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MAGNUM

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Magnum picture
Magnum biography
Magnum formed in Birmingham around the early 70s. The members which guided through times good and bad were Bob Catley, the singer, and Tony Clarkin, the guitarist and chief songwriter. They gradually gained a solid enough reputation to be signed by CBS for one single. However, this deal didn't last too long, and it took them three years before they got another record deal. This time round they signed to Don Arden's label Jet, who were most famous for housing the Electric Light Orchestra. This deal lasted for 5 albums; 'Kingdom Of Madness', 'Magnum II', 'Marauder' (a live album), 'Chase The Dragon' and 'The Eleventh Hour'. Slowly the band did gain some real acclaim for these superb albums, yet Jet were struggling with internal problems at this time and soon Magnum bore the brunt of this. However, luck was at hand as they signed to FM-Revolver for the big hit album, 'On A Storyteller's Night' in 1985. This album even led to a big hit single in 'Just Like An Arrow', and soon the major label Polydor signed them up. Three more hugely successful studio albums- 'Vigilante', 'Wings Of Heaven' and 'Goodnight LA'- plus a live album, 'The Spirit', were to follow with various hit singles along the way. However, their commercial renaissance proved to be short lived as their next albums on different labels did very little, and after a valedictory live album in 'The Last Dance', the band split in 1996. This split didn't last too long though, as they came back with the 'Breath Of Life' album in 2002, and the 'Brand New Morning' album in 2004. They continue to delight fans with their brand of very English, pomp/prog rock.




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Magnum are a band in the great tradition of Uriah Heep, Styx, Asia and Argent, in that they fused prog rock with a touch of heavy rock and/ or AOR.



Discography:
MAIN ALBUMS
Kingdom Of Madness (1978)
Magnum II (1979)
Marauder (1980)
Chase The Dragon (1982)
The Eleventh Hour (1983)
On A Storyteller's Night (1985)
Vigilante (1986)
Wings Of Heaven (1988)
Goodnight LA (1990)
The Spirit (1991)
Sleepwalking (1992)
Rock Art (1995)
The Last Dance (1996)
Breath Of Life (2002)
Brand New Morning (2004)

LIVE ALBUMS
Marauder (1980)
The Spirit (1991)
The Last Dance (1996)

Magnum official website

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MAGNUM Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy MAGNUM Music


Sacred Blood, Divine LiesSacred Blood, Divine Lies
Steamhammer / SPV 2016
Audio CD$10.85
$7.11 (used)
VigilanteVigilante
Import
Universal Import 1986
Audio CD$4.50
$3.50 (used)
On a Storyteller's NightOn a Storyteller's Night
Import · Remastered
Imports 2008
Audio CD$4.49
$16.57 (used)
Wings of HeavenWings of Heaven
Import
Polydor 2007
Audio CD$6.09
$4.26 (used)
Wings of Heaven LiveWings of Heaven Live
Import
Steamhammer / Spv 2008
Audio CD$8.54
$6.21 (used)
Escape From the Shadow GardenEscape From the Shadow Garden
Steamhammer / SPV 2014
Audio CD$10.16
$8.95 (used)
Chase The Dragon - MagnumChase The Dragon - Magnum
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
SANCTUARY 2015
Audio CD$5.10
$11.55 (used)
SpiritSpirit
Import
Universal I.S. 2003
Audio CD$4.17
$2.46 (used)
VisitationVisitation
Steamhammer Us 2011
Audio CD$7.91
$5.90 (used)
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MAGNUM discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAGNUM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 44 ratings
Kingdom Of Madness
1978
2.69 | 49 ratings
Magnum II
1979
3.57 | 61 ratings
Chase The Dragon
1982
3.24 | 55 ratings
The Eleventh Hour
1983
3.81 | 71 ratings
On A Storyteller's Night
1985
2.75 | 48 ratings
Vigilante
1986
3.63 | 54 ratings
Wings Of Heaven
1988
2.34 | 30 ratings
Goodnight L.A.
1990
2.76 | 30 ratings
Sleepwalking
1992
2.62 | 24 ratings
Rock Art
1994
3.27 | 25 ratings
Breath Of Life
2002
3.17 | 29 ratings
Brand New Morning
2004
3.40 | 40 ratings
Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow
2007
3.26 | 34 ratings
Into The Valley Of The Moonking
2009
3.28 | 35 ratings
The Visitation
2011
2.92 | 23 ratings
On The 13th Day
2012
3.09 | 18 ratings
Escape From The Shadow Garden
2014
3.09 | 6 ratings
Sacred Blood Divine Lies
2016

MAGNUM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 20 ratings
Marauder
1980
3.21 | 14 ratings
The Spirit
1991
3.96 | 6 ratings
Stronghold
1997
4.00 | 8 ratings
Invasion
1999
3.67 | 9 ratings
The Last Dance
1999
3.53 | 7 ratings
The River Sessions
2005
4.57 | 7 ratings
Wings Of Heaven Live
2008
2.14 | 2 ratings
Live On Air
2011

MAGNUM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.40 | 5 ratings
A Winter's Tale
2003

MAGNUM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.35 | 11 ratings
Vintage Magnum
1986
2.67 | 3 ratings
The Collection
1990
3.00 | 5 ratings
Keeping The Nite Light Burning
1991
2.17 | 5 ratings
Chapter & Verse
1993
4.00 | 4 ratings
Progressive Classics
1999
4.00 | 2 ratings
Long Days Black Nights
2002
3.12 | 6 ratings
Evolution
2011

MAGNUM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
On Christmas Day
2014

MAGNUM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sacred Blood Divine Lies by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.09 | 6 ratings

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Sacred Blood Divine Lies
Magnum Prog Related

Review by sukmytoe

3 stars I own every album that Magnum released and why that is, is an enigma to me. Magnum have long since diverged their path away from prog music and solidly into arena / melody rock. There is something about Magnum though that keeps me getting hold of their albums on release. There is something about Magnum that although they no longer get all that much playtime on my sound equipment that makes me feel strangely at home when I do spool their music up. I could only possibly put my compulsion to owning everything this band releases down to the bands musical "honesty" - I don't know how to put it really. They do what they do and they do that same thing over and over with each new release, no more and no less. Magnum are more in line now with bands like Foreigner than they are in line with anything resembling progressive music other than for a few glimpses into prog territory now and then.

At close to 70 years old Bob Catley can rock the house - good heavens !! - he puts a lot of 20 year old rockers to shame. This album is no Wings of Heaven (which for me was Magnum's highlight album - an album which I adore) but it is an album that is honest in what it is and it is enjoyable for what it is.

If you enjoy straight up melodious arena rock then this is for you. Personally I will continue to get hold of anything Magnum releases and unfortunately I can't see that given the age of Catley and Co there will be many more of them.

 Sacred Blood Divine Lies by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.09 | 6 ratings

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Sacred Blood Divine Lies
Magnum Prog Related

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars The fun continues (in context)

Faithful to their recent pattern of frequent releases, Magnum return with a yet another album that features the excellent artwork of Rodney Matthews, with clear references to their 80's releases (Chase the Dragon, The Eleventh Hour). The similarities to the predecessor "Escape From The Shadow Garden" don't end here since the character of the song-writing and overall approach is unchanged: pompous melodic hard rock.

The difference that makes me rate this album just a notch higher is the wider involvement/visibility of Stanway's keyboard work that colours a lot of the compositions rather than simply relying on Clarkin's riffage. Catley, despite his 68 years (!), still delivers solid vocal melodies with some of the harmonies resembling their best (80's) albums. "Sacred Blood, Divine Lies" seems to be less affected by balladry (thank God for that) and sounds more balanced than its predecessor. Still, tracks such as "Your Dreams Won't Die" could be absent but we can't have it all...

