British pomp rockers Magnum have come up with a canny idea for their latest album which may well set a precedent for classic rock bands in the not-too-distant future. 'Evolution' is the seventeenth studio album from Magnum. However, with this release, they've backtracked over the last ten years since they reformed and have rerecorded, remastered and revisited the very best bits from the last five studio albums, throwing in two new songs for good measure.
So you may well be wondering who this album is aimed at? Surely Magnum fans would already own these tracks, but that is not exactly the case. This album is aimed at someone just like myself.
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I consider myself a big Magnum fan. I saw them many times in the late, glorious eighties when Magnum were regular visitors to the Top 40. When they reformed after a seven-year hiatus in 2002, I was only too pleased to go and see them live in concert on every given occasion. However, I stopped buying Magnum albums a long time before that. In fact, 'Goodnight LA' from 1990 was the last time I handed my money over the counter. Magnum have made five studio albums in ten years for the SPV label and, although most of them have got themselves good reviews, like most classic rock lovers, I was stuck in the past, only wanting to hear the old stuff at the gigs.
Magnum have polished up two songs from each album from 'Breath Of Life' right up to last year's 'The Visitation', an album that broke into the Top 20 in Germany. On listening to these tracks, you soon realise that guitarist Tony Clarkin is still a masterful songwriter, quintessentially English. Magnum are a band that sound like no other, with vocalist Bob Catley still keeping that rich smooth voice.
Too rocky to be labelled AOR or progressive, this album is full of well-crafted melodic pomp rock at its finest. It's the best piece of work from Magnum since 'Vigilante' from 1986.
Together with two new songs to please the hardcore Magnum fan, namely 'The Fall' and 'Do You Know Who You Are?' (which has a commercial riff similar to 'Start Talking Love') are songs I like to see in the live set, as i do with most of this album. This is a fine way to catch up with Magnum and is also a great introduction to the band for the beginner.