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THE ELEVENTH HOUR

Magnum

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mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars a very enjoyable album, excellent sound quality, very much in the style of "chase the dragon" , could be chase the dragon part 2, a good follow-up. if you liked "the dragon" you should be at home with "the eleventh hour". interesting though rather sinister cover art by Rodney Matthews- anyone remember the "ebay ghost" painting..?? all the songs on this album are good but no big epics here. the first track "the prize" has a nice acoustic guitar intro, leading into a very catchy chorus, lots of hooks to hang onto! my favourite track on the album. the next song "breakdown" is slower, awash with synths and a kick drum that bursts through the speakers! bit plodding this one, unlike "the great disaster" which contains some nice'n'heavy guitar riffs interspersed with synths. "viscious companions" starts off very similarly to "the spirit" and leads into catchy verses and a rather plodding chorus, "what you give is what you get" - well i suppose so! "so far away" is much more up tempo and is another favourite track, very catchy chorus. side two kicks of with a typical magnum heavy guitar riff-based song "hit and run" - air guitars at the ready....! i really liked "one night of passion" (who doesn't??) , it has quite a slow beat but is interspersed with some nice bass guitar and "bar room" synth piano effects. "the word" is a lot slower and ballad-like, for me the weakest track on the album, almost anthemic. the following track "young and precious souls" literally gallops along and builds up into a very catchy chorus, another album highlight. "road to paradise" contains some nice flanged and acoustic guitar, though the song is not outstanding. overall a good album for magnum fans but IMO lacks the outstanding songwriting of "chase the dragon". therefore good but non- essential!

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Send comments to mystic fred (BETA) | Report this review (#76409)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars No, not great or a disaster

Magnum's fourth studio album appears to find them struggling for worthy material. With just ten tracks of 3-5 minutes, there is little here to stimulate much excitement even for the most ardent fan of the band. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the weakness is here. Bob Catley certain puts in a worthy performance on vocals, and Tony Clarkin's production is adequate if not exciting. The combination of some prosaic compositions, and rather cheap sounding keyboards would appear to be the main source of the deficiencies.

"The great disaster" is one of the more notable tracks, with a very QUEEN like introduction (complete with stereo guitar blasts) and a much more adventurous structure than can be found elsewhere. Unfortunately it is all over in less than four minutes, leaving little room for instrumental embellishment other than a quick synth run.

Tracks such as "Vicious companions" "Hit and run" "Young and precious souls" and "So far away" are little more than AOR style songs which bands such as TOTO and FOREIGNER fill their albums with.

The standard Magnum power ballad is presented in the form of "The word", a pleasant but unremarkable number with a message. The final track, "The road to paradise" has some fine mellotron like sounds driving the marching rhythm, but the "We're all spinning on the roundabout" chorus is weak.

In all, a decent but below par offering from Magnum who appear to be treading water with this album.

The sleeve illustration is a remarkable but slightly disturbing work by Rodney Matthews which would have been ideal for a gatefold LP sleeve, something is was unfortunately not granted.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#117515)
Posted Saturday, April 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a good album by those progressive/classic rock stalwarts, Magnum. The songs are all well composed and performed with a good mix of up tempo and slower numbers. The strong production that you would expect of a Magnum album is also in evidence, as is the musicianship and vocal performance. However, this one doesn't really grab me in the way it's predecessor, Chase The Dragon (an all time classic release), does. Nevertheless it's a good album and this version provides some very nice bonus material. An enjoyable listen.

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Send comments to scarista (BETA) | Report this review (#148126)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Extremely excellent band and songs contained herein....extremely horrendous production quality which made mincemeat of those excellent songs contained herein. If you can look past the bland "produced in a closet" quality and savor the melodies and musical arrangements, all the better. Perhaps not as good as the previous Chase The Dragon album, especially in the quality of production-- there are no songs with the strength of "Soldier of the Line" or "Sacred Hour"--the band still had genuine creativity, and it's apparent here in spades. Additionally, considering that the following Magnum album, On A Storyteller's Night, would be their unqualified masterpiece, the production on this album is (almost) forgiven, since the band is obviously moving toward their magnum opus, and the quality of the material here shows that.

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Send comments to zap_niles (BETA) | Report this review (#149124)
Posted Monday, November 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Forth album of Magnum from 1983. Not very much to said here, pieces between 3 and 5 minutes without very much to offer, just an AOR with hard rock elements. Quite less good than predecesor and far from the next one On a storytellers night, The eleventh hour must considered a good album, but nothing more. Anyway some good tracks can be extracted from here like:Hit and Run, Young and Precious Souls, the rest are also good but not exciting, only to listen from time to time if you want something simple not very chalenging. Because Jet Records was going nowhere guitarist Tony Clarkin had to handle production duties himself, and the album suffers accordingly from a rather weak and now dated production than the predecesor or the next releases. I think this album is not bad but not very special either, 3 stars for The eleventh hour.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#159950)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars No breakdown, but no prize either

The Eleventh Hour continues closely in the foot steppes of the previous Chase The Dragon. But while Chase The Dragon featured several tracks that went on to become live favourites and classics, this album lacks stand out tracks. Most of the songs here are good and match the quality of the least good songs from Chase The Dragon, but there is nothing here to match the best songs from that album. This fact, together with the fact that the band did not move forward stylistically with this album, makes it a lesser album compared to Chase The Dragon. Still, it is a good Magnum album in its own right and even if it is not particularly memorable, it is still a pleasant listen. The only bad track is One Night Of Passion.

