Magnum - Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow
SPV - 95910 - April 3, 2007
By George Grant
Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow
is the thirteenth studio album since British prog-rockers Magnum
began in 1978. The majority of this release has been composed by guitarist Tony Clarkin, and with the introduction of drummer Jimmy Copley the band hoped to supply a fresh spin on their music.
However, this record is anything but fresh. Very quickly Magnum
falls into a rut. The songs seem to follow a similar structure with little variation. For a band to be considered “progressive” this cannot happen. I was hard pressed to find moments that really stood out in this record. As a whole, this album just flows over you with very little impact.
’s style of progressive rock is similar to Asia
and fellow British prog-rockers Pendragon
. There’s a heavy classic rock feel to the music, but symphonic elements are also added into the mix. The opening riff of 'Your Lies'
also draws a similarity to Sweden’s Nightingale
. One very surprising similarity I found was in Bob Catley’s vocals. At specific points on the album, Catley’s vocals are reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen of all people. An example of this can be found on the track 'Desperate Times.'
The individual performances on the album are solid. However, the weakest member of the band is surprisingly guitarist Tony Clarkin. Considering he was the main composer I expected a stronger performance. Instead, his guitar parts are bland, and his solos are not interesting in the least bit. The best performance was by Mark Stanway on keyboards. Sadly, Stanway gets lost easily in the guitar heavy mix, but the symphonic touches he adds really improves the stagnant music.
In the end, this record is really only for the Magnum
die-hards. This rock music follows a very similar formula without offering anything interesting to the table. When compared to the new Rush
album released this year, Magnum
just seems tired and lacking any innovation.
Official Magnum Website
Official SPV Website