Countdown To Extinction Live ($5 Special)

"Though Megadeth and their founder Dave Mustaine have spent their entire existence just a few steps behind Mustaine's former group Metallica, it's important to remember that they've also spent a lot of time as one of the most popular metal bands in the world. The summit of their commercial success came in 1992 with fifth album Countdown to Extinction, a creative high point from Mustaine and crew possibly spurred on in ways by the footrace with Metallica and the leaps in production made on their self-titled 1991 breakthrough album. Twenty years later, Countdown still stood as Megadeth's best-selling album, and in many circles, their most loved material. Countdown to Extinction: Live is a concert document of the 20th anniversary tour that found the band playing the album front to back, bookended by a few odds and ends from other albums. While the premise seems pretty rote, the execution of the live album is surprisingly interesting. Most live re-creations of full albums fall flat in comparison to the original artifacts, and this is no exception, but it's great to hear the devoted legions sneer along with every word of Mustaine's schizophrenic monologue on "Sweating Bullets" and cheer insanely at the now-dated George Bush samples that pop up throughout the set list. The performances are pinpoint, but the live sound lacks the production and feel of the studio album and eventually the tracks blur, losing the excitement a live experience offers. While the inclusion of extra crowd favorites like "Hangar 18" and "Peace Sells" flesh things out somewhat, the thrill of the live setting doesn't completely transfer, and all but the Megadeth superfans will probably prefer revisiting the original 1992 album before diving into the strong but much duller offerings of the live album." - Allmusic

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  • After spending some time battling (and winning) a life threatening disease, Andy Latimer has reactivated Camel.  The reassembled lineup consists of Andy Latimer (guitar, flute, keys), Colin Bass (bass), Guy LeBlanc (keyboards), and Denis Clement (drums).  Latimer recently took the band on a short European tour (it will be ongoing in 2014).  I'm not sure of the motivation to re-record The Snow Goose.  Perhaps it was so he had new merch to sell on the tour.  I honestly don't know but here it is.For the most part this new version is quite faithful to the original.  There are some new bits and pieces that integrate well and won't give you pause.  Of course each of the musicians add their own signature to the production.Good to see him back up and running full blast.
    $16.00
  • Creation's End is the vision of New York City's Rudy Albert (guitar - from Zandelle) and Dario Rodriguez (drums).Rudy and Dario, who met in school, have been playing music together since 1999. As they grew tighter in their playing, they began to focus on writing original material. The nature of the material evolved from simple metal tunes in the early years, to more complex and mature compositions.During the summers of 2003 through 2006, Dario and Rudy convened to write music. The focus of the sessions was simply to make great music that they both enjoyed, and each summer, Rudy and Dario wrote and recorded a new demo of original material.Rudy soon took on keyboard duties in the band Until Destiny, where he met John Macaluso (drummer of James LaBrie Band, Fool's Game, ex-Ark, ex-TNT, ex-Yngwie Malsteen). After a short period of time, Rudy and Dario decided that the time was right to revisit their old material to record and release it the right way.With a newly renovated studio and producer John Macaluso on board, Rudy and Dario set out to record 8 reworked versions of songs that appeared on their demos. They were joined by the lineup - Mike Dimeo, (ex-Masterplan, ex-Riot), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie Band), and Joey Bones (Chris Caffery, ex-Zandelle).In Summer of 2010 the band decided to have world known engineer Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Yes, Nile, Cannibal Corpse etc) mix the album.November 2010 will see the release of "A New Beginning" and marks the fruition of the album envisioned from the beginning - melodic, touches of prog, a strong sense of groove, and brutally heavy and dark. US and European tour dates are being planned, with a date at ProgPower USA in September 2011 already confirmed.
    $8.00
  • "You like In Flames, Soilwork, Killswitch Engage, but also the mighty Machine Head or Metallica? Then check out DARK AGE. Based in THE Metal capital of the world, Hamburg / Germany, since 1995, DARK AGE have gained a lot of respect and played single shows and festivals with a lot of bands like Slayer, In Flames, Sodom, Soilwork, Hypocrisy, Mnemic, Primal Fear, Dismember, Heaven Shall Burn...just to name a few. DARK AGE played the famous Wacken Open Air, the biggest Metal festival in the world, twice: In 2000 and 2003, played the German Summer Breeze in 2008 and did 2 European Tours, one time with Primal Fear." 
