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Magic Pie

Symphonic Prog

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Magic Pie Fragments Of The 5th Element album cover
3.87 | 145 ratings | 5 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Man Who Had it All (5:25)
2. P&C (5:33)
3. Table for Two (4:05)
4. Touched By an Angel (8:02)
5. The Hedonist (22:58)

Total Time 46:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Eirikur Hauksson / lead vocals
- Eirik Hanssen / vocals
- Kim Stenberg / guitars, vocals, composer, arranger & producer
- Erling Henanger / keyboards, vocals
- Lars Petter Holstad / bass, vocals
- Jan Johannessen / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Kim Stenberg based on original paintings by Eva Stenberg

CD Karisma Records ‎- KAR159CD (2019, Norway)

LP Karisma Records ‎- KAR159LP (2019, Norway)

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MAGIC PIE Fragments Of The 5th Element ratings distribution

(145 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

MAGIC PIE Fragments Of The 5th Element reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars How about a slice of MAGIC PIE? Or at least an album from them? It's a Symphonic Prog band from Norway. Now I see you salivating. Let's give them a try.

They have been around since the early 2000s and have sporadically been releasing full length studio albums through the years. Their fifth album, released in August of 2019, is called "Fragments of the 5th Element". The line up and instrumentation for this album consists of 4 of the original members, Kim Stenberg on guitars and vocals who also writes and arranges the songs, Eirik Hanssen on vocals, Lars Petter Holstad on bass and vocals, and Jan Johannessen on drums. Also, the current line up consists of Eirikur Hauksson on lead vocals, and Erling Henager on keyboards and vocals. This album consists of 5 tracks with a total run time of 46 minutes.

The album opens with "The Man Who Had it All" (5:25) with the entire band starting off with swirling synths and guitars leading the way and shifting tempos that immediately cement their claim to progressive music. The feeling is somewhere between symphonic and neo prog, and the song structure shows off a strong connection to early Genesis influences. The music is bright and well produced and the vocals are perfect for the style. Tempos and meters continue to shift throughout, but the Genesis style vibe anchors the sound quite well. Both the excellent keyboards and the great guitar lines share the spotlight producing a perfect balance. It's an excellent start.

"P & C" (5:32) begins with a short instrumental intro and then harmonic vocals take an a cappella melody and then carry it back into an instrumental backing. As it continues, the first instrumental break sees the organ and guitar building up a lot of steam and then an electric piano takes it into jazz fusion territory. A slower section sees the guitar pull the music to a more emotional style, there is some atmospheric synth, and then the main theme returns, then ending with a darker guitar riff. "Table for Two" (4:04) starts with a progressive intro which then smooths out to a steady moderate beat and what seems to be a more accessible melody. The instrumental break gives the synths a chance to show off for a short time before the melody returns. The lyrics are a nice romantic tribute and definitely fit for a more commercial sounding track.

"Touched By an Angel" (8:01) begins with a slow and lovely guitar prelude. Before the 2 minute mark, the vocals begin and the music remains slow and ballad like. Soon, the drums come in with a moderately slow beat, and an emotional and another romantic sounding song begins to build. The cycle continues with the 2nd verse and chorus. With the previous song and this one, we seem to be leaving the Genesis style and moving more towards a Styx-inspired ballad style. Even though this track is longer, it still has a very commercial feel to it, though the guitar solos are nice, and they are used to stretch out the length of the straightforward track. The last minute builds the intensity a bit more for a nice guitar-led and emotional ending.

