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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
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$9.58
$8.99 (used)
Children Of Another GodChildren Of Another God
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$17.03
$32.02 (used)
HexameronHexameron
Import
Camino UK 2008
Audio CD$21.99
$34.99 (used)
Children Of Another God by 101 DISTRIBUTIONChildren Of Another God by 101 DISTRIBUTION
101 DISTRIBUTION
Audio CD$64.96
Children Of Another God by Nick Magnus (2010-03-30)Children Of Another God by Nick Magnus (2010-03-30)
101 DISTRIBUTION
Audio CD$129.58
Hexameron by Camino UKHexameron by Camino UK
Camino UK
Audio CD$141.48
Hexameron by Nick MagnusHexameron by Nick Magnus
JFK
Audio CD$95.49
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NICK MAGNUS discography


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

2.06 | 9 ratings
Straight on Till Morning
1993
3.59 | 15 ratings
Inhaling Green
1999
3.62 | 37 ratings
Hexameron
2004
3.93 | 92 ratings
Children Of Another God
2010
3.83 | 61 ratings
N'monix
2014

NICK MAGNUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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NICK MAGNUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 N'monix by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 61 ratings

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N'monix
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Nick Magnus returns with a crafty follow-up to his 2 last successful albums, 2004's "Hexameron" and 2010's "Children of a Lesser God", the oddly titled "N'Monix". The recipe has not changed one iota, still a lovely collection of Gabriel-era material, fully loaded with mounds and mounds of Banksian mellotron/organ/piano/synth flourishes, some spicy Steve Hackett cameo appearances (is there anyone in prog busier than the Cured Defector?) and a cast of lead singers such as stalwarts Tony Patterson and Peter Hicks , as well as a cameo appearance by Tim Bowness (No-Man fame) and again, according to tradition (Siobhan McCarthy of "Sophia's Song", Linda John-Pierre on "the Others"), Magnus includes the scintillating operatic soprano of Kate Faber on the Gregorian "Memory" , a piece that will have you see angels in flight, whether you are a vampire or not. The crackling fragility blends with authorative power to completely encircle the senses and render one helpless.

As per his formula, the album opens with a glittering symphonic piece, "Time", a slowly developing maelstrom of sound and effects, bullying forward in a very choppy Genesis style, a smoking mellotron blazing a classic Tony Patterson sung theme, this is damn delicious! This could easily have been a song off an early Genesis album, without even a hint of doubt. Euphoric, bruising, clanging, massive and pastoral, all rolled into one. A modern/historic video game soundtrack is to be found on the galloping "Kombat Kid", at least until the vocals come in and the veer into Genesisian landscapes becomes ultra-obvious. Patterson again leads his subtle voice to the mix, depicting the gallant story of Richard III, whose recently found grave caused quite a stir in historical circles (yeah and the Net, too), the lyrics are quite clever, a twist that will rekindle fond memories of progressive giants past.

Each album has a slight weak link, strangely generally always sung by Magnus himself, such as the wonky urban schmooze of "Headcase", which does have some rather nice synth and bass lines. There is a kind of Supertramp meets the Tangent feel, I guess. No big deal, because the next four tracks are just plain splendid. "Eminent Victorians" combines that playful 70s British story-telling prog style (a la "Harrold the Barrel" and "the Battle of Epping Forest"), led by Peter Hicks, experienced voice, followed by some superlative guitar licks, courtesy of the Hackett man. Unusually complex and breathtaking, his glistening glide is just plain sublime.

The epic "Broken" is most definitely the highlight track here, a smoky and seductive Tim Bowness (owner of the most immediately recognizable voice in prog) doing what he does so very well: emote convincingly! The enchanting lyrics by Mr Dick Foster are to be commended, both very clever and creatively obscure. Rob Townsend performs a sultry sax solo that will please the brassy crowd. A masterpiece to say the least, fueled by a lovely piano etude. The altogether way too brief instrumental "Shadowland" has Steve Hackett caressing his guitar with masterful intrigue, Magnus' choir mellotron in desperate tow, a thoroughly mesmerizing slice of electric pleasure. It's so gorgeous, you may want to cry.

