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MAGIC PIE

Symphonic Prog • Norway


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Magic Pie biography
Every time I hear that a Symphonic band from any Scandinavian country has released an album, I run and get it without any question, in most cases I'm not defrauded, their approach to classic Symphonic is impeccable in most cases and MAGIC PIE is not an exception.

The band was born a bit after the new century around 2001 - 2002 by six experienced musicians from Moss and Fredrikstad two cities in the southeastern County of ěstfold in Norway.

The members of the band are: Kim Stenberg (Guitars), the excellent keyboardist Gilbert Marshal who takes turns in the lead vocals, Eirick Hanssen (Lead Vocals), Lars Peter Holstad (Bass), Jan T. Johannessen (drums) and a third lead vocalist Allan Olsen.

They started in the early stage of their yet short career doing covers of Progressive acts playing always a couple of complex own material that they kept gathering until the year 2005 when they release the excellent debut album "Motions of Desire".

Their approach is respectful to early Symphonic but combines elements of Hard Rock blending almost everything from Genesis to Kansas or ELP to Dream Theater but never copying or attempting to clone, they just get the inspiration and work it with their unique style.

Their technique, atmospheres, skills and clear perspective of their musical future is impressive and I'm sure this bio will have to be upgraded in the next months when they release a second album (I hope).

In the moment we're writing this bio and only after months of it's release, "Motions of Desire" has 27 ratings, an impressive number for a new band that comes from the cold north country and clearly speaks of the respect "MAGIC PIE" has earned from the Prog community.

Ivßn Melgar Morey - Per˙

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Buy MAGIC PIE Music


King for a DayKing for a Day
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$16.48
$100.00 (used)
Circus of LifeCircus of Life
PROGROCK 2001
Audio CD$21.99
$20.00 (used)
The Suffering JoyThe Suffering Joy
Audio CD$19.69
$18.22 (used)
Motions of DesireMotions of Desire
PROGROCK 2001
Audio CD$896.23
$90.00 (used)
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MAGIC PIE shows & tickets


  • Magic Pie at Gamla, Oslo on 21 Aug 2015
  • Slottsskogen Goes Progressive 2015 on 29 Aug 2015

MAGIC PIE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAGIC PIE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 230 ratings
Motions Of Desire
2005
3.78 | 218 ratings
Circus Of Life
2007
3.89 | 345 ratings
The Suffering Joy
2011
3.86 | 89 ratings
King For A Day
2015

MAGIC PIE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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MAGIC PIE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAGIC PIE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MAGIC PIE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 King For A Day by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 89 ratings

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King For A Day
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Norwegian band MAGIC PIE has been a presence in the Norwegian music scene for more than a decade to date, and from the release of their debut album "Motions of Desire" back in 2005 it has become a popular band also in the international circuit. "King for a Day" is their long-awaited fourth studio album, and was released in May 2015 through Karisma Records.

Magic Pie has an established reputation as providers of hard-edged symphonic progressive rock internationally, and with their fourth album "King for a Day" they will further enhance that reputation. A solid, high-quality production through and through, easily recommended to existing fans of the band, amd also to those with a general taste for harder edged progressive rock of the symphonic variety.

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 King For A Day by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 89 ratings

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King For A Day
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by tbstars1

2 stars Oh dear! I was really taken with the first two offerings from MP = "Motions of Desire" and "Circus of Life". Excellent music throughout and both very easy on the ear. Things started to go seriously downhill with "The suffering joy" as the band veered away from the symphonic in favour of the histrionic, underpinned by self-consciously odd time structures for dramatic effect. Suffering and joyless would have been a more apt title! I had high expectations of "King for a day", hoping that the band would see the error of its ways and recover its original style, but no - I fear the downward journey is complete.

I have no idea what musical genre now most appropriately befits MP. Aside from "Silent Giant", which knows which side its bread is buttered on and never deviates from straight-on blazing guitars, this is just an unrelenting barrel-ful of mulligatawny soup, richly flavoured in that it contains a few snippets of genuinely excellent melodies, but with far too many dollops of sour cream scattered liberally about, in the very worst tradition of Spock's Beard. Seems to me that the band is now trying too hard to find its sense of direction.

"Trick of the Trade" is bog-standard dad rock, a genre which (I thought) came to an inglorious end some 30 years ago. (Its only redeeming feature was the briefest of snatches which brought to mind a long-forgotten track from the CD Garden Shed by England, which duly sent me scurrying back to listen again to that "lost" classic.)

