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Raising the Mammoth Import, Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, June 14, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Limited edition paper sleeve pressing. Nexus Records. 2011.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 14, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: King Japan
  • ASIN: B004TES6RM
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,785,604 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phil Mackenzie on September 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
When I saw that four songs were divided into fourty-four tracks and that the four songs were supposed to represent one larger song, my first thought was naturally "oh no, this will be Tales From Topographic Oceans on really bad heavy metal poisoning". The four "songs" are a little bit choppy at parts, which really distracts the listener at points, and again, I was thinking "ah, the price of unrealized ambition", but the compositions were strong, and the last "song" Giantiphicus is breathtaking.
Years after forgetting that I owned the album, I thought "well, if this is all one song, then I can just press "shuffle" and get an album of some kind". I think I get the album's point now. This is just one lineup of over a billion possible outcomes (44*43*42*...etc). There will still be "song divisions", owing to the fadeout finish of the "Broad Decay" suite and other obvious starting/finishing points, but the results are incredibly interesting.
I have done this three times, and gotten three completely different albums. Because I already know where parts are "supposed" to be, its also amusing in a way. Unsurprisingly, the results can be choppy, but the moments that flow seemlessly will leave you in progmazement.
I'm not 100% convinced that Trent Gardiner intended the listener to hear the same album each time. And if he did, and had no disire for a "shuffle fest", then he has unintentionally created one of the funnest prog-in-a-box toys ever.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Some great moments with some obvious b.s. intermingled, once again courtesy of Trent Gardner's unique, eccentric vision of progressive rock.
The two songs with Steve Walsh are the highlights, and are fairly well put together (minimum intermingled b.s.). Walsh was a perfect fit for the two songs he sings on, and for this reason I would recommend fans of his to get this cd. Terry Bozzio also stands out on drums. This format allows him to go all out, and everything he does is pretty amazing. Mark Robertson plays some good solos on keys. I liked James Labrie's vocal spots, but why in the world is Trent's voice jumping in and stealing a few lines (he does this in one of the Walsh songs too) ? Trent's voice sounds good on the Magellan albums, but why splice it in here and deny the full effect of listening a great vocalist for the entire song ?
Referring to a track as 'aka: Prog-o-matic' betrays a certain not-to-be-taken-seriously attitude, in my opinion, which damages the credibility of the composer. Hey, Trent, why do you feel you have to throw us bones ?
There is a certain brooding character that runs throughout the whole album (musically and lyrically), tying it all together. The synth textures used for the melodies, effects and orchestral-like bits even evoke the mystery and imagery of the mammoth concept. Very clever.
Regarding sound quality, this album suffers from way too much compression on the individual tracks, and overall too. It exhibits the same tinny, boxed-in, no-air timbre that is reminiscent to other recent Magna Carta releases. Magna Carta would do well to pair Trent with a competent producer next time out, or at least try another mastering engineer.
In summary, there is enough here to recommend to the curious. But there's probably a good 10-12 minutes of material that should have been edited out. Would have made a much more powerful and cohesive album, in my opinion. But Trent has to throw bones to the dogs, I guess.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I had some high expectations from this album after hearing the last one. Left me a bit dissapointed. I'm not sure what the problem was,but after listening to it twice I was already getting tired of it. Still not bad or anything, but I've known these people to come up with music that's way better than anything in this album. Oh and what's the deal with splitting up the tracks into tiny bits anyway??
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The second Explorer's Club opus is quite a bit different from the first, Age of Impact. That album featured several artists missing from this album; among them are Steve Howe, Billy Sheehan and D.C. Cooper. That album was good, but this one is great. When Trent Gardner can concoct a melody, it is great stuff, which is the case here. I'm not a musician, so I can't comment on the virtuosity of the playing, as so many prog fans seem to like to do. The bottom line for a lay listener like me: This album is the best progressive rock album I've heard in a long, long time. The keyboards create a spiraling wall of sound (with catch melodies) and the vocals are haunting, elaborate and memorable. It's a shame this album will probably not get the recognition it deserves. In the prog pantheon, it is great stuff. Compared to the rest of what's out there, it's a masterpiece. This one has stayed camped out in my CD player for well over a week, and I don't think it will be leaving anytime soon.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Snow Leopard on October 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
With four songs spread out over 44 tracks, and at least an ambition in the direction of that other prehistoric 4-song, 2-disc megamonster (Yes' Topographic Oceans), it hardly seems quite possible to do justice to this effort, in the same way that reviewing Yes' effort would be difficult. Before I get to the good stuff, though, a caveat first.

If a three sentence comparison of this to Explorer Clubs' first album is in order, there's far less tendency to repetitious self-indulgence here than in the previous album. Perhaps breaking up the songs into bits helps to keep Gardner's greater excesses in check. Although virtually half of this album gets programmed out when I listen to it, I don't listen to the other disc ever.

At the risk of being uphelpful, let me just say right at the beginning that Broad Decay, in all of its several sections, and Vertebrates, in all but it's last two sections are unlistenable to me. It is not that the pieces are pitifully sentimental (they are), overwrought and overwritten (they are)--I might be able to stomach this; I adore 70s Kansas, for instance--it is the SOUND of the pieces--grotesquely over-engineered and slick. In other words, there is an unbearable quantity of professionalism on these pieces--there's not a single moment of lushness overlooked, no excessive touch of reverb skipped. It just all comes off as a sock puppet with no spirit, soul, or life. Made me cringe.

A part of the problem of appreciating what good there is on this album certainly involves expectation. Most clearly, this may be seen in Steve Walsh's vocals. There's not much left of the voice from Kansas' heyday, but what he still has is passion, articulation, and a sense of how to wrap words around a melody (or lack of it).
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