CANNATA – Mysterium Magnum [reissue 2018]
Jeff Cannata is re-releasing his back catalog, some of them remastered. Not the case with this “Mysterium Magnum“, his last album under the CANNATA banner from twelve years ago.
But honestly, Cannata’s mastery not only as musician but also as skilled producer, made the sonics here so perfect that “Mysterium Magnum” doesn’t needs a remastering.
After four years of his comeback with the recently featured here “Tamorok”, Cannata assembled a new crew of talented musicians for a new record.
“Mysterium Magnum” is a real tour-de-force that manages to draw together many of the elements from Jeff’s career to date.
Best described as a blend of ProgRock, AOR and melodic hard rock, the album encapsulates memorable hooks, great musicianship, exquisite arrangements, thoughtful lyrics, and a great mix of atmosphere and energy.
Jeff plays a good amount of the instruments here, but there are more than a dozen guest musicians mentioned in the credits, such as House Of Lords guitarist Jimi Bell.
Opener ‘Spirit of the Four Winds’ has a wonderfully catchy melody, as well as an assortment of keyboard and synth textures from both Jeff and Jay Rowe.
I’m a just a sucker for the catchy, delicate hard rock melody that is the focus for ‘King Of The Mountain’ (think Winger’s last albums), or the more ballsy hooks that dominate ‘Wanted: Dead Or Alive’ (think House Of Lords).
But it’s ‘Life: 101’ which probably provides the best example of what this album has to offer. It has a great rocking melody, but around that, the music constantly changes pace and mood with dozens of small instrumental breaks, adding huge layers of interest. It’s amazing what you can pack into just over four minutes.
In sharp contrast ‘Somewhere Beyond The Sun’ is one of the album’s most progressive pieces, mixing up elements of classic British prog, Kansas and Glass Hammer. Flutes, guitars, and synths all take turns to force the song into different territories, before being brought back home by Cannata’s soaring vocals.
And it’s the vocals that provide the icing on the “Mysterium Magnum” cake. Really distinctive harmonies able to drift effortlessly from tender heartbreak to belting power, are few and far between – but Jeff Cannata has it all in abundance.
Elsewhere, the balladic ‘4:17 [California]’ musically brings to mind Asia or GTR, whilst ‘Promise You Heaven’ reminds me of the stripped-down, vocal-led AOR that featured so heavily on Tamorok.
Cannata’s music has the potential to appeal to a huge cross-section of people, especially those who enjoy accessible, melodic, AOR music elaborated with the substance of progressive rock.
“Mysterium Magnum” really does provide a captivating listen. Huge melodies, beautifully crafted songs and Jeff’s fantastic vocals make this album addictive for those looking for something musically unique.
01 – Spirit of the Four Winds
02 – Kali Allah
03 – Somewhere Beyond the Sun
04 – 4:17 (California)
05 – King of the Mountain
06 – Promise You Heaven
07 – Book of Ages
08 – Tears of America
09 – Wanted: Dead or Alive
10 – Life: 101
11 – French
12 – Reason to Live
13 – Reprise: Kali Allah
Greg Trabandt: drums
Rohn Lawrence: guitar
Robert Gianotti: guitar solo, flute
Jay Rowe: synth solo
Jeff Batter: synth solo
Jimi Bell: guitar leads
Chuck Beckman: guitar leads
David Coe: acoustic guitar
Jay Johnson: guitar solo
Jeff Cannata vocals, guitar, bass, organ, keyboards, synths, drums, percussion
BUY IT !