    $15.00
  • "Marillion seems to be appealing to a commercially-oriented buying demographic with this album. There are parts of this record you'll love, and there are parts ... you might not. The band's work in the Hogarth era is marked by its variability - or some might say inconsistency. Although there have been some dud CDs, arguably including Radiation, Anoraknophobia and marillion.com, each of those records had some excellent songs. Similarly, the great albums had songs that were less than stellar. So it's generally safer to think of Marillion's work in terms of the songs rather than the CDs. Having said that, though - Somewhere Else probably fits somewhere between Marbles and marillion.com stylistically, and it's closer to .com in terms of quality.Somewhere Else doesn't share all of Marbles's progressive elements, its subtleties, or its general appeal. This music is a bit more linear, and it's very vocals-oriented. Steve Hogarth's singing is as emotion-laden as ever, switching effortlessly in and out of falsetto, and very expressive - in the style of "The Invisible Man" or "Angelina" from Marbles, or Radiohead's classic "Creep". But you might wish that he would stop singing for just a few minutes and let some instrumentals shine through. Steve Rothery's legendary guitar work is heard in only a few places, and Mark Kelly provides some very appealing piano lines, but there aren't any instrumentals to into which you can really sink your teeth."Most Toys" is a hard-hitting rocker with very simplistic lyrics that won't have much appeal to Marillion's traditional fanbase, although it might win them some commercial radio time. "Last Century for Man" also has simplistic lyrics with little subtlety, and a catchy melody that stays with you for days. There are no epics here, with 10 songs in just 52 minutes, and the title track (the longest at 8 minutes) is the standout piece with a meandering structure, gently appealing delivery and an almost minimalist approach to the instrumentals. Some might call it sleepy - but it definitely goes into the list of Marillion's better songs. Other highlights are the opening track "The Other Half", and "Thank You, Whoever You Are" - a fairly straightforward piece that features some nice but all-too-brief moments from Rothery's guitar.If Marillion is chasing after radio time, or if they're wooing the Coldplay / Radiohead / Pineapple Thief audience, this song-oriented record will probably get them there. But it will do so at the cost of a significant portion of their progressive rock fanbase." - Sea of Tranqulity
    $13.00
  • I can't remember a buzz on a band's debut since Circus Maximus.  Perhaps due to the album being released in Japan a year ago and its unavailability elsewhere, maybe because they are lined up to play ProgPowerUSA.  Whatever the reason the album finally gets a wide debut and it was worth the wait.  Damnation Angels is a British symphonic metal band fronted by a Norwegian singer.  He goes by the name PelleK and was a contestant on Norway's version of X Factor.  The band's stock in trade is epic sounding metal that pays a huge debt to Kamelot.  The instrumental passages take on the grandeur and scope of Nightwish.  PelleK does a sold job out front - he's obviously listened to a Khan quite a bit.  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • "Good morning, good afternoon, good evening or good night (depending on where you are in the world), how’ve you been? I’m good, thanks. Anyways, first thing’s first, before we get to the review, let’s take a minute to explain what is “Lingua Mortis”? “Lingua Mortis” was a 1996 album by German Heavy Metal legend RAGE, an album which took some of their classic songs and presented them in new symphonic arrangements.Fast forward 17 years, RAGE is still going strong, and after playing live shows with what’s known as “Lingua Mortis Orchestra” over the last few years, RAGE finally decided to create a new “Lingua Mortis” album, this time however the band chose to create an album of all new material. Based on the true story of the “1599 Gelnhausen” witch hunting’s and featuring around 100 musicians, “LMO” is a monster of an album. Make no mistake about it, this is a Metal album through and through, Composed by Victor Smolski with Lyrics by Peavey Wagner, this album is as much RAGE as any album they have released in their illustrious career, but this is RAGE with a completely different edge to them.It opens with “Cleansed by Fire” a ten minute opus opening with a witch chanting with a choir coming in, this is the song that tells you all you need to know, the song is melodic, deep, heavy, catchy, this is Rage at their finest, Peavey Wagner’s usually harsh vocals are softer here and are perfectly complemented by the female accompaniment, this song incorporates three parts into it, “Convert the Pagans Pt1”, “The Inquisition” and “Convert the Pagans Pt2”, the guitar work by Victor Smolski is absolutely exquisite throughout.I wanted to do the usual track by track review, but I honestly can’t, it would take too damn long, this