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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 Østfold 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.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

Magic Pie official website

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Buy MAGIC PIE Music


King For A DayKing For A Day
Karisma 2016
Audio CD$10.15
$12.96 (used)
Motions of DesireMotions of Desire
Import
Karisma 2017
Audio CD$10.03
$13.55 (used)
The Suffering JoyThe Suffering Joy
Karisma 2017
Audio CD$10.86
$13.90 (used)
Circus of LifeCircus of Life
Import
Karisma 2017
Audio CD$10.03
$13.90 (used)
Magic Pie - Circus Of Life - Lp Vinyl RecordMagic Pie - Circus Of Life - Lp Vinyl Record
Karisma Records
Vinyl$35.00
Collector's BoxCollector's Box
Karisma Records
Vinyl$249.99
Circus of Life by Magic Pie (2008-08-26)Circus of Life by Magic Pie (2008-08-26)
PROGROCK
Audio CD$54.46
King For A Day By Magic Pie (2015-05-25)King For A Day By Magic Pie (2015-05-25)
Karisma Records
Audio CD$36.25
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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)

3.83 | 257 ratings
Motions Of Desire
2005
3.80 | 238 ratings
Circus Of Life
2007
3.90 | 384 ratings
The Suffering Joy
2011
3.74 | 134 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 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Motions Of Desire by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.83 | 257 ratings

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Motions Of Desire
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars As the new renaissance of the progressive rock 90s churned on into the new millennium, it seems everyone was getting in on the act and the Scandinavian countries of Europe produced more than their fair share of some of the best new acts to emerge in the newer waves of the progressive rock world. Norway's MAGIC PIE was one of many to take the retro approach which adopted as many styles from the golden era and piecemeal them together into a fine tapestry of tradition all the while keeping the updated stylistic approaches and superior production values in full play. The band began as a cover band but soon gained enough confidence to begin crafting their own compositions out of the templates of the past masters. They soon released their debut album MOTIONS OF DESIRE in 2005 which was touted as being one of the best prog releases of the year and successfully gained them an instant following by those who would become instantly addicted to their heavy organ drenched riffs and rhythms in well-crafted musical territories where catchy earworms danced side by side with choppy angular prog accoutrements that harkened a blast from the past while tacking on the current passions of the present.

MAGIC PIE is a sextet coming from the south-eastern city of Østfold on Norway's eastern border with Sweden, another nation of seemingly endless musical talents that contributed to the fully fueled prog revival in the 90s with talents such as Ånglagard and Anekdoten. Each musician is a master of his respective instrument with Kim Stenberg leading the way with his crafty guitar oriented songwriting structures feeling equally at home on both happy-go-lucky rhythmic chord strumming or sizzling face-melting solos. Another prominent feature of the MAGIC PIE experience is the prominent use of the dreamy keyboards which emulate organs, mellotrons and all the atmospheric aspects of classic 70s prog. Gilbert Marshall, while a virtuoso in his own right on the keys is in no way a Keith Emerson type but rather focuses on the more ambient textures of Genesis' "Wind & Wuthering" era as well as Deep Purple type hard rock keyboard bombast. There are also many sections that would feel right at home on neo-prog albums as the textures often are superimposed on the band to augment a heightened melodic counterpoint. MAGIC PIE also employs two vocalists. Both Erik Hanssen and Allan Olsen complement each other as they sing in unison or cleverly craft madrigal polyphonies that offer nods to Gentle Giant without sounding like total ripoffs.

MOTIONS OF DESIRE is a lengthy beast consisting of eight tracks clocking in at almost 75 minutes. The opening track "Change" is a truly ambitious monster of a prog track clocking in at over twenty minutes and zigzags through many moods, textures and musical parades, however like the rest of the album is based in melodic rock that is more heavy than not that to me sounds like it inspired by some of the 70s classics like Mott The Hoople, David Bowie and other melodic rock giants, at least in compositional structuring. MAGIC PIE doesn't just stop with their melodic roots as the template but its how they build upon these different riffs and rhythms, tones and timbres and construct some of the most emotional drenching meets technically demanding tracks that have both the ability to weasel their way into your consciousness with their hooks but also bedazzle with their technical wizardry that not only delivers frenetic guitar and keyboard solos but run the gamut of completing the prog lover's workshop course by including crazy time signature change segments as well as polyphonic visions of 70s prog perfection.

Overall i find MAGIC PIE has that post-Morse Spock's Beard or Flower Kings symphonic prog sound as they carry out sprawling melodic segments that morph into different ones at least for the mellow and dreamier aspects of the album such as the neo-prog sounds of the title track and "Dream Vision. The band are perfectly capable of dishing some heavier parts and tracks with the highlight coming on the lightning technical speeds and bombast of "Illusion & Reality - Part III: Final Breath" with all the modern day virtuosity you could ask for. There are also parts such as the alternating rhythms in "Change" that display a rather flamenco rhythmic flare as well as ska rhythms emerging periodically. MOTIONS OF DESIRE contains an additional track "Full Circle Poetry" that is just over fourteen minutes in length as well as a sprawling three part themed chunk of time dedicated to "Illusion & Realty" that between the three tracks hit over the eighteen minute mark which gives this album all the pomp and overweening progitude that caused the genre to peak and ultimately decline during the heyday. MAGIC PIE unapologetically resurrects these ambitious attributes in full glory and runs away with it.

