Archive for Magnum

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Magnum- Vigilante

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2020 by 80smetalman

By November 1986, being in England for three months, my introduction to British bands I had not heard of in the USA was in danger of becoming over-saturated. This could be down to the fact I was in London and there were so many rock and metal clubs that I could have gone out any night of the week and discovered a new metal act. Finances prevented that from happening. However, one band which I was introduced to at the time was Magnum.

What I didn’t know was that Magnum had a pretty long history before I had heard of them. They went back as far as 1978 but my first experience of them was their 1986 album, “Vigilante.” It was the title track which really hooked me, I spent quite a few Autumn Fridays night at the metal club headbanging away to it. Ah, great song and great memories!

Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to its great title track. In fact, after a listen or two, I thought that maybe Magnum shouldn’t be called heavy metal and that was even before people started putting metal into categories. Personally, I would class them as straight forward rock or melodic hard rock, possibly in the vein of Night Ranger.

The first three tracks of “Vigilante” are ready for radio commercial rock tunes. In fact, to my surprise, it was the album’s opener, “Lonely Night” that was released as a single. I thought it should have been the title track but remembering how things were back then, it was probably a good call or it would have been if the song had managed to chart, it didn’t. “Sometime Love” or the fourth track, “Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)” would have been better candidates. There is enough of a guitar riff on those tracks that might have enticed more metalheads to by the single. Plus, “Midnight” has a cool sax solo.

Things look up on the second half of the album as things go more hard rock at this point. “Red on the Highway” starts things off very well. This song cooks and leaves me to question why more songs weren’t like this one. This is the first track which actually got my head to bang along with it. A cool guitar solo from Tony Clarkin helps too. The next track, “Holy Rider” is even heavier with some cool riffs. Both of these could be classed as hidden gems.

Here’s my final misgiving about “Vigilante.” The ballad, “When the World Comes Down” should have been the closer. It’s a good ballad but what I like best is that it has that ‘hold your cigarette lighters in the air while singing along’ feel to it. That makes it a great closer. That means, placing the title track after the two rockers would have made that part of the album sound phenomenal and the actual closer track would still be good coming after “Vigilante” but as a penultimate track. That would have set up my choice for closer exceptionally well. That’s just my thought.

Track Listing:

  1. Lonely Night
  2. Need a Lot of Love
  3. Sometime Love
  4. Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)
  5. Red on the Highway
  6. Holy Rider
  7. When the World Comes Down
  8. Vigilante
  9. Back Street Kid
Magnum

Bob Catley- vocals

Tony Clarkin- guitar

Wally Lowe- bass

Mark Stanway- keyboards

Mickey Barker- drums

In one case, it’s a little surprising Magnum didn’t have more success in the US. I think they would have appealed to those who were into more melodic rock like Night Ranger or Survivor. They appeal to me more as I’m mellowing a bit with age but in 1986, as someone looking for the loud power chords, it was just an okay album.

One final note: The cigarette lighters in the air at concerts is definitely an American custom.

Next post: Mama’s Boys- Power and Passion

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com