[Review] Magoria – JtR1888

Magoria is a project that includes many Dutch musicians, coming from different musical experiences. This project is developed as a Rock Opera, born from an idea of ​​the Knight Area guitarist, Mark Bogert. A unique musical experience in which Peter Vink (Knight Area, Q65), Jan Willem Ketelaers (Knight, Ayreon, Robby Valentine), Rodney Blaaze (Ayreon, Star One), Peter Strykes (La The Voice) and Bart Hennephof (textures ), Harmen Kieboom (Ex Libris), Cleem Detemeijer (Finch) and many others. The work was written and produced by Mark Bogert, inspired by The Royal Conspiracy Theory. The album contains 21 tracks in the form of concept albums and was published by Butler Records in the 2xCD version, released on 25 October 2019. It was also performed live for the first time on 9 November 2019 at Dordrecht’s Bibelot Poppidum, with one memorable show. The album opens with the sweet piano notes of “Whitechapel”, with a carriage in the background, the scream of a woman and the church bells. Thus enters the vocals and the instruments that immediately catapult us into what will be the atmospheres of the album. A short insert, then everything turns into a female vocal that introduces us to the second song “Legend of the Serial Killer Scene.” Start with a great guitar riff with the synth support, a solid and incisive Symphonic Metal, on which an excellent female vocal is inserted, at times choral. Guitar and keyboards perform swirling inserts, while the narration is optimally interpreted. Sung verses alternate with symphonic instrumental pauses with the guitar as the protagonist in the middle of the song, all well-balanced and the song shows the band’s more symphonic Prog character up until the end, an excellent opening. “Prince Albert Victor Eddy” with a soft orchestral rug and an expressive, warm and passionate vocal, after an introductory minute changes into a pulled Metal piece. Enter the male voice and at times the choirs, the guitar riffs are powerful and scratchy, the keyboards offer beautiful inserts. In the instrumental part the guitar draws an excellent solo, the vocals return and the main theme therefore the track closes with a useful development to the story. A song that does not leave a moment of breath and a remarkable interpretation both vocal and guitar and keyboard before in the final Jack gets one of his murders. With dark riffs and more electronic keyboards, “Mary Ann Nichols” begins, the male and female voices are stratified and the Drum becomes urgent. So soft and accelerated pauses alternate with a dark Metal and a powerful guitar, the orchestral ending concludes this track and opens the following. “Abberline,” begins with a powerful guitar discharge and a screamed voice, so a melody is elaborated on which is inserted the double male and female voice. The rhythm is slower and more elaborate with sung pauses and arpeggiated melodies, an excellent piece where the guitar performs high-level interventions. A test of character especially by Peter Strykes on vocals, in the role of Scotland Yard inspector, Mark Bogert and Koen Stam enhance their performance. “Annie Chapman” begins with an orchestral rug, evolves with engaging guitar riffs and a solid and intricate rhythmic base. Another character test by Rodney Blaze as Jack The Ripper. The synth is highlighted in the instrumental part, and the whole band shows harmony. In “don’t mention his name” an excellent duet between Maria Catharina and Ing Rinja, with the melodies and the sound setting that recall Ayreon. The guitar and the synth at 3/4 of the song offer an excellent instrumental detachment and then the singing is closed again. “More life than this” is an acoustic Ballad, which in the end increases in intensity with an electric guitar solo. Powerful and orchestrated “Queen Victoria” highlights Mirjan Van Doorn’s vocal proof. Let’s go back to the symphonic Metal field, sung and instrumental parts alternate to perfection and keyboards and Guitars intertwine, the orchestral ending is also remarkable. The last piece of the first album “Confrontation” is characterized by another vocal duet of the highest level between Blaze and van Doorn. Pathos expressed by the two is remarkable, with the flowing of the trace even the intensity increases, closing in crescendo. The second part begins with “Overture” and its orchestrations, on which it retouchs the bell of the Big Bang. Thus, the tension increases to become a sweet melody, which in the end darkens and intensifies empathy. “Day by day” once again emphasizes the guitar skills of Bogert, symphonic and choral, a song where the orchestral parts are decisive. After an intro of a minute “Let her be safe” reveals all its power, at times the riffs become dark with symphonic synth opening. After a nice guitar solo the song closes with more lugubrious tones and ambient noises. “Pub” is a Ballad Metal / Swing, a short passage of a cheerful and lively minute. “Dignified” is a detachment with melancholic traits, with a piano and voice of almost three minutes, very expressive and delicate. “Annie Cook” returns to the Metal territory, tight rhythms and decisive and powerful guitar riffs with Alternate and aggressive voices. In the central part the instrumental intermezzo is more elaborate, before the guitar solo, with the return of the vocal the rhythm accelerates, and after another short solo the piece closes. In “Catherine Eddowes” the vowel expresses a remarkable interpretation, Jack’s blood silk is palpable, the powerful riffs and the solid rhythm make the rest. A special mention must be made for the superlative vocal interpretation. “From Hell” shows again the intentions of Jack The Ripper, alternating moments with the sweet female voice to the cruel male one. “Last night in Whitechapel” is a short piece of electric guitar and in the end the bell tolls and the left background noises close the track. It is an aggressive and powerful Metal track “Mary Jane Kelly”, the latest victim of The Ripper, which offers another masterful proof of interpretation. We are at the epilogue and Jack has intended to kill his last victim on November 9th 1888. “Freedom for London” with the whole cast singing Whitechapel release, on pompous melodies, finally Jack The Ripper will not torment plus his poor victims. An unprecedented work for Dutch music, a work that with these proportions was not felt for a long time. It offers emotions from beginning to end, without leaving the listener a moment of breath that is projected into this Victorian atmosphere in a masterly manner. All the feelings and pathos that the characters experience are perfectly transmitted, with a sublime interpretation by all the artists involved. Also, noteworthy is the production which is an added value of this already excellent work. Another fine release after the excellent D-Day of the Knight Area, certainly one of the best albums of the last few years.

