Magnum – Lost On The Road To Eternity
Steamhammer (Jan 18)
Reviewer: Grant Foster
I’ve taken a while over this album. Let me be straight here. I’m not really a huge Magnum fan. I acknowledge their longevity. I admire their professionalism. Like Thunder, in their later years they have become more and more revered for being, well, themselves.
There were worrying reports lately that Bob Catley was not cutting it live. But this is a studio album right and worry not oh Magnumites, Uncle Bob sounds in fine fettle here. Whether it’s studio trickery or a good old fashioned vocal scrape (!), Bob delivers the goods. Yes, there’s a fair bit of vocal double tracking but that only enhances the melody, rather than boosting a weak vocal.
The new boy, Rick Benton, who replaced long time alumni, Mark Stanway, really shines here. He’s all over this album, but in a good way. Enhancing, poking, prodding and coming up with an array of different sounds which means you don’t get bored with the keyboard contributions.
And the album is sonically really good. The production is as smooth as a gravy sandwich, no nasty sharp bits to get snagged on and the mix is very sympathetic to Magnum’s progressive AOR.
Ok, so you are wondering, ‘What’s the problem here?’, as I’ve waxed lyrically so far.
To put it bluntly, they’ve stayed so close to their signature sound & formula, that they haven’t differentiated enough, to produce a song or songs that actually stand out.
Yes, in other words, as I worked my way through the album, I felt like the songs begin to blend into one another and that I’d heard the vocal melody line earlier too. The songs all seem to chug along at pretty much the same tempo too, which doesn’t help.
I’m sure the Magnum die hards will be spitting blood, but I have to call it thus – It’s a highly polished, professional progressive AOR styled piece of work, from one of Britain’s best loved rock outfits.
But unfortunately, it’s not for me.