Magnum - Into the Valley of the Moonking
"Into the Valley of the Moonking", Magnum's new opus, remembers what their previous post reunion efforts failed to recall. The resurrection of luxuriously slippery melodies, the fine knit meticulous inter weavings of high class musicianship and that signature sprinkle of magic. All is alive, well and breathing here, in such celebrated clarity as Magnum has not seen since its glorious 80s days. The previous albums seem like leaden follies in comparison. Over burdened by seeking modern acceptance in desperation and progressive dalliance in turn. "Moonking" in contrast is a sleek, triumphant return to the past. It is a testament to the pleasure of Clarkin's penmanship and axework, and the mysterious, pleasantly weathered voice of Bob Catley.

This is a diverse disc, yet held together by that classic rock prog-tinted Magnum sound that is their symbol of pride and uniqueness. The embracing of melody and the daring to experiment in equal measures, add both balance and excitement to the arrangements. The semi-title track for instance, simply called "The Moon King", is unlike any other. Its fantastical beauty, like pulling back a curtain and revealing another world in wonder hiding behind the curves of the draperies' shadows. Bluesy guitars wail reverently akin to the ancient winds of many 70s Rainbow tracks. Silvered in classic rock gloss and the curiously beckoning voice of Catley who boldly invites the listener to come partake in this hidden world of fantasy.

 
"All My Bridges" has the instant gratification from "Storyteller's Night" written all over, delivered in pure AOR waves that have the biting chill of dark waters on a frosty winter's night. Stanway's keyboards pulse in the track like the electric glittering of fireflies, winking bold and brilliant, while the chorus is sing-a-long gold and blissfully catchy. Stark guitar rhythms plain and bright as day's sunlight, bubbling define the sleekly midtempo "In My Mind's Eye", just as much as the persistent flow from the relentless chorus. Warped effects set off a guitar break that echoes the vocal harmonies that drive the track.

"Take Me to the Edge"
is every bit as desirable as the bubbling, lightly blister of "Bridge" but keeps to itself the depth in a darker heart seen in its aggressive approach. The chorus is whip cracking good and quite fierce. The emotion sweeping "Noone Knows His Name" uncurls like a sleeping serpent, from dormant solitude to powerful magnificence. "Time to Cross that River" is largely acoustic in nature and borrows much from the earthy voice of BobCat who brings the light to this glass smooth song of bittersweet melodies tumbling from one to another like destinies swirling inside a crystal ball. A quiet darkness threatens to swallow "If I Ever Lose My Mind", which becomes a striking snake of clever venom and focused musicianship.

 
Fevered fury drives the uptempo "Feels Like Treason", simple guitar melodies slicing through the song as a knife slides through butter. A sizzling solo threading through is a short-lived promise of decadence divine. Straight up, no frills rock'n'roll represents the front of "Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns" but hiding behind the rollicking meat of the track is a lurking tempest. It whips forth the talents of all involved, for a final skillful instrumental presentation, revealing progressive intricacies.

"Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow" briefly hinted at past majesty, its glimmer of a hopeful future left more of an impression than its actual musical content did. "Into the Valley of the Moonking" takes that hope and turns it into a wonderful reality. The Magnum spirit is given free reign and has meaning once again, instead of being smothered under false modernistic pretences. The bottom line is that this "Moonking" is a classy album from one of Britian's most celebrated rock legends. The faith has been restored.


Written by Alanna
Monday, June 8, 2009
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Alanna: 8.5/10

Members: 8.5/10 - Average of 1 ratings.



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Comment by gizmo (Member) - Thursday, June 11, 2009
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Comments: 140
Ratings: 4
Alanna if you should compare this album to one of the previous ones which one would it be?

I have read 2 fairly negative reviews of this album yours are the first positve, and what you write is almost the exact opposite of those reviews. They state that the band sound like a tired old band with no ideas, no nerve and that everything is quite average. Nothing majestic about it at all and no song(s) stand out. The writes both been very fond of the band before so it surprises me a lot. Actually never read a bad review about this band.

Always liked the band but they are not as good as in the old days, but everytime i hope for another On a storytellers´s night.

Might add I have not heard the album yet

Posted by gizmo
Thursday, June 11, 2009

Comment by Alanna (Staff) - Friday, June 12, 2009
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I would say it has the heart of "Storyteller's Night" but also a great deal of Bob Catley's solo efforts as well. It's a modernized Magnum sound but not in a suffocating way (like "Brand New Morning"). There are moments that recall their AOR inspired efforts as well as the more progressive bits and even a bit of the 70s too. It's a combination of all these things...

