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MAGELLAN

Heavy Prog • United States


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Magellan biography
MAGELLAN represents the second wave of sonic explorers, those who sailed in spirit with the most storied of the prog rock pioneers (e.g., GENESIS, KANSA, RUSH, YES) during their youth and now seek to make the journey in practice. At the helm of MAGELLAN are brothers Trent (vocals/keyboards) and Wayne Gardner (guitars), who with bass player Hal Stringfellow Imbrie released their debut album : "Hour of Restoration", in 1991. (Their debut led off with a five-part suite entitled "Magna Carta") An historical concept album about England, it was followed by the similar-sounding "Impending Ascension".

MAGELLAN returned in 1997 with "Test of Wills", which represented a slight departure from the band's original sound (though the group, which now includes drummer Brad Kaiser, remained intact). In 2002, the Gardners released the ambitious "Hundred Year Flood", dedicated to the brother they lost in the Vietnam War.

Though not a prolific band, MAGELLAN's well crafted and ambitious efforts have made them something of a flagship among prog rock's second armada of artists.

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Symphony for a MisanthropeSymphony for a Misanthrope
Import
InsideOut Music 2005
Audio CD$8.65
$4.65 (used)
Test of WillsTest of Wills
Magna Carta 1997
Audio CD$11.93
$1.25 (used)
Impossible FiguresImpossible Figures
Import
InsideOut Music 2004
Audio CD$10.00
$6.00 (used)
Impending AscensionImpending Ascension
Magna Carta 1994
Audio CD$12.55
$4.95 (used)
Hundred Year FloodHundred Year Flood
Magna Carta 2002
Audio CD$10.97
$6.65 (used)
Hour of RestorationHour of Restoration
Magna Carta 1991
Audio CD$25.05
$6.94 (used)
Innocent GodInnocent God
Import
Musea 2008
Audio CD$16.47
$12.08 (used)
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MAGELLAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAGELLAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.45 | 76 ratings
Hour of Restoration
1991
4.02 | 98 ratings
Impending Ascension
1993
3.78 | 93 ratings
Test Of Wills
1997
3.49 | 66 ratings
Hundred Year Flood
2002
3.42 | 70 ratings
Impossible Figures
2003
3.08 | 76 ratings
Symphony For A Misanthrope
2005
2.70 | 56 ratings
Innocent God
2007

MAGELLAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAGELLAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAGELLAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAGELLAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2012
3.00 | 1 ratings
Keep It
2012
4.50 | 2 ratings
Good To Go
2013

MAGELLAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Impossible Figures by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.42 | 70 ratings

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Impossible Figures
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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

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 Test Of Wills  by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.78 | 93 ratings

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Test Of Wills
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by progaardvark
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Test of Wills was the follow-up to Magellan's Impending Ascension album. A complete shift in both musical style and sound took place on this album. The two most noticeable changes are a large incorporation of prog metal into the overall sound and the replacement of programmed drums with a human drummer. The latter was a great idea, althought Magellan could hold their own with programmed drums, something very few artists can pull off and turn them into something good. The addition of prog metal was a surprise and it has it's good and bad sides to it. The good is that the on some songs it gives it a good energy kick. The bad is that sometimes this style doesn't fit the quirkiness of Magellan's music. Another downside is that Trent Gardner's keyboards took a back seat, something I think is sorely missing from this album.

Magellan also seems to have picked up some Jethro Tull influences, in particular on the song Jacko. It's so convincing that it almost sounds like a rip-off, though I'm sure they did this as a tribute. By this time, all of their previous influences seem to have been shed and now Magellan has it's own sound.

Although I found this album an interesting experience, at times it seemed difficult because of the sudden shift in their sound. Also worth noting is that this incorporation of prog metal back in 1997 pre- dates many of the other neo prog bands that would do this in the early 2000s.

I like a lot of the material on this album, but it has a healthy dose of filler and that's the main reason I cannot rate it nearly as good as their previous effort. Consider it worth 3.5 stars, rounded up to four.

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 Impending Ascension by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.02 | 98 ratings

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Impending Ascension
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by progaardvark
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After their mixed-bag debut, Magellan improves dramatically with what is my favorite album from them; and also what I consider as their peak. What Magellan does here is expand on their better and longer tracks from their debut. Trent Gardner's keyboard work is exceptional and again the subject matter of the songs is mostly historical in nature. So in addition to great music, we can obtain a history lesson at the same time!

