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Savatage - The Wake of Magellan CD (album) cover

THE WAKE OF MAGELLAN

Savatage

 

Progressive Metal

3.87 | 107 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Crow
Prog Reviewer
5 stars After the heart-touching masterpiece "Dead Winter Dead", came another masterpiece sometimes even better than its predecessor: the impressive "The Wake of Magellan"...

This album is the other side of "Dead Winter Dead". DWD was a very dramatic album, and it supossed an introduction of an evident symphonic increasing in the band, thing wich supposed the born of the Savatage's side project Trans-Siberian Orchestra. "The Wake of Magellan" maintains these symphonic elements, but with an obvious change of mood. Here the music is more epic and less dramatic, agreed with the history of the album. Because of that, both albums are similar, but at the same time, completely different. ĦAnd this is one of the things I like most from Savatage, they never repeat the same formula in 2 albums, although they have a very charasteristic and own style! The only thing you can expect from a future Savatage's release is the awesome quality and the unmistakable signs of identity of the band, but never the same album with different name... Savatage doesn't work this way, and maybe for this reason they have never reached a great popularity, because they are pretty difficult to classify...

The Ocean: an introduction instrumental track, with a beautiful piano and strong bass lines, and providing a misterious and intrigating atmosfere...

Welcome: a catchy piano melody breaks in one of the most epic songs of the album, with a magnificent choir and great rythm guitars. The end is just anthologic... "Welcome to the show!"

Turns to Me: the first "real" song of the album, and a very good one. The song opens with atmosferic guitar armonics and beautiful verses singed by Zachary Stevens. Later, the song breaks in a sharpened guitar riff, and the song has really started! Agressive Zachary's singing, good chorus... But the best part of the song is the epic bridge, with an incredible feeling of adventure... You can imagine being in the sea hearing this song. The song ends with the same power how it started, with another impressive solo by the master Al Pitrelli.

Morning Sun: one of the highlights of the album. The verses are leaded by a funny folky acoustic guitars, with beautiful lyrics... But the chorus is just powerful, with killer electric guitars! The bridge is very powerful too, but the best of the song comes later, after the last chorus... Incredible guitar solo, maybe the best of the album! Al Pitrelli is one of the best guitarist out there, without a doubt!

Another Way: the fist song sung by Jon Oliva. His sharp voice fits perfectly with the powerful riffs of the song... And after the verses comes one of the best chorus of the album. And the guitars after the chorus are so epic! Really, hearing this song is like being in a ship searching for adventures!

Blackjack Guillotine: one of the most powerful songs of the album. The beginning is awesome, like music from a pirates film! After this great section, comes another powerful riff, with another agressive interpretation from Zachary Stevens. Finally, the song explodes with one of the heaviest sections of the album, with an impressive solo from Chris Caffery... Awesome.

Paragons of Innocence: the second and last song sung by Jon Oliva, in a similar way of Another Way, totally epic song. But the chorus is different, with a more groovy feeling, and the piano gives a very apropiano jazzy feeling. The section of "Got to let it, got to let it, got to let it..." is great. And the ending is a little odd, because you can hear a totally beautiful piano melody, but suddenly dissapear... This only melody could had been another great song!

Complaint in the System: this song is not the best in the album, with a kind of strange robotic voices. But it's very important for the story, because this song developes part the history of Veronica Guerin, who is an important rol in the album's story...

Underture: the second instrumental, a kind of compilation of what we have heard yet and what will come later in the album. Like every Savatage's instrumental, this song is awesome, very rich in details and totally symphonic prog.

The Wake of Magellan: one of the best songs of the album. It opens slowly and rithmically, with good bass lines by Johnny Lee Middleton, but the chorus is totally epic and exciting! After a heavy section with impressive solos and the last chorus, comes one of the best sections of the albums, one of the Savatage's trademark: the impressive choirs with 4 superposed voices. If you have not heared this Savatage's choirs, I recommend you to do it, because is so impressive... You can hear it in this web, in the songs Chance and The Wake of Magellan. And the most impressive thing is that they can perfectly make it on stage! I saw it with my own eyes. Awesome.

Anymore: the ballad of the album, and a really beautiful one. In the classic Savatage's style, with protagonism of piano, catchy rythm changes and chorus... Another Savatage's perfect ballad, like When the Crowds are Gone, Beleve, All that I Bleed, Alone You Breathe, Not What You See...

The Storm: the third and last instrumental, an indication for the end of the album, wich supposes a perfect introduction for the last song. Outstanding Al Pitrelli's guitar solos here, in a similar style of the "Dead Winter Dead"'s ones...

The Hourglass: maybe the most epic song of the albums, and the most impressive instrumental developement too. Some melodies are related with Anymore and Underture, and here we can hear another example of the outstanding and unique Savatage's choirs. The ending is perfect... "And soon there's no more". Great ending for a great album.

After the music review, I will talk a little about the album's story... Like every Savatage's record since "Gutter Ballet", the lyrics and the story was written by the seventh Savatage's member: the impressive and reputated producer and composer Paul O'Neil (his production in "The Wake of Magellan" is, again, a first class one, everything sounds perfectly here), who is also the mastermind in Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This story is about an old spanish sailor, who is tired about his life and he misses a lot his year in the sea... But he suddenly has a great change in his life, and then the story gives a turn, appearing the story of Veronica Guerin, the brave journalist who fighted against the drug empire... I don't want to spoil the whole story, so I will not say more. Only I wish to emphatisize that this is one of this albums wich makes you thinking and provides you more feeligns that the music itself. Like every Savatage's conceptual album, "The Wake of Magellan" has a lot of social feeling and a good moral message. And of course, this story provides even more dramatism and depth to the marvellous songs...

Conclusion: an obligated album is you like the symphonic/prog metal, like every Savatage's release since Gutter Ballet. And along with "Dead Winter Dead" and "Streets" (and maybe "Poets and Madmen" too), this is the best Savatage's offering. And the last with Zachary Stevens, one of the most talented and original singer in metal.

But warning: don't expect music in a similar style of Symphony X, Shadow Gallery, Vanden Plas, Dream Theater... Because Savatage are very different. Indeed, they are unique, so maybe if you are searching for cliches or typical and ordinary prog metal, you will be dissapointed. The instruments are in service of the music and the story, so don't expect crazy keyboards solos, complex drumming, impossible rythm changes... Just music made with the heart and a with a lot of passion. Of course this is symphonic/prog metal, and here are some things that even Dream Theater can't do (like the great choirs), but Savatage are special. They are not worried about showing their instrumental abbilites, only about offering great SONGS. If you want to understand it, you only have to hear one of their albums... And "The Wake of Magellan" is definitively a good one to introduce yourself in the Savatage's world.

The Crow | 5/5 |

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