"Introversion" delivers much of the same, this time interspersed with some slower passages which try (but fail) to lend an extra dimension of subtlety and feeling.

"According to Plan" is yet more run-of-the mill rock, albeit allied to some pretty nifty rhythmic gymnastics and multi-layered harmonies - an effortless graduate from the Spock's Beard school of bombast. Overblown and overly intricate at one and the same time.

"Tears gone dry" kicks off with about 6 minutes of absolutely gorgeous guitar and (later) vocals, but then, inevitably, degenerates once more into powerful dad rock schmaltz which had you running for cover.

"Silent giant" has already been mentioned in despatches.

Which brings us to" King for a day", MP's magnum opus. A veritable 27 minute romp through a range of musical styles with no discernible link between them. If the band had managed to cut out the excess frills and dross, this could have been a truly magnificent "epic". As it is, a terrifically sweeping and dynamic finale (covering the last 7 minutes) comes across as a precious orchid...but you need to struggle through 25 miles of Japanese knot-weed before you get there. Which is simply 25 miles of effort too far.

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 King For A Day by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 89 ratings

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King For A Day
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by progpositivity
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since these proggers from Norway released their promising debut "Motions of Desire". At that time, their music struck me as an enthusiastic combination of classic prog and classic hard rock. (Think Deep Purple for the hard rock side of that equation.) At their best, they offered memorable passages and pieces that sounded like they very well could have been long lost recordings from many years ago. At their worst, they sometimes fell short of filling the big shoes of the legendary bands whose music they strove to emulate. That's actually not bad for a debut album from a new prog band. I found much to like and looked forward to hearing from them again in the future.

Checking back in on them a decade later, I must say that I am very impressed with how they have developed and matured. No longer do I get the feeling that certain sections of songs are direct homages to any particular band from any one particular decade of prog's illustrious history. Their influences, while still very present and valid, are now more varied, including a greater percentage of modern reference points. More importantly, their influences are just that--merely influences rather than templates or even primary reference points.

The sound quality on "King for a Day" is superb thanks in large part to the enlistment of sonic genius Rich Mouser (whose resume includes similar work for prominent contemporaries like Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Dream Theater).

Keyboardist Erling Hananger is an excellent addition to Magic Pie's recipe. His keyboard parts are expressive, dynamic and integral to the music. When appropriate, his leads seamlessly blend, harmonize, and work synergistically with electric guitar.

The lyrics have a melodramatic and somewhat tragic flair this time around, but this is prog so you should be accustomed to the musical ride including a few tragic tales from time to time by now, right?

OK ' so it's time for the "magic" question... A decade after their debut album, how has my impression of Magic Pie changed?

On "King for a Day", I now hear a band which has found "its own voice", one that resonates confidently in the space somewhere between classic arena rock of yesteryear (on prog-steroids of course) and modern melodic prog of the 21st Century (like Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings). Add a few dashes of modern prog-metal to taste and you, my friend, have baked up a very nice confection indeed... MAGIC PIE!

If you love modern prog anthems with big harmonies and 'sing along' choruses, give "King for a Day" a listen! I'm glad I did!

(On a side-note, it appears I now have some important 'catching up' to do. I look forward to checking out Magic Pie's 2011's release "The Suffering Joy" in the very near future!)

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 Motions Of Desire  by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.82 | 230 ratings

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Motions Of Desire
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by progadicto

3 stars Ten years has passed since the release of this album and still sounds great for me. Perhaps the listening after all this time includes another elements and comparisons, this promising debut still surprises with their fine work on keyboards and guitars, epic moments and the balance of 70's-00's mixtures in most of the tracks.

Starting with the 20+ minutes magnum opus 'Change' this Norwegian band still impresses me with their musical skills that turns into very nice symphonic sections without losing the tasty 70's flavour. There are a lot of reminiscences here (from Deep Purple to Dream Theater) and even with the contemporary Flower Kings and Echolyn but Magic Pie definitively has their own and particular proggy style.

The technical playing of guitars and keyboards, the bombastic moments and the ambitious epic sections (sometimes even pretentious) repeats along the album, but if I got to pick some real jewel here, I choose the optimistic 'Motions of Desire', the almost metal prog 'Without Knowing Why', maybe the only piece that escapes almost totally from the 70's influence perhaps the sound of the keyboards, and the complex rhythm of 'Dream Vision' which turns into a really nice proggy song at least in their instrumental parts.