I have a hard time pinning a comparison to other groups for this album. Kansas seemed a big influence on their debut, but I don't sense that comparison much here. There are occasional nods to ELP and Yes (for the vocal harmonies), and maybe a teeny bit of Genesis. I guess what I am saying is that Magellan have adopted their own sound.

Programmed drums are still a part of the band (with the exception of a guest performance by Doane Perry), but don't think of that as a hindrance like it is for so many other bands and artists. This is the kind of album a drum programmer should listen to to hear how it is done correctly. Magellan would acquire a human drummer on their next album.

I still listen to this album a lot and I think it is vastly underrated. I consider it one of the gems at the forefront of the recovery of prog rock taking place in the early 1990s. The only sad thing about this album is that none of the following Magellan albums comes close to matching its quality.

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 Hour of Restoration by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.45 | 76 ratings

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Hour of Restoration
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by progaardvark
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Magellan's debut album came out at around the time that progressive rock was starting to return from the demise it suffered throughout the 1980s (with a few small exceptions). This album came out around the time Magna Carta Records started issuing tribute albums to the likes of Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Yes. In fact, Magna Carta Records may have played a key role as one of the initial kickstarts prog rock needed to make its comeback in the United States. In other words, they reached out to those audiences that still loved the greats from the 1970s and at the same time introduced them to new bands. Hey, it worked for me, because I in turn did seek out albums from Magellan, Cairo, and others on this label. Then the Internet took off, and voila!

History lessons aside, Magellan's debut has a lot of promise and a lot to be learned. Where Magellan excels is in their longer pieces. Where they seem to suffer is in their shorter songs, which for the most part were filler to make a complete album. Another place where some may think they suffer is in the lack of a human drummer. That sets off red flags in more than one prog listener, but if they're done right, you'll find that many a listener will find the results acceptable; maybe not even notice it. And that seems to be the case, for the most part, with Magellan. If you want to do really good programmed drums, you need to listen to Magellan's first two albums; otherwise you find a human to do it (which is what they did on their third album).

Influences seem to be chiefly Kansas, maybe a little Genesis, and some AOR hints from Asia. Keyboard work is stellar. Trent Gardner is vastly underrated in this department and that may be because he seems to take a back seat on later Magellan albums and some of the side projects he has worked on. His keyboard prowess shines on this album, and even more on the next album. Hour of Restoration also incorporates a lot if historical subjects, something Magellan will be noted for throughout their career.

In conclusion, a mixed bag, but a small beacon of light shining through the travesty of late 1980s and early 1990s popular music. Magellan would improve greatly on their next album.

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 Hundred Year Flood by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.49 | 66 ratings

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Hundred Year Flood
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Magellan's Hundred year flood from 2002 ia another worthy album from this band. I've always had a soft spot for this band since I've discovered them more then 10 years ago. Certanly the Magellan's music is an aquaring taste for some listners and not many embrace their unique sound and manner of composing, Trent Grtner is , at least for me one of the most underrated figuers from prog music. With this album the band optaing for a heavier side of prog music, heavy prog is best I can describe this album, with less symphonic arrangements as on previous album and even less symphonic as next two albums aswell. This is the last album on Magna Carts from next release Impossible figuers the band sign with Inside Out label. Some well known guest appear here like Ina Anderson on flute on the instrumental piece Family Jewels, Tony Levin on bass on last track aswell Robert Berry with George Bellas done some guitar works on the rest. Well this is a fairly decent towards in places great, but I don't think is among their best, in fact Magellan doesn't have weak album, only some of them are more or less atractive to my ears. Still this album worth to be investigated if you are a fan of the band as I am. The instrumental piece is to the best from here, adark atmosphere ambrace the listner where the flute of the charistmatic and unmatched musicin Ian Anderson shine from every angle, very nice mid paced tune with nice passages. The rest of the two are ok, the first one clocking around 35 min divided in 13 small pieces, linket together very nicely. So, 3 stars rounded up to 3.5 because Iike this band and all the labums released across the years.

