‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’, the nineteenth studio album from hugely influential British melodic hard rock group Magnum, crashed in to UK national album chart today at number 38, simultaneously debuting at number 2 in the Rock & Metal chart and at number 4 in the Indie chart. This is the band’s first top 40 album chart position for over 20 years.
‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’, was awarded 10/10 & Album Of The Month by Powerplay Magazine writer Dave Cockett, who stated in the March 2014 issue that “Put simply, Clarkin and the band have excelled themselves once again, and if like me you can’t get enough of the wonderfully idiosyncratic phenomenon that is Magnum, then ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’ is an exotic delicacy that you can’t ignore. A veritable national treasure, they just keep getting better with age!”
Classic Rock AOR’s Phil Ashcroft states in the current issue that “Like all our musical institutions, Magnum have their own unique sound and this is their best attempt this century at matching the effortless quality they had at their commercial peak. It’s a long time since I’ve been truly excited by a Magnum album, but ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’ is the one I’ve been waiting for.”
Magnum head out on a thirteen date April / May UK tour. Dates are:-
19th April SOUTHAMPTON – The Brook
20th April BUCKLEY – Tivoli
22nd April OXFORD – O2
23rd April BRISTOL – O2
24th April NORWICH – Waterfront
25th April LEAMINGTON SPA – Assembly
26th April MANCHESTER – The Ritz
28th April NOTTINGHAM – Rock City
29th April GLASGOW – Garage
30th April NEWCASTLE – O2
2nd May HOLMFIRTH – Picturedome
3rd May WOLVERHAMPTON – Wulfrun Hall
4th May LONDON – Islington Town Hall
Magnum, who regularly breached the Top 40 of both the singles and album charts in the Eighties and early Nineties, came together in the Midlands in the mid-Seventies and released their debut album ‘Kingdom Of Madness’ in 1978, followed by ‘Magnum II’ in 1979 and their first live album ‘Marauder’ in 1980. During this period they toured relentlessly with the likes of Def Leppard, Blue Oyster Cult and Judas Priest.
1982’s ‘Chase The Dragon’ album was the first to go Top 20, and was accompanied by a sold out UK tour. 1983’s ‘The Eleventh Hour’, 1985’s ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’ and 1986’s (Roger Taylor produced) ‘Vigilante’ album all fared similarly well but it was 1988’s ‘Wings Of Heaven’ LP which really broke the band into the mainstream, going gold, breaching the top 5 of the UK chart and spawning three top 30 singles – ‘Days Of No Trust’, Start Talkin’ Love’ and ‘It Must Have Been Love’. During this period the band regularly graced the stages of such venues as Hammersmith Odeon and major UK Festivals as Reading and Castle Donington.
1990’s ‘Goodnight To L.A.’ album also went Top 10, spawned the Top 40 single ‘Rocking Chair’ and was accompanied by a tour of the UK’s Arena circuit, including venues such as Wembley Arena and the NEC. 1991’s ‘The Spirit’, 1992’s ‘Sleepwalking’ and 1994’s ‘Rock Art’, were followed by the announcement of the band’s demise and an extensive farewell tour, during which the band’s 1996 live album, ‘The Last Dance’ was recorded.
Clarkin went on to work as a producer and songwriter for other artists, brought out two albums with Bob Catley in Hard Rain (‘Hard Rain’ in 1997 and ‘When The Good Times Come’ in 1999), and generally recharged his musical batteries.
Then, in the summer of 2001, Magnum reformed and began writing their February 2002 ‘Breath Of Life’ album, released 8 years after ‘Rock Art’. “It was particularly inspiring for me to write and produce new material for Magnum,” Clarkin enthused at the time, continuing that “Compared to the Hard Rain tracks, the Magnum compositions are powerful, deeper, and more passionate.”
2004’s ‘Brand New Morning’ album was an even more accomplished body of work, and won over a host of new fans, as well documented on the ‘Livin’ The Dream’ live DVD, recorded in the UK in 2005, and released in 2006. Both ‘Princess Alice and The Broken Arrow’, released in March 2007, and 2009’s ‘Into The Valley Of The Moon King’, won over ever more new fans, leading to 2011’s ‘The Visitation’ charting at 55, and then ‘On The 13th Day’ charting at 43 in the UK national album charts in September 2012.
Now ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’, the cover of which has once again be created by fantasy artist Rodney Matthews (Asia, Nazareth, Eloy); “Is a release which forges an arch to the early days of Magnum’s career” muses Clarkin, adding “And that’s wonderful! I was really happy when my friend Jimmy Lea of Slade came to visit me at the studio again and said: ‘You’ve done it again?’