Magoria -
Hollingsworth Mansion

(CD 2024, 66:10, Butler Records)

The tracks:
  1- The Haunted House(2:52)
  2- New Estate(5:08)
  3- Don't Open The Gate(5:12)
  4- Diamond In The Dark(5:15)
  5- The Secret Of This Village(4:10)
  6- What Do They Want From Me(3:35)
  7- The House Of No One At All(2:03)
  8- Enter The Twilight World(4:52)
  9- I Can't Restrain Her Anymore(5:27)
10- When Our Time Will Come(4:42)
11- Leave Us(5:25)
12- The Time Has Come(4:02)
13- From Dusk Till Dawn(5:33)
14- Die For The Love Of Your Life(5:08)
15- Postludium(2:42)

Website      Butler Records

In 2019, Knight Area guitarist Mark Bogert surprised the music industry with his own project Magoria and the release of a rock opera about Jack The Ripper, titled JTR1888. Now five years later the now former Knight Area guitar picker (recently named 'Best of the Benelux' and even'Guitarist of the Year' by the magazine "Gitarist") returns to the music scene with a follow up to this rather successful album. JTR1888is now probably getting again a rather successful successor with the release of Hollingsworth Mansion. Another intriguing rock opera.

Where JTR1888 contained two CDs to reveal everything about Jack The Ripper, Hollingsworth Mansion simply needs only one CD to tell the complete story. This time the story is one from the fantasy world and takes place in a haunted house. It is about the Welbourne family who move into a remote country house. However, they do not know the history of their new home. More than a century ago, a major fire raged in the manor, which also killed the original Hollingsworth residents. Numerous rumours and stories circulated about the mysterious house. For example, the original residents, Hollingsworth, have always continued to live in the house... In this mansion, the Hollingsworth family, which are roles for singers Mirjam van Doorn, Maria Catharina and Rodney Blaze, make life difficult for the newly moved in Welbourne family. Which are roles for the singers Jan Willem Ketelaers (ex- Knight Area) and Nadine Pruim. Other roles have also been cast for Inge Rijnja and Edward Reekers (ex-Kayak). Without revealing too much of the story you can say that Mark Bogert has created a fascinating story, in which the storylines are strongly interpreted by the vocalists who all come up with very strong vocal parts. All this is musically very strongly supported by guitarist Remy Hansen who played a great solo on From Dusk Till Dawn, keyboard player Koen Stam, pianist Cleem Determeijer (ex-Finch), bassist Peter Vink (ex- Knight Area, Finch) and drummer Harmen Kieboom. The album is also filled with bombastic parts and orchestral arrangements done by Matthijs Kieboom. A special mention goes also to special guest and ex Dream Theater keyboard player Derek Sherinian who did an awesome synthesizer solo on I Can't Restrain Her Anymore. And of course we must not forget Mark Bogert himself on electric and acoustic guitars. He did an amazing job on the compositions and guitar parts.

Music wise you might say that the musical style on this rock opera might not be everybody's musical taste. Even if you know how clever everything is done. If you don't like too much singing, too much heavy guitar parts, too much over the top you better skip this release. On the other hand if you like musical and rock opera kind of musical stuff mixed with heavy guitar parts this is the perfect album to have in your album collection.

Therefore it is easy to compare Bogert's rock opera's to the musicals of Clive Nolan but a more heavier equivalent of them. The similarities are an excellent cast of singers, the Victorian era in which the stories mainly take place, the bombastic musical parts, the overwhelming beautiful melodies that stack over each other and the atmosphere of a dark fairy tale. It's all there for you to enjoy if you are open for it.

I will not go into details about every track separately. But I can tell you that they all of a very high level and have a perfect mix of up tempo heavy guitar tunes and more ballad kind of piano songs. So well done indeed if I may say so. All of the performers on those tracks reach a very high level as well. So also well done indeed if I may say so.
If you are into an exciting story about a haunted house. And you are into exciting music it is worth trying to hear Hollingsworth Mansion from start to finish. Enjoy powerful vocals which alternate with tender vocal parts. Enjoy heavy metal kind of music which alternates with beautiful soft ballads. It quickly becomes clear that this album is a total experience, it is varied and continues to fascinate. Bogert has built up the music in several layers and has created it with strong variety. This way it tells the story very powerfully without any doubt. It is just immediately clear that Magoria is at the top of this genre of musical and rock operas. Who could have believed this that is was all created in the mind of a guitarist who was nominated lately for his excellent guitar playing. Both thumbs up for Mark!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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