[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(70:13, Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Trick of the Trade 6:09 2. Introversion 12:24 3. According To Plan 6:35 4. Tears Gone Dry 12:14 5. The Silent Giant 5:22 6. King For a Day 27:29 LINEUP: Eirikur Hauksson – vocals; guitars Kim Stenberg – guitars; vocals Eirik Hanssen – guitar; vocals Jan Torkild Johannessen – drums Lars Petter Holstad – bass; vocals Erling Henanger – keyboards; vocals
Prolusion. The Norwegian band MAGIC PIE has been a presence in the Norwegian music scene for more than a decade to date, and from the release of their debut album "Motions of Desire" back in 2005 it has become a popular band also in the international circuit. "King for a Day" is their long-awaited fourth studio album, and was released in May 2015 through Karisma Records.
Analysis. While Magic Pie is a Norwegian band, and one I have seen live on a few occasions; I've never been a massive fan of theirs. I like their music, but I have never been among the ones who will state that this band is the future of progressive rock or the best thing to Norwegian besides Aquavit. There are quite a few people out there, in Norway, as well as in the rest of the world, who deeply treasure the music of this band. I'm married to one of them. After giving my first ever Magic Pie album a deep listen, I can easily understand why there are so many who have a deep affection with and connection to this band, as this is a very well made production indeed, and one that will have a fairly broad appeal as well, when compared to many other albums released catering for the progressive rock-oriented audience. For starters, the cornerstone of the sound explored, at least on this album, is one a bit on the sidelines of progressive rock as such, where pumping bass guitar, controlled but powerful guitar riffs and organ craft that almost universally appealing vintage hard rock sound that never seems to go completely out of fashion. Arrangements revolving around those main ingredients run like a red thread thread throughout this production, and when the music is as well produced and performed, as in this case, it is most appealing indeed. What makes this a progressive rock album rather than a vintage hard rock one boils down to a few different aspects. The often layered symphonic orchestration, liberally applied throughout, is one of them, surging, swirling and otherwise effective and at times bombastic keyboard arrangements are a mainstay on the album. Structural changes and alterations are perhaps the most important features of the kind that makes the use of the word progressive a needed one in this case, as multiple and repeated themes and epic-length compositions with fairly clearly defined parts are central aspects of just about the entire disc as well. Add in some pastoral interludes, occasional forays into more jazz-tinged landscapes, for instance on the massive 27 minute concluding epic title track King for a Day, and the band's residence within the progressive rock realm is an undisputed one. Despite something of a foundation in what is generally more of a vintage hard rock sound. The important aspect of it all is that the music is appealing, and Magic Pie delivers a quality product in that department this time around, and again, judging from reviews of their previous CDs. That they have tossed in a shorter track with more of a generic hard rock feel, The Silent Giant, is a charming addition and a nice precursor to clear the mind prior to the behemoth that follows, and while they do venture into realms closer to progressive metal at times, they also incorporate sections that wouldn't have been out of place on an album by The Flower Kings. There's also a small section that sounds fairly close to the Fish-era Marillion to be uncovered here, and those who, like me, also recall and remember vocalist Haukssons, the old power metal band Artch should find a small sequence with some harmonies and melodies that possibly will bring forth associations to their debut album from way back when. And on the subject of harmonies, do I detect a slight influence from The Beatles in that department too, I wonder? Then in particular on the opening tracks.
Conclusion. Magic Pie has an established reputation as providers of hard-edged symphonic progressive rock internationally, and with their fourth album "King for a Day" they will further enhance that reputation. A solid, high-quality production through and through, easily recommended to existing fans of the band, amd also to those with a general taste for harder edged progressive rock of the symphonic variety.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]