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MAGENTA

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Magenta biography
Most of the old progheads miss the 70's when Prog' reached the peak, atmospheric guitars, wonderful keyboard solos and beautiful symphonic arrangements where things from the past until this great band released "Revolutions".

MAGENTA was born in the year 2001 as a one album project, Rob Reed (a talented keyboardist and composer who had worked on several good prog bands like FYREWORKS, CYAN and TRIPPA) decided to join Christina Murphy (Now Christina Booth), an incredible vocalist that has a bit of Stevie Nicks with the brilliance of Annie Haslam plus of course her personal and unique style and release "Revolutions", a double conceptual album about the moments that changed humanity (small revolutions). For that purpose they decided to hire some session musicians for the recordings. But the project was too big for that, and fans started to ask for live concerts, so they change the plans and form a permanent band, with Tim Robinson (Percussion) who with the other members Chris Fry (guitar), Martin Rossen (guitar) and Matthew Cohen (bass) form the almost definitive lineup.

Their debut album "Revolutions" blends the spirit of the 70 Symphonic bands with the perfect production of the XXI Century, is easy to find references of YES, GENESIS and even Mike OLDFIELD, a very ambitious project that satisfied the exigent British critics. They announced their next album "Seven" and the fans kept waiting for almost three years before it was released, After recording "Seven", Tim Robinson left the band so a MAGENTA fan and very competent drummer Alan Mason-Jones joins MAGENTA.

In 2004 when this conceptual album about the Seven Capital Sins is released, less symphonic than the previous but with the energy of Neo Prog bands like PENDRAGON and MARILLION (FISH-era) the long waiting period was worth, MAGENTA shows a more mature sound and for the joy of old progheads the influence of the 70's heroes is still clear. The last change in the lineup comes, Tim Robinson leaves MAGENTA and Alan Mason-Jones, a drummer who was already a MAGENTA fan joins the band in time to release the Single "Broken". This CD presents four other themes including the wonderful Church Organ solo "Opus III" by Rob Reed and the power ballad "Call Me". This short album shows a more mature band that has a clear and unique sound, even when there are some references to classic prog' bands.

MAGENTA is a new alternative for those of us who want to listen a good progressive band that is ...
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Buy MAGENTA Music


Twenty Seven ClubTwenty Seven Club
Import
Ais 2013
Audio CD$16.63
$25.99 (used)
Live at Real World StudiosLive at Real World Studios
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$21.63
$33.85 (used)
MetamorphosisMetamorphosis
Import
Ais 2013
Audio CD$24.98
$18.84 (used)
ChameleonChameleon
Import
Imports 2011
Audio CD$15.99
$11.99 (used)
MetamorphosisMetamorphosis
Laser's Edge 2008
Audio CD$69.99
$12.94 (used)
PeriodePeriode
Import
Tatra 1999
Audio CD$4.84 (used)
The Twenty Seven ClubThe Twenty Seven Club
Import · Limited Collector's Edition
Tigermoth Records
Audio CD$21.99
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MAGENTA shows & tickets


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MAGENTA discography


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

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

3.54 | 134 ratings
Revolutions
2001
4.08 | 240 ratings
Seven
2004
3.48 | 92 ratings
Home
2005
3.75 | 76 ratings
Home + New York Suite
2006
3.69 | 165 ratings
Metamorphosis
2008
3.64 | 103 ratings
Chameleon
2011
3.85 | 183 ratings
The Twenty Seven Club
2013

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

3.76 | 38 ratings
Another Time... Another Place
2004
3.75 | 28 ratings
Live at The Point
2008
4.15 | 18 ratings
Live at Real World
2010
4.00 | 11 ratings
Live: On our way to who knows where
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Gathering
2014

MAGENTA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.59 | 46 ratings
The Gathering (DVD)
2005
3.82 | 20 ratings
Live At The Point 2007 (DVD)
2009

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

3.04 | 29 ratings
The Singles
2007
3.28 | 9 ratings
The Collection
2008

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

3.85 | 19 ratings
Broken (EP)
2004
3.09 | 4 ratings
I'm Alive (EP)
2004
2.86 | 9 ratings
Night And Day (with Annie Haslam)
2006
3.36 | 9 ratings
The New York Suite (EP)
2006
2.78 | 11 ratings
Speechless
2007
4.67 | 9 ratings
Wonderous Stories
2009
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Lizard King E.P.
2013

MAGENTA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Twenty Seven Club by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 183 ratings

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The Twenty Seven Club
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by FragileKings

4 stars I had originally planned to get Magenta's "Seven" as my first Magenta CD because it's their highest rated album on PA. But the concept behind "The Twenty Seven Club" intrigued me and so I ordered this album without giving it a preliminary listen.

