Sometimes it's nice to take a break from all the adventurous prog and bombastic metal we get flooded with here at SoT, and enjoy some old fashioned 80's styled melodic hard rock, and quite frankly no one does it any better than England's Magnum. Brand New Morning is the bands latest release, and it's a scorcher from start to finish, littered with muscular arrangements, anthemic hooks, prog rock keyboard work, and an overall classy attitude.
While many die-hard fans as well as casual listeners will probably agree that the bands best output came during the late 70's and early 80's, on albums like On a Storyteller's Night, Chase the Dragon, The Eleventh Hour, Magnum II, or their debut Kingdom of Madness, many will be surprised to hear that Brand New Morning stacks up well right alongside those classics. There's not a weak track here, and in fact most of these tunes rock with a vengeance and contain the catchiest melodies Bob Catley and Co. have written in years. Take the crunchy "Immigrant Son" for instance, a driving rocker with thick guitar work and Catley's irresistable hook during the chorus. A similar formula is heard on the killer title track, with melodies that stick in your head for hours, yet it still manages to scratch that melodic metal itch thanks to the searing guitar work and symphonic keyboards. Speaking of keyboards, Mark Stanway is in fine form throughout, especially songs like the moody rocker "Hard Road" (check out his cranking organ tone) or the Deep Purple influenced "I'd Breathe for You", a passionate and powerful piece that contains some driving piano and organ work from Stanway.
Guitarist Tony Clarkin lays down plenty of meaty licks and tasty solos throughout, and on songs like "The Last Goodbye" he couples with the soaring vocals of Bob Catley for some wonderful harmony lines to go along with his beefy power chords. The album's closing near 10-minute epic "The Scarecrow" is a majestic prog rocker with loads of histrionic vocal passages from Catley and symphonic keyboards from Stanway.
Like I mentioned earlier, not a weak track here. I'll go out on a limb here and say that Brand New Morning is the best thing Magnum have done since On a Storyteller's Night. Each song is memorable even after just one listen, with plenty of rockin' punch and the most irresistible hooks of any melodic rock or metal CD you will hear in some time. Highly recommended!
1. Brand New Morning (6:17)
2. It's Time To Come Together (4:32)
3. We All Run (4:53)
4. Blue And The Grey (5:54)
5. I'd Breathe For You (6:27)
6. Last Goodbye (6:28)
7. Immigrant Son (5:35)
8. Hard Road ( 5:21)
9. Scare Crow (9:50)