Magnum – ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ (Steamhammer/SPV) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Thursday, 11 January 2018 04:00

Magnum artworkDespite a career spanning 40 years, Magnum’s significant contributions to British rock music are all too often understated.  They may not have enjoyed the same commercial success as some of their peers, but the consistent quality of their output has garnered an intensely loyal following among fans in the know.  ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ is the 20 full-length album from the Birmingham rockers, and continues Magnum’s recent streak of late-career successes from a creative standpoint.  A wonderful marriage of theatre and swagger, it would be of little surprise should ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ be looked back upon as one of the band’s very best records.

 

Opener ‘Peaches And Cream’ is an immediately anthemic start to the album, largely thanks to the confident strut of Tony Clarkin’s main guitar riff, as well as a luxurious solo embellishing the vocal melody.  From here, ‘Show Me Your Hands’ blends cascading piano runs with a driving rhythm section, as well as hugely effective staccato work from Clarkin.  Of course, no Magnum album would be complete without the requisite power ballad (or two…or three) and ‘Without Love’ delivers; delightfully overblown and yet coloured by an unexpectedly funky rhythmic backdrop.  The 80’s sensibilities are continued with the synth rock of ‘Tell Me What You’ve Got’, anchored by a monumental refrain with considerably meaty production.

 

No strangers to shifts in their line-up, this is Magnum’s first album to feature Rick Benton on keyboards and Lee Morris on drums.  While both assume their roles comfortably among the ranks, it is Rick Benton’s contribution to these songs that adds significant flourish to the already stellar material.  From the Jon Lord-esque organ runs on ‘Peaches And Cream’, to the progressive dalliances on the majestic coda of the closer, ‘King Of The World’, his performance is never anything less than captivating, and is an incredible asset throughout ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity.’

 

 

Bob Catley retains his powerhouse status on his twentieth go around with Magnum.  Now into his seventies, the story-telling oratory quality of his vocal style bears even more poignancy with his slightly weathered delivery.  He excels at the melodrama of ‘Forbidden Masquerade’, and soars on the stunning chorus of ‘Glory To Ashes.’  However, the album’s highlight comes with his duet alongside Avantasia’s Tobias Sammet on the bombastic title track.  Having guested previously on numerous Avantasia tracks, the two voices compliment each other to great effect on a symphonically charged banger, culminating in a finale that is stomping yet sweepingly majestic.

 

The calibre of the music on ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ can only be attributed to the experience and expertise of the creative minds behind it.  Highly consistent from start to finish, the album is one of the finest achievements of a band whose career is already littered with plaudits and due far more recognition than they currently receive.  If this album sets the barometer for the quality of music in 2018, then we’re in for a hell of a year.

 

‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ is released on 19 January.

 

Magnum tour poster

 

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