Magnum - On the 13th Day

On the 13th Day (Special Edition)
Magnum, will soon have been going on for some 40 years, without taking into consideration their short hiatus, in the late 90s and in their 4 decades of existence they have churned out more than a dozen studio albums, possibly something closer to twenty to be honest! (And I’m sure more, if we take into account all the best of compilations and live albums)
This year, they grace us, with yet another studio album, their sixteenth actually and sixth since their “reunion”! (did the math!)
So how does another Magnum album fare against, the band’s lengthy and illustrious back catalog and where can one place it in the band's canon?
Well, “On the 13th Day” keeps the band’s progression over the last few albums, retreads the bands well known and established pomp rock style, from the past and all in all, sits rather comfortably, amongst, the rest of the bands albums, as it retains all the band’s trademarks alive and adds a few quite worthy tunes, to the bands, quite illustrious repertoire.
The band retains the same lineup and the only visible or rather audible “signs” of wear are evident on Bob Catley’s croon, that has become slightly huskier, but he’s still a MASTER vocalist, after all these years.... the voice is actually holding up rather well, it’s maturing and getting a little deeper I guess a little less versatile, but still, most people would give their everything to be able to sing like that!
Magnum’s one of Britain’s crown jewel bands of the 70s along with all the other “great” bands of that decade and it was really bad timing and the fact, that they didn’t get their debut out, until the late 70s, that didn’t help them to be mentioned in the same breath as such bands as Queen or their ilk.
“All the Dreamer’s” start things up, in a very reserved way, but it has the band’s signature sound, pouring out of every pore!
“Blood Red Laughter” ups the speed a notch and ups the passion as well! It’s irresistible and urgent chorus, really beautiful and the whole atmosphere, richly enhanced by keyboard flourishes, is so dream-like!
“Didn’t Like You Anyway” starts with a very strict guitar motif set against some nice strings and has an awesome chorus, making it possibly the best song of the album! A magnum classic!
The albums namesake “On The 13th Day” is a bit more generic, but it’s bridge/chorus and the nice keyboard melodies that run through it, make it another winner.
“So Let It Rain” is a slightly quirky song but it has an anthemic quality that’s not entirely unlike that of a footbally club hymn or something like that!
“Dance of the Black Tattoo” is HEAVY, extremely heavy by Magnum’s recent standards, laden by a steely riff, that repeats itself all the way through the song. It’s dark and it’s epic and certainly a bit of a grower, that ends up being an unlikely highlight.
“Shadow Town” has a maidenesque gallop, but it’s totally magnum, so think fluffy keys leading the song and not razor sharp dual guitar duels.
“Putting Things in Place” is a painful song – about, loneliness in a relationship, possibly, referring to “dead-end” marriage, after the love has gone.
“Broken Promises” is a harder tune with a rousing chorus and a great build that very smartly, uses a couple of interludes to keep the pace of the song “interesting”.
“See How They Fall” has another of those “rather unlikely” harder-riff’s opening up the proceedings and then maintains a semi-triumphant gallop, until it reaches a semi-satisfactory chorus. A slightly better chorus here, would have made it a classic. Without being a bad song, there’s something slightly amiss, with this one!
Finally the album concludes with “From Within” a pomp pop, romp, that’s also very evident of the band’s very unique style, meaning I couldn’t have expected any other band to come up with a song like it! Very nice and anthemic – surely an ideal closer for future shows....  who knows.
The “Special Edition” adds a second CD, with rarities and extra songs.
There's a demo of “Those Were The Days” from 88-89, a proper version of “Eyes Like Fire” a song that was considered a left over from the previous album, but seemed to be too good, to simply leave out, acoustic renditions of “Blood Red Laughter” and “Shadow Town” that are interesting... and a couple of somewhat “rough sounding” real live tracks in the form of “We All Need To Be Loved” and “Moonking” from Prague and Mannheim, respectively. Quite substantial, odds and sods, one might say.
So, Magnum offers the longtime fans, something they will most certainly appreciate. It’s unlikely to be the album that will expose the band to a whole new generation of fans or achieve considerable commercial success, but I’m guessing the band is not even trying to do anything of the sort, they’re just happy being who they have been for the past forty years and they are doing that with such conviction, that you cannot fault them, for even a single moment!
Now, I’m just beginning to wonder about what happened on the 14th day?!