vocals and Classical music, non-Rock sound. The next three tracks are all good though, Kombat Kid beginning in Neo-Classical territory but changes into full-on Gabriel-era Genesis style. Eminent Victorians also has some of the whimsy of Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot, and Headcase reminds me of some of Gentle Giant's "bouncy" tunes.

The final three tracks of the album slows things down considerably and I feel that, even though they are all of good quality, the album feels a bit "thin" towards the end. After the lovely Broken it feels as if they've already offered their best and that the rest is less essential. Also, with the exception of the misplaced Memory, all of the more Rocking tracks come at the first half or so of the album and this makes the rest come across as being not entirely connected to what went before. Perhaps, I would have arranged the tracks in a different order. But this is not major criticism, there are several eminently good moments even in this part of the album. The instrumental Shadowland reminds me of Brian May's Bijou from Queen's Innuendo album.

I learned some interesting facts that I did not know before from this educational album, for example that Richard of York was addicted to a video game and that old people from Texas eat spiders!

Recommended, but get Children Of Another God first; the latter is Magnus's best solo album.

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 N'monix by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.45 | 45 ratings

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N'monix
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Four years after the truly excellent, and one I still play with some regularity, Children Of Another God, former Enid and Steve Hackett Band alumni Nick Magnus makes a welcome return to our aural senses with this thoroughly enjoyable, and intelligent, album.

The inner sleeve has a definition of mnemonic as a system or device for aiding memory. Much of what you hear and read is truly memorable, as well.

Magnus and his keyboards are at the heart of everything in this album, and parts of opener, Time, are almost industrial in parts, certainly not particularly typical of what one might have expected, but the surprise is welcome. Contrast this with album closer, Entropy, in which his keys bring a mysterious sense of warmth as they lead a track which is Celtic in its heart, and brings all of the thoughtful lyrics of the work (aiding memory) full circle.

In the predecessor album, there was a gorgeous track called The Others featuring the beautiful, almost operatic, vocals of Linda John-Pierre. Well, on N'Monix, he has gone one further, with Memory, the sister of time, by including the most gorgeous aria sung by Kate Faber, a soprano with the most incredible voice. This is the utter highlight of the album to me, a track which celebrates and fuses all that is best about traditional symphonic prog with its classical inspiration. Truly beautiful, and worth the price of admission alone.

What remains is a fascinating mix of the modern, traditional, pastoral, and clever all in one new package. Kombat Kid is a knowing nod for those of us with boys who love console games, but framed marvellously cleverly as a historical paradox of Richard III, whose remains were recently exhumed. Tony Patterson's vocals are sumptuous and extremely knowing.

Headcase ends the first side of the album (as would have been in days of yore), before, in Eminent Victorians, we hear the first appearance of three by Steve Hackett, once again lending his old friend a hand. This is, on this track more than any other, extremely appropriate, because this is the first of a side of music I think could quite easily have fitted alongside classic Genesis of circa 1971 Nursery Cryme vintage. You know, that marvellously quirky and eccentric pastoral English to its core rock. The vocals provided by another old Hackett collaborator, Pete Hicks, simply add to the atmosphere created, this in addition to those trademark Hackett licks working in tandem with Nick's keys so reminiscent of that period.

Talking of Hackett licks, just listen to his incredible solo work on the short instrumental, Shadowland, which combines this with the feel of Memory to provide us with an almost Gothic hymn of remembrance. Quite stunning, really.

This joy, though, itself pales into comparison with Broken, the longest track on the album, clocking in at just over eight minutes long. Steven Wilson collaborator Tim Bowness contributes a delicate and thoughtful vocal to a track, with flute, soprano sax, arpeggio guitar, and a wall of keyboards simply taking one on a magical life journey, told through said instruments and children's nursery rhymes, and this is key, because, through all the joy, this is, essentially, a dark track designed to make one reflect upon events of one's past. A huge clap, then, to a wonderful lyricist, Dick Foster.

This is a memorable album, and comes thoroughly recommended to anyone who enjoys that feeling of listening to an album which brings the feel of a classic period right into the modern era with aplomb, thought, production, and warmth. An album which demands attention, and brings the rewards that such attention should provide.

