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magnum onthe13thday
Artist: Magnum
Title: On the 13th Day
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock
Release Date: 24th September 2012
Label: Steamhammer / SPV

Album Review

There’s a point that many people reach in their lives when the musical clock stops. They reminisce about the good days, when bands made “real” music and wrote “proper” songs while bemoaning how crap everything is nowadays. Every generation insists they’ll not follow their parents into the trap having been bored to tears by Elvis or Merseybeat or Prog or even Punk. Every generation fails.

It’s not surprising, then, that for some the clock stopped in the mid 80s, and some bands are synonymous with that period. Magnum are seemingly destined to be one of those bands who will forever be tied to the heyday of hair rock. This is something of a disservice, though, and overlooks the fact they actually formed in 1972 and in their early days played as a backing band for artists like Del Shannon. Similarly, they may have been hitting the stadiums and breaking into the big-time around the same time as acts like Bon Jovi, who they appeared alongside at the 1985 Monsters of Rock festival, but they’ve also appeared with bands like Judas Priest and Marillion, and their melodic brand of rock has both hard and progressive edges.

So, while opener ‘All the Dreamers’ draws on the “classic rock” template, it also stretches it beyond the seven minute mark. ‘On the 13th Day’ might be their 18th album, but Magnum are still pushing in different directions and exploring the format of the genre that brought them to a big audience. Ponderous piano leads the anthemic lead single ‘So Let it Rain’, while ‘Dance of the Black Tattoo’ brings industrial grind to proceedings, and is more Killing Joke than Whitesnake. For those wanting some straight old-school rock, there’s plenty to prevent disappointment. One consequence of pursuing the staple rock route is that the more standard tracks suffer from being rather ordinary by comparison. ‘Shadow Town’ is equal parts Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, and at six minutes long, it’s a bit of a drag for all of its arena-blasting bluster.

Strings augment the theatrical ‘Didn’t Like You Anyway’, and the title track finds Bob Catley getting philosophical over a neat chugging guitar, although I can’t help but be reminded of Eric Clapton’s ‘Bad Love’ only without the hook. The main riff of ‘Blood Red Laughter’ is somewhat reminiscent of ‘Because the Night’, but that’s no bad thing, and the soaring solo is tight and manages not to extend into indulgence. In fact, despite the last few tracks slumping toward standard fare and the majority of songs running past the five minute mark, ‘On the 13th Day’ manages not to drag, and is undeniably ambitious in its scope. Not bad for a band who’ve now been going 40 years.


01. All The Dreamers - 7.09
02. Blood Red Laughter - 4.40
03. Didn't Like You Anyway - 4.33
04. On The 13th Day - 5.35
05. So Let It Rain - 4.50
06. Dance Of The Black Tattoo - 5.16
07. Shadow Town - 5.57
08. Putting Things In Place - 4.41
09. Broken Promises - 4.55
10. See How They Fall - 4.56
11. From Within - 4.42


Tony Clarkin — Guitars
Bob Catley — Vocals
Mark Stanway — Keyboards
Al Barrow — Bass
Harry James — Drums


Cover Picture

magnum onthe13thday


Music: 7
Sound: 7
Total: 7 / 10

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