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Magellan Impossible Figures album cover
3.43 | 94 ratings | 15 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gorilla With A Pitchfork (1:24)
2. Killer Of Hope (10:03)
3. Bach 16 (2:46)
4. Late For Church (6:15)
5. Confessor's Overture (2:24)
6. Hymn For A Heathen (3:15)
7. A World Groove (6:30)
8. Counterpoints (5:59)
9. Feel The Cross (6:36)

Total Time: 45:14

Bonus track on 2003 SE:
10. Hallucination (5:14)

Line-up / Musicians

- Wayne Gardner / guitar, bass, keyboards, backing vocals
- Trent Gardner / keyboards, trombone, lead vocals, composer & producer

- Stephen Imbler / grand piano
- Jason Gianni / drums
- Robert Berry / drums
- Jeff Curtis / arrangements

Releases information

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 144 (2003, Germany)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 144 (2003, Germany) With a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGELLAN Impossible Figures ratings distribution

(94 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MAGELLAN Impossible Figures reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
4 stars Perhaps this is their best effort so far...a mature work, whose definition within a "metal progressive genre" is becoming narrow after a repetitive listen. They are influenced from US Bands like Kansas or Mastermind, but also from the classical excerpts by JETHRO TULL (listen to "Counterpoints") and ELP (listen to "Confessor's Overture")... a couple of "aggressive" musicians, such Gardner brothers (already famous within our preferred "progressive genre"). In particular the track "Halluncination Suite Part 1 - Uppers and Downers" is their best instrumental, with good ambient keyboards and a drum solo as well!!

At the end I can not recommend this work as an original and particular creative work, but it's a true "MAGELLAN trademark", that is a typical US Metal Progressive sound, influenced by such symphonic progressive rock in the vein of ELP. Make your personal choice!!

Review by Muzikman
5 stars What a great name for a group, MAGELLAN, and what stunning, colorful, thought provoking artwork for an album cover. So what is inside you say? There is more to this band than a name and images . oh yes, so much more. I am very impressed with this group's musical endeavors. They personify the word progressive.

The Gardner brothers Trent (keyboards, vocals) and Wayne (bass, guitar, vocals), are the clock that makes MAGELLAN tick. They get a special hand this time around with their new album ''Impossible Figures'' from musical genius Robert Berry, Jeff Curtis with the brass arrangements, and guest musician Jason Gianna on drums; but other than that, it's the world of the Gardner's brought to you through musical soundscapes that challenge and mesmerize you in each track.

This kind of music I have to listen to over and over again to gather my thoughts, there is just so much going on its mind-boggling at times. I know I say that frequently about prog- rock but that is commonplace when it comes to taking in this type of music. When you think about two men putting together their talents to come up with this awesome knock out sound, it really blows your mind. "Killer Of Hope" is a testament to their worthiness as world-class musicians and writers of complex compositions. The catch-all in their music is the way it changes so quickly. Trent will play a beautifully classical passage on his keyboards, quickly it shifts to Wayne banging out sweeping and crushing blows from his six- string, then suddenly it all comes together creating a supernova of musical bliss. It is like watching a volcano flowing from far away, it looks like its moving slow, then you find yourself standing right at the edge of the opening at the top of the mountain were the explosion is forcing out the hot molten lava from the center of the earth incredibly fast. That is what MAGELLAN's music is like. Now that is powerful.

Does this sound exciting? Is it something you think that you would like? If you can envision music sounding like this then you will get off on this album time after time, I certainly did. Like progressive rock? This band is one of very best in the world so get this CD.

Review by AtLossForWords
3 stars Impossible to predict.

Impossible Figures is Magellan's fifth studio release from 2003. I had never heard any of the band's previous works, and I was quite suprised by what I heard on this album. It was impossible for me to predect what this album would sound like.

The Gardner brothers are the driving force behind this album. Wayne Gardener's bass work is what impresses me the most. Not often do guitarist doubling on bass do such an excellent job in a Progressive Metal band. Wayne Gardener's talents seem to be top quality on both his instruments. The bass is interesting to listen to because of the odd time signatures flowing throughout the album. Magellan seems very much to like the sound of adding and subtracting beats from measurings giving them a distinct sound. Often times band will use odd scale transitions in conjunction with odd time signatures, but rarely do bands riff around in unison using the signature techniques found on this album. The bass is definately the central part of this complex groove. Not only rythymnically, but also melodically playing in a variety of positions to create voices.