The last track is the epic "The Hedonist" (22:58). This track fortunately returns to the Symphonic/Neo-prog style again with a long introduction that sees the music shifting tempos and meters, and featuring some nice synth solos and powerful progressive riffs. The vocals start off with a nice, thick harmonic melody, while the music continues to shift in a progressive manner. The music also remains bright, as it does through most of the album, again reminiscent of Genesis, yet very melodic. This longer track also carries many different thematic styles, never settling too long on a single melody, but spreading them around throughout the track. Again, the synth/guitar balance is spot on with each getting a chance to shine, even in this lyrically heavy track. The overall sound slows down in the middle, and a nice string solo appears just before it all picks up again and goes for complete progressive sound again. Somewhere around the 16 minute mark, we go into a jazz fusion style again, but right after, the guitar solo twists it all back to the Neo sound again.

This is a decent album with a lot of balance, yet strong progressive traits, though it does have a couple of more commercial sounding tracks. Again, the music is bright and mostly positive sounding, only venturing into dark territory for short durations. Overall, it works quite well, the sound seeming to lean more towards a Neo-prog sound, but the Symphonic style remains at work through the album. If you are a big fan of the Genesis to Marillion styles, then you should be happy with this album, but other progressive fans should check it out too, especially the last epic track, which is obviously the focus of the album. Only the middle 2 tracks are what I consider a bit too commercial, however, they don't overpower the rest of the album enough to ruin it. The band is talented, the production is excellent and so is the musicianship, so it is definitely worth a serious listen.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I remember when I got Magic Pieīs first two CDs and how much I liked them. In many ways this great band from Norway reminded me of 90īs The Flower Kings: retro prog, alright, but with a personality of their own and lots of great melodies. After their third album, however, I kind of lost contact until I found this CD by pure chance., And I must say I was delighted to see they remain more or less the same in style, but they also evolved on the songwriting department: although the classic 70īs influences are still very much evident (and this is a compliment), their songs are also unique. The band is also tighter than ever, with every instrument and vocal appearing at the right moment: those guys are obviously skilful musicians but use their superb technique for the music not for showing off. So if youīre looking for 10 minute solos and a general display of virtuosity you should go elsewhere. However, if you enjoy great melodic symphonic prog with lots of nice surprises, this is for you!

Actually I must also say that the CD is not perfect: the opener The Man Who Had It All and the closer epic The Hedonist are pure symphonic prog of the highest calibre. Together they respond for a little more than half of the CD and they are worth the price of the album alone. Between them there are three tracks: P & C is another fine prog tune with a driving fusion keyboard solo, while the Beatles influenced Table For Two is also very good but less adventurous lyrically, Maybe the only negative point is Touched By An Angel. Not a bad track at all, it has a really good guitar line, but at eight minutes this ballad is stretched a little too much. I guess it would be fine if stayed on the four or five minute time, but it drags as it is cutting the CDīs even flow up until then. However, there are not enough good things to say about the almost 23 minute closer, The Hedonist. Inspired, powerful, full of twists and turns, with gorgeous vocal and instrumental arrangements, it never loses steam throughout the whole epic making it one of the most well constructed and captivating prog suites I have heard in a long time. Itīs one of those long songs it sounds only too short every time you listen to it, intuitively wishing it could go on t least a little longer, especially the emotional last part.

The production is simply superb, as are all the performances. I have been listening to this CD non stop for two weeks and I guess itīll be on my fave list for a long time still. Surely it will be on any best of list of progressive rock releases of this year. A great rediscover!

Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars When I hear Norwegian band Magic Pie's debut back in 2005 I was just blown away and moaned it had kept many other albums away from my CD player as I couldn't bring myself to take it off! They haven't been the most prolific since then, but they are now back with their fifth album, with the same line-up as the last album, 2015's 'King For A Day'. With only drummer Jan Johannessen not contributing vocals in the six-man line-up, and both Eirikur Hauksson and Eirik Hanssen not playing instruments, one might think this is a very vocal-heavy band. That is true in many respects, but this is a symphonic progressive rock band with complex arrangements who are never afraid to crank it up and blast through, just with wonderful harmonies over the top!

