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 heading down and stay focused as I just didn’t want to miss anything that was going on. Gentle Giant is 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 takes 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.
The long-awaited fifth full-length album from Norwegian Prog Rockers MAGIC PIE is on its way. Titled “Fragments of the 5th Element” it is set to hit the streets on Karisma Records on the 30th of August in CD, Gatefold LP and Digital formats.
“Fragments of the 5th Element” finds MAGIC PIE steering clear of the sterile perfection so often found amongst modern Prog bands in order to create an album with a slightly more unpolished sound, and a “rough around the edges” feel that gives it an added bite. From the genre-defying opener, to the epic 23 minute closer, MAGIC PIE clearly demonstrate just why they have become a household name amongst Prog Rock fans, and why this album has been worth the long wait.
Mixed & Mastered by Rich Mouser (SPOCKS BEARD, TRANSATLANTIC) at The Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, drums for “Fragments of the 5th Element” were recorded at Lionheart Studio & Production, where Øyvind Voldmo Larsen also worked his magic as engineer. All other recordings were made at Kim Stenberg’s Studio Basement.
With artwork and design by Kim Stenberg, based on original paintings by Eva Stenberg, tracklisting on “Fragments of the 5th Element” is as follows:
1 – The Man Who Had It All 2 – P & C 3 – Table For Two 4 – Touched By An Angel 5 – The Hedonist
More information about MAGIC PIE, whose lineup is comprised of Kim Stenberg on Guitars and Vocals, Lars Petter Holstad on Bass and Vocals, Eirikur Hauksson on Lead Vocals, Jan Torkild Johannessen on Drums, Eirik Hanssen on Vocals and Erling Henanger on Keyboards and Vocals, can be found at http://www.magicpie.net/ or on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MagicPieOfficial/
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