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INNOCENT GOD

Magellan

Heavy Prog


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The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, it seems I'm going to be the first one to add a review of this album to the site. Let's try to make the album justice and give a few words that will help Magellan fans to decide whether or not to buy this band's latest release, INNOCENT GOD.

Before I start with the actual music, let me say that getting a hold of this album is easier than it may look like but not as easy as it used to be with earlier Magellan's releases. I'm saying this because the band has, as we may all know, left Inside Out (the label for their two preceding releases) and signed with Muse-Wrapped records, a not-so-known publisher that works mostly through the Internet. So, if you expect to find this disc in a bin in the nearest record store in your neighborhood, you might find that task quite a challenge. However, when I ordered this cd online it came like a breeze, and in two days I was able to enjoy the Gardner brothers' latest creation.

Magellan is one of my not-so-favorite favorite bands. Now, that sounded weird, so let me explain. I LOVE Trent Gardner's projects, and two of them actually sit among my top 5 albums ever (Explorer's Club I, LEONARDO), and the music in those works has a LOT of Magellan flavor to it. But when it comes to pure Magellan, I still haven't find the one album (and I have them all) that really makes me say "5 stars, no question". Magellan's music is too... erratic. Alongside a great song we may find a weird experiment or a weak little track. Gardner's voice doesn't help matters that much, too. In his projects, he always surrounds himself of extremely great talent (LaBrie, Walsh) and he gives himself vocal roles much more fit to his bland, monotone voice. In Magellan he has to carry the whole vocal department weight by himself, and at times the pressure is just too big for him to handle.

Now about this particular release. INNOCENT GOD feels like the logical follow-up to SYMPHONY FOR A MISANTHROPE. The music continues to get simpler, structures continue to get smaller and more concise, but also experimentation seems to have lost a bit of room, sadly. Whereas IMPENDING ASCENSION or TEST OF WILLS were full of somewhat "weird", but unique and original songs, INNOCENT GOD goes along the trend that started in IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES, with more conventional constructions and less odd-time signatures, less multi-section tracks and less out-of-nowhere solos or instrumental parts. It would appear that once Gardner found a human substitute for the electronic-drum machine of the first albums he lost a little of his heart for experimentation.

Don't get me wrong. Magellan music is still highly interesting and worthy of attention, but it seems Gardner is losing his desire to expand his horizons and trying to adapt himself and his music to the times. Even though a return to the style of the first two releases wouldn't be the right move (those two albums contained a couple really incoherent songs like "Estadium Nacional"), the freshness, the sense of discovery that those opuses carried with them is at risk of being lost if Magellan doesn't turn-up the "weird"-knob a little bit for their next album.

Invisible Bright Man (8/10) This track starts with a unusual (for Magellan) electronic- sounding rhythm. The song itself is rather common Magellan (it could be mistaken as a track from IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES), and it has a chorus of sorts that seems like a weird attempt by Gardner to change his style. The song is entertaining, has energy, but lacks variation, something that we could NEVER have said about a Magellan track from the HOUR OF RESTORATION era. A good song, but nothing spectacular. One of the most "commercial" (if that songs could apply to this band) tracks in all of Magellan's catalogue.

My Warrior (7/10) Some percussion and acoustic guitar give the signal of a tribal-esque start. The keyboard work is very good, and the song reminds us of Kansas at times. The chorus is one of doubt, of fury. The main problem with this track is Gardner's non- theatrical song. Gardner can sing in tone, in key, he sings well from a musical point of view, but he CAN'T provide his performances with personality, he CAN'T ACT with his voice. And thus the song sounds more repetitive than it really is.

Innocent God (6.5/10) The beginning of this track sound like straight, old, dirty rock N'roll but with the weird (but always pleasant to come across to) vocal harmonies of Magellan and some electronic percussion playing alongside the real acoustic drums. The rhythm is slow and heavy, at times bordering on boring. Nowhere is more evident the lack of "acting-skills" that Gardner suffers from than in this song's middle section, where an atmospheric, emotional music is almost ruined by his linear, un-mutable voice. Near the end the song turns into world-prog mode, with somewhat of a Peter Gabriel flavor behind it. Too long a track, not too brilliant a title track.

Found (8/10) More world-music. This sounds like Magellan after returning from a trip to Africa. But then the main section of the music is pure recent-years Gardner, with strong, emotional passages of hard rock. One of the best songs in INNOCENT GOD. Nothing magnificent, though.

Who To Believe (8/10) Now this is rather new. New for Magellan, that is. Gardner's voice and piano chords, that's all. This simple track would've been so much more beautiful and emotional with a better singer on top of it (think LaBrie, he would've made wonders with this). Gardner's vocal limitations hurt this otherwise decent, mellow, quiet, evocative track.

