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Magellan "Impossible Figures" CD Review

Classic progressive sounds with a modern flavor 

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Impossible Figures
Artist:  Magellan
Label:  Inside Out Music America
Length:  9 Tracks/45:14

 

"Swear Im gonna break free from the grip of sin-from the killer of hope" belts Trent Gardner of Magellan in the first line of Killer of Hope, a ten minute progressive rock tour-de-force that kicks off the spectacular new album Impossible Figures.  Trent, along with brother Wayne (and several special guests including stunning piano passages by Stephen Imbler) create a potent mix of modern neo-progressive sounds on Impossible Figures, their first release on the Inside Out Music label (side note-if you are looking for some of today's finest modern progressive rock/metal Inside Out Music is a great place to start).  And what a release it is-an unforgettable album chock full of wonderful keyboard/organ sounds, crunchy guitars, horns, deep burp-gun bass, interesting time changes and thoughtful lyrics.  Magellan's influences are many-elements of Dream Theater, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, some extremely Kansas-like passages (this is a VERY good thing) and even Kings X at times are heard.

 

Cut 3 is a J.S. Bach composition that jumps headlong into a soothing horn break with then takes a swift left turn into "Late for Church"-another high point of the album.  The horns provide a nice basis for the song to build and a crunchy guitar lick kicks in, accelerates and wraps around the cut.  The lyrics on the album are intriguing-asking spiritual questions without forcing answers.  "Late for Church" features the lines:

 

What'cha reading?  Did you think I'd be surprised?

You're the pastor's cash cow-but the Good Book still survives...and

 

Why so many churches here?  I thought there was only one God?

 

Trent in an e-mail interview stated- "I am a real believer in free agency as it comes with all the consequences we set in motion. On "Impossible Figures", I was simply referring to my own spiritual shortcomings and introspections. Music is a strange vehicle as I can HONESTLY tell you: I have yet to figure out where any of this really comes from...music or lyrics! It's purely an internal experience that I am inept to articulate! I am quite certain that it originates with all musicians as a spiritual experience whether they'll admit it or not!" 

 

Others standout cuts- a very Kansas-like "Confessor's Overture" prefaces the haunting vocal crescendo of "Hymn for a Heathen":

 

How can he understand this when war is at hand?

Rejecting all mysteries-he just won't see

That saved he can be

 

Yes I'm waiting for you

With this hymn for a heathen

Can you hear me now?

Won't you please hear me now?

All I'm praying for is a heathen

Lord, he's not the same man now

He can't hear you anymore

Cause his old ways are gone-

His old ways are gone

 

"A World Groove" weaves a world beat into lyrics discussing the state of the world today.  "Feel the Cross" has an industrial feel and proclaims:

 

Feel the cross

Is it burning deep in you? 

Are you searching?...and

 

Know the Cross

Know the passion

A final trial of oppression

Kingdom come in restoration

Martyrdom then salvation

 

The song the song and album then end with a change of pace-a classic guitar passage ala' Yes classic Starship Trooper that will have you scrambling for your headphones to check it out in full hi-fidelity stereo glory!

 

"Impossible Figures" has only one weaker moment-the song "Counterpoints" has a drum machine feel that doesn't hold up to the quality of the rest of the CD.  This is a minor quibble though on an otherwise excellent neo-progressive project that will have you wanting to press the repeat button.  If you are on the lookout for challenging and melodic music with varied instrumentation, classical elements and intriguing lyrics pick up "Impossible Figures".  I even love the CD cover creation by Thomas Ewerhard (an important element in prog releases and a trademark of Inside Out Music releases)- a moody mix of a dramatic sky, fallen statues and a horse-drawn buggy.

 

Check out Magellan http://www.magellanweb.com

 

4 out of 5 Cups o' Java

Perhaps you should consider purchasing this CD?