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Magnum The Visitation album cover
3.29 | 41 ratings | 4 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Black Skies (5:53)
2. Doors To Nowhere (5:43)
3. The Visitation (5:48)
4. Wild Angels (5:41)
5. Spin Like A Wheel (7:21)
6. The Last Frontier (5:29)
7. Freedom Day (6:21)
8. Mother Nature? S Final Dance (5:04)
9. Midnight Kings (4:48)
10. Tonight's The Night (4:53)

Total Time: 57:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Bob Catley / lead vocals
- Tony Clarkin / guitar, backing vocals, composer, production
- Mark Stanway / keyboards
- Al Barrow / bass, backing vocals
- Gary "Harry" James / drums

- Jim Lea / strings (6,9)
- Sheena Sear / string arrangements (6,9), mixing
- Craig McLeish / programming

Releases information

Artwork: Rodney Matthews

CD Steamhammer ‎- SPV 308392 CD (2011, Europe)

2xLP Steamhammer ‎- SPV 308392 2LP (2011, Germany)

Thanks to Conor Fynes for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGNUM The Visitation ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MAGNUM The Visitation reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Visitation' - Magnum (6/10)

A band that has been around for the better part of four decades, English rockers Magnum have already long proven that their arena-oriented, highly melodic brand of rock music can stand the test of time, appealing to multiple generations of listeners. Evidently refusing to let down their pace, the band is releasing their 16th full-length in 2011, entitled 'The Visitation.' While the album presents the same anthemic brand of melodic rock that's now easily associated with the AOR sound and it is nothing really new in terms of sound, 'The Visitation' sports some of the most achieved production values for Magnum yet in their career, as well as some generally good songwriting to keep things moving along nicely.

With the soaring, melodic and crunchy style popularized by such acts as Foreigner and Journey, Magnum's sound doesn't fall far from the AOR umbrella, but it's clear that the band has put some more thought into each track than might be expected for another band of the type. Always making sure to throw a few hints of progressive rock into their songwriting, there are some very keen musical surprises in the music that help give an added jolt of interest to the otherwise generally straightforward structures here. The title track for example, throws a powerfully atmospheric electronic section into the middle of the song, and 'The Last Frontier' develops into an orchestral blow-out. As a rule however, the majority of the music on 'The Visitation' takes the shape of melodic rock, which.while well-done, still feels a bit dated in context.

In front of the mix on 'The Visitation' are the powerful vocals of singer Bob Catley, a musician whose charisma and warm tone seem to have only grown and fermented with time. While the rest of the instruments here frankly don't feel very extraordinary in their performance, Catley's voice manages to faithfully drive each of the album's ten tracks. Lyrically, there's little wordplay here and things are kept very straightforward, but the topics covered here are thought-provoking, ranging from the environment ('Mother Nature's Last Dance') to human rights ('Freedom Day.') All in all, there's no complaint about the lyrics, but they don't really contribute to the enjoyment of the album too much either.

The undeniable highlight of the album is the dynamic opener, 'Black Skies,' a track that has every great thing about Magnum rolled into one; strong melodies, contrast, and powerful delivery. Also of keen interest is the title track 'The Visitation,' which starts off as a pretty standard melodic rock number, but develops into something very different and interesting a couple of minutes in. 'The Visitation' will likely not be on the top of my list by the end of 2011, but it's a good way to ring in the year nonetheless. A fair addition to this band's career.

Review by lazland
3 stars To be honest, Magnum, aside from interesting articles in magazines such as Classic Rock, disappeared from my radar since I enjoyed seeing them live supporting Marillion, of all bands, in Wolverhampton during the Season's End tour. Wandering around a record store at the weekend, I saw this and bought it on a whim as much as anything else.

I'm glad I did. Originally firmly rooted in the blues influenced classic rock of my youth, Magnum, with this new album, prove to the world that they are still relevant and capable of putting out music that draws from a number of influences. Here, we have a mix of everything from symphonic leanings through to traditional riffing hard rock, but all presented in a coherent and thoroughly enjoyable, if not exactly essential, release.

As befits a band recording since the late 1970's, the musicanship is never less than excellent, and it is clear to me that Bob Catley, at the grand age of 63, has a set of vocal pipes that put to shame many artists more than 30 years his junior. Tony Clarkin's wonderful guitar solo on Freedom Day raises the hairs on the back of the neck.

The album opener, Black Skies, announces their intent in glorious style. Elsewhere, Wild Angels is the type of track that will have me reaching tonight for a listen to some of the heavy rock I haven't played in far too long a time. It is simply a great classic rock song, no more, no less. The difference now, though, is that the band augment this type of music with some, at times, very interesting and thought provoking socially relevant lyrics to the world in which we live now. The Final Frontier is a very good example, which, incidentally, would grace many a fine "true" prog band's catalogue. The orchestration on this and Mark Stanway's keyboard work is exceptional, and utter symphonic prog.

Of course, there is some more standard fare included. Spin Like A Wheel, clocking in a over seven minutes, is at least two minutes too long. It's not bad as such, but rather ordinary AOR, which is fine if you enjoy that type of thing.

Three stars for this. Recommended for those, such as me, curious to reacquaint themselves with a fine English rock band for the first time in an age, and those who enjoy both classic hard rock and more AOR orientated fare, fused with some decent symphonic leanings.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars They've still got it!

The Visitation is already Magnum's fifth studio album since their return to the scene in 2002 after an extended break from recording (and there is yet another album coming from them this year!). It is remarkable that the band has been almost as prolific in the new millennium as they were in their heyday of the 70's and 80's! The quality and style of their recent output has also been closer to that of their "golden era" (from 1978's Kingdom Of Madness to 1988's Wings Of Heaven) than to their weak 90's albums. The 2002 come-back album Breath Of Life was particularly strong and the best the band had produced since the 80's. The other recent studio albums too had some good moments but they ultimately left me thinking that Magnum was putting quantity before quality. I did thus not at first have high expectations for the present album.

But after several listens, I must say that The Visitation is definitely a good one, and it even rivals Breath Of Life as the best latter-day Magnum album. Indeed, it exhibits many of the same virtues as did Breath Of Life. It features a strong set of melodic and hard-rocking songs with powerful choruses, a nice balance between ballads and rockers, the lyrics are better than average Magnum with no obviously cringe worthy passages, and of course all of the band's trademarks including the very distinctive lead vocals of Bob Catley.

There are occasional and slight progressive elements on this album, but the progressive aspects reside in the details; some short instrumental parts, some discrete twists and quirks in the songs, etc. (there is, for example, a really cool electronic-sounding little passage in the title track that caught my attention).

Overall, this is a strong Magnum album with hardly a weak moment. It will most probably not convert any of those who completely dismissed the band in the past, but those (like me) who happen like the band will probably like it more than many other albums by the band.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Magnum has been hanging around for decades. Four decades, I have heard. They were really big, even cool, at the last end of the 1980s just before Nirvana blew the hair metal scene away with Nevermind. I was very much into this scene. But strangely enough, Visitation is the first Magnum album I ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#521888) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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