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4.7 out of 5 stars
On The 13th Day
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2012
.... this might just be one of the best Magnum albums ever. I'm not a die hard,a recent convert actually,in the last couple of years i've been working my way thru the bands back catalog,this disc just grabs you instantly,its a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Highlights well the 'epic' opener 'All The Dreamers' just struts its way out of the speakers and you know immediately its going to become a modern day classic,a must play 'live' surely. Then 'Blood Red Laughter' bounces along on throbbing bass and its an instant toe tapper,if its not already due to be a single then it should be.

Have to be honest i thought this album might be a similiar sound to THE VISITATION,its not ,where that disc was dark and brooding,this is the opposite,its up beat,catchy and well happy,only the melancholy 'Putting Things In Place' dropping the mood slightly.

Its certainly a commercial Magnum but without losing any of their heritage,choruses and sing alongs abound on the title track,'Didnt Like You Anyway' and 'So Let It Rain' without diluting who Magnum are.

Heavy moments can be found with the superb 'Dance of the Black Tattoo' with it rifftastic opening complete with menacing piano in the background,it vies with 'See How They Fall'(with its teasing opening riff) as the heaviest track on the album,showing these boys can still rock when they want to.

Personal favourites on this disc are pretty hard to come by,as i love it all but if pushed 'Shadow Town' is superb,a working man dig at the plight of society whilst the rich carry on untouched,if Seger or Springstein released this it would be held up as a modern day workin' class anthem(and probably fly to the top of the charts).

so there you have it a superb disc,if you bought the ltd edition,then you'll have a second disc,approx 30 mins with several live tracks/demo and acoustic,'Eyes of Fire' once again left of the main disc,do they not like this track? The best moments are the 2 acoustic versions of 'Blood Red Laughter' & 'Shadow Town',surely an idea in there lads for a whole album.

As usual its a solid performance from the whole band,Clarkin once again proving how under rated he really is,and Catley whilst allowing for age,his vocals i thoroughly enjoyed,yes time has aged his voice,for me though its still got a warm,earthy quality that enhances the current music.

So its 5 stars for them and a thank you from me.
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on 25 May 2017
So I've been a big Mangum fan for years. I first saw them in '88 on the Wings of Heaven tour. And while I'm also forgiving, this album needs none of that to push my buttons. Beautiful packaging even before you listen to the music, it comes boxed and inside is double gatefold.
It's a two disc package, the first one is the studio album. 11 new tracks, and a definite harder edge than the earlier stuff, and all the better because of it. The lyrics are the same as Magnum always do, intricate, thought provoking. Could Magnum be the English Dio? Almost.
The bonus disc is 6 live tracks, and also great listening. Melodic and hard at the same time, great listening. My personal favourite is We All Need to be Loved.
An Angel's Alternative
Cold Steel on the Rocks
We Are Cold Steel
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on 27 September 2012
Some people complain that Magnum's recent output isn't a patch on their glory days. How could it be? Today's musical environment is a world away from Magnum's 1980s pomp. They could no sooner make a 'Storyteller's Night' or 'Wings of Heaven' than Marillion could make a 'Misplaced Childhood' or a 'Seasons End'.
It's funny how some people also say "You know what you're going to get with Magnum". I disagree. There may be a fundamental 'sound' and formula to the music at times but if you listen to Magnum's back catalogue, each album has differed to it's predecessor, whether it's in the production or the power of the music.
Since Magnum reformed in 2001, this has definitely been the case. 2002's 'Breath of Life' was a stylised keyboard driven album with computer programmed drums. The follow up 'Brand New Morning' was a darker, harder and rougher sounding album that showed the band in a more aggressive mood at times. 2007's 'Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow' was an epic, heroic album with a smoother, lusher production and 'Into the Valley of the Moonking' was a more sedate, laid back, contemplative, rustic sounding record. 2011's 'The Visitation' had much more of a 'prog' vibe with a harsher tone.
'On the Thirteenth Day' sees Magnum blowing off the cobwebs with a more direct, straight ahead, ballsy rock approach. There are no 'big' numbers on here nor any complex numbers. Everything is up-tempo with catchy choruses and some crunching guitar driven tracks. At 55 minutes or so long, the album is a nice, digestible length and it flies by at some pace.
First track 'All the Dreamers' is a fairly typical Magnumesque opener with a slow build up before bursting into the melody with a killer riff and a majestic chorus.
Choruses aren't in short supply on this album; 'So Let it Rain' is an irresistibly catchy pop rocker with radio and chart appeal, reminiscent of 'Wild Angels' from last years 'The Visitation'. It's a gem of a song.
My favourite is 'See How They Fall'; a big powerful rocker that grabs you and never lets go.
The album also has its reflective moments. 'Shadow Town' is a mid paced rocker that deals with England's crumbling towns and the recession whilst taking a little swipe at the wealthy who remain unaffected. A simple, but effective lyric. 'Putting Things In Place' is quite a surprise. Normally, Magnum's ballads stay just about the right side of cheesy. This track is very contemplative and bitter-sweet and wouldn't sound out of place on a Fish record somehow. 'Didn't Like You Anyway' has a playful riff and a lovely swing and swagger to it.
The rest of the album is made up of great toe-tapping rock tracks.
When listening to 'On the Thirteenth Day', it is worth bearing in mind that at least three fifths of Magnum are seriously getting on a bit. The fact that the album is so upbeat and entertaining is indicative of the energy that these guys still have despite their age. Bob Catley sings his heart out on every track, giving arguably, his best set of vocal performances since 1994's 'Rock Art'. His harmonies are great too.
Tony Clarkin does what he does on every Magnum album. Top quality songwriting and a sagely guitar-style, with great riffs and well crafted solos. Such an underrated guitarist and composer.
Mark Stanway's keyboards add texture and classical sweeps here and there with stabbing synths that compliment the riffs beautifully.
The rhythm section of Al Barrow on bass and ex-Thunder drummer, Harry James is probably the most powerful the band has ever had. They're unfussy and just drive the songs home, raising the level of technical proficiency as and when appropriate.
Rodney Matthews adds his artistic touch to the sleeve once again and the combination of his drawings and Al Barrow's photography have helped make recent album packages top, top quality. Who wants downloads when you can get your hands on something real and proper like this?
Magnum really are in rude health. Since 2001, they have spent an incredible amount of time writing, recording and touring; building and increasing their fan base that little bit more with each successive album. Apparently, 'On the Thirteenth Day' is well on course to be Magnum's most successful record since 1992's 'Sleepwalking'. If that's the case, it's well earned and thoroughly deserved.
Magnum are national treasures as far as I'm concerned and this new album simply emphasises the point.
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on 4 July 2014
After 2000 Magnum seemed to have lost their way a bit musically and even split to form other projects and release new albums outside the Magnum name. Then as quickly as it came and we fans thought it was over, bam the band was back, and in your face. A string of great albums came out of them like the golden days from ...The Broken Arrow, ... The Moon King, ...The Visitation and now this platter of tracks which I hope the 13th isn't a bad sign. Well, folks it isn't and a solid rock album as the previous albums listed here. The trigger pulling band explode into a groove of rock that only they can deliver, even if they are classed as rock dinosaur's, but they will give you a run for your money in entertainment that others fall flat on their faces. This is written post album release after its follow up release Escape From The Shadow Garden (2014), as it was one of the many catching up albums I still have to get including the CDs Sleepwalking and Kingdom Of Madness by Magnum, but only available on expense imports or for silly money to buy them from sellers. So thank heavens for my old great vinyl copies and 25 year old £1K separates at the time of buying to keep me going. Anyway, another great album to buy that even Clint Eastwood Magnum Force couldn't blow away.
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on 25 September 2012
Magnum are one of the few bands that I happily will buy an album from sight unseen, as you can be pretty much be assured of a quality album, compared to so many other bands. Sometimes, the only thing you can adequately compare their albums to is their own back catalogue.

So now we have "On The 13th Day" which is for my money the best album since the reformation. I have enjoyed all their albums since they have reformed, their songs still undeniably Magnum whilst being a tad simpler at times and more direct. This is not to say the musicianship or lyrics have been simplified, not at all. Tony Clarkin maintains the high standard of his work with this album (he truly is the greatest songwriter the UK doesn't know it has) and the band are all on top form.

So to the songs themselves:

All The Dreamers: Great opening and a good mid-tempo rocker which has all the hallmarks of a concert starter.

Blood Red Laughter: Good riff, excellent vocals and one of the songs that I would think could work as a single.

Didn't Like You Anyway: The bankers get a verbal dressing down thanks to a very catchy tune, excellent lyrics and great delivery by Bob (who is in fine voice through the whole album).

On The 13th Day: Another up-tempo rocker and another possible single choice.

So Let It Rain: The single (so far) from the album and imo one of the best pop-rock songs Magnum have done since the 80's.

Dance Of The Black Tattoo: My personal favourite on the album. Superb heavy guitar riff and powerful lyrics and just a really dark atmosphere.

Shadow Town: And we are back to possible single choices with a good up tempo beat and a great sing along chorus. I can see this one going down really well live.

