Prog Rock For The Masses
Originally put together by brothers Wayne (guitar) and Trent Gardner (vocals, keyboards) and joined by Hal Stringfellow Imbrie (bass, vocals), Magellan set out to recreate the overindulgent progressive reign of such Seventies icons as Emerson Lake and Palmer and Yes. They took their name from Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who navigated the rough seas from 1498-1521. Much of their music is itself an e-xploration of vast sounds and unique compositions.
Their first album Hour Of Restoration (1991) stayed true to form with large majestic pieces of orchestrated fusion knitting heavy riffs to jazz and classical. The power of Magna Carta, the opening track may well be connected to the persistence of their record label under the same name. Both the band and the label have grown with a steady air of acceptance among prog-rock fans. Magellans second effort, Impending Ascension (1993) took greater advantage of the use of computer composing and came very close to a second generation Yes with lush harmonies and dense melodies. Quotes from Shakespeare, Poe and Magellan riddle the CD throughout. Yet as serious as they got they still left room for sophisticated humor. The band took the next few years contributing to a rash of tribute albums from Pink Floyd to Rush in an intoxicating display of musical dexterity.
Magellan recently returned from their four year hiatus with Test of Wills. Their high-caliber orchestration is still present but instead of Yes they drift more into Jethro Tull territory. The guitars are tougher, the leads brighter, and the content very rich but the addition of drummer Brad Kaiser really makes a difference. His intro to "A Social Marginal" stomps with both feet making his presence unmistakable. "Gameface", "Test Of Wills" and "Crucible" lock and load, where as "Walk Fast "settles down into a nice acoustic roll. Trent Gardners lyrical style continues to be one of social and philosophical relevance however, his lyrics have changed from historical to self-reliance.
The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are as dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. ~ William Shakespeare
Website: Magna Carta Records