Ten years has passed and still 'Motions of Desire' is a very enjoyable album and that's quiet an achievement for any band or musician. 3.5*

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 Circus Of Life by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.78 | 218 ratings

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Circus Of Life
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Out of the three albums from these Norwegian bombastic retro-proggers, this one has a slightly lower average rating. But it's my favorite. It has both the rockiest and most soothing melodies of their repertoire.

The bulk of the record is a title 45-minute epic, in 5 parts. It has a nice enough flow, intensifying and slowing down in appropriate moments. Unfortunately, the band has a tendency to over repeat melodic lines in the more faster sections and slow things down to a creeping halt in the calmer ones. So it's hard to hold attention for all 45 minutes. Fortunately, one of the parts is a 20-minute epic all in itself, containing a furious 5-minute instrumental jam. After the epic, the remaining two songs may seem like an afterthought. But they are good. Pointless Masquerade, after the slightly annoying bum-bum-bum segment, progresses to showcase all the band's influence, from Gentle Giant to Deep Purple, managing the transitions smoothly. The closer, Watching the waters, is a happy sing-along and jam fest with a folkish feel.

Say some Magic Pie are derivative, but the band's compositional and instrumental talents make it up to my melody-loving ears.

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 Motions Of Desire  by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.82 | 230 ratings

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Motions Of Desire
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Magic Pie is kind of a Norway's answer to the Swedish band Flower Kings, who brew a stew of all the popular 70s prog ingredients and make it as pleasant as possible. If you dislike Flower Kings for these attributes, stop reading right here. If you like them, then by all means give Magic Pie a try. There are some minor differences - Magic Pie, for example, is less reliant on jazz and more on harmonious playing and loud organ rock a la Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. But the principle is the same - feel-good nostalgia.

The album features three 6 minute songs, and three very long songs, transitions are handled smoothly enough. So, even if these guys are not original, they are still good songwriters and instrumentalists.

Sonically, it seems as if the band thinks that instrumentals are their strong point. And while the guys, in face of the pleasantness, can rock out, that leads to vocals, alternating between several singers, being uncomfortably buried in the mix. Like the Flower Kings, vocals are not strong, but pleasant enough for the mix to be more even.

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 Motions Of Desire  by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.82 | 230 ratings

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Motions Of Desire
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Magic Pie's Motions of Desire sees the band pull off the obvious motifs of various classic prog acts of the past without quite managing to build anything new and innovative on that foundation. There'll be a Yes bit here, a Kansas bit there, a Gentle Giant bit over there with the vocal harmonies, but all these disparate parts only manage to demonstrate that the band can pull off the technical aspects of these bands' playing without convincing me that they've really mastered the relevant compositional approaches, or indeed that they have developed an interesting compositional approach of their own. A fun listen but I feel it's a rather shallow experience.

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 The Suffering Joy by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.89 | 345 ratings

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The Suffering Joy
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Richens

4 stars Let me make it clear from the beginning that I am a lover of modern symphonic and melodic progressive rock. There are two proponents of prog that border on being a little too heavy for me. One is Dream Theater, (when Dream Theater make melody a secondary concern to booming metal riffs) and the other is Magic Pie. Where Magic Pie consistently wins out, however, is their focus on the melody, which, in spite of the heaviness of this album, still shines through. Vocals are excellent and musicianship is superb. In the thankful absence of growling vocals, this is a complex and captivating album that grows in stature the more you listen to it. To me, this is the sign of a great album. Magic Pie are definitely on my 'purchase without question' list and I hope they continue on the same creative path, but perhaps with slightly more focus on the melody. Easily four stars.

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 The Suffering Joy by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.89 | 345 ratings

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The Suffering Joy
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Magic Pie: The Suffering Joy [2011]

Rating: 5/10

The Suffering Joy is the third album from Norwegian progressive-rock band Magic Pie. Although I am an avid fan of symphonic progressive-rock, Magic Pie's metallic approach to the style hasn't managed to do much for me. The band's first two albums seemed forced and sterile to me, and this third effort doesn't correct these problems. Instead, it compounds them. The Dream Theater worship that took center-stage on Circus of Life continues here, to the point where the band seems to have lost a portion of their symph-prog sound in favor of a more metal-oriented approach. The first two Magic Pie albums weren't exactly exercises in restraint, but The Suffering Joy makes those look subtle in comparison. Just when you think that the album has run its course, the band throws another 15-minute track at you. I have absolutely no problem with long albums, and I love epic songwriting. However, this grandiose style seems to be a bit too much for Magic Pie.