The cinema show soundtrack "Entropy" closes out the disc in sandwich style, reprising the "Time" melodic theme. The lush guitar sounds are not Steve's but emanate from Nick's bag of ivory trickery, and showcases new singer hitherto unknown James Reeves, who does a masterful job on the microphone. Magnus' guitar patch sound is both raw and crystalline, searing into the marrow of the theme with impunity.

Another successful canon in the symphonic prog catalog, nothing earth shattering but super dependable and rock solid. This is entertainment, mate!

4 measures of disorder

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 Children Of Another God by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.93 | 92 ratings

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Children Of Another God
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Steve Hackett protégé, ex-Autumn and ex-The Enid keyboardist Nick Magnus should be no stranger to prog fans, not only for his mellotron-drenched style but perhaps also for his walrus-like facial hair (he does look a bit weird). I do not know his debut 1993 album, appreciated his second "Inhaling Green" (1999), really loved and reviewed his 2004 release "Hexameron" that owned a slew of crafty pieces that really made the grade, the result surely did not disappoint with some lovely symphonic-laced tunes such as the epic and lush "Dancing on the Waters", the über- Celtic "Sophia's Song" and the seductive "Seven Hands of Time", interspersed with some poppier material ("Marduk", "Brother Sun, Sister Moon") that noticeably recall the Alan Parsons Project (APP). So suffice to say, "Children of Another God" was a no-brainer purchase, as far as I was concerned and certainly delivers a strong contingent of elegant pieces that will please the undemanding progfan.

The widely varied menu is therefore similar to past releases with profligate melodies such as the magnificent title track that features the warm Gabrielesque voice of Tony Patterson or the sweeping , flute-laden and buzzy guitar- driven "The Colony is King", both being outright marvels and prog classics. This last piece could have graced any Steve Hackett album and received the suitable applause, as its quite deserving.

Then there are some of those more accessible songs, such as the APP-like "Dr. Prometheus", sung by Pete Hicks (Hackett's old band) who also sings on the cinematographic "Crimewave Monkeys". The rather liquid "Identity Theft" has Magnus taking over the mike and doing a decent job, but I fear it's a bit of the weakest link here, though that xylophone patch does have some merit. The instrumental "Twenty Summers" certainly entertains the faithful and does not shock any monkey.

The sensational vocal-led "The Others" features a clear and powerful female voice that shines ever so brightly (owned by a Linda John-Pierre) and rekindles semi-operatic themes within the symphonic curtains (synthetic oboe, piano, orchestrations). Tony Patterson shows off some more vocal variation on "Babel Tower" which does sound like a Rael outtake, full of ivory bombast and muted shrieks, sudden acoustic guitar pastorals and a raging organ/mellotron passage to rouse the innocent (a reprise of the majestic title theme) and garner this with a stamp of class. But he really kills it on the glowing finale, a monster delivery floating upon sheer symphonic beauty, a masterstroke that will convert the unbeliever, "Howl the Stars Down" is a definite keeper.

In its essence, there is nothing ground breaking here in terms of progressive development, just an array of finely chiseled songs that relive the Broadway Sheep, and smooth the weary soul. All in all, a great recording that has all the goods.

4 Gigantic Slices

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 Children Of Another God by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.93 | 92 ratings

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Children Of Another God
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars When I put my feet up, open my ears and take in this 2010 release by the keyboard magus Magnus, the last impression that comes to mind is "low budget". Yet, in spite of all the guitar figures charitably distributed throughout this work, apparently only one track actually includes that instrument strewn about the shoulders that is fretted and picked. The rest is apparently synthesized, which really goes to show how far technology has come, and how, in the right hands, it can craftily dispense with codependency on big budget studios and production. And this man seems to have two right hands.

