Rock Art was the last release by Magnum prior to their split in the mid 90's. It is definitely a departure for the band as it is far heavier and contains a greater diversity of tracks in terms of sounds and influences. In keeping with their recent form, it is also markedly different from their previous album "Sleepwalking". Also, most significantly, there is a sense on this album that Clarkin wanted to try new things, and write in a different style to the Magnum style that he had been writing for some 20 years by that point. As such, this album can just as easily be seen as essentially the first Hard Rain album (the 4th and last being Magnum's return album "Breath Of Life").
However, the album itself is excellent. Clarkin had grown as a producer and the band without exception are on song musically and vocally. "We All Need To Be Loved", "Hard hearted Woman" and "Tell Tale Eyes" show the band capable of some very fast, thundering rock tunes whilst ballads such as "Back In Your Arms Again" and "I Will Decide Myself" show their tender side. "Rock Heavy" shows the band fusing their trademark sound with reggae and the result is fun. "The Tall Ships" is a fusion of classic Magnum and country, and is one of the album's highlights. "On Christmas Day" continues Tony Clarkin's long standing tradition of anti-war songs and is a great addition to that collection.
All in all it may not be the album Magnum fans were expecting but it was the album that ultimately Magnum needed to make and that Clarkin needed to write. it was a gamble, and in terms of commercial success it wasn't a gamble that paid off in the short term, however in the long term it was undoubtedly the best thing for Clarkin, Magnum and the fans.