Of course prog is not featured but the enjoyment reaches peak with the anthemic title track and signature-Magnum-melody driven "Princess In Rags", "A Forgotten Conversation" and "Twelve Men Wise And Just" with the rest not so far behind. Again, Magnum fans won't be dissapointed and proggers may feel a bit of prog/AOR nostalgia listening to some of the vocal lines.

In context then, 3 (-) stars deserved; a band that still uphold their reputation

 Vigilante by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.75 | 48 ratings

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Vigilante
Magnum Prog Related

Review by Losimba

4 stars I've read quite a few reviews who depend their rating whether the album (or artist) is prog and rate it down if not. I will not do so.

Vigilante was the first Magnum album I bought (still on vinyl back in 1991 as I didn't have a CD player then) and I still believe it is their best one. True, the songs are more mainstream melodic rock than prog, but I don't care what genre a song is if it sounds great. And that is exactly true for 5 of the 9 songs on this album, with the others somewhere between ok and really good.

I won't copy the structure of the other reviews I published here the last few days and write a sentence or paragrah about each single song, but try a different approach. The production is strong and clear, the songwriting is some of the best we've ever got from Tony Clarkin and Bob Catley's voice has matured compared to the earlier publications. So has the guitar play of Clarkin while Wally Lowe, Mark Stanway and Mickey Barker contribute solidly as ever.

On to the highlights: The lyrics of Need A Lot Of Love, Daniel Bourquoin's saxophone on Midnight (You Won't Be Sleeping), the atmosphere of the strong ballad When The World Comes Down, Tony Clarkin's guitar work on the title track is only rivalled by the solo in Storyteller's Night and finally the bass line of Back Street Kid, which has been my favourite Magnum song from the beginning and still is, maybe because I always dreamt of having a band, recording and performing my own songs with my own lyrics which of course never became reality.

2 songs rate 3 stars, 2 songs 4 stars and 5 songs 5 stars, so the average is something like 4.33, meaning 4 stars.

 Escape From The Shadow Garden by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.09 | 18 ratings

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Escape From The Shadow Garden
Magnum Prog Related

Review by King Manuel

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)

 Escape From The Shadow Garden by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.09 | 18 ratings

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Escape From The Shadow Garden
Magnum Prog Related

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

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

 Wings Of Heaven by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.63 | 54 ratings

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Wings Of Heaven
Magnum Prog Related

Review by sukmytoe

5 stars I've loved this album since I first acquired it on release. Usually I have a love / hate relationship with Magnum as much of their music is geared towards stadium rock and I'm not overly fond of that brand of music as a rule however the band usually incorporate just enough catchy melody in their music to keep me going back to their albums time and again. This album resonates with me and I would rate it as being amongst my all time favourites. It's warm, it's highly melodic and in parts it's very dramatic.

The album highlight is the longest track being "Don't wake the Lion" and it is one of the more serious tracks, subject wise, that the band has done - an anti war epic. It's highly emotive and very dramatic - in parts gentle and in parts explosive. I would have loved to hear Fish and "old Marillion" do a cover of this although that doesn't mean that I believe that they would have done a better job - purely that I would love to have heard Fish emote this one back then with his dramatic flair. Bob Catley has never sounded better than he does on this track and he has an exceptional "power rock" voice. The band instrumentally in full flight are brilliant throughout the track.

The other giant track off of this album is "Wild Swan" which again is highly emotive. It is one of the Magnum greats.

"Pray for the Day" is an anti war themed track and it leads brilliantly into the epic "Don't Wake the Lion" - I would call them parts of the same epic.

"One Step Away" has a progressive feel to it and Catley uses his voice dramatically and exceptionally well.

For the rest the tracks are standard rock fare however that is not said in a negative sense at all - all of the tracks are highly enjoyable although don't expect a heavy listening experience with them - expect an enjoyable bouncy, melodic listen.