Wayne Gardener also doubles on guitar. The guitar playing is much like the bass riff wise, but Wayne shows a great ability to sustain and extend his guitar solos. So much of this album is Wayne jamming it out on guitar an bass.

The brothers split the keyboard work. The synths are not particularly imaginative, but the classical influence in the keyboards between rock works seem highly inlfuenced by older progressive rock bands like ELP. The keys on this album are good, but not essential to the album's quality.

Trent Gardener takes care of the vocals. Again the band's skill to add and subtract beats effects the vocals. Trent Gardener does a great job of dropping in and out of unison with the band adding and subtracting beats to their time signatures. This makes the vocal performance a creative, but still somewhat unremarkable. Trent's voice is somewhat unique, but seems to take too much from classic vocalists like Greg Lake. The vocals are well produced, but still somewhat generic.

The drums are not as much of a highlight on the album. The only continuous element not played by the Gardener brothers. Though the drums are unremarkable, they don't really add or subtract anything from the albums quality. Jason Gianni though somewhat skilled, didn't seem to reach the level of creativity of the Gardener brothers, a good performance, but not exactly a note-worthy one.

The production is class. It's clear and unique, just like the band. The tones are original, but I find some of them (especially the keyboards) to be unfavorable to my tastes. Magellan's blend of progressive rock and metal as unique as it is fails to impress. I feel three stars is a worthy rating for an album that attempts, but doesn't deliver the highest quality of music.

Review by Menswear
2 stars I just hope they don't try to make a living outta their music.

Countless bands in the progressive world, and they don't ecounter the same level of success. Popular bands like Dream Theater or Arena are lucky; many loyal fans seems to follow their tour dates and waiting eagerly to a new album. This is not the case here...

Do you know anybody stating Magellan has one of his favorite band?

I don't. Some bands are just desperate to create music, and with Impossible Figures you can spot traces of Yes, ELP, Genesis, Peter Gabriel and Chicago everywhere. Yep, Chicago man. Talk about the usual suspects but done in a relatively original way. Indeed, Magellan don't seem to be too affected by the cloning syndrome. Good news then!

This album is listenable (like the crunchy Late For Church), and demands total attention but does not seems to go anywhere fast. Even if you take a song like Killer of Hope, the ideas are put together without much sense of cohesion. The songs are often boring, lacking hooks and the time changes are making the whole scene almost hermetic to a homogenic feel.

What you get is hyperactive songs with moderate guitars (so progressive metal is not appropriate at all) that cause you more headaches to understand than a David Lynch movie. The keyboards are boring and worn out, the vocals could be more melodic plus the insane amount of ideas are simply drowning the whole thing down. It's okay to make a challenging album, but please be more careful about throwing a bone to your listener once in a while.

Please listen before buying.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars The band seems refreshed as this is their first record with their new record label Inside Out Music.

The first song is a short (less than 2 minutes) instrumental consisting of some orchestration and synths.Things really get cooking with "Killer Of Hope" opening with processed vocals that are followed by some excellent KINGS X sounding guitar riffs. I'm also reminded of ECHOLYN as this song plays out. Some great guitar melodies at 5 minutes and the drum work is upfront and fantastic at 8 minutes. I also like the vocal melody with drums that follow. "Bach 16" is an instrumental consisting of some cool piano and trombone. "Late For Church" has a very uptempo intro, followed by a catchy riff as vocals come in. I can so relate to this song, because as a teen I had to go to church, I had no choice. I love his question at the end of the song "If there is only one God, why are there so many churches ?"

"Confessor's Overture" is an excellent instrumental with some nice piano in the beginning.The song turns up the heat several degrees before it's over. "Hymn For A Heathen" opens with piano and vocals and then later turns heavy with some splendid guitar and drums. It sounds great ! "A World Groove" is just that, percussion with a world music sound. They actually pull this one off. "Counterpoints" is an album highlight. It's hard not to move with this playing, again i'm reminded of ECHOLYN. The drum, organ, guitar interplay is fantastic. "Feel The Cross" is an intense song about the cross over shadowing all religion and beliefs...powerful. These words seem to reverberate "Know the cross...feel the cross". The final song is an instrumental called "Hallucination Suite Part 1-Uppers And Downers". This one smokes ! Opening with synths and jazzy guitar sounds, we are being lulled to sleep for what is about to come, riffs and heavy drums as synths continue.Then there is this voice that says "Oh man, I think somebody f***d with my koolaid !" Then there is an even heavier riff, it's great ! Good drum solo as well.

