Magnum ‘The Serpent Rings’
Album Review By Adam McCann
SPV/Steamhammer Records/Hard Rock
Magnum are one of hard rock’s busiest bands; in the last 20 years alone, Magnum have delivered album after album of exceptional quality, ever running on that relentless hamster wheel provided by the music industry. But, with Magnum, quantity also equals quality, none of the albums released since the band got back together in early 2000’s have been sub-par and now Magnum are trailblazing a trend of classic bands such as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Whitesnake releasing some of the best work of their career. It is therefore a no brainer that this trend continues with Magnum’s 21st studio album ‘The Serpent Rings’.
There is no denying that ‘The Serpent Rings’ continues to plough the furrow already laid down by Magnum in the last two decades and because of that, there are no surprises here. However, once again, the quality in the musicianship and song writing stands tall, guitarist Tony Clarkin once more shows that he is not only underrated, but also one of the most unsung heroes of the rock music scene. Tracks such as ‘Where Are You Eden?’, ‘You Can’t Run Faster Than Bullets’ and the beautiful closing track ‘Crimson on the White Sands’ continue the precedent set down on the last Magnum album ‘Lost on the Road to Eternity’. Unfortunately, ‘Lost…’ provided a pinnacle for the band and ‘The Serpent Rings’ just about fails to keep up. That being said, there is an expansion of sound here and whilst Clarkin and Bob Catley deliver their usual stellar performance, ‘The Serpent Rings’ shows a huge performance from drummer Lee Morris and keyboardist Rick Benton who may have been a little contained on the bands previous effort; but, the latter in particular really brings his skills to the table, rather than be a Mark Stanway clone, Benton peppers this album with his own personal sound.
Sure, ‘The Serpent Rings’ falls just short of the bands previous effort, but that is not a criticism, this is an album which shows a band delivering top drawer material with a band that is now settled and comfortable following a rather significant line-up shuffle.
Rating : 85/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann