Magnum - Brand New Morning
Melodic Hard Rock
9 songs (55'25)
Release year: 2004
Magnum, SPV
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
It's really too bad that that this band wasn't promoted more heavily in North America. I've always followed the metal and hard rock scene very closely ever since the mid 70's but I'd never heard of Magnum until I read a review by Chris for their Wings Of Heaven album several years ago. My first real exposure to them was partly due to Bob Catley's involvement with the Avantasia albums as well as his work with Gary Hughes on the Once And Future King project. I was really knocked out by his soulful and emotional voice and when his solo album When Empires Burn was released last year, I immediately picked it up. If it wasn't for Bob Catley's voice, I probably wouldn't have even given Magnum a chance. What a mistake that would have been! I've since become a big fan and have picked up several of their older releases. Existing since the early 80's, Magnum toured with bands like the Scorpions and Whitesnake but never really achieved more than a cult like status here in North America. Magnum went on hiatus for a while in the late 80's although periodically releasing new material. Their album Breath Of Life, released in 2001 was a sort of comeback for the band with a more stable lineup and a commitment for the future. Brand New Morning, their newest release features their new permanent drummer (Harry James - Thunder) and gives the band a more hard rock edge - no more drum machines!! The album was produced by guitarist and principle songwriter Tony Clarke.

Although the richly melodic edge is ever-present throughout this album, there's more of a basic and raw hard rock edge not only to the songs themselves but to the production of the album as a whole. Much of this album has a very loose feel and comes off sounding like it was recorded live especially with the endings of most of the songs. All the melody is still there as in past releases but the band has decided against a very slick and polished production this time around. The album kicks off with the AC/DC, Led Zeppelin influenced title track, Brand New Morning. Using a very Kashmir-like hypnotic rhythmic sound, this one has solid melodies and a great catchy chorus; as do most of the tracks on this album. There's a real 70's vibe with this track especially in the guitar sound and besides Zeppelin, Whitesnake comes to mind. The uplifting melodic sense continues with It's Time To Come Together, a very positive and spiritual track with another great chorus to get stuck in your head! We All Run softens things a bit but is another very spirited track with some orchestrated guitars and keyboard sounds that again is highlighted by a great chorus. The somber intro to The Blue And The Grey makes way for for a slower shuffle-like rhythm that although has a lighter feel initially, gets heavier mid-song. The soaring chorus to this one gives it an almost spiritual or gospel-like quality. I'd Breath For You opens with some big open-string riffing and is yet another solid track although I found the chorus to be a bit weaker on this track than the others. The Last Goodbye uses a nice melodic piano for the intro but then gets heavier with an orchestrated sound. There's a huge melodic chorus and some heavier sections with big slicing power chord riffs. Immigrant Son again sees the Zeppelin influence with it's overall feel especially the heavily orchestrated sound. Hard Road is a straight ahead hard rock tune with a catchy mid-tempo style and the album ends with a 9 minute opus entitled Scarecrow. With a great hypnotic beat, it's slow plodding style throws more than just a passing nod to the 70's with it's Uriah Heep's Stealin' style of organ and bass intro as well as the strong Zeppelin influenced orchestrated hard rock. With another huge chorus, this one takes on a more 'epic" quality than the rest of the songs on the album.

Overall, this is another outstanding release by these melodic hard rock masters. They really are masters of their craft. One thing that may be a sore spot for fans of the band is the production of the album. Bob Catley's voice sounds very dry and without much effect at all and his voice is somewhat back in the overall mix. The rich melodies are still here but the production gives the band a bit of a harder edge in sound. Although this album is instantly likeable, I found that it took several listens to really sink in. All the songs are great with each one having a certain catchiness and a chorus or melodic hook that will get stuck with you after several listens. The choruses to the songs are amazing and there's lots of layering to fatten up the vocal melodies. Although there's definitely a lighter edge to some of the tracks, most are of a mid-tempo variety with the band not straying too much either on the slower side or the faster heavier side. Any fan of great melodic hard rock music should not be without this album. It's too bad that I just got this recently as it would've certainly been on my top 15 list for 2004. Magnum's music is timeless and there will always be an audience for this type of great melodic hard rock.

Killing Songs :
Brand New Morning, It's Time To Come Together, We All Run, The Blue And The Grey and Scarecrow
Marty quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Magnum that we have reviewed:
Magnum - The Serpent Rings reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
Magnum - The Eleventh Hour! reviewed by Ben and quoted 81 / 100
Magnum - Chase The Dragon reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Magnum - On A Storyteller's Night reviewed by Chris and quoted CLASSIC
Magnum - Alice And The Broken Arrow reviewed by Chris and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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