When I for the first time read that a new version of Magentaís masterpiece Seven would be in the shops, I certainly had second thoughts about this new release. Was it just a way to make some extra money? But itís not my style to give a judgement about something before I have investigated it myself. So I actually got hold of a real copy myself and did a consumer report myself about an album that I labelled in 2004 as a TKO (technical knock out)-an album that hit me in the face not the first time, but after I had played it over and over again, realising that the band had made a real masterpiece-a milestone in the bands career so far. This time I will not get into any details about the songs on the album. Everybody who has bought the album knows that it is just superb without any weak tracks. Six years after it was released, most Magenta fans cite it as their favourite album by the band. I can only agree with them.
All tracks on this new release have stayed the same. Only some of the songs are a couple of minutes longer. However no bonus material is included. But thatís not so strange when you have an album that is almost 80 minutes long. But instead, the entire album was completely remixed by band leader Rob Reed and re-mastered by the legendary Bob Katz, who already worked with the band on their latest release Metamorphosis. Some tracks have been remixed extensively, while others have minor tweaks. New sleeve notes are also added in the booklet. †††††
But I guess that the most interesting part of this release is the second disc. This is what I would call the real bonus material. This disc is a DVD with four hours of goodies which are a real delicatessen for everybody who likes to call themself a real Magenta fan. I was most of all very curious how the video footage would be. So I looked at the four bootleg videos first. Too bad that not a clip of every album track was included, because the footage is remarkably good. But when you hear that the band hardly performed Greed on a live stage because it was at first too difficult to do, you understand why. First we can watch Lust done at a show in Rotherham in 2004. During this 13 minutes long video, it is great to see how Martin Rosser plays on his guitar synthesizer. Anger is next and was done acoustically at the Pop factory in 2006. During those 5 minutes we can only see Chris Fry and Christina Booth doing the song as a duo. Gluttony was shot during a real nice rehearsal in 2003 in Cardiff. The 12 minutes of the song were done by the entire band. The nicest part was for me was to see Christina wearing cheap looking trousers and a pair of glasses. The last song is Pride and was performed at the Theux Festival in Belgium in 2006. During those six minutes we can also see that the bass at the time already had been taken over by the recently departed Dan Fry. I can only conclude that I enjoyed myself a lot during this more than 40 minutes long video section.
Another thing that I enjoyed but did not expected to be was the ďInside The MixĒ section. Some of you might think that it must be a bit boring seeing a man telling about how he mixed Seven. You see most of all what a musical genius Rob really is when he talks about the instruments recorded for the album. When you watch the whole thing, you get the idea that you are dealing here with another CLASSIC ALBUM series DVD. You just hear new things or even differently during the whole 80 minutes behind the mixing desk. Rob also explains that the idea of Speechless was taken from this album.
The last video part of this DVD that has to be explained is the interview with the two brothers Reed. Rob talks about the musical parts and Steve explains where the lyrics came from. Itís fun to hear that they first watched a porno movie about the seven deadly sins when they wanted to know more about this concept-a concept that had to be divided into seven parts because Rob had written the music for seven songs. First they thought about the seven days of the week but that was a too obvious concept.
Rob also talks very openly about the musical influences on the album and comes up with names such as Pink Floyd and King Crimson. Itís also nice to know that the art work was done by Adam J. Hodgson. He later became more know as the guitarist on the Touchstone albums.
Of course I will not mention everything that you can see and hear on the video section of this DVD. But I† can tell you that everything is certainly worth watching. Just like the audio section which is also worth listening to. The normal audio CD version of Seven canít beat the 5.1 surround version on the extra DVD. Itís true that all instruments already sounded good on the regular version but this time they blow out of your speakers.
This consumer report done by Background Magazine shows that this second release of Seven is certainly a release that wasnít made to get more money into their pockets. All the money spent on this CD is well spent, just like it was on the albumís first release. Therefore I can- just like the first time-give all my stars to this great product.
***** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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