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THE WAKE OF MAGELLAN

Savatage

Progressive Metal


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bearsrevil@ao
5 stars After years of listening to this CD it still is every bit as viable as it was then. Musically it is not as intricate as some, but it does not lack for technical prowess and downright good songwriting. It starts off with kind of a mellow vibe and then unexpectedly kicks in when you would least expect. It's got the good solid driving savatage guitars that you would expect, and I am still surprised by having two vocalists on it as they did with dead winter dead. Somehow they get it to work. It's like having two different actors or something. Guitar solos are very good, keys are surprisingly tasteful and very apparent. I still also love the "rounds" that Zak Stephens does, I can think of no one else but Queen who did or is still doing such things, but that's still VERY VERY cool to me. In fact thats why this and Dead Winter Dead are among my most prized albums.

Some highpoints for me are " Blackjack Guillotine", "The Hourglass", "Paragons of Innocence", And "Complaint in the System" and as a bonus when TheWake of Magellan finishes up you have Jon Oliva treating you to a few songs with just him and a piano. Very nice and it gets there at just about the right time, when you are kind of burned from so much bombastic guitars/drums/etc. So the journey continues for just a bit longer at a level you can take, almost like a cooldown after rigorous excercise it leaves you kind of exhilarated and refreshed. I would recomend this album for most anyone, although it is a bit heavy, I feel it has something for nearly any prog fan.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#41805)
Posted Saturday, August 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
WILLIW@comcas
5 stars Having just listened to this release for the third time in one day the only thing I can say is wow!! I have to admit, I was one who always placed Savatage in the same vein as Mettalica, Maiden etc. I read much about their evolution toward prog metal and thought yeah right. Now I have to eat my words. This recording has ripping guitars, sublime keyboards, and to my surprise tremendous vocal harmonies(especially The Hourglass). What really grabs you when listening is the story line. I feel like I'm watching some metal version of Gilligan's Island. I know that sound wierd but I mean it in a good way. The music paints a visual picture in your mind. This is very good prog-metal.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#43840)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Indeed this is a splendid album, I discovered Savatage when I got this CD as a promo. I was asked to review the heavy stuff for a Dutch rock magazine ('Platenblad'). Their music on this CD succeeds to generate a lot of excitement, what a dynamic and captivating music! There is a great flow between the 13 tracks, the duo-guitar work is very good, the keyboards sound spectacular, the rhythm-section is rpopuslive and adventurous and the vocals are no less than stunning!

A MUST FOR THE HEAVY PROGRESSIVE PROGHEADS!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#43845)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars After reading the reviews on this website and being a fan of bands like Dream Theater, Queensryche and Symphony X, I was excited to hear this band and their "masterpiece" album. I purchased a copy and settled in for a great listen. I was extremely dissappointed. The music was technically fine, but the songwriting was just not where it needs to be to rate as an essential or even three star rating. It boggles my mind to see this album rated *above* Rush's Moving Pictures, Yes' Fragile and Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime.

Don't get me wrong, this album is neither unlistinable nor trash. It has the same songwriting limitations as bad Dream Theater and certainly doesn't have the prog value of Yes or the straight metal excellence of Maiden. Don't get your expectations up and you should enjoy this album.!

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Send comments to AtlantaCatFan (BETA) | Report this review (#43848)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
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. ˇAnd 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.

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#73839)
Posted Sunday, April 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I originally got this album through an English teacher who was a big rock fan and was in a band himself and toured for years. At my first listen I thought I was pretty good, but didn't give it much attention and didn't listen to the story. Upon second listen however, I had a new view.

This is good, semi-prog power metal. Yet this does not sound like power metal at all. There are not lyrics about dragons or overly symphonic cheesyness at all. I am a big Dream Theater fan so I was suprised when I found there was not a single keyboard solo. Yet this is not a bad thing at all. Keys are used to add much more mass to the music without making it sound overly symphonic. The band consists of 2 guitarists, a bassist, a keyboardist/ lead vocalist and main lead vocalist. This give the music a lot of mass.

