[Neo Era Prog #4] Magellan

Magellan was a Prog Rock / Metal group formed in 1985 by the brothers Trent and Wayne Gardner in San Francisco. One of the particularities of the band is that they have never added other members, but have only had many guest-stars, often artists of the highest level such as Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Joey Franco (Twisted Sister, Van Helsing’s Curse) and Tony Levin ( King Crimson, Liquid Tension Experiment). The first two albums of the band “Hour of Restoration” from 1991 and “Impending Ascension” are concept albums with historical themes in the lyrics. The music immediately strikes for that sound that mixes influences of the groups of the past such as Genesis, Kansas and Yes with an energetic Prog Metal rich in time changes. Gardner brothers, besides to being very prepared, have always chosen top-level collaborators. The next “Test of Wills” from 1997, is less incisive than the previous ones, remains a good album, but lacks that power both in the music and in the lyrics, passed to easier themes. Apart from a few live shows, Magellan had not produced any album until 2002, when “Hundred Year Flood” was released. The album returns to levels of the firsts and theme become again more interesting, talking about their brother that was dead in Vietnam. The following year it was the turn of “Impossible Figures“, also of a good standard, a very interesting album, which after a closer listening reveals all its beauty. In 2005 they released “Symphony for a Misanthrope“, second on Inside Out, the famous Label, always at the top of Prog. A well composed and executed album, but unfortunately a little repetitive and not very imaginative, for a genre that bases its particularity in pure fantasy. After leaving Inside Out, in 2007 they produce “Innocent God” for Musea, a work that aims to offer a more personal and less repetitive sound than the previous one. In part the experiment succeeds, proposing a more symphonic and accessible sound, devoid of excessive virtuosity. Except for a few live performances and collaboration with other projects, the Gardner brothers no longer make themselves as Magellan. Unfortunately, in February 2014 Wayne Gardner took his own life, not bearing the news of a brain tumor. In June 2016, for reasons still unknown today, Trent Gardner also fails, thus putting a definitive end to Magellan story. Definitely a band with great potential, unfortunately not entirely expressed, even if the first works are remarkable. Over the years and with the productions, the intensity of the beginnings goes down. One of the Neo Prog bands with Metal influences that collaborated in the genre’s birth with noteworthy productions, always taking inspiration from the masters of the 70s. For all lovers of the aggressive Prog, with guitars and keyboards that offer energetic and fast riffs. The only flaw, so to speak, is the lack of prolificacy, only 7 albums in almost 25 years of history.


Trent Gardner / Voice, Keyboard, Trombone
Wayne Gardner / Guitar, Electric Bass, Choir


Joey Franco / Drums and Orchestral Percussion (“Hundred Year Flood”)
Jason Gianni / Drums (“Impossible Figures” Tony Levin / Electric Bass (“Hundred Year Flood”)
Ian Anderson / Flute (“Hundred Year Flood”)
George Bellas / Guitar (“Hundred Year Flood”)
Robert Berry / Guitar, Electric Bass (“Hundred Year Flood”)
Brad Kaiser / Drums (“Test of Wills”)
Hal Stringfellow Imbrie / Electric Bass, Choir (“Hour of Restoration”, “Impending Ascension”)
Doane Perry / Drums (“Impending Ascension”)


(1991) Hour of Restoration [Magna Carta]
(1993) Impending Ascension [Magna Carta]
(1997) Test of Wills [Magna Carta]
(2002) Hundred Year Flood [Magna Carta]
(2003) Impossible Figures [InsideOut Music]
(2005) Symphony for a Misanthrope [Inside Out Music]
(2007) Innocent God [Musea]

Magellan |Official Website|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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