Friday, 21 September 2012


Magnum return with a much anticipated studio album that, in addition to delighting their sizeable and loyal fan base, may offer this hard-working and quintessentially English of bands another shot at success. Guitarist Tony Clarkin, has penned another finely crafted, yet instantly memorable set of songs, the first single 'So Let it Rain' being a prime example. Storyteller Bob Catley's voice is still warm and inviting, injecting just the right amount of emotion without ever becoming over sentimental. That trademark melodic touch is still evident throughout, enhanced by Mark Stanway's atmospheric keys, and no more so than on 'Blood Red Laughter' and 'Shadow Town'. Magnum can still rock out with the best of 'em as demonstrated by 'Dance Of The Black Tattoo' which features Clarkin cranking up a heavy riff, reminiscent of 'Kingdom Of Madness'!

Christopher Franklin


Having already set the world alight with Metal Legends Iron Maiden, Steve Harris hardly needs an introduction. Recording a groundbreaking album is probably the last thing he wanted to do! Harry’s vocalist, Richard Taylor, is a glorious find: softly uttered vocals, this guy doesn’t need to shout to make himself heard, his presence subtly delivered, this most ably demonstrated with the beautiful, melodic vocalising on ‘Us Against The World’. There are some Maiden influences here and there, but these are mostly incidental and predominantly involve Graham Leslie and David Hawkins’ harmonising guitars. Standout tracks the charming ‘Eyes Of The Young’ and sublime end-game ‘The Lesson’ move to 'emphasise' that ‘British Lion’ is not just another rock album. There are layers upon layers that can be peeled back to find its unexpected rewards!

Pippa Lang

Friday, 14 September 2012


After what seems like an age Prog rockers Marillion have returned to the fold brimming with new ideas. From the opening eastern orchestration of 'Gaza' it is clear that they aren't scared of musical or lyrical challenges. The song rises and falls taking the listener on a rollercoaster ride of light and shade with Steve Hogarth’s trademark vocals reaching new levels of pure passion. The infectious title track follows, very much in an 80s pop rock mould with Steve Rothery’s guitar and Mark Kelly’s keys taking things to a completely different level. ‘Montreal’ is a concise journey of interlocking pieces and is where the band get to fire on all cylinders. However, the album’s melancholic highpoint is the stirring 'The Sky Above The Rain' with Mr. Rothery’s stunning lead work making it so much more than a simple ballad. Marillion back at the top of their game!

Geoff Banks