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Magnum Kingdom Of Madness album cover
3.29 | 71 ratings | 7 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In The Beginning (7:52)
2. Baby Rock Me (4:05)
3. Universe (3:45)
4. Kingdom Of Madness (4:25)
5. All That Is Real (3:50)
6. The Bringer (3:58)
7. Invasion (3:22)
8. Lords Of Chaos (3:21)
9. All Come Together (4:52)

Total time 39:30

Bonus CD from 2005 remaster:
1. Sea Bird (3:50)
2. Stormbringer (3:32)
3. Slipping Away (3:16)
4. Captain America (3:44)
5. Sweets For My Sweet (3:01)
6. Movin' On (3:49)
7. Master Of Disguise (2:54)
8. Without Your Love (3:54)
9. Find The Time (3:05)
10. Everybody Needs (3:47)
11. Kingdom Of Madness (alternative version) (3:57)

Total time 38:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Bob Catley / lead guitar, lead (bonus 6) & backing vocals
- Tony Clarkin / guitars, backing vocals, composer
- Richard Bailey / keyboards, flute, backing vocals
- Colin "Wally" Lowe / bass, vocals
- Kex Gorin / drums

- Dave Morgan (2) / lead (bonus 5) & backing (bonus 6) vocals

Releases information

LP Jet Records ‎- JETLP 210 (1978, UK)
LP FM ‎- WKFM LP 118 (1988, UK) Remastered, new cover

CD Castle Communications ‎- CLACD 126 (1987, UK)
2xCD Castle Music ‎- CMQDD1228 (2005, UK) Remastered by Tim Debney, new cover, bonus disc (partly single B-sides and partly the songs that were originally meant for release on the album)

Digital album

Thanks to salmacis for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MAGNUM Kingdom Of Madness ratings distribution

(71 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MAGNUM Kingdom Of Madness reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars I seem to remember these guys being referred to as the British Styx at some point back in the late seventies. I’m not sure what makes them prog-related except maybe the keyboards, which are pretty good but not on-par with any of the symphonic giants by any means. This is another album that would be covered with dust in my collection were it not for the plastic cover I put on it years ago. It’s a decent album, even pretty good in some places (particularly the opening track and “Universe”). But overall these guys sound more like they are lifting riffs and bits and pieces of arrangements out of their record collections and piecing them together into something they can call their own. There just seems to be more emphasis on flash than substance.

Like I said the opening track is excellent, great keyboards and probably the best vocals on the entire album. The tempo change about midway through makes this sound more like two distinct tunes than a single work, but that’s cool.

“Baby Rock Me” has a deceptive title, as one would expect some kind of Triumph-like crotch-grabbing crap or something. But this sounds quite a bit like Queen circa ‘Jazz’ or ‘News of the World’, except that the vocals aren’t quite as good. Pretty close though. The lyrics are tripe though, so points off for that.

“Universe” is sort of a ballad, probably made for the live stage, and awfully close to sounding like something Jeff Lynne would have been happy to claim as one of his creations. Like I said, these guys seem to like to try on other people’s clothes.

The title track starts off with some mellow acoustic guitar and even a little flute, but this one turns into a cheap knockoff of “Keep Yourself Alive” and descends into barbershop harmonies and cheesy synthesizer effects at times as well, so by the time it gets over I’m ready to move on. “All That is Real” is a sappy attempt at pop philosophy that gets dangerously close to that Triumph curse I mentioned earlier, but with a little better vocals.

The next couple of tracks (“The Bringer”, “Invasion”) sound more like something that was recorded in the mid-seventies than towards the end of the decade. I looked up a few reviews of this album on the web this week and found out that the album was delayed in its release for whatever reason back in 1978, so maybe they were actually recorded in 1976 instead. That would make sense.

Lead singer Bob Catley has this weird inflection to his voice on “Lords of Chaos” that sounds like he’s trying to pull off a dumbed-down Ronnie James Dio kind of thing. It doesn’t work, and neither do the falsetto backing vocals. Ever heard Rhapsody? That’s what this one sounds like.

The album closes with a decent enough finale, “All Come Together”. Quiet piano and synthesized strings, but Catley gets into that Rik Emmett-meets-Freddie Mercury thing again and the vocals are just plain awkward from the very start. This would probably have been well-received on a Blues Image album in 1973, but it just doesn’t click here.