album moves and twists more times than I could possibly put into a single review, it’s heavy as hell, the masterful blast beats are here, the guitars are incredible and at times reminiscent of the masters like Pell and Malmsteen. The choice to mix Peavey’s heavy vocals along with softer and operatic female vocals and at times choirs is a brilliant move as they blend perfectly. The album at times even has an 80s sound (like the opening of “Devils Bride”).The bottom line here is that this album is nothing short of a masterpiece, if you love RAGE (like me), you’ll love this album, if you love Symphonic Metal, you’ll love this album, hell, it’s very hard not to love this record as it features elements from a lot of metal genres and mixes it in with an amazing array of orchestral work. I’m not really the type to call an album perfect, but I find it hard not to in this case, the hooks are there, and so is the heaviness, it’s probably the best symphonic album I’ve heard without a NIGHTWISH label on it.The album comes out August 2nd, and I certainly suggest you go on YouTube right now, have a listen to a sample and go out and get this album as soon as it’s out, you won’t regret it. " - Metal Temple
    $13.00
  • Inside Out makes a now rare foray back into the realm of progressive metal with a signing from an unlikely place. Amaseffer is a project created by three Israeli musicians - drummer Erez Yohanan and guitarists Yuval Kramer and Hanan Avramovich. The trio have enlisted Edguy/Therion vocalist Mats Leven and Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow to front this first part of a trilogy based around the Old Testament story of Moses and the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. The music has an epic, cinematic feel - strikingly similar to Saviour Machine. Orchestral elements meld with Middle Eastern sounds and progressive metal. Think of Orphaned Land but with powerful, dramatic (and clean) vocals. Hold on...I think this one is gonna be big! 
    $15.00
  • After all these years, Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has finally released a solo album and frankly it isn't at all what I expected.  First off the album is all instrumental (not a bad thing frankly).  Don't expect insane shredding here.  Rothery presents a very refined symphonic rock album that, to these ears, owes a big debt to Pink Floyd.  Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson appear as guests and that is a nice plus but to be honest even without their contributions the album would satisfy anyway.  Rothery has put together a nice band, drawing musicians from British neoproggers Mr. So & So and Italian symphonic band Ranestrane.  Expect  mellow parts that meld with sections that have an electrified smoldering intensity.  As long as you don't expect an instrumental Clutching At Straws I think you'll find a lot to dig your teeth into here.  Highly recommended."Steve Rothery is best known as guitarist for those whipping boys of the mainstream press, the progressive rock band Marillion. For over 30 years, Marillion have surprised and delighted fans old and new with some truly outstanding music. Musical fashions have come and gone, governments have formed and fractured… and Marillion are still here, not just unbowed but positively revelling in their role as eternal underdogs, having now delivered more than 15 studio albums of tremendously well-wrought and highly emotive music. The cornerstone of Marillion’s music, perhaps, is Steve Rothery’s elegaic guitar. Influenced by players such as Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Camel’s Andrew Latimer but with a style all his own, Rothery – as the longest-serving member of the band – is in many ways the core of the band and one of its chief writers.Yet in all those 30-plus years, Rothery has never released a solo record. He has enjoyed a largely-acoustic based side project in the shape of The Wishing Tree, who have now released two albums (1996’s Carnival Of Souls and 2009’s Ostara), but has never released an album under his own name. Until now. A strikingly successful Kickstarter campaign – for a brief time, the Ghosts Of Pripyat pre-order was the most successful Kickstarter project in the world – has allowed Rothery the time and supporting talent to produce something very different to his day job; yet familiar enough to fans of Marillion to forge a strong link to Rothery’s work in that band.Whilst The Ghosts Of Pripyat is a solo album in name, Rothery has assembled a strong band to record it. A reflection of the strength of the band is that two previous live albums that Rothery has released in the run up to the release of this, his first studio album, were billed as being by ‘The Steve Rothery Band’. The band form a next-generation progressive rock supergroup of sorts: Dave Foster (Mr. So & So, Panic Room) on guitars, Leon Parr (ex-Mr. So & So) on drums, Yatim Halimi (Panic Room) on bass and Riccardo Romano (Ranestrane) on keys & acoustic guitar. Throughout the album they add further colour and crunch to Rothery’s instrumental flights