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Explorers Club - Age Of Impact CD (album) cover

AGE OF IMPACT

Explorers Club

 

Heavy Prog

3.66 | 96 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

semismart
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I have been very fortunate lately and have come across a bevy of great Progressive Rock and Metal albums and I just want to spread the word among prog-heads. The first one I'm going to tell you about is Age of Impact by Explorers Club.

Now Explorers Club is not a real band. It's actually a side project of Magellan's singer/keyboardist Trent Gardner but if it were a band, boy, would it be a band for the ages. It seems like Gardner took a cue from one of his contemporaries, the incomparable Arjen A. Lucassen and wrote what is essentially a rock opera and invited numerous mega talented musicians to get in the act. Take a look at the plethora of superstar participants:

Rhythm Section: Terry Bozzio: Drums Billy Sheehan: Bass Trent Gardner: Keyboards Wayne Gardner: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Additional Bass Brad Kaiser: Additional Midi Percussion

Lead Vocalists: James LaBrie, D.C. Cooper, Trent Gardner Bret Douglas, Matt Bradley

Soloists: John Petrucci: Guitars Steve Howe: Acoustic Guitar Derek Sherinian: Keyboards Trent Gardner: Keyboard and Trombone James Murphy: Guitars Michael Bemesderfer: Flute and Wind Controller Frederick Clarke: Nylon String Guitar Matt Guillory: Keyboards

Now I'll admit I haven't heard of all of these guys but with the ones I have heard of, Billy Sheehan, Trent Gardner, James LaBrie, Terry Bozzio, D.C.Cooper, John Petrucci, Steve Howe and Derek Sherinian, I know a Superstar band when I see it and Explorers Club plays like a band of Progressive Rock Superstars.

About Trent Gardner

Trent Gardner is the band leader of the Progressive Rock Band Magellan. He writes all the songs, sings and plays keyboards. While this is probably enough to keep most musicians busy, it obviously isn't enough for Gardner and several of his contemporaries, like LeBrie, Sherinian and Petrucci who together probably have more side projects than actual band recordings. Gardner for one has produced two subsequent side project releases in the rock opera, Leonardo: The Absolute Man (2001) and a second Explorers Club release, Raising the Mammoth. (2002)

Age of Impact

If you like good Progressive Rock , you're going to love Age of Impact. Though it consists of only five songs, in true prog-rock tradition they average over ten and a half minutes.

The music varies from a Dream Theaterish sound as on the sixteen minute lead song, "Fate Speaks" to a mellower sound which is evident on portions of the middle tracks. I find the variety of singers (there are five) quite exhilarating. They are all very good and they each take the lead for a song with LaBrie taking two and Gardner harmonizing, except for a portion of the last track where he takes the lead. As you might expect there is a lot of instrumentation and soloing but the vocals take a back seat to no one. The music is melodious, despite being prog, the singers are excellent and the lyrics are meaningful.

"Fate Speaks" features Douglas and Gardner on vocals with a several solos, including Petruuci's four minute opening and keyboard and more guitar solos in a strong progressive sound. "Fading Fast" has a very interesting almost oriental sounding beginning, including some heavy bass drums, before changing direction into a progressive ballad sung by Dali's Dilemma vocalist Matt Bradley. This song features some soloing by Petrucci. "Fading Fast" segueing uninterrupted into "No Returning" featuring instrumental intros by both Gardner on keyboards and Bemesderfer on flute. After about four minutes LaBrie starts singing to this mid tempo number with strong multiple background vocals. Again Petrucci struts his stuff in the middle and at the end and again segueing into "Time Enough" where we have one of my favorite singers D.C.Cooper from, at that time, Royal Hunt. This song has kind of an dark mysterious undercurrent. The first eight lines of the first verse are the same as shown above for "Fate Speaks". In the middle we have an interesting series of solos from Murphy (guitar), Gardner (trombone & keyboard), Bemesderfer (wind controller) and Howe (guitar) and some nice violins backing Cooper at the end which again segues into the finale "Last Call", an eleven minute progressive jam gem as LaBrie and Gardner share lead vocals while the remaining band members, especially Bozzio go wild. Highlights of this song are the extremely catchy beat in the middle and Petrucci's four and a half minute guitar solo and drum ending. Guitar affecianados, you got to hear this. Steve Vai, move over!

Song/Track List 1. Fate Speaks (Gardner) - 16:00 2. Fading Fast (Gardner) - 8:45 3. No Returning (Gardner) - 8:20 4. Time Enough (Gardner) - 9:15 5. Last Call (Gardner) - 11:10

Question: What do you think?

Answer/Question: Well...if it's so good, how come I haven't heard it on the radio?

Answer: I can't believe you said that. That's why you haven't heard it on the radio. It's TOO good!

semismart | 5/5 |

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