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Magnum - Escape From The Shadow Garden Award winner

Magnum
Escape From The Shadow Garden
by Dan Mailer at 13 February 2014, 11:20 PM

It’s been less than 2 years since MAGNUM’s last album "On The 13th Day" day was released and already the band is gracing our ears with a new release! "Escape From The Shadow Garden" is an album full of great melodic tunes and some serious heavy riffage.

It’s straight to the point with a dramatic string section opening up the album on "Live ‘Till You Die". This gives way to a real classic sounding guitar riff from Tony Clarkin that the legendary vocals of Bob Catley soar over the top of. This is a great start to the album, with lots going on held together by a fantastic rhythm section. There’s plenty of atmospheric keyboards adding drama to the proceedings and lots of different moments of awesome music within this one song alone; a superbly good start to the album!

More keyboards kick things off for "Unwritten Sacrifice", with an emotive lead vocal that really builds a great story. Another awesome chorus is backed by great musicianship to give this song a lot of feeling, building a lot of tension throughout. "Falling For The Big Plan" changes things up a bit with a nice piano melody layered with vocals. The song begins to build up, drums and guitars coming together to form the meat of the song until it reaches a climax with yet another great chorus melody! This is another awesome song, full of twists and turns and some more great atmosphere. An awesome solo serves to punctuate the whole thing too, featuring some nice melodic playing.

"Crying In The Rain" is an awesome song, opening up with some cool bass and guitars playing off of each other before a powerful drum section enters the fray, with more awesome vocals on top. Lots of awesome harmonies and powerful chords power this song along before hitting the grooving main riff of the song, with one of my personal favourite choruses on this one. "Too Many Clowns" is a bit more of a straight up rocker, with an old school bluesy main riff and a very appropriate lead vocal that shows off how dynamic this band really is. There is a lot to rock out to here, with lots of riffs and a nice upbeat feel to the whole thing. The next track kicks things up a notch. "Midnight Angel", with an awesome intro full of classic sounds and a really great performance, gives way to some powerful riffs later on. This is a nice long song, with great lyrics and a hell of a lot of different sections held together by really strong songwriting.

A gentle piano brings us into "The Art Of Compromise", and although it’s starts off softer, the band really builds on the ideas taking it an eventually awesome climax, and they really gel well here too! "Don’t Fall Asleep" begins with a piano and synth mixture before we get another dose of some powerfully emotive Catley vocals. This is a ballad of the album, with some great string sounds and some lovely playing on all fronts. "Wisdom’s Had Its Day" is next up, with some more pianos leading to a section with a bit more rocking out than the previous few tracks. Some epic sounding riffs here and some great keyboard sounds, supported by a tight rhythm section. Things get notched up a bit more with "Burning River" which has plenty of riffs on offer and a nice heavy sound to it. Plenty of cool riffs and a nice aggressive lead vocal on this one! The album comes to a close with "Valley Of Tears", a melancholy sounding song to start with that changes pace and feeling about a third of the way through and becomes more positive. This is a really nice finale to the album, and should leave its mark on fans and new listeners alike!

The production is fantastic on this album, as you’d expect from a band of MAGNUM’s stature. The mix is nice and clear and definitely loud enough too. The drums sound really nice and big and the bass supports the drums really well here. The Guitars are chunky and solos soar above the mixes nicely whilst keyboards add a great sense of atmosphere. The Vocals are really well recorded and mixed too!

This is a really strong album from Magnum, and certainly something to look out for in the future. As good as they’ve ever been really, with plenty of great musicianship and a really nice varied yet modern sound.

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Live ‘Til You Die
2. Unwritten Sacrifice
3. Falling For The Big Plan
4. Crying In The Rain
5. Too Many Clowns
6. Midnight Angel
7. The Art Of Compromise
8. Don’t Fall Asleep
9. Wisdom’s Had its Day
10. Burning River
11. The Valley Of Tears
Lineup:
Tony Clarkin - Guitars
Bob Catley - Vocals
Mark Stanway - Keyboards
Al Barrow - Bass
Harry James - Drums
Record Label: SPV / Steamhammer Records
     


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