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Magellan - Impossible Figures CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.42 | 91 ratings

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3 stars Magellan's fifth studio album, Impossible Figures, was released in 2003, 12 years after this fledgling duo of brothers Trent and Wayne Gardner made their debut. After using programmed drums on their first two albums, then having a revolving door of drummers come and go, Magellan this time listed the drummer as a special guest. This time it was Jason Gianni, an accomplished and skillful session drummer who has worked on television and radio commercials and with numerous artists in the San Francisco Bay area. He even has a bachelor's degree in percussion performance from the Pennsylvania State University. Gianni is probably the best drummer Magellan has made use of up to this album.

This album sounds a bit more diverse than previous Magellan releases. There's a little bit of the keyboard-laden quirkiness from the earlier years of Magellan, ELP-driven piano sections, Trent Gardner on his trombone, crunching metal guitar riffs, complicated bass riffs, jungle-driven percussion, and a whole bunch of new styles unlike the typical Magellan of the past. I don't really sense any strong influences on this except for the ELP-inspired piano work on Confessor's Overture. Sometimes I'm reminded of Rush, sometimes King's X, sometimes Echolyn, sometimes Kansas, but never anything that really sticks out. It's like Magellan took another abrupt turn down another musical road (like they previously did on Test of Wills).

The end result for some reason leaves me with a wanting feeling, like there's something missing and I can't quite put my finger on it. It's like a Magellan album without the charm; the quirkiness and odd vocals have faded into the distance to be replaced with... well, what everyone else is doing I guess. Maybe that's it. Magellan sounds like 'contemporary progressive' (?). That's probably the wrong term to use. The closest comparison I can come up with is the difference between a pre- and post-Morse Spock's Beard. It's like Trent Gardner left Magellan, but he's really still there (yes, I know, one too many diet Sunkists for me today).

The album has its good moments, and it has its less-than-stellar moments. For the very first time, I have the urge to skip some of these tracks as I listen to the album in my CD player. It's good, but leaves me empty and missing the previous four albums in Magellan's catalogue. Three stars seems to be the best I can do.

progaeopteryx | 3/5 |


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