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Magnum On a Storyteller's Night album cover
3.90 | 103 ratings | 10 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. How Far Jerusalem (6:26)
2. Just Like an Arrow (3:22)
3. On a Storyteller's Night (4:59)
4. Before First Light (3:52)
5. Les Morts Dansant (5:47)
6. Endless Love (4:30)
7. Two Hearts (4:24)
8. Steal Your Heart (3:59)
9. All England's Eyes (4:47)
10. The Last Dance (3:43)

Total Time 45:49

Bonus CD from 2005 remaster:
1. How Far Jerusalem (5:45)
2. Endless Love (3:49)
3. Before First Light (4:26)
4. All England's Eyes (4:50)
5. Come On Young Love (version 1) (3:47)
6. Come On Young Love (version 2) (3:30)
7. Les Morts Dansant (5:07)
8. The Last Dance (4:09)
9. Interview (24:46)

Total Time 60:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Bob Catley / lead vocals
- Tony Clarkin / guitars, backing vocals, composer
- Mark Stanway / keyboards
- Colin "Wally" Lowe / bass, backing vocals
- Jim Simpson / drums, percussion

- Mo Birch / backing vocals (5)
- Kex Gorin / drums (bonus 1,3-5,8)

Releases information

Artwork: Rodney Matthews

CD FM ‎- WKFM XD 34 (1985, UK)
CD FM ‎- WKFM XD 34 (1987, Germany)
CD Jet Records ‎- JETCD 1007 (1993, UK) Remastered with a bonus interview
2CD Castle Music ‎- CMQDD1115 (2005, UK) Remaster by Mark Stuart w/ bonus CD including demos

LP FM ‎- WKFM LP 34 (1985, UK)
2xLP Back On Black ‎- RCV028LP (2010, Europe) Remastered

Thanks to salmacis for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MAGNUM On a Storyteller's Night ratings distribution

(103 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MAGNUM On a Storyteller's Night reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is among the best Magnum's albums. Magnum REALLY cared about their sound here, as reveals the EXTREMELY LOUD, RAZOR and POWERFUL electric rhythmic guitar sound: the comparison with the most extreme bands like Judas Priest, Headpins and Accept is just predictable. However, the music style is more similar to bands like Night Ranger. The guitar sound gives uniqueness to the record. It is quite well supported by loud bass and noisy drums. You have to try to play VERY loud in your car "Endless Love", which has a PERFECT macho guitar sound to kill any bad rap infestation beside! For MAXIMUM effect, you have to turn up the volume! The modern background keyboards and the distortion-free cleaner guitar notes give a slight heroic ambience. The lead vocals sound a bit like David Coverdale's, however not as good. The drums are really simple and not fast at all. The overall style is sophisticated modern FM hard rock with an EXTREMELY POWERFUL rhythmic sound, often metal borderline. This record has some light progressive elements, so that it can be considered as progressive related in the best case.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Bob Greece
4 stars Of all the Magnum albums, this one is my favourite. The first time I heard it at my friend's house back in the 1980's, it immediately struck me as a great sound. The cover of the album is excellent and fits in well with the music and adds to it. The album contains two proggy tracks (How Far Jerusalem and On a Storyteller's Night). The rest could best be described as catchy power rock with my favourite of these being All England's Eyes although most people would probably choose Just Like an Arrow. The album contains a couple of ballads which were the last tracks on each side of the old vinyl (Les Morts Dansant and The Last Dance). I'm don't like these soppy emotional power ballads but a lot of people do. Even if, like me, you don't like the ballads, there are still 8 great tracks on this album.

This is quite close to progressive metal in style and it's the album I suggest you start with if you want to give Magnum a try.