So I can’t really pan this album, as the musicianship is quite good. But the arrangements are all pretty derivative (and I don’t use that word often), and the vocals are sub-par at best. Styx did the same thing, only better, and so did Queen. This one may be popular with whatever fans the band had/has, but as such it’s really just for collectors only. Two stars.


Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Baby rock me, while I consider who holds the answer to the universe

Formed in the early 1970's, Magnum paid their dues as the resident band in a night club in Birmingham, UK. As they grew in confidence, their set incorporated increasing numbers of self composed material written by Tony Clarkin, the band's principal songwriter even today. After the release of a one off CBS single which sank without trace, the band eventually secured a contract with Jet records. "Kingdom of madness", which was mostly recorded in 1976 but not released until 1978, was the first of five albums they recorded for that label.

The opening track "In the beginning" has a Fish era Marillion like feel to it, this 8 minute introduction to the band perhaps misleadingly giving the impression that they are an out and out prog band. The pure prog synth runs and varied tempos combine with an upbeat main theme to form a really meaty number by any standards. The track also offers an early opportunity to feast on the fine guitar work of Tony Clarkin.

Although Magnum have indulged in prog like styles and themes on many occasions since, they are not and never have been a prog band, hence their Prog Related classification here. The reason for this distinction quickly becomes clear as we move from the wonderful opener to "Baby rock me". Suddenly we are presented with a poorly put together and very rudimentary pop rock song which appears to deliberately set out to redefine the word annonymous. As mainstream rock songs from the mid-70's go, it is adequate, but it is totally devoid of any character.

"Universe" offers our first chance to discover the softer side of Magnum, and they waste no time in getting deep and meaningful. "Who holds the answer to the universe" is the question posed by the lyrics, Bob Catley's vocal style being uncharacteristically accented and rather pop orientated. The title track reverts to the prog type structure of the first track. A brief flute and acoustic guitar interplay gives way to a harder riff which in turn leads to an infectious chorus. "All that is real" also has a surprisingly ambitious arrangement, the keyboard orchestrations emphasising the band's willingness to develop their songs to the full.

The latter part of the album is home to a trio of decent but undistinguished numbers. Bob Catley's fine vocal performance on "The bringer" does lift the song nicely though. The lyrics of these songs are suitably mysterious, "Invasion", which owes a lot to Uriah Heep and Queen, dealing with aliens from other planets while "Lords of chaos" deals with more temporal threats. The closing "All come together" starts with a fine piano and mellotron duet introducing an otherwise adequate (but no more) pop rock piece.

In all, a fine first album which combines some excellent individual tracks with genuine but as yet unfulfilled potential. Tracks such as "In the beginning" and "Kingdom of madness" highlight the prog leanings of the band, while others like "Baby rock me" indicate that some tightening of the quality control would not go amiss.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Kingdom of Madness" is the debut full-length studio album by British melodic hard rock act Magnum. The album was released in 1978 by Jet Records but most of the songs were actually already recorded in 1976. As a consequence of the long wait between recording and releasing the album Magnum had time to tour the UK extensively. They even scored the opening slot for Judas Priest on their "Sin After Sin" UK tour in 1977. But as Magnum had actually existed since 1968 it┤s not hard to imagine that they were a very solid live act in 1977 and therefore on high demand. Most of the songs on "Kingdom of Madness" are songs they performed in those years.

The music is melodic hard rock with a few progressive elements. Opening song "In The Beginning" is probably the best example of progressive leanings on the album, but even though the basis of the music is pretty basic melodic hard rock there are just enough surprises along the way to call this borderline progressive.

The musicianship is really great. Lots of great melodic guitars and keyboards, a tight rythm section and Bob Catley┤s strong vocal performance to top it all of. A great playing band.

The album was recorded in De Lane Lea Studios in London and producer Jake Commander has created a pleasant sound for the music.

