Hard rockers Magnum got their start in Birmingham, England, in the mid-'70s. The band's first album, Kingdom of Madness, came out in 1978, right in the midst of the punk rock musical revolution. That timing may be one factor contributing to the band's unknown status. Magnum II was released in 1979. After extensive gigging, the group released the live album Marauder in 1980, and Chase the Dragon came two years later. Going back to their "album a year" pace, The Eleventh Hour was released in 1983. The band went two years between discs again, with On a Storyteller's Night not being released until 1985, but the time seemed to have done some good for them. The album was well received and their fame was growing in Europe.
Their next disc was produced by Roger Taylor (Queen), and Vigilante (1986) continued the group's rise. The true fruition came with Wings of Heaven the following year, as it made several charts in England. The next studio release, Goodnight L.A., arrived in 1990, and an album of rarities, entitled Spirit: A History, came the next year. By 1992, Magnum had recorded their next release, Sleepwalking. They decided to call it quits in 1994, releasing Rock Art and commencing on a farewell tour. The tour was documented with the live album The Last Dance (1996). Little did they know at the time that the breakup was not a permanent one, and the band reassembled in 2001 to record a new album, Breath of Life, released in 2002. The disc reunited original members Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin with '80s keyboardist Mark Stanway.
Magnum followed up Breath of Life with their twelfth studio album, 2004's Brand New Morning. Princess Alice & the Broken Arrow followed in 2007, named in part after an orphanage in Birmingham, U.K., that member Tony Clarkin had close ties with. The album went on to reach the U.K. Top 75 album chart, the first time in some 15 years for the band. The year 2009 saw the release of Into the Valley of the Moonking, which was followed by 2011's The Visitation. Celebrating their tenth anniversary since re-forming in 2001, Magnum also released the collection Evolution, at the end of 2011. The band's 17th studio album, On the 13th Day, was released in 2012, and peaked at the number three slot in the U.K. Rock & Metal Albums chart. Released in 2014, the well-received Escape from the Shadow Garden saw the band achieve its highest chart positions in Germany and Sweden since 1990, and in 2015, Magnum issued a new concert LP, Escape from the Shadow Garden: Live 2014, their first live offering since 2008. Wasting no time for a follow up, early 2016 saw the release of Sacred Blood, Divine Lies. The following year saw the release of the The Valley of Tears: The Ballads compilation. ~ Gary Hill