The Visitation

1. Black Skies
2. Doors To Nowhere
3. The Visitation
4. Wild Angels
5. Spin Like A Wheel
6. The Last Frontier
7. Freedom Day
8. Mother Nature's Final Dance
9. Midnight Kings
10. Tonight's The Night

Tony Clarkin (G)
Bob Catley (V)
Mark Stanway (Kb)
Al Barrow (B)
Jimmy Copley (D)

Kingdom of Madness (1978)
Magnum II (1979)
Chase the Dragon (1982)
The Eleventh Hour (1983)
On A Storyteller's Night (1985)
Vigilante (1986)
Wings Of Heaven (1988)
Goodnight L.A. (1990)
Sleepwalking (1992)
Keeping The Nite Light Burning (1993)
Rock Art (1994)
Breath Of Life (2002)
Brand New Morning (2004)
Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow (2007)
Wings of Heaven (Live 2008)
Into the Valley of the Moonking (2009)



Released 17/1-2011
Reviewed 17/12-2010


Magnum is the name on a series of ice creams in Sweden, also a TV-series with Tom Selleck amd a series of riffle- and gun cartridges. Apart from this Magnum is he name of a Brittish rock band, but off course, this is a review of the latest version of the ice cream.

My principle is that when it's possible not compare the classic bands new albums with their older, classic ones. Sometimes it's hard not to do so, like when they sound extremely alike or different, but mostly you do the band more harm than anything else when all you do is compare and think this and that and asy it wasn't like this before or that they made exactly this before but better. The result when you start to compare is that the review ends up being more about how the album sounds compared to the other than about how it actually sound. However, in the case of this album from Magnum, you can't really do them any harm in comparing because I don't think I've ever heard an album from Magnum that sound so good all together.

'The Visitation' is packed with songs that could go on a best of Magnum album. The ten songs on this album makes me feel something like "wow! This is the way they should have been all along!". Sure, there are some somgs trembling on the border of doubtful, but overall this album keeps a high standard especially with the mid-tempo songs. Some of he songs have a nice Sing-along-with-choirs feeling that takes the mind to Irish, almost Blackmoore's Night, songs and the classical instruments like piano as well as baroqueish quieres and strings and a grandness almost similar to the one in churches. It feels like this is something Magnum has been touching since the begnning with a more epic sound even though this is the first time I think they've succeded - this is not ordinary hard rock or heavy metal with some progressive and epic undertones, like the earlier albums. This IS epic.

If the music sounds great, the production is where it doesn't. I get bad vibes from time to time throughout the entire 'Visitation' because the sound sometimes is very doubtful. On the first song I start to wonder if the album is recorded in mono and here and there throughout the entire album they return and makes the album sound very cheap and canny. But at the same time all the instruments sounds great, and also the vocals. They all are very clear and well played, they are put together nicely and nowhere do the mixing bother you or irritate you in any other way. But for some reason it still gets flat and bad sometimes and even if this isn't something that bother all the time it's still there and can be heard.

Almost three years ago I spoke to vocalist Bob Catley and already then when you spoke t him he sounded more like a nice old grandpa - a little raspy in his voice whith an obvious snobby Brithhish dialect. Here he's great! Clean and smooth in the voice, yet hard and powerful with energy that comes out the speakers like tooth paste. The highlight of the album is Wild Angels, and there Catley don't even need to sing - it sounds absolutely great thanks to the guitars and when the band goes choiring like a barbershop quartet in connection to the refrains I get chills. This is without doubt a future Magnum classic. Even thugh the album is very good it still have some less appealing songs, in my head these are in first hand the songs Spin Like a Wheel, The Last Frontier and the ending ballad Tonight's the Night. None of them really reach the standard set by the rest of the songs but since they are either prequeled or followed by ibe if the three best songs respectivily (Wild Angels, Freedom Day and Midnight Kings) it doesn't do the albu too much harm, they weight up most of the pessimism that might come.

Seen overall I think Magnums 'The Visitation' is the best Magnum ice cream to date. A semi hard chocolate shell with creamy ice cream inside and cola drops and nuts... mmmm, it doesn't matter that it's winter when you get that. Tis album fires an entire mag with strong songs that triumph everything from 'Kingdom of Madness', 'Wings of Heaven' and most of the other albums from this classic tv-series. It's a polished version of their progressive melodic rock and it sounds really mighty except from the minor misses in the production.

I don't shoot salut for 'The Visitation' but I am prepared to say this is the best album you can get that wear the Magnum logo. At least it beats Tom Sellecks mustasch with Ferrari lenghts.


Label - Playground/SPV
Three similar bands - Boston/Jethro Thull/Meat Loaf
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm