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Amun Re - 2001 Magic Kingdom

Nobert Sigart - lead vocals
Sandra Ebner - vocals
Wolfgang Schweiger - guitars
Thomas Kleinander - bass
Andreas Senkl - keyboards
Simon Reinthaler - drums

This outfit come from the Alpine climes of Austria. That country is more famous for producing Olympic class winter athletes, but now perhaps.. melodic rockers? Who knows, but whatever the case, an Austrian band immersed in all things Egyptian sounds mighty strange to me. The band name, the theme of the album 'Midnight Kingdom', the songs, and the imagery... Who cares, it's awesome stuff, and a far cry from the earlier material they released back in 1999. They've definitely matured, and though the sound has a decibel rating, it also has a clarity rating, ideal considering their AOR/progressive rock crossover appeal of this opus 'Magic Kingdom'. On the hard rock side of the fence, bands like Queensryche, and Crimson Glory spring up, while on the progressive side, Royal Hunt and Everon come to mind, though perhaps without the need for mega time changes.

The Songs
One of the band's other unique features is the use of a second singer Sandra Ebner to act as a counterpoint for lead-man Nobert Sigart. The combination works well, and gives the vocal harmonies added depth, similar in the way that Broke [N] Blue operate.. There's plenty of colour provided by keyboardist Andreas Senkl while the rhythm section is super efficient and tight. The punctuated start that is 'Bad Dream' is hardly what the name suggests. Parping symphonic keys and ebb/flow passages create the dynamics which will permeate through the rest of the album. 'Shadowhunter' has that typical progressive approach on the verses capped off by a strong chorus. The title track 'Magic Kingdom' plus 'Reach For The Stars' are both lilting ballads which sees the two vocalists shine in their respective roles. 'Twilight Pyramid' is a great strident prog piece while the pairing of 'I Wish I Had It Back Again' and 'Diablo' are straight forward rockers, though the latter has a nice spiralling keyboard solo. The parping keys return on 'Under Dark Skies', which overall, has a strong musical presence.

In Summary
Amun Re strike a unique blend, whereas their style could easily find a home among AOR'sters, heavy prog fans, euro-metal supporters, or the symphonic/pomp brigade. It is this crossover appeal which makes their music especially endearing. It is quite apparent then that Amun Re have the makings of something special and I for one will be most interested in their development over time.

Track Listing:
01 Bad Dream
02 Shadowhunter
03 Anathema
04 Reach For The Stars
05 Avalon
06 Twilight Pyramid
07 Child Of The Light
08 I Wish It Was Back Again
09 Diablo
10 Under Dark Skies
11 Magic Kingdom

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