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MAGNUM The Gathering Sanctuary/Universal (2010)

Magnum

A live/studio/rarities career spanning collection and long overdue it is too. And although it is fairly comprehensive, it is far from being definitive.

Disc one opens with some classic early material and the first glaring omission is the band's debut 1976 single, but outtakes and alternative versions from the first album (including "Kingdom Of Madness" and "Find The Time") sit well next to "In The Beginning", "Universe" and "Invasion". Magnum took early 80s pomp rock to new levels, powerful vocals, layers of keyboards and guitars, and of course Tony Clarkin's superb songwriting.

"Great Adventure" is catchy, and the 7" remix of "Changes" is excellent too. Several live tracks, then "The Spirit" and "Soldier On The Line", coupled with a session outtake of "The Lights Burned Out", and it's a damn fine start.

Disc 2 opens with some single and b-side tracks and an orchestral version of "The Word". More album tracks and demos, and through the early years to the band's career highlight of "On A Storyteller's Night".

Disc 3 takes us into the Polydor years, which includes the excellent "Vigilante" and top 40 hit singles. With "Days Of No Trust" and "Start Talking Love", Magnum became as fashionable and popular as they were Britain's top exponents of prime pomp hard rock. There's plenty of singles and b-sides here too. Between here and disc 4, the pre break up career is completed, with a dip into the EMI years and live tracks from the farewell tour.

Disc 5 is a highlight, being a live set from Hammersmith Odeon 1988. This was originally filmed for a video, and shows Magnum mixing early material with the Polydor hits, and the 14 track audio disc opens with "Vigilante" and "Wild Swan" and finishes with "The Spirit" and "Sacred Hour". Brilliant stuff. Not only was I there, it is another live album upon which you can hear my whistling.

Can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy of this album.

****½

Review by Joe Geesin

www.joegeesin.com


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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