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Rock Art
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2005
I had just bought and listened to the reissued version of "On a Storyteller's Night", which I thought was great. And then I picked this up, which I hadn't seen advertised anywhere and thought I'd give it a go. I was completely blown away. I have been playing it 6 times in succession and am still not tired of it. Magnum have gone back to playing great songs and great rock. These guys are far from old has-beens - they are going from strength to strength. The songs are varied, from guitar juggernauts like "We All Need to be Loved" to piano driven "Back in Your Arms Again". There's even a hint of reggae in "Rock heavy", which works very well. "Tall Ships" is classic Magnum but with a pedal steel guitar added. "Tell Tale Eyes" is a straight driving rock number that makes you want to jump and shout along. "Love's a Stranger" has a slight blues tinge and "Just This Side of Heaven" is just that. "I Will Decide Myself" starts off with an acoustic guitar but don't let that fool you - this is a massive song, one of Magnum's best, and then along comes another one - "On Christmas Day", a song of a momentary pause in a war, as actually happened in World War 1. Tony Clarkin and Bob Catley have outdone themselves here. Magnum opus, indeed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2010
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 20 May 2007
Goodnight LA was ok, Sleepwalking very mediocre but Rock Art is fantastic! As it happens their last album before splitting in '95 and what a way to go out! (They since reformed in 2002.) This is a very different sounding Magnum to the one that went before it, perhaps showing Clarkin's itchy feet and desire to leave the confines of the Magnum sound. Hard Hearted Woman and Rock Heavy display lots of metallic guitars and an upbeat ferocity - this is rock 'n' roll Magnum-style. I think what makes this such a good album is the diversity of tempos, Sleepwalking and the newer reformation albums are a little guilty of being too ploddy. This then, despite the dodgy cover art is one of the band's very best efforts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2010
Classic Rock recently did an overview of Magnum's long and illustrious career and unsurprisingly the likes of Storyteller and Vigilante faired well. However, the only album that the discerning listener was advised to avoid at all costs was this one; Rock Art. The prosecution will point to the fact that the album is a little on the light side, in terms of depth, and there are a couple of sickly ballads wrapped up in mid eighties keyboard pomp. Also, there are a couple of songs which dabble in the unholy ground of reggae and (shock, horror) country and western. Most people will have stopped reading this at the end of the last sentence, but for the defence I'd like to redress some, but not all of the balance. The feel of the faster numbers is that of a band literally having a a ball. The guitars, vocals and drums all attack with high gusto, through up tempo and melodic numbers such as We All Need To Be Loved and Tell Tale Eyes and the ballads Back In Your Arms and Love's A Stranger have a lightness of touch that could grace any of Magnum's more celebrated outputs. The reggae swagger of Rock Heavy and the country and western slide guitar on The Tall Ships is less palatable but the answer to this is to check out the live versions on the Stronghold album. So I wouldn't discount this - when the band are apparently having as much fun as they appear to be on this, its hard not to be won over in the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2009
"Rock Art" is the last Magnum album to be released before their split in the mid 1990s. Their "leader", guitarist and songwriter Tony Clarkin went on to form the band Hard Rain with vocalist Bob Catley before reforming Magnum in the 21st century.

It's a really enjoyable album, by no means one of their worst, but it does, however, depart from the "traditional" Magnum sound in a numnber of ways and as such might not appeal to all the band's fans. There is more pace about some of this music than on other Magnum albums, as well as a greater variety of pace. There's also a rhythmic change, with the band using more patterns than on previous albums. Additionally, the instrumentation used in the arrangements is also more diverse, with acoustic instruments featuring more prominently.

The result is quite a diverse sounding album, but it does manage to retain the "Magnum" sound - it actually works quite well for me!

I bought the download version of this album from Amazon - the sound quality is very good (much better than on "Vigilante").
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When I bought this album, I had the hope that I could have something like Magnum II, OASTN, KOM or Chase the Dragon. But... Not...

The first track attracted my atraction, but lacked something. It is not as strong as I could imagine from a record that joins two such great expressions: Magnum and Rock Art. I still cannot find through the years what is happening with this album, but it disapointed me a bit (specially the song Rock Heavy). Using such kind of titles could be dangerous if the song doesn't correspond with the kind of sound that somebody (like me) would expect. Rock Heavy sound is pinky, not heavy in any way, and by the midst of the song I remove the CD from my CD player and stored it until I could be in a better mood to understand what's up with this record.

There are some songs in the album that could deserve the title of "Rock Heavy" like "Tell Tale Eyes" (Maybe switching the titles could have better impact). Is difficult for me to know what really happened between this album and me, but I have strong feelings against it (and I think that it thinks the same of me). So I only give 4 stars to continue with the fight (it will not be able to qualify me here, so I am wining so far). :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2008
Iam listening to this cd as I write about it. 1st track kicks in We All Need To Be Love, Then we have Hard Hearted woman with a good driving beat a slight Whitesnake feel to it as well I think,Back In Your Arms a classic Magnum Ballard,and we have The Tall Ships another classic Magnum ballard. Bob Catley's vocals just sore absolutely love this track. Iam not going to do a run down of all the tracks as i think anything associated with Magnum is worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2008
Sorry, I rather choose early period. "Chase the Dragon" or "On a Storyteller's Night". Minor code and Keyboard orchestration. So, I give only 3 stars. But the quality was not low. It's the matter of favour. Especially, single cut "Tall Ships" is very good sing-along song.

Among Magnum fans, Major-code/guitar-rock type songs also have popularity, Such as "Wings of Heaven". Perhaps they choose last track the best on this album, title is "On Christmas Day". This song will be compared with "Don't Wake the Lion". The Length and Speed change of the last part is similar to.

By the way, why NO rare track was added?: "You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry" (B-side of Single: "Tall Ships"). If this track added, the value of this re-release was risen very high...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2008
Im a huge fan of this fantastic band and would class Rock Art as one of there most up tempo rock albums,every song is great and a treat to listen to.If you enjoy the music of Magnum this album will blow your socks off it Rocks so if you dont have give it a listen and you will see what I mean.Great Stuff'
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2005
Just got this album for my birthday....great to hear they haven't lost their touch :-) now all I have to do is replace all my Magnum tapes for CD's not as easy as you might think .........
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