Magnum - The Eleventh Hour!
Jet Records
Progressive Rock
9 songs (39'38)
Release year: 1983
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

The Eleventh Hour ! is Magnum's lost album from their early years. There is not one song here that is still in the live setlist, and this release is barely talked about even amongst fans. Perhaps this was because of the albums that it was sandwiched between, the stellar Chase The Dragon and the legendary masterpiece of On A Storyteller's Night. This would be the last of Magnum's full on prog rock releases. The AOR injection that takes place with Storyteller would run deep and permanent.

In the liner notes to this extensive re-issue, guitarist and songwriter Tony Clarkin states that he wanted to make an entirely uncommercial album. That proves difficult because Bob Catley's voice is so pure and smooth he can sing about viral foot fungus and make it sound pleasing to the ear. However, musically there are tons of breaks and time changes throughout. Mark Stanway comes to the forefront with an abundance of tasteful keyboard work. He adds dramatic flair like in The Prize where he imbues it with a spacey, epic feel. The only out and out melodic rocker would be Hit And Run. Sounding very much like a lost Styx meets Foreigner amalgamation this is one of the band's grittier love songs. So Far Away is a tasty little mid tempo track that is driven by great chord work between Clarkin and Stanway. Then you have Bob over there giving his vocal melodies little twists and nuances that go over the top of those simple chords beautifully. There is a break in the middle with layered vocals that reminds me of an eerie Queen. Great, experimental stuff going on here. All praise should be directed towards The Great Disaster. Why Magnum don't bust this one out escapes me. A great driving beat, many riffs and changes, and a frantic urgency that never lets up. There's even a sexy, bouncy (think Scarlett Johansson on a trampoline) acoustic and drum solo section that tears it up. I love the way that Bob delivers the chorus. Both Bob Catley and Ray Alder from Fates Warning / Redemption have this ability to sing a vocal melody that sounds like it would not make any sense or fit at all but its idiosyncratic nature is what makes it work. "Beware of the skillful disguises , it's too easy to be dressed up in white. For this world can be full of surprises from the gutter a kingdom looks like nice." Make that interesting, and then see how Catley does it. That's why he's him and you're you.

There's not too many blunders here except for One Night Of Passion. This one drags on too much and gets too repetitive without the necessary interesting parts to keep it afloat. For the most part The Eleventh Hour! is a great ol chunk of prog rock. Do yourself a favor. Delve into Magnum you will be well rewarded. Then bug Tony to play The Great Disaster live.

Killing Songs :
Young And Precious Souls, The Prize, The Great Disaster, So Far Away
Ben quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Magnum that we have reviewed:
Magnum - The Serpent Rings reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
Magnum - Chase The Dragon reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Magnum - On A Storyteller's Night reviewed by Chris and quoted CLASSIC
Magnum - Alice And The Broken Arrow reviewed by Chris and quoted 93 / 100
Magnum - Brand New Morning reviewed by Marty and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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