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Magellan - Innocent God CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

2.79 | 69 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, it seems I'm going to be the first one to add a review of this album to the site. Let's try to make the album justice and give a few words that will help Magellan fans to decide whether or not to buy this band's latest release, INNOCENT GOD.

Before I start with the actual music, let me say that getting a hold of this album is easier than it may look like but not as easy as it used to be with earlier Magellan's releases. I'm saying this because the band has, as we may all know, left Inside Out (the label for their two preceding releases) and signed with Muse-Wrapped records, a not-so-known publisher that works mostly through the Internet. So, if you expect to find this disc in a bin in the nearest record store in your neighborhood, you might find that task quite a challenge. However, when I ordered this cd online it came like a breeze, and in two days I was able to enjoy the Gardner brothers' latest creation.

Magellan is one of my not-so-favorite favorite bands. Now, that sounded weird, so let me explain. I LOVE Trent Gardner's projects, and two of them actually sit among my top 5 albums ever (Explorer's Club I, LEONARDO), and the music in those works has a LOT of Magellan flavor to it. But when it comes to pure Magellan, I still haven't find the one album (and I have them all) that really makes me say "5 stars, no question". Magellan's music is too... erratic. Alongside a great song we may find a weird experiment or a weak little track. Gardner's voice doesn't help matters that much, too. In his projects, he always surrounds himself of extremely great talent (LaBrie, Walsh) and he gives himself vocal roles much more fit to his bland, monotone voice. In Magellan he has to carry the whole vocal department weight by himself, and at times the pressure is just too big for him to handle.

Now about this particular release. INNOCENT GOD feels like the logical follow-up to SYMPHONY FOR A MISANTHROPE. The music continues to get simpler, structures continue to get smaller and more concise, but also experimentation seems to have lost a bit of room, sadly. Whereas IMPENDING ASCENSION or TEST OF WILLS were full of somewhat "weird", but unique and original songs, INNOCENT GOD goes along the trend that started in IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES, with more conventional constructions and less odd-time signatures, less multi-section tracks and less out-of-nowhere solos or instrumental parts. It would appear that once Gardner found a human substitute for the electronic-drum machine of the first albums he lost a little of his heart for experimentation.

Don't get me wrong. Magellan music is still highly interesting and worthy of attention, but it seems Gardner is losing his desire to expand his horizons and trying to adapt himself and his music to the times. Even though a return to the style of the first two releases wouldn't be the right move (those two albums contained a couple really incoherent songs like "Estadium Nacional"), the freshness, the sense of discovery that those opuses carried with them is at risk of being lost if Magellan doesn't turn-up the "weird"-knob a little bit for their next album.

Invisible Bright Man (8/10) This track starts with a unusual (for Magellan) electronic- sounding rhythm. The song itself is rather common Magellan (it could be mistaken as a track from IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES), and it has a chorus of sorts that seems like a weird attempt by Gardner to change his style. The song is entertaining, has energy, but lacks variation, something that we could NEVER have said about a Magellan track from the HOUR OF RESTORATION era. A good song, but nothing spectacular. One of the most "commercial" (if that songs could apply to this band) tracks in all of Magellan's catalogue.

My Warrior (7/10) Some percussion and acoustic guitar give the signal of a tribal-esque start. The keyboard work is very good, and the song reminds us of Kansas at times. The chorus is one of doubt, of fury. The main problem with this track is Gardner's non- theatrical song. Gardner can sing in tone, in key, he sings well from a musical point of view, but he CAN'T provide his performances with personality, he CAN'T ACT with his voice. And thus the song sounds more repetitive than it really is.

Innocent God (6.5/10) The beginning of this track sound like straight, old, dirty rock N'roll but with the weird (but always pleasant to come across to) vocal harmonies of Magellan and some electronic percussion playing alongside the real acoustic drums. The rhythm is slow and heavy, at times bordering on boring. Nowhere is more evident the lack of "acting-skills" that Gardner suffers from than in this song's middle section, where an atmospheric, emotional music is almost ruined by his linear, un-mutable voice. Near the end the song turns into world-prog mode, with somewhat of a Peter Gabriel flavor behind it. Too long a track, not too brilliant a title track.

Found (8/10) More world-music. This sounds like Magellan after returning from a trip to Africa. But then the main section of the music is pure recent-years Gardner, with strong, emotional passages of hard rock. One of the best songs in INNOCENT GOD. Nothing magnificent, though.

Who To Believe (8/10) Now this is rather new. New for Magellan, that is. Gardner's voice and piano chords, that's all. This simple track would've been so much more beautiful and emotional with a better singer on top of it (think LaBrie, he would've made wonders with this). Gardner's vocal limitations hurt this otherwise decent, mellow, quiet, evocative track.

Sea Of Detail (8/10) An instrumental piece, and a good one, too. The rhythm is heavy, the atmosphere dark. Over pounding drums Gardner's keyboard sounds a little like Sherinian's. The other Gardner (Wayne) plays a good guitar solo and he and his brother dialogue musically in what truly is the album's highlight, though still nothing worthy of the best music Trent Gardner has shown us he's capable of writing. There anot enough parts, the songs sounds a little repetitive.

Slow Burn (8/10) Suddenly Magellan turned into a southern rock'n roll band (?!). The bridge and chorus is more "Magellan-esque" but this is a weird song for Magellan, too. normal? Incredibly enough, it is kind of entertaining, and works. Magellan can rock, too!

All in all, not the greatest Magellan album, but a good one nevertheless and worthy of being added to your collection, if you like Mr. Gardner's unusual musical-antics. You may not be blown away with this new release, but you'll have a good time anyway.

Recommended for : Magellan fans; American-style prog fans; even regular hard-rock fans, as this is not an ultra-progressive album as the ones Gardner had us used to.

Not recommended for: People that can't digest Magellan's music or American-style prog; most of all, vocal coaches.

. Gardner's black-and-white voice has really no shades of grey. or any other color. At least on this release.

The T | 3/5 |


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