This is excellent American prog that is on the heavy side at times, with some intelligent lyrics and complex arrangments.

Review by progaeopteryx
3 stars Magellan's fifth studio album, Impossible Figures, was released in 2003, 12 years after this fledgling duo of brothers Trent and Wayne Gardner made their debut. After using programmed drums on their first two albums, then having a revolving door of drummers come and go, Magellan this time listed the drummer as a special guest. This time it was Jason Gianni, an accomplished and skillful session drummer who has worked on television and radio commercials and with numerous artists in the San Francisco Bay area. He even has a bachelor's degree in percussion performance from the Pennsylvania State University. Gianni is probably the best drummer Magellan has made use of up to this album.

This album sounds a bit more diverse than previous Magellan releases. There's a little bit of the keyboard-laden quirkiness from the earlier years of Magellan, ELP-driven piano sections, Trent Gardner on his trombone, crunching metal guitar riffs, complicated bass riffs, jungle-driven percussion, and a whole bunch of new styles unlike the typical Magellan of the past. I don't really sense any strong influences on this except for the ELP-inspired piano work on Confessor's Overture. Sometimes I'm reminded of Rush, sometimes King's X, sometimes Echolyn, sometimes Kansas, but never anything that really sticks out. It's like Magellan took another abrupt turn down another musical road (like they previously did on Test of Wills).

The end result for some reason leaves me with a wanting feeling, like there's something missing and I can't quite put my finger on it. It's like a Magellan album without the charm; the quirkiness and odd vocals have faded into the distance to be replaced with... well, what everyone else is doing I guess. Maybe that's it. Magellan sounds like 'contemporary progressive' (?). That's probably the wrong term to use. The closest comparison I can come up with is the difference between a pre- and post-Morse Spock's Beard. It's like Trent Gardner left Magellan, but he's really still there (yes, I know, one too many diet Sunkists for me today).

The album has its good moments, and it has its less-than-stellar moments. For the very first time, I have the urge to skip some of these tracks as I listen to the album in my CD player. It's good, but leaves me empty and missing the previous four albums in Magellan's catalogue. Three stars seems to be the best I can do.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars This is my first introduction to Magellan's music, the album Impossible figures from 2003. I have this album from 2004 and since than i was listning to this album quite enought to bring some thought about it. First thing i find is they are influenced clearly by Kansasand Yes but with their own twist. The band is formed by the two brothers Wayne and Trent Gardner, who also is the main composer and a well respected musician in prog circles. This is their fifth album, and maybe among their best along with Impending ascension. All of their albums don't stand as masterpieces or something groundbreaking, but all are pleasent most of the time, at least for me, and specially this one. The best pieces are by far Killer Of Hope - the longest from here and Late For Church. All in all a good album , among their best albums, along with Impending ascension3.5 rounded up to 4
Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This US band released some good albums at the start of their long career, but their third one ("Test O Wills") showed a serious downfall in terms of originality or creativity. I also found that their music was more metal oriented from this entry point.

What we get here is an intro which sounds to come out of an unreleased ELP album: bombastic but pedant ("Gorilla With A Pitchfork"). The very heavy (and uninspired) lines come with the "epic" from this offering: "Killer Of Hope". Vocals are rather average (sub, sub par Anderson at times), the beat is uselessly complex and keyboards sections are again very much ELP oriented.

Nothing very personal nor memorable. The usual "Kansas" suspect can also been thrown as influence in here but sounds very shy from themodel.

But the ELP gimmick is much present over here: "Bach 16" is another example. A short instrumental which features a classic piano intro, followed by pompous organ. "Late For Church" is another one these. Of course it is on a very hard, heavy edge. Just imagine ELP playing heavy rock music?Vocals again aren't helping much here either. Basic heavy metal. No more. Same is valid for "Counterparts".

The worse moment is the pitiful "A World Groove": heavy noisy pop tinted with funky mood. I quite dislike the mix: press next of course. This is quite a boring album actually. But their latest two were no big deal either. "Impossible Figures" is by far their heaviest work released. I'm not really enthusiast about it. Too much metal oriented for sure.

