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Magnum Wings Of Heaven album cover
3.68 | 77 ratings | 7 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Days Of No Trust (5:23)
2. Wild Swan (6:15)
3. Start Talking Love (3:36)
4. One Step Away (4:39)
5. It Must Have Been Love (5:16)
6. Different Worlds (4:39)
7. Pray For The Day (3:45)
8. Don't Wake The Lion (10:34)

Total Time: 44:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Bob Catley / lead vocals
- Tony Clarkin / guitars, backing vocals, composer
- Mark Stanway / keyboards
- Colin "Wally" Lowe / bass, backing vocals
- Mickey Barker / drums

- London Community Gospel Choir / backing vocals (5)
- Max Werner / backing vocals (6)
- Attie Bauw / Fairlight programming

Releases information

Artwork: Mekon

CD Polydor ‎- 835277-2 (1988, Europe)
CD Polydor ‎- 835277-2 (2007, Europe)

LP Polydor ‎- POLD 5221 (1988, Europe)

Thanks to salmacis for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGNUM Wings Of Heaven ratings distribution

(77 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MAGNUM Wings Of Heaven reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Champagne stuff

Released in 1988 at a time when prog was languishing in the doldrums, Magnum's "Wings of heaven" was a real breath of fresh air. Yes, it leans heavily towards the hairspray heaven rock of bands such as BOSTON, STYX, JOURNEY, etc., but there are enough prog influences to make this a fine album. Its probably fair to say this is as progressive as Magnum got.

The album opens with the wonderful "Days of no trust", a belting slice of pomp rock with soaring guitars and a superb vocal performance by Bob Catley. The brief acoustic play-out leads to "Wild swan", a song in two distinct parts. The first half is a loud bluesy piece, which switches pace between verses. This segues into a much softer concluding section. Magnum are venturing into real prog territory. The song has a passing similarity with Uriah Heep's "Wake up (set your sights)".

There are a number of more prosaic Magnum songs, such as the back to back "Start talking love" and "One step away", but even these have strong melodies and benefit from highly competent performances.

The ballad "It must have been love" (no relation to other similarly named songs) may be a bit cheesy, but it is nonetheless essential. The appearance of the London Gospel Choir here, and the general feel of the track, offers comparisons with Foreigner's "I want to know what love is".

The main criticism I have with the music of Magnum is the lack of instrumental passages. There is just too much reliance placed on the admittedly great voice of Bob Catley. "Wings of heaven" is as guilty of this as any other album by the band. If for example the excellent "Wild swan" had been graced with a guitar or keyboard solo during its 6+ minutes, it could have been an epic song. Even the 10 minute "Don't wake the lion" is over burdened with vocals. If ever a track cried out for an instrumental break, it is this one.

A fine album though, with a couple of Magnum classic.

Review by Fishy
3 stars Magnum has always been more a melodic rock band than a progressive band. The progressive elements are mainly present in the arrangements. Tony Clarkin does all the song writing for Magnum and he definitely is a craftsman of excellent song melodies. Therefore it's a shame the band never got the recognition they deserved. To my humble opinion "Wings of heaven" is one of the highlights of their career.

The album opens with "days of no trust", a rock song with a big sound in the same vein of Springsteen's Born to run. An uplifting track that's suitable to be performed at large scale rock arenas. I remembered somebody used it for a TV-documentary about bikers and the music matched the images of a motorcycle gang perfectly. After this, it gets even better. "Wild swan" starts off like a heavy rock track but turns into an anthem. Now the haunting vocals of Bob Catley are on top of an impressive wall of sound constructed by keyboards and guitars. "Don't wake the lion" must be one of the few epics of the bands repertoire. Surely Magnum never got more progressive than this. The slow hypnotic atmosphere builds up the tension quite nicely. The middle section is one of the few instrumental parts of the album. This must be conceived during jam sessions and this working method delivers moments of brilliance. Lyrically this song is about war. You can hear the aeroplanes and rockets in the menacing sound of the keyboards and basses. If this little sound scape is sounding so well, I surely would be interested in hearing more of this kind of stuff on a Magnum record. The rhythm is speeding up for the final part. It seems the lion finally awakens quite powerful.. Great !

And for the rest of the tracks. Well.. to be honest, I rarely gave it a spin since I bought the album, right after it's release in 1988. This album was released by a big record company in the eighties and I suppose we all know what this means. There's lots of accessible songs with a sing a long melody and a streamlined production. I remember Magnum performed "Start talking love" live on the BBC when it entered the English charts. Both this and "It must have been love" are typical eighties AOR. The latter contained a choir for the gospel like chorus. It sounds rather slick listening to it now. "One step away" and "pray for the day" are decent tracks with a strong melody line although the plastic sound of the keyboards and the popish atmosphere annoys me.

