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Karfagen - Magician's Theater CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 143 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars On waiting for the new, soon-to-be-released KARFAGEN album, here's a look at one of the earlier works of this Ukraine band led by keyboardist and composer Antony Kalugin. It's almost entirely instrumental, and seems to be conceptual, the key words being magic, magician, imagination etc. "Magician's Theater is my interpretation of the reality... so step into the Figment of the imagination of a man, who loves fairytales and believes in miracles?", Kalugin writes.

'Overture' opens with fanfare-like synths slightly reminding of ELP, but the electric guitar has a heavier tone than on Karfagen's music averagely. I'm not very fond this bombastic track. 'The Birth of Mankind' has interesting synths and some use of voice in the background. Enjoyable presence of mellotron-like sounds and flute. There's a melodic and delicate CAMEL-like approach on the brief and beautiful 'Turret', while 'Yuletide' uses the flute as a folky ingredient. I like the way the tracks follow each other seamlessly. The next brief instrumental has an orchestra-imitating sound, and 'The Fibber's Diary' has great, fusionesque moments.

The album as a whole is a bit too bombastic for my taste, instead of focusing on the more airy melodicism heard especially on some later Karfagen albums. Undoubtedly the most ambitious track is 21-minute 'Magician's Spell' in seven movements, although the rest of the album follows the similar, suite-like formula with plenty of sonic variation between the tracks/movements. Some parts are better than others... The one with some vocals is quite heavy. 'Final' sounds similar to the overture.

I think I can safely say that personally this album is not among my favourites from Karfagen, but if you enjoy bombastic, keyboard keyboard-oriented instrumental prog (in the vein of Rick Wakeman, ELP and such, but with occasionally heavier guitars) more than delicate melodicism, this would certainly serve as a good introduction to Karfagen. 3 stars.

Matti | 4/5 |


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