Magnum - Lost on the Road to Eternity - (9.5/10)
Published on March 28, 2018
What much can still be said about Magnum, the legendary British melodic rock band that had released its first album, Kingdom of Madness all the way back in 1978 and now 40 years later has reached its 20th studio album, Lost on the Road to Eternity. Well, there are two things to be said, both of which are in the line-up department, first and foremost the arrival of keyboardist Rick Benton and drummer Lee Morris, especially the former being of note, as he is replacing long-standing member Mark Stanway, who left the band after having been an integral part since 1980.
Just having broken the 70-year-mark, Catley’s vocal prowess belies his years, like good whiskey it has aged extremely well, and he is just the perfect complement for Clarkin’s compositions. Good parts of the album operating in varying shades of mid-tempo, cleverly varying enough not to become too uniform, but at the same time offering a very cohesive unit that should please any fan of the band.
Dynamic “Storm Baby” is one of the highlights, setting out with a calm piano, but generating this innate power later on, same for 8-minute epic “Welcome to the Cosmic Cabaret”, including a fairly extensive instrumental section, where Benton can show that he has not just been brought in to emulate Stanway’s style. The title track must be one of the most symphonic/orchestral songs in recent years and one that has a rare guest appearance, with Avantasia’s Tobias Sammett returning the favour of several appearances of his counterpart Catley on his albums, two unique voices coming together here.
What is one of the biggest surprises of Lost on the Road to Eternity is the lack of pure ballads. The Brummies have several songs that show some tendencies (“Storm Baby”, “Glory to Ashes” and “King of the World”), but they all evolve into something more than what it originally seemed to be, especially “King of the World” has a surprise in store with a sudden acceleration after 5 minutes, which adds some excellent drive to the end of the album.
While still standing closer to the more streamlined sounds of their later years than the edgier beginnings of their career, Lost on the Road to Eternity is another excellent addition to the Magnum back catalogue and the stronger guitar presence is a nice difference compared to some of the less heavy efforts. Either way, even the twentieth time around, Magnum still sounds like Magnum and despite their advanced age there are no signs of any drop of quality.