Magnum: The Valley of Tears: The Ballads (Steamhammer/SPV)
Magnum, the British pomp-rock band that first rose to fame across the pond in the early ’80s, has consistently yet quietly released music since 1978. A brief hiatus in the late ’90s was followed by a deal with powerful German record label SPV, which helped Magnum gain new fans in the United States. Original and current lead singer Bob Catley’s dusty vocals always seemed especially suited to the band’s softer, emotive moments, which makes The Valley of Tears: The Ballads an ideal album for mid-winter introspection. Melodically, lyrically and structurally, these 10 remastered, partially remixed or even re-recorded songs provide an overview of Magnum’s gentler side. The lack of up-tempo material on The Valley of Tears, though, may make listeners want to seek out the band’s heavier work. Start with the 2011 single-disc anthology Evolution or the 2010 box set The Gathering.