Magellan - Hundred Year Flood

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA-9045-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:32:00

I think there is a glut of tribute albums; no, I know there is a glut. Look at the new releases listing anywhere and you see tributes to bands or artists who haven't been around long enough to have any real impact. The trouble with this flood of tributes is that real tribute albums will get lost or dismissed. Tribute albums created to raise money for a cause, for example.

Trent, Jack and Wayne Gardner (courtesy Magna Carta)Or tribute albums like Hundred Year Flood, the long anticipated new album from Magellan. It is quite different from anything that Magellan have done before, and yet it is clearly a Magellan album -- is clearly a Trent Gardner album. This is not the band's progressive rock statement (that would be Raising The Mammoth, in a sense), but rather they are using the progressive medium and idiom in fashioning their tribute to the Gardners' brother Jack. While we don't know Jack at the outset, by the end of the "The Great Goodnight" the epic first piece on the album, you feel you know him, at least a little bit, at least as much as Trent and Wayne do. Jack died in Viet Nam, little more than a month after he been sent over. He was 21.

The album is not so much about Jack as about mainly Trent's impressions and brief remembrances of his brother (Trent was 4 and Wayne was nearly 1 at the time Jack died). Hundred Year Flood consists of only three pieces, though the first, "The Great Goodnight" spans the first thirteen tracks. "Family Jewels" and "Brother's Keeper" fill the last two tracks.

Before I had heard the music, I was looking through the booklet... the first lines of the "The Great Goodnight" got me -- "I was only four / I don't remember you / I've seen your pictures my whole life." Though under very different circumstances, I can identify with this feeling -- I never knew my mother's parents, as my grandmother died before I was born and I saw my grandfather only once and I was 18 months old. Here Gardner's words are straight to the point, and it sets up the premise, if you will, for the piece. In "The Great Goodnight" Gardner first relates that day when his parents got the news of Jack's death, and then imagines what his final moments were like, based on what was told to them.

"The Great Goodnight" sounds a bit like Yes' "Leave It" at the beginning (those "do-do-do-dos"), but with something uniquely Gardner. In a way, structurally and in some cases sonically, I also thought of Spock's Beard (and not just cause the latter has a track called "The Great Nothing"). In fact, there's a little Kansas in the sound as well. But, mainly it is Magellan you hear. The piece is full of great guitar leads - Wayne Gardner is joined on the album by George Bellas and Robert Berry; Gardner and Berry also play bass. The track rocks hard, as you might expect from Magellan, though there are softer sections that provide contrast. I like the jazzier, groovier section of the song (beginning at track 8) -- especially I like Gardner's trombone solo. Lots of percussion and percussive-like keys but don't think Emerson by my saying that though. Interestingly, saying that, come the next movement of the piece, I did think of ELP ("Jerusalem" comes to mind, stylistically). It's epic and sweeping. You might think -- well, not fans of prog, perhaps -- that one track lasting 34-plus minutes would either become boring or meandering, but Gardner keeps it tight. He has a story in song to tell, and there's enough movement and shifting textures that keeps the piece moving forward.

"Family Jewels" is an instrumental, featuring Ian Anderson on flute. It begins with Anderson on flute, moves into a classical keys and percussion section, reminiscent of classic movie scores (in style, nothing specific). Though there is a darker undertone, for the most part it is light and airy. Very nice.

"Brother's Keeper" isn't about Jack this time, but the apathy of the human species...or at least, a large portion of the species. Should we be responsible for others or should we only take care of ourselves - on an individual basis and on a national basis? "Brother's Keeper" begins with acoustic guitar and voice, adds in at one point violin (keys, perhaps, as it is otherwise uncredited). This track features also Tony Levin on a chunky, funky bass. This over a crisp, booming drums and percussion. If any piece of music were to be called punchy, this would be it, sometimes like a jackhammer driving the message into your head. There's a bit of rapping, a la Rush's "Roll The Bones" (and on a couple of occasions I thought of Phil Collins, and of "Domino," just in the "oh-ohs" -- something actually I thought during "The Great Goodnight" as well).

I like Hundred Year Flood. I think you will, too.

Wayne and Trent Gardner
Wayne and Trent Gardner

The Great Goodnight (34:27) / Family Jewels (5:53) / Brother's Keeper (10:52)

Trent Gardner - vocals, keyboards, trombone
Wayne Gardner - guitars and bass
Joe Franco - drums and orchestral percussion


Ian Anderson - flute (2)
Tony Levin - bass (3)
Robert Berry - guitars and bass (1)
George Bellas - guitars (1)

Hour of Restoration (1991)
Impending Ascension (1994)
Test of Wills (1997)
Hundred Year Flood (2002)
Impossible Figures (2003)
Symphony For A Misanthrope (2005)
Innocent God (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: September 29th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 695
Language: english


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