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 Innocent God by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.70 | 56 ratings

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Innocent God
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by 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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 Symphony For A Misanthrope by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.08 | 76 ratings

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Symphony For A Misanthrope
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I started to know Magellan when they released their Impending Ascencions album which I recalled it as a discrete music as so many sudden changes throughout its composition. But this album released in 2005 sounds differently especially with many uses of keyboard played in a symphonic style. Even though I find it difficult to find differences in styles from one track to another but this album is an enjoyable one to listen - especially the keyboard punch. The Gardner brothers tend to use the keyboard as rhythm section instead of inventive solos.

The opening Symphonette (instrumental) is captivating and quite long duration-wise. It does not actually transfer smoothly when it enters into Why Water Weeds? even though it's quite not fit with the opening instrumental - but the second track is quite enjoyable, relying much on keyboard-drenched style. The one that actually should require much attention is the epic Cranium Reef Suite which comprises three parts: "Youthful Enthusiasm", "Psych 101", and "Primal Defense". Well, this epic is really worth for having this album as prog collection as it flows nicely from one segment to another and nice transition from one part to another. The piano solo after the epic "Pianissimo Intermission (instrumental)" is an interesting classical outfit. "Doctor Concoctor" might be considered as progressive metal track as the opening riffs indicate this kind of music. The album concludes nicely with relatively medium tempo track "Every Bullet Needs Blood"- followed with energetic singing.

It's a good symphonic prog album with not so complicated arrangements and it makes it accessible to many ears. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Impending Ascension by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.02 | 98 ratings

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Impending Ascension
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by kluseba

5 stars I discovered this record by pure coincidence as I recently walked into my local record store and found this album somewhere hidden in the metal section. I thought that the cover was beautiful and that the songs and their lengths sounded promising to me and I gave this record a try. In the end, this recorded easily delivered more than I expected and offers amazing progressive rock and metal music with a multitude of influences.

In the opening epic killer "Estadium Nacional", you hear that the classic progressive rock bands such as "Yes" and "Genesis" largely influenced this band and this track could easily fit one of those band's best albums back in the seventies. From the beginning on, one realizes that "Magellan" honour their influences and know what good progressive music is. Further in this album, I recognized also a couple of modern influences. This band must have been a major influence for bands such as "Dream Theater", "Ayreon" and even "Tool". What pushes this band above the other ones is the fact that the sound of this record is much warmer and easier to follow than the sound of the mentioned progressive metal bands. In fact, the mixture between classic progressive rock and more recent progressive metal is almost equally divided on this great record that grows more and more on me with a slight advantage for the progressive rock touches.

This album impressed me so much that I paid around twenty-five bucks for it and decided to discover the other records of the band. Calm piano and keyboard passages like in the beginning of "Waterfront Weirdos" are mixed with epic and yet commercial progressive rock passages like the middle passages of "Estadium Nacional", modern and atmospheric passages like the opening of "Virtual Reality", hectic classic progressive rock passages like in the beginning of "Storms And Mutiny" and harder metal passages like in the closing progressive banger "Under The Wire". The songs all have a great and coherent flow but there still many details to get discovered. I prefer not to point out any particular song as the album works very well as a whole and all songs have something interesting to deliver no matter if they have a length of less than two or more than eleven minutes. Just take your earphones, lay down and discover this brilliant album.

This album is a truly addicting drug and should be in the collection of anybody that likes either progressive rock or progressive metal music. This highly diversified and energetic album is my discovery of the year until now and helps me to get more and more addicted to progressive music in general. I would even recommend this album to anybody that isn't too much into progressive stuff yet and wants to get a first high quality overview as this album could be the beginning of a voyage of the grandest kind.

Originally published on www.metal-archives.com on May 10th of the year 2011.

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 Symphony For A Misanthrope by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.08 | 76 ratings

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Symphony For A Misanthrope
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Admin / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars This is progressive rock alright

Magellan and its frontman Trent Gardner are interesting figures in the history of progressive rock. Gardner has been writing and releasing music with his band (along with his bandmate brother Wayne) since the early 90s, and all of it has been relatively similar, with strong and obvious influences from pretty much all of the big prog bands, which makes much of Gardner music quite cliché in the scheme of prog rock, as Symphony for a Misanthrope exemplifies. Taking strong elements of progressive metal, symphonic prog, and various other tidbits of prog, Gardner crafts one of the most well-crafted typical prog albums of the last decade - the album contains its fix of symphonic grandiosity, cruising technical riffing, complex structures, huge synths and keyboards, and the essential epic 18 minute long track. The album's lyrics are also quite typical to prog rock, with a loose concept which, as the title of the album makes apparent, is a rather cynical and dark view on humanity and its future, which raises philosophical and even political questions throughout the album. Overall, the album is in no way bad, with Gardner executing one of his great progressive projects superbly; the album's only real flaw is it's quite cliché!

