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Magnum - Magnum II CD (album) cover




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2.65 | 54 ratings

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Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars As in all albums of their first era, MAGNUM bring together a mixture of influences to compile their second studio album. Styx is once again one of the dominant influences but the band also experiments with some old-school heavy rock, classic hard rock, pomp and AOR. The tracks' style and approach varies from ballads to cheesy melodic AOR tunes and sophisticated heavy prog rock at times with heavy metal touches. Another element that is common with other releases is inconsistency: in quality, dynamics, mood and musicianship; all seem to vary from one track to another.

Repeating myself from another review, MAGNUM must have been carefully selecting their album openers, as once again Great Adventure is a powerful track that introduces the right atmosphere and promises a great sequence. Catchy vocals, dynamic guitar riffs, inspired keyboards; everything works perfectly at the beginning of the record. The disappointment comes swiftly though with Changes, an extremely ''happy'' AOR track that derails the initial mood; similarly The Battle, being fast and powerful brings back the initial heavy and melodic feeling (even if it is only for 2 min) which reminds me of moments in Chase the Dragon release. Between the three mellower songs of the album, If I could Live Forever stands the most decently; without being impressive, the rhythmic changes during the track make it pleasant and possibly interesting to listen to, even though the melodies are not of the highest quality.

A sequence of two diverse and progressive tracks is adequate to bring back the smile of potential prog listeners, with the first one making smart use of the piano and utilising to the maximum the band's abilities in producing melodic heavy vocal lines. Reborn for a while, MAGNUM blend acoustic guitars, Styx and Queen-like mellow moments with their characteristic mid-tempo heavy rock. So Cold the Night astonishes me every time because the epic main riff must be the heaviest this band has ever made and brings in mind the doomy Black Sabbath and the heaviest moments of Blue Oyster Cult. The vocals again reach top ''catchy'' performance that would make Styx proud of their contribution... Pressing skip on Foolish Heart, a weak ''cheap'' AOR/blues experiment (to say the least), the mood relaxes with the ballad Stayin' Alive which does not really add anything special to the package.

Special mention needs to be made to Firebird, probably the most inspired moment in the whole album; an ''overfilled'' composition with the likes of (deep breath) Kansas, Styx, Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash etc... An almost epic composition that reveals once again the abilities of this band to produce really appealing prog-related music. As disappointingly as before, All of my Life concludes the album in a relatively dull way; the only element that survives the flood is the neat melodic piano. If you have the expanded edition, you might agree with me that the extra tracks are not as interesting as well.

Concluding, MAGNUM II can be a decent and pleasant musical experience to open-minded prog rock fans but I would not recommend it to the majority of the prog audience. Although I enjoy it to some degree and find a few highlights (i.e. Firebird, So Cold the Night) it is the weakest MAGNUM album in my collection and is worth no more than 2.5-3 stars (leniently). I would not recommend starting from this album in order to get a feel of the band's style.

aapatsos | 3/5 |


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