Magnum - 'The Sperpent Rings'

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Magnum - 'The Sperpent Rings'

Everything you would hope to get from a Magnum album.

I thought the last Magnum album was the best they had done for some time. And, not being that long ago, I wondered if they had released this too soon. As we all know, a good album is a hard thing to follow. I was also unaware, until I got the press release, that they had a new member, namely Dennis Ward (ex-Pink Cream 69) on bass, replacing Al Barrow, who had logistical problems, living in America.

I think the easiest way for me to describe this is as a typical Magnum album. Tony Clarkin knows how to write damn good music, and I don't think this is labelled as a "concept" album, but there is a thread running through the songs which deal with a lot of the topics we read about today. The memorable 'Where Are You Eden' is about searching for something better, 'Madman Or Messiah' is about followings and pseudo religions or cults like Waco and Charles Manson, etc., 'The Great Unknown' reflects on everything that is happening at the moment and nobody has a clue about, including politics, 'Man' is a Reggae-tinged song about what people are doing to the planet in the name of profit and greed, and 'The Last One On Earth' continues the theme, regarding how it could all end up There is a very small part of this that sounds a little like Yes with the harmony backing vocals.

A harder edge has been given to 'Not Forgiven', a real heads-down, no-nonsense rocker which should definitely be played live when they tour, while 'The Serpent Rings' is a Magnum epic at just under seven minutes long in the finest traditions. The album cover is based on this song, and Clarkin describes it as an eerie and creepy fairytale, and it's a perfect example of why Magnum are described as "Pomp" and "Prog" Rock.

This is another good album from Magnum, with melody, hooks, foot-tappers, thought-provoking lyrics and the clear vocals of Bob Catley; everything you would hope to get from a Magnum album, and it's amazing to think that after all this time Clarkin can still come up with material of this quality.

Andy Brailsford

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