Inspired by classic Seventies bands, this is a rich feast for progheads as opposed to a simple single course. It twists, it turns, it moves and grooves, is easy to get inside yet at the same time there is a great deal going on. Just the opening power chord followed by complex keyboard runs of "The Man Who Had It All" had me invested in the album from the very start, smiling, waiting to see what was going to come next. That it slowed down, sped up, moved between piano and keyboards before the vocals started, just made me smile that much more. From there on it was heads down and stay focused as I just didn't want to miss anything that was going on. Gentle Giant are just one of the influences on display, yet often in a more commercial and rock-based manner.

"The Hedonist" is the final track on offer, a simple ditty of some 22 minutes in length which allows the band to really stretch their wings and show what they can achieve in an epic. Restraint is the order of the day, as the band take time to really get going, but when they do they show they have been paying attention to the likes of Spock's Beard and keep the interest going throughout. Somehow I missed the last two Magic Pie albums, I won't be making that mistake again. Superb.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian band MAGIC PIE was formed back in 2001, and ever since they released their debut album "Motions of Desire" four years later they have been something of a household name in progressive rock circles, and gaining a reputation for being a solid and steady band both as recording artists and live performers. "Fragments of the 5th Element" is their fifth studio album, and was released through Norwegian label Karisma Records at the end of the summer of 2019.

Magic Pie is firmly established as a quality provider of retro-oriented progressive rock of the kind that mix and blend elements of 70's style symphonic progressive rock and certain aspects of the more art-oriented hard rocks band from the same era into a tight, compelling and often energetic package. Their songs are of high quality throughout their career, their albums are very well mixed and produced, and their reputation as a rock solid band will be further emphasized by this latest album of theirs. If you aren't yet aware of this band, this latest album is as good a place to start with them as any other. And if you know and love this band, this latest production is more of the same. A rock solid production, and an album I suspect will hit quite a few top 10 lists that are published here and there these days.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars Norwegian prog-rockers Magic Pie happen to be one of the most well-received modern bands in the genre, signifying the importance of the Northern European progressive rock scene since the mid-90s, and while they may not release records all too often, when they do, they really are some of the best of that year. This happens to be the case with their fifth album 'Fragments of the 5th Element', released in 2019, and not by chance, featuring five bombastic compositions dedicated to, broadly, love. This is the shortest album by the Pie to day, clocking in at around 46 minutes, intelligently split (in the style of the classic albums) in two by the grandiose 23-minute final epic track 'The Hedonist'.

The band started out playing covers and soon after were convinced to record original compositions, gradually presenting throughout the years their appreciation for various kinds of rock music, combining aspects of the genre's history from the decades of the 70s, the 80s and the 90s. Essentially a prog band with strong hard and glam rock leanings, it seems like Magic Pie have a sound of their own that is on full display on 'Fragments of the 5th Element' - this fantastic record kicks off with the hard-rocking 'The Man Who Had It All', a song that smells of Heep for good. Then comes 'P & C' (or 'Pleasure & Consequences') is another heavy keyboard-driven song that goes to show Pie's masterful skills at writing great melodies combined with memorable lyrics and intricate instrumentation. 'Table for Two' has a more laid-back tone, this is one of the more melancholic tracks on the album, some great guitar work here from Kim Stenberg and gorgeous Bowie-esque vocals by Eirikur Hauksson. The 8-minute 'Touched by an Angel' is a slower, guitar-centered composition, reminiscent of some 21st century neo-prog. Finally, the behemoth track 'The Hedonist' completes this absolutely stunning and excellent 2019 release; Undoubtedly the best track on the album, this proggy epic is full of blistering guitars, masterful keyboards, great hooks, playful lyrics, and sublime instrumental passages - everything you might need from a 23-minute song is in there.

And there goes this one - a compact album, a straight-to-the-point strategy with the songwriting and a decisiveness to showcase their full set of skills, Magic Pie have composed one of the most enjoyable and well-performed progressive rock albums of 2019 (and perhaps, of their decade).

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