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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  • "I was totally unaware that Pain Of Salvation was coming out with a new EP until I was offered the chance to review it. While I would not consider myself a Pain Of Salvation die-hard like some of my friends, I really enjoyed "The Perfect Element Pt. I" quite a bit. That being said, their past couple of albums have kind of sucked, especially the rap-metalesque "Scarsick". I know I was definitely wondering what direction Pain Of Salvatioin would be heading next.Pain Of Salvation was formed all the way back in 1984, but their first album was not released until 1997. They have since been releasing albums regularly and built up quite a solid (and at times fanatical) fanbase in the process. The first four tracks on this EP are set to appear on a new two-disc studio album some time in the future.The good news to start off is that this is nothing like "Scarsick"; there’s no rapping, no disco, none of stuff that garnered that album so much criticism. In fact, if one was to compare this to another Pain Of Salvation album, I would say that it is most similar to something that could be found on "Entropia". There is less of a focus on complex arrangements and layered instruments; instead opting for a more straightforward approach. There seems to be a strong influence of 70’s Rock, and not necessarily 70’s prog-rock either.This is not a bad thing, however. In fact, I’m rather glad that this is the direction that the band is taking. In my opinion, Pain Of Salvation was in danger of collapsing under their own ambition and pretentiousness. They needed to step back and focus on what it was that made them such a great band in the first place, especially after several big lineup changes.Each of the four songs that are set to appear on the forthcoming album is excellent. If the rest of the album is on the same level as these four songs, we will have an album that will be right up there with "The Perfect Element Pt. 1" and "Remedy Lane". The interview is mostly just the band screwing around, so that is hardly worthwhile. The Scorpions cover that closes the album is nice, but hardly essential.If you really need a Pain Of Salvation fix, then by all means pick up this EP. However, I would advise against it simply because I believe that these songs that will appear on the forthcoming album will be even stronger when in the context of the album as a whole. This review will hopefully serve as a beacon of hope that disgruntled fans should not give up on this band, at least not yet." - Metal Temple
    $7.00
  • Second release from this German band and frankly its a huge improvement from their debut. Dante skirt the fine line between neoprogressive rock and progressive metal. The music is quite melodic and there is some heaviness in the guitarwork...and yeah the keyboardist likes to shred like Jordan does...so maybe they can slip into the metal category. File these guys along side Ricochet.
    $3.00
  • "Over 5 hours of great performances including the entire Testimony and One albums plus special encores of the Spock's Beard classic, "The Light" featuring Alan Morse, and the Transatlantic epic "Stranger In Your Soul." Also included is a behind-the-scenes documentary with footage of Neal's exclusive acoustic concert, rehearsal footage, "Name That Prog Tune" game with Mike and more!Complete with 4 piece horn section, 6 member female background vocal section, violin and cello, full orchestra percussion with timpani and chimes, dancers, special guests and special staging, this is the most elaborate live release of Neal Morse's career!Neal even flew out Rich Mouser who mixed the original studio albums to do the front of house mix! Neal says "We really went all out this time. I wanted it to be the quintessential presentation and performance of this music." And so it was...and is!Says Mike Portnoy - "I've got to say... as a fan of this wonderful music, how incredible this is! I am so happy to see this come to fruition. This music really deserves this… everything from the incredible presentation, and all these amazing musicians...it's great to hear this music come to life on stage like this. To be doing it in his hometown with all his friends and family present and to be doing it here in this building that has such incredible importance to him and his story, it's elevated the music to a whole new level. This is just been an amazing experience!""
    $20.00
  • I'm going to cut to the chase: if you are a fan of Fish-era Marillion...if Peter Gabriel's voice makes you spooge...then you need to own this disc.A Time Of Shadows is the second album from this Irish neo-prog band heavily influenced by vintage Marillion. Vocalist Liam Campbell is excellent and clearly from the Fish/Gabriel school. Good long tracks filled with melodies but still plenty of intricacies. Beautiful artwork from Ted Naismith rounds out a superb package. If the words "clutching-at-straws" gives you goosebumps you are a click away from musical nirvana. Highly recommended.
