on 8 November 2006
Wings Of Heaven represents Magnum's commercial peak. It also happens to be one of the finest British rock albums of the late 1980s.
What guitarist/songwriter Tony Clarkin manages to pull offf here, is creating a set of songs which balance the band's early sound (Chase The Dragon, Kingdom Of Madness), with the more streamlined sound of the previous two records (Vigilante, On A Storytellers Night). The result is an album of breathtaking quality.
Days Of No Trust, Start Talking Love and It Must Have Been Love are irresistibly accessible tracks, and its no surprise that all three were hit singles at the time. Pray For The Day, One Step Away, Don't Wake The Lion and my personal favourite, Wild Swan are much bigger, more complex tracks that give a tip of the hat to former glories, and Different Worlds is a good if a little forgettable album filler.
The production is crisp, slick and powerful and the cover artwork is stylish, evoking memories of U2's Unforgettable Fire sleeve.
It's no surprise that Wings Of Heaven made the top ten here in the U.K., or that Magnum would end this period as perhaps the most popular band of their ilk in Europe. It's just a shame that more difficult times lay ahead for the group. For the time being though, this was a band at the peak of their powers and if anyone can track down the live video (no DVD as yet sadly) of their show at the Hammersmith Odeon from the Wings... tour (I grabbed a copy from this website), you'll know what I'm getting at. Sublime.
on 21 January 2010
Magnum are like that old cardigan you juct can't throw out, despite the hole at the elbow. These guys produced some fine melodic rock during the 80's, finishing with this masterpiece at the end of the decade. 'Wings...' has it all, good pop rock in 'Days of No Trust' and 'Start Talking Love'; fine Magnum standards (in no way are they 'standard' in their execution) with 'One Step Away' and 'Pray For The Day'; cracking little ballad 'Must Have Been Love' and then there's...
Well there's 2 blow away tracks!! Tony Clarkin wrote some great songs in his time and it seems he used all his experience to write 'Wild Swan'- the song that includes the lyric 'On Wings of Heaven', and it does just that when listening to the wonderfully, descrptive words infused with Tony Clarkin's fine guitar.
The other track is the final number on the album. I saw Magnum on this tour and couldn't believe they did this live. It was breath taking. Truly wonderful...
'Don't Wake The Lion' is, is... get the headphones out, dim the lights, sit back and close your eyes. Allow yourself to be took thru a journey. A song that describes the hope, despair and grim, futile reality of war. A great use of sound affects that adds so much depth and extra dimension to a song that is in itself a mini opera.
Magnum came to their peak at the wrong time, a victim of grunge!! But what a peak! If you want to own a piece of 80's classic rock then this is it, and then some...
on 7 November 2008
How this band are not one of the biggest in Britain i will never know. This offering was released when commercial rock had an opening in the mainstream in the late 80,s. Wings of Heaven is undoubtedly the most commercial that Magnum released and contains songs that still remain favourites 20 years later. Don,t Wake The Lion is my favourite but my opinion is put the cd on from the start and listen to some of the best songwriting by a british band since the beatles. There is not a filler on the cd and every song could be a hit single.Take my advice and try this YOU WILL ENJOY IT.
on 10 October 2010
Until I heard Into The Valley Of The Moonking I was convinced this was about as good as Magnum could get. This was the album that got me into Magnum and I always judged everything they do by this one. After a 3 or 4 year break, this album got me back into gigging again and it was every bit as superb live as it was on the album. Every track is strong and this does remain their best piece of studio production work and I do somehow wish Moonking had been given this much attention on the mixing desk because this is so crisp, so deep in sound, so well balanced between drums, guitars, keys and voice .... Moonking is slightly let down by a certain je ne sais quoi that is missing in the mix. Days of No Trust is a superb opener and they just keep on coming through the playlist right through to the huge closing track Don't Wake The Lion. Wings Of Heaven is a fantastic album ...if I wanted to get anyone into Magnum I would lend them this first ... its that good. If you buy this you will end up buying more Magnum without a shadow of a doubt.
Continuing with the big,bold sound that they tried on 'VIGILANTE' the band stepped back slightly and made sure Tony Clarkin's guitar was much more upfront in the mix without losing any of the modern sound.
What can you say about this album which hasnt been said before,well i'll just concur with anyone that thinks this is a 5 star 100% classic rock album.
You only have to listen to the first 2 tracks 'Days Of No Trust' and 'Wild Swan' to realise this album is a step up in class from the previous release,. 8 perfect tracks with the likes of 'One Step Away' and 'It Must Have Been Love' hits that never were(no justice) and a superb epic to end the disc ' Dont Wake The Lion..' with its lyrics as poignant today as they were back then.
The production on this disc is superb,its crisp and punchy retaining a rock edge while having a smooth glossy sheen,i love it, it should have done for MAGNUM what 'Raised on Radio' did for JOURNEY, the perfect combination of Pop/AOR and Rock. 5 stars all the way
on 6 April 2011
I'd been meaning to buy this on cd for a while - cassettes don't get much of a look in any more do they?
I love this album. From the opening riff of Days of no trust, there is no mistaking the craftsmanship that has gone into the writing or each and every song.
To indicate the strength of this album related to the rest of Magnum's back catalogue, it's interesting how many of the songs on this album constantly find their way onto the live set list!
Wings of Heaven to me signifies the end of an era - I love every album up to Wings of Heaven, but that's where my interest dies.
This album has all the hallmarks of a stadium band that Magnum should have been. It celebrates their own unique style and general non-conformity to the short, radio friendly single, noteable with the final track Don't Wake The Lion which runs to 10.34 on the clock!
This album, for me, is from a period when Magnum (or Tony Clarkin) produced great songs with a great melody using a rock band to give a backing just as it should. Unfortunately after this album the need to try to impress in the USA drew Magnum away from what they were doing so well and eventually to a vocal line and band in unison (both following the same melody) with no heart or imagination.
I mourn the loss of a great band after this album. I see this album as a great ending to an early career that should have received so much more attention from the public.
This is all my opinion of course, but my advice is - buy it, you won't be disappointed!
on 1 January 2010
This is almost a classic album. Days of No Trust sets things off in rocky style before Wild Swan takes flight, a bon fide Magnum classic - a real epic and emotional soundscape. The touching It Must Have Been Love builds beautifully to its gospel inspired finale, whilst Pray For The Day tugs heavily at the emotions on, what was, side 2. The reason that this album misses classic status is threefold. 'Start Talking Love' is the kind of throwaway drivel that Rick Astley could have trotted out, 'Different Worlds' is a hastily constructed and clumsy album filler (complete with bonkers lyrics - 'see the young men peeping' is a terrible line) and the truly awesome anti war 'Wake the Sleeping Lion' fizzles out as soon as it really gets going (perhaps it's a clever musical metaphor for how the First World War ended i.e. without a real conclusion..). Ultimately both the song and the album demanded a big finale and both are left short by an ending which lacks a real clear idea of how to really round things off.
The answer to this is simple - Buy the live version of this album. You get rockier versions, which are more immediate, and, more importantly, the album builds to a crashing and exhultant conclusion - now that's truly classic!
on 23 August 2009
Well... Although I don't dislike this album, I don't like it too... :) This is an extension of Vigilante, but taking the pop and commercial part further. I don't like so much the 80's overproduced sound, and this is a good example of it. I don't know if is this style of 80's sound what I don't like of this album, and that doesn't let me qualify this album with 5 stars, or my personal contempt for Polygram/Universal records sound quality (specially in Mexico), but this is one of the Magnum albums that I don't hear so often.
Hearing it as I write this, I realize that there are good songs, like Days Of No Trust, Start Talking Love and Don't Wake The Lion. But the overproduced sound makes me to put apart my attention when hearing the whole album. 4 stars because of it.
on 14 May 2014
A must buy if only for 'Don't Wake the Lion', one of the finest war songs ever made. But that is not the only great track on the CD, it is filled with classics.
on 17 March 2004
I stumbled across Magnums Vigilante album in 1986 and thought it was great. Of course the band have been together since the early 70's and I wondered what they'd been doing all of those years. One by one I bought all of the back catalogue and found that Magnum were great songwriters and fantastic live. In 1988 they released Wings of Heaven. Possibly one of their best albums, and certainly there most successful. They even had a top 40 hit with Start Talkin' Love. The album offers a complete diversity from the stomping Days Of No Trust to the operatic Don't Wake The Lion. Try it out !!