"Exploring The Hexameron" - Nick Magnus' new album: Hexameron reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

At last, Nick's new album has finally been released. It has been a long wait since 1999's Inhaling Green but the wait has been WELL worth it I can assure you! There has even been almost a "reunion" of old boys on this project for Nick has employed the collective talents of several of his old stable mates from his time with Steve Hackett, including Steve himself, John Hackett and Pete Hicks along with the vocal talents of ReGenesis' very own Tony Patterson.

Nick had mentioned in passing that there was a link between this project and its predecessor: Inhaling Green, and that is evident in the album's opening track Singularity which musically is almost an extension of the title track from that album itself. Dramatic and lyrical by turns it leads into Dancing On The Waters a classic of modern Progressive Rock with shimmering keyboard work echoing the eerie vocal effects and sending shivers up the spine.

Marduk is the next track and for those of you who are not familiar with such things; Marduk was a God of Assyrian mythology the demon bird who swallowed the world at night only to disgorge it again in the morning similar to the Fenris Wolf of Nordic mythology. A dramatic track with the added element of menace from Tony Patterson's hard edged vocals. There are also musical echoes of Inhaling Green here too with a repeated refrain from that track occurring throughout. Nick has definitely laid his Progressive roots out here. This track is redolent of such bands as The Enid (not entirely surprising, given that Nick was a member of that band at one point) Pallas and some of the more modern exponents of the craft. Dated? Perhaps in terms of the sound but musically an excellent offering.

Sophia's Song features the wonderful vocals of Siobahn McCarthy which are truly awesome. This is the world's creation myth retold anew with a modern twist. Musically this track could well have been written by Clannad… that is not a criticism …far from it! This is a truly glorious track with lush, crisp instrumentation and if you do not fall instantly in love with Siobahn's voice then you are deaf or dead… or both!

Double Helix will delight fans of Steve Hackett. This is a wonderful acoustic duo between Steve and John Hackett augmented by Nick on keybords which brings back so many memories of the days when all of these guys were together… it is wonderful to see them reunited with Nick… it has been a long time, hasn't it?

Brother Sun Sister Moon also features another familiar face (or voice!) with the vocal talents of Pete Hicks and this track is definitely one which will have a resonance with Hackett fans. The subject matter is very similar to the Tarot which influenced Steve's first solo album. Nothing derivative, this is another excellent track with an infectiously catchy tune and faultless vocal delivery.

Seven Hands Of Time once again displays the talents of Mr Hackett senior with some stunning wailing guitar that evoke the vastness of time and space alongside Nick's glorious keyboard playing and effects without doubt one of the best instrumental performances I have heard for along time. Both Nick and Steve are in fine form here.

The album closes in a similarly dramatic manner to Inhaling Green with a choral coda overlaid with shimmering layers of keyboards, flute and guitar all of which re-state of the major themes in the earlier tracks and the major theme from Inhaling Green bringing the album to a suitably dramatic and emphatically satisfying close.

There you have it; Nick has produced another stunning album; a polished diamond of musical genius which his fans will lap up. I loved Inhaling Green… I ADORE this one! Well done to Nick and everyone involved!

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Nick Magnus: Hexameron Magick Nuns Records MNCD 1001 2004.

For further information, check out Nick's web site: www.magnus-music.com