Fledderus - October 2019
album opens with the track “Red Blood On White Stone”. The first
thing you will notice is that Nick is the master of the keyboard
orchestration. The keyboard orchestrations on this album are often
breathtaking. The second thing you will notice is that when the first
vocal harmonies, sung by Andy Neve and Nick Magnus are kicking in,
that these have the quality you will remember from several Steve
Hackett albums. This Hackett resemblance is further emphasized by a
beautiful guitar solo of the master (Steve Hackett) himself.
great album opener is followed by “Three Tall Towers” which is
sung by Pete Nicks which we all know from his contributions to the
“Spectral Mornings” album of Steve Hackett and the following
tours. This piece has more the style and atmosphere of Nick’s
previous albums. Also these first two tracks will show you how
important Nick Magnus was for the early days of Steve Hackett’s
solo career. “Convivium” is a short instrumental with nice
classical and medieval atmospheres. You will be impressed by all
those fine keyboard sounds and melodies.
Talking about beautiful
melodies and wonderful keyboard orchestrations the next track “The
Devil’s Bridge” is also a beautiful song. The vocals on this slow
track are sung by ReGenesis vocalist Tony Patterson. “The Market At
Mirepoix” is a typical song of the storyteller Nick Magnus. He
himself is responsible for the vocals and the violin contributions
are from his United Progressive Fraternity mate Steve Unruh. It is an
uptempo and uplifting sounding song with an amazing violin solo of
Steve Unruh. The violin is such a great instrument for progressive
The next short track is for me one of the (many)
highlights of this album. “Gathering Mists” is one of those Nick
Magnus gems. Beautiful and atmospheric piece with delicate Neo
Classical piano parts. The slow and wonderful melodies are
breathtaking. The next track “A Widow In Black” has also a Steve
Hackett connection. Amanda Lehmann is contributing with beautiful
lead vocals while Nick Is doing the backing vocals himself. Also in
this track you will find those beautiful keyboard orchestrations next
to fine acoustic guitar parts.
The album ends with the longest
(13:35) track called “Mountain Mother”. It has a mysterious
opening before the keyboard orchestrations with the most beautiful
melodies swell up. Shortly I had to think of the music of David
Arkenstone. Vocalist Tony Patterson is telling the story here. The
atmosphere of the song is on the mellow side of the spectrum and
slowly the tension of the music is building up. Again breathtaking
melodies and goose-bump moments in this composition of epic
proportions. In the last part Nick is spoiling us with a fine synth
solo. But like on the whole album most of the keyboard parts are
played in the service of the compositions.
... and again I am speechless after listening to new compositions of
Nick Magnus. Only for “Gathering Mists” and “Mountain Mother”
I would buy this album. The music has often a kind of cinematic
quality which is great for storytelling. Nick Magnus is the master of
the keyboard orchestration and his unique sounds and wonderful
melodies, which are often breathtaking, makes him for me one of the
most interesting and adventurous keyboard players/composers with an
own unique style. “Catharsis” is a wonderful album with beautiful
music and very fine vocal contributions. Don’t expect freaky
progressive stuff on one of his album. It is all about the music and
the compositions. An album made with a lot of passion, this simply
shines trough the music. What can I say more, this album is highly
recommended by progVisions.
October 2019 by Maarten Goossensen (translated from the original
you come to a place that takes your breath away. I had this, for
example, when I visited The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland or
when I was walking through the mountains in Switzerland as a
teenager. Such a place can really have an impact. Nick Magnus had
this with the Ariège department at the southernmost tip of France.
He studied the landscape and history. It runs like a red thread
through this new album.
is already five years after his album " N'Monix
". That was my first introduction to his solo work. I was sold
immediately. That album excelled in particularly pleasant symphonic
rock with strikingly strong lyrics. The disc can regularly spin its
circles in my CD player.
is a very atmospheric album. You regularly have the feeling that you
are skimming over the French landscape and seeing one beautiful spot
after another. The eight songs together form a pleasant whole.