Putting Things In Place: magnum proving that sometimes simple works. haunting atmosphere and Bob's vocals are superb and heart breaking.

Broken Promises: Another good up tempo rocker .

See How They Fall: Love the opening guitar on this track and again, another good single choice.

From Within: I've read reviews saying this song was the weak spot on the album and I can't agree. I think it is a great way to end the album. Love the choral work and the positive energy of it and I can see that again being a good single and great concert closer.

On the 2nd disk are some extra tracks. "Those Were The Days" was a demo from their sessions for Wings Of Heaven but was never used (except part of the song was woven into "Heartbroke & Busted" and its interesting to hear. "Eyes Like Fire" finally gets on to an album proper (it was easily good enough to have made the main album to be honest). The acoustic versions of "Blood Red Laughter" and "Shadow Town" just prove the quality of the songs that you can strip them down to the basics and they still hold up superbly. There are also live versions of "We All Need To Be Loved" and "The Moon King" and are of the usual high standard we expect from the band live.

All in all this is Magnum tqaking all the lessons and forward momentum they have had since their reformation and turning out an album that is very commercial by their standards but without compromising their integrity.

The album is a must have for any serious lover of classic rock.
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on 17 November 2012
I've used amazon album reviews for guidance (and entertainment) for many years now but never been compelled to post a review until now. I buy lots of CDs, mainly rock but very little "melodic/pomp" rock, which is what Magnum always seem to be classified as. I don't have any Journey, Foreigner etc. It is very rare these days that I find an album that I can't stop playing and want to hear every track. This has now happened twice within in a few weeks. The new Ian Hunter one, "President", and "13th Day". I was first aware of Magnum when they supported Whitesnake in 1980 at Bath Pavilion. I bought "Trouble" instead of "Kingdom of Madness". I've seen them numerous times including the farewell gig in the Wulfrun in the 90s. Albums have always been a bit patchy. Except the two classics of course, "Storytellers Night" and "Wings of Heaven". Post the "come back" it wasn't until "Alice" that I wanted to hear any tracks more than a couple of times. I liked "Moonking" more but struggled to listen to it from start to finish. The Visitation was even more of a struggle. But 13th Day....... I don't know what it is. The songs are more varied? There seems to be more use of backing vocals? Perhaps is just the general song quality. I googled this year's tour set list and was disappointed to find they are only playing four tracks from 13th Day. I'd be happy if they played the whole thing and Eyes Like Fire & Those Were The Days from the bonus CD. What more can I say. It's brilliant. If you are new to Magnum or only know "old" Magnum this is the one to get acquainted with. As others have said it is well worth the extra few pounds for the 2 CD version. The 2nd disc is a mini album in it's on right. Well done Magnum. See you at High Voltage 2013?
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on 28 September 2012
No messing, best bit is at end of the song 'dance of the black tattoo',the eeirie fairground wurlitzer music. Absolute genius classic magnum.
One complaint it isnt on a storytellers blah blah blah blah blurgh.
Heard that one before? i am glad it isnt comparable ,for if it was then what was the point of me buying this cd when i already own on a storytellers yak yak yak.People say they want something new or experimental etc OH YEAH look at u2, ooh we all loved zooropa and its new direction didnt we? If i want to hear magnum take a different direction (say dance/soul) then i would buy an artist who specialized in that crap (oooops did i say crap i meant genre).
Its a new collection of typical magnum songs doing what magnum do best.
I could put together my own' best of magnum collection' and people would say 'WHAT is that doing on there? where is so and so?'.On that collection you would find quite a few of this CD ......It would have about 200 tracks on it any way, and would retail at about £9.00 and have a picture of a blond woman on the cover sucking a chupa chup leaning on my cement mixer, and be drawn by Rodney Matthews with a big black crayon...only joking
This is a great collection of songs .Pretty much faultless and the bits i could have a nit pick at i cant be bothered to as that involves to much typing..........Oh go on then,i bloody hate these cardboard cd boxes they don't fit in my cd holder. Phew, there criticism over.
Sorry about the appalling grammar but i am illiterate and lazy.
great rock cd
its magnum
Haha just reviewed the cd without going on about the songs,go make your own minds up, give it a couple of listens though its excellent
warning subliminal message below
buy it you know you want to,buy it buy it buy it buy it buy it
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on 25 September 2012
The album kicks of with All The Dreamers a slightly haunting start leading into an epic Magnum track with a great riff from Tony and good drum work from Harry with Bobs voice sounding great. We are then led into Blood Red Laughter this is a full blown rocker which has an element of Just Like an Arrow runing through it. Its not the same but the song just has a similar feel to it with Tony providing a great riff and the rest of the band rocking their socks off.
Didn't Like You Anyway starts with cello and some more nice guitar work from Tony and developes into a real little punchy number with some great work from all the elements of the band and unusal subject matter to. It must be the first song written about the bankers and the role they played in the banking crises. Next track to burst on to the scene is On The Thirteenth Day this song would not have been out of place on the Vigilante album its good old Magnum with rocker with great work from all of the band and Bobs vocals are surpurb on this track and Tony provides some great guitar breaks as well.
Next we have the sublime So Let It Rain. On this song Bobs vocals sound a little gruf but in a good way its sounds like they are meant to be that way and the song builds into a great chorus. Now we hit the Heaviest track from this album the amazing Dance Of the Black Tattoo starting with a heavy riff from Tony with Mark cleaverly filling in the gaps with some great keyboard work solid druming from Harry. The song has a catchy chorus as well added to this is the haunting fairground music at the end. Next we have Shadow Town galloping on to scene.Now this song is my personal favourite from the album it has a Bruce Springstien feel to it it gallops along with some some great vocals form Bob and some more great guitar work from Tony.
Next we have the sad song Putting Things In Place its a sad ballard that Bobs voice was made for with some loverly keyboard work from Mark. But such a sad song!!!
Broken Promises contains some great drum work from Harry with more fantastic vocals from Bob its another song where you can hear how tight the band is. See How They Fall starts with a guitar that sound like your going to to get a live version of Kingdom Of Madness but it developes into a newer fresher song with the riff runing in the background.
Bringing things to an end we have From Within a song that is full of harmanies and Bobs voice has never sounded better then it does on this track. It is a great song to finish an album with and you can imagine the crowd joining in and singing along with it at the end of a concert.
To conclude I would say this is the best Album Magnum have come up with for years. When I reviewed The Visitation I gave it five stars and it desrverd all of them but On The Thirteenth Day is so much better and five stars is not enough.
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on 11 October 2012
What a fabulous album from Magnum!

