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Magellan - Hundred Year Flood CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.52 | 96 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Magellan's fourth studio album, Hundred Year Flood, ended up being their last studio album for Magna Carta. They would release their next album with Inside Out. This album also showed one personnel change, with drummer Brad Kaiser (leaving to do session work??) being replaced by Joe Franco (Good Rats, Twisted Sister, and a lot of session work too). Also appearing as guests are the famous Ian Anderson on flute, Tony Levin on bass, Robert Berry on guitars and bass, and George Bellas on guitar (whom Brad Kaiser has worked with). The other most notable change is the lengths of the songs. On previous Magellan albums, there were from seven to nine songs per album. Hundred Year Flood only has three, with the first song timing in at over 34 minutes long (albeit divided up into 13 tracks on the CD, although it is one continuous piece of music) and the last song timing in at almost 11 minutes long.

The 34+ minute opener is a touching tribute (or eulogy if you prefer) to Trent and Wayne's brother, Jack Elroy Gardner who died in battle during the Vietnam War in May 1966. Trent was four years old at the time, Wayne was 11 months old. The lyrics are very personal and touching, something often rare in progressive rock recordings. Many times a band has a hard time pulling off a 20-minute long song effectively, let alone something passing the half hour mark. Magellan, having never composed a song of this length, actually does quite an exceptional job. No skipping to the next track, no fast forwarding to a better section. Simply an enjoyable listen the whole way through. It includes nicely done harmonies (Yes comes to mind), hard crunching guitar, eloquent piano work, some lighter sections, and repeating musical themes.

They follow this track with a fairly nice instrumental featuring Ian Anderson on flute. It's not a real attention grabber, but I'm sure the Gardner brothers were pleased to have worked with Ian Anderson as their music often shows Jethro Tull influences. It has more of the feel of an interlude setting up the last track, Brother's Keeper. This final track is a nice mix of the quirky Magellan of old and the new prog metal leaning Magellan. Brilliantly performed, again with thoughtful lyrics.

Although Magellan did an almost 180 degree switch from symphonic prog to prog metal on their last album (Test of Wills), here on Hundred Year Flood, they seem to blend the metal with a more Jethro Tull/Kansas inspired kind of prog rock. I still miss the dominant keyboards displayed on Impending Ascension and their debut album, but it would seem that Magellan has finally matured. The quirkiness of earlier albums appears to have mostly disappeared, yet you can still sense that it's there (and I find that to be a charming aspect of Magellan's sound). Their musical transitions seem more fluid and less sudden. Gardner's vocals have improved greatly and musically their performance is top notch.

Overall, I would have to rate this as four stars. I enjoyed it thoroughly, although I think it would have been better if they had replaced that instrumental with something longer and more adventurous, taking full use of Ian Anderson's talents. A delightful listen and highly recommended.

progaeopteryx | 4/5 |


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