I have never been a real/true Magenta fan, but after a couple of spins of their new album Masters Of Illusion I have to reconsider my opinion as I indeed like this new album as it is a true classic prog album!
Masters Of Illusion's theme is based around the lives of six famous horror actors (Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Lon Chaney Junior, Ingrid Pitt, Peter Cushing and Vincent Price) of the fifties and the sixties. The music on this awesome album is classic pure melodic prog in the veins of Genesis and even Yes, featuring long compositions with lots of diversity, exceptional guitar work, great melodies and an excellent vocal performance by Christina Booth; although sometimes there is maybe a bit too much singing and I wished for some more guitar or keyboard solos played by Chris Fry and Rob Reed, but then again, you cannot have it all... Opening track Bela features some lovely guitar solos and this song is extremely melodic and truly epic, Booth's voice is out of this world here and Fry shows what he is capable of on guitar. Follow up A Gift From God is probably the most serene and ballad like track from this album, with lovely oboe sounds and obvious Genesis trademarks. Reach For The Moon, is the most “poppy” song of the album, featuring lots of influences from the seventies and a sparkling saxophone solo (by Pete Jones) as well. Magenta saves the best for last as the title track is a true epic prog “monster”, clocking over 16 minutes! This song is about Vincent Price and musically this is my personal favorite without a shadow of a doubt. Fry's guitar work here is awesome and some melodies and solos give me goosebumps every time I hear them. But what makes this song so great, is the utterly marvelous display of melody, composition and lyrical variation; listen to this song on your headphones and you will be blown away and hooked for sure!!
Masters Of Illusion is a Magenta statement of the highest order, the most authentic Magenta prog album ever and if you are a melodic prog fan you need to have this album ASAP. Highly recommended indeed!!
****+ Martien Koolen (edited by Dave Smith)
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