Well I have to admit that Magic Pie with their new album "The Suffering Joy" has come as something of a surprise to me
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 look. Their biography sounded good, Scandinavian band's playing Symphonic prog have something of a good reputation over recent years.
I immediately searched spotify and the earlier albums show up. A few spins of those albums and I they start to grow on me. I soon bought the latest album which I am yet to be disappointed with.
The album kicks off with "A Life's Work", a multi part epic which sets the tone very nicely for the rest of the album. Each segment has it's own identity with the final part a clear stand out, there are some excellent hooks in this.
The next track "Headlines" follows the high standard of the first epic. An equally varied track with a great melody. This is perhaps more standard fare and some great lyrics and vocals.
"Slight Mad", it's easy to see how they got the title. This starts with some excellent keyboards, before morphing into some Deep Purple style, perhaps its the vocals that make it sound this way to me. There is some standout guitar playing towards the end of this track.
Another mini epic follows. "Tired" doesn't reach quite the heights of "A Life's Work" but is none the less excellent. Shades of Shadow Gallery in places, which is no bad thing.
The final track "In memoriam" is a nice way to close, although not quite up to the standard of the previous song.
All in all this is one great find for me and I can certainly recommend the album. I would rate it as 9/10 so I'm going to round upto 5*.
Skyperion | 5/5 | 2011-2-1
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 a major loss! Luckily the session tapes were stored elsewhere and they persevered and The Suffering Joy was born.
Magic pie bills themselves as "Classic Rock meets Progressive Rock in a conglomerate of influences from the 70's and from today's progressive scene" I don't think they could have hit the nail on head any truer then with these words. Listening to The Suffering Joy You can't help but hear influences of Kansas, Uriah Heep, Triumvirat/ELP, Yes, Deep Purple, Styx & more from the 70's while also hearing sections that will remind you of Shadow Gallery, Flower Kings, Spocks's Beard & others from today's scene. Oh how I wish there were more bands out there like Magic Pie. Music like it should be.
A very happy day is when a new Magic Pie CD arrives and I get to surround myself with their music. Consequently these days are also the saddest because I know I'll have to wait another 2 to 3 years before I can get another piece of the pie. I guess perfection takes time. If you're a fan of any of the bands I mentioned, you should run out now and buy this CD (or all of Magic Pie for that matter). You can easily find samples on their MySpace page if you need further proof. I just don't see how anyone can not fall in love with their material. I won't do a full track by track running of this CD since there are so many available already but I'd like to make a few points. The first track (in 4 parts) really sets the tone for the CD.
Part II highlights the instruments, Part III the vocals, and the 17 minute+ part IV puts it all together. The next 3 songs can all be found on their MySpace page and every one of them is a gem. The final 2 tracks seem to be getting mostly glossed over in the reviews and that is a shame because they are fantastic. While it is easy to love Headlines or Slightly Mad after a single listening, I think it takes Tired and In Memoriam a couple of listening before they can be fully appreciated. Tired is a true progressive song in that the middle is not like the beginning which is not like the end. My favorite part is the jam from about 8:30 to around the 12:00 minute mark.
In Memoriam on the other hand is very sinister sounding. Quite possibly the darkest song Magic Pie has done to date. I absolutely love Jan's drumming near the end of this song. Magie Pie changed singers with this CD and I'm not sure they could have made a better choice. Eirikur fits them like a glove. I think he shines best on Slightly Mad. Kim is riffing arpeggio's all over the CD and with Gilbert the 2 are simply amazing to listen to. Underneath it all is Lars and Jan keeping the rhythm going and in true progressive fashion make it seem all flawless. I recommend you give the CD a listen too while concentrating solely on the bass and drums.
They do some amazing stuff that sometimes can go unnoticed. On top of the great musicianship you have some really nice vocal arrangements and harmonies. Add in an occasional wonderfully sounding voice from Maria Bentsen (I wished they user her a little bit more) and you have here a true masterpiece. Take Another Bite, Just a Little Bite? of Magic Pie and you'll be full for days
jayzeb | 5/5 | 2011-1-31