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Magnum – Escape from the Shadow Garden – Live 2014 Award winner

Escape from the Shadow Garden – Live 2014
by Omnius D'Worgen at 18 May 2015, 12:08 AM

I'll start this one by making a simple statement: music is a visual art form. Recorded music is a fairly new idea, and those bands reared in the early days of recorded music used that same philosophy – delivering a high energy performance even when recording, and even years later.

The British band MAGNUM debuted in 1978 and has been rocking ever since. I think you get the main idea we're going for here… their live album "Escape From The Shadow Garden Live 2014" consists of 12 songs from the band's entire career, as recorded live in various venues during their "Escape From The Shadow Garden" tour – and it delivers exactly what you'd expect from a rock band originating in that golden age of rock.

The album starts with the crowd applauding – a must in live albums, methinks – and launches straight into hard-rock heaven with atmospheric keyboards supporting solid riffage and great musical work all around. Almost as much fun as watching a real show.

These guys are old pros, so you wouldn't be surprised to learn that the rhythm section is tight, solid and spot on; that the vocalist (and backing vocals) is simply amazing, or that the keyboardist and the guitarist have a strange chemistry between them that works great with the songs.

Guitar and keyboards dialogue executed well is very rare – I can probably count all the bands I ever heard who did it on one hand – and these guys certainly are among those chosen few. MAGNUM are extremely tight through each song, playing effortlessly and perfectly… to a fault, in a way – I think the occasional inaccuracy augments the feel of a live performance rather than diminish it, but that's just me.

The band's songs are very energetic to begin with – even the power ballads are relatively high-energy – and you can hear some of the energy of a live performance driving those already-energetic tunes even further… a lot of it, but I think more of that energy could have been captured. Honestly, if they manage to capture more of it they could give the guys over at CERN a decent run for their money.

4 Star Rating

1. Live ‘til You Die
2.  Black Skies
3. Freedom Day
4. Dance of the Black Tattoo
5. Blood Red Laughter
6. Unwritten Sacrifice
7. How Far Jerusalem
8. Les Morts Dansant
9. Falling For the Big Plan
10. All England’s Eyes
11. Vigilante
12. Kingdom of Madness
Tony Clarkin – Guitars
Bob Catley – Vocals
Mark Stanway – Keyboards
Al Barrow – Bass
Harry James – Drums
Record Label: SPV / Steamhammer Records


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Edited 10 December 2022

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