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Articles Home » 2011 Articles » Magnum - 2011 The Visitation
Magnum - 2011 The Visitation

ARTIST: Magnum
ALBUM: The Visitation
LABEL: SPV/Steamhammer
SERIAL: 308390
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Bob Catley - vocals * Tony Clarkin - guitars, backing vocals * Al Barrow - bass, backing vocals * Mark Stanway - keyboards * Harry James - drums * Jim Lea - strings

TRACK LISTING: 01 Black Skies * 02 Doors To Nowhere * 03 The Vistation * 04 Wild Angels * 05 Spin Like A Wheel * 06 The Last Frontier * 07 Freedom Day * 08 Mother Nature's Final Dance * 09 Midnight Kings * 10 Tonight's The Night



Back in 2009 I gave a less than glittering opinion on Magnum's 'Into The Valley Of The Moonking' album. In fact, I recall saying the band were now on the 'please explain' list, with a right of reserve to get it right for their next album. Well, 'The Visitation' is that next album, and I thought I'd better give it a decent listen before writing about it. The band are still intact, still popular if the Noticeboard is anything to go by (Alex Siedler, you get a name check buddy for all your fanboy posts!), and still a marketable going-concern. But does this make for good listening? I have my doubts..

The Songs
'Black Skies' makes for a dramatic entrance, segueing into typical Magnum fare.. brash, bombastic even, complete with hard hitting guitar riffs overlaid with subtle yet distinctive Mark Stanway keyboard layers. A good start. The grinding organ intro to 'Doors To Nowhere' might remind one of classic era Deep Purple but that's where it ends. This one has a hint of 'Vigilante' era, though a touch heavier. Title track 'The Visitation' displays two sides of the coin, some heavy regimented guitar parts combined with a gentler approach on the verses. Dark vs light with elements of shade. 'Wild Angels' pumps along with energy and vigour but the band lift its game for the impressive 'Spin Like A Wheel', probably the pick of the bunch for me so far. 'The Last Frontier' is a slow pompous affair that mixes sentiment and history for olde England. 'Freedom Day' is even more pomp laden, alternating between full-on bombast and quieter piano laden passages. 'Mother Nature's Final Dance' might sound like end of the world stuff, if so, Magnum takes Gaia out on a rockin' and rollickin' ride to celebrate, a brighter chirpier song all round. 'Midnight Kings' continues Magnum's affinity for musical contrast: big striding guitar rhythms from Clarkin, and more subtle keyboard parts from Stanway, giving the song more undulation than a 8.5 richter scale reading! The finale is 'Tonight's The Night', which has symphonic qualities that fellow brummies E.L.O would be proud of.

In Summary
It pains me to say it, but with each passing year I feel less drawn to Magnum's music. The excitement for me was lost years ago to be honest. Mostly, this batch of songs didn't do a lot for me. Listened once or twice, and that would be about it. Guitar solos are far and few between, the songwriting is ok but the arrangements are oh so predictable. Sort of like stodgy food.. I suspect that Magnum will continue on doing what they do, but whether I will be reviewing any future product from them judging by this and recent releases, remains to be seen.

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