Exposé Online banner

Magnum — Progressive Classics
(Purple Pyramid CLP 0563-3, 1999, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 2000-05-01

Progressive Classics Cover art

This English "pomp-rock" (as those silly British metal mags used to call it) band has been around for donkey's years. Wide spread fame always seemed to elude them however, but given the disdain of the popular media it is little surprise. Indelibly impressed in my mind are the record jackets of Magnum's early 80s albums Chase the Dragon and The 11th Hour, decorated by the great Rodney Matthews. The fantasy world depicted by Matthews however is not matched by the down-to-earth music Magnum has been pumping out. Originality seems to have held little virtue for them: Bad Company, Uriah Heep, Styx, Jefferson Starship, and more – elements of all these are discernable in these kinds of dramatic keyboard-embellished arrangements that were wiped out by the late 80s. Where Magnum shine most are in the vocals — recalling David Byron, Bowie, or Elton John, they are always belted out with conviction. What this group really were in dire need of is some production savvy. The sound quality fluctuates from song to song (understandable as it is compilation of many years' work I suppose). A couple songs are little more than demo quality, and the drums on most of the studio-recorded entries here sound poorly mixed. The two live songs suffer no such affliction. I'd need my sanity checked before I ever called Magnum a progressive band, but if 80s British hard rock is your game you may want to give a listen.


Filed under: New releases, Archives, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Magnum

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kit Watkins - Beauty Drifting – This one was a real surprise. Watkins has always had a broad body of work in the electronic realm, but this album is something very different from his last few efforts, ambient or rhythmic. Beauty...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues