Reviews on
MAGIC PIE "The Suffering Joy "


"There's a reason why Norway's Magic Pie have been hailed as one of the greatest progressive rock bands of the modern era. Yes, they are that damn good. If their first two releases Motions of Desire and Circus of Life didn't quite convince you, then wait till you get your hands on The Suffering Joy, their latest release on Progress Records. This is a band that is just firing on all cylinders, and have once again created a masterpiece.
Magic Pie have gone through a line-up change since their last album, with vocalist Allan Olsen leaving the band and being replaced by former Artch and current Ken Hensley lead singer Eirikur Hauksson. Not a step has been lost however, as the band are still delivering their potent brand of hard driving & epic progressive rock. Kicking off with the 4-part multi-suite epic "A Life's Work", Magic Pie hit the listener with all the elements that have made them such a beloved act on the prog rock scene for the last few years; searing yet melodic guitar work, powerful vocals, soaring harmonies, aggressive keyboard passages, intricate rhythms, and complex yet catchy, epic styled songs. Hauksson proves to be the perfect addition here, coupling up with Eirik Hansen for a formidable vocal duo, and the two soar to the heavens on the near 18-minute "Pt. 4-The Suffering Joy" amidst an amalgam of tasty guitar solos and majestic keyboards.
Elsewhere on the CD, you get the acoustic ballad "Endless Ocean", the Flower Kings inspired heavy prog of "Headlines" (great guitar, Hammond & synth work here), the complex Deep Purple/Uriah Heep barnburner "Slightly Mad" ( a real workout for keyboard player Gilbert Marshall & guitarist Kim Stenberg), the scorching 15-minute epic "Tired", complete with stabbing synth lines, fusion styled drum work, and majestic guitar melodies, and the dark, atmospheric, and the dreamy closer "In Memoriam".
If you can only get one prog-rock CD this year, The Suffering Joy should be that CD. Even though it's early in 2011, there's no doubt that this latest from Magic Pie will be near the top of the list when we start to take a look in December at the best this year had to offer. Highly recommended! "

"... this band actually gives me a feeling of total euphoria .... such a delicate, clever and wonderful album, you will not find on this side of the millennium."

"Album number three from the Norwegian prog rockers, and it's a mighty fine one indeed. "Motions Of Desire" was good, "Circus Of Life" was very good, but this is their best so far, and a testament to their development from apprentices to craftsmen.

Which surprised me as I awaited the arrival of new vocalist Eirikur Hauksson with some trepidation, as Allan Olsens' vocals were a big part of what made Magic Pie, but the new boy has done good, helped by the slight shift in writing style, which sees a grittier edge to the Magic Pie sound. The harmonies which typified their sound are still in place, although they're more subdued this time around.

As befits a proper prog band, they kick things off with a multi-part epic, in this case 'A Life's Work'. They've decided to take a more serious approach to the subject matter this time around, and have went for the small matter of the meaning of life. So the opener takes on creation, before they ruminate on life, finishing up with death on 'In Memoriam'. A meaty matter and one that they accomplish with some aplomb.

They cover the gamut of symphonic prog rock, with a few nods to seventies Deep Purple, especially on 'Slightly Mad' and there are hints of Shadow Gallery and the Flower Kings on the heavier numbers like 'Headlines', which is probably my favourite thanks to some stunning Hammond work. Although the find room for a wee acoustic ballad ('Endless Ocean'), there are guitar solos galore, rhythmic twists and turns to spin your head, and some amazing instrumental work. It's an album that gives prog a good name, and one that fans should be snapping up immediately."


"A sense of enthusiasm comes from listening to this album. This feeling is generated by a permanent rainbow notes and variations which intersect, collide, move apart, converge, disperse ... the whole forming a perfectly mastered blend, which recreates a style without ever being tempted by the facility. Recommented!"

There are 9 tracks on The Suffering Joy although the first four of those form the multipart opening epic “A Life’s Work” [24:18]. This track starts off with the  an opening hymn-like piece that then segues into the instrumental overture and then on to parts three and four. The music of Magic Pie is loaded with musicianship; notes are flying everywhere with tremendous guitar and keyboard interplay. In true symphonic fashion time and tempo are always changing as is the musical structure as the arrangements are quite complex. But in the end it’s the staccato guitar lines interspersed with many start-and-stop cascading runs that are the band’s most prominent identifiers. You just get the feeling these guys love to play. Their music is heavy and crunchy one minute and then huge swells of cinematic grandness the next. Looking at the lineup and you see that there are multiple vocalists which really comes into play with the band’s lovely harmonies made even more beautiful by the great melodies they weave together.

if you like your symphonic prog with a guitar edge in a style similar to bands such as Spock’s Beard, then Magic Pie is a band you just have to check out. To my ears there is nothing flawed about The Suffering Joy. It’s 70-minutes of pure musical joy from start to finish. Highly recommended!"


""The long wait has been rewarded with a very strong third album that proves that Magic Pie can compete with the very best of (prog) rock bands"
RATING: 9,5/10

"The last few months have seen a number of prog bands switch singer and been the better fo doing so, or at least not causing any harmful slump in popularity. It may have
taken four years to finally hear the ‘new’ singer Eirikur Hauksson’s debut as the Norwegian-based sextet continue a slow but steady rise with their third album, but those familiar with Hauksson’s work will know of his versatility. From 80’s power metallers Artch to more recently live outings with Ken Hensley’s band and brief flirtations with the Eurovision song contest, Hauksson boosts an additional adge whenever he performs. Here is no different and compliments the band’s trademark multi-layered vocal harmonies by adding a muscular tone to the splendidly arranged work of main songwriter, guitarist
Kim Stenberg. None more so than on the albums opener A life’s work.
   The change may be subtle in pieces, but a darker and heavier sound is noticeable, yet the grace and timeless nature of each song continues to be seamless. Never soaring or diving musically for the sake of it, each song is measured to perfection and Headlines
could be could be one of the best prog songs you’ll hear this year, with it’s smooth, delectable guitar and melody. The Suffering Joy is 100 per cent the latter descriptive."

"Two thumbs up"
RATING: 4,5/5