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Magenta - 2005 - "The Gathering"

(140 min DVD, F2)

TRACK LIST:                    

Main material (113 min):
1.  King of the Skies 4:36
2.  Gluttony 11:24
3.  Demons 4:34
4.  Broken 4:11
5.  Children of the Sun 20:24
6.  Overture 5:34
7.  Genetesis 11:07
8.  Call Me 5:04
9.  I'm Alive 5:40
10. The White Witch 23:36
11. Pride 11:29
Bonus material (27 min):
1.  Arrival of the audience 2:58
2.  Comments from the audience 4:18
3.  Interview with Rob Reed 5:16
4.  Interview with Christina 2:53
5.  In the studio with Rob Reed 2:12
6.  Promo video for Broken 4:12
7.  Photo Gallery 5:02


Rob Reed - keyboards; vocals
Christina Booth - lead vocals
Chris Fry - lead guitars; b/vocals 
Martin Rosser - guitars; b/vocals
Allan Mason-Jones - drums 
Matthew Cohen - bass 

Prolusion. MAGENTA is on my agenda. This would've been a fine introduction to this article if I were able to write it in verses. Well, the prolusion to the review of the band's latest studio effort, "Home" (which I examined previously), is certainly more informative.

Analysis. Released in December 2005, "The Gathering" is Magenta's only DVD so far. The concert took place at The Pop Factory in South Wales on May 14, 2005, and was shot by six cameramen. As is typical of most, if not all of the modern-day DVD productions, the sound, picture and visuals of the hero of this occasion are excellent. Here, while playing live, Magenta seem to be permeated with more energy and fire than heard on their latest studio recording, Christina's performance included, and now by the way, I perceive her as one of Prog's most charismatic female singers surpassing most if not all of her native 'sisters in arms' currently working in this field. Christina, Rob and Chris handle their instruments (one of which is voice for sure) with ardor and liveliness, all three being much more often in the spotlight than the other members, which, I believe, is due to their strong showmanship. As for the material as such, it gave me a lot of pleasure and is highly noteworthy in general - for several reasons. First: The band appears to be some of the coolest live musicians on England's contemporary Prog scene. Second: Not a single song here is done with a simplistic approach. Even Call Me, whose first half is a mellow ballad without the rhythm section, later on transforms into a fully-fledged progressive opus. Third: This set consists almost exclusively of uniquely sounding songs, which very rarely bring to mind anyone else but Magenta. Only the last number, Pride, played as an encore, is somewhat provocatively-evocative, arousing instant associations with Yes circa "Union". Well, some solos on Demons (the only representative of "Home" here) are clearly in the style of David Gilmour, but overall, this version much more closely corresponds to my already-formed conception of the band's identity than its studio counterpart. Fourth: The program includes two full-length 'sidelong' suites, Children of the Sun and The White Witch, and two semi-epics, Gluttony and Genetesis, all being monstrously progressive, the latter standing out for its really trance-inducing aura, which made it my favorite number. Both in profundity and beauty, Genetesis belongs on a par with Awaken from Yes's "Going for the One". The White Witch is worthy of the same epithets and favorable comparisons - only with reference to Entangled and Dance on a Volcano from Genesis's "A Trick of the Tail". The opening number, King of the Skies - a driving Hard Rock with a distinct vintage sense - is the only one falling almost completely outside the material's primary style, which, overall, is a blend of vintage and neo Symphonic Progressive.

Conclusion. As is brightly evinced on this DVD, Magenta is one of Albion's strongest female-fronted units of Prog. Personally I find them to be better (read: more progressive) than any other widely known contemporary British band with a female singer (I am sure I've heard all of them), save The Morrigan, with whom they, say, share the leadership in this category. For those still unacquainted with this band, it's all quite simple: if you like IQ, you will not miss with Magenta.

VM: October 6, 2006

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