Tracklist

Disc 1

  1. Whitechapel (Magoria Feat. Inge Rijnja, Maria Catharina, Jan Willem Ketelaers, Peter Strykes, Rodney Blaze, Sonny Pruim, Nadine Pruim, Mirjam Van Doorn, Zora Cock)
  2. Legend of the Serial Killer Scene (Magoria Feat. Zora Cock, Maria Catharina)
  3. Prince Albert Victor ‘Eddy’ (Magoria Feat. Jan Willem Ketelaers, Nadine Pruim)
  4. Mary Ann Nichols (Magoria Feat. Inge Rijnja, Maria Catharina, Rodney Blaze)
  5. Abberline (Magoria Feat. Inge Rijnja, Maria Catharina, Peter Strykes)
  6. Annie Chapman (Magoria Feat. Inge Rijnja, Maria Catharina, Rodney Blaze)
  7. Don’t Mention His Name (Magoria Feat. Inge Rijnja, Maria Catharina)
  8. More to Life Than This (Magoria Feat. Maria Catharina)
  9. Queen Victoria (Magoria Feat. Mirjam Van Doorn, Sonny Pruim)
  10. Confrontation (Magoria Feat. Rodney Blaze, Mirjam Van Doorn)

Disc 2

  1. Overture JTR1888 (Magoria)
  2. Day By Day (Magoria Feat. Zora Cock, Inge Rijnja, Maria Catharina, Jan Willem Ketelaers, Peter Strykes, Rodney Blaze, Sonny Pruim, Nadine Pruim, Mirjam Van Doorn)
  3. Let Her Be Safe (Magoria Feat. Jan Willem Ketelaers, Nadine Pruim)
  4. Pub (Magoria Feat. Inge Rijnja)
  5. Dignified Woman (Magoria Feat. Maria Catharina)
  6. Annie Crook (Magoria Feat. Jan Willem Ketelaers)
  7. Catherine Eddowes (Magoria Feat. Rodney Blaze, Inge Rijnja, Sonny Pruim)
  8. From Hell (Magoria Feat. Inge Rijnja, Maria Catharina, Peter Strykes, Rodney Blaze)
  9. Last Night in Whitechapel (Magoria)
  10. Mary Jane Kelly (Magoria Feat. Rodney Blaze)
  11. Freedom of London (Magoria Feat. Inge Rijnja, Maria Catharina, Jan Willem Ketelaers, Peter Strykes, Rodney Blaze, Sonny Pruim, Nadine Pruim, Mirjam Van Doorn, Zora Cock)

Lineup

Vocalisten
Rodney Blaze (Ayreon)
Peter Strykes (LA The Voices)
Jan Willem Ketelaers (Knight Area, Valentine)
Sonny Pruim (Skeftum)
Maria Catharina (Valentine)
Inge Rijnja (Saphira)
Mirjam van Doorn (The Boxx)
Nadine Pruim (Skeftum)
Zora Cock (Blackbriar)

Musicians
Mark Bogert: Guitar (Knight Area)
Bart Hennephof: Guitar (Textures)
Koen Stam: Keyboards (Ex Libris)
Harmen Kieboom: Drums (Ex Libris)
Cleem Determeijer: Piano (Finch)
Peter Vink: Bass (Knight Area, Ayreon, Q65)

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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