Two stars is the farthest I can get.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is one of the few albums in my collection that I have no recollection of purchasing and still here it is collecting dust on my shelf. Well I guess a revisit is in order!

After listening to Impossible Figures it all came back to me and I once again remembered why I never bothered listening to this album after the first couple of spins. This release works the first couple of times but after that you're pretty much left with nothing new. It's prog for prog's sake and there is no major improvement with each listen, which is something that I happen cherish a lot with these kind of albums. That is ultimately the reason why I forget this type of music very fast and move on to something a lot more challenging and exciting!

Killer Of Hope is undeniably my favorite track off the album and it's also the longest track which almost takes up 20% of the album (if we include the 5 minute bonus track to the total album length). The rest of the material is not nearly as good and it all comes to a halt towards the end when the compositions start getting thin.

Hopefully my remarks can serve the purpose of reminding me why there isn't really a point of revisiting this album again.

**** star songs: Gorilla With A Pitchfork (1:24) Killer Of Hope (10:03) Bach 16 (2:46) Confessor's Overture (2:24) Counterpoints (5:59)

*** star songs: Late For Church (6:15) Hymn For A Heathen (3:15) World Groove (6:30)

** star songs: Feel The Cross (6:36)

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Now on their fifth album, it is often hard when listening to Magellan to realise that apart from a guest drummer, this is a two man band. Trent Gardner provides the vocals and keyboards while his brother Wayne provides all of the guitars. The music they create will be extremely familiar to all fans of Kansas, and it is of no surprise that Trent has worked with Steve Walsh in the past. The album starts with a small instrumental interlude, quaintly titled "Gorilla With A Pitchfork". The keyboards build and the music takes on a more dramatic, driving edge. This fades out to be replaced with "Killer Of Edge" ? treated vocals give way to the guitar and gradually the song builds more and more, becoming a progressive rocker. This is the longest song on the album, at just over ten minutes and is succeeded by a piano/organ piece, "Bach 16" which in some ways sounds out of place yet also very much at home.

Dramatic and frantic drumming heralds the start of "Late For Church", which is again followed by another instrumental. This move from instrumental to song then back again provides a deal of emphasis, and the highly vocal "Hymn For A Heathen" is a joy with great vocal harmonies. Overall there are nine songs, and at no time can the listener even contemplate moving away or playing something else instead. This is a prog album that has its' roots very much in a similar vein to Kansas while trying to do something new, and any fans of one will enjoy very much the music of the other. Yet another extremely solid album from the Gardner brothers.

Originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

Latest members reviews

4 stars Fifth work of brothers GADNER, continuing with that style that characterize them and that also I can be listened to in the different projects and appearances from the main composer Trend GARDNER, in the particle to my likes much the form to compose with those I very touch symphonic and metaler ... (read more)

Report this review (#88650) | Posted by Shelket | Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars well in my opinion there are probably four well-known artist to bring a little progressive rock in the 90s. Spock's Beard with the combine elements of hard rock/pop with prog rock, Flower Kings just going full force with YES/GENESIS inspired prog all the way. Porcupine Tree with more psycede ... (read more)

Report this review (#72518) | Posted by Progdrummer05 | Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Magellanīs Impossible Figures is my first album of this band, so Iīll review the band as fairly as a can. the first thing I noticed was the influence of bands like Kansas or 70īs prog rock. In this album, Trent Gardner has not only influences from Kansas but it has also influences from ex So ... (read more)

Report this review (#40051) | Posted by Poncho Lopez | Saturday, July 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Grerat album which 2nd track "Killer Of Hope" worths for it alone...the last section...OH OH OH HEM...makes us remind Kansaīs Steve Walsh on "Journey From Mariabronn". About the whole album, also love the ELPish bits and leanings here and there. ... (read more)

Report this review (#23889) | Posted by elpprogster | Tuesday, November 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I ran into this album in a bargain bin at small independent record store located in Lincoln Park in Chicago. It was 49 cents. What a great find! This being my first acquaintance with the band, I popped it my CD player for a nice soundtrack to the 4 hour drive back to Indiana and was surprised ... (read more)

Report this review (#23888) | Posted by | Tuesday, July 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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