My first impression from the start was that the music was just like Arena until the wah-wah guitar comes in (on "The Lizard King") when I then thought it sounded like Syzygy or Anima Mundi. Vocalist Christina Booth comes in and sings well enough but I soon felt that she didn't have anything to distinguish herself from other run-of-the-mill female vocalists. The music sounded very good, an excellent example of symphonic / neo-prog with all the I's dotted and T's crossed. The ingredients had all been measured carefully for a tasty audio treat. But there was nothing that felt new, original, or particularly memorable. This left me sitting on a fence about having bought the album. It's all good but something was missing.

Some albums do need a bit of time to absorb and so I ploughed on ahead listening through the whole album, digesting my impressions, listening again, digesting... In conclusion, I think it is a very good if not great example of symphonic / neo-progressive rock. But I still feel something was left out of the recipe, something the band could have put in themselves to make it a unique dish.

The second track, "Ladyland Blues" is about Jimi Hendrix but if you didn't know that you'd be very unlikely to guess. The music style changes to sounding like Glass Hammer or Anima Mundi again. There are lots of good change ups in the music: sudden stops, abrupt shifts from fast to slow, rapid playing and slower playing. But I began to wonder if Magenta couldn't have tried to add some flavour of the artists they were writing about in the music. Maybe that was the obvious approach and they decided early on to avoid that. But after two songs about modern pop music legends, I feel like I have been listening to a female-fronted Syzygy / Glass Hammer / Anima Mundi.

By "Pearl" I feel the album is starting to improve in interest. This is a song for the sake of the song. It's emotive and Booth's singing has begun to suggest some soul and not just getting the notes out right. It feels right that a song about Janis Joplin should have this more emotional treatment rather than just a display of compositional skills and great prog playing.

On to Brian Jones' song "Stoned", we get a some late British sixties vocals that sound like they'd fit into an Austin Powers movie soundtrack along with some quick guitar playing. But soon we are back to more Glass Hammer / Syzygy music. Then the vocals come in with the lyrics and the music becomes upbeat. It's refreshing. Once the chorus vocals begin I feel the song is sounding pretty good. There's a synthesizer solo and a guitar solo that both seem to go for feeling rather than technical fireworks, and the piano and acoustic guitar with the vocals that follow the solos are rather beautiful. This has become one of my preferred songs on the album.

Kurt Cobain's song "The Gift" opens surprisingly with strings. Booth's vocals are sung a bit lower and she sounds not only better but even reminiscent of Joanne Hogg of Iona. By this point in the album I feel that Booth sounds better singing slower songs with her voice a bit lower or singing with backing vocals. The more energetic and dramatic music that appears on much of the album is a stretch for her. She can sing no doubt. But any soul behind her singing only seems to show up on moments like the beginning of this song.

"Devil at the Crossroads" is perhaps the only song to actually intentionally include some flavour alluding to the subject of the song. There are parts that include a bit of acoustic blues guitar, saluting Robert Johnson. The longest song on the album, there are lots of twists and turns in the music with faster sections suddenly changing to slower acoustic music with piano and acoustic guitar. There's some beautiful and powerful strings supporting the band in one part and a dark heavy guitar passage that comes up a couple of times. Though the music does little to break new ground, I find this song mixes things up very well and for me, it's the most enjoyable track on the album.

In summary, the music is well-crafted throughout and there are many moments approaching the sublime. I just feel that it is mostly very by-the-numbers and too similar to the bands I mentioned above. Christina Booth can sing very well but I feel her true vocal talents only creep up in certain places and for much of the album she is a singer of someone else's work and hasn't really made the songs her own. Overall an terrific album that just needed a little something more to make it stand out from a background of other similar sounding music.

