Magnatar | Parallel Worlds

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Progressive Rock Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Parallel Worlds

by Magnatar

Three generations of musicians creating a unique original all instrumental sound that blends power rock with progressive leaning elements and rich layered melodic overtones.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Parallel Worlds
6:22 $0.99
2. Fourth Passage
6:24 $0.99
3. Solara (Intro to New Galaxy)
2:17 $0.99
4. New Galaxy
5:17 $0.99
5. Night Changes
5:17 $0.99
6. A Walk in the Park
5:14 $0.99
7. Five Pieces of Six
7:48 $0.99
8. She Flies
7:08 $0.99
9. Augmented Reality
7:31 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Magnatar represents three generations of musicians that share a common interest in creating original music with a unique but still accessible progressive influence. The lineup is Glenn Smith on Mandolin, Joey Costa on Bass, Reed Hayes on Drums, Ryan Rivas on Guitar, and Dave Norton on Keys. Glenn has been the principle songwriter to this point, composing his songs on the Mandolin. He presents the arrangement to the band and then each member develops their own parts and sounds. The new album is about half older compositions from some of the earlier days of the band, and the other half are new songs written with the current lineup in place.

The band works very hard to give each song its own unique identity. That said however, there is still a distinctive sound and style that runs through the album that defines the band. Many of the songs blend a big full sound with touches of a quieter, even delicate feel. Always present are soaring guitar leads at times powerful and heavy, and other times more spacey and melodic. Driving drums and biting bass lay the rhythmic foundation, while the keys fill the gaps and add many different textured sound layers. The mandolin serves as the “thread” that sews it all together from beginning to end and everything in the middle.

The title track, Parallel Worlds, opens with a bang and then moves to a slightly offbeat syncopated rhythm as the song slowly builds to the big middle section that lays a touch of orchestral rock on top of a bolero style drum beat.

Track 2, Fourth Passage, after a big opening section, it quickly moves into a straight-ahead rock song.

Track 3, Solara (Intro to New Galaxy), is a short, melodic piano solo, which serves as the lead in to track 4, New Galaxy. New Galaxy is probably the fan favorite of this group of songs. It explodes on the heels of the piano solo and then transitions to an easy going, almost jazzy chord progression. This leads to the middle break where the guitar and synth each take turns with short leads before coming together in harmony before moving back to the main riff.

Track 5, Night Changes, incorporates a number of different moods, and starts by taking a turn back into a heavier rock sound. The beginning riff almost has a dissonant feel to it before turning into a hard rock riff, which then turns into another mellower, almost swing type feel. This then transitions into a very pretty, melodic and spacey guitar break, which then breaks out into a hard hitting full on rock climax before yielding back to where it started.

Track 6, A Walk In The Park, is an acoustic guitar solo that showcases the virtuosity of guitarist Ryan Rivas. Enough said.

Track 7, Five Pieces of Six, is the longest song on the album coming in at just under 8 minutes. It opens with a somewhat haunting melody that quickly explodes into a huge orchestral type sound with a driving, pulsing beat. This eventually leads up to another big middle break, again with a more subtle orchestral sound, which then circles back to the opening melody.

Track 8, She Flies, is probably the most different sounding track on the album compared to the others. A flock of birds and a little special effect shifts to a few power chords before giving way to a very slow and melodic section of guitar and mandolin interplay, layered on top of bells and choir. This then transitions to an irresistible, toe tapping 4/4 middle break guitar lead. This finally ends with an accent-laden progression before the return to the opening riff.

Track 9, Augmented Reality, has been the signature song of the band going back to its earlier days. It has 3 distinct movements starting with a strong rock feel that transitions to a more subdued, melodic middle section, This section slowly builds back up to the third section with the guitar and synth again taking turns with leads before the big climactic ending.

The band is very proud of this self-produced work and sincerely hopes others will enjoy it as well. We are already beginning the initial work on the follow up album, which we hope we can complete within the next year or so. Thanks for listening.

If interested, below is a brief history of how this band came together. A most unexpected, but fortunate series of events.

The roots of Magnatars' debut album, "Parallel Worlds", can be traced back in part to certain events and relationships of over 40 years ago. Bassist Joey Costa and Keyboardist Dave Norton were classmates in high school together when their individual musical interests were first beginning to develop. Their individual paths eventually merged in 1971, when they helped to co-found the group Hot City, which eventually was signed by Flamingo Music out of Miami and released a single titled "Leaving", on the London Record label. That group eventually became Fantasia, which was one of the most popular touring bands around the southeast club circuit in the early to mid 70's.

