Braced with trepidation for 2012’s ‘On The Thirteenth Day’, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d find, but I did come away far happier than I had on Magnum’s recent previous efforts, but only just.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: On The Thirteenth Day
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Bob Catley – vocals * Tony Clarkin – guitars * Al Barrow – bass * Mark Stanway – keyboards * Harry James – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 All The Dreamers * 02 Blood Red Laughter * 03 Didn’t Like You Anyway * 04 On The Thirteenth Day * 05 So Let It Rain * 06 Dance Of The Black Tattoo * 07 Shadow Town * 08 Putting Things In Place * 09 Broken Promises * 10 See How They Fall * 11 From Within
WEBLINKS: Site Link
I’ll admit that the last few albums from Magnum were a disappointment to me. Give them kudos for carrying the flame into the 21st century, but their material wasn’t convincing to be perfectly honest. Braced with trepidation for 2012’s ‘On The Thirteenth Day’, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d find, but I did come away far happier than I had on their recent previous efforts, but only just.
You’ll read my summation of their more recent albums linked underneath via the Magnum tag. SPV in Germany have continued to support the band over the years, but the material is quite a way off that classic 1985-1994 era bookended by ‘On A Storytellers Night’ at one end with ‘Rock Art’ holding up the other end.
Those wishing for more significant input from keyboardist Mark Stanway will feel more than a little disappointed; perhaps to the degree of ending their support for the band. I know I have, but for some reason I still keep poking my head into their world hoping for a change, but alas, it is not to be.
The band are brave kicking off the CD with a 7 minute track ‘All The Dreamers’. It’s a raunchy full effort which is propelled nicely to the start of the first verse, though the pace falls away somewhat before being lifted by chrous time. It has an epic feel to it, drama and intensity, but the ebb/flow variation is a bit overkill for a starting track.
Tony Clarkin leads the aural assault for the cleverly titled ‘Blood Red Laughter’; it’s more of a guitar rocker with Stanway’s presence limited to some piano parts. ‘Didn’t Like You Anyway’ will interest Queen fans; with some ‘Killer Queen’ like parts thrown in for good measure. The title track ‘On The 13th Day’ is one of the better tracks here; a surging melodic rocker taking us back to the early 90’s if anything. A surprise for sure.
A piano led intro for ‘So Let It Rain’ makes way for an anthemic rocker which mixes up 70’s orchestral pop/rock with its 21st Century equivalent. ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’ is a gritty rocker bordering on heavy metal; dark themes and the appropriate vibe to match. It’s ok, but out of whack with what we’ve heard thus far.
With ‘Shadow Town’ we finally get a dose of what I call classic Magnum; with John Parr like tempo, galloping guitars and Stanway’s synths finally getting a dust off. Yay! ‘Putting Things In Place’ features a bunch of crossfading synths from Stanway, a ballad with accompanying piano. I liken it to songs like ‘Les Morts Dansant’ or ‘The Last Dance’.
The next track ‘Broken Promises’ opens out to being a tough rocker, while Clarkin has some fun with the guitar effects on ‘See How They Fall’; the song chugs away nicely and bursts open noteably on the fiery chorus. ‘From Within’ is the closing track here; a mid-tempo affair which though carrying AOR appeal, is still some way from their best material in that sub-genre.
‘On The Thirteenth Day’ carries some reasonable songs. To their credit, none of the songs are complete write-offs, and I did give this a good shot when reviewing the album. I don’t think the track listing is the best though; the change in style, tempo and sound was a bit offputting when listening to this all the way through.
But I guess that can be easily tweaked if listening to this in the mp3 realm, less so the CD Realm. Still some way short of their best, this album is an improvement on their recent releases, so that says something.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)