After the huge success of “Revolutions” in the year 2001, the Magenta fans had to wait almost three years no know if MAGENTA was only a mirage of past years or really a solid progressive band.
Most of the fans were satisfied with the release of “Seven” in 2004, a second conceptual albums but this time about the seven capital sins, the album is really good and the band is more mature. We can still listen the clear references from Yes, Genesis, Mike Oldfield, etc. but the band has developed a clearly more unique sound.
Less symphonic than it’s predecessor and more oriented towards Neo Prog’ has an evident much more modern sound, the production is impeccable the participation of The Vienna Symphony Orchestra is perfect (without falling in exaggerations as other bands) and the music is simply delightful. From symphonic excesses (that prog’ fans love so much) to lyrical passages and powerful melodic tracks, it’s obvious that the years have not passed in vain, maybe not as impressive as “Revolutions” because we knew what to expect from the band, but an absolutely solid album from start to end.
The album starts with “Gluttony”, a track that begins with a vocal introduction that reminds me of “Relayer” because of the cha cha cha chorus similar to the one in “Sound Chaser”, but those who expect a copy are wrong, the music is absolutely different, as in the previous album very symphonic but with a clear unique sound that blends with Neo Prog’ in an exquisite way, excellent keyboards by Rob Reed, complex guitar chords by Chris Fry and of course the unique voice of Christina to add more brilliance. But what impressed me more of this song is the beautiful polyphonic vocals and the excellent job of the rhythm section by Rob Reed (who plays bass in this album) and Tim Robinson. A great opener.
When I first listened “Envy” I thought that they were playing “Entangled” because of the short intro, and the digitally produced Mellotron sound (I think Magenta doesn’t use the old but wonderful mellotron, even without it we shouldn’t worry, because the sound created by Rob Reed is faithful). This song is softer than the previous even when there are short explosions of power, some sections are really melancholic because remind me of the 4 men Genesis era. Christina’s voice with Rob keyboards are extremely beautiful and the ending guitar section by Chris Fry is breathtaking, another great track but clearly more oriented towards Neo Prog’ than any previous work by MAGENTA.
“Lust” is probably one of the highlights in this album and my favorite. The symphonic introduction is simply pompous and magnificent (the kind of music I love) and the way the music flows from one section to the next is impressive, the band manages to create a sense of continuity with not a single patch, the song has dramatic changes but so well managed that you don’t feel any abrupt cut, excellent work and a wonderful track. A special mention for the drums work by Tim Robinson which is outstanding, 12:26 minute of pure prog.
“Greed” is not one of my favorite tracks even when the vocal work and the guitar is outstanding, the band performs a good job and reminds me very much of the first MAGENTA album that I love so much, but I guess it’s one of those things I can’t explain, just a matter of taste, probably in a couple of weeks this song will grow on me, because I can’t say it’s not good, only not my favorite.
“Anger” is the shortest track in the album and works as a reliever and a moment to breath, with a extremely beautiful strings work that matches perfectly with Chistina’s clear voice, not everything must be breathtaking in an album, a good relief is always necessary. Very beautiful song and melody,
“Pride” is another powerful track starts soft and calmed but almost instantly gains power with a explosion of strength and Christina’s vocal part adds more power, absolutely symphonic way to begin a track that combines great chorus with a powerful bass and the whole band giving us one of their best works. As the song advances the emotion goes in crescendo, and we can perceive the clear Yes influence in the guitar, but again with a unique sound. Another of my favorites.
The album ends with “Sloth” a track that has a dramatic and mysterious intro that leads to a softer track with some beautiful vocals by Christina that remind me in some way of Clare Torry in Pink Floyd, a good and soft closer for a great album
Now comes the real problem, how to rate this album, I like Revolutions a bit more because I’m a proghead that loves the beautiful Symphonic excesses and gave that album 5 stars, but on the other hand there’s no way to rate a perfectly balanced album with no fillers and excellent production with less than the maximum.
Well, I love the music, the band has grown since their debut and we need more albums like this one in the 21st Century, so I will give another 5 stars rating.