The music of Supertramp and Manfred Mann Earth band define some if this category's best best examples, "Prog-influenced AOR" is an underappreciated label. Some bands such as the two just mentioned have been able to transcend the boundaries of this sub-genre to become bands that proggers are very fond and respectful of. 'P-AOR' is music that rocks, sounds good, and is singable and memorable. Mysterium Magnum is all of these things and more. The progressive quotient is high through most of this CD (certainly more than most bands in this category) and brings to mind mind the output Manfred Mann's Earth Band (Watch), Jethro Tull (TAAB/APP), and John Miles (Zaragon).
The sound quality and performance levels are 'major-studio/high-budget' crystaline. Cannata's voice is in excllent form (I am occasionally reminded of Chris Thompson). Harmonies are wonderful and melodies are contagious. Cannata's guitar playing and layered keys/synths are outstanding as well.
I have been wearing out the groves in this CD. All of the 13 tracks are very very good. Though they are separate and discrete tracks the listening experience is one of flow and continuity. Trying to list highlight tracks is simply not practical - on each listen I find something that impresses me and moves a particular track to the highlight list.
Mysterium Magnum is a lock for a place on my best of 2006 list. If you have ever in the past liked mainstream prog (from Manfred Mann to Supertramp to Kanasas to Styx) don't miss this release. It is very rare these days when someone hits the jackpot but Jeff Cannata has done just that.