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Magnum - Stronghold CD (album) cover




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3.89 | 8 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars The last dance

This double CD features a full live set by Magnum recorded in Germany in 1995, just before they split up (but, of course, they reunited again in the new millennium). At this time they had just released three rather weak studio albums in Goodnight L.A., Sleepwalking, and Rock Art, but this did not stop them from being very good in the live arena. I personally enjoy this live album very much. Even if there are a few weak tracks here, the band is in high form throughout. The performances here are full of passion, emotion, and energy. Something that you hardly could say about the aforementioned three studio albums.

After a pre-recorded intro, the show starts out very well with two songs from the band's early days in Changes from 1979's Magnum II and Back To Earth from 1982's classic Chase The Dragon. The latter album is further represented later on with classics The Spirit and, of course, Sacred Hour. But the very oldest song in the set goes all the way back to the 1978 debut album, the eternal Kingdom Of Madness. Other very good moments of the set include Days Of No Trust and Wild Swan from 1988's strong Wings Of Heaven, the title track from 1986's Vigilante, and several songs from 1985's On A Storyteller's Night including an 11 minute long version of How Far Jerusalem where the band allows themselves to stretch out and engage in some instrumental workouts. All this is classic Magnum. (Indeed, the only absolutely essential Magnum song that is not present here is the superb Don't Wake The Lion.) There is also a rather decent drum solo towards the end of the concert.

The newer songs are very much of a mixed bag. The first one out of these is also the best one. It is a semi-ballad taken from 1994's Rock Art album called Love Is A Stranger. It is a strong and highly melodic anthem with a rather cool keyboard solo. The Tall Ships from the same album is also rather good and incorporates some slightly unusual (for Magnum) sounds. Rock Heavy is actually not heavy at all, it is something as unusual as a Reggae tune! Not my cup of tea at all, but I guess it is nice to see Magnum doing something a little bit out of the ordinary. The worst of all is however the old school Rock 'N' Roll/Boogie Tell Tale Eyes. Another less than good song is Rockin' Chair, a very generic and middle-of-the-road rocker.

Still, the good generally outweighs the less-good and the end result is a a very good live album overall. Also a very nice sleeve picture by Rodney Matthews.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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