After seemingly finding their niche with Impending Ascension, Magellan changed their style with the follow-up, Test of Wills. The lyrics changed from historical to self-reliance-based. And the songs are performed more around a guitar riff than a melody. There is plenty of experimentation and new ideas here, although the songwriting isn't quite as consistent as on Impending Ascension. "Gameface" begins the album with a Jethro Tull-sounding rocker. "A Social Marginal" is reminiscent of the songs from the previous albums. "Walk Fast, Look Worried," a song about growing up, is Magellan's first true ballad and works very well. The title track is the highlight of the album. Trent Gardner pulls out the trumpet for this song and has some excellent-sounding horns in the middle of this lengthy song. The next few, unfortunately, are not as high quality, but are still worth a listen. Test of Wills ends on a high note with "Critic's Carnival," which harkens back to Impending Ascension's "Storms and Mutiny." "Critic's Carnival" doesn't reach the heights of that earlier song, but it does end Test of Wills triumphantly.
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AllMusic Review by David White