Conclusion : If you like song orientated prog rock or aor, you will be pleased by the excellent choruses, the powerful vocals and the vocal harmonies. If you're a full blown progrocker, I suggest you better start listening to "On a storyteller's night" first. If you like what you hear, don't hesitate to check out "Wings of heaven", Magnum's most successful album till today.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Magnum 7th album from 1988 entitled Wings of heaven. Well quite little better than the predecesor who was an almost AOR album, this one is more towards Hard rock but keeping that melodic aproach. While Magnum reacheing the end of the '80's their music remain on the same coordonates, melodic rock with fine arrangements, but not progressive , more with prog leanings, an AOR - hard rock with prog here and there. They gained some succes in the early '80's but the breakthrough came only in 1985 with the excellent album On a story teller's night, and remains their best album so far no doubt. Now, Wings of heaven keeps this tradition of melodic rock aproch delivering some very good moments like:Days Of No Trust,Wild Swan, Pray For The Day and Don't Wake The Lion, the rest are only ok. I always liked Bob Catley's voice, he knows to turn even a weaker piece in a great one. All in all a good album, worth some spins from time to time, nothing outstanding, nothing bad here, only pleasent pieces to be heared by anyone. 3 stars
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Heavenly! (...most of the time, at least)

Wings Of Heaven is mature Magnum's best album with some of their best songs ever and with distinct progressive leanings. The epic closer Don't Wake The Lion (Too Old To Die Young) is especially noteworthy. This moving anti-war anthem is not only one of the most progressive songs in the Magnum catalogue but also the best.

But one great song does not automatically make a great album. Thankfully, there are other strong songs here. The opener Days Of No Trust is another one of my favourite Magnum songs. Despite being played exclusively on traditional Rock instruments; electric guitar, bass, drums, and electronic keyboards, it somehow has a Celtic feel to it. The guitar line that dominates this song sounds as if it could have been played on a violin, or maybe by bag pipes instead of a guitar. I get the same feeling when I hear the Barclay James Harvest song Taking Some Time On which opens their debut album - Folk Rock without Folk instruments.

Wild Swan opens with a riff that is more towards Metal than usual Magnum. But it doesn't stay there, it transforms into a powerful melodic ballad. This song is one of those rare Magnum songs that detract from traditional song structures. I would not call this Prog per se, but it certainly has potential to appeal to (some) people on this site.

Start Talking Love and It Must Have Been Love, on the other hand, are certainly a lot harder to accept. They are perhaps not even half as bad as the titles suggest but the lyrics are hardly original. And this put me off a bit, but I must say that tolerance for these songs has grown. Different World is ok, but not too special. But One Step Away and Pray For The Day are again strong ones.

I cannot emphasise enough what an enormous improvement this album is compared to the previous one, Vigilante, and also how much better it is compared to anything they did afterwards. Indeed, this album is a surprising gem in an otherwise weak period for the band. Personally, I also strongly prefer this album to the good but somewhat overrated On A Story Teller's Night. The band sounds more confident here than on probably any other album. The vocals are strong and distinctive here; the guitars, drums and bass are all very well played. The keyboards provide great textures and depth, sometimes reminding of Marillion (with which Magnum toured).

This is Magnum's peak in my opinion and a great album despite a couple of lesser moments in the middle. Highly recommended!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nice break from complicated prog music...

Quite funny that I recently listen to mostly cassette than CD because I just want to return to the time when I first knew prog music in the past. I found this 'Wings of Heaven' album by Magnum in my cassette collection and I wrote the date of purchase in Bandung, 28 April 1988. Honestly I never spun this cassette - or may be only one spin and put it back to the shelf. And I know the reason why I rarely spin it because the music is straight forward with the kind like Journey music. It's not in my cup of tea. In fact the cassette looks new because I never played it. The other reason by that time I was heavily in love with Marillion who just released Clutching at Straw in 1987. So, no wonder I never gave a chance for Magnum to play this album.

Now when I am tired to hear digital sounds from CD and play back my old cassettes collection, this album serves like an ear candy rock as entertainment purpose because the sweet rock nature of the music. I notice song like Wild Swan comprises two movements as the music changes dramatically from sweet rock to mellow one in the middle. I am quite happy with the sound or sonic quality of this album and I think it's an excellent production even though I play the cassette format. In a away, I am enjoying the music from cassette because of two reasons: fisrt, it brings me back to the nuances of the old days ( I term this as 'nuansamatik' combining the Indonesian word and 'matic') and secondly, the analog sound is much better than the lousy digital sound. Well ,'s not that lousy but in digital records I can not find the true sound. Song like 'Days of No Trust' is also a good rocker and I enjoy the music. 'One Step Away' is also another nice tune that reminds me to hair bands like Bad English, Damn Yankees and the like. There is no lengthy guitar solo along the music presented here but the guitars are quite good. The vocal quality is in the vein of Journey. 'Don't Wake The Lion' which turns to be the longest out of other tracks presented in this album is an interesting song and I do enjoy the music from start to end.

Overall, this is a good sweet rock album that has basically no complexity in the music; so everyone can actually enjoy this album. I like the overall composition of this album that combines melody, harmony and tempo changes nicely throughout the album. Those of you who like Journey, Asia and other AOR music must love this one. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Latest members reviews

5 stars Following on their hot streak of their on a storytellers night and vigilante albums both 5 star efforts could they do it again with on the wings of heaven? The answer to that question is yes because they took what was great about those albums and mixed it to great effect. There is a lot to love ... (read more)

Report this review (#1640677) | Posted by Scotprog | Wednesday, November 9, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've loved this album since I first acquired it on release. Usually I have a love / hate relationship with Magnum as much of their music is geared towards stadium rock and I'm not overly fond of that brand of music as a rule however the band usually incorporate just enough catchy melody in their ... (read more)

Report this review (#1074844) | Posted by sukmytoe | Sunday, November 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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