An album that I dearly love and one that has travelled many miles with me. An easy five star rating from me.

 On The 13th Day by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.92 | 23 ratings

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On The 13th Day
Magnum Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars "They're all here to Rock 'N' Roll!"

Magnum are surprisingly prolific these days. After their return in 2002 (after a hiatus of several years) they have released as many as six studio albums (including this one). This recent eruption of productivity even seems to have accelerated over the last couple of years, with the present album following hot on the heels of last year's The Visitation (and between these they released Evolution - an album of re-recorded songs plus two brand new songs). Hearing this new album, a Prog fan is bound to wish that they had slowed down a bit and put more effort into making more elaborated music. The opener All The Dreamers starts out promisingly enough, but it soon becomes clear that On The 13th Day is a melodic Hard Rock album in typical Magnum style with little or no signs of any desire to make anything more adventurous. The band's previous five albums all had at least a few tracks with somewhat higher ambitions, but On The 13th Day is an album of rather straightforward and catchy tunes. Some songs could even be called "Party Rock". There are still some minor twists and quirks that set Magnum apart from many other Hard Rock bands, but nothing that could reasonably be called progressive. (But Prog fans will surely recognize the distinctive style of Rodney Matthews who designed the sleeve.)

However, the band seems very happy doing this kind of music and there is no feeling of them just going through the motions. The songs are energetic and the delivery inspired. So even if I would have wanted them to do something different, it is hard to deny that they do what they do very well. They don't venture outside their comfort zone, but they do not sound tired or uninspired. As such it is recommended to fans of the band. But Prog fans should probably stay away, at least until they have checked out some other, more interesting Magnum albums. This is not the best place to start.

 On The 13th Day by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.92 | 23 ratings

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On The 13th Day
Magnum Prog Related

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'On The 13th Day' - Magnum (6/10)

Magnum's previous album, "The Visitation" had a special significance for me last year- it was the first album of 2011 I listened to. Considering that was one of my greatest years of growth musically speaking, I think that's something I'll always remember Magnum for. On their own merit however, I can't say Magnum's music ever leapt out at me. Although their approach to melodic rock may be ambitious for the style, it is only moderately so, and their sixteenth album "On The 13th Day" follows suit. Particularly to contemporary standards, Magnum's anthemic sound feels tame and dated, to the point where its crisp production and performance standards don't quite compensate. Even so, it's a remarkably consistent record, and there's nothing wrong with a good bit of melodic rock now and again!

As I imagine also goes for many of Magnum's other younger listeners, I was exposed to this band through vocalist Bob Catley's guest performance on Ayreon's "01011001". His voice was the strongest part of "The Visitation", and it remains the cornerstone of Magnum's work on "On The 13th Day". Guitarist Tony Clarkin's songwriting offers plenty of room for Catley's melodic lines, and considering that he's now at an age where some meeker folk are considering retirement, it's impressive that his voice retains such power to it. With age has come a bold sense of charisma and sincerity to his voice. With regard to compositions, Magnum's sound is instantly accessible and even radio friendly. Although that may be enough to describe something like pop-era Journey, Magnum balance this tame formula with a heavy metal edge to the performance. Many songs on "On The 13th Day" should spark the fancy of lovers of the 'classic' metal sound. "Dance of the Black Tattoo" is a powerful mix of symphonic ambiance and crunchy rock rhythms. "Blood Red Laughter" and "See How They Fall" build their anthemic choruses around some pretty rocking riffs that could play alongside some of Black Sabbath's Dio-era tunes.