The song starts out with the ocean, a short poppy piano and guitar song. This leads into WELCOME which is also short but is one of my favorites. It starts out with fast and great piano leading into straight guitar chords and powerful vocals. Turns to Me is very good with powerful vocals and great melodies. Next is Morning sun which starts out with acustic guitar and is heavy and powerful. after a few also good songs it goes into Paragons of Innocence, a nice heavy song with Jon Oliva (the keyboardist) on vocals. He is not as good as Jak Stevens but has a good metal voice. The Wake of Megellan is very good with incredible multi-vocal sections. anymore is the ballad of the album and features a choir and strong melodies. The Hourglass is, like most of the songs, a highly melodic song. It also features great multi-vocal sections where a person is singing something different with a different melody than another person. This song, though only 8 minutes long, is the longest of the album.

The story follows the adventure of a man who goes out on the ocean with the intent of killing helself, but "Wakes" and finds good in his life and ultimately survives. The story is told more straight forwardly in a poetic version in the album art section. Though the story is not as strong as the actual lyrics it fits perfectly with the mood of this Album. This album has the PERFECT combination of melodic riffs, symphonic sections, powerful acrobatic vocals, and great guitar solos that I have no choice but to say- This album is essential to fans of prog metal who like great melodies, powerful metal vocals, and fitting piano sections. This is my first Savatage album and is now one of my favorite albums.

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Send comments to MajesterX (BETA) | Report this review (#77359)
Posted Saturday, May 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Perhaps the most overlooked prog-concept masterpiece. A diverse, musical tour-de-force that incorporates multi-tracked operatic vocals, virtuosic twin-guitar attacks, and orchestral keyboards and arrangements, all wrapped in a compelling, inviting tale. TWOM combines all of the best elements of late-stage Savatage and deserves mention among such great prog masterpieces as 2112, O:Mindcrime and The Wall.

Every song on Wake is a great song, not a single throwaway in the bunch. However, the true strength of the disc is found in the opening 15 minutes (first four songs) and then again in the final 25 minutes (last five songs). The middle portion is still good, but not quite as good as the beginning and end. The opener "The Ocean" serves as a standard prog-concept musical intro and serves its purpose well. "Welcome" does just that, with the theatrical opening inviting listeners in with a provocative combination of keyboards, heavy power chords and Queen-like multi-tracked vocals. "Turns to Me", along with "Morning Sun" are probably the best straight-forward "songs" to be found here. Both combine classic prog-metal elements and contain blistering guitar work. Together give the disc an energetic opening section.

The next section contains somewhat more of the same, with just slightly less quality. "Blackjack Guillotine" has proven a crowd-favorite but for me, its not as diverse or compelling as the previous songs, though I do love the old-school power-ending. "Paragons of Innocence" and "Complaint in the System" both contain some creative call-and-response type lyrics, hinting at some of the more sophisticated vocal arrangements that show up in the last third of the disc.

"Underture" kicks off the last third of Wake with an imaginative, energetic instrumental. It is here that the true influence of Paul O'Neill on the band's direction is most evident. This piece, like most of the last 20 minutes, could easily be played by a full-sized orchestra and features many elements of an orchestral piece. It works amazingly well and that momentum is carried through the rest of Wake. The final 20 minutes or so feature a blurring combination of sophisticated prog-rock that, in my opinion, is almost unique. I can think of no band that so successfully tells a story with true heavy metal guitars and drums, orchestral keyboards and arrangement, operatic, multi-tracked vocals, etc. The concluding highlight is the 8-minute "The Hourglass", which features a mesmerizing vocal workup that slowly, and appropriately fades to a solemn, gentle closing. It all works perfectly, and is a key component of making "Wake" a prog masterpiece.

Finally, on the US version three bonus songs are included. All of three are acoustic workups of Savatage songs and feature the two lead vocalists singing songs usually performed by the other. All are individually excellent. I especially like "Alone You Breathe", which takes on a poignancy lost in the full-band version captured on "Handful of Rain". If you're familiar with the the tragic death of Chris Oliwa the song will surely touch you. One of the few instances where the "bonus" songs really add value.

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Send comments to MrMan2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#95430)
Posted Sunday, October 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
WaywardSon
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I can´t think of many artists in the Progressive Metal genre that can stir the listeners imagination as much as Jon Oliva.

