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Various Artists: Leonardo-The Absolute Man

This symphonic affair from Magna Carta is made up of a veritable who’s-who in the prog and progressive metal community. Basically a prog-opera on the life of Leonardo da Vinci, this project brings together James Labrie from Dream Theater, Josh Pincus from Ice Age, Steve Walsh from Kansas, Chris Shryack from Under the Sun, Brett Douglas from Cairo, Robert Berry, Mike Baker from Shadow Gallery, Trent and Wayne Gardner from Magellan, Lisa Bouchelle (formerly of Mastermind), Patrick and Steve Reyes on guitar and bass, Davey Pattison, Michelle Young, and Jermey Colson on drums. The album was produced and written by Trent Gardner, the mastermind behind Magellan and the Explorers Club.

Dream Theater fans will be pleased to know that Labrie plays the main character Leonardo da Vinci, and gets plenty of airtime. In fact, vocally this is a stupendous project, and all the participants really shine in their solo spots. Sections that feature Labrie and Pincus together, and Walsh, Shryack, Baker and Douglas, are quite good. The Magellan stamp is always present, especially in the Chorus sections, where the Gardner vocals are full force. The women of the group, Young and Bouchelle, also turn in fine performances as well.

Musically, there are some neat keyboard passages, very orchestral sounding, and some heavy guitar riffs here and there, but this is mainly about the vocals and the story behind it. I’m sure it must have taken Trent Gardner a while to put this all together and find the right singers to fill each part, but the end result is quite polished and enjoyable.

Added: November 1st 2001
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Magna Carta
Hits: 1943
Language: english

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