of fancy, giving it an appealing earthbound energy.The album opens in almost cinematic style with ‘Morpheus’. Marillion fans will delight in the way this track builds with an almost sensual slowness from barely audible ambient wash to a circling riff comprised of Rothery’s signature guitar sound, a crystalline chorused sustain that is powerfully evocative in its simplicity. ‘Morpheus’ is half over before the band puts its full weight behind Rothery’s playing, but this is one of this album’s strengths. It is not a ornate shred-fest, nor is it a somnolent none-more-authentic bore; the music – like Rothery’s playing – is effortlessly melodic and atmospheric, almost a film soundtrack without a film. It is here that Rothery’s fondness for the playing of Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is most evident, and it’s entirely fitting that Hackett himself makes a guest appearance on this track. The two veteran guitarists trade off against each other beautifully, as if they’ve been playing together for years.Like any good soundtrack, each part of the album is very different in tone. Where ‘Morpheus’ was dreamy and reflective, ‘Kendris’ toys with a rolling, almost African-style drum pattern. Romano’s keys are especially important to this track, colouring in the backdrop to a musical safari whose shimmering heat haze makes for a warm, feelgood part of the album. This contrasts wonderfully with ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’, which is in many ways the centrepiece of the album. A near 12-minute track, it covers a range of moods very effectively. Opening with wave sounds, whale song and a mournful, lonely guitar fed through a Leslie effects pedal, it sounds beautifully Floydian – an effect only magnified when Rothery’s more familiar signature sound emerges to pick up the story. From these tentative but wonderfully evocative beginnings, the track gradually builds in intensity, musically and emotionally until it becomes as powerfully elemental as the sea that is its muse. The closing section in particular is one of the feistiest things that Rothery has committed to tape recently, featuring some forthright riffing built on top of a powerful performance by the assembled musicians, notably the muscular rhythm section of Halimi and Parr. In mood and subject matter, ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ sits comfortably alongside Marillion’s epic ‘Ocean Cloud’. Steve Hackett makes another guest appearance at the end, as does progressive rock wunderkind Steven Wilson – with Rothery’s presence, there are essentially three generations of progressive rock’s finest all delivering some great playing; a rare treat.‘White Pass’ was inspired by a treacherous icy path used by prospectors during the American gold rush, and its steadily rising tension is perfectly matched to its subject matter. A chugging, almost metallic riff crunches in midway through the track, the ideal accompaniment to this immersive tale of survival in a hostile environment. You can almost taste the icy chill of the howling winter winds. ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ also builds slowly, although the mood is almost antithetical to ‘White Pass': the track – a remembrance of Rothery’s late stepfather, a World War II veteran – forms a delicate and deeply emotive elegy that displays some of the most restrained playing on the album. Here, more than anywhere else, Rothery evokes the feel of mid-period Dire Straits, the gentle washes of keys and E-bowed guitar building to an affectionate but achingly sad solo that Mark Knopfler would have been extremely pleased with. This is the essence of Rothery’s playing, bottled in concentrated form: less is most definitely more. The closing two minutes display another marked influence, as the band dial up the blissful introspection into a dynamic gallop, accompanied by some very Latimer-esque playing, as Rothery tips his hat to another formative influence. Perhaps understandably the most intensely moving track, this is very special indeed.The penultimate track, ‘Summer’s End’, is another slow-burner, building from a sleepy, bucolic opening into an organ-driven hard rock riff that powers along, with a number of solos built over it, as Rothery trades some intense workouts with Foster, both of them clearly egging the other on to greater and greater heights. The magnificent atmospherics of ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ and the emotional intensity of ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ are hard to top, but if the restraint shown on the rest of the album leave you longing for heads-down rock and roll, here it is.The closing title track was inspired by photographs of the now deserted town of Pripyat in Chernobyl. After the nuclear accident there in 1986, the town was abandoned after radioactivity rendered the region uninhabitable. Reclaimed by nature, Pripyat makes for an eerie monument to those who died, and the displaced workers whose lives have never been the same. That same uncanny sense of loss and aftermath informs