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Magnum: On The Thirteenth Day

There are some bands who just seem incapable of making bad albums, the odd inconsistent one maybe, the odd ill advised departure, but never bad. Well step up with pride those Brummie boys Magnum, who over the last 34 years (admittedly with a 5 or 6 year break) have regaled us with some of the best British pomp you could ever care to hear. Which judging by studio album number 17, is something that isn't liable to stop anytime soon!

To be fair, On The Thirteenth Day isn't the sort of album that is going to change any minds, I doubt very much that was intention. Instead it builds and ever so slightly expands upon the impressive catalogue Magnum have amassed over the decades and stands tall and proud alongside their most revered releases. Only nostalgia will stop long term fans of the band proclaiming that this release is as good as On A Storyteller's Night, or Wings Of Heaven (or whichever is their fave reminisce), but it is. Yes the formula runs pretty close to the last three Magnum offerings, Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow, Into The Valley Of The Moonking and The Visitation, but considering how pleasing on the ear they all were, the fact that On The Thirteenth Day betters them is recommendation enough.

Ease into the uplifting "Shadow Town", the ever building and instantly memorable "So Let It Rain" (the stick in your head song of the album), the wonderfully titled and welcomingly familiar "Blood Red Laughter", or stomping, melancholy intent of "From Within" for confirmation that this is a vintage motor still running at full tilt. Pleasingly there are a couple of curve-balls, with "Dance Of The Black Tattoo" having a chunkier riff than this band are known for, while "Broken Promises" follows a similar path, but with a bluesier edge.

The voice of the band, Bob Catley, maybe sounds a little lived in these days, but few frontmen can offer up the warmth and emotion of his delivery, while long standing (someone get him a seat please!) keyboard player Mark Stanway adds the layers of atmosphere that mark out the Magnum signature sound. The new (a decade of service still denotes newbies in this band!) lads also stack up well, with Harry James on drums and bassist Al Barrow proving once again that having the most solid of rhythm sections is priceless in any band of any genre. However without guitar player and songwriter Tony Clarkin, this band simply wouldn't be, so let's all doff our caps to "The Hat" and pay reverence to yet another cracking set of songs and another stunning six string performance.

On The Thirteenth Day is a fantastic blend of all of the elements with which Magnum have impressed, seduced and won our affection for almost as long as we can remember now and is an impressive statement from a band that would have every right to be sitting with their feet up and living off past glories at this stage of their careers. The fact that they are not is a reason to rejoice and so is On The Thirteenth Day!


Track Listing
1. All The Dreamers
2. Blood Red Laughter
3. Didn't Like You Anyway
4. On The 13th Day
5. So Let It Rain
6. Dance Of The Black Tattoo
7. Shadow Town
8. Putting Things In Place
9. Broken Promises
10. See How They Fall
11. From Within

Added: October 20th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Magnum Online
Hits: 4042
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Magnum: On The Thirteenth Day
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-10-20 08:31:18
My Score:

Ah, the always dependable Magnum...the British act has been one of the most dependable hard rock groups of the last 30 years, consistently delivering melodic, memorable material time and time again. On the Thirteenth Day is no exception, as the band once again blend hard rock, prog, and pop for a formula that just always seems to work quite well. It's doesn't hurt to start a new CD off with a track as killer as "All the Dreamers", which is one of the hottest songs they've done in years, chock full of heavy Tony Clarkson riffs, soaring Mark Stanway keyboards and the ever unique vocal stylings of Bob Catley. From there it's one song after another of trademark Magnum; those haunting melodies, symphonic arrangements, powerful vocals, and tasty guitar riffs. "Blood Red Laughter", "So Let it Rain", and "Shadow Town" are all highly addictive, memorable rockers, and the band ups the ante with some heavy numbers like "Dance of the Black Tatoo", "See How They Fall", and "From Within", proving that there's plenty of hard rock muscle still left in this band. For pure symphonic pop/prog bliss, there's also the stunning title track, which again, is vintage Magnum.

I'm on the fence about giving On the Thirteenth Day a perfect score, but seeing as the band isn't doing anything new here (do they ever?) I'll still give this a stellar 4.5 due to fantastic songs, expert production, and wonderful instrumentation & vocals. Like I said earlier, you just can't go wrong with Magnum, and they've once again proven that they are one of the best bands at what they do, and it's a real shame that here in the US very few seem to know of their greatness. Highly recommended!



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