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 The Twenty Seven Club by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 183 ratings

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The Twenty Seven Club
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Yet again Magenta are working as a core trio, with Christina Booth (vocals), Chris Fry (guitars) and Rob Reed (everything else) plus a guest drummer in Andy Edwards. Now, I known Rob for many years and even put Cyan on the cover of Feedback in another lifetime, and have followed his musical adventures with interest. But it has been with Magenta that he has made his name within the neo-prog scene, and this album will only do more to enhance that reputation. This is a concept album in the sense that each of the songs is about a different musician who passed away when they were 27, so for example we start with "The Lizard King" and end with "The Devil At The Crossroads", and throughout we are treated to some wonderful soaring progressive rock, and while Rob is at the heart of what is happening musically it is Christina who will always be the star of the show.

She has a wonderful voice, with great range, control and emotion, with a timbre not unlike Steve Nicks in her prime, yet with more soul and passion. Rob knows how to write material that is going to highlight this, and together they have combined to produce another album that is sheer class from start to finish. Chris's guitar provides the cut through that provides the additional edge that is needed, the harsher solo that takes away any thoughts of saccharine, the rock riffs that provide the depth. Andy Edwards proves yet again why he is such a sought after drummer with a powerful performance, while Rob is everywhere, providing fills and solos in whatever instrument he is using.

This is a band with a large sound, and in Christina have one of the finest singers around, combined with music that is always searching a way forward. Some may condemn this as just another neo-prog album, as for some reason that is a sub genre which purists often look down upon, but I and many others really enjoy this as a musical form, and there are as few as adept at it as Magenta. It may not be in quite the same league as 'Seven', but is a damn fine album all the same and one I enjoyed immensely.

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 Live: On our way to who knows where by MAGENTA album cover Live, 2012
4.00 | 11 ratings

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Live: On our way to who knows where
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by ScottTisdel

4 stars Well, no one else seems to be interested in reviewing this live album, so I'll take a crack at it!

Magenta, hailing from Wales, is one of the best prog bands active today, and has been since its inception in 2001. Not only have they, to date, released seven superb studio albums, but are a phenomenal live band as well, as evidenced by their five live CDs and three live DVDs. Basically anything they release is worthy of purchase, so, one might ask, "Why the four stars?"

Because, when you are a truly great live band, your only real competition is yourself, and sadly, "On Our Way to Who Knows Where" is easily Magenta's weakest live album. It isn't even that close. Other live albums, especially "The Gathering" and "Live at the Point", are so good that the live versions eclipse even the studio versions, and I often recommend them to friends unfamiliar with Magenta as a sort of "greatest hits" album. No such luck with "OOWTWKW", which seems to find the band in an uncomfortable transition personnel-wise. The essential core of Magenta remains; the mellifluous keyboards and extraordinary songwriting of Rob Reed, Christina Booth's exquisite vocals, and the soaring lead guitar parts of Chris Fry. But the other half of the live group, Rhythm Guitarist Martin Rosser, Bassist Dan Fry, and Drummer Alan Mason Jones are gone (apparently quit en masse to form their own band), and are replaced by Dan Nelson (Bass) and Steve Roberts (Drums), moonlighting from their own band Godsticks.

The results are mixed - Nelson and Roberts are fine players, but the band has not "jelled" to the level of the other live albums, and there are tentative moments, sluggish tempi (especially "Metamorphosis") and sloppy ensemble (the beginning of "Pride" being the most obvious example). Most of the songs sound like they need a few more run-throughs before committing them to immortality on disk. But there is a bigger problem here, and that is the elimination of the rhythm guitar part previously manned by Martin Rosser. Two guitarists might seem like a luxury for a live lineup, but for Magenta it is absolutely essential. One does not realize how critical Rosser's contributions are until until they are gone. Not only did he provide a lush harmonic and rhythmic cushion in the middle of the sound spectrum, he covered the many dual lead parts, reinforced the bass at critical moments, and was a reliable second backup vocalist.

As a result, all the songs covered in previous live albums sound comparatively thin and empty here. These include live mainstays "Gluttony" and "Pride" from "Seven", "Towers of Hope" and "Demons" from "Home", and "I'm Alive" from "The Singles". The "Revolutions Medley", from Magenta's audacious and entertaining 1st album, is a successful 20 min. "highlight reel" of the first three songs ("Children of the Sun", "The White Witch", and "Man the Machine"). Why the fourth song, "Genetisis", is left out, is anybody's guess. One misses Rosser here as well, but it is a fun listen - Booth and Fry both really soar on this track. Still, I much prefer the complete versions of these songs that one finds on earlier live albums.