MAGIC PIE seems to catch a lot of flack for seemingly being "souless" and "insincere" as they unapologetically borrow riffs and rhythms that pinpoint to a time in the past but i can't help but to really love this one. Every track flows with the perfect amount of all ingredients finding their way into the mix. While the music isn't designed to create a new direction in prog, it certainly succeeds extremely well in stitching all of the ingredients together and making a bona fide retro prog sound that i find pleasing from beginning to end. I enjoy all the musician's idiosyncratic plays on the past masters as well as the more sophisticated approach of adapting them to the modern age. Both vocalists work in tandem and it's usually impossible to distinguish that there are indeed two vocalists participating. With a knack for interesting compositional zigzags through stylistic changes that intuitively keep the tracks exciting, i find MOTIONS OF DESIRE to be an excellent piece of modern prog that straddles the perfect fence that divides the dreamy folk placidity and the heavy energetic rocking side of their style. MAGIC PIE are genii at melodic flow as they manage to create a super lengthy album (a feature i usually shy away from) and keep me entertained on repeated listens. Strong melodies, strong compositions with respectful reverence to tradition. My kinda album!

 Motions Of Desire by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.83 | 257 ratings

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Motions Of Desire
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars For anyone old enough to recall Progressive Rock's Golden Age, the opening moments of Magic Pie's year 2005 debut album will trigger a thrilling sense of déjà vu, like a time machine transplanted from the early 21st century to the summer of 1974.

"Change" is the name of that initial piece of the Pie: an epic twenty-minute slice of textbook Prog moods and emotions, obviously intended as the band's signature track, and rightfully so. But at a certain point along the roller coaster it becomes hard to avoid the suspicion that the song's title is a little misleading, and that every headlong 'change' in musical speed, style and direction is actually more contrived than natural.

The explicit aim of the new band was "to create progressive textures in the spirit of the '70s" (quoting the CD notes), which would seem to offer an invitation to rehash the old, ongoing Progressive vs. Prog debate. In this instance the Magic Piemakers followed their mandate to the letter, and with a concentrated focus bordering on tunnel vision.

That's the good news. The downside is that despite all the vintage Prog embellishments - rapid cycle time signatures; florid soloing; hyperbolic melodicism - there's a conservatism to their method at odds with their stated ideals. Unlike the band's pioneering role models, these guys aren't young kids trying to 'change' the world (there's that word again) through a revolutionary bridging of musical and cultural barriers. As seen in the portrait inside the CD booklet, this is a capable group of seasoned professionals, following a retrograde creative impulse: Mainstream Prog, in other words, which ought to be an oxymoron but too often isn't.

None of which diminishes the album's cosmetic pleasures, which are considerable. Ignoring the sometimes heavy-handed Neo Prog schmaltz of the title track (thankfully the shortest song here), and some occasional cod-reggae riffing in "Full Circle Poetry", you'll find a surplus of upbeat instrumental showmanship, presented with real skill, if not much subtlety.

But the group never succeeds in translating the homage into a style of their own. Hardly surprising, given their true source of inspiration: not the original progressive trailblazers from the 1970s, but modern copycat acts like THE FLOWER KINGS and SPOCK'S BEARD. You might never guess, from their Anglo-Symphonic sound and fluent English lyrics, that Magic Pie actually hail from northern Scandinavia.

The bottom line is 75-minutes of second-hand Prog Rock mimicry, twice removed from its musical taproot. But the silver lining, to listeners of a certain age, is that a false memory can sometimes shine almost as bright as the real thing.

 Circus Of Life by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.80 | 238 ratings

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Circus Of Life
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

3 stars Short and easy. My son insisted I listened to MP. An agreeable surprise that leaves one a bittersweet taste. One may recognize the influences of the classics from prog to metal, old sounds that are well used and cooked with an as yet undefined cocktail-style. But my son has not listened to Scandinavian pop (happy him) that also roams relentless through the compositions. Pity the long epics like the 'Trick of the Mind' are stained so unrepentantly with senseless pop vocal melodies. If they tried to tribute the great Moody Blues or Parsons, they failed. The many superb moments will take you to a second listening, but the album may bore you after a few more listenings. This band needs advice (or a talented head) to be 5 stars. For my personal use, I have removed pop moments and the result is close to 4 stars.
 King For A Day by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 134 ratings

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King For A Day
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Magic Pie albums are like a prog orgy - liberally and populistically quoting all your favorite prog giants, plus the organ-drenched hard rock of Deep Purple and even some Dream Theater-esque shredding tendencies, and their own past work, in the process. That said, King for a Day has their probably punchiest production to date, bordering on prog metal-lite at times, and the most detailed vocal harmonies. In other respects this is your typical Magic Pie album, featuring a share of ear-friendly rockers, a pair of 12-minute, more balladic songs, and, of course, the obligatory 20 minute-plus epic that is a Magic Pie album all into itself.
 King For A Day by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 134 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.

 King For A Day by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 134 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 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, 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 have to hack through 25 miles of Japanese knot-weed before you get there. Which is simply 25 miles of effort too far.

 King For A Day by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 134 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!)

 Motions Of Desire by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.83 | 257 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*

 Circus Of Life by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.80 | 238 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.

 Motions Of Desire by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.83 | 257 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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

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