The adventure continues with another unusual theme for the 2020 release from the Welsch band Magenta. “Masters of Illusion” sees the progressive rock masters take on possibly the most unexpected theme to date as they cover the lives and travails of six classic horror movie stars from the 50’s and 60’s. Robert Reed and his brother, lyricist Steve Reed tackle this most intriguing of storylines.
Magenta’s line-up features Robert Reed on keyboards and several other melodic instruments, award-winning singer Christina Booth on lead vocals, the extraordinary Chris Fry on guitars, and Dan Nelson and Jiffy Griffiths on bass and drums respectively. Also, two guest appearances from vocalist John Mitchell and saxophonist Peter Jones, plus a performance on Uilleann Pipes by Troy Donockley and oboe work by Karla Powell.
The six songs on Masters of Illusion produce a glorious palette of colors that are as varied as the rainbow. Across the album Moogs and Mellotrons, bass pedals underpin odd timings, majestic melodies soar, the core essence of prog is all there, including engaging lead guitar solos that punch through. Readers here will want to seek out the Deluxe Edition which includes a 5.1 surround mix on DVD, plus an additional album called The Lost Reel that features different mixes of a couple of the songs. Furthermore, the bonus disc contains alternate versions of a few older songs, such as the shortened version of the sprawling Legend which has been the more common live version of this piece. Additionally, there are crisp ‘2020’ versions of Man the Machine (also shortened) from 2001’s Revolutions, and the more recent Turn the Tide from 2011’s Chameleon.
A full review of the mix and sound quality of the surround version and high resolution stereo version is coming soon.
Released July 1, 2020
CD + DVD with 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo mixes. Also available on Vinyl and Streaming Services.