During the three years since Magnum brought out ‘The Valley Of Tears – The Ballads’, a compilation that focused on their quiet, more otherworldly and dreamy side, the idea matured to follow with a companion piece, ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’, alternatively highlighting the band’s anthemic, harder rocking, blockbuster songs.
Magnum then delved deep into their impressive archives to unearth the rare live cuts and outstanding radio edits of the 14 uplifting, fist-in-the-air-pumping rock numbers contained on ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’, set for release on January 8th on Steamhammer / SPV as a Digipak CD, double gatefold 140 gram magenta vinyl (with printed inner sleeves) album, download and stream.
Magnum guitarist and band mastermind Tony Clarkin has, of course, used this opportunity to remaster and update all 14 tracks so that they comply with state-of-the-art sound technology. Tony; “There have always been two aspects to Magnum; a slightly more tender and lyrical facet, but first and foremost of course our powerful, rocking side. And that’s the element that ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’ documents impressively.”
The album kicks off with live versions of ‘Black Skies’ and ‘Freedom Day’, previously available exclusively as DVD bonus tracks on ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’; “The perfect launch of this compilation because they present Magnum musically and lyrically from our familiar raw side. The subsequent ‘All My Bridges’ is a little different in that the music is still heavy, but the lyrics are more poetic,” explains Clarkin.
‘On A Storyteller’s Night’, the title track of their 1985 masterpiece, and ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’, another two rare live tracks from the bonus section of ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’, are then followed by radio edits of their seasonal anti-war number ‘On Christmas Day’ and the fan favourite ‘Born To Be King’ off their classic ‘Goodnight L.A.’ LP, previously only available on vinyl or for digital download.
‘Phantom Of Paradise Circus’ and ‘No God Or Saviour’ are both bonus tracks from ‘Sacred Blood – Divine Lies’. Clarkin: “To be honest, when I started going through those old masters, I didn’t even have ‘Phantom Of Paradise Circus’ on my radar. I usually start working on new material about four weeks after the release of an album, so occasionally a song may sink into oblivion although it has a lot of substance and class. Such as ‘Phantom Of Paradise Circus’. I really love that number and am happy that it is getting the attention it deserves at last.”
‘Your Dreams Won’t Die’ and ‘Twelve Men Wise And Just’, two live bonus tracks which first featured on ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ ensue, before ‘Show Me Your Hands’, ‘Not Forgiven’ and ‘Madman Or Messiah’ – three previously unreleased radio edits from the studio recordings for ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ (2018) and ‘‘The Serpent Rings’ (2020) – round off the new release. “Sometimes it’s not easy to shorten a carefully balanced composition for the radio, but in these three cases it worked really well,” reckons Clarkin.
Naturally the artwork for ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’ was designed by Magnum‘s tried-and-tested cover artist Rodney Matthews, who always succeeds in translating the special ambience of the group’s albums into atmospheric images and colours. Clarkin: “This time it was easy really: I called Rodney, told him the album title and he sent me this absolutely fascinating artwork. I bet our fans will love his little masterpiece.”
‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’, a magnificent collection of rare and vital versions of Magnum’s most accomplished, uplifting rock compositions, is all set to more than light up every rock music fan’s dreary winter days once released on January 8th 2021.
Magnum are then set to tour the UK and Ireland in Autumn 2021; dates are:-
16.09. Nottingham – Rock City
17.09. Sheffield – Leadmill
19.09. Norwich – Waterfront
20.09. Islington – Assembly Hall
21.09. Southampton – Engine Rooms
22.09. Cardiff – Tramshed
24.09. Manchester – Academy 2
25.09. Holmfirth – Picturedome
27.09. Birmingham – Symphony Hall
29.09. Cambridge – Junction
30.09. Glasgow – Garage
02.10. Dublin – Voodoo Lounge
03.10. Belfast – Limelight 1