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Magic Pie

Symphonic Prog

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Magic Pie The Suffering Joy album cover
3.91 | 451 ratings | 17 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Life's Work - Part I: Questions Unanswered (1:16)
2. A Life's Work - Part II: Overture (3:32)
3. A Life's Work - Part III: A Brand New Day (2:28)
4. A Life's Work - Part IV: The Suffering Joy (17:09)
5. Headlines (9:29)
6. Endless Ocean (3:11)
7. Slightly Mad (9:48)
8. Tired (15:21)
9. In Memoriam (8:39)

Total Time: 70:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Eirikur Hauksson / lead vocals, vocal melodies arrangements
- Eirik Hanssen / vocals
- Kim Stenberg / guitars, guitar synth, vocals, arrangements, producing & mixing
- Gilbert Marshall / keyboards, vocals
- Lars Petter Holstad / bass
- Jan T. Johannessen / drums, percussion

- Maria Bentzen / backing vocals (1-4,7)
- Lene Monge Stenberg / voice (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Thomas Ewerhard

CD Progress Records ‎- PRCD007654 (2011, Sweden)

Thanks to jayzeb for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGIC PIE The Suffering Joy ratings distribution

(451 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MAGIC PIE The Suffering Joy reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars Usually, modern Symphonic Prog artists aren't exactly my first pick. Many times they tend to do too much; the songs are way too long, the instrumental parts sometimes can be excessive. But "The Suffering Joy" made me look at all these bands in a different point of view, maybe just because this is one of the best and most refined Symphonic Prog albums released in these last two three years.

Magic Pie is a Norwegian Symphonic Prog band that started out in 2005-so it's clear from the start that this is a NEW band- and has released, in the beginning of February 2011, an amazing, mind blowing album.Maybe it's too soon to say, being this the first 2011 album I listen to, but I think "The Suffering Joy" will be remembered as one of the best releases this year. Certainly I'll remember it when this year ends. It's fresh, dynamic, hopeful, energetic, with an excellent album structure, definitely a true piece of art. Sure, many times they sound like the best of Transatlantic, but what's original about this is the massive use of guitars, used even more than keyboards. You hear synth riffs or many piano playing, but the guitars are the true soul of the music, even in the shorter songs (Endless Ocean). This doesn't prevent at all to the album of having an epic an utterly solemn tone, especially in songs like the title track or the final "In Memoriam". I do have to say something about the musicians: even though I highly praise this work, I do think everybody here has really overdone themselves, in fact, these musicians don't sound particularly good or talented. In a way, I think "The Suffering Joy" is a miracle, a beautiful mistake, and I don't think this band will able to go further than this. Unless of course I'm wrong.

The buck of the album is obviously the opening suite divided in four songs, "A Life's Work", the first three parts very short but fantastic, all openers to the fourth part, the title track, a massive seventeen minute epic, a true masterpiece. We have then songs like "Slightly Mad" or "Headlines", that almost reach ten minutes of length, very energetic and powerful, and quite original in many parts. What else? "Endless Ocean", a brief three minute interlude, very haunting and meditative, the excessively long "Tired", IMO the least appealing track of the album, that opens the final track of the album and my personal favorite "in Memoriam", an amazingly haunting but somewhat tense piece.

I think this album should be highly regarded, having all the winning cards for a great modern prog rock album.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars This one is definitly a grower. When I first picked up Magic Pie´s third studio offering on the store without even bothering to listen to a single note beforehand I soon had the feeling I had made a mistake. Upon hearing it at home I found It to be by far the less accessible of the band´s albums. I specially disliked the opener, the four part massive title track (over 27 minutes in total). I thought it was too heavy and not inspired enough. Thank god I know prog long enough not to be taken by my first impression. The more I listened to it, the more I liked it. The remaining tracks are easily better, however, and I wonder if they should start the CD with the excellent Headlines instead. But the Suffering Joy is a fine epic, if you have the patience to listen to all its subtleness and layers upon layers of sounds.

