mike davies column january 2021

Following on from their The Valley Of Tears – The Ballads compilation three years back, Magnum release a companion piece in Dance of the Black Tattoo (Steamhammer/SPV), putting the emphasis on their harder rock side, with a mix of radio edits and rare live recordings. It’s the latter that kicks things off, first with Black Skies and Freedom Day, previously only available as bonus DVD tracks on Escape From The Shadow Garden, followed by the punchily melodic All My Bridges, another DVD bonus live number, this time from The Visitation and recorded at the High Voltage Festival 2010. It’s back to the previous bonus tracks then for both On A Storyteller’s Night and Dance of The Black Tattoo, all of them underlining what a dynamic and powerful live force they are and the often underrated strength of Bob Catley’s voice.

These are followed by two rare radio edit studio cuts, their seasonal anti-war On Christmas Day and, hitherto only available on vinyl or download, Born To Be King from Goodnight L.A. Two more from the studio archives are the Birmingham-punning Phantom Of Paradise Circus and No God Or Saviour, both bonus cuts from Sacred Blood – Divine Lies, then it’s back to live recordings with Your Dreams Won’t Die an d Twelve Men Wise And Just, first appearing as bonus numbers on Lost On The Road To Eternity, the same album offering up the hitherto unreleased radio edit of Show Me Your Hands with the final cuts here being radio edits of Not Forgiven and Madman or Messiah (the keyboards sounding a touch Supertramp) from last year’s The Serpent Rings. Magnum have always been somehow regarded as in the second division of the UK’s hard rock league, but, once again, these explosive, melodic and lyrically dramatic numbers are firm evidence that they are up there with Purple, Rainbow and Maiden in the elite ranks.

death by

Congrats to Joseph Hicklin aka DEATH BY STAMPEDE who got married just before Christmas, now let’s hope 2021 brings a new offspring in the shape of a new album.

roots-and-branches.com 2020