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Magnum - Wings Of Heaven CD (album) cover




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3.68 | 77 ratings

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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.

Fishy | 3/5 |


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