For two decades Magnum have been releasing great albums with almost uncanny consistency. "The Serpent Rings", their 21st studio album since their debut in 1978, is no exception. Although no one who has spurned the music of the Middle English so far can be disabused, songwriter and guitarist Tony Clarkin and his colleagues make sure that the band does not get bogged down in routine.
Magnum's probably best album of the last three decades so far is "Lost On The Road To Eternity" from 2018, which combines all the strengths of the pompous melodic hard rockers. Fortunately, "The Serpent Rings" is only a bit worse and at the same time a bit different - refreshed with new elements. After all, apart from the band's founders Tony Clarkin and vocalist Bob Catley, all musicians have been replaced in recent years: keyboardist Rick Benton joined in 2016, drummer Lee Morris in 2017, and fresh to the recordings was bassist Dennis Ward, who was previously known as a producer and co-founder of Pink Cream 69.
eclipsed: Is "The Serpent Rings" just another Magnum album or does it contain something new and exciting?
Tony Clarkin: No Magnum album was just another album for me. Because they were always my songs, I made sure that everyone put the ideas into practice with full concentration and power. Although we were always recognizable as a band, I pushed for new sounds to be added to each album. So the 21st album was again exciting for me.
eclipsed: Please go into detail.
Clarkin: We've changed our line-up quite often in the last few years and I think you can see that on the new album. All the musicians were really into it. As for details: Rick Benton has perhaps the biggest part of the sound that a keyboard player has had in the last twenty years on Magnum, and my guitar sound this time was a little more in the direction of lead guitar. On many albums before that I played a bit more riff-heavy.