Pomp-rock overlords Magnum’s 17th studio album starts as it means to go on: anthemic and atmospheric; like most of their other albums, in fact. If it wasn’t for the slight roughness of Bob Catley’s stately tones, On The Thirteenth Day would fit perfectly anywhere in the band’s discography from the mid-80s to the early 90s, so fully in keeping is it with their lush, stadium-friendly sound, rather than the more stripped-down approach of the 90s. Indeed, some of the songs, the title track especially, could almost be from 1985’s On A Storyteller’s Night.
Like Magnum’s 80s classics, On The Thirteenth Day also has its share of radio-friendly pop-rock, such as the ebullient So Let It Rain, as good a single as the band’s ever released. Naysayers could claim that they’ve just played it safe, taking no risks and never venturing outside their comfort zone. But Magnum have done all that before; 2012 seems as good a time as any to remind us what they have always been about: melodic, soulful hard rock, performed with passion and skill. Plus sleeve art by Rodney Matthews. What more could a fan want?