As for the bad reviews, I have not read them myself, but I cannot fathom how someone could like "Alice" and "Morning" yet not appreciate the freshness, tight hooks and progressive layers that define "Moonking". Give it a shot, you will likely enjoy this one despite what other reviewers might say.

Posted by Alanna (Staff)
Friday, June 12, 2009

Comment by gizmo (Member) - Friday, June 12, 2009
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Thanks :0) I was going to buy it anyway, have one have em all, so if they released a fart in a container and released that with a cover I´d still buy it.

I won´t get too high hopes, but hopefully your review brings more justice to the album than the others :0)

I have not payed much attention to Magnums later work except Princess alice. Both "morning" and "breath of life" only been played 2-3 times. Don´t know why, but likely I did not find anything spectaculy about them. Can´t really recall one song from those albums.

Posted by gizmo
Friday, June 12, 2009

Comment by Dark Lord (Member) - Friday, August 21, 2009
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This is a fantastic release and was stapled in my daily playlist from day one. Most songs are really great, "The Moon King" is my favorite track of the album.

I'm not a big fan of "All My Bridges" and "Take Me to the Edge", they are good songs but nothing especial to me, but as Alanna said this is a diverse disc and apparently she liked them. all other songs are close to perfection and this album is a must have.

A solid 8.5 ; delete a those to tracks and it's a 9 :D

Kudos to the band's veterans and espesially Bob Catley for being so active in past few years; hopefully he'll release another fantastic solo album like "Immortal" soon enough.







Posted by Dark Lord
Friday, August 21, 2009

Comment by Dark Lord (Member) - Saturday, August 22, 2009
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Comments: 33
Ratings: 89
This is a fantastic release and was stapled in my daily playlist from day one. Most songs are really great, "The Moon King" is my favorite track of the album.

I'm not a big fan of "All My Bridges" and "Take Me to the Edge", they are good songs but nothing especial to me, but as Alanna said this is a diverse disc and apparently she liked them. all other songs are close to perfection and this album is a must have.

A solid 8.5 ; delete those two tracks and it's a 9 :D

Kudos to the band's veterans and espesially Bob Catley for being so active in past few years; hopefully he'll release another fantastic solo album like "Immortal" soon enough.

Posted by Dark Lord
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Comment by Alanna (Staff) - Wednesday, September 2, 2009
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This was an unusual album for me, because usually the songs that I notice first are the ones that remain my favorites. However, this one is so diverse and beautifully done that others have taken precedence unexpectedly. "Time to Cross that River" and "If I Ever Lose My Mind" are of special note.

I am fairly positively certain that Catley will do a followup to "Immortal" and he is also appearing on the next Avantasia album, so there's that to look forward to. Catley + Karlsson is just a match made in heaven though (and I admit that I am a huge fan of Karlsson's work too).

Cheers!


Posted by Alanna (Staff)
Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Comment by gizmo (Member) - Friday, October 16, 2009
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Just got the album today.

It´amazing the best since Goodbye L.A, how could the reviews i read be so negative i don´t get it. So much energy, they sound forever young.

Posted by gizmo
Friday, October 16, 2009

Comment by Alanna (Staff) - Sunday, October 18, 2009
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gizmo:
I don't believe they actually listened to the album!! Because if they HAD listened to it, those reviews would not have been such negative, ridiculous garbage!!


Posted by Alanna (Staff)
Sunday, October 18, 2009










Review by Alanna

Released by
SPV - 2009

Tracklisting
1. Intro
2. Cry to Yourself
3. All My Bridges
4. Take Me to the Edge
5. The Moon King
6. Noone Knows His Name
7. In My Mind's Eye
8. Time to Cross that River
9. If I Ever Lose My Mind
10. A Face in the Crowd
11. Feels Like Treason
12. Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns


Style
Melodic hard rock

Related links
Visit the band page

Magnum - Official Website

Other articles
Brand New Morning - (Alanna)

The River Sessions - (Michael)

Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow - (Alanna)

Vigilante - (Alanna)

Wings of Heaven Live - (Alanna)

The Visitation - (Brian)



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Ratings
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4 - Below average
5 - Average
6 - Good
7 - Very good
8 - Outstanding
9 - Genius
10 - Masterpiece
666 - Unrated

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