Review by b_olariu
5 stars Magnum at the peak of their career

Magnum's fourth studio release is the best album they ever done. After not so well aclaimed The eleventh hour and departure from Jet Records and Tony Clarkin's heart attack around that time made Magnum to be with one foot in the gutter and not very sure if to continue or not. But the sun always shine on every street, and the street's name is Magnum. So with new ideas and a lot more power they release the magnum opus of their career. An album full of stunning keys passages, the voice of Bob Catley shines on every piece, not to mention the main man of the band Tony Clarkin who did a great job here, the guitar sounds not to heavy not to mellow. For many fans, it remains their definitive album because every track is a winner. This is an AOR/hard rock album with prog leanings, but very well played and composed. Every track are amazing from the more edged one like Just Like An Arrow to the slow and the last The last dance Magnum showes that are among the best in AOR style. No doubt 5 stars one of the best albums ever.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Keep the night light burnin'

1985's On A Story Teller's Night is by many considered to be Magnum's peak. One must point out immediately that this sounds different from the band's four first albums. More mature and confident, but also more streamlined and linear. While those earlier albums were recorded between 1976 and 1983, they were musically pretty much rooted on the 70's. On A Story Teller's Night, on the other hand, has more of an 80's sound. I would say that it is less progressive than the first four Magnum albums, but this does not mean that it is less good. While having somewhat less to do with Prog at this point in their career, it is hard to deny that this album features a very strong set of melodic Rock tunes. Many songs from this album understandably went on to become mainstays of the band's live show and are played live even today. Indeed, the band has recently performed the album live in its entirety! This indicated just how important this album was for the band, even if one might argue that Chase The Dragon and Wings Of Heaven have a similar importance.

The first five tracks are excellent, but after that it tends to feel like just more of the same until the superb closer The Last Dance. There are no bad songs here, but I think that there are too many songs that sound too similar to each other. The sound, tone, and mood are basically the same throughout.

Overall, this is definitely a good Magnum album. It is certainly better than previous The Eleventh Hour and the following Vigilante, but it is not as good, in my opinion, and not as progressive, as Chase The Dragon or Wings Of Heaven.

Recommended, but maybe a little bit overrated

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars MAGNUM's 6th release denotes a complete transformation, a complete modification in the band's sound and songwriring approach. On A Storyteller's Night is the first album with a different record label (after 5 albums in Jet records) and it designated MAGNUM's long-awaited break in the charts. The similarities with the previous 2 releases are limited to the excellent cover artwork by Rodney Matthews - yet again a wonderful work with an atmosphere that does not reflect the style of music. The company of creatures sat around the old table in front of the fireplace makes me think of a fantasy/fairytale album style...

On the contrary, the musical directions are quite straightforward and well-defined within the 10 tracks. Even the listing of the tracks follows a more-or-less standard pattern: 4 rockers-1 ballad-4 rockers-1 ballad. The sound deviates largely from the band's recent past and displaces the pomp - often prog related - heavy rock forms with one single style: AOR. Although a more sophisticated form of this genre was apparent before in the shape of Styx-like references, here the sound is completely dominated by melodic, FM-derived rock. The standards of production are excellent and the tunes come out as dynamic and powerful as they could have been.

The musicianship for this chosen style is at high standards and the voice of Bob Catley is probably at its best, sounding more mature than ever. Everything is well-looked after; the guitars, the back-up vocals, the sequence of riffs. Asia, Boston, Journey, Survivor, Foreigner, Toto are just some of the bands that come in mind when listening to this release. The prog-related elements have almost diminished here and the sound tends to follow an ''orthodox'' AOR approach. How Far Jerusalem and the title track are the ones that still hold a few pomp-prog references and my personal favourites from this - nonetheless - solid album. Undoubtely, the heavy melodic catchy refrains are the main feature in this release.

MAGNUM's AOR/melodic hard rock often moves into heavier patterns remiding of more modern bands of the genre like Tyketto, Danger Danger, FM, Treat etc. The feature that annoys me in this release is the pre-decided commercial direction of the sound that could be nicely summed up in the lyrics of the hit track: it goes deep my love, only for you, just like an arrow. However, for prog fans who enjoy the pleasant AOR tunes from times to times (including myself), this album may find a decent place in their discography.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Magnum presents contagious melodies and driving rhythms in a conceptual delight.