the track, which almost serves as an epilogue to the album. Rothery and Foster, joined by Romano on 12-string acoustic, build a slowly expanding web of limpid acoustic lines, almost like a musical round that becomes more ornate as it develops. The rest of the band arrive a few minutes later, developing the pattern of the round into a cyclical, almost Zeppelinesque riff. In five minutes the track goes from reverent near-silence into a muscular rocker, and you barely notice it happening; it feels effortless, utterly uncontrived.It’s striking, on an entirely instrumental album written and produced by a guitarist, how few solos there are on this album given its running time. Rothery’s economy is admirable in that it is never forced; this is just how he takes care of business. That in itself is one of the reasons he is so beloved as a guitarist: yes, he can be truly devastating when delivering a solo; yes, he can crank out a chunky riff with the best of them; but his playing is always in the service of the piece. His reliably deft hands deliver not riffs or solos so much as they paint with six strings. Here, freed from the constraints of delivering songs – as in Marillion and The Wishing Tree – those sound paintings are given centre stage 100% of the time, and it’s testament to Rothery’s abilities as a player and a writer that the results never fail to hold your attention.Those familiar with Rothery’s work in and out of Marillion have waited a long time for his first solo album, but it has most definitely been worth the wait. Richly atmospheric, dynamic, emotive and beautifully recorded and mixed, The Ghosts Of Pripyat is everything that those who waited for it with baited breath were hoping for. For everyone else, the album is a stunning showcase for one of the UK’s least-acknowledged guitar maestros; the perfect introduction to a talent whose indefatigable muse continues to serve up some truly extraordinary music." - Echoes & Dust
    $12.00
  • Second album from this Finnish band that explores the darker side of progressive metal. Bands that come to mind are Katatonia, Opeth, Tool, Amorphis and even Riverside. Lots of morose atmospherics juxtaposed with crushing riffs. Vocals vary from dreamy clean to coarse. Powerful slamming stuff that actually grooves! Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • US edition of the new Pain Of Salvation album is a continuation of their 70s bluesy hard rock vibe that they picked up with Road Salt Part One. I miss the old days... Please note that the forthcoming import edition will include two bonus tracks...and cost slightly more.
    $12.00
  • Brief Nocturnes is the band's 11th album.  It marks their return to Inside Out and quite frankly its the best album they have released in a very long time.  Chalk it up to Ted Leonard handling vocals or Neal Morse contributing writing to a couple of tunes?  Not sure.  I am definitely hearing more vitality and overt progginess in the compositions.  Ryo is going off his nut here - keys are whizzing all around - organ/'tron/the whole schmear - and Alan's guitar runs are matching him step for step.  Maybe I haven't been paying attention as closely as I should have for the past few years.  I do know that I'm enjoying the hell out of this.  Highly recommended.Mediabook edition is essentially a fancier hardbound version fo the domestic release.  No additional music.
    $9.00
  • Devin Townsend continues to be a true cutting edge progressive artist. Synchestra straddles the prog rock world as well as that of his agressive metal band Strapping Young Lad. The music stops and turns on a dime going from quiet acoustic interludes to a firestorm of shred, acidic vocals and blast beat rhythms. Long time buddy Steve Vai appears, contributing a solo on one track. This one is a challenging listen which is what progressive music is supposed to be about.
    $5.00
  • New solo album from Arjen Lucassen demonstrates a lighter hand than the Ayreon and Star One projects. This has a more overtly prog rock feel - quite melodic and at times spacey. Lots of similarities to Pink Floyd circa "The Wall" in places."The story of "Lost In The New Real" follows Mr. L, a 21st-Century man who was cryopreserved at the moment of clinical death from a terminal disease. The album begins as Mr. L is being revived at a point in the distant future, when technology has advanced enough to cure his disease. Mr L finds himself in a world that has drastically changed — to the point that the line between what's real and what's not is no longer clear.Mr. L's appointed psychological advisor (played by legendary screen actor Rutger Hauer) is tasked with helping him emotionally adapt to this strange new world. The songs on CD1 follow the main character Mr. L's emotional journey as he is confronted with both serious and comical aspects of the "New Real", and desperately tries to decide if he can find a meaningful place within it.CD2 is a mix of songs that are part of the concept but didn't fit on CD1, and cover songs that are (more or less) related to the concept. "
    $16.00