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Savatage - The Wake of Magellan CD (album) cover

THE WAKE OF MAGELLAN

Savatage

 

Progressive Metal

3.86 | 105 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I did my retrospective of Savatage discography last year where I covered some of the band's material produced by Paul O'Neill (Hall Of The Mountain King and on) but clearly left out quite a few albums. The reason for that is not that I haven't heard the albums, I actually happen to known most of these albums quite well, except Poets & Madmen which I'm still saving for that special moment sometime in the near future. So why, you might ask? Simply because I didn't feel that I could find enough reasoning behind my mixed feelings related to these albums and therefore wouldn't do justice to these reviews.

I did make the decision of reviewing Dead Winter Dead, against my better judgment, since it happens to be one of the beloved classics in the Savatage catalog, but I did it mainly just to show that I have a different opinion on the issue. Unfortunately, my reasoning was not motivated enough and I will probably have to work on that review in due time. That whole issue aside, I've now clearly understood my personal stand when it comes to The Wake Of Magellan, which is why I'm putting these thoughts into writing.

To tell you the truth, I never considered this release to be among the band's best. Savatage had their golden age with the release of Gutter Ballet but it all ended with the tragic death of Criss Oliva. Even though both Paul O'Neill and Jon Oliva tried their best to recreate the magic of those three great albums, I really haven't been able to place any of the post-Edge Of Thorns in the same bracket as the golden age material.

My main concern with this so called second renaissance of Savatage (Handful Of Rain and on) has to do with the amounts of laking material that was featured on these releases. Dead Winter Dead had only two truly magic moments in the form of the two gorgeous ballads This Is The Time and Not What You See. The rest of the album was good but there was nothing the could compare itself to those two compositions. The Wake Of Magellan has a similar issue although with a slightly different twist to it. I'm talking about the fact that most of the top notch material is hidden towards the end of the album!

I would have easily enjoyed this release more if it dropped the first eight tracks and made a 27 minute long EP out of the remaining five tracks (Underture and onward). These five concluding tracks are truly phenomenal and definitely reminiscent of the golden age material, featuring a linear storyline and an epic symphonic conclusion to the piece which unfortunately have almost no connection to the first half of the album. This might just be the reason why the band decided to add an intro section in the form of The Ocean (Instrumental), in order to make the to halves feel like one whole, but it just doesn't work for me.

The final product of The Wake Of Magellan is a semi-coherent masterpiece, which in my book makes it good enough release but not by any means an excellent one. The Hourglass is easily one of the strongest concluding compositions that I've heard to a concept album and it does manage to wipe away some of the lesser memories that one might have of the overall product. Fortunately I'm a realist who prefers to see things for what they are and I clearly see that this is a flawed release.

***** star songs: Anymore (5:16) The Hourglass (8:07)

**** star songs: Turns To Me (6:01) Another Way (4:35) Paragons Of Innocence (5:33) Underture (Instrumental) (3:52) The Wake Of Magellan (6:10) The Storm (Instrumental) (3:45)

*** star songs: The Ocean (Instrumental) (1:33) Welcome (2:11) Morning Sun (5:49) Blackjack Guillotine (4:33) Complaint In The System (2:37)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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