This band from Norway reminds a lot of their swedish neighbors, The Flower Kings. Like TFK. Magic Pie uses a lot of retro prog to forge their own sound. Their vocal harmonies are great (with the new addition of singer Eriikur Hauksson replacing Allan Olsen), but the instrumental parts are simply fantastic: great keyboards runs (lots of vintage Hammonds and moogs). excellent guitar lines provided by the skillful Kim Stenberg and a very strong and versatile rhythm section. As usual, the songwriting is top notch, the group using their main influences (Yes, ELP. Gentle Giant and the like) to produce something that sounds at the same time quite modern and unique, while still familiar and respectfuil to their masters.

Like I said before, this is a more complex affair than their previous ones, but equally satisfying in the end. There are no weak tracks on this CD. It may take more then a couple of hearings to really get it, but once you do, it´s highly addictive. The production is very good and the arrangements as tasteful as ever. If you´re into the old scholl of symphonic rock (with lots of elaborated parts but still very melodic and pleasant) you can´t miss this one.

Magic Pie might not be one the most original bands in the world, but they know their trade very well, and they do that thorugh fine songwriting and passionate performances. Rating: somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars. Highly recommended .

Review by J-Man
5 stars The latest outing from Norwegian progressive rock band Magic Pie has been garnering rave reviews in most prog circles, and after hearing The Suffering Joy for myself, it's not hard to understand why. I have no hesitation in calling Magic Pie's third full-length album one of the best progressive rock albums of the "new"-era. Although my interest in the modern symphonic prog scene has waxed and waned over time, Magic Pie's third effort is one of the best things I've heard in a long while. My first listen to The Suffering Joy left me speechless, and every other consecutive listen further increased my enjoyment. This was my introduction to Magic Pie, and I think it's a great place for anyone to check out these Norwegian behemoths.

The music on The Suffering Joy is symphonic progressive rock with obvious influences from The Flower Kings, Spock's Beard, IQ, Transatlantic, Genesis, and Yes. Although one could criticize Magic Pie for wearing their influences on their sleeve, the end result is still unique and (most importantly) expertly crafted. The frequent vocal harmonies especially remind me of The Flower Kings, and Magic Pie pulls off these harmonies every bit as excellently as their Swedish neighbors. In the music itself, there are melodic neo-prog sections, jazzy electric piano and guitar bits, and even some borderline-metal riffs. This is a fairly unique and eclectic album, and never does Magic Pie come across as a "clone band" of any sort.

The album opens up with the monster 27-minute, 4 part epic titled "A Life's Work". Filled with everything that a prog fan could possibly dream of, this epic could really give Transatlantic a run for their money. The next track, "Headlines", has a bit more of a neo-prog flavor and is another highlight. The short acoustic "Endless Ocean" is a beautiful track and actually one of my favorites as well. "Slightly Mad" is a heavier symphonic piece that even hints towards the heaviness and complexity of Echolyn. "Tired" is a softer song that nods especially in the direction of IQ or Pendragon. This 15+ minute epic is yet another brilliant highlight. "In Memoriam" is a stellar conclusion to this masterpiece, and yet another expertly crafted song from Magic Pie. This is an album with "all filler, no killer", so to speak. Try as I might, finding a weak spot is a difficult task.

One of the best things about Magic Pie is their talent as musicians, vocally and instrumentally. In addition to the breathtaking vocal harmonies I've mentioned earlier, the band is one of the most musically gifted out there. Add in a terrific production with a professional sound, and you have one of the most aesthetically pleasing prog rock albums in recent memory.

I was blown away at first listen by The Suffering Joy, and my satisfaction has only increased over time. Magic Pie is a relatively new band to me, but this masterpiece assures that they won't ever fall off my radar. The Suffering Joy can honestly be considered one of the finest modern prog albums I've ever heard - and I've heard more than my share of those! I'll give this a 5 star masterpiece stamp and an "essential purchase" label for any prog rock fan. Expressing my excitement about this album in review form is difficult, but the only thing anyone needs to gather from this review can be summed up in one word - MASTERPIECE!

Review by Menswear
3 stars Déjà Heard.

Aw man, I had higher hopes for Magic Pie. I expected more originality, more exploration. Don't get me wrong, they are good at what they're doing. I mean good. Good guitars, good vocals, good keyboards and so on. But everything here has been heard many times before: the Dream Theater time breaks and arpeggios, the Spock's Beard vocal tone and the whole Flower Kings shebang.

