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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Magnum - 1983 The Eleventh Hour
Magnum - 1983 The Eleventh Hour

ARTIST: Magnum
ALBUM: The Eleventh Hour
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1991, Castle, CLACD223 * 1999, Essential Music, ESMCD 751 * 2005, Sanctuary, CMQDD1232 (remastered + bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Tony Clarkin - guitar * Bob Catley - vocals * Wally Lowe - bass * Mark Stanway - keyboards * Kex Gorin - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Prize * 02 Breakdown * 03 The Great Disaster * 04 Vicious Companions * 05 So Far Away * 06 Hit And Run * 07 One Night Of Passion * 08 The Word * 09 Young And Precious Souls * 10 Road To Paradise


By 1983, it had become clear to Magnum that the relationship with their record label Jet had been reduced to that of familiar strangers. The previous years 'Chase The Dragon' was delivered two years late, and the label was gathering a reputation of 'flying by the seat of their pants' in terms of band management. Denied the use of a renowned producer, Magnum had to fall back to plan B and use Tony Clarkin as the producer. Probably not the best move, but what can you do when the record label starts playing Accountant and Auditor, and using words such as budgets and cost-cutting. Err yeah.. The Rodney Matthews and Tony Clarkin inspired artwork was another illustrative highlight of the Magnum storybook, and in it there are some veiled references to the Jet Records relationship deterioration, but let's move beyond that shall we?

The Songs
It starts out with an acoustic intro, but 'The Prize' soon warms to its task, a chugging guitar riff countered by Mark Stanway's keyboard work. 'Breakdown' introduces a haunting violin line, the slower tempo an ideal environment for the piano to make its presence felt, as it gathers momentum. Third track 'The Great Disaster' is a punchy rocker, more guitar oriented, though the solo is a clavinet workout thanks to Stanway. 'Vicious Companions' features another acoustic passage to begin with, but it toughens up, especially at chorus time. 'So Far Away' gives a hint as to Magnum's future direction, this one sounds like a contender for their next album to come: 'On A Storytellers Night'. 'Hit And Run' is full of thickened guitar riffs, and it's not until halfway through that we hear Stanway's trademark synth layers shining through. 'One Night Of Passion' is the change-up moment on the album. An almost jazz fusion/west coast like workout that would do current day exponents of the sub-genre (especially those out of Sweden) very proud. 'The Word' is the sole ballad here, piano led, with Bob Catley coming to the fore as you would expect. It compares nicely to material found on 'Vigilante' for instance. 'Young And Precious Souls' displays Magnum's burgeoning pomp and bombast approach, one which will hold them in good stead over the next few years. On this track, you can hear some of the earliest work in this style. The album finishes up on 'Road To Paradise'. It's another acoustic dominated track, with a violin sweep throughout. The album was actually going to be named 'Road To Paradise', but wiser heads decided otherwise.

In Summary
'The Eleventh Hour' was (in hindsight) not the strongest album from their back-catalog, and one can't help feel the band were jaded by their Jet experience, and only too glad to leave Don Arden and his troupe behind. Jet Records would eventually lose both Magnum and Ozzy Osbourne, the latter signed up by CBS while Magnum signed to Polydor, and commenced a solid run right through to the early 90's. This was proved right by the magnificent 1985 album 'On A Storytellers Night', an essential AOR/pomp classic.

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#1 | rkbluez on April 11 2014 00:20:04
This album was let down by the sub par production...after the previous album this one sounded like a demo...if Jeff Glixman was brought back in this album would of been so much better...still worth having in your collection if your a Magnum fan like me but one can only wonder what the results would of sounded like with a proper producer.
#2 | gdazegod on April 11 2014 00:28:14
The artwork to the new 'Escape From The Secret Garden' is very similar to this. Review of that one to follow, some of you may be pleasantly surprised!
#3 | AOR Lee on April 11 2014 05:27:45
Very underrated album, despite the production difficulties. The Prize and Hit And Run are pure AOR
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