Magnum - Music Banter Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The Music Forums > Rock & Metal > Prog & Psychedelic Rock
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-25-2009, 06:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
Ba and Be.
 
jackhammer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
Posts: 17,331
Default Magnum


For once I do think that this band will only appeal to a few on here and that's understandable but they remain a perennial favourite for me. A sound that has Prog elements but also a classic commercial Rock sound that was neither (un)fashionable enough to muscle in on the AOR sound perforating the airwaves in the 80's or oblique enough to appeal to diehard prog fans meant that Magnum never really gained an audience outside of the U.K. I do think that this was a damn shame as Tony Clarkin (songwriter, guitarist, main man) is a brilliant, maligned songwriter .

Their music gained the tag 'Pomp Rock', which is a term I know that a few are unfamiliar with outside of the U.K. The term was pegged to them for the fact that the lyrics, album covers and certain musical motifs were influenced by U.K 70's prog but their sound was slightly glossy and radio friendly. Sort of an unofficial soundtrack to Lord Of The Rings type mythology.

Chase The Dragon, Mirador and On A Storytellers Night are highly regarded albums amongst fans and remain defiantly unfashionable but undeniably listenable for many British Rock fans.

The late 80's saw the band achieving some minor commercial success with the album Wings Of Heaven but studio pressure reduced the band to soppy AOR ballads despite the inclusion of some of their very best tracks such as Wild Swan, One Step Away and the epic Don't Wake The Lion.

A natural successor to bands such as Yes (without the noodling) and Barclay James Harvest, Magnum remain a band that in a different time and place would have been huge.

Have some snippets:



The tempo change at 1:14 and the breakdown at 2:30 are perfection.
__________________

“A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.”
jackhammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2011, 08:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
Ba and Be.
 
jackhammer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
Posts: 17,331
Default

Not one reply

What a fantastic return to form for these guys in 2010 even though they are all in their late 50's now.

A damn shame.

__________________

“A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.”
jackhammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 08:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
Horribly Creative
 
Unknown Soldier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: London, The Big Smoke
Posts: 8,265
Default

339 viewings and just 1 reply and that was by yourself as well Jack, it doesn`t surprise me! AOR bands in general don`t get too much love on these forums, but its without doubt one of my favourite rock genres.

Magnum though are an enigma for a number of reasons. I`ll tackle the music after but they were real oddities. Firstly, looking at pictures of this band in the 70s and 80s, some of the pictures had them looking like a leather dressed metal band with some of the members looking more like members of a hair metal outfit, whilst other pictures had them looking more like Foreigner, despite one or two members still looking like they should be in a hair metal band. Secondly, the name Magnum evokes a real 1970s hard rock/heavy metal outfit rather than an AOR one. Thirdly, despite trying to fill the niche left here in the UK by prog giants such as Yes they ended up churning out a sound more akin to American prog/pomp bands such as Kansas and Styx, along with sounding similiar to Survivor, instead of a more Yes sound (which was surprising as the Kansas and Styx sound was never ever popular here in the UK) and to be fair they didn`t do it that well either initially. Finally, when one thinks of an AOR band, one thinks of the band coming from glam locations such as LA and not Birmingham

All that aside though, main man Tony Clarkin who was indeed talented stuck to his guns and put out the AOR/pomp rock sound that he believed in and after a slow start, the group really got into gear with the Chase the Dragon album produced by Jeff Glixman who had produced all those classic Kansas albums several years before. They reached their creative heights with On A Storytellers Night which is a great AOR album and since then their discography has grown to a very large amount of albums and I`m actually surprised they are still going and even more surprised that you are recommending their latest album!

Last edited by Unknown Soldier; 07-31-2011 at 03:24 AM.
Unknown Soldier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2011, 05:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
Ba and Be.
 
jackhammer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
Posts: 17,331
Default

^^

Quality write up there

Magnum were unfashionable even in the 80's and never really got the balance right in terms of band imagery and direction.

Those magnificent Rodney Matthews album covers from the early 80's suggested an all out Prog band but Magnum were all about melody first and structure second but this ultimately was a hindrance for the band as they were so hard to market.

They produced many moments of what you term AOR but then they could make much longer songs with tempo changes both musically and stylistically and this is what most fans in the U.K remember them for.

The 1988 album Wings Of Heaven is a perfect example. It's an 8 track album with 5 tracks of insipid ballads or AOR inspired music but then we have Wild Swan, One Step Away and the superb 14+ min Don't Wake The Lion which are among some of the very best tracks they have ever done.

Such a frustrating band in that they were almost always forced by their various record companies to come up with radio friendly songs but unleashed from that the band really came into their own.

The memorable far outweighs the banal for me with The Spirit, The Prize, Soldier Of The Line, How Far Jerusalem and Kingdom Of Madness along with the aforementioned Wings Of Heaven tracks suggesting much more than just another AOR band.
__________________

“A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.”
jackhammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 05:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
Horribly Creative
 
Unknown Soldier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: London, The Big Smoke
Posts: 8,265
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
^^

Quality write up there

Magnum were unfashionable even in the 80's and never really got the balance right in terms of band imagery and direction.

Those magnificent Rodney Matthews album covers from the early 80's suggested an all out Prog band but Magnum were all about melody first and structure second but this ultimately was a hindrance for the band as they were so hard to market.

They produced many moments of what you term AOR but then they could make much longer songs with tempo changes both musically and stylistically and this is what most fans in the U.K remember them for.

The 1988 album Wings Of Heaven is a perfect example. It's an 8 track album with 5 tracks of insipid ballads or AOR inspired music but then we have Wild Swan, One Step Away and the superb 14+ min Don't Wake The Lion which are among some of the very best tracks they have ever done.

Such a frustrating band in that they were almost always forced by their various record companies to come up with radio friendly songs but unleashed from that the band really came into their own.

The memorable far outweighs the banal for me with The Spirit, The Prize, Soldier Of The Line, How Far Jerusalem and Kingdom Of Madness along with the aforementioned Wings Of Heaven tracks suggesting much more than just another AOR band.
Their album covers were great and I always loved them. The Chase the Dragon album came out about a year before the first Asia album, I mention Asia because on first glance you would expect them to be very similiar bands but Magnum always had a more depth than Asia, but it was Asia who became one of the biggest bands in the world at that time, with a far more basic sound. Again this is the perfect case of the band missing out there.

On the 1988 album you mentioned again it was bad timing, by this time all the really big and best AOR bands Toto, Journey, Survivor and Boston etc had long since put out their best material and were all in serious decline and by the late 80s AOR was in serious decline, in fact it never ever recovered. What took its place, were teams of songwriters such as people like Desmond Child, Todd Cerney and Diane Warren etc who were brought in to revitalize old popular acts such as Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Pat Benatar etc and basically write hits for these bands, if you were an old AOR band or like one of the three artists mentioned above, you really needed to tow the line of the record comapnies and let these writers write some songs for you, once again Magnum probably stuck to their guns and refused this, and again missing out commercial wise.
Unknown Soldier is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes



© 2003-2024 Advameg, Inc.