[Review] Magician’s Red – Threshold

Magician’s Red is a young Finnish band formed in 2019 and with Progressive sounds with an EP and a full-length to their credit. The debut album “Threshold” was released on April 22, 2022 via Kei Music Finland and contains 5 long-running tracks, 3 of which compose a suite. The album opens with “Dark Flow, Part I (Dissociation)” with a hypnotic guitar melody and keyboard background, developing with a change of solid Prog sounds. The guitar immediately stands out with a valuable solo insert that accompanies us up to the central part of the piece where a warm and expressive vocal enters. The tempo changes enrich the sounds of the song, which have a Neo Prog imprint with personal traits and references to the 90s bands of the genre. The intensity increases and in the final the sound becomes more Heavy with good mixes of electric guitars and keyboards on an accelerated rhythm. The second part of the suite “Dark Flow, Part II (Combustion)” which opens with the synth to guide the melodies with a retro touch and richaimi to the more electronic sounds of the Prog. The guitar is inserted with a good solo, which leaves space in the central part for the keyboards, combining Prog and Fusion traits. Between continuous tempo changes and virtuous duets on guitar and keyboard, the central theme and the piece develop pleasantly and accompany us at the end of this second part. “Upside Down, Inside Out” opens with a deep bass line and a rhythmic with Funky features, the vocal is dynamic and interprets the lyrics well. A track that maintains the Funky traits, increasing the intensity in the central part where the guitar offers a prolonged solo. In the second part the singing resumes and continues on the good mood that characterizes this track. The longest running track “Crossing the Threshold” is characterized by a solid and energetic rhythm reminiscent of Space Rock sounds. Good intertwining of guitar and keyboard that bring to mind the sounds of German music of the ’70s with the protagonist synth and a killer bassline. The band shows another facet of their sound, showing themselves adept at exploring and blending Neo Prog with Space traits and their own personal touch. In the second part the synth offers a refined solo with virtuous traits, while the rhythm continues its incessant ride, a very valid and interesting track, the mixture of multiple genres and styles. The album ends with the third part of the suite “Dark Flow, Part III (Homeostasis)” characterized by an intro with deep sounds sytnh slowly entering the heart of the song. The keyboards are intertwined with the synth always in evidence, with the entry of the vocal in the middle of the piece is transformed with only the acoustic guitar and voice. In the second part it returns in crescendo which brings the sound back to more Progressive atmospheres with very intense solo guitar textures, concluding with a warm vocal and keyboards. An album inspired by Neo prog, with a retro imprinting on the style of the 80s / 90s bands. The 3-part suite is central to this album and highlights the guitar and keyboards, with continuous tempo changes and a good, dynamic and expressive vocal. The track that I found most incisive and with the most original ideas is “Crossing the Threshold” where the band explores and mixes different styles. A listening that brings the Neo Prog sounds to the present day, recreating those atmospheres, well composed and executed, the sound is solid but can be improved under the aspect of originality, a good listening but not essential.

Tracklist

01. Dark Flow, Part I (Dissociation) (8:33)
02. Dark Flow, Part II (Combustion) (7:07)
03. Upside Down, Inside Out (7:45)
04. Crossing the Threshold (10:07)
05. Dark Flow, Part III (Homeostasis) (9:29)

Lineup

Kalle Mattila / Guitars, Lead & Backing Vocals, Synthesizer
Otso Kauniskangas / Keyboards, Lead & Backing Vocals
Jon Pettersson / Bass, Synthesizer, Percussion
Aaro Ruohonen / Drums, Vocals

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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