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4.04 | 46 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1997


1. The Ocean (1:34)
2. Welcome (2:11)
3. Turns To Me (6:01)
4. Morning Sun (5:49)
5. Another Way (4:35)
6. Blackjack Guillotine (4:33)
7. Paragons Of Innocence (5:33)
8. Complaint In The System (Veronica Guerin) (2:37)
9. Underture (3:51)
10. The Wake Of Magellan (6:10)
11. Anymore (5:16)
12. The Storm (3:44)
13. The Hourglass (8:05)

Total Time: 60:06


- Zak Stevens / vocals
- Jon Oliva / keyboards
- Chris Caffery / guitars
- Al Pitrelli / guitars
- Johnny Lee Middleton / bass
- Jeff Plate / drums

About this release

Release date: September 1997 (Japan) and April 7th, 1998 (US)
Label: Atlantic

US Edition has the following bonus tracks:

14. Somewhere In Time/Alone You Breathe (4:37)
15. Sleep (4:16)
16. Stay (2:48)

Reissued in 2002 by SPV with the following bonus tracks:

14. This Is Where You Should Be (4:55)
15. Desiree (acoustic piano version) (3:53)

Reissued and remastered in 2010 by Ear Music with the following bonus tracks:

14. Desiree (acoustic version) (3:54)
15. Stay (acoustic version) (2:48)

Thanks to progshine, Time Signature, Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"The Wake Of Magellan" is the 10th full-length studio album by US power/heavy/progressive metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in September 1997 (not released until April 1998 in the US). It´s the successor to "Dead Winter Dead" from 1995 and features the exact same lineup who recorded the predecessor. Just as the case was with "Dead Winter Dead (1995)", "The Wake Of Magellan" is a concept release with all tracks making up a story. It´s essentially the story of an old Spanish sailor who sails his ship into the Atlantic ocean to die, but ends up saving a stowaway who has been thrown overboard from another ship, and his realization that all life is precious and that he should cherish his life instead of trying to commit suicide. It´s slightly deeper than that though as the main story is based on two real life events: The murder of Irish reporter Veronica Guerin (murdered while fighting the drug trade in her homeland) and the Maersk Dubai incident where a captain threw three Romanian stowaways overboard in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

"The Wake Of Magellan" is composed and structured much like you would imagine a heavy rock/metal Broadway musical would sound like. The two opening tracks "The Ocean" and "Welcome" are an almost arch typical Broadway musical show style opening, with the latter even featuring the lyric line: "Welcome to the Show". Ever since "Gutter Ballet (1989)" and especially "Streets: A Rock Opera (1991)", Savatage have incorporated more and more theatrical/musical style moments to their albums (on some albums more than on others) and it was almost inevitable that they would one day end up releasing an album like "The Wake Of Magellan".

It´s of course no surprise that Savatage are able to pull off doing something like this with what sounds like a natural ease. They have always been incredibly skilled and clever composers and equally brilliant musicians. The album concept works pretty well and "The Wake Of Magellan" is a dynamic and varied listen. From quiet piano/vocal moments to bombastic keyboard laden heavy rock/metal, Savatage can do it all. Zachary Stevens has a powerful voice and he is able to sing both mellow and melodic and more raw and hard rocking with the same amount of conviction. Original lead vocalist/keyboard player Jon Oliva has a few lead vocal songs on the album, which he also did on the last couple of releases, and we´re instantly reminded of how great a singer he was/is. Not to take too much away from Stevens, who is very talented and gifted singer with a great powerful voice, but Oliva is just a world class vocalist with a unique voice and singing style, and his performances on the early Savatage are not easily matched.

"The Wake Of Magellan" features a well sounding and detailed production, which suits the material well, and upon conclusion it´s another high quality release by Savatage. While the album certainly has its heavy riffs and hard rocking rhythm sections, it´s not Savatage most heavy release, and it´s probably very much up to the ears that hear if the listener will be able to enjoy the theatrical/Broadway musical style direction the band have taken on the album. Personally I would have prefered a lot more raw and heavy moments to the mellow piano driven story telling sections/tracks, but that´s a subjective view, and objectively seen "The Wake Of Magellan" is a high quality release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is more than deserved.
After their 1995 concept album 'Dead Winter Dead', which spawned a small radio hit for the band, and the recently-formed Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which also garnered mainstream success, Savatage continue down the route of epic rock operas which would see the band reach new heights of creativity and critical acclaim during the late 90's.

Featuring all the pomp and circumstance that the band had incorporated into their sound since 1994's 'Handful of Rain', and even way before that if I'm being realistic, 'The Wake of Magellan' sees everything come together for Savatage. The story itself doesn't really make much sense to me, but it ties around the fictional story of a sailor who goes out to sea to end his life, only to find new meaning to carry on, and two real-life events involving a journalist who was murdered whilst trying to battle the growing drug trade in 90's Ireland, and of a sea captain who had Romanian stowaways thrown overboard.

How does any of this fit together? I have no idea (and I doubt many people do), but the music itself is compelling and the performances are sincere. That's good enough for me!

Using the same lineup from the previous album, the band have really gelled by this point, and the chemistry is evident. Zak Stevens delivers powerful vocals as always, and founding member Jon Oliva returns to sing for a number of songs, having never sounded better or more confident. His keyboards add a warm depth to the record as well, giving it that orchestral feeling but without all the pomposity of a full orchestra.

'Turns to Me', 'Morning Sun', 'Another Way', 'Paragons of Innocence' and 'The Hourglass' are all highlights that this fantastic album has to offer, with the true gem being the title track, 'The Wake of Magellan'. It's a big, epic piece, with an absolutely mind-blowing finale which sees the band utilize the vocal harmony counterpoint which they had used more and more over the last few releases, but perfected here.

A truly underrated gem when it comes to concept albums, capturing the very essence and atmosphere of a journey out to sea, 'The Wake of Magellan' is an absolute epic from start to finish.
Savatage's return to narrative concept albums on Dead Winter Dead was strong enough to prompt another concept - this time, a suicidal sailor taking his boat out to the deep ocean, only to find new reason to live. This time around, they dial up the progressive aspects of their music, creating the most prog metal thing they'd put out for quite some time. It's not super-proggy by any means - don't be fooled by the nod to Dream Theater in the liner notes - but Jon Oliva lets himself get more indulgent with his keyboard work and song structures, yielding an enjoyable light-prog metal experience.

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