"The Visitation"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The last Magnum CD I heard "Princess Alice And the Broken Arrow" rekindled my love of melodic British rock. That release was so strong and resonated so well that it opened me up to a whole type of music I'd been missing out on. So I very anxiously awaited a follow up to see if the band could duplicate that earlier success.

There are times on "The Visitation" when Magnum nails it pretty good, but I cannot say it moves me as deeply. It is not really trying to be the same record and I can't blame the band for avoiding a retread. "Princess Alice..." was bold, strident and rocking, with crunchy riffs and solos from Tony Clarkin. It was a defiant sounding record with moments of wistfulness. "The Visitation" is quieter and more mournful, an introspective album. It is a wistful sounding record with moments of defiance. The keyboards of Mark Stanway are much more prominent and Clarkin takes a more subdued role. This is not to say "The Visitation" is all soft ballads and muted laments...the record has its hard rocking moments like the excellent "Midnight Kings" and "Wild Angels".

The sadness that popped up on "Princess Alice..." occassionally is the guiding force on "The Visitation" and many tunes have a melancholy feel, especially "Mother Nature's Last Dance" and "Freedom Day". It's not a very happy album to listen to, though it does end on an upbeat note with the peppy "Tonight's The Night". A lot of the sadness comes from Bob Catley's raw but tuneful vocals.

There's just a little too much sadness and introspection here for me to say "The Visitation" is a knock-out like "Princess Alice.." It's an album with all the Magnum trademarks, I'd just prefer more of a kick to it.