Still and all, I guess what upsets me most is that I thought Messieurs Hackett and Magnus were old buddies, and surely Steve and his brother could be persuaded to join Nick for old times sake. You mean he has to pay them? I guess we are spoiled by the explosion of prog from all quadrants that masks its minimal commercial viability, but economic realities impinge, albeit in this case not enough to denigrate the quality in the slightest. Leaving production aside, the concept, lyrics, musical score - yes this is a visually resplendent album, and arrangements are all best of breed. Magnus has traded the more poppy and world oriented songs from "Hexameron" for a more uniformly progressive release that is still quite vocal oriented. The only exception would be the ALAN PARSONS like "Doctor Prometheus", which is ironically one of the most accomplished, but the title cut introduces a soothing melody that reappears much later, while "The Colony is King" is possibly the best STEVE HACKETT track not to appear on a Hackett album. The dark and foreboding "Crimewave Monkeys" laments the anonymity of today's average cyber crook. Linda John-Pierre cops a quasi JON ANDERSON persona for the delicate "The Others".

In almost every way an improvement on Magnus' prior work, "Children of Another God" unfolds as a victim of its own success. Like that A student needing just marginal accretion, it never quite lunges beyond its comfort level long enough to attain highest honors. Still, this is an excellent album by an artist who has kept the faith far longer than many of prog's erstwhile Deities.

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 Hexameron  by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.62 | 37 ratings

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Hexameron
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars One may quibble with the retro aspects of Nick Magnus' solo work, such as essentially re-uniting the moving parts of that glorious STEVE HACKETT band for the umpteenth time, while they remain as electrifying as ever . One may question his abutment of lulling vaporous instrumentals against more orthodox popular songs, while what seems most illuminating is how nobody can agree on which, if either, overturns the ox cart. One may demand wherefore he includes convincing odes to Celtic splendor that would make CLANNAD, CAPERCAILLIE, ALTAN, and ROSE AMONG THORNS blush, while brusquely waving off the considered possibility that the man is evolving and that one axis of this hexameron might sprout a fiddle, tin whistle and a windswept yarn or two. But what is undeniable is the facile musicality of it all. It would seem that Magnus' work on several mammoth recorded and live productions in the 1990s has endowed him with a compiler's acumen without obscuring his melodic muse. If the album does crest anywhere, it does so on the merging of the sweeping "Brother Sun Sister Moon" piloted by vocalist Pete Hicks with the dazzling Hackett shiver fest that is "Seven Hands of Time", which would have been one of the, if not THE, high point on almost any of Steve's best early excursions. Nick Magnus may not be defining a new genre but his resurgence here embodies the soul and heart of a time before so many of our heroes let us down, and it does so six ways to Sunday.

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 Inhaling Green by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.59 | 15 ratings

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Inhaling Green
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars As the keyboard player through most of the low and high points of STEVE HACKETT's first 2 decades of solo recording, Nick Magnus could only have been influenced by Hackett's approach and sensibility, but one should not underestimate his own influence on Hackett. Overall, the former GENESIS guitarist endorses the ensemble approach to progressive rock, and he has never skimped on orchestration and keyboard accompaniment to his guitar centric orientation. Here on "Inhaling Green", Magnus plays almost all instruments and yet the overall feel is that of a keyboard oriented prog band; the only guitar credit is for Geoff Whitehorn on the mammoth title cut, but I hear at least the approximations of a guitar elsewhere. The addition of JOHN HACKETT on flute helps reinforce the integrity of the familial relationship, and sensitively colors a couple of these pieces, allowing one to be more forgiving about the exclusively programmed rhythms.

While "Inhaling Green" bears some similarities to some of MIKE OLDFIELD's work, Magnus seems reluctant to steal the show from himself, and generally opts for understatement. This lack of showboating can raise other concerns in the prog realm, and at times he does tread close to new age territory, but generally succeeds in establishing a balance between airy melodies and open displays of instrumental prowess. In lesser hands the result might have been much diminished.

It's hard to pick out a highlight or two as the album maintains a consistently high standard as well as an appealing sequence of arrangements. "Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" features a sparkling melody and arrangement. I do enjoy "Cantus" with its medieval chants by Clare Brigstocke, and "Veil of Sighs" does bring me back to "Voyage of the Acolyte" days, but,its brevity assures none of the somnolence of that long ago release. "Dixon Hill" would barely rate a mention but it just fits so well here, being a jazzy horn driven piece that offsets the generally pastoral mood elsewhere. The lengthy title track seems to be Magnus' response to ENIGMA and the like; After an elongated highly orchestral opening salvo, the programmed beats and female wails backstop whispered spoken verses, some of them which recommend the consumption of inedibles - is this a commentary on the health food movement? - before a brilliant guitar interlude by Geoff Whitehorn, manic yet restrained. Later, a repeated bombastic refrain recalls the glory of "Spectral Mornings".

