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Age Of Impact

by Explorers Club

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A letter From Trent Gardner:

For me, it always seems that every good fortune I've ever had comes at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute. Perhaps I'm obsessing, but it seems to happen in the fifty-ninth second as well.
However, my experimentation within this genre over the past few years seemed to be improving, albeit in incremental fashion and not necessarily apparent to anyone but me. It was near the end of recording "Test Of Wills" that I became intensely aware of the notion that it was "OK" NOT to put every musical idea I ever had into every song, every time. In fact, this had surely been to my detriment as I was just discovering that a few spaces and rests thrown in at the right place were highly effective.
I also resigned myself to the fact that despite my other musical interests and tastes, this "progressive" stuff was not only in my blood, but actually in the structure of my musical DNA, which of course meant that my disease (i.e. music career) was as nearly a terminal case as one could have without actually being pronounced dead. Maybe it would be more accurate to say, "the fat lady was singing the intro." Of course I still want to shut her up.
Enter Magna Carta. The endless combination of enemies that stood in the path of its very formation makes me shudder. What they have accomplished thus far is truly an astonishing feat in both commercial and artistic terms. In just a few short years, MC has not only served as the primary catalyst in an emerging "progressive revival" of sorts, but has also become a new gateway for bigger and better things to come.
There is no need to provide details. Anyone even remotely familiar with this style of music and who still has a pulse well knows the plight of progressive rock and the challenges involved in bringing it to the REAL marketplace.
By 1991, my brother, Wayne, and I were at a crossroads. Ultimately, I had already decided to
dedicate myself to an already established law enforcement career when the newly formed flagship company of Pete Morticelli and Mike Varney called inquiring about our demo of "Union Jack". Two months later, "Hour Of Restoration" was done and the rest is…well, nevermind. This was one of those special moments to which I referred earlier.
But a strange thing began to happen. A revival of sorts was indeed in the works that had "prog" bands coming out of the woodwork faster than a snare roll from Buddy Rich.
And as a natural by-product of this newly found plethora of time signature activity, a network of musicians began to emerge. Aided by e-mail, web servers, A-DATS and general midi files it was time to get to work!
As a teenager I can remember continually listening to all the "classic prog" artists in this "club". The "rolling public address system" that trumpeted from my '75 Lemans courtesy of a cheesy cassette machine (at far above 90 decibels) forced every last riff possible upon the unsuspecting and oft unappreciative ears of passing motorists with albums such as "Thick As A Brick" or "Close To The Edge". I considered this more of a religious or sacred duty than I did immature, juvenile prank.
I even fantasized about how fun it would be to work with these musicians one day and have them execute a few of my own humble compositions, but with their blazing virtuosity. Anyway, back to the present...

After mastering the third record I was left feeling a bit depressed and misunderstood, almost like being cut off in the middle of a sentence right when you're about to deliver the crux of your point on the table with sterling silver place settings.
Magna Carta knew what I was going through, AND may I be so bold as to say "felt" that the timing was right for the first Explorer's Club project which had up until that point, only been the subject of very brief "pie in the sky" scenarios jokingly referred to over the past three or four years.
But for many personal reasons the timing was exquisite and most definitely qualified as one of those "special moments" I keep referring to.
However, I feared that writing for musicians beyond my own level of expertise and clout was going to be an ever so slightly intimidating experience.
Even though getting "fired" from Magellan wasn't likely (given my good rapport with the keyboard player), taking THIS project on could definitely put a major dent in the memory of my '75 Lemans should I come up with some lame or pathetic material that made us all look, well…less than awake.
But in the end ,this project turned out to be the most "musical" fun I've ever had.
Milking my "creative juices" so to speak, turned out to be an experience that I would highly recommend to others, although I would much prefer you milked your own and not mine.
My most heartfelt thanks goes to those involved.
I hope it will serve many purposes for the participants and perhaps even set a precedent for future compositional endeavors to which I might attach myself.
Now please excuse my delusionary ramblings of grandeur with the kind dispatch of your funds, not only to pay for multiple Explorer's Club, Magellan and other Magna Carta releases , but to inspire the belief of a fighting chance at drawing loyal audiences to prog shows in which the spectators are not only friends and relatives, but complete strangers who actually outnumber the respective band members on stage.
…Of course, all being drawn together for one of those brief special moments where commerce and music aren't at each others throats.

