Magnum are set to release their new album "The Serpent Rings" on January 17th
Magnum guitarist Tony Clarkin is a man who seems to never stop working. He is responsible for writing all the material released by the band, and on top of that he produces their albums from the very first demo to the final mix. “As soon as an album is finished, I start to collect new ideas,” he explains. “That’s how I’ve worked since the early seventies, for me that’s the ideal method.” On their latest album The Serpent Rings (available on Steamhammer/SPV from 17 January 2020 on CD, double vinyl LP, limited box set and for digital download), Clarkin and Magnum’s other original member, vocalist Bob Catley, prove all over again just how perfectly this established system works.
Magnum have recorded eleven new songs which feature all the traditional strengths of the British act and also live up to the band’s ambition to explore a more rock-oriented direction. “Thanks to our current record company, we enjoy full artistic freedom,” Clarkin enthuses. “SPV understand how important this is to us. We’ve not always been in such a fortunate position. During the eighties, the label we were with at the time wanted us to sound as pop-oriented as possible because they hoped for better album sales. I used to hate that, despite the success we had.”
The new album, The Serpent Rings, presents Magnum the way the musicians themselves like it: rocking and at the same time melodic, straightforward but also a little playful, powerful as well as sensitive with enchanted lyrics but also with a socio-critical approach. ‘Madman Or Messiah’, for example, is about the phenomenon of self-proclaimed saviours. Clarkin: “You have to approach these kinds of gurus with a lot of caution, because in reality they’re taking their followers for a ride and in a worst-case scenario even seducing them into performing dubious acts, as the case of Charles Manson in the late 1960s shows.” ‘Man’ is another sceptical number about the underbelly of human behaviour. “A lot of what mankind does to Planet Earth is based on greed and insatiability. We destroy nature just to make an even bigger profit, and we are seeing the negative results of that attitude more clearly now than ever before.” But of course The Serpent Rings also presents Magnum from their dreamy, magical side, the title song being a perfect example – and a direct reflection of the amazing cover artwork courtesy of Rodney Matthews. Clarkin: “‘The Serpent Rings’ started out as a science fiction story but continued to evolve over time and even features a slightly bizarre side today. I’d describe the song as an eerie and somewhat creepy fairy tale.”
The new album was recorded by the Magnum line-up consisting of Clarkin, Catley, keyboardist Rick Benton and drummer Lee Morris, plus their latest addition, bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Place Vendome, Unisonic, among others), who joined the fold to replace Al Barrow. “Unfortunately Al had to leave the band because he didn’t have enough time. He lives in the US, which had always caused organisational problems,” Clarkin explains the background of the line-up change. “Tobias Sammet of Avantasia recommended Dennis, who is a great musician and vocalist, exactly what we were looking for. His contribution to The Serpent Rings surpassed our wildest expectations. We’re really looking forward to touring with him.”
Talking of which: Magnum’s major European tour has been scheduled to start in March 2020, initially with a number of headlining shows, to be continued by a first-rate package together with Gotthard from Switzerland. This extremely successful collaboration first passed the litmus test a few years ago, and Clarkin, Catley & Co. are very enthusiastic: “Along with some classic numbers, we will also present four or five songs from The Serpent Rings,” the band promises, providing even more reasons for their fans to mark the dates in their calendars.
Release Date: January 17th, 2020Format: - CD Digipak - 2LP Gatefold, 140g purple-violet vinyl, printed inner sleeves - Deluxe Box Set (incl. CD Digipak, 2 LP Gatefold, Sticker, Photocard, A1 Poster, Pin Button, Woven Patch, Manuscript Music Sheet etc.), Limited to 1.000 units Europe-wide
Line-Up: Tony Clarkin – Guitar Bob Catley – Vocals Rick Benton – Keyboards Dennis Ward – Bass Lee Morris – Drums Tour Dates 2020: Headliner Tour 19.03. UK-Glasgow - Garage 20.03. UK-Belfast - Limelight 1 21.03. IRL-Dublin - Voodoo Lounge 22.03. UK-Cardiff - Tramshed 24.03. UK-Sheffield - Leadmill 25.03. UK-Hull - Welly 26.03. UK-Manchester - Academy 2 28.03. UK-Holmfirth - Picturedrome 29.03. UK-Cambridge - Junction 30.03. UK-Birmingham - Town Hall 31.03. UK-Norwich - Waterfront 02.04. UK-Exeter - Lemon Grove 03.04. UK-Southampton - Engine Rooms 04.04. UK-London - Islington Assembly 05.04. NL-Uden - De Pul 06.04. DE-Kiel - Max Music Hall 08.04. NO-Oslo - Vulkan Arena 09.04. SE-Huskvarna - Folkets Park 10.04. SE-Stockholm - Fryshuset Klubben 11.04. SE-Karlstad - Nöjesfabriken 13.04. SE-Gothenburg - Pustervik 14.04. SE-Malmö – Babel on tour with GOTTHARD 16.04. DE-Frankfurt - Batschkapp 17.04. DE-Regensburg - Airport Obertraubling 18.04. DE-Balingen - Volksbankmesse 20.04. DE-Munich - Tonhalle 21.04. DE-Fürth - Stadthalle 22.04. DE-Hamburg - Grosse Freiheit 36 24.04. DE-Hannover - Capitol 25.04. DE-Bremen - Pier 2 26.04. DE-Berlin - Tempodrom 28.04. DE-Singen - Stadthalle 29.04. DE-Cologne - E-Werk 30.04. DE-Saarbrücken – Garage Headliner Tour 01.05. CZ-Prague - Nová Chmelnice 02.05. DE-Schwalmstadt - Kulturhalle 05.05. DE-Stuttgart - Im Wizemann 07.05. CH-Pratteln - Z7 08.05. IT-Milan - Legend 09.05. IT-Bologna - Alchemica 11.05. ES-Barcelona - Razzmatazz 2 12.05 ES-Madrid - But 13.05. ES-Bilbao - Santana 27 16.05. UK-Nottingham - Rock City All images reproduced by permission © 2019 Rob Barrow Photography Ltd