Magnum - On A Storyteller's Night
Universal/Republic
AOR
10 songs ()
Release year: 1985
Magnum, Universal/Republic Records Homepage
Reviewed by Chris

In my opinion, On A Storyteller's Night is one of the best AOR albums of all time. Magnum best album without the shadow of a doubt, this shows all the talent of this band in an album that is ageless, pure and simply magical ! I discovered Magnum when I was at school, with Wings Of Heaven at first (another classic Magnum album). From there on I skipped many meals in order to save my allowance and purchase as many Magnum albums as I could find. On A Storyteller's Night is one of them, and its the best too !

It is hard to describe this album, except to say it doesn't get any better than this in the AOR category, though the album is very special, not your typical catchy melody and riff formula. The song-writing is divinely inspired (even if it may seem simple), the melodies, the arrangements, the perfect production (ahead of its time !), not to forget the incredible vocal abilities of Bob Catley. The album starts with a songs that puts the bar for the entire album, and it puts it all the way up to the sky, with a song that still sounds magical and very powerful today : How Far Jerusalem. Then comes Magnum's best song of all time as far as I'm concerned : Just Like An Arrow, instant classic hit, catchy to the bones, ultra-melodic with a chorus that you will NEVER forget. It will stay carved into your memory and stay there until the end of times. Just when you think the album can't get any better, another magical song hits you (like an arrow :)), the title track : On A Storyteller's Night, which starts very slowly to then blows strong at chorus time, and then its again very calm. The song goes up and down between chorus and verse, like day and night repeating and merging perfectly. What a great song ! At this point in their career, this particular Magnum album has a more defined sound than ever before (or ever again), more Rock with great (and moody) arrangement, simple but effective guitars, and awesome vocal melodies but almost no exotic instruments like in some of the previous albums (not that they were bad or anything). This album feels like the ultimate achievement and perfect balance the band could ever achieve. What I like so much about this album is that songs are varied and they all are perfect, there are no boring moments whatsoever, not a single second, everything is in its place and when the album ends, besides feeling the urge to push the play button again, you'll also feel like you'd simply love to give the band a trophy for such achievement. There is so much emotion in this album, its palpable througout the entire album. Its then time for the riff-based song Before First Light, the riff is so simple and yet incredibly effective. The riff and Bob's vocal melodies carry that song with such ease, it has to be heard to be believed. Les Morts Dansants is the fifth jewel of this album, a song with lots of character, in which Bob Catley's incredible voice and the great arrangement helps solidify the magical mood of the album. It's funny, it's been almost 5-6 years since I last listened to this wonderful album, and since I'm gonna review Magnum's new album as well, I thought it would be a good thing to make it a double feature. So right before I listen to it again, and for a second I was like : "is this still good ?", it was so long since last time I played it (though I listened it so many times I truly know by heart, and I think I carry it with me even when I don't put it in the CD player for years if you know what I mean). Then comes Endless Love, with its tribal drum intro and great leading guitar riff. This song is the perfect exemple of how amazing the arrangements and keyboards are on this album, they define the mood of the songs, and without them the album wouldn't be what it is. The album continues its rampage of killing song with the bass-driven Two Hearts. This is a minimalistic song, very simple bass riff, simple yet effective solo, and an almost too typical flashy keyboard notes right before the solo, and of course a melodic riff reinforced chorus. The next song Steal Your Heart, is one of these songs led by the main keyboard melody, and while its simple, it pays off. All England's Eye is a more moody song, its riff starts the song and gives it a somewhat mystical feeling, a feeling reinforced once more with the great arrangements & drumming throughout the song. The album concludes on the only ballad of this album : The Last Dance, which is so beautiful it can easily bring a tear to my eyes at times. Bob's vocals are so emotional in this song, almost heart wrenching. This song perfectly concludes the magic that is On A Storyteller's Night.

The artwork is just perfect for the album too, its an awesome painting with warm tones, and helps re-enforce the magical feeling of the album. The logo looks perfect too, Magnum changed logos so many times (in fact its one of these bands that have almost no "logo identity"), on so many albums, in fact the new one is nowhere near as pretty as this one in my opinion. In 2005 a 20th anniversary edition of the album was released (expended edition), but today I'm reviewing the original. I will most certainly try to get this one of these days, as its for sure a fan's collectors item. I largely prefer the artwork framing and logo on the original though. The band also made a special On A Storyteller's Night tour where they played the entire album live. I wish I could tell you how awesome it was, but unfortuantely I wasn't aware of that tour (there wasn't much LIVE I was aware of in 2005 metalwise :) ) or I would for sure have attended one of the shows.

If I should describe this album using only one word, then this word would be : "magical" ! Without a shadow of a doubt one of my top 10 albums of all time, and a diamond that will shine for a very, very long time. Funny thing; when we started Metalreviews.com in 2000, my first in person interview was with Tobias Sammet, and when I asked to name some of his favorite albums, this one was mentioned, and I of course totally agreed with him. I could also understand some of that vibrance that I always loved so much about Edguy, as I have no doubts that this album inspired Tobias one way or another. One of the best albums of all time, a true magical album, and an experience to be had. If you never listened to this album but fancy beautiful music, emotional and inspiring, then you owe it to yourself to listen to On A Storyteller's Night.

Killing Songs :
Absolutely all of them, a true classic and perfect album from beginning to end !
Chris quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Magnum that we have reviewed:
Magnum - The Eleventh Hour! reviewed by Ben and quoted 81 / 100
Magnum - Chase The Dragon reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Magnum - Alice And The Broken Arrow reviewed by Chris and quoted 93 / 100
Magnum - Brand New Morning reviewed by Marty and quoted 90 / 100
Magnum - Wings Of Heaven reviewed by Chris and quoted 94 / 100
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