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Nick Magnus - Children Of Another God CD (album) cover


Nick Magnus


Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 101 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars A child of a minor Rock God

Nick Magnus is most known for his membership in Steve Hackett's backing band in the late 70's and early 80's where he played keyboards on such important albums as Spectral Mornings, Defector and Highly Strung. Interestingly, four out of six members of the Spectral Mornings and Defector line up is present on this very album, including Steve and John Hackett on guitar and flute respectively and vocalist Pete Hicks and, of course, Magnus himself. In fairness, all of these people were also involved in Magnus' previous solo effort Hexameron, but the present album is much more in the spirit of what they did on those classic Hackett albums (and much better too). The Colony Is King in particular would have fitted very well on one of Steve Hackett's more recent albums with his very distinctive guitar sound and his brother John's wonderful flutes. Steve Hackett is credited only on this one track and no other guitarist is credited, but there clearly are guitars on the other tracks!

Magnus begun his musical career playing with The Enid in the mid 70's, but he left that band in 1976 just before they released their debut album In The Region Of The Summer Stars. To my knowledge there are no recordings by The Enid that feature Magnus, but I assume it was in his Enid days that he befriended Glenn Tollett who appears here on upright bass on the track Identity Theft. Other guests appearing on this album are vocalists Tony Patterson, Linda John-Pierre and Andy Neve. Magnus himself sings lead vocals on one track too which means that there are as many as five different lead vocalists on this album! This diversity of vocalists makes the album a bit less coherent than it might have been had he opted for one or two vocalists only. Despite this the album is held together well by being a concept album. The lyrics by Dick Foster constitute a protest against collectivism and conformism and an implicit defence of individualism. There is also a theme about the virtues and problems of the information society.

The three tracks on which Peter Gabriel-impersonator Tony Patterson sings are for me among the best ones, most notably the excellent opening title track which has something of a Genesis sound and approach but also Babel Tower which repeats the main theme from the title track to great effect. Patterson also sings the closing beautiful piano-based ballad Howl Down The Stars.

The most progressive tracks are the title track, the instrumental Twenty Summers and The Colony Is King. Since these tracks are rather evenly spread over the album it is kept interesting throughout. The two songs sung by Pete Hicks are slightly more towards the Pop Rock direction, particularly Doctor Prometheus, but by no means bad songs and not devoid of progressive tendencies. These songs have more of an Alan Parsons Project sound. The Others, sung by Linda John-Pierre, on the other hand, is the track that fits in the least but it is saved by some nice acoustic guitar playing.

Children Of Another God was a positive surprise for me. It was a definite improvement over Magnus' previous solo effort, Hexameron, and an excellent addition to any collection that already holds the albums Magnus made with Steve Hackett. Indeed, the sound of these albums gives a clue to what is found here and it is clear that Magnus had a large influence on the sound of those albums. Too bad the cover art is quite awful (but it comes in a nice digi-pack with a nice booklet with full lyrics and pictures of the guest artists)!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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