Right from the soft tinkering on the piano on the opening track, "The Ocean" (with the sounds of the ocean and gulls), the listener is drawn into another world as Jon Oliva and Savatage set the scene. Zakk Stevens enters on the second track, "Welcome" and his "harsh" vocals are perfectly suited for this band.

The next four tracks set the pace for the more progressive tracks that come after.

On "Complaint in the system" they begin to experiment more. The lyrics are very thought provoking and cleverly worked out. The musicianship on "Underture", "The wake of Magellen" and "The Storm" (Featuring an incredible guitar solo) are outstanding, weaving a tapestry of beauty and maddness as the story unfolds. The ship is lashed by gigantic waves and the lyrics tell of the men on board and their last thoughts before they perish.

The album closes with "The Hourglass", which is over eight minutes long , ending the nightmare, when the narrator (or survivor) finds footprints on the sand, a loner who is haunted by the memories of a ghost ship.

Progressive Metal at it´s best!

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Send comments to WaywardSon (BETA) | Report this review (#98432)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Having enjoyed my first exposures to prog metal (Dream Theater, Symphony X, Riverside, etc), I thought I would extend a bit further and try the Wake of Magellan. Wow, was I ever in for a surprise! It is not lightly that I would give a 1 star rating. I'll wait for at least a year after purchasing the album, and I'll give it at least ten full listens. I have nothing against Savatage. I have nothing against prog metal. I just think this is a very mediocre album at best, and a blunder at worst.

There are slightly enjoyable parts. Some of the guitar work is fast and furious, and it actually sounds good. Unfortunately, this album really doesn't feature the guitar much. Instead, vocals lead the way, and they are absolutely awful in places. I like the cover art, and I like the theme. I just really can't get into the actual music.

To wit, exhibit A: Paragons of Innocence. The vocals are consistently flat throughout, but at the 3 minute mark, things become absolutely dreadful. The vocals sound EXACTLY like the Spice Girls ("So tell me what you want, what you really really want...") put to metal, and then the words "gotta let it" are repeated 30 times (don't worry, I counted). This is only a microcosm of the terror that awaits you in listening to this album. Every aspect of this composition has been done much better by other metal bands: technical playing (Dream Theater and tons of others), vocals (pick a band, it's likely better than this), and theme music (if you want historic theme albums/epics, I definitely recommend you start with Symphony X over this album).

My advice? Avoid this album. It adds nothing that hasn't been done better elsewhere. The vocals, melodies, and muddy production are simply not acceptable.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#138191)
Posted Friday, September 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the overlooked albus of Savatage, but for sure deserve attention. The last one with Zak Stevens on vocals. Again a splendid album, with a concept that pleases every prog metal fan.This is good, semi-prog power metal. Yet this does not sound like power metal at all, they kept the sound and manner of composing like on Edge of thorns or Handfull of rain, but in my opinion less convincing then on previous albums, but still great. Better then predecessor Dead winter dead with more prog elements and symphonis arrangements, on the The Wake of Magellan" music is more epic and less dramatic, agreed with the history of the album. All the tracks are amzing specialy the first 3 and the last 3, the middle section is good but not really awesome. So all in all a great album by a legendary band. Still very strong, 4 stars recommended for prog metal fans.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#148257)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Brilliant album by a brilliant band. It's albums like this that make me wish Savatage were still around (at the time of this review, they've been inactive for a long time). Overall 'The Wake of Magellan' is a perfect piece of music. From first to last, this album is full of energy and very impressive guitar and vocal work.

The title track is the centerpiece here and will totally blow you away. The vocal counterpoint at the end (which I believe is the highlight of the album) is absolutely mind-blowing and it saddens me that there are people out there that have never even heard of this band.

Zak Stevens vocals are amazing, and every member seems to be on top of his game for this album. Though we have bands like Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Jon Oliva's Pain as substitutes, nobody does Savatage as good as Savatage themselves.

Whether you're into Metal, Prog, or just looking for something new, this album is definitely a winner all-round.

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Send comments to Valarius (BETA) | Report this review (#179361)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Welcome to the show....