Four stars, but would have the extra half star if we had such a rating on the site. Yet another album which will stay with me and on my playlist for years to come, and proof positive that 2014 continues to develop into a vintage year for exceptional intelligent progressive rock.

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 Straight on Till Morning by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.04 | 8 ratings

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Straight on Till Morning
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Humble beginnings

Straight On Till Morning was the first solo album by Nick Magnus, best known for being the keyboard player in Steve Hackett's band. Here he went at it alone for the first time and the results are far from impressive. There is nothing here pointing towards later and much, much better albums like Children Of Another God (2010), Hexameron (2004), and Inhaling Green (1999), and neither does anything here remind of Magnus' important contributions to Hackett's albums in the late 70's and early 80's. This album is more towards the easy-listening category and it too often reminds me of what you would hear from one of those men doing instrumental MIDI covers of familiar Pop songs in a bar! That description is admittedly a bit unfair, but it comes too close for comfort.

Still, this is not a bad album of its kind, but merely an album of a bad kind. It does have some nicer moments, and it is pleasant enough as background music, or perhaps it would have worked as film or television music. But there is just nothing challenging whatsoever here and it leaves no lasting impressions. You neither need nor are likely to want to hear this more than once.

This is where it began for Nick Magnus, but it is not where you should begin with Nick Magnus. I would recommend investigating his solo discography in reverse chronological order (beginning with the very good Children Of Another God), and only the true fan and collector need go back as far as Straight On Till Morning.

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 Inhaling Green by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.48 | 13 ratings

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Inhaling Green
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by richardh
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is an excellent modern instrumental prog album.Nick embraces technology and creates several well constructed peices of music culminating with the beautifull Inhaling Green 16 minute suite.Plenty of variety and scope in the ideas,well worth checking out.Some of the music reminds me of Mike Oldfield's Songs Of Distant Earth with its textures and use of vocals.There is no 'real' drums though which may put some people off.John Hackett weighs in with some nice flute work on 2 of the tracks.There is also a very nice version of George Martin's Theme One which was well covered previously by Van Der Graaf Generator and the late great Cozy Powell. Overall a very decent effort that would merit 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

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 Inhaling Green by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.48 | 13 ratings

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Inhaling Green
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Anatomy of Magnus' mind

I've had for some years the two most recent album releases from Nick Magnus, Hexameron (2004) and Children Of Another God (2010). But his first two solo albums, Straight On Till Morning (1993) and the present one (from 1999), eluded me until recently (when a fellow Prog Archives member helped me to find them, for which I am grateful).

Inhaling Green is very much of a solo album in that Magnus plays (almost) everything himself. In addition he is also the producer and the engineer. Though he plays other instruments as well, it is clear that this is very much of a keyboard player's album - which I like. The music is at times jazzy, at others symphonic, at yet other times he ventures into electronic music, and some more folky atmopheres can be found as well. It is thus a rather eclectic mix. But Magnus manages well to fit everything into a reasonably coherent set of tracks. There are some nice flute parts played by John Hackett (the brother of Steve Hackett, with whom Magnus is most known for being the keyboard player during the late 70's and early 80's). Though Steve does not appear here, as he would do on Magnus more recent albums, the guitar parts are in his style.

This album is entirely instrumental except some keyboard generated voices on Cantus and some real but wordless vocals as well as some spoken word passages on the 16 plus minute, three-part title track. The best tracks come in at the beginning and at the end of the album with some weaker moments in the middle. The two weakest tracks are in my opinion the aforementioned Cantus (a chant over Dance rhythms) and Dixon Hill (a "bouncy" Jazz number with Brass instruments and annoying whistling!). Conquistador is pleasant enough, but sound a little bit too much like an intro to something that never comes. Theme One sounds rather like a version of ELP in which Carl Palmer has been replaced by a drum machine. This is a triumphant, fanfare-like, keyboard-driven tune in the style of Fanfare For The Common Man. In general the weakest aspect of this album lies in the rhythm department. With a proper drummer to back him up instead of relying on programmed drums, this album would most probably have sounded better.

