Rating: 70/100

Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen, April '05
InsideOut Music
Style: Progressive Rock

Symphony For A Misanthrope

The Gardner brothers are back with the sixth album from their main band: Magellan. Some might think 6 albums in almost 15 years isn't a lot, but they have as some of you might know been busy in a lot of other projects like: Explorer's Club (with James LaBrie, Dream Theater), Leonardo - "The Absolute Man"  - an album based on the life of Leonardo Da Vinci - with various vocalists. Trent has co-written and co-produced Steve Walsh's "Glossolalia", on which he also plays keyboards and sings, and he has produced Jack Foster's "The Evolution Of JazzRaptor". So they haven't been lazy in between albums...

The history of Magellan started almost 15 years ago with their highly acclaimed debut album: "Hour Of Restoration" (1991), which in my book was a very good album. Next album "Impending Ascension" (1994) is still my favorite Magellan album, then things started do drift a bit off in directions I personally didn't care much for ... "Test Of Wills" (1997) saw them drifting off into jazz-land, not a move I found that great. In 2002 they returned with "Hundred Year Flood" - an album that never managed to capture me, and I lost interest in Magellan ... so I must admit, that I have never even listened to their album from 2003 "Impossible Figures" ... so my last impressions were from the in my book very disappointing "Hundred Year Flood" album.

So it wasn't with high expectations that I put on their new album, and must admit I was very disappointed after the first spin in my CD-player. But I listened to it over and over, and it got better by each time. But I am still not completely convinced me by this album.

The album kicks off with a nice instrumental: "Symphonette" a nice opener with a lot of classical touches.
"Why Water Weeds?" is as expected from Trent Gardner a nice mixture of epic keyboard sounds and heavy rock parts, a good song, but it never fully pleases me ...
"Wisdom" has to be one a most beautiful ballads I've heard in a long time - great stuff.
"Cranium Reef Suite" is with it's 18 minutes the heart and soul of this album, and contains everything you love or hate about Magellan, and this song just keeps getting better and better!
"Pianissimo Intermission" is like the title sort of gives away a small 2 minutes classical piano piece.
"Doctor Concoctor" is the album's hardest track, I really like the keys on this track - they give a nice contrast to the guitars.
"Every Bullet Needs Blood" is the last track on the album, a rather straight forward Magellan track, but I like this simple structure on this track.

As expected the album is nicely wrapped into a very good production, and do check out the cool album cover - very Hugh Syme like. If you are a fan of Magellan, then I am sure you like me will like this album. It's a solid effort, not their best, but not their worst either ... Don't expect this album to be brilliant straight out of the box, because it demands a lot on the listener, and will eventually open up and offer 46 minutes of good, solid progressive rock.

Recommended tracks: "Wisdom", "Cranium Reef Suite" & "Every Bullet Needs Blood"