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Cannata: Mysterium Magnum

Former Jasper Wrath and Arc Angel multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Jeff Cannata returns with his follow-up to 2002's Tamorok. This latest release, titled Mysterium Magnum, is an enjoyable slice of progressive rock and AOR material, expertly played and written, with plenty of classic 70's type arrangements but with a modern feel. Jeff plays a good amount of the instruments here, but he does have many guest musicians helping him out throughout the album. If you like your prog rock with hooks, symphonic arrangements, intelligent lyrics, and plenty of gusto, you have come to the right place.

Each and every song here is quite a lot of fun, but there are a few standouts. The opener "Spirit of the Four Winds" has a wonderfully catchy melody, as well as an assortment of synth textures from both Cannata and Jay Rowe. On "Somewhere Beyond the Sun", the album's most progressive piece, images of Jethro Tull, Kansas, Glass Hammer, and yes, Jasper Wrath, all come to mind. Flutes, guitars, and raging keyboards all come together beautifully on this one, and the piece has a plethora or complex passages and flashy solo parts, while Cannata's vocals soar and convey the thoughtful images. "4:17 (California)" is a catchy little number about the way of live in that great state here in the US, with poignant vocals and lush acoustic guitar & piano. On "King of the Mountain" and "Book of Ages" , you get lots of majestic and symphonic sounds not unlike the band Ten, complete with classy keyboards and punchy guitars. Prog meets electronica on "French", and the soaring "Reason to Live" has beefy lead guitars from Chuck Beckman and plenty of synths & piano from Cannata and Jeff Batter. For some neat Middle Eastern-meets-Jethro Tull-meets-ELP themes, check out the two part "Kali Allah" and "Reprise: Kali Allah" to hear some wonderful synthesizer and flute melodies.

With a classy digipack booklet containing great artwork and full-lyrics, this is an all-around solid release from Cannata. Mysterium Magnum is sure to land on many Best AOR/Prog lists for 2006 when all is said and done.

Track Listing
1. Spirit of the Four Winds
2. Kali Allah
3. Somewhere Beyond the Sun
4. 4:17 (california)
5. King of the Mountain
6. Promise You Heaven
7. Book of Ages
8. Tears of America
9. Wanted: Dead or Alive
10. Life: 101
11. French
12. Reason to Live
13. Reprise: Kali Allah

Added: April 16th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Cannata Website
Hits: 6068
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Cannata: Mysterium Magnum
Posted by Keith Hannaleck, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-16 06:49:00
My Score:

Jeff Cannata is a veteran of the art/prog rock genre. His new release Mysterium Magnum is a triumph in every sense of the word. Cannata has a multitude of talents at his disposal. He sings, plays guitar, bass, synths, percussion, drums, and in addition to that produces the album. Many veteran listeners may recognize Cannata from his Arc Angel days; well he just keeps getting better all the time.

The presentation of Mysterium Magnum is superb. The CD comes housed in an elegant digi-pack with a CD booklet and the artwork is typically artsy sc-fi, the kind you always love to look at and enjoy with art rock or prog releases.

The music is excellent and so are the lyrics. Cannata sings brilliantly and expressively throughout while offering great guitar work and layered keyboards that create a billowing cloud of sound that makes you float away. Along with the guitar that stings and bites at just the right times in between the lyrics, at times you will hear flutes intermingled to give it that mystical alluring appeal, its nearly hypnotic at times. This music will prompt you to see many visions and the lyrics will help that process along.

The sound and production on this CD is outstanding, I think it becomes more recognizable with each listen. I became more appreciative of every aspect of this CD after the third listen, and by the way, I feel like I am only getting started, there is a lot more to enjoy and absorb here.

I loved every song without a doubt but there was one that really moved me, "Tears For America." I felt saddened by this song because it was so true to life. Passages like this really got my attention-The third verse: Remember the days, there're far away/and we were invisible/Nothing to worry, nothing to fear, we were untouchable. Then the sixth verse: The tears of America, welling up inside/Like the soul of the mannequin/The heart is still alive. This is about our America, the country that suffered through 9-11 and currently a prolonged stay in the Middle East, amongst many other tragedies over the last few years. It hit home for this listener.

Not only are their powerful statements lyrically on this album, the music is a constant source of energy, inspiration, excitement, and in the end, truth about who we are as human beings on a planet filled with confusion and strife. Music again becomes the ultimate messenger and enjoyment is possible even if the subject may be dark at times, and that is most beautiful thing about music like this, if its done right like Jeff Cannata presents it, it then becomes something you want to experience all the time.

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