11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
If you needed convincing...,
This review is from: The Gathering (Audio CD)I think 'Melodic Rock' is the term generally pinned on Magnum. A valid description maybe, but it doesn't really do justice to this band. There's so much more to them than that. 'Monumental' is a fitting term, both in their musical and lyrical breadth, and their own enduring journey of thirty-something years. Their first offerings are as strong and vibrant as their latest, and all that came in between. A rare commodity indeed, considering they always sound fresh and original on every album, but they're always instantly recognisable as Magnum.
Tony Clarkin has a mesmerising ability to craft emotive and powerful songs time after time, giving a genuine feeling of the hard work and passion that he, along with his fellow band members, puts into them. Even with various lineup changes down the years, the remarkable vocal delivery of Bob Catley has been a constant, the perfect match for all of Tony's rich and varied songwriting. All the musicians in Magnum play an important part in shaping their sound, and all the elements come together beautifully. A singular ensemble, no question about that.
So here we have another collection of songs from the great band, and what sets this apart from previous collections is that it takes the finest examples from every studio album, and a couple of live ones, making it the most complete showcase yet. Also included are various alternate versions, B-sides and out-takes, all of which I must say, are as outstanding as the original album tracks, no filler material here whatsoever. It's just a shame that there are so many other great album tracks that didn't make it onto this set, but that would mean several more discs, and I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere.
In fact, the final disc of this set is the famous Hammersmith Odeon show from 1988, here in all it's glory it's one of the greatest live examples of this band I've ever heard. Justly renowned for their live performance, Magnum continually show that it's not just in the studio that they deliver the goods, and seeing them in London last year, they've lost none of the magic.
All the discs sound fantastic, a great mastering job - as was the case with the remastered album CD's from a few years ago that were packed with extra tracks and nicely presented, and if you haven't got them already, they're well worth it.
In terms of presentation regarding this set, it's a good solid book-like case, with the front inside and back inside faces holding two discs each, like a digipak. Fixed in between them is a book full of band photo's, album covers, memorabilia, etc., and a detailed Magnum history, the last leaf being a sleeve holding the live disc.
The front cover of this box set has a marvelous painting by the legendary Rodney Matthews, another familiar feature of the Magnum canon. And this brings me to my one gripe. Why, when you have a lavish, hand-painted work of art suited perfectly to set off this high quality collection, would you clutter it with the most amateurish example of decorative graphics I've seen in a long time? It looks like what it is - a cheap, cut and paste job with no sense of composition. Even the band name is off-centre in relation to the border (well it is on my copy anyway) - slipped with the mouse did ya? This 'decorative' layout on the cover is a truly dreadful effort at have-a-go graphic design, all the more infuriating when it obscures Matthews' superb work, which should have been left unmolested as a splendid reminder of how finely crafted album covers reflect the majestic entertainment contained therein. Next time, guys, have a professional do the job, you deserve it.
That's irritating, that is. However, it doesn't dent the five star rating for this package as it's the music that counts, and that is a very handsome collection indeed. If you're a magnum fan, you shouldn't think twice about buying this. If you're not familiar with the band, and fancy jumping in at the deep end - this will tell you what you need to know.
I didn't need convincing, but listening to all the tracks I thought, once again, what a bloody good band. Looking forward to the new album.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Nov 2010 19:47:33 GMT
Jeremy Jenkins says:
great review thank you.
Posted on 16 Dec 2010 06:42:15 GMT
Sabooski the Cat says:
Great review! Great box set, got it yesterday. I really don't understand your gripe with the 'layout'? I only wish the front box painting were BIGGER...I have no problem at all with the whole package.
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