The Wake of Magellan is a concept album by Savatage, and is based on two real life events. The first, the Maersk Dubai incident, occurred less than a year before this album was released when the captain of a freighter threw three Romanian stowaways overboard in the middle of the Atlantic. A fourth stowaway was saved by the courageous action of a deckhand, who risked his own life to protect the youth.
The second event regarded the Irish reporter Veronica Guerin who died fighting the growth of the drug trade in her country. Her death may accomplish what she could not in life. These events are combined into the story of an old Spanish sailor, who has decided to end his life by sailing his small boat out into the Atlantic until it sinks. In his mind he has romanticized this decision as a glorious, Vikingesque way to die. When the ocean winds push him into a great storm, and he believes that his wish is about to be granted in a great dramatic fashion, he suddenly sees a man drowning in the ocean. In an instant he finds himself taking back every wish for death's embrace, and fights to save this soul. After many twists and turns, he is able to save the stowaway that had been thrown overboard. Returning to land, he now realizes that not only every life is precious but also every hour of that life.
Sea of Tranquility reviewer Murat Batmaz gave the album 4.5 stars out of 5 and noted: "The album draws parallels to several influences of Jon Oliva. The pure, sweet piano riff on "The Ocean" echoes the churning riffing of the Doors' "Riders of the Storm"; and the melodic opening of "Welcome" is inspired by U2's The Edge in that it has this constant note playing against which the main melody is set. Al Pitrelli's glistening harmonics on "Turns to Me", possibly the high point of the album, make for a pleasant listen, given its fluctuating rhythmic tension, alternating between jackhammer riffs and acoustic sections enriched with sweet piano lines." Batmaz also praised Zak Stevens' vocal performance calling it one of his best. The album's lyrics were also examined. The reviewer remarked: "Being a politically themed record, the band opts to cover a broad spectrum of moods and personalities. "Paragons of Innocence" tackles a very thought-provoking lyrical theme and perfects the storytelling with Jon Oliva's unique, sinister vocals where he does his craziest rapid-fire singing ever. Though the band could never perform it live, his singing has to be heard -- it is intense. To further expand on the political nature of the album, there is the two-minute track "Complaint in the System", a song dedicated to Veronica Guerin, an Irish reporter who was killed for fighting the drug lords in her country. This song is an attack against the media and governments who turn a blind eye to drug dealers -- and the use of processed vocals that personify the "system" is amazing, given its fake, unreal tone."