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'The Magnificent'
(Frontiers Records)

jonathan churchill

The Magnificent is quite an ambitious, if not arrogant way to introduce your self-titled debut album. And as 2011 has been a year of genuinely outstanding music this late-in-the-year entrant to the Melodic Rock category has its work cut out.

the magnificent

My favourite Melodic Rock album of the year so far is without doubt Night Ranger's 'Somewhere In California', but now I find myself cheating on Night Ranger with this smooth as satin temptress that is 'The Magnificent'. If you could fall in love with a record, it would be this one.

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It goes without saying that this band are from Scandinavia. If you read through my column, this year there seems to be a recurring theme that all the best bands are from Sweden or Finland. From Cheerleader to Hammerfall to DragonLand, this region just keeps on giving!

The Magnificent is the brainchild of Circus Maximus singer extraordinaire Michael Eriksen from Norway and Finnish producer/guitarist Torsti Spoof, of Leverage fame, with the help of musicians which include Rolf Pilve on drums, Sami Norbacka on bass and Jukka Karinen on keyboards.

Bringing back the big hair, keyboards and even bigger emotions of the late 80s, this record delivers because it has a strong identity. You will either love or hate it depending on your view of this rose-tinted hairspray dominated period. For me, it is near perfect.

It's sometimes hard to pinpoint influences or describe how an album sounds but in this case there is no debate. This is an effortless, fluid and well produced pastiche of Final Countdown-era Europe, Whitesnake's 1987, a little Journey and a sprinkling of Foreigner.

Michael Eriksen's vocals are the star of the show and capture the urgency and emotion required to tug at your heartstrings while soaring through the octaves with all the panache of Joey Tempest at his very best. His range and melody makes the record feel utterly sincere, believable, heartfelt and totally addictive.

The song writing is strong and clever, although deliberately very predictable, and the band work in perfect harmony with the silky source material. The sound may be Europe but the lyrics are all Whitesnake: with song titles such as 'Holding On To Your Love', 'Angel', 'Cheated By Love' and 'Satin And Lace' – you get the drift!

Like crack cocaine, one hit from any of these tracks and you're hooked. You'll go back for more again and again.

It's definitely not original or new, but if you buy into the concept, this is a delirious, seductive and phenomenally addictive record and it gets better with each listen. It's the epitome of a guilty pleasure and I can't recommend it enough. That's if you like this sort of thing, of course!

If you thought 'Is This Love' or 'Carrie' were rubbish, avoid at all costs. If, like me. they defined your teenage years you MUST buy this immediately!

Conclusion: A brilliant, bright supernova of an album that's out of time, predictably uncool and utterly unoriginal. That's probably why I love it. Overall, a stunning debut, a genuine moment of pure musical joy and fast-becoming my most listened to album of 2011.

Esssential Downloads:

The whole damn record! There is no weak track.

Jonathan Churchill.


Jonathan Churchill.
Follow me on Twitter: MetalTalk_1976


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