US - California - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 22 - 08/08/98
Age of Impact
Age of Impact is yet another Magna Carta release with a who's who
cast of nineties prog rock. Written by Magellan's Trent Gardner, with
performers including Terry Bozzio, Billy Sheehan, James LaBrie, John
Petrucci and Derek Sherinian, all of who should be fairly recognisable
names to anyone interested in the progressive music of the nineties.
There's even a guest performance by good ol' Steve Howe in there.
At first listen I was a bit disappointed. Apart from a few nice
melodies on the first track, the music didn't really seem to have any
focus. But when playing the disc a second time revealed new things, a
third listen gave me yet another perspective, a fourth try made me
think "Hmm, this isn't so bad after all..."
The thing is, this is a concept album in that classic seventies style
(but with a nineties sound), which means it might take a bit getting
used to. After a while you'll notice certain musical and lyrical
themes that occur several times throughout the CD, keeping a focus of
sorts. The lyrics deal with the frustrating commercialism of music,
making me think that they should put Trent Gardner in a room with
Robert Fripp - that could be interesting!
The musicianship is, as you might expect, outstanding. Much like with
Magellan, this exploration team is fronted by Trent Gardner's
songwriting and keyboards. He also does a bit of singing, but really
does take the back seat to Bret Douglas (Cairo), Matt Bradley (Dali's
Dilemma), James LaBrie (Dream Theater) and D. C. Cooper (Royal Hunt).
The singers all do a fine job with Gardner's distinctive style of
melody. Sheehan's rumbling bass and Bozzio with his gargantuan drumset
keeps the Explorers' ship steady. But the most outstanding performance
comes from guitarist John Petrucci of Dream Theater, who does the bulk
of the guitar solos on the album. Fans of Petrucci should not miss
And of course there's also Trent Gardner's obligatory trombone solo!
All in all, a good album, not really an outstanding "instant classic",
but worth the money if you're a fan of prog. Three and a half
dinosaurs out of five.
Copyright © 1998 Kentil'zha