MAGNUM – Vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist Tony Clarkin are the nucleus and only two original members of Magnum, (since 1978′s debut album Kingdom of Madness),with Mark Stanway manning the keyboards since 1982′s Chase The Dragon album. Regardless of lineup changes, Magnum has created music that touches on four decades, (soon to be five with the 2011 studio release of The Visitation).
Into The Valley Of The Moonking is the fifteenth studio album from Magnum, released on June 16, 2009, on Steamhammer/SPV Records. There are those bands that make music, the kind of music that resonates that classic feel and sound from every turn… this Magnum album resonates this.
Classic Rock is not just a bunch of albums from the ’60′, 70′s and ’80′s. The Classic Rock sound and style is just as relevant in 2010 as any other time in Rock Music history, in my Metal opinion. Magnum unrolls their Classic Rock red carpet and struts down it like royalty on this album.
With delectable nuances and flavors that nod towards The Electric Light Orchestra on such songs as: The Moonking, No One Knows His Name and In My Minds Eye, just to name examples, being lured into these songs due to their mini-epic style is unavoidable for me. Harry James on drums, the guitar tones of Tony Clarkin and Mark Stanway’s keyboards are to blame for my hearing any ELO similarities.
Not a copycat band to any of their peers, Magnum is and always has been as original as they come. As I listen to Magnum, I get the sense that they are re-inventing Classic Rock music while many might think it’s just a continuation of a well known and seasoned band. Album Oriented Rock is not a dinosaur after all, Into The Valley Of The Moonking is twelve songs that substantiate the importance of having depth and not filler on an album.
Magnum incorporates Keyboards as an emotional element throughout their music, with Mark Stanway becoming such an integral part of this band over the years. Never are there keyboard parts that don’t fit or run-off in an annoying endless stream. The keyboard arrangements are priceless on Into The Valley Of The Moonking.
Cry To Yourself is my favorite song, with it’s unrelenting melodic wave. All right, Cry To Yourself moves me. There, I said it. Tony Clarkin on guitar is superb, his playing elevates the emotion of this song. Bob Catley is beyond excellent on vocals, it’s as if this song was born with him. All My Bridges takes me on an up-tempo and melodic ride that is not easy to jump off. Take Me To The Edge is a fist to the air Hard Rock song, accentuated by Tony Clarkin’s guitar licks and the drumming of Harry James. Al Barrow on bass, is right in on the Hard Rock action throughout Take Me To The Edge… a real cool jamming song it must be for this band.
Clocking in at 6:58 long, Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns is another Hard Rock number on this album, bringing in some Old School riffs, with some Rock ‘N’ Roll piano. The beat is consistently contagious on this song, making for a legitimate foot stompin’ listen. At the close of Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns, the tempo subsides dramatically with the keyboards and guitar adding a subdued and reflective atmosphere.
Magnum puts great emphasis on song lyrics, to coincide with creative song writing. The songs on this album seem to reflect a conscientious attention to detail that Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin and this band have towards making music. It’s the journey that these songs on Into The Valley Of The Moonking send my mind on, from both the lyrics and music, which results in my liking this album all the more. Magnum has made an album here that I will now label as a classic. And why not? Into The Valley Of The Moonking is only going to be labeled as such… two decades from now if not sooner.
* For more info on MAGNUM, just click on the link below:
MAGNUM, as they appeared on Into The Valley Of The Moonking:
Tony Clarkin – guitars
Bob Catley – vocals & tambourine
Mark Stanway – keyboards
Al Barrow - bass & backing vocals
Harry James – drums
Track Listing For Into The Valley Of The Moonking:
Cry To Yourself
All My Bridges
Take Me To The Edge
No One Knows His Name
In My Minds Eye
Time To Cross That River
If I Ever Lose My Mind
A Face In The Crowd
Feels Like Treason
Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns
LONG LIVE MAGNUM!