Label: Frontiers 2011
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
It would be quite pathetic if a band called THE MAGNIFICENT were merely "decent" or "mediocre". No such worries here, this band does live up to its' ambitious name, providing us one of the finest albums of the year. Built around the talents of guitarist/songwriter/producer Torsti Spoof (Leverage, Place Vendome) and vocalist Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus), The Magnificent isn't a typical "Frontiers" project. For one, the songs do not originate from the "usual suspects" (Peterik, Martensson, Martin bros etc), instead Spoof and Eriksen have pretty much done it themselves, with a little help from their bandmates in their other bands.
Fans of Leverage and Circus Maximus should take note that The Magnificent isn't quite as heavy as those bands. We're talking about highly melodic, keyboard-drenched AOR along the likes of Treat, TNT's lighter moments, Masquerade, Zinatra, Brother Firetribe... indeed, many of these songs would be right at home on a Firetribe album, and if BFT were to continue without Emppu because of his Nightwish duties, in Torsti Spoof they'd have a suitable replacement in the "inner circle". He throws in some very tasty guitarwork here, always very melodic. Eriksen does a good job too, at times sounding a lot like Joey Tempest. Finnish readers might get a chuckle out of the fact that there are moments where he sounds like a deadringer to one Ressu Redford (Bogart Co etc).
There's a cloud of familiarity hovering above the album - you'll probably find a few familiar sounding riffs or melodies here and there but nothing too obvious. Of course that could be said of most albums in the genre... The highlights of the album for me are "Cheated By Love" (very TNT'ish guitar work and a killer hook), "Fallen Angel" (a touching song about a tragic loss of a loved one), "Satin & Lace" and "Lost", to name a few. The only song that somehow doesn't work for me is "Bullets", but otherwise... it's all quite magnificent.