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Magellan - Symphony For A Misanthrope CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.12 | 100 ratings

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5 stars I've read both the previous reviews of SFAM and frankly, I don't know what the two previous reviewers here are talking about... There's not much use in comparing the albums with Magellan's previous work because true to form they never put out the same sounding album twice. For people who don't care for change (i.e. progress) this is a bad thing. For me, it's good. Very good. Magellan's first disc, "Hour Of Restoration" was one of the few bombastic/heavy prog/prog metal albums avaiable in 1991. It hovered around number 40 in Japan's pop charts for a few weeks (according to the band that is!) and I guess some people still want to hear the same music the comprised their debut. Again, true to form, Symphony For A Misanthrope is quite different than 'HOR' or any other Magellan disc. The first track, "Symphonette", is a keyboard only collaboration with Kansas front man Steve Walsh, T. Gardner, and Dave Manion (never heard of him before) It's around 2 plus minutes and has the bombastic keyboard intros Magellan is known for. For me that's a good thing, I love it. Others may disagree. "Why Water Weeds?" clocks in nearly 9 minutes and at times sounds abit like IQ. The guitar track was not played by the usual axeman Wayne Gardner but by Robert Berry, another prog man that seems to get around quite a bit. I've never heard them do any track like this before which is exactly what I expect when I listen to any Magellan disc. This crap that I've read about the next track "Wisdom being "the obligatory ballad" (in a review here as well as two other sites) is just total idiocy in my opinion. I know every Magellan CD and out of 6 official Magellan discs there's a grand total of three true ballads! The last one, "Walk Fast, Look Worried" was off of "Test Of Wills" from 1997. For Magellan a mellow tune like this is more of a rarity than anything. It's also another one of my favorite tracks from SFAM. The highlight of the album in my humble opinion is the 18 minute epic, "Cranium Reef". The first few minutes is instrumental, with more than a hint of classic Genesis thrown in the mix. It also has one of the most unusual choruses I've ever heard in my life! I defy you to find any other band with the unique vocal phrases, chord changes, arrangements, and rhythms that Magellan employs not only on this tune, but on any of them. The uniqueness of their sound is what tends to make Magellan a bit controversial as welll. I personally love their different ways of doing things. Others absolutlely loathe their sound. I think this is why it's easy to find many glowing reviews of their work as well as quite a few scathing ones. To each their own I guess! The last three songs are all short, including a two minue piano piece by Bach. Just a short little Pianissimo Iintermission" performed by guest artist Stephen Imbler and composed by Bach. That's followed by the heaviest track, "Doctor Concoctor" and the Rush like closer, "Every Bullet Needs Blood". Every song on the incredible album is one of a kind. I only wish it were a bit longer. Magellan doesn't sound like Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, Flower Kings, IQ, Porcupine Tree, or any other well known or lesser known prog band today. They've accomplished a gigantic tasks in developing a distinctive sound of their own. Whether you love their one of a kind style or not, a least their in their own category. "Symphony For A Misanthrope" is another great addition to the ever evolving catalog of original progressive works. Highly recommended.
garrett | 5/5 |


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