Trent Gardner

credits

released July 28, 1998

All songs and lyrics written by Trent Gardner in June 1997

Rhythm Section :
Terry Bozzio : Drums
Billy Sheehan : Bass
Trent Gardner : Keyboards
Wayne Gardner : Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Additional Bass

Lead Vocalists:
Bret Douglas
Matt Bradley
James LaBrie
D.C. Cooper
Trent Gardner

Soloists:
John Petrucci - Guitars
Steve Howe - Acoustic Guitar
Derek Sherinian - Keyboards
Trent Gardner - Keyboard and Trombone
James Murphy - Guitars
Michael Bemesderfer - Flute and Wind Controller
Frederick Clarke - Nylon String Guitar
Mat Guillory - Keyboards

Additional Percussion:
Brad Kaiser - Midi Percussion

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Track Name: Impact 1 – Fate Speaks
Impact 1- fate speaks

Fred clarke(nylon string)

(petrucci solos)

When every word has been written
When every line has been read
When every person cries for justice
And every partner drops dead

When every loss has been suffered
When every war has been fought
When every son’s been laid to rest
When every lesson has been taught

There comes a time when you realize
It’s all over - sooner or later
All of us together - stop pretending it’s not
It’s going down - it’s going down
Nobody listens - i can’t believe it.

(petrucci solo)

There comes a time when you realize
It’s all over - sooner or later
All of us together - stop pretending it’s not
It’s going down - it’s going down
Nobody listens - i can’t believe it.


When every breath has been drawn
When every sickness has been shared
When every soul has quit religion
When every priest has run scared

When all the actors take a last bow
When all the big deals have gone down
When every cynic’s crucified us
When every mother screams out loud

There comes a time when you realize
It’s all over - sooner or later
All of us together - stop pretending it’s not
It’s going down - it’s going down
Nobody listens - i can’t believe it.

(murphy & guillory solos)

(petrucci)

Found asleep at the wheel
Believing in things that are not real
Our reasons more of the same
Pointless encounters - endless cliches
Things escape me time and again
Running in circles while anarchy wins
Not me - i’m not going down
Refuse to sell out or lay down
Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks
Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks loudly.....

(petrucci)

Face my sentence in despair
Pacing the floor - the enemy’s there
I’m just so sick and tired of it all
Nothing but commerce
Makes my skin crawl

Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks
Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks
Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks

You think i’ve lost it
For what i have said
You’ve got the problem
And it’s all in your head
It’s just too dark
It’s just too real
Don’t take for granted
This chance we have to feel
Why do we take it?
We’re out of control
We’re getting worse now
And we’re selling our souls
It’s just too dark
It’s just too real
Don’t take for granted
This chance we have to feel

(sherinian key solo)

(petrucci solo)

Why do we take it?
We’re out of control
We’re getting worse now
And we’re selling our souls
It’s just too dark
It’s just too real
Don’t take for granted
This chance we have to feel

You think i’ve lost it
For what i have said
You’ve got the problem
And it’s all in your head
It’s just too dark
It’s just too real
Don’t take for granted
This chance we have to feel.....

(gardner key solo)

(petrucci)

(gardner to outro)
Track Name: Impact 2 – Fading Fast
Impact 2 – Fading Fast

Matt Bradley-Lead Vocals

(Garner Solo)
(Petrucci Solo)

In just a moment your life can slip away
Wasting time by wasting chances
When all that's left here is emptiness and hope
It's always darkest before the dawn will show

So I've got to stay right
Just to see it
I've got to rise up and be much more

There's nothing's new here
My impact fading fast
Why seize the hour if I can not make it last
The cynics laugh hard and the pundits write away
The music's dying but it's epitaph will say
It's not over yet
Just to see it
I've got to rise up and be
And be so much more
Believe I know it
I've got to be right…

(Petrucci Solo)

There's a light at the end
But a darkness begins
As I take the task at hand
For the glimpse that I see
Is all that I need
Just to try and understand
Why my fate has let it stand
Feel the meaning of power
The meaning of fear
But it's death that's chasing me fast
So who really gives a damn
If I make it at all
I'm just another one that's passed
The pain of a marathon that lasts…