While there may not be much new here, "Inhaling Green" nonetheless represents a breath of fresh air from one of progressive rock's upperclassmen.

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 N'monix by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 61 ratings

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N'monix
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by Platy2112

5 stars I absolutely love N'monix. One can say it's not terribly innovative or risk-taking and so on, and they'd be right. It's not.

Instead, it's one of the best descendants of the 1970's epic British prog and it carries that tradition on brightly and warmly. I'm something of a romantic, so the open emotion and quiet beauty of the album speak to me strongly. Especially the short guitar/choir piece Shadowland is extremely moving - it's music I'd like to be played in my funeral (hopefully not very soon though!). And that's a positive compliment, mind you :)

So, not necessarily progressive in the strictest sense of the word but as excellent an album as you might wish for in its slightly retro genre. Thank you, Mr Magnus.

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 N'monix by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 61 ratings

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N'monix
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars UK composer and musician Nick MAGNUS have been an active solo artist for more than two decades, with five full length productions to his name at this point. He's also known for a brief tenure with progressive rock band The Enid back in the 1970's, as well as working with Steve Hackett. "N'Monix" is his most recent album, and was released through Esoteric Recordings imprint Esoteric Antenna in 2014.

Nick Magnus tends to be described as a creator of symphonic progressive rock, and those with an affection for this kind of music will not be disappointed by this latest album of his. This is a production that have just about everything you could ask for from an album of this kind, especially if you have a special love for the British variety of the style as explored in the 1970's.

Fans of Genesis will adore the guitar and organ combinations that are used throughout, and alongside those with an affection for Camel they will also be swooned by the softer, layered mostly vintage keyboard arrangement used in some of the gentler escapades. Delicate piano and vocal passages have their place, and the emotional, controlled and fairly delicate lead vocals fits this type of music perfectly, perhaps not what one might describe as a great vocalist in terms of voice and range, but as far as I'm concerned vocals that are perfectly adapted to the sequences in which they are used, and able to convey emotions just about as perfect as one could ask from a human being.

In addition to the expected we have occasional dips into pastoral territories, as well as quite a few visits into stunningly beautiful orchestrated passages, where the second half of the pair Time / Memory is among the most beautiful experiences on a production that is breathtaking in it's beauty more often than not.

As this CD nears the end we're also treated to moods of a more sacral character. Shadowland most likely a rather well planned run through such a landscape with it's haunting guitar and choir backdrop, while the darker textures that opens Entropy, which then shifts into a song that in overall mood and atmosphere wouldn't be out of place on a Neal Morse worship album perhaps is more accidental, although I have to admit that I didn't follow the lyrics on that song all that closely.

Just about the only sour note I have are the lyrics for Kombat Kid. I've had computer games as a hobby for 30 years or thereabouts, and while I sympathize with the message I think the point of view is rather dead wrong in the lyrics department on that one, at least from what I could hear. Yes, games causes problems and even addictions but no, children aren't the main victims. Game addiction is rather more common among adults. Games like Football Manager and World of Warcraft will be familiar turf for people dealing with game addictions, as will so called social games on Facebook, cell phones and tablets.

If you have an interest and affection for symphonic progressive rock in general, and for the archetypical English 70's variety of it in particular, "N'Monix" is a CD you should note down on your short list of albums to inspect and most likely purchase, and those who love Genesis and Camel should probably be among the very first in line.

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 Hexameron  by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.62 | 37 ratings

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Hexameron
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by oskkar

4 stars My first encounter with Nick Magnus opus was "Children of Another God", though I already was aware of his important contribution to Steve Hackett's solo endeavor. Myself a long time follower and appreciattor of Steve's music. Children...gave me a big shot and good impression, I was deeply grateful someone can still come with such sweet and spooky melodies, in my taste the best representatives of prog-symphonic and classic music.

I must confess that going for Hexameron after the exposition to Children was kind of a disappointing experience, because indeed Hexameron is quite different, and to some extent, can be said, in tune with other reviews in this site, Children is better.

