Magnum – “Escape From The Shadow Garden – Live 2014” 2CD (Steamhammer / SPV)
Still rocking after 4 decades and some 18 studio albums on, Brummie pomp rockers Magnum are still very much on the live circuit and this 9th live album certainly attests to this. Released in both double LP / CD format complete with gatefold, “Escape From The Shadow Garden – Live 2014” features 12 choice cuts from their European spring tour last year. Culled from selected venues and spanning across 7 of those aforementioned studio releases, the band have intended this live album so that fans can fully appreciate the songs penned from Magnum’s beginning, going right back to the 1970s, and bang up to the present day! From early tours with Blue Oyster Cult and Judas Priest to becoming headliners themselves through chart smashing hits and eventually to Reading and Donington, Magnum took a break in the mid 90s with vocalist Bob Catlin going solo and guitarist Tony Clarkin venturing into producing. But the flame was always there, and a recharged Magnum soon returned at the turn of the century and haven’t looked back since. The first half of this double album is made up of their newer material like the hard n heavy ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’, proving that unlike others, Magnum certainly haven’t mellowed with age – bet ol’ Harry was having a field day pounding that kit! Still, it’s almost a warm up compared to the second half, opening with an epic 11 minute version of ‘How Far Jerusalem’ with Clarkin’s guitar simply all over it to a truly superb ‘Les Morts Dansant‘ – probably the best I’ve ever heard it – thanks to Bob’s resilient voice before Mark Stanway’s keyboards explode all over it with the pomp and majesty that only Magnum can do. Of course, for old fans like me the best is saved till last in a rousing, crowd roaring (myself included) ‘Vigilante’ before the one that kicked it off for me – ‘Kingdom Of Madness’ – comes crashing in, still with that unmistakeable raw guitar opener. Bob brings it all home confidently even jesting to the crowd if they’re going to singalong – as if – and thanks to the superb production (by the band themselves no less) you really can hear them (all) going for gold!