Magellan- Impossible Figures (Inside Out)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. Gorilla With A Pitchfork
2. Killer Of Hope
3. Bach 16
4. Late For Church
5. Confessor’s Overture
6. Hymn For A Heathen
7. A World Groove
8. Counterpoints
9. Feel The Cross



Magellan's latest release, last year's Impossible Figures , offers quite a contrast from 2002's 100 Year Flood . First off, the current release features nine tracks with the longest being 10 minutes while 100 Year Flood had only three tracks, including the 34-minute epic "The Great Goodnight" and the 11-minute "Brother's Keeper." 100 Year Flood also featured guest appearance from two well known names in progressive music - Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson and King Crimson's Tony Levin. While there was some outside help, Impossible Figures was made without any big-name guests. Finally, 100 Year Flood was the band's fourth and final recording on the Magna Carta Label before joining the Inside Out ranks.

This latest release sees the brothers Gardner - Trent on keyboards, lead vocals and trombone and Wayne on guitars, bass and backing vocals - releasing a fairly heavy group of songs with some nice quieter bits thrown in. Songs like "Killer of Hope," "Late for Church," "Counterpoints" and "Feel the Cross" displays the band's heavier elements. Wayne Gardner provides some pretty solid riffs while Trent adds some Dream Theater-ish synthesizer and Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh-inspired vocals. And Jason Gianni adds some solid drumming to the mix.

As for the quieter bits, there's the lovely "Bach 16," which features a guest appearance from Stephen Imbler. Imbler plays a beautiful piano piece composed by Bach in 1742 that gives way to some trombone and organ from Trent Gardner. Trent then shows his touch at the piano with a fine bit of playing on "Confessor's Overture," which leads nicely into "Hymn for a Heathen," a number that sounds closely related to the Kansas track "No One Together."

"A World of Groove" features both eastern and far eastern influences during the intro before leading into a rock number that sees Trent Gardner singing about his view of the world today. This track features some fine instrumental work from Wayne Gardner on bass and electric guitar and Trent on various keys.

Lyrically, many of the songs seem to question the role of religion in today's society. On "Late for Church," Trent Gardner asks "Do the Jew and Gentile really need to agree" before closing with the line "Why so many churches here, I thought there was only one god." On "Feel the Cross," Trent sings "Problematic, my tension/Ease the guilt with confession/So pray the angels are all Christian/Will the heathen find redemption?"

Impossible Figures shows that Trent Gardner is quite a capable songwriter with a lot to say as a lyricist. With a blend of Dream Theater, Kansas and Rush with some modern touches thrown in, this disc makes for quite an enjoyable listen.

Of note is that Impossible Figures is also available as a special edition that includes the bonus track "Hallucination Suite part one."

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