Sea Of Detail (8/10) An instrumental piece, and a good one, too. The rhythm is heavy, the atmosphere dark. Over pounding drums Gardner's keyboard sounds a little like Sherinian's. The other Gardner (Wayne) plays a good guitar solo and he and his brother dialogue musically in what truly is the album's highlight, though still nothing worthy of the best music Trent Gardner has shown us he's capable of writing. There anot enough parts, the songs sounds a little repetitive.

Slow Burn (8/10) Suddenly Magellan turned into a southern rock'n roll band (?!). The bridge and chorus is more "Magellan-esque" but this is a weird song for Magellan, too. normal? Incredibly enough, it is kind of entertaining, and works. Magellan can rock, too!

All in all, not the greatest Magellan album, but a good one nevertheless and worthy of being added to your collection, if you like Mr. Gardner's unusual musical-antics. You may not be blown away with this new release, but you'll have a good time anyway.

Recommended for : Magellan fans; American-style prog fans; even regular hard-rock fans, as this is not an ultra-progressive album as the ones Gardner had us used to.

Not recommended for: People that can't digest Magellan's music or American-style prog; most of all, vocal coaches.

. Gardner's black-and-white voice has really no shades of grey. or any other color. At least on this release.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#118313)
Posted Friday, April 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars No doubt....

This is the worst album of Magellan with 100YF.

I really loved the intensity,creativity of the hard symph.progrock of Hour Of Restoration and Test Of Wills,rock a la Kansas and Mastermind.Strong and sublime songs were those,with some very long and enjoyable melodies .

But nowadays Magellan is a confussed band.There are some seeds of the clasical Mag.,but in some songs(very USA comercial hardrock)it seems that they want us to dance.

The idea is not to produce albums all the years.It is better to take out music of better quality and if they need a lot ofyears to create nice and original compositions it worth the time . Hope in the future they take the enogh time then.

2,5 *

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Send comments to robbob (BETA) | Report this review (#122417)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very nice effort from Magellan, probably a little more sophisticated than some people can grasp but a very even well produced and well played performance by Magellan . It seems they have found their sound I only wish for one thing and that would be to show a little more progressive adventure musically into things, apart from that minor complaint this CD has nice tunes even some very good ones, thoughtful lyrics & smooth production ... well done !

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Send comments to Big Kansas Fan (BETA) | Report this review (#123072)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I have to say I'm pretty disappointed in Magellan here. It seems like they had been going more commercial for a while (Impossbile figures) but had found a good balance with the last album. THis latest album though just feels like a sell out. Perhaps the most disappointing is the title track which seems like it should be on a hip-hop album. Overall, I think Gardner has either run out of steam or the will to put for the an effort. Anyway, two stars for this stinker.

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Send comments to Failcore (BETA) | Report this review (#123094)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In my opinion, Magellan's finest since Impending Ascension. Obviously an acquired taste, Magellan don't appear to float the boat of many Progressive Rock fans.

The eponymous track 'Innocent God' is their best track since 'Estadium Nacionale' - there's a fabulous change of direction midway through, presenting wonderful harmonies from the heavens and chord changes par excellence. 'Found' continues an aggressive, almost world music theme and 'Sea of Detail' is another blinding performance.

I'm not going to review ad nauseum - suffice to say I suggest you give this album a real chance. I was hooked on second listen and when compared to other recent Magellan releases, this one really stand head and shoulders above them. My prog album of 2007....so far. Four stars.