"A Life's Work (Part I) - Questions Unanswered" opens the album with soft keyboard and some cheesy lyrics. "A Life's Work (Part II) - Overture" is a short instrumental with some nice keyboard work and heavy guitar, but it's almost criminally derivative of Dream Theater. "A Life's Work (Part III) - A Brand New Day" is short acoustic interlude that leads into the 17-minute grandiosity of "A Life's Work (Part IV) - The Suffering Joy." There are some undeniably impressive moments on this track, and the musicianship is spectacular. However, it's quite by-the-numbers overall. "Headlines" is one of the stronger tracks here. The synths sound excellent the guitar work is well-executed. Regardless, nothing terribly special is happening. "Endless Ocean" is a pleasant acoustic piece with very good vocals. "Slightly Mad" is the definite highlight of the album. The keyboard work is superb, and drumming is top-notch. Most importantly, however, the songwriting is cohesive and interesting. The guitar solo is a bit too shreddy for my tastes, however. "Tired" is the album's low-point. At 15 minutes, it's massively overlong and overblown. I was quite "tired" of this track by the time it was over. "In Memoriam" ends the album on the same unremarkable note.

Magic Pie are obviously a talented band, but their instrumental skill doesn't stop The Suffering Joy from being a tedious release. There simply isn't very much compelling or memorable material to be found here. It's a middle-of-the-road album in every sense of the term; there's nothing to be offended by, but there's also nothing to get excited about. Most of these tracks plod on past their conceivable capacity, with the band pulling the same tricks over and over again. There are high points, but they're not nearly as pronounced as the highlights of the previous two albums. This is a homogenous and fairly mediocre release that can easily be passed by.

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 Circus Of Life by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.78 | 218 ratings

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Circus Of Life
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Circus Of Life' - Magic Pie (6/10)

Due in large part to personal experience, I have considered Magic Pie to be the band that represents modern artists playing 'prog', without being actually progressive. As one would expect, their debut 'Motions Of Desire' sported some great musicianship and virtually every cliche of prog rock music, and as such, there were quite a few enthusiastic fans. In any case, I never found myself really drawn to the sounds of Magic Pie, finding them derivative and sterile; two traits that I don't care to have in my prog listening. 'Circus Of Life' is arguably the strongest work in Magic Pie's catalogue, but it is bogged down by many of the same issues that hurt the debut.

Lovers of vintage prog should be happy that there is still music of the style being made, but- as I've stated many times before- there is not much that I find exciting about recycling the ideas of older bands. Regardless, Magic Pie start off their 'Circus Of Life' on a very strong note. They have a strong keyboard presence and instrumental sections that sometimes flirt with prog metal, but stay firmly rooted in a familiar Scandinavian prog style. As could be considered as typical for prog as a walk in the park, Magic Pie sports a forty-plus minute epic title track, split into five of the album's seven tracks. Throughout this behemoth, Magic Pie dabbles with a somewhat flimsy metaphor that life is a circus, but the instrumentation far outweighs the lyrics in this case. The first three parts of 'Circus Of Life' play through in a predictable, yet powerful fashion. The instrumental 'overture' track 'Freakshow' is particularly impressive, with Gilbert Marshall's warm organ tone blazing. By the midpoint point of the album however, it seems as if Magic Pie falls off the wagon a bit.

Specifically in regards to the twenty minute slice of the suite, Magic Pie seems to lose their interest in keeping things volatile and exciting. I enjoyed the first two or three tracks so much because the music didn't take too long to evolve into something new. 'Pt. IV: Trick Of The Mind' derails this by offering a twenty minute monster that should have alot more to say than it does, in terms of songwriting. Throughout this entire album, Magic Pie perform very well, weaving their way through techy instrumental sections with impressive tightness. The production crosses me as being cold and somewhat dispassionate, however. The two songs after the main dish feel more like afterthoughts to the 'Circus Of Life', but if you don't pay attention to track numbers, the division is not really noticeable. At an hour's length, the album feels like it could have used with at least ten or fifteen minutes shaved off of it. Magic Pie are excellent musicians and they even prove to me here what great music they can make, but in this case, the excesses of prog appear to get to them a little too much.

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