The next album, On A Storyteller's Night, would be in a different musical style, so it is fair to say that The Eleventh Hour was the last album of Magnum's first era. Rodney Matthews once again provided a nice sleeve picture for the band here, but like the album itself, it is not quite as iconic as respective cover art of Chase The Dragon or On A Storyteller's Night.

Good, but not essential

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#223252)
Posted Friday, June 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars No winners or losers

The fourth studio album (fifth release overall) from MAGNUM is the last from the band's era with Jet Records and a transitional one. Transitional in a sense that retains most of the elements from the previous Chase the Dragon (mostly in the first half of the record) and introduces the band's future sound in the second half which is closer to standard AOR forms. It also preserves the excellent tradition of cover artwork, with the most bizarre, creepy and almost 'prophetic' composition from Rodney Matthews - quite contrary to the 'pleasing' sound of the album.

Another tradition retained here is that of the great openers. The Prize is one of those dynamic and uplifting MAGNUM rocker tracks that borrow the best components of classic, guitar-oriented rock/metal and heavy prog related aspects. The characteristic acoustic guitars on the opening and closing seconds add to the quality as it happens with the catchy Styx-influenced vocals during the refrain. Tracks that follow the same heavy rock pattern are The Great Disaster (heaviest track on the album) and the epic-pomp Vicious Companions which mirrors The Spirit from Chase the Dragon, building up gradually after a Wishbone Ash-like acoustic intro and subsequent fillings. The vocal melodies are once again stunning with Bob Catley experimenting with endings in the refrains that resemble to R. J. Dio's templates.

So Far Away, Hit and Run and Young and Precious Souls represent another set of hard rock tracks which are slightly more melodic. The first one being the heaviest while the other two are closer to standard AOR. This set of tracks is relatively weaker than their predecessors with Hit and Run being the low point of this release.

The rest of the album consists of four (!) prog-AOR based ballads or semi-ballads. Breakdown kicks off with a Kansas-like keyboard intro and follows on a melodic piano background leading to a pleasant tune filled with heavy slow guitars. One Night of Passion and The Word are tunes directly related to Toto and Asia sounding quite attractive because of the successful blending of melodies. Road to Paradise that concludes the album is the most prog and most interesting in this category with references to heavy prog in the vein of Uriah Heep both in the acoustic and guitar riff sections.

Lyrically, the album stands on solid grounds with some inspired lines. Truly, the heaviest tracks on the album are the finest to my ears while the mellower ones retain enough songwriting quality. Even the rating for this album seems transitional to me; from the excellent Chase the Dragon to the solid-but-common On A Storyteller's Night, The Eleventh Hour is somewhere in the middle and worth 3.5 stars in my book, rounded up to 4 because of the enjoyable listening.

PS The extended edition includes outtakes, acoustic and BBC versions and are a fairly good addition to the album tracks but not essential to the package.

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#249425)
Posted Monday, November 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Chasing 'Chasing the Dragon' never proved as successful. 'The Eleventh Hour' is the followup from Magnum's triumphant 'Chase The Dragon'. This followup album is not as special but 1983 was a shocking year for prog so we can let them off the hook for at least producing something worthy of note. 1983 proved to be an Annus Horribilus for prog and only artists such as Marillion, Bacamarte and the new Yes were able to produce albums of true excellence.

'The Prize' features Clarkin's erratic acoustic guitar and Catley's straightforward vocals. The guitars kick in with Gorin's drumming patterns and we are on our way into Magnum style prog. The band do not actually break any musical barriers and keep firm beats and strong melodies, like the classic pomp rock of the NWOBHM. Huge lead solos and big vocals are the order of the day with fanciful lyrics: a good combination but never anything more than good.

'Breakdown' has a medieval sound with a quiet balladic style. There is a heavy reliance on the piano and keyboard skills of Stanway, and Catley's storytelling vocals. The chorus is loud and uplifting with distorted guitar riffs. The tempo is almost a swing beat.

'The Great Disaster' is a standard rocker with intricate riffing and a highlight of the album.

'Vicious Companions' features strong vocals and a great catchy hook on guitar.

'So Far Away' is medium paced with nice drum fills and keyboard slamming from Stanway. It features a variation of time sigs, and a wonderful instrumental break that swirls into a fade out, making this a definite highlight.

'Hit and Run' has the similar feel to a Kiss song, the guitars crunching out simple chord progressions; a real soft metal track.

'One Night Of Passion' has a sensational bassline from Lowe, and a honky tonk piano that is well played setting a strange mood. The guitar harmonics are a real treat and this is perhaps the best track on the whole album.

'The Word' begins with an Elton John piano style and Catley's pleading balladic vocals. It is real stadium rock and you can even see the firelighters being lifted high to this strong melodic track.

'Young and Precious Souls' and 'Road To Paradise' finishes the album with two rock tracks with clean lead breaks and strong melodies.

The result is a standard rock album of the difficult 80s when prog was hospitalised by the punk and disco plague. There are good moments but not enough to elevate this above a 3 star rating. Not as good as 'Dragon' or 'Storyteller' but still a strong rock album.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#278642)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permalink

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