Magnum’s new album is yet another joy from the opening bars. This is their 19th studio album studio album and again features fantastic fantasy artwork from Rodney Matthews that fits the music perfectly.
Opening with Live ‘Till You Die, the kick-off is as melodic as ever, the use of strings to build to a hard number works well, and while the keyboards are well up in the mix this is more guitar oriented than some previous Magnum tracks. Smooth with chunky undertones, this is more melodic hard rock than the progressive pomp that earlier albums have had. There’s a solid riff mid song, then a decent solo too.
Keyboards mix layered synths with effects and some decent ivory tinkling, the guitar switches balladic to hard rocking – the first few tracks are a joy whatever the direction. Falling For The Big Plan has an atmospheric intro and changes of pace within the song, and some hard punchy vocals from Bob Catley add to the power.
Again the guitar stands out on Too Many Clowns – blisteringly. From the band’s outset guitarist Tony Clarkin has been the songwriter, and for a long time producer too – it’s like he’s rediscovered his guitar skills. The riff on this track is augmented by some banging piano, it’s like a whole new Magnum.
Clarkin, vocalist Catley and longtime pianist Mark Stanway are all on form here, as are bassist Al Barrow and drummer Harry James (who has been with the band now for a fair whack in his own right).
The pomp may have been turned down but the melodic hard rock is just fantastic and suits the band’s sound and abilities to a T.
Thorough enjoyable and uplifting throughout.8.8/10