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'Sacred Blood, Divine Lies'
Release Date: Friday 26th February 2016

Brian Boyle

brian boyle


Following 2014's brilliant 'Escape From The Shadow Garden' the Birmingham crew make a welcome return with their 19th studio offering.

If you were asked to single out the most overlooked and underappreciated songwriter in British rock history, I don't think you should be looking any further than Tony Clarkin. The 69 year old's prolific pen has given birth to Magnum classics like 'Vigilante', 'Days Of No Trust' and 'On A Storyteller's Night' to name a mere few.

However if you take a quick browse at a few of many top ten progressive/hard rock polls, Clarkin's compositions are nowhere to be seen. Still with a published catalogue fast approaching 200 tunes, I doubt he's losing any sleep over it.

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To follow up an album like 'Escape From The Shadow Garden' might seem an arduous task to most writers, but as soon as the record was let loose on the public, Clarkin kept his creative flow gushing to produce yet another batch of quality melodic rock.

That's masterfully displayed in the opening & title track, a big slab of classic Magnum from start to finish. A big brawny riff and a typical manicured chorus that is given the full vocal treatment by his trusted sidekick Bob Catley.

Magnum weren't shy in the past to turn on the dramatics, and while 'Crazy Old Mothers' displays only pinches of that, the big bullying keyboards are enough to give this stomping Queen-esque tune extra muscle.


Inspired by a trip to St Petersburg, the alluring 'Gypsy Queen' romps along with a thumping marching rhythm. Catley's delivery is so compelling and does evoke many visuals, I couldn't help but imagine hordes of town locals charging through the city in an irate manner. You might get something totally different, but either way its vagabond vibe will get you thinking.

Very often the best songs you will have the good fortune to hear are bulging with simplicity, 'Your Dreams Won't Die' is clinically obese with it.

Magnum have always turned out melodies that leave a welcome mark on you, this treasure will leave you permemantly branded. With lyrics like "sweet dreams, blue sky, their gonna take you all the way", the song is fully immersed in positivity.

It might not warm itself to the hardest of their immensely loyal following but to the general punter it will strike a chord.

The prog boots are well and truly laced up on the epically composed 'Afraid Of The Night'. Brilliantly constructed with Clarkins' classy riff, it's the haunting middle section that gives this song a flamboyant twist.

The huge rousing quality of 'A Forgotten Conversation' once again awakens memories of their vintage creations; brimming with dynamic drama, its fulsome chorus won't leave you in a hurry.

The big and beefy 'A Quiet Rhapsody' kicks in the door with sheer bluntness, sounding like it was done in one straight take, it's off the cuff vibe is infectious.

Clarkin and Catley have always been Magnum's front of house, and rightly so, but a lot of credit must go to their genial keyboardist Mark Stanway; the quality of his musicianship is a big player in the binding of the band's music.

On 'Twelve Men Wise And Just' his simple and ample delivery stitches this AOR-laden track together perfectly. Although the album closes in lacklustre fashion with a fairly limp 'Don't Cry Baby', on the whole, this record is a powerful collection.

After forty-four years Magnum are proving that there's still plenty of ammunition left in the chamber.

This track is taken from the bonus DVD

Track Listing:
Sacred Blood, Divine Lies
Crazy Old Mothers
Gypsy Queen
Princess In Rags (The Cult)
Your Dreams Won't Die
A Forgotten Conversation
Quiet Rhapsody
Twelve Men Wise And Just
Don't Cry Baby

Line Up: Tony Clarkin-Guitars
Bob Catley-Vocals
Harry James-Drums
Mark Stanway-Keyboards
Al Barrow-Bass

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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