So, for the Magenta fan, the chief attraction of "OOWTWKW" has to be the songs that are covered here live for the first time. Fortunately, they are plentiful, with four songs from their most recent album at the time, "Chameleon" ("Glitterball", "Guernica", "Raw", and "Red"), plus the only more-or-less complete live version of "Metamorphosis", from the monumentally great album of the same name. "Chameleon" is a somewhat unfairly maligned album, and I was happy to hear these live versions. Perhaps because Magenta was going for a less prog-like, more "contemporary" sound on this album, I did not miss the rhythm guitar part as much. "Red" is one of Magenta's truly great ballads, and hearing Booth effortlessly float those endlessly long lines is thrilling live. Conversely, "Raw" receives a shattering, spine-tingling performance from Booth - This song packs a wallop live, and should remain in their set-lists for years to come.

For this Magenta fan, "Metamorphosis" provided both the greatest anticipation and the greatest disappointment. For an album that is, by Reed's own description, more densely layered with guitar tracks than any other Magenta album, the absence of the second guitar is felt acutely. And I do not understand the two small cuts that Reed inserts towards the end - This is great music that deserves to be heard in its entirety. And finally, as I indicated above, it just feels sluggish - Passages that crackle with excitement on the studio release seem lethargic. Yes it is very difficult music to play, but it is completely worth their absolute best effort, and I don't think we hear it here. (The other major track on the "Metamorphosis" album, "Ballad of Samuel Layne", is equally great and even more difficult, which explains why Magenta has not yet released a complete live version of it.) On the brighter side, it is great to have even a flawed live version of "Metamorphosis", and the terrific concert ending, combining two motives from earlier in the piece, almost is worth the price of the CD!

Also almost worth the price of the CD is the bonus track "When We Were Young", presumably a product of the "Chameleon" recording sessions. This is no curio or throwaway, but a gorgeous, densely layered ballad that shows Reed's genius as an arranger and producer in full bloom. Unusually for Magenta, it has kind of a "world music" feel, with acoustic piano combining beautifully with acoustic guitar - Soon string and wind arrangements are added. The refrain repeats the ultimate cliché from the Beatles ("Yeah, yeah, yeah"), but the music is so utterly gorgeous that its meaning is completely transformed. After some beautiful acoustic guitar work from Fry, the second verse appears completely reorchestrated, with complex overlapping wordless vocals, before eventually fading away to the opening strains of piano and guitar. Combined with Booth's typically exquisite vocals, "When We Were Young" is 4 minutes of heaven.

So, to summarize, "On Our Way to Who Knows Where" is a bit of an odd and uneven release from Magenta. Certainly there is enough good stuff here to satisfy the average Magenta fan, and most have probably already picked up this album. For the Magenta novice, though, I would much more highly recommend Magenta's earlier live offerings. For the record, these are: "Another Time?Another Place" (2004), "The Gathering" (2005), "Live at the Point" (2008), and "Live at Real World" (2009). The earlier releases can be difficult and expensive to find, but I see from progarchives.com that "The Gathering" is about to be re-released - When that appears on Amazon, one should snatch it up!

I do hope that Magenta will go back to the much more satisfying dual guitar lineup for their live shows - They have a excellent new album out, "The 27 Club", which cries out for great live versions of the songs. But, they won't sound very good without rhythm guitar, in my opinion.

Scott Tisdel

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 Home by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.48 | 92 ratings

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Home
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars After ''Seven'' Magenta had become one of the hottest names of the modern Prog scene.The first live album of the band becomes reality at the fall of 2004 under the title ''Another time... another place'' and the marketing around them becomes even stronger in 2005, when the first DVD of Magenta ''The gathering'' sees the light.Meanwhile the band was in a creative orgasm, not only playing numerous live shows but having already started composing material for a third album.Dan Fry joins the band on bass and drummer Allan Mason-Jones becomes the sixth official member of Magenta.Recorded in three different studios on English ground, the new album ''Home'', released during the summer of 2006 on F2 Music, is another concept work, refering to a girl abandoning its homeland in Liverpool to sail in New York city for a better luck and life.

The sensitive story the album deals with required lots of lyrical moments, as a result ''Home'' is an emotional, poetic work, fronted by Christina Booth's clean voice, unfolding the story in her own unique way.Musically there is a certain turn towards more melodic soundscapes and even some poppy elements appear in this effort, clearly in a more traditional Neo Prog approach, with less symphonic orchestrations and even lesser complex, instrumental workouts.No surprise though, Rob Reed and his Magenta did it very well in this style as well, performing a sensational Progressive Rock with excellent solos, smooth piano lines and quirky synthesizers providing a sufficient enough background for Prog fans.Fans of more Classic Prog stylings will not be dissapointed either.While the more demanding instrumentals have been mostly left out of line, there are still obvious GENESIS and RENAISSANCE shadows almost in every piece, not to mention the longer tracks feature plenty vintage references with STEVE HACKETT-like guitar trembling, soft organ touches and orchestral moods, some of which sound very pompous and delightful.The concept as a whole flows with an extreme comfort and the mass of vocals will not bother the listener.The musical background is strong enough to satisfy any MAGENTA fan and the arrangements, even if they sound less bombastic and adventurous, are extremely well-crafted and require some careful listenings along the way.

Another solid album by a band that slowly develops into a legend of the modern British Prog scene.Melodic, lyrical and still retro-flavored Neo Prog with a sensitive aura and story behind the curtains.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Metamorphosis by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.69 | 165 ratings

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Metamorphosis
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Just one look at the grim cover art on Magenta's `Metamorphosis' should tip the listener off that something of a change of direction might be in store for them with this one. Coming two years after their `Home' album, which was mostly built around a collection of ballads and accessible adult pop/rock numbers, `Metamorphosis' sees the band head back to the grander extended compositions from their earlier album `Revolutions', as well as offering their darkest material yet. It's not unusual for Neo related bands to head into darker territory at some point in their careers, and this is no exception. Rob Reed, Christina Booth and Chris Fry have never sounded so heavy and intense. Their usual rich, melodic and heartfelt progressive rock has had some dark heavy riffs and a more sinister sound grafted to them, and, along with the implementation of proper live orchestrated instruments, it very much stands apart from their other albums.

At first I wasn't too convinced how well the `The Ballad of Samuel Layne' holds together as a genuine 20 minute piece, but it can easily be accepted as a continuous collection of fascinating short passages that all have a sophisticated and varied sound. The first few minutes have some frequent stop/start moments over and over that I find breaks up the piece in quite an obtrusive way, but on repeated plays, as you pay more attention to the lyrics about the woman left behind by a soldier heading off to war, you start to get a better sense of the flow of the piece. The frequent acoustic moments that accompany Christina's warming vocals offer some of Magenta's loveliest melodies. The heavy sections that show up occasionally throughout are probably closer to the heavier moments of the most recent Porcupine Tree albums, and they make more sense if you pay attention of the lyrics, perfectly highlighting the horror of some of the words. Overall there's a nice balance of reflective passages, tense drama and exhilarating instrumental runs. It segues into `Prekestolen', a lush orchestrated Celtic ballad with stirring pipes from guest Troy Donockley who brings even more class to this album.

The 23 minute title track really grabs you by the throat right from the start, it's probably one of the most brooding and dynamic pieces to appear on one of their albums to date. There's numerous bombastic heavy sections with Tim Robinson's bashing drum-work and riff-heavy guitar grunt over ballistic keyboard solos, all coming together in a sweeping, hypnotic and intimidating quality. Christina seems to relish singing with such a wicked glee on this one, her voice taking on a surprisingly aggressive and howling tone - it's always the quiet ones! You'll also find super-thick chunky bass, murky electronic beats, and incredible guitar soloing like the best of the 70's Pink Floyd albums, bluesy and foot-tapping one second, overwhelming and overpowering the next. All of these elements come together for a burning, triumphant and grandiose climax.

The final shorter track `Blind Faith' is mostly a dreamy melody fused with light Portishead/Massive Attack-type trip-hop beats and chiming Coldplay-like chords, but sadly it becomes a bit of a mess with impossibly heavy metal riffs worked into some sections. The two styles don't hold together well at all here (the riffs sounds a little desperate to be honest), but thankfully Christina ends the album on an impossibly stunning vocal solo that takes you straight to the heavens.

