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Magnum: Lost On The Road To Eternity

Since their triumphant return in 2001 many critics, myself included, have lavished praise on Magnum and the slew of albums that since have tumbled forth nine studio offerings arriving between 2002 and now. However, having in recent weeks spent time revisiting albums such as Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow, On The 13th Day and even the excellent Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies, what has struck me is how little there is to differentiate each of these albums from one another. Back in the day, whether they were your favourite Magnum selections of choice or not, the likes of On A Storyteller's Night, Vigilante, Wings Of Heaven or Sleepwalking all had a flavour of their own. Yes, they were clearly Magnum and yes they all contained the hallmarks of pleasingly pompous keyboards, impassioned vocals and classy guitars, but even though most of those albums followed on from one another, they all sounded decidedly different. In truth, that's not really the case with latter day Magnum and much though I've thoroughly embraced much of that era, looking back now I struggle to separate the more recent albums in my mind.

Thankfully Lost On The Road To Eternity redresses that balance somewhat, the latest offering from the seemingly endless creative mind of Tony Clarkin still clearly drawn from the same well as all Magnum releases before it, but this time he's added a few new, and welcome, flavours. Although we're talking gentle evolution, hardly revolution. First up is the introduction of new keyboard player Rick Benton and new drummer Lee Morris; both of these changes may have come about through necessity previous keyboard player Mark Stanway walking out mid-tour, while drummer Harry James finally found the juggle between Thunder, Snakecharmer and Magnum too much to keep in the air. This injection of new blood seems to have been exactly what the doctor ordered, Benton's keys more prominent and vibrant than many a Magnum release has seen in recent times, while Morris brings a real enthusiasm and authority behind the kit. Then add in that Mr. Clarkin seems to have traded in his old metronome for a newer model and we also have greater variations in tempo in evidence than might have been expected. With the album's title track being a duet between the ever youthful sounding Bob Catley and Avantasia main-man Tobias Sammet (the first vocal collaboration on any Magnum release) and a few more risks taken with the arrangements strings infusing this song as well there really is a feel that Magnum are stretching out a little. The heavier rip and roar of "Without Love" allows Morris and bassist Al Barrow to come to the fore, while some more unusual (for Magnum) keyboard features cause "Tell Me What You've Got To Say" to surge into areas you might not have expected.

That's not to suggest that Magnum sound like anyone other than Magnum here, Catley still leading the charge with his unmistakable vocals on the mid-paced stomper of "Peaches And Cream", while Clarkin weaves his undoubted magic throughout. Therefore the changes may be subtle but, to me, they've been timed to perfection. This is still Magnum and they are still playing to their many strengths, but adding a few new tricks to an already impressive array never hurt anyone, and that's exactly what these old dogs have achieved on their long road to eternity.

Track Listing
1. Peaches And Cream
2. Show Me Your Hands
3. Storm Baby
4. Welcome To The Cosmic Cabaret
5. Lost On The Road To Eternity
6. Without Love
7. Tell Me What You've Got to Say
8. Ya Wanna Be Someone
9. Forbidden Masquerade
10. Glory To Ashes
11. King Of The World

Added: January 15th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Magnum online
Hits: 2858
Language: english

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