Sometimes it is clearly about the history as in the up-tempo The
Market At Mirepoix
. We visit a medieval market where Steve Unruh creates a nice
atmosphere with his stirring violin playing. While on other numbers a
place is really described. Opener Red
Blood On White Stone
is one of the most beautiful songs on the album. Fine changes in
tempo, beautiful orchestrations, strong vocals and a great guitar
solo by grandmaster Steve Hackett.
Magnus also attracted a number of good vocalists for this album. Pete
Hicks sings on the beautiful Three
and Tony Patterson can be heard in The
. His warm voice fits perfectly in the whole. Nick Magnus' keys float
beautifully through the whole and the powerful chorus keeps on
singing around in your head. Tony Patterson can also be heard on
. What a terribly good singer this is.
Lehmann is responsible for the vocals in A
Widow In Black
. It is a nice ballad in which her angelic voice comes into its best.
The warm acoustic guitar sounds are reminiscent of Genesis
. But the real hussar piece was saved for the last track. The
one of the most beautiful songs I heard this year. The minute-long
intro with beautiful orchestrations is enough for goosebumps on my
arms. It is very cinematic and it feels great. Afterwards it turns
into a beautiful whole and in your mind you fly over changing
landscapes. It contains a kind of subcutaneous tension that is
sustained very well. A choir also appears halfway. Those are the
moments when the song reaches its peak, how cool that sounds! Their
wordless, echoing vocals excite the whole thing.
in all, "Catharsis" (with compliments for the artwork) is a
very atmospheric album. Strongly balanced and very well thought out.
Listen to it on headphones and you are completely gone for 45
the last 25 years, keyboardist Nick Magnus has somewhat quietly
released an impressive collection of solo albums. Best known for his
work with Steve Hackett in the 70s and 80s, Nick's solo material
confirms the influence that he had on the great Hackett albums of
most of his previous solo releases, Catharsis
is unabashedly old-fashioned, in the best sense. It's not that the
album sounds dated, but Nick embraces the old-school musical values
that helped to create so many excellent albums "back in the
day". As technically talented as the classic prog musicians
were, and regardless of the amount of time changes utilised, the
music was almost always melodic. Nick Magnus seems to be dedicated to
that same ideology. Catharsis
succeeds, in large part due to his ability to create music in which
strong melodies are always a key feature.
opening track, Red
Blood On White Stone
is a perfect example of this. Filled with musical twists and turns,
there is a ton of grandeur and majesty packed into its nine
minutes. The song's diverse menagerie, includes a mix of orchestral
segments, pounding drums, choral and harmony vocals and Steve
screeching guitar. All of these various elements are tied together by
some truly infectious melodies.
creates progressive music that is accessible, but also complex and
intricate. Inspired by the beauty and history of the Ariège region
of the French Pyrénées, the concept of Catharsis
allows Nick the opportunity to convey many musical moods. There is a
sweeping, film-score feel to much of the album. The music is visual
and many of the songs are epic, if not in length, then certainly in
scope. Variety is key to the material and each track presents a
distinctly different musical vision.
from the excellent instrumentation throughout, the vocal work of
Amanda Lehmann, Pete Hicks, Tony Patterson, Andy Neve, and Magnus is
also outstanding. Considering the diverse nature of the concept and
the musical styles utilised, the use of several vocalists works
really well. This is one of the those albums that, as I was listening
to it, I found myself marvelling at how good it is.
mentioned above, there is something nostalgic about Catharsis
which lends to its appeal. Ultimately though, nostalgia only goes so
far, and this album is entertaining for reasons far beyond
sentimentality. If you reflect on classics like Spectral
or some of the great Alan
releases and say: "They don't make them like that anymore",
think again. Nick Magnus does. Impeccably produced, full of great
songs and outstanding performances, Catharsis
has earned a place on my list of 2019's best albums.