The Grave is going traditional. Older fellers may have heard the name before – UK’s prog rock MAGNUM have been around since 1976 and have released a good number of albums by now. Core members Bob Catley (vocals) and Tony Clarkin (guitar) come back mightily accompanied by Mark Stanway (keyboards), Harry James (drums) and Al Barrow (bass).
Preceding Brand New Morning is ’02 not particularly successful comeback CD Breath of Life. Polemics aside, Brand New Morning is fairly good and tight, most songs are mid-tempo. The problem with BNM is the fact that songs are exactly that: invariably mid-tempo. There are no particularly slow or particularly fast songs – and that is ultimately the bane of Brand New Morning – only if you are looking for variation anyway.
Musically, Brand New Morning is not very distant from albums like Vigilante or A Storyteller’s Night – 9 songs partially acoustic (the Blue and the Grey), with piano (the Last Goodbye) and plain good ol’ rock and roll.
Despite not being exactly an expert in traditional (semi-)progressive rock, it is not difficult to recognize the album’s worth, but it is also harder to come to terms with the dominating mid-tempo. The details are there and the recipe is very successful for fans of the old days – it is just that tiny little thing called ‘tempo changes’ that is lacking. Enjoyable, nevertheless.
Magnum – The Last Goodbye