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Magnus Rising
Whatever It Takes
August 2013
Released: 2013, Indie
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: JP

I procrastinated on writing this review for quite a while. At first I didn’t really like Magnus Rising but there was a little something there that made me want to return and give it another chance. Sometimes all it can be is a matter of perspective. To me their sophomore album is a below average Heavy Metal album but an average Melodic Hard Rock album. It depends on the context in which you listen to a band.

Magnus Rising is a quartet from Vancouver, BC who had transplanted from Newfoundland. That might not seem like a big deal for our European readers bands move all the time, but to put it in context in terms of distance moving from Newfoundland to Vancouver is like moving from Ulan Bator in Mongolia to London, England or for our American friends moving from Alaska to Florida. The point being is the band relocated from a small distant place to a huge thriving coastal city and it seems to have worked. There is more buzz about the band now and they are making headway on the international scene. The band have been around for almost a decade and have churned out a couple of albums.

WHATEVER IT TAKES is a pretty average album in terms of presentation, 10 –cuts, for about 50 minutes, with a pretty eye-catching cover and most of the songs run in that 4-6 minute range with pretty traditional song structures. The production is decent, everything sits separated nicely in the mix.

The tone and tempo is pretty slow, I think it was a mistake to start with a slow song, and needs to present it’s best material up first, the faster heavier cut ‘Smoke Damage’ would have been a better lead-off track. In fact the whole album is pretty slow to mid-tempo, never really hitting it’s stride. I kept waiting for it to get going but it never did. One of the key problems I had (and it is a strictly personal thing) vocalist Aaron Hawkins sings with the ‘yarl’. This is a terms to develop the monotone, under-singing style that was perfected by grunge groups such as Pearl Jam and the like. For me that is a huge negative. The vocalists I enjoy the most are those that forcefully project with range and power, ‘over-singing’ as it were. Guitarist Roger has some decent solos but he never really gets to shred in the context of the simple songs.

The tone of this review may have come across as predominately negative, but the band does have potential. The performances are decent and they remind me a lot of many hair metal bands that tried to dabble in grunge in the early 90’s, bands like Warrant (Dog Eat Dog), Firehouse (3), Slaughter (Revolution) and later era Harem Scarem. Over all it is a good, darker, modern Hard Rock/Metal album. I bet once they cut loose live in concert and crank up the speed, power and intensity a notch or two, they would be entertaining.
Track Listing

1. Naive
2. Whatever It Takes
3. The Drill
4. Smoke Damage
5. Dinner Is Served
6. Jaws of Life
7. The Journeyman
8. Frankenstein's Monster
9. Downtown Flu
10. The Judge


Aaron Hawkins Vocals
Roger Cranford Guitars
Matt Snow Bass
Nick James Drums

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