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CD Reviews

Magnum - 'On The 13th Day' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 24, 2012    
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A good solid addition to the Magnum collection.

Magnum are one of my favourite bands ever so I was looking forward to this album. After the disappointment of the last opus The Visitation (not counting the remix best of thingy Evolution) I was hoping for great things here.

I love the early stuff up to Storyteller, the pop years of Vigilante and Wings of Heaven were good too and Princess Alice, Moonking and Brand New Morning were all excellent returns to the pomp rocking of the early days, but in between there have been duffers too: Goodnight LA, Breath of Life, Rock Art, Sleepwalking! So where does this new CD fit in the grand scheme of all things Magnum? I was waiting for the opener ‘All The Dreamers’ to blow me away but it didn’t; it rocks along quite nicely but the big hook just isn’t there I’m afraid, so off to a disappointing start. As I sit listening to the album for the eighth time though the songs are starting to sink in and as ‘Didn’t Like You Anyway’ segues into the title track I find myself nodding along for the first time. Maybe it was the disappointment of the cover art that set my mind to negative? I hope they change it before release as it is not representative of the music here!
So now I am actually enjoying the familiar sounds of Tony Clarkin’s guitar and Mark Stanway’s keyboards driving the music along and as a slightly gruff sounding Bob Catley takes us into ‘So Let It Rain’ which is vaguely reminiscent of ‘Oh Lonely Night’ I actually find myself singing along to the chorus! Some nice time changes allowing the piano and drums to build again to the chorus - now this is a good song.

Next up is the staccato vaguely Kashmir riff of ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’, an interesting vibe on this and quite heavy, and while not the usual Magnum fare a strong hook and nice keyboard effects keep me attentive throughout this mini epic which ends with disturbing keyboards. ‘Shadow Town’ is next up and a majestic sweeping keyboard fill gives way to a galloping drum beat and restrained vocal, although the chorus is a little bland the song does romp along quite nicely with some tasteful guitar work throughout too. ‘Putting Things In Place’ is the big ballad on the album and is absolutely beautiful, building with emotive lyrics to a piano refrain which in turn gives way to a soaring repeated chorus and great vocal from Mr Catley now fading to close. A gorgeous song superbly executed. ‘Broken Promises’ romps along quite nicely to get the tempo back up before a warm melodic guitar solo temporarily slows it down before building to heavier second solo drives the song into its segue with the riff that opens ‘See How They Fall’. Guitar in a similar style to ‘Kingdom of Madness’ or ‘Back To Earth’ drives the song along pleasingly to the catchy bridge and chorus which in turn leads into pomptastic keyboard and guitar solos. Finally, ‘From Within’ closes proceedings and wouldn’t sound out of place on any of the early Magnum albums.

So after slightly false start this is most definitely a grower of an album which rewards repeated plays. I am very happy to report that Magnum are back once again and I would imagine quite a few of these tunes will find their way into the live set too. A good solid addition to the Magnum collection.

Nikki Tylar

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