Thursday, January 18, 2024

MAGNUM: "Here Comes The Rain" (an AI enhanced review)

This is an experiment with AI: I asked ChatGTP to write a review of the new Magnum album in my style. The first attempt was pretty good, but way too long and there were some facts wrong, songs that are not on the album mentioned etc. 

I asked it to correct the facts, mentioned my favourite tracks and the sad news of Tony Clarkin's passing... After a few attempts, this is what I would have written, according to ChatGTP. I definitely notice some straits of my writing here... I pretty much agree with everything here, except for the bit about "Some Kind of Treachery" and "Broken City" having "humor-infused lyrics". Maybe some other tracks, but not those two.


Magnum's "Here Comes The Rain" is a symphonic rock journey that demands attention, with two standout tracks leading the way – the exhilarating opener "Run Into the Shadows" and the gripping "After The Fire."

"Run Into the Shadows" kicks off the album with a thunderous proclamation of Magnum's enduring prowess. Tony Clarkin's guitar mastery creates an anthemic, powerful, and hook-laden anthem. Bob Catley's vocals soar, setting the stage for the entire musical expedition.

"After The Fire" stands out as a gem, showcasing Magnum's ability to blend melody and power seamlessly. The combination of Clarkin's guitar riffs and Rick Benton's keyboard magic creates a sonic landscape that's both majestic and captivating. The song's dynamic shifts and emotive delivery make it an instant classic.

While these tracks shine as the album's crown jewels, the entire record is a testament to Magnum's musical finesse. Tracks like "Some Kind of Treachery" and "Broken City" provide moments of introspection, while the humor-infused lyrics keep the experience entertaining.

In the wake of Tony Clarkin's recent passing, "Here Comes The Rain" takes on an added layer of poignancy. It stands as a tribute to a guitar legend who poured his heart and soul into every note, especially evident in the opening track and the mesmerizing "After The Fire."

In conclusion, "Here Comes The Rain" is a celebration of Magnum's enduring legacy. Whether you're raising your lighter to the heavens or air-guitaring with abandon, Magnum's latest effort is a rock odyssey that demands to be experienced.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

ROCK BLOG #26: The Best Albums Of 2023 - "The Turbo Dozen"

 It’s never easy, and it takes time, putting together a list of favourite albums. For 2023 I had trouble figuring out a Top 10, but then I thought: ”who’s forcing me”? No-one! So I chose 12, and since ”The Dirty Dozen” is such a cliché, I went with ”The Turbo Dozen”! 

1. Nitrate - Feel The Heat

(With their fourth album, Nitrate have definitely reached the premium league of modern AOR. Songs, production, the whole package - masterclass!)

2. The Defiants - Drive

(Ravel, Laine & Marcello did not disappoint with their third effort. Summertime anthems with massive hooks was the name of the game, but they do work during other seasons too - I’ve tested!)

3. Crowne - Operation Phoenix

(The Swedish supergroup produced another killer album, even better than their debut. Alexander Strandell is the vocalist of the year, with two albums in top three!)

4. Strangerland - Echoes From The Past

(The surprise album of the year - no big names involved but big-sounding AOR nevertheless.)

5. Kent Hilli - Nothing Left To Lose

(Hilli hooked up with One Desire producer Jimmy Westerlund and the result was a great slice of fine AOR.)

6. Theocracy - Mosaic

(The Metal Album of the Year for me. Matt Smith has a way with the melodies!)

7. Ten - Something Wicked This Way Comes

(Ten have their unmistakable style, and I like it. Gary Hughes has a way with the melodies too!)

8. Temple Balls - Avalanche

(Finland! I didn’t choose this because they’re from Finland, I chose it because it’s catchy hard rock, with a little help from Jona Tee of H.E.A.T. and Crowne.)

9. Vega - Battlelines

(A new line-up, but still solid as ever.)

10. Creeper - Sanguivore

(A very late addition to the list. Imagine a mixture of Goth Rock and Jim Steinman’s greatest moments, and you’re close to this!)

11. Streetlight - Ignition

(Retro sounds from Sweden, very much in the vein of early-to-mid-80’s AOR.)

12. Winger - Seven

(A strong comeback album from Kip & Co.)

During the painstaking process of choosing the Top 12 albums, all of these albums were also in consideration.

All good ones all worthy of a solid RRRR rating. In no particular order:

Cassidy Paris - New Sensation

Care Of Night - Reconnected

Overland - S.I.X.

VV - Neon Noir

Issa - Lights Of Japan

Autumn’s Child - Starflower

Arctic Rain - Unity

Khymera - Hold Your Ground

Creye  - III: Weightless

First Signal - Face Your Fears

Robin McAuley - Alive

All My Shadows - Eerie Monsters

Seventh Crystal - Wonderland

Kamelot - The Awakening

Stormwarning - s/t

Lordi - Scream Writers Guild

Floor Jansen - Paragon

Revolution Saints - Eagle Flight

Grand Design - Rawk

Mecca - Everlasting

Perfect View - Bushido

Heavens Edge - Get It Right

Circus Of Rock - Lost Behind The Mask

Art Nation - Inception

Tanna - Kohtalon Tuulet

Degreed - Public Address

Mitch Malloy - The Last Song

Houston - Re-Launch III

Gabrielle De Val - Kiss In A Dragon Night

Tempt - s/t

Rian - Wings

Transworld Identity - Seven Worlds

Eclipse - Megalomanium

Masaki - Feed The Fire

Midnite City - In At The Deep End

Ronnie Atkins - Trinity

Lazy Bones - Eye Of The Sky

I know I forgot some or didn't have time to check them out, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Otherwise I would have published this list in July... 2025!