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MAGRATHEA

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Magrathea biography
MAGRATHEA is simply what any Proghead can expect, an excellent that blends everything existing in the Progressive Rock scenario and even more, due to the quality of their music seems hard to understand why they keep the status of almost underground but looking at they website it's clear they need promotion, I won't exaggerate if I say it's the worst website I have ever seen (And I seen terrible ones), informs nothing about the band's history style or influences; the photos are less than mediocre and honestly it's boring just to look at it but thanks heaven their music speaks for them and does it loud.

MAGRATHEA is originally a two men project by Glenn Alexander (Vocal, keyboards drums) and Gary Gordon (Bass, lead guitar acoustic guitar) and apparently a third called Terrence A Bowles (Bass guitar Taurus pedals) has been added God knows when, because their site doesn't even cares to mention this and only add his photo.

Guessing by the date of release of their albums, they formed MAGRATHEA in the mid 90's and released 5 excellent albums plus one 3 tracks demo CD, after downloading all the available songs in their website, rushed to get a copy of their third CD Entropy because their music is probably the best stuff from the late 90's early 2000's.

They are labeled as Symphonic but no sub-genre can make justice to them I can feel influences from Genesis (5 and 4 men eras), King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Rush, ELP, Kansas, IQ, Marillion and every musician and sub genre existing in Progressive Rock plus some hints of Goth Metal and Malmsteen's Rising Forces.

But don't expect copyist or clones, all their music is absolutely original, complex and the arrangements are carefully designed to create perfect atmospheres that go from pristine Symphonic to Neo Prog, Prog Metal, Avant-Garde and even a bit of Folksy hints. Everything fits perfectly in it's place and there are no excesses in other words outstanding material.

If you have a chance to get any of their albums, don't doubt it, it's absolutely worth, just hope they manage to provide more information.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

Magrathea official website

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MAGRATHEA discography


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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Underclouds
1998
3.05 | 3 ratings
Entropy
1999
3.48 | 33 ratings
Legends
2004
3.11 | 9 ratings
In Search of the Crystal
2006

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

3.05 | 4 ratings
Legends Remain
2004

MAGRATHEA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In Search of the Crystal by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.11 | 9 ratings

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In Search of the Crystal
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Forth album to date of this discret symphonic prog band from UK named In search of the crystal from 2008. Knowing until few weeks ago only previous one Legends, I've decided to check aswell this album, so I'be bought it from their bandcamp page. The album was complitely re recorded few weeks ago in june 2012 with a diffrent cover art , quite better then first issue. Even the sound is not fantstic, not many bands have big buget for mastering, mixing and producing, but is not a big problem because the compositions are most of the time enjoyble and well performed forgetting about the sound. Again a typical Genesis influenced album with all the ingrediants for a symphonic prog album and quite similar with predecesor. Nice keyboards passages and guitars aswell, quite complex and well played, the best example is the opening track followed by the best piece of the album, at least for me Bug eyed monster. Overall even the originality lacks here big time, the arrangements are decent and fair, fans of US from Holland, North Star from USA, Genesis can appreciate this band, they have ok albums and shows potential with each release.3-3.5 stars

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 Legends by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.48 | 33 ratings

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Legends
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Magrathea from UK is probably one of the most unknown prog bands from this country. Formed in mid '90s by the two remaining musicians Glen Alexander and Gary Gordon. The third album released in 2004 named Legends is a pretty good sympnonic/neo prog album to my ears, They evolved from a heavier side of prog on first two records on this one they sound very much like Genesis - Trick of the tail era. I don't think I've ever head the chance to hear a band to sound so similar to Genesis, from voice to almost all arrangements are sounding more Genesis then Gensis itself. Anyway the passages are well constructed with plenty of good moments, the guitar and the keyboards are really good. From Banks like smooth keyboards parts to Hackettian guitars, Magrather manage to create a pleasent album even is far from original, but is decent and very enjoyble from start to finish. The voice is a Gabriel/Collins clone but has the merits here not to be boring, is ok most of the time, typical english in aproach of course. If the production is not fantastic or crystal clear like on other bands, but is better this way to have a good album with poor mixing then a crystal clear sound with bad pieces.Tunes like reunion, The Man Who Loved Flowers or Agoraphobic are really good and shows that this band has potential and the musicians involved here play for pleasure with honesty not for money or other things. All in all a fairly good album that must be discovered by many prog lovers as possible. 3-3.5 stars

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 Entropy by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Entropy
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Led by singer/keyboardist Glenn Alexander, UK progsters Magrathea were formed in 1993 as a five-piece group with Neil Gordon on keys, Gary Gordon on bass, Gary Macdonald on drums and Grant Mallison on guitars.By the new millenium Neil Gordon and Mallison got out of the picture with Jason Smith taking over the guitars and Alexander being also responsible for the keyboard work.This line-up recorded ''Underclouds'', the band's debut, issued in 2001 as ''Entropy'' with the same tracklist but also alternate version of certain tracks.

This first release finds Magrathea delivering a rather raw, unrefined but still attractive sound, evoking the heavier Neo/Symphonic prog bands like TSUNAMI, MENTAUR and early GALAHAD or PALLAS.With Alexander performing in a quite dramatic vocal style and offering a keyboard work full of surprises, the album gets some of its inspiration also from Classic Prog bands such as YES and GENESIS, wrapped in an atmospheric mix of different and sometimes dark-styled soundscapes with symphonic keyboards, heavy-sounding guitars and a fair amount of breaks.Powerful and dynamic grooves give their place to keyboard-based symphonic passages and some nice dramatic vocal performances are followed by delicate instrumental parts with flashy synths and complex ideas.There is also an obscure metal mood dominating the album, which however does not sound metal at all, mainly because of the frenetic groovy parts and the combination of heavy guitars and nervous synths.But the overall style is closer to Neo/Symponic Prog with good orchestrations and interesting themes popping up here and there.Only flaws: The distorted vocal parts and a few uninteresting parts of groovy but forgettable Heavy Rock.

Of great interest for both fans of Neo Prog and Symphonic Rock, though even the metalheads will find plenty to like in ''Entropy''.Recommended.

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 Legends by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.48 | 33 ratings

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Legends
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by anywhere

4 stars Here, though unknown to most people, this is a good album. Magrathea is a British band that will delight both those who love the instrumental side of the music of Genesis after Peter Gabriel, both those who love the more symphonic neo-prog from the Pendragon.

Two people: Glen Alexander, who plays keyboards, drums and percussion and sings, and Gary Gordon, who plays guitars and bass.

With this third album is more melodic sound to it compared to the previous two.

Magical Box and his guitars, with a runoff found serenity of the fund. Galadriel is a wonderful piece. A voice from the '70s surrounded by symphonic sounds that we are still dreaming of better times. Reminds me a little brainwashed 'the music of the previous album, Entropy. And Bird of Fire travels on the ELO sound that recall the early '80s.

The finish is with Dreamscape. A final album worthy of a big-time. Start with the guitar music theory, Glen Alexander begins to sing, after two minutes you can almost hear the guitar of Steve Hachette, which promises to Supper's ready, but not him, but you think he is. An island of guitars and percussion and keyboards and singing and counterpoint ... then, then you go back to dreaming. Yes, friends, this is an album you need to get.

Some pieces that were not included in this record, can be found in Legends Remain, also published in 2004. It's worth it.

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 Legends by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.48 | 33 ratings

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Legends
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

5 stars The third album of the English band MAGRATHEA "Legends" (2004), presents a much lighter sound than previous "Entrophy" (1999) (that I consider more in the style heavy-prog), bringing a sonority much moreclose to the symphonic-prog in the "vein" of GENESIS, YES, etc... Maybe such fact is due to two main factors, the change in the line-up of the band of a quartet for a couple Glen Alexander / keyboards, drums, vocals - Gary Gordon / guitars, bass and the lapse of time among the two disks (99/2004). Actually, this change, certainty will please in full the fans of the style in that the band this classified in P A.. The disk brings a certain nostalgic air, in almost all of the tracks, as for instance in the track 3 "Magical Box" (...that name reminds me something...) a mixture of similar themes GENESIS (... Your Special Way..) and YES (... I Get up I Get Down...). I highlight besides the above mentioned track , the track 4 "The Man Who Loved Flowers ", 6 "Brainwashed", 8 "Agoraphobic" and the track 10 "Dreamscape", however the disk all is very good, and it is not a mere copy, in spite of the great influences of the mentioned bands and I believe that it deserved a better quotation in P A. My rate is 5 stars!!!

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 Legends by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.48 | 33 ratings

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Legends
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by Gooner
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Here's a well kept secret from the UK. For those who enjoy the more aggressive instrumental side of Marillion(Fugazi without the downer lyrics), the more progressive tracks from the Genesis _Wind & Wuthering, _And Then There Were Three_ to _Duke_ period, '78-'82 period Rush, _Black Noise_ era FM, Porcupine Tree & German synth rock(Schicke, Fuhrs & Frohling). Throw in some Pendragon, although the vocalist isn't quite as an acquired taste as Nick Barrett. Magrathea surprisingly have a gallic sound which reminds me a bit of early Ange. Magrathea also remind me of a more symphonic version an American duo called Ebeling Hughes from Detroit. Tracks _Fear Of The Unknown_ and _Reunion_ are some serious modern prog.rock classics from MAGRATHEA. The great thing about this band is that it will take several listens to appreciate their craft. Every listen, I hear something new. Magrathea is hard to get tired of. For that alone, you should be curious. Recommended.

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 In Search of the Crystal by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.11 | 9 ratings

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In Search of the Crystal
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the promising releases of the CD Legends and the EP Legends Remain, I was curious about Magrathea´s next move. While their two earlier works were not very original, they showed a great potential with their classic 70´s Genesis influenced music. Unfortunatly they seem to be following the same path as other worshippers of the british legend, like Citizen Cain. That is: they assumed Genesis music would be more complex and less melodic than any of their previous albums.

According to that, the music on In Search Of The Crystal is far less appealing and charming than on Legends. You can also pick up some other influences here and there, like the ELP-like timbre of the Hammond organ on Passion Play and the strong resemblance of Yes in the chorus and keyboards arrangement of the opener Search For The Crystal. But while they are still trying to find their own sound, the Genesis shadow is still all over it. Not that is bad, but it seems that making their music more complex for its own sake is not really doing any good to the final cut. In fact, it was bad for Citizen Cain and it is bad for Magrathea as well.

The best moments are still when they sound like Genesis on tracks like Heaven Is Not Enough and the beautiful Interactive Dreamers (best song on the entire CD). Again this is not terrific original, but it is good anyway. I still think the music here has enough good moments to warrant a 3 star rating, but barely. 2,5 would be a more fitting, but I´m in a good mood. The potential is still there. I really hope those guys will achieve a good balance between melody and originality

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 Legends Remain by MAGRATHEA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
3.05 | 4 ratings

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Legends Remain
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars About an year after releasing the Legends CD, Magrathea puts out this EP, that seems to include some tracks that didn´t make to the final cut of that album. The first songs, When Legends Com Alive and Man In The Shade are pure classic Genesis with lots of Tony Banks-like synth tuns and mellotron choir waves. Excellent stuff, specially if you´re into 70´s, Peter Gabriel era Genesis. The remaining tunes are more simple and melodic, but in the same symphonic prog style anyway. And of great quality, if you don´t mind a little lack of originality.

The production is here is a little superior of that on Legends (at least is superior than the copy I own). In fact I ended up liking this EP even more than the original Legends CD. The songwriting is also better, the guitars are more up front and the overall sound is more focused. This english duo worked very well! 3,5 stars for this one.