The Wake of Magellan is Another one of Savatage's Rock Operas. This album, much like all of Savatage and their later day material, is quite mood affecting. where Dead Winter Dead was very dark and dramatic, this album builds upon that and evens out the rock and opera a bit. I will say that I like Dead Winter Dead, and Streets more that this one, but that does not keep The Wake of Magellan from being a rock opera masterpiece. Again, the vocals are superb and dramatic, the instrument playing is solid, a mix between furthering the story and expressing emotion. There are no wank fests here, and the guitarist is quite restrained at times. Not that eh is unable to let loose a flurry of frantic notes, he chooses not to to further the mood and story, more adequately. The story is interesting, and much refreshing compared to some of the cliche concepts that plague most prog metal. Highly recommended, as is all Savatage material!

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#199603)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This ambitious concept album by Savatage straddles the fine line between bouyant metal excess and chugging redundancy, in the end being an enjoyable but somewhat flawed prog- metal epic.

The story is somewhat convulated, but ultimately revolves around a descendant of the famous explorer Magellan and the character's life wasted longing for the sea and glory. The music is appropriately bombastic, with heavy riffing, big metal singalongs, the occasional bit of atmosphere to set the nautical mood, and dynamics that rise like an ocean swell. "Wake of Magellan" is largely successful, especially when at its most intense. The dramatic introduction, fast-paced and thoroughly rockin' "Turns to Me", instrumental fireworks halfway through "Blackjack Guillotine", and the entire, thoughtful third act of the album are terrific.

It's the in between sections, and even a few lags during these excellent songs, that hold "Wake of Magellan" back. Some of the riffing feels obligatory, and even a little uninspired. The production has a bland feel to it, and I felt like there could have been more depth to the sound of this album to broaden its pallette of sounds. Zak Steven's gruff vocals are effective, although not quite as enthusiastic as he's been in the past, while Jon Oliva's vocals are inexcusibly bad-- fortunetly only heard on two songs. Most of all, I feel a lack of genuine excitement, almost like the instrumentalists are holding back creatively.

Definintely not a masterpiece, but still a solid and enjoyable slice of prog-metal cheesecake, served with enough sweet fixins to ignore some of its shortcomings.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#258957)
Posted Saturday, January 02, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars SAVATAGE have always been a mixed bag for me. I'm not a big fan of Zak's vocals, he reminds me of Alice Cooper but not as good, especially when he really tries to sing with emotion. Anyway this is another concept album and the cover art is pretty amazing to look at. Instrumentally I am a fan of this band, especially when they let their hair down and let it fly. Chris Caffery's guitar work is so impressive.

"The Ocean" is a short intro track with the sounds of waves as the piano joins in followed by the rest of the band as it builds. "Welcome" opens with piano followed by vocals then a full sound. Waves end it. "Turns To Me" is mellow with reserved vocals. It kicks in hard before a minute.Thankyou ! Vocals join in. It settles back as the contrasts continue. Ripping guitar before 5 minutes. "Morning Sun" features strummed guitar as reserved vocals join in. It kicks in after a minute as contrasts continue. I really like the heavy section after 3 minutes as the guitar lights it up. "Another Way" is heavy with rough vocals. Love the guitar before 1 1/2 minutes. It settles before 3 minutes then kicks back in. "Blackjack Guillotine" sounds excellent a minute in as it gets heavier.The guitar is screaming at one point. "Paragons Of Innocence" opens with keys as the heaviness joins in then vocals.This is catchy. He's almost rapping 3 minutes in.

"Complaint In The System" is another catchy tune with piano then a full sound with vocals. "Underture" opens with waves and piano before it turns heavy.This is a very good instrumental. "The Lake Of Magellan" opens with a beat with bass as the vocals join in. It picks up then settles back as contrasts continue. "Anymore" opens with piano as reserved vocals join in. It's fuller around a minute. Some vocal melodies before 4 minutes. "The Storm" opens with rain and thunder as piano joins in. Soaring guitar follows after a minute until it ends like it began. My favourite track. "The Hour Glass" opens with piano as vocals and heaviness take over. More passion before 1 1/2 minutes then the tempo picks up 3 minutes in. Some vocal arrangements after 5 minutes. Reserved vocals and piano end the album.

A good but flawed album.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#375059)
Posted Thursday, January 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
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)

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Posted Wednesday, June 08, 2011 | Review Permalink

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