Clarkin's songwriting is always well-structured, but it's really surprising. Melodic, or 'AOR' rock has long been built around the cult of the chorus, and the tunes here are no exception. The instrumentation is crisp and well done, with a particular kudos going to the lead guitar playing, which manages to make the mandatory four measures of solo-time engaging and rich, in spite of the constraints placed against it. Overall, Magnum deliver a consistent, tight performance to back up these songs. Although there is some interesting depth to the piano and 'symphonic' arrangements that back up the rock instruments, there's never the feeling of 'moving forward' on "On The 13th Day". It may be a sliver better than "The Visitation", if only for the fact that the songwriting feels a little more consistent. Other than that, it's new Magnum you're getting- no more, and no less. It won't make a believer out of anyone who already finds themselves disposed against the melodic, 'anthem' brand of rock, but there's nothing offensive here. It's well played, well produced, and well-enough enjoyable, but it's safe to say the album hasn't changed my impression of the band.

 Evolution by MAGNUM album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
3.12 | 6 ratings

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Evolution
Magnum Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars An evolutionary stable strategy

"Evolution" is a somewhat ironic title for this compilation as it covers a period in which the band has not evolved one bit. The album features two tracks from each of the band's five most recent albums - Breath Of Life (2002), Brand New Morning (2004), Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow (2007), Into The Valley Of The Moonking (2009), and The Visitation (2011), as well as two brand new tracks - presented in chronological order. The previously released tracks have been remixed and partly re-recorded.

It all starts out very promisingly with two strong tracks from Breath Of Life. This was a good album that constituted a come back for Magnum after a long break. The two songs from Brand New Morning are less interesting, especially Immigrant Son. When We Were Younger, on the other hand, is a great track. This is up there with the classics from the band's heyday which could not be said of Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow as a whole. Out Of The Shadows from the same album too is a good one though. Good choices. Next up is again a couple of weaker tracks from Into The Valley Of The Moonking and at this point you begin to feel that Evolution is perhaps not as good as it should be.

The Visitation was a better album and still they had two more new tracks up their sleeves for this album released the very same year. Magnum really are prolific these days. And yet another new studio album is due next month!

The two new songs here are good, especially the closer Do You Know Who You Are? Overall, Evolution is an enjoyable experience. It is better than some of the original studio albums from which the material is taken, but it is not a good replacement for all of them. Both Breath Of Life and The Visitation are worth getting on their own merits.

A good album, but not strictly necessary

 Chapter & Verse by MAGNUM album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
2.17 | 5 ratings

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Chapter & Verse
Magnum Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Crying time

This compilation - sporting a dreamy, Pendragon-like cover image - was released in 1993. The subtitle "the very best of Magnum" is very much of an overstatement, especially as it only features material that was originally recorded between 1986 and 1991. One would think that no compilation that does not feature Kingdom Of Madness, or Sacred Hour, or The Spirit could deserve to be called a best of. The two songs originally from 1985's On A Storyteller's Night are both live versions which (I guess) is entirely due to the fact that the band's current record company did not own the rights to any pre-Vigilante albums. It is however not the previously released tracks that are interesting here anyway.

The only reason to investigate this compilation is that it contains two non-album b-sides in C'est La Vie and Crying Time, both from the Wings Of Heaven sessions. C'est La Vie is a rather typical Magnum anthem that would not have been out of place on Wings Of Heaven. As such it is clearly better than several other songs here, especially those taken from the lacklustre Goodnight L.A. Crying Time was recorded with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and is heavy on the symphonics. This is probably the most interesting track here.

Also included is a 12" remix of Midnight (You Won't Be Sleeping). Produced by Roger Taylor of Queen, it is very much in the same style as the 12" remixes Queen did for several singles from the A Kind Of Magic album. As far as such remixes go, this is actually a good one. But very far from essential.

Chapter & Verse is absolutely not the very best of Magnum, but it is a rather decent overview of the relatively short period that it covers (especially since it includes the wonderful, epic Don't Wake The Lion (Too Old To Die Young)). Still, one should definitely get the regular studio albums first; Wings Of Heaven is essential. Compilations like this one is primarily for those fans and collectors who want to get their hands on the couple of tracks not available elsewhere.

Thanks to salmacis for the artist addition. and to Snow Dog for the last updates

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