Nonetheless, this is a good album as it stands that was an improvement over the solo debut and that sits well beside the follow-up Hexameron.

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 Inhaling Green by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.48 | 13 ratings

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Inhaling Green
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Throughout the 90's Nick Magnus eventually met some chart success through the Project D ''Synthesizer''albums and his new collaborations with the ''Pan Pipe Moods'' albums, as well as working as a producer for Celtic Spirit in a move towards more Ethnic-flavored creations.However, another solo album was released in 1999 on Centaur Discs, ''Inhaling green'', finding him again responsible for the composing and production of his solo effors, receiving help by John Hackett on flutes, If's last guitarist and long time Procol Harum member Geoff Whitehorn and female singer Clare Brigstocke.

The problem with Magnus' personal albums is that his undenied talent is not always translate into great compositions, fortunately the first couple of tracks offer moments of joy to the listener and that is a good sign indeed.The Neo-proggish ''Velociraptor'' contains some great, dynamic synthesizer parts, while ''Free the spirit'' (linked with his work on the ''Pan Pipe Moods'' albums) is absolutely fantastic OLDFIELD-ian Prog Folk with some stunning melodies around, despite its ambiental atmosphere.''The devil and the deep blue sea'' is another fine Neo/Symphonic/Art Rock track with intricate keyboard parts and melodious guitar themes, a bit similar to KEVIN PEEK and STEVE HACKETT's efforts from early-80's.''Cantus'' is closer to New Wave/Synth Music with Brigstocke present, like singing in a Gregorian chant, but the keyboard and drum parts are totally hillarious.With ''Conquistador'' Magnus offers another OLDFIELD-ian soundscape in sometype of Orchestral Folk Rock with a cinematic mood, but the following ''Dixon hill'' is very cheap Jazz/Fusion with a pleasant tune but a childish atmosphere.John Hackett's presence on the melancholic, cinematic ''Veil of sighs'' is a guarantee of delicate flute parts among the Celtic-inspired textures and another decent piece comes with ''Theme One'', a symphonic-oriented cut, that could have been an excellent short prelude if it wasn't for the plastic keyboards and drums, but certainly Magnus' musical ideas offer memorable passages in a Neo-Prog atmosphere.The 16-min. self-titled track delivers all the previous sounds in one composition: From New Age calm soundscapes to folky OLDFIELD-ian washes to bombastic Symphonic Prog in the vein of CAIRO with both orchestral moves and clean, electrical guitars in the forefront.

Magnus' second album is a pure and sincere piece of Prog/Art Music, coming from his heart and his deep influences.From grandiose Symphonic Rock to elegant Folk, it contains plenty of nice, little moments to reward a listener with an open mind.Recommended.

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 Hexameron  by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.59 | 36 ratings

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Hexameron
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars Instrumental musical art

With some vocal units, and parts of rock here and there. Of course, excel and dominate Magnus keyboards and synthesizers. Very well accompanied by the Hackett brothers, and Geoff Whitehorn on guitar.

My disappointment lies in the sampled drums and bass, and ghostly vocals towards the end. Marduk is one of two songs with lyrics, sung mostly by Anthony Patterson. Brother Sun Sister Moon is another song with lyrics and is a bit more noticeable, for me.

Worth mentioning that in many parts of the album the drums achieve a good accompaniment, as in the first two issues, and Seven Hands of Time.

Sophia's Song is a delight that contains good licks with flute and well sung by Clare Brigstocke and enjoyable parts of viola and violin too. Beautiful!

Something similar happens with Double Helix, although instrumental, and less extensive. With nice flute on a keyboard and acoustic guitar.

Seven Hands of Time has the unmistakable involvement of Steve Hackett, as well as the final three minutes to close in good form The Power of Reason, and also the work.

It's an album somewhat varied, but undoubtedly very tasteful.

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 Straight on Till Morning by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.04 | 8 ratings

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Straight on Till Morning
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars British keyboardist,born in Emsworth, Hampshire in 1955.He started his career next to Robert John Godfrey with The Enid,which he left in 1976 to join the progresive rock band Autumn.By 1978 Autumn had disbandeed and the future found Nick Magnus next to Steve Hackett,with whom he spent eleven years both on studio and on stage.During the 80's he would also work as a session keyboardist for various artists,among them Renaissance,Peter Bardens of Camel and Chris Rea.Since 1990 Nick Magnus followed a personal career and in 1993 he released his debut album ''Straight On Till Morning'' on Voiceprint.

