Released: 2011, SPV
I enjoyed Magnum quite a lot in the early days. I wasn’t too thrilled with BREATH OF LIFE, the comeback album of 2002. It was adequate but since then the band have been on a real roll with four excellent albums in a row, each a couple of years apart. The band has settled nicely onto the SPV label for the last decade, giving them the stability and confidence to deliver some great records. THE VISITATION is album #16 for the band so they are really starting to get up there in terms of depth of catalogue.
In terms of presentation the band has reverted to an older logo, which oddly enough is more modern looking than the logos used on the past few albums. The band also delivers a trippy and somewhat psychedelic album cover art. As always the album sounds warm, full and inviting. As long as Catley and Clarkin are there the band will retain that classic 70’s ProgRock sound. The band has always had good production but this time the guitars are brought just a little more to the fore.
THE VISITATION is a very slightly heavier album than the past pair, a bit more rock influence, than Prog influence. There is a slight sense of urgency in the songs reflecting a more up-tempo delivery. I love the opening minute to the first cut, it is elegant in it’s simplicity, a simple bass line, some keyboards washes and a nice simple cymbal line before cutting into a big, heavy Zepplin-esque riff, before drawing back a hint and then the vocals kick in, great stuff. It is a very strong song. Track four ‘Wild Angels’ (No, not a Pretty Boy Floyd cover tune ha!) is not really all that wild per se, but it is a mid-tempo cut that is very catchy come the sing-along chorus lines. ‘Midnight Kings’ is also a heavier rocker with some piano providing a counter-part to the heavier guitars and another winning chorus. Every song has an inviting warmth that comes from experience in song-writing.
As mentioned previously, I’ve always enjoyed Magnum but as time goes on my respect, admiration and enjoyment of this band grows. As the band enters their 5th (!) decade as a recording act they sign no sings of slowing down. I’d love to see Rush bring Magnum on an extended tour of North America. That would rule.