(Petrucci Solo)
Track Name: Impact 3 – No Returning
Impact 3 – No Returning

James LaBrie - Lead Vocals
Trent Gardner - Harmonies

(Gardner Solo)
(Bemesderfer Solo)

Just call me Mr. Dark – Mr. Negative
I'm pessimistic, fatalistic, with an attitude
That's turned ballistic

No rhyme or reason
No symmetry and no excuse
Let it go – flow with the chaos
Hold tight 'cause I can 't refuse
Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks loudly

Can't you see there's no returning
Once you've started down this road
You've lost everything you have
And life is over
No impact 'til you make it stronger

Can't you see there's no returning
Once you've started down this road
You've lost everything you have
And life is over
No impact 'til you make it stronger

(Petrucci Solo)

Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly
Fate speaks
Fate speaks loudly…

Can't you see there's no returning
Once you've started down this road
You've lost everything you have
And life is over
No impact 'til you make it stronger

Can't you see there's no returning
Once you've started down this road
You've lost everything you have
And life is over
No impact 'til you make it stronger

Can't you see there's no returning
Once you've started down this road
You've lost everything you have
And life is over
No impact 'til you make it stronger…

(Petrucci Solo)
Track Name: Impact 4 – Time Enough
Impact 4 – Time Enough

DC Cooper-Lead Vocals

When every word has been written
And every line has been read
When every person cries for justice
When every partner drops dead

When every loss has been suffered
When every war has been fought
When every son's been laid to rest
When every lesson has been taught

Spoken: "and this is the moment when you will make your impact…An intensity found in your life when you make a real and profound difference…Seize it , seize it…Rise up."

(Murphy Solo)

When all the actors take a last bow
When all the big deals have all gone down
When every cynic has crucified us
When every mother screams out loud…

(Gardner Solo)
(Sheehan Solo)
(Bemesderfer Solo)
(Howe Solo)

There's nothing left to ask for
There's nothing left to say
The same old songs are playing again
Just like it's yesterday

There's nothing left to hope for
There's nothing left to be
It's all been done before
But maybe I'll wait right here and see

There's nothing left but boredom
There's nothing left but pain
There's nothing to do
'cause the suffering lasts
As it keeps you in it's wake

I'd like to make a difference
Yes, I'd like to make one try
But who the hell am I fooling?
There's barely time enough to die…
Track Name: Impact 5 – Last Call
Impact 5 – Last Call

James LaBrie - Lead Vocals and Choruses
Trent Gardner- Lead Vocals from last chorus through outro and harmonies


I've heard enough
Let's make it happen
Let's turn it over
Make life a positive
No more excuses
I'm making progress
I'm moving forward
With new promises

There's nothing left but boredom
Nothing left but pain
There's barely time enough to die

It's all been done before
There's nothing left here
There's nothing I can say
I can say…

(Petrucci Solo)

Don't think it's me
I have no fear
I feel it working
There's something more here

Let's make it worth it
Still time to react
We've come this far now
To make an impact

(Murphy Solo during choruses)

Now wait here – can't you see
I've just spelled out reality
It's no fun
But it's now or never
It's now or never

So wait here – can't you see
I've just spelled out reality
It's no fun
But it's now or never
It's now or never

(Petrucci)
(Guillory Solo)
(Murphy Solo)

Now wait here – can't you see
I've just spelled out reality
It's no fun
But it's now or never

There's nothing left but boredom
Nothing left but pain
There's barely time enough to die
It's all been done before
There's nothing left here
There's nothing I can say

(Murphy Solo)

Now wait here – can't you see
I've just spelled out reality
It's no fun
But it's now or never
It's now or never

So wait here – can't you see
I've just spelled out reality
It's no fun
But it's now or never
It's now or…
Now or never.

(Petrucci Solo)

I've seen it
I've lived it
I know it
I'll say this over again
Again – again
I've got it
Last call – are you going down?

I've seen it
I've lived it
I know it
Last call are you going down? Down…

Last call – last call
Last call – are you going down?
Down…

Last call – last call
Last call – are you going down…Down?

I've seen it
I've lived it
I know it
Last call –
Are you going down, down, down, down
Down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down.....
Down…Down…Down…? …'cause I'm not.

(Petrucci Solo)
(Bozzio Goes Wild)

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