Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Age of Impact
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
A conscious attempt to invoke the spirit of classic Yes and Genesis, this project from Magellan's Trent Gardner is most successful when approximating the more manageable sound of progressive rock spin-offs such as Flash (... more »
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A conscious attempt to invoke the spirit of classic Yes and Genesis, this project from Magellan's Trent Gardner is most successful when approximating the more manageable sound of progressive rock spin-offs such as Flash (on the 16-minute "Fate Speaks") and UK (on the mere nine-minute "Fading Fast"). Former UK drummer Terry Bozzio and bassist Billy Sheehan navigate the requisite time changes with genuine intensity, while guests such as Yes's Steve Howe and members of Dream Theater play like their capes are on fire. And, lest the riffing get too repetitive, a small army of lead vocalists are on hand to keep the fusion quotient in check. Not quite something for everyone, but quite possibly everything for someone. --Bill E. Grenier
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Largely bloviate ostentation with some great moments.
Lord Chimp | Monkey World | 06/27/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Age of Impact is progressive songwriter Trent Gardner's side-project featuring some big name progressive musicians (Steve Howe, John Petrucci, Terry Bozzio, Billy Sheehan). Gardner comes from the band Magellan, who I am not familiar with, but this album's appeal came to me because of some familiar talent involved. Gardner seems to be writing an album about progressive rock, not just a progressive rock record. It's almost a form of oblation, where Gardner's songwriting tries to cover as much ground as possible and acknowledge the progressive greats of the past. In fact, it's more of a homage to prog than prog itself. Magellan might be a progressive metal band, because there are times of a very distinctive metal quality to the album. You can also pick up some interesting themes in the lyrics, like the challenges a contemporary progressive musician faces.Musically, Explorers Club has a rich mine of talent. There's some stunning soloing from the eight (!) soloists involved, with John Petrucci's work being especially great. A pair of his wonderful solos illuminate the echoic "Fading Fast" with amazing emotional acuity, which help make it my favorite on this disc. Elsewhere, there's some unnecessarily flashy guitar and keyboard acrobatics undermine some interesting songwriting...I mean, there's more than 30 solos here and the album isn't even more than an hour long. An important lesson to learn is that there's more to "progress" than being a technical monster.The vocal talent, like the instrumental talent, is also here in spades, but I must say that the singers don't have much to work with. The vocal melodies are supra-awkward, filled with affricatives that are pretty rough on the ears. Like I said, "Fading Fast" is my favorite track...it's an interesting, ambient composition with a lengthy intro that uses some Arabic drumming and vibrant synths and guitars. Matt Bradley's the singer on this one, and he does a good job, sounding almost ghostly over those moody synths. On this one, the lyrics aren't too clumsy. James LaBrie is a fabulous singer, but given songs without hooks or good melodies, he's talent is squandered. (The production handicaps his voice, too.) DC Cooper has a good, rich voice, and he gives the best vocal performance on the album, I'd say, although his track ("Time Enough") is spliced uncomfortably by a discomfited solo from James Murphy that seems out of place.While I am being critical, one must not lose sight of some great stuff here. The quiet, luminous solos (Garner, Sheehan, Bemesderfer, Howe) in the middle of "Time Enough" are sublime; some frenetic work on the final track "Last Call" is ostentatious but still captures an ingredient of amusement; and other bits scattered throughout.Age of Impact is like a Big Mac meal. It's not great food, but it's good for a diversion once in a while, with "Fading Fast" as the burger, "Time Enough" the fries, and Petrucci's solos on "Fading Fast" as the toy. It's not a progressive masterpiece, but it's fun once in a while."
Explorers Club, a congregation of Superstars
Mr D. | Cave Creek, Az United States | 06/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Explorers Club is not a real band. It's actually a side project of Magellan's singer/keyboardist Trent Gardner but if it were a band, boy, would it be a band for the ages. It seems like Gardner took a cue from one of his contemporaries, the incomparable Arjen A. Lucassen and wrote what is essentially a rock opera and invited numerous mega talented musicians to get in the act. Take a look at the plethora of superstar participants: Terry Bozzio (Drums), Billy Sheehan (Bass), Trent Gardner (Keyboards), Wayne Gardner (Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Additional Bass), Brad Kaiser (Additional Midi Percussion), James LaBrie (vocals), D.C. Cooper (vocals), Trent Gardner (vocals), Bret Douglas (vocals), Matt Bradley (vocals), John Petrucci (Guitars), Steve Howe (Acoustic Guitar), Derek Sherinian (Keyboards), Trent Gardner( Keyboard and Trombone), James Murphy (Guitars), Michael Bemesderfer (Flute and Wind Controller), Frederick Clarke (Nylon String Guitar), Matt Guillory (Keyboards) Now I'll admit I haven't heard of all of these guys but with the ones I have heard of, Billy Sheehan, Trent Gardner, James LaBrie, Terry Bozzio, D.C.Cooper, John Petrucci, Steve Howe and Derek Sherinian, I know a Superstar band when I see it and Explorers Club plays like a band of Progressive Rock Superstars. About Trent Gardner Trent Gardner is the band leader of the Progressive Rock Band Magellan. He writes all the songs, sings and plays keyboards. While this is probably enough to keep most musicians busy, it obviously isn't enough for Gardner and several of his contemporaries, like LeBrie, Sherinian and Petrucci who together probably have more side projects than actual band recordings. Gardner for one has produced two subsequent side project releases in the rock opera, Leonardo: The Absolute Man (2001) and a second Explorers Club release, Raising the Mammoth. (2002) Age of Impact If you like good Progressive Rock , you're going to love Age of Impact. Though it consists of only five songs, in true prog-rock tradition they average over ten and a half minutes. The music varies from a Dream Theaterish sound as on the sixteen minute lead song, "Fate Speaks" to a mellower sound which is evident on portions of the middle tracks. I find the variety of singers (there are five) quite exhilarating. They are all very good and they each take the lead for a song with LaBrie taking two and Gardner harmonizing, except for a portion of the last track where he takes the lead. As you might expect there is a lot of instrumentation and soloing but the vocals take a back seat to no one. The music is melodious, despite being prog, the singers are excellent and the lyrics are meaningful."
You can't not find something to like !
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not really a fan of progressive metal, but I love this cd and was hooked on it for quite a while. Of course, as you would expect, the playing is superb all around - I especially liked Terry Bozzio on drums and John Petrucci on guitar. However, what really makes this album shine is the strength of the compositions themselves. Trent Gardner has written some great music here ! There is a bit of padding throughout (probably needed to accommodate all the solo spots), but the clever contrast in dynamics makes it all flow nicely. My favorite aspect of Gardner's music has always been that the vocals are the focal point - and I really enjoyed the strong performances of all the singers on this project."