Eight years... EIGHT years since "Rock Art" had been released, the until now last studio-album by British bombast-legend MAGNUM. Now, for the 25th band-anniversary they have reunited and "Breath Of Life" rotates in my player.
As "Rock Art" and before that also "Sleepwalking" had been good albums, which yet could not reach their heyday, also style-wise, I haven't had too high expectations on "Breath Of Life", but the "old guys" surprise me with an album that has recaptured the unique and typical MAGNUM-flair that I haven't found with any other band yet!
Tony Clarkin's guitar-play, like earlier, too, is not the lead-instrument (apart from a solo here and there), but has its very own sound, which makes it typically MAGNUM and also the use of the keyboards reminds me of the albums of the albums of their middle-phase and Bob Catley's truly unique vocals - I don't have to lose any words about them!
Melodic Hard Rock with the certain, MAGNUM-typical, a bit mystic touch il offered to us by this comeback-album, somewhere between "On A Storyteller's Night", "Goodnight L.A." and "Rock Art", unfortunately not reaching their heyday between "On A Storyteller's Night" and "Wings Of Heaven" and the experimentialism of their early works had been abandoned even in that time.
On the plus-side are classical MAGNUM-tracks like the opener "Cry", the great "This Heart", the good ballad "Still", "That Holy Touch" with some light double-bass (!) or the brilliant closer "Night After Night", but unfortunately we also get a few more shallow tracks like "After The Rain", which lack a bit of the fire that the rest of album, thankfully, has.
Unfortunately the cover has turned out pretty disappointing, but I admit that I am spoiled by the earlier masterpieces by Rodney Matthews, too much I love his art. The production, though, is out of discussion, perfectly suiting the Brits' sound.
"Breath Of Life" doesn't reach the above-mentioned classics and you (fortunately) neither can call their sound modern, but this album breathes the mystic drama that MAGNUM stood for ever since, and which had been sorely missing on "Rock Art". Thumbs up!