The album has also now been reissued with extra tracks and a bonus DVD. There's several edits of pieces from the album given a solely orchestral backing, and they are truly exquisite and quickly pull on the heartstrings. The DVD is overloaded with well over three hours of bonus materials, not only including the entire studio album remixed into 5.1 Surround sound, but some very thorough and exhausting behind the scenes/interview segments that go into every detail you could possibly want to know. Special mention must also go to the perfectly restrained and subtle black and white video for the orchestral version of `A War Bride's Prayer', simply beautiful. It's inspiring to see how much effort Rob and company have put into making the re-release so special, and it sets the standards for how other prog artists should approach this sort of thing.

One thing that makes Magenta so impressive is that they have a very modern and contemporary style, not sounding like a group forever indebted to the vintage 70's defining bands. Despite the numerous Steve Howe-inspired flavours to Chris Fry's guitar sound, they certainly never sound like a lazy rehash of Yes! `Metamorphosis' is yet another fine album from the band, Christina still displays why she's the most charismatic of the modern female prog singers, and Rob's songwriting and playing is as reliable and sublime as ever. Perhaps the heavier elements on this one may put off just a few listeners, but the band really do have a very melodic and approachable sound that could quite easily open them up a wider audience outside of the progressive rock community.

Four stars.

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 The Twenty Seven Club by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 183 ratings

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The Twenty Seven Club
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Rob Reed is a much-maligned prog wunderkind, putting together quite a career with Cyan, but kicking it up a notch with the ongoing Magenta collaboration with Christina Booth and Chris Fry. Last year, Rob stunned the prog world with the incredible Kompendium adventure, a Celtic masterpiece that carried a cast of superstars from progland = Steve Hackett, Steve Balsamo, Nick Beggs, Francis Dunnery, John Mitchell, Nick Barrett, Jakko Jakszyk , Dave Stewart, Gavin Harrison, Mel Collins and Troy Donockley. The Welsh multi- instrumentalist has always shined on keyboards, especially piano but his guitar work was quite tasty as well. I have noticed that lately his bass guitar talents have gone through the roof but with 'the 27 Club', it borders on low end genius!

I have enjoyed Magenta's past catalogue with the exception of 2011's Chameleon which just did not seduce me in any noticeable way. In fact, I still consider 'Seven' to be their peak achievement but it may get a run from 'the 27 Club'! Obviously, a concept album based on rock stars dying at the age of 27 is not a huge surprise yet no one has done it yet and I must say, it is a compelling story line. I personally do not believe in coincidence, as it appears to be a moral balm for the young and naive and like religion, loaded with convenience and simplicity. Truth is that the human condition is particularly frail and achieves its zenith of confusion and identity search between the ages of 20 and 29, where (let's be honest) 95% of all our mistakes are made! So, obsessive mindsets like rock stars are often victims of their delusions, fueled by drugs, alcohol and easy sexual access, leading the weaker ones down a path towards perdition. What a surprise! Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones (Stones) , blues legend Robert Johnson and lately Amy Winehouse are all prototypical disasters waiting to happen, inner conflicts eating away morbidly at their sense of caution.

'The Lizard King' may be the finest track here, a compelling 12 minute tale of the ebullient and riotous character that was Mr. Morrison and the multiple delusional Doors he kept going through (pun). Slight Oriental atmospherics, whooshing torrents of keyboards and a heady beat characterize the speedboat style adopted here with Christina doing some vocalizing that searches for some utopian ideal. Bruising, brooding and brazen, the mood is mosaic of various styles where the eccentric, ecstatic, slightly manic all congeal into one. Watch for the glorious Reed on bass and Edwards on drums interplay! Fry sheers of a few sizzling solos that hint at Howe's mastery of slicing riffs and searing flights. The chorus is instantaneously recognizable as typical Magenta from past efforts, a buildup of emotion that scores on multiple levels. This track is a total winner and a jot to listen to.

'Ladyland Blues' is the bass-heavy, Yes-influenced epic complete with high treble Squired bass, zinging Howish guitar strolls and bashing drums from the incredibly endowed Andy Edwards. Even Christina comes across as an Anderson daughter, soaring high and mighty. Chris Fry just rips through the piece, as befitting a guitar legend that Hendrix was and is, in memoriam. It does not get better than this, a densely compact, effusive and positive eulogy to a guitar legend without any gratuitous photocopying, staying rather true to the Magenta sound, including some fine acoustic sections as well as lovely harmony vocal sections. Fry displays rather fluid tendencies with the occasional use of wah-wah pedal, tastily expressed by the soloist and wisely adorned by the band. As such, this piece segues very nicely from the opening masterpiece.