Magnum's 'On A Storyteller's Night' is a return to form after 'The Eleventh Hour', released during a fairly mediocre year in 1983 which is perhaps the worst year for prog. This album was released in 1985, a year where prog still faltered apart from Marillion's excellent 'Misplaced Childhood'. However Magnum were close with this release but although their popularity faded after a term, this was the band at their peak. Magnum were a child of the NWOBHM and were progressive in the form of thematic content, album covers and lyrics, though time signature changes and innovation were not a part of their repertoire. There are moments but it never becomes ground breaking, and in fact is more commercial and radio friendly, the radio singles are proof positive of this.

This is a type of Magnum Opus (how do you resist?) and tells a tale of an epic fantasy quest. The tracks are well known by the huge army of Magnum-ites, although 'Chasing The Dragon' is the most well known and in fact my favourite Magnum album.

'How Far Jerusalem' is a more lengthy composition than usual for Magnum at 6:26, and begins with a low drone, wind effect and choral vocals. There are backmasked sweeps over Catley's estranged vocals giving this an ethereal quality. Simpson's drums crash in and then the glorious sound of melodic metal guitars from Clarkin. This could well be the highlight of the album.

'Just Like An Arrow' features a driving rhythm and the huge wall of keyboards by Stanway. It is an 80s rock anthemic style; stadium rock in all its British pomp and glory.

'On A Storyteller's Night' is a 5 minute romp of soft metal, beginning gently building to the all important catchy chorus. This is a well known Magnum song played live countless times before the ecstatic crowds.

'Before First Light' and 'Les Morts Dansant' are commercial sounding tracks, with steady beats and a driving rhythm.

'Endless Love' has pounding drums reminding me of Fleetwood Mac's 'Tusk'. There is a cool riff and a very memorable chorus, with infectious melodies throughout.

'Two Hearts' chugs along nicely and is perhaps more AOR than prog, nevertheless I never really considered Magnum to be more than related to prog so you will never go outside the box with their music. It is all so safe and radio friendly; the soft metal of the 80s along the lines of Whitesnake, Europe and Def Leppard.

'Steal Your Heart' is another balladic track with loud guitars and strong vocal harmonies.

'All England's Eyes' is patriotic fair, though more subtle than Manowar's 'Hail To England'. I like the strong melodies on this one.

'The Last Dance' is another Magnum track where you would stick your lighter in the air at a concert. Very balladic and heartfelt vocals from Catley pleasing the female fans.

In conclusion, this album sounds like Uriah Heep at times. It has some prog elements but not every track can be considered prog. Having said that, it is still a strong rock album and one of Magnum's best. I was not blown away by it, as some appear to be, but 3 stars is still a solid rating during these tough 80s.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Slightly too cheesy and light to be part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal or the neo-prog scene, but somewhat too heavy and complex to be middle-of-the-road AOR hard rock, Magnum plotted a course between genres which finds them in fine form with this album. Compared to, say, Chase the Dragon, there's a bit more in the way of cheesy poppiness to proceedings on occasion, but it's part of a rich blend of musical styles which has consistently left Magnum very difficult to pin down in terms of genre, but means their music ends up having something to offer a wide range of listeners. Fantastic stuff.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I'm currently listening to Magnum's latest release - The Serpent Rings (and worth a listen I might add) and realised that I never did provide a review for what, I believe, is their best album 'On a Story Teller's Night' - how remiss... I can still remember buying this (vinyl) when it was releas ... (read more)

Report this review (#2456161) | Posted by huge | Wednesday, October 14, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is Magnum's magnum opus. As an album, it's solid, consistent and masterful in every way. The band was seemingly on their way out but came smashing back with this album 'On a Storyteller's Night'. It's without doubt a masterpiece of melodic rock with elements of prog, tracks such as 'How F ... (read more)

Report this review (#247583) | Posted by dalekvilla | Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hey, hey, what a gret finding! - I shouted when I saw this album in a second hand shop. Magnum is quite unknown in my country, what a pity. The only progressive omposition is he opener, full of atmospheric keyboards. The rest is a piece of solid commercial rock, basing on Queen's works. Look at t ... (read more)

Report this review (#80863) | Posted by | Saturday, June 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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