But, as time passed, and with the advent of his last opus N'Monix, a new listen to Hexameron made some magical work in my musical ear, and now I see Hexameron is a very good and enjoyable album, with the same type of beautiful melodies I found in Children...

The three albums of this skillful keyboard musician are now a big delight to listen, each one with its own features. I would like to indulge in musical technical descriptions of each track, but it is not an easy task for me, English is my 2nd language.

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 Hexameron  by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.62 | 37 ratings

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Hexameron
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Come the millenium and Nick Magnus still got himself involved in various different projects, like in 2001, when he rearranged songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney to adapt them to the West End musical ''All you need is love'', which was performed throughout the summer.At the same time he established his own label Magick Nuns Records to release his own music.His next work ''Hexameron'' was a concept album around order and chaos and featured the talents of Steve Hackett alongside his regular participants John Hackett, Geoff Whitehorn and female singer Clare Brigstocke.A few more guests appear also on choirs, violin and slide guitar.

''Hexameron'' was a much more focused effort by Magnus, enlightened by the comfort of a project, which wanted the composer to circulate his ideas around spacious and electronic atmospheres.It is though a highly symphonic album, always driven by the piano and synthesizers of Magnus, recalling his days with THE ENID, even if the atmosphere here is far from bombastic, it's mostly an attempt on ethereal, cinematic symphonic music with enough guitar, bass and drums content to consider it a Symphonic Rock album.There are still some GANDALF-like New Age climates to be found in the more laid-back instrumentals, most of them also feature some dreamy female voices, but it has its moments of grandieur as well, based on more bombastic executions and intense keyboard explosions.The music is still very reminiscent of STEVE HACKETT's late-70's/early-80's material with a special nod to keyboards than the guitars, but sharing practically the same mood for elaborate, melodic and refined arrangements with some fading GENESIS underlines.A couple of tracks revisit MIKE OLDFIELD's Celtic-inspired soundscapes and the music is extremely well-crafted during these cuts as well.That appears to be the main negative factor of the album as well, the dominance of dreamy and angelic tunes/arrangements and the lack of more dynamic and passionate material.

Anyway, this was another nice effort by Magnus, this was his beloved style after all, a smooth, atmospheric approach on symphonic music with plenty of beautiful textures and definite blinks to the 70's.Recommended.

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 N'monix by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 61 ratings

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N'monix
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars I didn't know who Nick Magnus was until I read a review about his newest record and then I saw he played with Steve Hackett at his record "Spectral mornings"(and many more) which is one of my favourite records. I tried to listen to a couple of Nick Magnus' own songs and I heard from first moment it was great music. Nick Magnus plays keyboards and has done that for a long time in many prog bands and elsewhere. Since 1993 he has also made some solo records (with a band of course). This year's "N'Monix" is his fifth record and fans of him have waited for four years. The cover shows a stone box with a watch in the bottom and an insect in front of it. It has a length of a long vinyl and features a long row of great musicians such as Steve Hackett(guitar), Rob Townsend(saxophone and flute) and the vocalists Tony Patterson, Pete Hicks, Tim Bowness, James Reeves, Kate Faber and Andy Neve. Nick Magnus sings as well on "Headcase".

Nick Magnus here has created a very pleasant prog record with music it's hard to not like. "N'Monix" contains symphonic rock with great vocalists, empathetic lyrics and a big variation that keep your interest high during the whole listening sessions. My favourite song is found in the middle of the album: "Eminent Victorians" with Pete Hicks on vocals. That is in my opinion the most symphonic and exciting track here and it is almost as good as it can be(9/10). "Entropy" is a fine closer(8/10) and the saxophone of Townsend and the guitar of Hackett shine on "Broken"(8/10). "Kombat Kid"(8/10) is the fourth of the greatest songs on the album, a song with an inspiring poetic text too. When this album is so even, there are no sights of bad songs and the seet "Memory" gets my lowest rating(6/10).

I recommend the whole record to prog listeners who like symphonic rock of the old style or fans of Steve Hackett as well. Nick Magnus should be proud of this album and I rate it 3.75 which becomes four stars! Best song: "Eminent victorians"

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