Magnum’s New Studio Album ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’ Charts At Number 38 In The UK

‘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?’

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Live Review: Royal Hunt & Cloudscape

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It’s not often that Royal Hunt plays in Sweden, and even more rare to see them play close to us in the southern part of Sweden. Cloudscape is perhaps the band that I have seen the most concerts with through the years. I’ve followed them since before they became Cloudscape and have known the founding members for a long time, me and guitarist Patrik Svärd goes back 20 years now.
I met up with fellow colleague and close friend, Mr.Nylén, and we grabbed a bite before arriving at the venue,The Tivoli in Helsingborg. As usual we met a few friends, as we normally do.

This was the first concert of the duos about 3 week long tour. The Tivoli has a rather small stage, which makes it hard for the bands to move around as they like.

About 20 minutes late, Cloudscape entered the stage. The first song (Mind Diary) had a little soundproblem, merely the microphone were to low, this were fixed when the second song were played. Kingdom Of Sandand Before Your Eyes are obvious choices in a setlist, but the fourth song were a brand new one. A New Design are included in the limited edition cd that the band sells at the concert. Personally, this song is great. one of the best songs from the band and hopefully a mainstay at future concerts. Eyes Of Jealousy isn’t one of my favourite songs from the band but nevertheless a good song. Demon Tears were played next. SingerMike Andersson dedicated this song to Andy Pierce, singer in Nasty Idols, who passed away a short time ago. The last song of the rather short 45 minute set were Under Fire, one of the bands main songs from the debute records.

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All in all it was a good Cloudscape-concert. Not the best I’ve seen with them but not the worst either. A good days work from the boys, as usual.

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Royal Hunt isn’t a band that I collect records of, I only have a couple of them. I know though that they are considered as a very good live band with a great singer in D.C. Cooper, who has returned to the band, and their DVD released 8 years ago are really great. So when the chance to see them in my home town popped up, there wasn’t a slight hesitation really. Even more so because I missed them at Firefest in 2012.

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The band got on stage about 9.30 pm and started with Double Conversations and followed it up with One Minute Left To Live, the latter from the latest record. The brilliant The Mission was up next, a song that DC Cooper didn’t sang on record. In fact there were more of them (Clown In The MirrorRunning WildEpilogueand Cold City Lights), more than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. The best part of the concert were the last third (not including the encore), when the band played TimeClown In The MirrorHalf Past Loneliness, the brilliant Last Goodbye and Message to G-D. The encore’s were Hell Comes Down From Heaven (from the latest record), an instrumental mix (which they could’ve replaced with a real song in my opinion) and Epilogue. 3 songs from the new record is actually a number that I think is perfect, for any band. Not too many and not too few either (still plenty of room for the older songs), so a great choice there, and I think the choices of songs from it also were spot on. There were actually songs from most of the studiorecords the band has released, except from the 2 Mark Boals-records in 2008 and 2010. So very well spread and good choices of songs.

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Hard hitting drummer Allan Sorensen seemed to have fun and did a great job behind the drums, mastermind Andre Andersen laughed throughout the concert and also seemed to be very comfortable. Young guitarist Jonas Larsen and bassist Andreas Passmark were flawless. The one thing that impress me the most though were DC Cooper. He’s not the type of singer that impress me more than any other on record, but live it’s another thing. He’s one of the very few singers that actually sings better live than on record, it was fantastic to hear the man sing, absolutely brilliant job!
Royal Hunt released their first record 1993, that’s 21 years ago, hopefully they continue to deliver, they are a great live band to say the least.

Setlist:
Double Conversion, One Minute Left To Live, The Mission, Tearing Down The World, Hard Rain’s Coming, Running Wild, A Life To Die For, Cold City Lights, Time, Clown In The Mirror, Half Past Loneliness, Last Goodbye, Message To G-D
Encore: Hell Comes Down From Heaven, Instrumental Mix, Epilogue

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