The sedate 'Pearl' obviously refers to Janis, a meteoric career cut short by sudden death caused by the demonic duo of the early 70s, alcohol and heroin. Reed has wisely opted for a more solemn sound as opposed to the bruising and rollicking sound Joplin was famous for and as such, the song reigns totally supreme. Subtle organ ruffles gently in the background while Christina Booth supplies her finest vocal performance ever, even better than on Seven's 'Envy', the bass holding down the beat as Fry unleashes a crisp yet bluesy axe solo , very much in the early 70s style with some early picking , followed by a magnificent slide lead. No cheap thrills here, all is quite reverential and heartfelt, surprisingly so for a prog band, I guess! A forlorn piano bring this gorgeous ballad to rest.

'Stoned' is another midnight rambler, 11 minutes of inspired progressive rock that conjures up images of those early days of rock music when everything was open season and all kinds of social and musical taboos were addressed and some even dispatched. If you are expecting a hint of gathering moss, you will be happy to note that Magenta applies their own veneer to the proceedings. Personally, I am famous for my deep dislike of the Rolling Stones, feeling they have done nothing since Brian Jones was found floating in a chlorine- flavored swimming pool in 1969. But the music here is highly evocative, with numerous time changes, acoustic flavors and a deeply pained vocal from Booth, who again shines on this entire album. Fry stings his fret board convincingly, twirling and swirling freely as he releases a whopping solo. Reed then supplies a breezy synth solo to close the deal, corseted by a guitar finale.

The controversial Kurt Cobain is in the spotlight for 'The Gift' , a gentle yet inspired short piece that has little Nirvana , yet a lot of sadness within the grooves, another inspirational 2 album wonderchild who just could not deal with the exertions of life. Orchestral strings usher in a forlorn ballad, with just Christina manning the mike stand and delivering a surging performance. The initial brooding mood explodes into a full-fledged explosion of symphonic splendor, with bass, drums, keys and guitar in tow. Reed shows off his considerable piano talents, delicate and ornate in adorning the piece with some reverent class. Fry slouches little by delivering a sublime guitar solo, simple, direct and evocative.

Robert Johnson was a Mississippi guitar legend who allegedly tried the Dr. Faust thing, willing to sell his soul to Mephistopheles in exchange for fame and fortune, by choosing a deliberate path at a crossroads. Perhaps fate intervened to foil the devil's plot because Johnson died poor and miserable, perhaps poisoned by a jealous husband. Eric Clapton and many others consider him the greatest blues singer ever. Magenta once again provide the ideal backdrop for the mythical drama of the Devil swaying innocent souls to perdition. Booth sings with intense fire while the crew solidly back her exaltations with superlative measure. Fry in particular squeezes our some bluesy delta licks which fits the piece perfectly. A fine ending to a thoroughly enthralling musical package.

Brilliant cover and artwork, booklet and packaging, this is a welcome high point in Magenta's career and fine return to form. Fascinating subject matter that has surprisingly not been addressed by the story-obsessed prog community even though it's all very contemporary and relevant, what with the recent demise of the highly effusive Amy Winehouse. As with the exalted Kompendium project, it must be said the Reed is flying high and soaring with successful prog masterstrokes. Plus he is way older than 27!

4.5 exploding supernovas

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 The Twenty Seven Club by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 183 ratings

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The Twenty Seven Club
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by Kjarks

5 stars Most records of Magenta have made me think this band was a modern synthesis of Renaissance and Yes, a combination of "Fragile" and "Turn of the cards", with some ingredients of Pink Floyd here and there, close to symphonic rock perfection. "The twenty seven club" confirms this impression more obviously than ever.

From the beginning to the end of the splendid "Ladyland blues", most listeners will think about steve Howe's guitar in "Heart of the sunrise". Well ! Let's acknowledge the pretty "Pearl" sounds more like a meeting between Pink Floyd and Renaissance. But the very Yes oriented and exciting "Stoned" follows immediatly. Sometimes, we may have the feeling Chris Fry has definitely fallen in Steve Howe identity. Then, Christina's pure and strong voice quicky makes a diversion recalling Annie Haslam...

