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Magnum - Escape From The Shadow Garden CD (album) cover



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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I am so glad to see Magnum going on in the year 2014, almost 40 years since their inception. Having moved to the SPV label for over a decade now, Magnum seem like they can go on forever producing new albums and touring. In fact, three members of the band that produced the legendary 80's albums are still here - Tony Clarkin, Bob Catley and Mark Stanway. "Escape From The Shadow Garden" is their 17th studio offering and comes with stunning artwork, yet again designed by Rodney Matthews.

Musically, there is not much that the Magnum fan would not expect: melodic AOR, pompous at times with a number of ballad-like moments. The sound is pristine, the production flawless, Catley's vocals and Clarkin's riffs seem they can survive in time. Having stopped tracking the style of the band since the mid-80's albums, I was not surprised not to find anything remotely related to prog rock - these days have long gone; in fact, probably as back as in 1983.

The opening solid rockers 'Live 'Til You Die' (Saxon's 747 anyone?) and 'Unwritten Sacrifice' (probably the best song of the album) raise the stakes and leave promises for a strong follow-up. Though the next 2-3 tracks remain in the hard rocking AOR vein - the mid-tempo 'Crying in the Rain' and the rock 'n roll 'Too Many Clowns' - the album sadly gradually declines to cliche melodies and from halfway on to exceptionally high levels of unneeded balladry. 'Burning River' somehow saves the day, introducing the 80's AOR sound of the band in a solid hard rocking tempo and a signature refrain melody by Catley.

Overall, this album will probably not disappoint the fans and can be listened through fairly pleasantly, with the exception of the uninteresting mellower numbers. If you enjoy melodic AOR, then you might find some interesting moments; otherwise, make sure you escape the Shadow Garden. Still, it's got its moments but probably not worth more than 2.5 stars when looked as a whole.

Best moments (in which Stanway also shows his quality): Live 'Til You Die, Unwritten Sacrifice, Burning River

Report this review (#1144402)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Is this a prog record? No, its probably not even prog related! But as it is here on the PA, let me give it a quick review

Having a soft spot for Magnum since I bought"On a storytellers night" many many years ago (on vinyl), I have been a loyal supporter and have bought most of their albums.

On "Escape from the Shadow Graden" the collective known as Magnum does, what they do best: deliver flawless bombastic melodic hard rock with beautiful melodies and hook lines. Nothing new, nothing revolutionary. But do we Magnum fans actually want something different? Well, sometimes I hope they write another song like "Soldier on the line", "How far Jerusalem" or "Don't wake the lion" (those three pieces are for me the most proggy songs they did), but those short bombastic melodic rock songs are delivered so brilliantly that every Magnum fan should feel happy and content with this latest offering (by the way Bob Cately who is 66 in the meantime still sounds fresh and young. How does he do this?).

Since days I can't get this CD out of my car's CD player which leave me with no choice and give a least 4 stars. ( Excellent addition to any , well maybe not prog, but melodic hard rock music collection)

Report this review (#1178148)
Posted Thursday, May 22, 2014 | Review Permalink

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