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Explorers Club - Age Of Impact CD (album) cover

AGE OF IMPACT

Explorers Club

 

Heavy Prog

3.65 | 87 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Barla
4 stars Two months ago, I had the unique opportunity to buy this excellent album, Explorer's Club "Age Of Impact". I was a time looking forward to this record and very happy after buying this, considering that I may be the only one in my cocntry who has bought this CD (I think). I've listened to this so many times and now I can make a nice review about this.

Magellan's mastermind, Trent Gardner, formed this so called 'super-group' project near the end of recording Magellan's "Test Of Wills". As he says in the booklet, in the end, this project turned to be the most musical 'fun' he's ever had. And I enjoyed it too, Trent !!

Members of this project ?

Rhythm section: TERRY BOZZIO (Frank Zappa) on drums; BILLY SHEENAN (Steve Vai) on bass; Trent Gardner (Magellan) - Keyboards (he also composed the songs and wrote the lyrics); Wayne Gardner (Magellan) on electric and acoustic guitars, additional bass and Brad Kaiser as 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)

Sounds good ? It does !!

Being this a super-group, I paid special attention to the solos, which are a nice and fundamental ingredient to this. Also the production and vocals are very good. I'd give an special mention to John Petrucci, who has done almost all the guitar solos, with lots of dedication and work. It's predictable that there are some 'look how fast I can play !!' parts, but there's also very melodic and extremely emotional solos and songs, like for example on Fading Fast. Terry Bozzio has done a great work too, always innovative. Explorer's Club is IMO Prog Rock with some heavy influences, while not being too heavy to be Prog Metal.

The album consists of five songs (each one is an Impact), with an average of 10 minutes each, very la Prog Rock. I don't understand too much the lyrics but I guess it's conceptual. Here goes a description track by track.

The journey starts with the giant 16 minutes epic "Impact 1 - Fate Speaks". It starts with a nice melodic intro with acoustic guitar, very epic, and then breaks surprisingly the heavy, rocker and dirty riff. The first three minutes of the song are some very well done passages with Petrucci solos. I must say the sound on this song is very Dream Theater, specially by the vocal melodies and the characteristic guitar sound of Mr. Petrucci. All the vocals on the album are catchy too. Basically, this song is different passages and choruses with lots of great solos in the middle. I specially like the part when Douglas repeats "Fate speaks, fate speaks, loudly !! ... " Nice, rocker, and at the same time, the keyboards on that part give me an electronic and 'mechanical' feeling. An amazing start !!

The ballad, "Impact 2 - Fading Fast" is the follower. This song is magical, it has something that makes me love it every time I listen to it. The intro is very experimental, full of effects and I can even hear some bongos !! Also, this was the first song I listened from this 'band', by this site !! This is, by far the most emotional song: it has very emotive lyrics by an unknown singer (to me) called Matt Bradley (from the Prog Metal band Dali's Dilemma), and the master Petrucci does one of the best solos I've ever heard, it's TOO emotional and melodic !! A musical 'orgasm' !! This would be a good demostration for those who say he's just technique ... BEAUTIFUL song !! You better check it out on the MP3 samples on this site !!

"Impact 3 - No Returning" is next. The good thing about this song is the intro, that goes from acoustic guitar stuff to heavy 'Magellanish' riff combined with a flute solo !! The combination is very strange, but it's pleasant to hear it. Here we've got James Labrie, who does more rocker and strong, even 'dirty' vocals, different from most of what he's done with Dream Theater. Again I can hear the powerful "Fate speaks, fate speaks loudly !! ... " The chorus here is very catchy, and we've again some great rocker solos by Petrucci.

"Impact 4 - Time Enough" is a mid-tempo song with the bis D.C. Cooper on vocals who does a great job here, taking his voice to a more dramatic side. The instrumental intermission is special and relaxing: a trombone solo by Trent, a bass solo by Sheenan, an acoustic guitar solo by master Howe, and again a flute solo by Bemesderefer, played simultaneously, all backed by atmospheric keyboards !! Nice !!

"Impact 5 - Last Call" is to finish the album. It rocks out with the same heavy riff I heard on the first Impact. Here we've again Labrie on the vocals, that are again very catchy, as the extremely catchy rocker chorus too "Now wait here, can't you see I've just spelled out reality, it's no fun, but it's now or never, it's now or never !!" Also here are some nice solos by Death's lead guitarist James Murphy and Dali's Dilemma keyboardist Matt Guillory. There is also a part when Gardner starts singing like trying to save someone's life "Last call, are you going down, down, down ?" and repeats it once and again. To end the song we've an otherwordly 4 MINUTES guitar solo by Petrucci, and also Bozzio goes wild during that final jamming part. A nice ending to this excellent disc.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any Prog music collection. If you like Progressive Rock in general and you'd like to hear this amazing musicians making good music together, this is a good choice !!

Rating: 4.2/5

Barla | 4/5 |

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