To my mind, there is no plagiarism. We can not blame these musicians to perpetuate the music of their models, transcending it. Because that is the greatest performance : students are at their masters' level. And the fusion of their masters' styles allows the students to explore new musical lanscapes.

In my opinion, this record is close to be the most beautiful progressive works of the last three years.

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 The Twenty Seven Club by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 183 ratings

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The Twenty Seven Club
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Magenta's Twenty Seven Club finds the trio of band founders Rob Reed and Christina Booth and loyal guitarist Chris Fry turning out some fairly typical material. By this point none of this material is especially surprising coming from Magenta, being as it is accessible, melodic neoprog built to showcase Booth's vocals. Decent, but as far as numerically titled Magenta albums go it's no Seven; then again, if you're really into neo-prog and don't mind that Magenta are rather repeating themselves here, it might be worth your while, and I admit that the album concept (paying tribute to a brace of classic musicians who all died at 27 - how many can you guess from the song titles?) is quite fun.

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 The Twenty Seven Club by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 183 ratings

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The Twenty Seven Club
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

3 stars This is a decent album from some incredibly talented musicians who are, unfortunately, stuck in Drama-era YES, Duke/ABACAB-era GENESIS, and Please Don't Touch-era STEVE HACKETT. As a matter of fact, I can think of no more talented group of musicians, top to bottom, than Magenta; it's just a shame how unoriginal their music and sounds have become. But what mires this group in absolute mediocrity, in my opinion, is the banal, nebulous lyrics. I mean, were it not for the song titles, who would these songs refer to? The lyrics certainly don't make it obvious. Given some more poetic, meaningful lyrics it would be a wonder what Christina Booth could deliver. Given a severence from their 1979 musical mother, what wonders of originality could these virtuosic musicians create?

Four star songs: "The Devil at The Crossroads," "The Gift," "Pearl," and "Stoned."

A 3.5 star album rated down because it truly fits the "Good, but not essential" description.

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 The Twenty Seven Club by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 183 ratings

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The Twenty Seven Club
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

4 stars I love a great concept album, and I feel that Magenta's new album, "The Twenty-Seven Club", is a great example of creativity and careful thought. This much anticipated new album is named after that tragic club of young musicians that have all died at the age of 27. It's a depressing subject, but Magenta really takes it and makes it something artistic and thought-provoking.

Magenta has certainly brought more to the plate than just a good concept, however. This album rings with confident composition and maturity. This album is made up of six longer tracks that vary in style to some degree. I found that each track has a certain unique side to it, as well. The album itself starts out with a bang under the flag of the "The Lizard King". Symphonic elements are in full force here, and the subtly psychedelic layers really add a forcefully pleasant aspect to the music. Despite the subject material, "The Twenty-Seven Club" is not dark or dreary. But, utilizing a great mix of symphonic and neo-prog elements, Magenta manages to make this album feel joyous. The well-mixed inclusion of orchestral backdrops creates an addictive level of melody to every inch of this album, too. Groovy, and bluesy. Proggy, but accessible. "The Twenty-Seven Club" excels from the tops of the synth towers to the bottoms of the gorgeous vocal lines.

Speaking of vocals, Christian Booth really shines here. She comes across as quite a story- teller, as she leads us through emotional highs and lows. She sounds really young, to be honest, but her voice is still tempered with experience. This album also happens to feature Andy Edwards (Frost*) on drums. His style is very apparent, as his fills are interesting and well-executed. He is always right on the mark. Solid performances are also turned in by Chris Fry on guitars and Rob Reed on keys. These two manage to have a great sounding relationship where they play off of one another expertly. I did find some of the guitar tones to be a little too "hard rock" for my tastes, but that was only here and there. For the most part, the communion of the guitars and keys is very impressive, especially when the keys are leading the melody in epic fashion.

So, from the epic keys of "The Lizard King" to the groovy rhythms of "Ladyland Blues" to the delicate vocal lines of "The Gift" to the strong guitars of "Stoned", this new album from Magenta really shines. And the finale, "The Devil at the Crossroads", combines all these elements with a meandering vocal style to finish the album with finesse. This album, without a doubt, deserves a place among the best of 2013.

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