Nicely done, and I could say very nicely done, and some songs seem to part from the heard; so it's not entirely lost! On the other hand, I spawn a question mark for the remarkably high level of 'metal'. They stepped on the gas, to say the least.

Good, but lacks 'wow factor'.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A group I've followed with interest for several years now. Like TRANSATLANTIC, SPOCK'S BEARD, THE FLOWER KINGS, THE TANGENT and KARMAKANIC, Magic Pie seems to have some very high standards of technical proficiency and can create some awesomely complicated songs that are fun to listen to (and pretend to be able to play). BUT, also like the above listed, they seem to be doing, saying, or offering anything really new that YES, RUSH, IRON MAIDEN and other classic rockers haven't already said. It just seems a lot of show and not enough magic, melody and heart (though these guys may be a step up [a baby step] from the aforementioned groups. I particularly enjoy "Headlines," "Endless Ocean," the acoustic guitar (always the acoustic guitar work!) on "Slightly Mad" and "TIred" (as well as the vocals) and "In Memorandum." 3.5 stars graded up for consistency of the level of composition and performance.
Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Suffering Joy' - Magic Pie (5/10)

Have you ever listened to a record that you knew was very good, excellent even, but no matter what, it just does not click with you? For me, much modern traditional prog falls into this category, and while I can quietly respect it for its musical virtuosity, there is very little excitement in it for me, and next to impossible to foster an emotional bond with the music. Scandinavian progressive rock band Magic Pie's latest album is a perfect example of this sort of album, and as I dive into the seventy minute work that these Norwegians have created here, I see that I really have reasons for being unable to feel the music on anything more than an academic level.

Undoubtedly, this is not the most positive way to open up a review, but see it as something of a disclaimer; while I can certainly appreciate 'The Suffering Joy' for its vintage flair and complex approach, I usually have an averse reaction to the whole scene of prog that tries to revive the sound of the '70s. Indeed, if anything, that is one of the things that Magic Pie do best. Looking past a professional and modernized production varnish to the sound, the core of the band is based in the same sort of prog that was going strong in the early 70's. Of course, there are many who can still appreciate the music for what it is, and if I could look past the fact that this sound has been recycled again and again over the course of forty years, I could see myself loving what Magic Pie do here.

A fairly long album, Magic Pie barrages the listener with prog epics left right and center. The first four tracks here comprise the 'A Life's Work' suite, although for all intents and purposes, the fourth track is the one that people will be talking about; a seventeen minute section where Magic Pie pulls out every trick from vocal harmonies to crunchy guitar tones to a variety of vintage synth sounds. Then there are a number of mini-epics to trail the centerpiece, including the fairly heavy 'Slightly Mad', or 'In Memoriam'. It is made very clear what the band was going for here, and for the most part, they are able to pull off the sound very well. There are many ideas in each epic, and especially in the guitar solos, a sense that Magic Pie is out to impress.

All this time, it feels evidently clear that Magic Pie are taking themselves far too seriously. That is not to say that they should not be pursuing their music with as much focus as they do, but the emotion in their music seems to be blocked by a contrived sense of songwriting and performance that seeks to dazzle rather than really touch the listener. This even shows in the album's length, and there are several points in this album where 'The Suffering Joy' may have ended quite nicely, but they decide to throw in another fifteen or nine minute long epic into the fray to keep the train running along. While only the guitar solos (which are admittedly incredible) really astounded me from their technical brilliance, the sheer amount of ideas in each track does not hide the fact that the ideas are not used well. The lyrics are fairly bad, reverting to using single syllable rhymes, and plodding on with rather mechanical takes on fairly human things like emotions and philosophy.