Nick plays and arranges all instruments on this album,except on a couple of tracks,where he is helped by guitarist Jay Stapley of Roger Waters and Mike Oldfield fame.The instrumental album has a dreamy and optimistic view all the way with melodic solos on guitars and ethereal keyboards and piano,often with an evident symphonic tendency.However the overall sound is not that adventurous.It has a strong commercial vibe met also both in Hackett's and Oldfield's later works with Magnus only trying to produce pleasant,cheesy and happy pieces of orchestrated music despite his good skills,while part of his keyboard work sounds very cheap.Additionally the sampled flutes,percussion and wind instruments sounds very dull as well.The lack of additional instruments is a matter of discussion too.On the other hand most of them are well-arranged,the production is bright and clear and some of them contain hints of good Symphonic Rock music with a New Age atmosphere.And the guitars,where present,are fine, producing some good melodies.

''Straight On Till Morning'' is a classic example of an albumcontaining all the light mistakes of a debut as well as a one-man project.One-dimensional style with plenty of ups and downs,the album has good chances to be likeable only as background music.Not exactly recommended,except you search for some good and pleasant background music.

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 Children Of Another God by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.85 | 88 ratings

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Children Of Another God
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a pleasant surprise, and one of the highlights of 2010, a year which, musically, is shaping up to be a very good one.

Magnus was at the back of my mind as a former keyboard player with Steve Hackett and with his time with The Enid, but I wasn't aware he was recording as a solo artist until I saw reviews for this album on the site.

To be honest, I took a punt and brought this album solely because the great Hackett brothers themselves feature largely on this work, and, given I have all of Steve's solo work, I figured that I would get this by way of completing his work.

I am, though, exceptionally happy to report that this album is not a Hackett lite project. This is very much the work of an extremely talented songwriter and musician, who just happened to have some exceptional guests appearing with him.

Of course, you can hear similarities. The opening track, for example, which is also the title track, would certainly not sound out of place on any Hackett solo work.

The instrumentation throughout is excellent, and this is very much reflected in the instrumental Twenty Summers, which has some very good interplay between percussion and keyboards. Magnus is a very good keyboard player, of that you can be sure. This is also evidenced on Crimewave Monkeys, a track which is reminiscent, to me, of Genesis circa the self titled album and, maybe, Abacab. Certainly, the dark feel of this track would not feel out of place, and this is easily the closest Magnus comes to sounding like Banks on the album.

There is only one track in excess of eight minutes here, and that is the title track. The rest all come in at less than seven and a half minutes, and with the shortest, Identity Theft, which has vocals by Magnus himself, there is almost a commercial single waiting to come out. Unfortunately, it is pleasant, without being essential.

The remainder of the vocals are handled by Tony Patterson, Pete Hicks, Andy Neve, and Linda John-Pierre. The latter sings beautifully on The Others, accompanied by delicate and understated acoustic guitar, keyboards, and orchestral simulation. This is, perhaps, the highlight of the album for me, and I will have to explore more fully this lady's work, because she is a huge talent. The chorus is uplifting and sumptuous, and we are treated to Hackett magic in the electric solo. The Hackett solo in Babel Tower is also magnificent.

Other reviewers, by the way, have compared Patterson to Gabriel. I suppose this is true in the almost Lamb like passage in Babel Tower, but, when he sings normally, as it were, there is not really much comparison. He is good enough in his own right to stand alone, anyway, and this is definitely witnessed in the album closer Howl The Stars Down, on which he shines.

All in all, a very good album, thoroughly enjoyable, and a clear attempt to appeal to a wide range of symphonic prog fans, whilst also wanting to pick up those who enjoy the lighter crossover market.

Ratings are always difficult. Probably 3.5 stars in reality, but, then again, four stars signifies an excellent addition to any prog rock collection, and this would certainly qualify for that.

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