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 Legends by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.48 | 33 ratings

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Legends
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The first time I heard this album I had the same feeling I got when I found Citizen Cain´s Serpents In Camouflage or Unifaun´s debut: is it the long lost classic Genesis album? Well, certainly this english duo makes no secrecy about their main influence for Legends. Apart from the ugly cover, I found this CD to be very pleasant and interesting, although - surprise, surprise! - not very original. The keyboards driven music has Tony Banks written all over it. Oh well, at least with the vocals they don´t try too hard to sound like Gabriel nor Collins.

The songwriting is fine, with some very beautiful moments on songs like Galadriel, Fear Of the Unknown and Dreamscape. But also there are some tracks on which they try to simulate some of Genesis more Whimsical side and that really does not work. Production and mixing is another problem too, since they could be a lot better. A little more atention to the guitars and drums parts would have improved their sound a lot.

If you like classic Genesis, this is sure for you. I´m looking forward to hear Magrathea´s lastest and earlier works. Quite promising stuff. 3 stars.

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 Legends by MAGRATHEA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.48 | 33 ratings

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Legends
Magrathea Symphonic Prog

Review by progaholic

5 stars Despite being a confirmed Progaholic of many years standing, I rarely feel the need to write reviews. On the occasions when I have put pen to paper, it has been because, 1) I have had the misfortune to come across an utterly worthless piece of unlistenable garbage from a band who should know better, (see Genesis: Duke), in which case my aim is to warn other Proggers to avoid the recording at all costs.or 2) I discover an overlooked gem as in this case, which deserves much greater attention from the Prog world.

There are many outstanding elements to this recording. The two Multi-Instrumentalists who comprise Magrathea have clearly studied their craft and have learned the essential lesson that there is more involved in the re-creation of a lost and greatly-missed sound than endless layering of mellatrons, Gabriel-impersonations and 20-minute epics. At the very heart of the music on 'Legends', are some superb melodies around which all else has been built.

Whether deliberate or not, the 10 even-length tracks fall neatly into 2 halves - in vinyl terms you could say that the first 5 are the light side (effortless, unashamedly accessible prog, with rich melodies and sparkling instrumental passages), and the second 5, the darker side (requiring greater effort from the listener, a harder, more complex approach that pays back richly for your perseverance).

'Shadows of Ignorance' is an bloody terrific song, great harmonies and arrangements, a joy - best track on the Album, enough said!

'Magical Box' has a definite 'Your own special way' feel about it initially. Actually, that isn't a particularly flattering comparison as that track was one of the weakest on Wind and Wuthering. Magical Box is a considerably better song.

'The man who loved flowers' seems to have a fairly brutal eco-message although, as the lyrics aren't included, I'm not entirely clear about this. The music has a harder edge as befits the subject, but it isn't all dramatics and the track has a chorus to die for!

'Galadriel' is a pretty track with a precise vocal, rather too syrupy was my first impression, however it is a song that, with subsequent plays, gets its claws into you till you see it for the joyous ballad that it is.

'Brainwash' is, compositionally, not the strongest track however the musicianship and interplay between the vocal/guitar/keyboard elements is outstanding.

'Birds of fire' opens with an absolutely infectious rhythm and tight guitar plucking. When the vocal comes in, its free-flowing nature is in contrast to the crispness of the backing. Another great song.

If I had to pick a duff track on this album, it would be 'Agoraphobic', it's a personal thing but I really dislike the distorted vocal. That said, the song does develop, and there are, as in every track, some excellent instrumental passages.

'Fear of the Unknown' has a waltz-time verse that flows into a beautifully arranged chorus, and the track finishes on a blissful instrumental passage that simply makes you want to 'dive in' !

Conclusion: What we have here is melodic prog at its most inspiring. I havnt heard any of Magrathea's other recordings (3 albums I believe, but not currently available), however if 'Legends' is anything to go by they are a pair of talented, mature and complimentary musicians who have the ability to write and produce awesome prog. I believe they are currently unsigned which is little short of criminal. Similarly it would be a crime against music to let Magrathea 'get away' due to lack of exposure. Buy this album!

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