Meanwhile in this same period of 1971, Dave's cousin, Glenn Smith, had his life forever changed after a chilly winter night in our hometown of Deland, FL, when he saw YES in concert perform "Fragile", just two weeks after it had been released. The impact of that night still provides the inspiration for Glenns' songwriting. By the mid to late 70's everyone had gone their own way. Dave left music all together for a career in medical sales, while Glenn and Joey continued to play in various groups over the years. Fast forward to about 10 years ago when Glenn and Joey after having played together for several years in a band called Catfood, decided to form their own new group. In those early days that band was called Buckets and Strings. For the first few years, a number of musicians cycled through the door, but even then the group was focused on all original instrumental music written by Glenn, who at this point had settled on Mandolin as his instrument of choice.

The next step that laid the groundwork for the Magnatar of today, was when through a chance encounter about 6 years ago at a local music festival, Glenn met Reed Hayes, a well-known and respected drummer in the area, known for playing in Rush tribute bands touring the east coast. He was intrigued by the very unusual and unique sound of the band. The seed had been planted and it was not long before the opportunity for Reed to join the band arose. Reeds' presence and approach to the music immediately elevated the band to a level it had not yet achieved.

The next event that served to elevate the band to yet another level occurred when Joey introduced the band to a very young guitarist that he had taken under his wing since he was a teenager, and exposed him to progressive rock when he was still learning to play. Enter Ryan Rivas. Ryan came in and from day 1, picked up the music so fast he spun everyone’s head around. Magnatar was now officially underway and the band was at a place it truly had never been.

The final piece of the puzzle involved a confluence of events that is too long to describe. Suffice it to say, that a purely happenstance event at a high school reunion, brought Glenn, Joey and Dave together in the same place. Dave had been asked to join the original lineup of Fantasia to play two old cover songs that the band used to play. Initially Dave did not want any part of this as he was still working and living in Atlanta at the time. The bottom line is he yielded to his old band mate’s pressure and agreed to do it. He had not played keyboards at all in 38 years. Truth be told he did not play very well, but through the experience of being on stage and playing again live with his old band was a thrill he had long forgotten about. Before that night was over, an almost unthinkable conversation between Glenn, Joey and Dave resulted in a commitment to join their group and at least give it a try.

And the rest as they say, is history.



to write a review


A must hear.
Excellent band , very well engineered,.

Rob Stevens

Magnatar's brillliant album debut
The 2019 album debut by Florida-based Magnatar, Parallel Worlds gives rise to a fantastic new sound in the world of 21st century progressive instrumental rock. It is interesting to note that the music on Parallel Worlds was composed by Glenn Smith, who adds in unique sounding textures on his electrified 1971 Harmony A Style mandolin. It’s quite special that a mandolinist would compose an all-instrumental progressive rock-fusion band, but for open-minded music fans, Parallel Worlds will clearly prove to be an entertaining sonic experience. Crafting an elegant sonic backdrop for Glenn Smith's mandolin and songwriting are his very capable bandmates Joey Costa (bass), Reed Hayes (drums), Ryan Rivas (guitars) and Dave Norton (keys). Progressive instrumental rock fans looking for fresh musical terrain, should give Magnatar a good listen. In the CD booklet, the band cites YES as a major inspiration and one can easily see fans of YES, and their long-standing guitarist Steve Howe, enjoying Parallel Worlds. While Chris Squire’s ghost can be heard hovering somewhere above this album, another accurate influence would be Steve Morse in the Dixie Dregs. Magnatar brings their unique musical vision to life on their superb sounding, all-instrumental, 9-cut debut album.

Lori N

Wonderful New Music!!
Excellent CD by very talented artists. My favorite were Tracks 3, 4 and 6. I like Solara as the introduction to New Galaxy. Very nice and simple . . . and how it feeds into New Galaxy that has a little stronger beat. I also like A Walk In The Park and the guitar emphasis! I love instrumentals but these three tracks really got my attention! The entire album is wonderfully done, however!! I look forward to hearing more!

Chad D.

New year, new album, great listen!
Just started my new year with the new album and it definitely cuts the mustard, musically.

My favorite track from intro to end is "Solara/New Galaxy". I feel this really represents what these guys are trying to achieve musically and nailed it .

"Augmented Reality" was second favorite and tightly produced and it's a style on to it's own.

Reason for 4 of 5 stars: album was a bit shorter than expected and there were no live track performances. A definite must these days, guys...

I look forward to hearing and seeing more in the coming year.

Keep it coming!!