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Send comments to Baggiesfaninuk (BETA) | Report this review (#140150)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars God’s witness, I’ve tried. I’ve been trying ever since I’ve heard the first album in my life connected with Trent Gardner (EXPLORER’S CLUB) which I’ve grown to hate immensely. Nothing has changed completely from those dark ages – I simply can’t feel and understand the way Trent makes music. It’s complex, YES-RUSH-KANSAS-influenced, somewhat heavy and with its own original melodic basis, plus annoying drum-machine and trumpet solos…but hell, I simply can’t stand it! Thousands of apologies, but this is only me - I happened to dislike ANYTHING Trent ever did/participated into. This is (I hope) the first and the last review of mine on his work. Not enough melodic for Symphonic/Art, not quite “out there” for Avant, MAGELLAN’s music can’t be simply enjoyable in the way I’ve used to. As Menswear once asked in his MAGELLAN review, “Do you know anybody stating Magellan has one of his favorite band?” I believe this is a rhetorical question. Sorry, but this is UNBEARABLE!!!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#141223)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I bought Impending Ascension on the year it came out. I was only 16 then and since I owe all of their albums I consider myself fair & good judge of Magellan music. It's funny that Innocent God was by far the toughest CD buy so far (not on sale anywhere in Slovenia or near countries, nor on Amazon till this summer), therefore being the most anticipated release of past year and a half. And what do I hold in my hands after all this sweet mayhem? Firstly - the most dissapointing release from the band so far, and secondly - the most coherent release from the band so far. With this in mind it's hard to judge this album as a whole. Songwriting is pretty simple (for Magellan that is), while 45 minutes in seven evenly-recorded songs is exactly what you could hope for (for a rock record that is). I must admit that The T's review tells it all - it's fair, true, and honest, and I don't need to add anything to that. Slow burn is a real surprise, as Magellan were never before so straight and rock-catchy, and Innocent God as a title song is simply not worth of Trent Gardner's songwriting. The album is bad only in comparison to other Magellan releases (with Impending Ascension and Impossible figures topping the chart), while in comparison to many other prog-rock and rock releases, this album stands very solid and strong. Personally, I never believed that such straight (even commercial) release will see the light of the day under the Magellan moniker, but it did! And it's funny I actually like that! Why? Well, it's quite simple, as we all know what usually follows after such estranged trip... rougher, edgier and more experimental next release from one of ther finest prog bands on earth.

All in all, a solid rock album, essential for Magellan fans and adult rock music-lovers, but of no importance to eminent prog-music fans.

Take care and prog on, Vens, Slovenia

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Send comments to vens (BETA) | Report this review (#197755)
Posted Thursday, January 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Latest release to date is Magellan's seventh studio album from 2007 named Innocent god, well is a little diffrent this time then on past works. The music on this album is simpler then usual in Magellan's music, the instrumental passages don't have so much space this time, no more longer and great interplays between musicians, only some moddy pieces with atmosphere but keeping the progressive elements more or less in places. Innocent god is not a bad album , as many said , is diffrent then the predecesor and even mellower in places, the heavy/neo /symphonic ingredients are almost gone here, living space to amuch more calm sound as whole with some exceptions of course like the instrumental Sea of detail, the best piece from here without doubt, is heavy with dark atmosphere and good musicianship, another worthy one is Found a mid tempo piece with some intristing lyrics and nice interplays between musicians, the rest of the pieces are only ok, nothing realy great as on more recent albums like Impossible figures, their best work of this decade and far from the greatness of Impending ascension. Slow burn is a hard rock number with some keys on background not quite typical for Magellan but pleasent anyway. So, this must be their weakest work for sure, but not bad, some good moments here and there makes me rounded up from 2.5 to 3, because I like Magellan's music and because they have an unique manner of composing.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#246159)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Last album to date from this US combo. And not their best one to tell the truth. Even if I only moderately appreciated the band, their first two releases were fine and held some very good pieces of music.

What's available here is of another calibre. Inexpressive music, dull vocals, third division heavy / neo prog with little feeling. I would have hoped that the long title track would have brought us into some sort of the splendours of the early days ("Magna Carta"), but we are from there.

It is difficult to find a song which is worth mentioning. But it was mainly the case already for several of their previous albums. This music just doesn't speak to me; vocals are average and transparent as far as I'm concerned.

I am not saying that this is a bad album, but to be transported to heaven doesn't apply either. A song as "Found" is especially boring though. And the mellowish and almost religious "Who To Believe" is not my cup of tea.

The instrumental and pompous "Sea Of Details" is one of the good moments from this album (at last!), but the closing track brings the listener back to a standard heavy rock song: average to weak vocals (again) are not going to make of "Slow Burn" a highlight. But these are scarce to none while listening to "Innocent God".

Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#252254)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Well, I have to say it bluntly that this band has been stuck in the middle. In some ways the Gardner brother wanted to push the music into symphonic arena through the exploration of keyboards while maintaining its composition on song orientation. One of the strong requirement for song orientated music is the melody. Unfortunately this album fall short on this as there is basically no melodic track demonstrated from this album. I was actually quite impressed the first time I listened to this album through its opening track Invisible Bright Man (6:20). It's not an excellent one but it's quite good opener. Unfortunately the next tracks are putting me into 'getting bored' corner. In fact, when I listen to this album I always expect when it would be over because I cannot stand myself with the boring musical passages that rely heavily on keyboard but practically very little to offer - there is no inventive keyboard solos that can lift me up with the music. I tend to stop the music, really. I find the track Found also quite interesting but again it then getting e bored again.

Well, I think the band should rejuvenate its strategy in making good music even though this album is not bad at all, but it's not quite good. It's for collectors only. So I have to put with two- star rating. Keep on proggin' ...! Wake up Gardners!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#755690)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2012 | Review Permalink

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