Magenta returns with their fourth studio album, Metamorphosis. It has been two years since they released Home and New York Suite . They also recorded a single Speechless as well as The Singles collection, which had the current line-up‘s contributions. Although there has been some line-up changes over the past two years, the core of the band, multi-instrumentalist Rob Reed and vocalist Christina Booth keep the life blood pumping.
Musically they fuse some older ideas of the debut with newer ones expressed in the ‘The Singles’ album and the song “Speechless“. The end result along with the gothic album cover is the bands darkest, (subject matter wise) most modern sounding release yet. I noticed that with each album they have a natural progression while keeping with a core signature sound. The band gives us two epics and two condensed songs this time around.
The opens with the epic length The Ballad Of Samuel Layne, which is about a soldier in the World War I trenches reflecting on his past, knowing he’s close to death. It’s so emotional musically and vocally. Next is, Prekestolen, a Norwegian mountain plateau where the subject matter is about a couple’s suicide pact. very deep deep subject matter.
The next self titled epic can be looked upon as what the band’s sound is all about up until now. Fusing again old and new ideas with Yes like harmonies and acoustic passages then about half-way in, it changes and becomes aggressive but not in a obvious way. Very emotional again with the music and vocals. It segues into the final song Blind Faith, which in a way sums up the overall feel of the album. It has about the same tone as the title track but condensed in such a way that it doesn’t feel like it’s forced into a smaller package. I found this song to be one of my favorites of Magenta’s catalog.
To get a full aural effect, I tend to listen to music in the dark on headphones. This proved to be a perrfect way to hear the powerful dramatic closing theme, which sends shivers up my spine each time I hear it. I do believe that‘s what was intended when recorded. At first the eerie final words of the song “Wake-Up“ scared me. It really caught me off guard, even on sub-sequential listens.
In the “been there, done that” modern age, I feel taht Magenta always takes their fans on amazing musical experiences with each release, and they don't disappoint on 'Metamorphosis'. Very highly recommended!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on August 16th, 2008