Recent albums have had a rather dark tone in terms of mood but this one seems far more upbeat and lighter in contrast (though there is a good selection). It reminds me far more of the classic 80s Magnum than anything since and that is a very good thing as Clarkin is more than capable of writing melodies as catchy as anyone but for some reason has held back in recent times. Just checkout 'From Within' as one example.

The band's performance is faultless and the production allows a little more space for Bob's vocals - something that has bothered me in the past. Tony's guitar work is really something, I was a bit worried after Evolution that he might just bang out power-chords over the lot but he's reminding us of what he is capable. Great sounds and creative parts that work perfectly for each song. It's good to hear some more keyboards too; for me they are an important element of Magnum's sound and the days of the 'everything must be stripped down and dry and no synths' 90s are long gone. I was amused at the techno-style 'breakdown' on All the Dreamers made me smile...hopefully it was just a little joke ;o)

Sound-wise, it continues to improve upon the recent albums which have gone from sounding pretty ropey to superb since the reformation. The mix is excellent, the best yet and sounds both full and clear, not an easy task. If I have one gripe it's that the overall level is very, very loud. Even here a good job has been done in that it isn't harsh and fatiguing to listen to at high levels, quite an achievement. However hitting the mix that hard with the limiter tends to diminish the impact of the drums and louder parts of the songs. You can hear this especially towards the end of the first track where the song comes back in after the 'techno' bit, the drums get lost to the guitars. Other times Tom rools don't poke out as they could. This might be worse on portable equipment as there is a lot of low-end going on (bass sounds fab though!) to eat up the smaller pool of headroom.

I appreciate that most people won't care about these relatively small sonic compromises, I write them for those that do. For anyone else, there is no question it's one of the best-sounding Magnum albums and the best since the reformation.

I do hope Magnum release a DVD of some of these songs played live. It's a shame there wasn't a little bonus DVD (interviews etc.) in the deluxe package especially as this album is their best in years.

Well done guys. One very happy fan!
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on 30 September 2012
Magnum have produced yet another classic album.40 years since they formed and still making albums that sound fresh! The selection of songs on here are quite possibly the best they have ever done.They range from a real headbanger in Dance of the Black Tattoo to some marvellous melodic rock in Shadow Town and Broken Promises and a couple of beautiful ballads in Putting Things In Place and From Within and of course the more commercial Let It Rain single.There is not a bad song on this album. If there was any justice in the music world the album would be a top 5 hit! The band sound like they are a new band just starting out,such is their enthusiasm.Tony Clarkin really lets rip with his guitar on here and of course with Bob Catleys vocals as top notch as ever and Mark,Al and Harry on top form then i would say this is an essential purchase for an lovers of proper music!
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