The music ranges from lighter symphonic prog-based rock to heavy Dream Theater-esque progressive metal, making the album a true exemplifier of prog rock at its most pretentious. The songs are meticulously composed with numerous shifting moods and sections within songs, changing time signatures, and more which I'm sure any fan of progressive rock could just guess and get it correct. The 18 minute "Cranium Reef Suite" is typical in its linear structure, pretty hectic mood shifts, and various movements within. The boys even tip their hats to Back with the lifting of the "Pianissimo Intermission" from his composition archives. The other songs each have their own unique little qualities, with the Adrian Belew- esque intense "Doctor Concoctor" or the Dream Theater-esque "Why Water Weeds" (a personal favorite of mine). Overall, the entire album is a wonderful tribute to the vast world of progressive rock, which Gardner shows his obvious affection for with his innumerable contribution with other projects, collaborations, and tributes.

In the end the album is very good. It may have already been done by countless other progressive artists, but Magellan certainly knows how to put an interesting Gardner-esque spin on it. Gardner still used his cheesy keyboard voices to execute his symphonic excesses (the worst showing is on the opening "Symphonette," which exemplifies his obsession with pretending to be an orchestra). Other than that, the album has very few flaws, with the music being some of Gardner best songs, as the album contains two Magellan favorites of mine - "Why Water Weeds" and "Every Bullet Needs Blood." Although the album may not be their best in originality, the album certainly is a wonderful showing for the San Francisco-based heavy prog act. 3+ stars.

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 Hundred Year Flood by MAGELLAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.49 | 66 ratings

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Hundred Year Flood
Magellan Heavy Prog

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Admin / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Massive and majestic.

Trent Gardner seems to have this thing for long songs. Every album, there is at least one song (at the very least) that has a 10+ minute long song. On nearly all his side projects, he writes really long songs. On Hundred Year Flood, he writes a 35 minute long long song. Wow. Taking up well over half of the album, the epic piece of music shows the band's intense musical stamina and songwriting ability. The album is a concept album about the Gardner brothers' older brother who died in Vietnam. Overall, the album provides a fantastic ride with great dynamics, really cool sounds and a great Magellan-esque sound.

I'd heard many good things about Magellan, one being a big influence of theirs was Dream Theater. I tried to find their best album, which was difficult, so I picked one at random, the Hundred Year Flood. Seeing as I have an affinity for long playing tracks, I was in love with the 35 minute long The Great Goodnight, and not only because of its exceptionally long play. It opens with a great vocal performance, which adds a nice variety. The entire song is great, with repeating elements that tie the song together nicely. The one negative part of this song is that, seeing as it is a personal album (dedicated to his brother who dies in Vietnam), the vocals are personal and sometimes do not fit the music very well. The lyrics break away from the typical virtuosity of progressive rock, despite that the music is absolutely wonderful. Overall, The Great Goodnight is one of the better 30+ minute tracks I've heard, and I've heard more than you would expect. Fantastic instrumental sections, great part changes, and a great linear structure make this a staple in a long track collection.

Next is an instrumental Family Jewels, which has an excellent flute solo introduction, with a keyboard section at the end. Overall, the song shows the band's more folky and earthy song, balancing the big track's massive grandeur.

As a great ending, Brother's Keeper tops the album off nicely. It was featured on their myspace at the time I discovered them. The song was one that helped me get into the band. It has great musical parts and better lyrics than The Great Goodnight; it's hard to tell if their actually personal, which is good. On my copy of the album, there is a one-minute space between a message from Trent telling his listeners who the album is dedicated.... I think the one minute is unnecessary, 20 seconds or so would have been more appropriate.

ALBUM OVERALL: Wow. This track features a massive 35 minute epic, tending to my huge affinity for lengthy tracks. The whole album is a beautiful display of music, featuring lush keyboard work, great guitar work, and some really great melodic and rhythmic work. Although the lyrics may seem a little off at times, they do have a really great message. Overall, this album is really great and I recommend it for new Magellan fans, as long as you are an experienced prog listener and can stomach a 35 minute long track! 4 stars.

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