Re: Magnum - Escape From The Shadow Garden
Date: March 20, 2014 07:39AM
couple of early thoughts here...
Production is REALLY good. Just massive. Best sound I've heard on a Magnum album in a long time--probably since Rock Art. Best production on Bob Catley's voice also in a while. His voice has been buried at times in the past. Not this time!
There is some really good stuff on this album. There are also several that I'm struggling with. That said, I've struggled with a lot of the post-reformation albums. There is a lot of Tony Clarkin's songwriting these days that might be a bit too wordy for its own good, and the dynamics of the arrangements is simply...there. It's a lot of plodding without making much headway one way or the other--and there's a fair amount of songs on the opening half of the album that have that style. Andrew's rearrangement helps a bit, as the "classic Magnum" songs seem to back-weighted.
Less pop than some of the Magnum efforts. More like the Visitation than 13th Day/Princess Alice.
Too Many Clowns is pure Rock Art, but the only song that references that album/sound. I'm not sure it's the best single, but there aren't many singles to be found.
Nice to get a few barnestorming Magnum rockers again. It's been way too long. Burning River simply rocks, and seems to get heavier each time. Weirdly enough, I'm hearing a bit of Goodnight LA (Reckless Man) on that song.
I never thought I would say this, but I actually hear a bit of the Storyteller's Night Magnum at times (Midnight Angel, The Valley of Tears). Those might be the two best songs on the album for me, and The Valley of Tears has what I think may very well be Bob Catley's best ever vocal--and that's no small feat. It's been a long time since I've gotten chillbumps listening to a Magnum album.
As of right now, it's behind On the 13th Day--by far my favorite of the post-reunion albums--about even with the Visitation, and ahead of the rest post-1995.
ranking--by my tastes. This is done on an entire-album basis. A filler can really alter the placement, so an album could conceivably rank fairly low overall, even though there are some really good songs contained within (the post-reunion albums tend to often fall in this category).
Notice there are some gaps. Think of it as a tier structure. The perfect albums. The "almost perfect" albums. The good to very good. The rest. The bottom of the barrel.
On a Storyteller's Night
Wings of Heaven
Chase the Dragon
On the 13th Day
Hard Rain - S/T
Breath of Life
Into the Valley of the Moonking
Princess Alice & the Broken Arrow
Brand New Morning
(Anything unlisted goes down from here.... The less said about these, the better!)
Bob Catley's The Tower would probably be just under Vigilante if you count solo albums. The other solo albums vary wildly in placement.