I expected nothing but got a whole lot more than that by listening to "Kingdom of Madness". Magnum is one of those bands I have known the existence of since my early teens but never really listened to as the concept of melodic hard rock/ AOR/ heavy rock normally doesn┤t click with me but I must admit that this album with its additional progressive moments actually made me smile and say yeah a few times (which would be my way of showing that I┤m impressed). A good debut album by Magnum well deserving a 3.5 star rating from me.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars The kingdom of Magnum

This debut from Magnum stands out from all their other albums in belonging to a different era. While the rest of the band's output has a sound heavily rooted in the 80's, the present music is more rooted in the 70's. In many ways Kingdom Of Madness might also be Magnum's most progressive album, but that does not mean that it is the best. With its bombastic sound and heavy presence of synthesisers, this sounds quite a lot like Styx at their best and perhaps even like a harder edged, more progressive, and more talented The Sweet! However, I much prefer Magnum over those bands.

All the songs here are good with the sole exception of the utterly tedious Rock 'N' Roll/Boogie of Baby Rock Me which shows bad judgement by its very presence here. Indeed, the album would have been better if they had just dropped this embarrassing number from the track list. The rest are melodic, bombastic, and rather progressive Rock songs with somewhat na´ve but often charming lyrics. Compared with some of what the band would do later on, this is not bad, but it does feel a little bit shallow and immature at times.

The title track has remained in the band's set list until the present day and is a true Magnum classic. It begins with a wonderful, Genesis-like acoustic guitar intro with flute on top. This then leads into a Hard Rock riff and a powerful lead vocal by Bob Catley. The chorus is catchy and the harmony vocals and the guitar solo are strongly reminiscent of early Queen. Some of the guitar work on the rest of the songs is almost Judas Priest/Iron Maiden-like! They clearly knew how to play their instruments!

An interesting fact is that this album was actually recorded in 1976, but wasn't released until 1978. About what might have happened if this had been released in 1976 we can only speculate, but history might have been different. Overall, this album is full of promise, but does not quite reach all the way. Magnum's best was still very much ahead of them at this point.

A good start!

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is an album that I have been longing to talk about for quite some time now. But before I do let me tell you how I got introduced to Magnum. It all started with one of my annual trips to Sweden Rock Festival. The 2005 festival was a real treat for any fan of progressive rock since I've got to see acts like Kansas, Dream Theater, Freak Kitchen, Trettioňriga Kriget, A.C.T, Styx and many more great artists and performances.

If I remember correctly it was the morning of the second day and I have just woken up to another great festival day. Today I was going to see Kansas and my second Dream Theater show after which the band would be signing copies of their latest album (Octavarium). But for my first concert of the day I decided to check out this relatively obscure band called Magnum.

Just before the show Tony Clarkin went up on stage to fix his gear and once he got it all in order the rest of the band joined him with the exception of Bob Catley who needed a special curtain call. Anyway, the show was really great despite the fact that I've never heard any of these songs but there was one track in particular that caught my attention which was Kingdom of Madness. The song stuck in my head for the next couple of days and so after the festival I got the 2-CD release of Kingdom Of Madness which proved to be a great purchase!

I just couldn't get enough of this album and played it for at least two month straight. There are just so many great compositions here like the semi-progressive opener In The Beginning, fast paced Invasion, the beautiful ballad Universe and how can I forget the great conclusion of All Come Together. It's just an excellent album all around!

Later I also found out that the album was originally recorded in 1976 but was shelved until 1978 which resulted in a release just as punk was becoming popular. It's truly a pity because I strongly believe that Magnum might have become just as big as Uriah Heep or most importantly the success of this album might have made the band pursue this direction. But this was of course not to be but at least we've got this great debut that I'll be enjoying for many years to come!

***** star songs: In The Beginning (7:52) Kingdom Of Madness (4:25) Invasion (3:22) All Come Together (4:52)

**** star songs: Universe (3:45) All That Is Real (3:50) The Bringer (3:58) Lords Of Chaos (3:21)

*** star songs: Baby Rock Me (4:05)

Latest members reviews

5 stars When I was sixteen, I listened to the newly released Magnum's third album Chase The Dragon. I concluded that Magnum is a mediocre band that does not deserve my attention at all (I was already deeply into Genesis, ELP, Yes, Eloy, Jethro Tull, Wakeman etc that time). A few months later, a classmat ... (read more)

Report this review (#2957373) | Posted by proghaven | Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Oh Magnum... one of "those bands". They never really had that one massive hit that would forever engrave them into the hearts and souls of music lovers the world over, but they had a strong enough body of work that would permanently etch them their place on hard rock (and sometimes even heavy me ... (read more)

Report this review (#1785187) | Posted by martindavey87 | Wednesday, September 20, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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