Magnum’s 1985 effort is simply a ‘must-have’ album for any supporter of AOR and melodic rock.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: On A Storytellers Night
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Bob Catley – vocals * Tony Clarkin – guitars * Mark Stanway – keyboards * Wally Lowe – bass * Jim Simpson – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 How Far Jerusalem * 02 Just Like An Arrow * 03 On A Storytellers Night * 04 Before First Light * 05 Les Morts Dansant * 06 Endless Love * 07 Two Hearts * 08 Steal Your Heart * 09 All Englands Eyes * 10 The Last Dance
The early-mid 80’s period saw the development of UK band Magnum, from being more than just a support band to a full-blown musical entity in their own right. Formed in 1972 before coming to attention during the late 70’s, the band released a few albums of traditional UK pomp on Don Arden’s label Jet Records, plus support tours with the likes of fellow ‘brummies’ Judas Priest and US rock legends Blue Oyster Cult.
Their 1982 and 1983 efforts ‘Chase The Dragon’ and ‘Eleventh Hour’ consolidated on the work to date, thrown in also – were a few appearances at the annual Reading Festival. By the time 1985 rolled around, Magnum were on the brink of something special – history will show that the album ‘On A Storytellers Night’ proved to be that special catalyst.
Mixing mythical imagery and commercial pomp somewhere between Grand Prix and Asia, Magnum unlessh a balanced mix of songs onboard, skirting around the shorter intense bursts to the more drawn out passages akin to the best labor intensive prog bands out there. The latter is best reflected on the classic opener ‘How Far Jerusalem’ – with a dramatic keyboard intro. Plus we’ve got the fatalistic ‘Les Morts Dansant’ (‘Dance Of The Dead’). Or there’s the superb myth and magic of ‘On A Storytellers Night’.
Equally effective are the commercial fireworks of ‘Just Like An Arrow’, ‘Before First Light’ and the delicate AOR of ‘Two Hearts’. The parping pomp hits home on ‘Steal Your Heart’, reminiscent of the aforementioned Grand Prix, while ‘All Englands Eyes’ follows in the same vein. The wistful ballad ‘The Last Dance’ finishes up on an air of grace and grandeur.
Magnum’s 1985 effort is simply a ‘must-have’ album for any supporter of AOR and melodic rock and one which sits quite nicely in my Top 50 albums of the 80’s decade. Magnum followed this up with a couple of superb efforts: the commercial enterprise of ‘Vigilante’ and the chart success that was ‘Wings Of Heaven’.
Both albums well worth obtaining for those followers of British pomp. However, the pick of the bunch is this timeless classic, still making for great listening years after the event.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)