It can't be easy starting off in the world of Progressive Metal. As a genre of music it's been around for over three decades and no matter the battering it gets by the press still manages to maintain a loyal and hard-core fan base. Those people outside of the Prog world will only have heard of PINK FLOYD and "Dark Side Of The Moon" and that's enough for them. Long, complex, over blown, technically rather demanding and down right boring can all be used to describe the effect of Prog but as with all types of music there are some exceptionally talented Prog bands out there including DREAM THEATER and THRESHOLD who weave luscious melodies with such musical ability it is pointless in trying to emulate never mind rubbish.
Most Prog reviews you read state ''…DREAM THEATER influences'' and it's very hard in this day and age to find a Prog band that hasn't pinched something in terms of sound from the masters. Unfortunately MAGNOLIA is no different but this is a debut offering that is full of warmth and appreciation for traditional Prog Rock.
Utilising every trick in the Prog Rock note book MAGNOLIA use hard edge Metal riffing in tracks like ''Crimson Night'' and then turn in a quite delightful performance on ''Blue Portrait'' very reminiscent of SHADOW GALLERY. For a band just starting off ''Blue Portrait'' is an accomplished song showing capturing over five minutes of classy, smooth Progressive Rock. ''Turkish'' is a short instrumental piece that lets the band flex its muscle in the playing department and you'd expect complex guitar parts mixed up between swirling keyboards and an enthusiastic back line. Well you get it and before you know it the CD has finished and you are reaching for the play button again.
I'm a sucker for a bit of good Prog and this year I haven't heard any better. (Online February 2, 2004)