Really, in the end, what can I say about this album? It is a perfectly capable piece of '70s prog rock, released in 2011. Although there are still better bands doing the same thing out there- Transatlantic and Beardfish come to mind- Magic Pie really do nail the sound down, and there are ideas aplenty here to keep the vintage prog afficionado up for many a night. But as unfortunate as it is, when there is nothing new being offered, it is difficult to recommend this over any progressive music that is actually doing something new, rather than looking back on the old masters. End rant.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars This 2011 album was the third from Norwegian progressive rock band Magic Pie, but it had been four years since 'Circus Of Life', during which time they had one of their lead singers in Allan Olsen, and he had been replaced by Eirikur Hauksson. Losing a lead singer is never good for any band, no matter the genre, but when the band is heavily based around vocal harmonies then that is even a greater loss. However, here the guys found someone who slotted right in and the band kept going in the same manner they had previously. This is symphonic progressive rock heavily influenced by the classic Seventies sound of British bands such as Gentle Giant (in particular), the more recent American acts such as Spock's Beard (who share many of the same influences of course) and Enchant, plus a more hard rock approach than many.

The result is a sound which is layered and lush, with organ tightly tied to complex guitar runs, and Hauksson combining with Eirik Hanssen in a twin vocal approach which brings forth memories of classic Kansas with Steinhardt and Walsh. There are also little musical interludes which are classic City Boy, a band who will always be remembered in the UK for one hit single, but who released a series of amazing albums. Symphonic yet accessible, there is something about every Magic Pie release which is somehow both exciting yet welcoming, enthralling and engaging. Just for the hell of it they open the album with one song, broken into four parts, which is 25 minutes long! If that isn't confidence, I don't know what it is, and they nail it. The tight runs, particularly in 'Part 4', sound as if they are just one instrument yet sonically it is as least four, there really is no room for anyone to be even a split second out. Yet another supreme effort.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The Suffering Joy is the third studio album from Norwegian symphonic metal progressive band Magic Pie. A life's work is the epic album opener marking roughly 25mins of pure prog bliss. The suite is divided in four songs: 1.1 Questions Unanswered it's a simple open omg melody that allows the voca ... (read more)

Report this review (#2602124) | Posted by ElChanclas | Wednesday, October 13, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#647008) | Posted by Richens | Monday, March 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars While I'm writing this review, I am listening to the album. I've rated this album in the beginning with 2 stars, because I don't like the direction the group is going, in this case the hard rock/metal style. The vocals of the new singer are not bad, but I must get used to it. Technically everythi ... (read more)

Report this review (#434460) | Posted by Hogweed Returns | Saturday, April 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an excellent album, and in my view one of the best symphonic releases over the last years. In The Suffering Joy you can hear something of the golden age (that would be the 70s), different styles (symphonic, neo, metal... even some jazzy elements that is neatly fused into the more rocky ... (read more)

Report this review (#413652) | Posted by stig | Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Perhaps you've seen this album doing quite well in some chart or other, and you're skimming these reviews to see if it's something you should invest in. The quick answer is 'yes, yes you should'. The songs on this album are fairly complex and rich, with beautiful melodies and a confident range of ... (read more)

Report this review (#401578) | Posted by moochie | Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "The Suffering Joy" is the third album by Norwegian proggers, Magic Pie. The first two albums, "Motions of Desire" and "Circus of Life" had moments of brilliance, but oftentimes did not seem to have the same high quality throughout the entire album. But, when they were performing at the top of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#401558) | Posted by natewait | Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars More like 3.5 stars, really. Never having heard of Magic Pie prior to a couple weeks ago, I was curious due to the number of high ratings 'The Suffering Joy' has been receiving here at PA since its release. I have to say, the accolades are well-deserved for the most part. 'The Suffering Joy' ... (read more)

Report this review (#400561) | Posted by Disconnect | Monday, February 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well I have to admit that Magic Pie with their new album "The Suffering Joy" has come as something of a surprise to me. Two weeks ago I had never even heard of Magic Pie, then recently their name started appearing on Progarchives popular artists list and as I always do, I decided to take a lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#392038) | Posted by Skyperion | Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I must admit I was behind and discovered Magic Pie just a few weeks ago. But it took me only a few listenings to their two previous albums (Motions of desire, 2005 & Circus of life, 2007) until I was hooked. This third album immediately satisfy my hunger for true energetic progrock with lots of dyna ... (read more)

Report this review (#391346) | Posted by leifel | Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Magic Pie's new CD's title could have just as easily referred to the making of the CD itself since they suffered so much while making this joy for the ears. While they were recording this CD, they suffered a fire which destroyed their recording studio along with all of their equipment. Talk about ... (read more)

Report this review (#391052) | Posted by jayzeb | Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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