    $3.00
  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • CD/DVD in a digibook.  The DVD is the complete show and the CD maxxes out due to the time limitations."In May 2012 Anathema released Weather Systems, the most acclaimed and successful album of a career that has spanned over two decades. The album scored high in numerous critics end of year polls around the world and cemented their reputation as one of the most exciting and progressive bands around. Following the release of the album, the band embarked on a lengthy world tour. The European leg of the tour opened with a triumphant one-off show at the ancient Roman theatre of Philippopolis with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2012. Directed by celebrated filmmaker Lasse Hoile, Universal captures the magic of the event ."
    $17.00
  • 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 California based prog metal band with ties to Redemption. The Tragedy Of Innocence is a far more mature and developed release than their debut. It's a conceptual work dealing with a very heavy subject - Valerie Quirarte (wife of drummer Chris) and her experience with child abuse. The music is a reflection of the story - its darker and more intense. All in all Prymary are a progmetal band. You can expect some serious complex arrangements and stand out playing. Kudos to the band for tackling a difficult subject and also jumping up to the next level musically. Recommended.
    $2.00
  • Following two highly successful tours with established Progressive metalists PAIN OF SALVATION and two years of exacting work, DARK SUNS have finished their third album "Grave Human Genuine.""Grave Human Genuine" – this unconventional title was chosen with care and purpose, as it represents the three characteristic elements of this work: "Grave" signifies darkness, the sinister force, and the inevitable fate. "Human" is synonymous with the music’s inherent soul-depth, while "Genuine" means "real" or "authentic" and hence refers to DARK SUNS’ uncompromising approach to music.But what about the music? DARK SUNS don’t merely pick up where the successful predecessor "Existence" (2005) left off, they present themselves as many-facetted as never before. A clear nod to Doom, complex polyrhythms, unusual and diverse instruments and, last but not least, drummer NIKO KNAPPE’s characteristic yearning vocals comprise the album’s cornerstones. The variety of sounds stretches from angular Metal riff attacks via atmospheric ambient soundscapes and Techno reminiscences to Avant-garde influences – despite this complexity, an accomplished musical mosaic of enormous expressiveness.Exciting nuances are created by the incomparable bass of Pain Of Salvation’s long-time member KRISTOFFER GILDENLĂ–W, a friendly turn that resulted from the tours mentioned above, and DISILLUSION’s SCHMIDT’s guest vocals in "Flies In Amber."With "Grave Human Genuine," DARK SUNS have created a haunting album full of autonomy and instrumental class, self-consciously charting new musical territory. In this, the band from Leipzig embodies the essence of every true progressive band: compositional genius coupled with advancement. The dark suns radiate: gloomy, human and egregiously genuine.
    $6.00
  • The Yes Album is the second in a series of remixed and expanded Yes albums.Presented in a mini vinyl replica gatefold card sleeve (with protective inner sleeves) with booklet featuring new sleeve notes by Sid Smith, along with rare photos and archive material, the album has been mixed for 5.1 Surround Sound from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson and is fully approved by Yes.The CD features a new stereo album mix by Steven Wilson, the studio version of Clap and an extended version of A Venture.The blu-ray features:- 5.1 PCM Surround Sound and High Resolution Stereo mixes (24bit 96khz).- the original album mix in a hi-res flat transfer from the original stereo master tape source (24bit/192khz).- a complete alternate album running order drawn from live tracks, singles edits & an extended mix.- exclusive instrumental versions of all new mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz).- exclusive needle-drop of an original UK vinyl A1/B1 pressing transferred in 24bit/96khz audio.The ultimate way to enjoy the album that helped establish Yes's reputation as a creative force to be reckoned with.CD - New Stereo Mixes:1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeAdditional Tracks:7. Clap (Studio Version)8. A Venture (Extended)Blu-Ray (Region 0, NTSC):Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio- Album mixed in 5.1 Surround- New Album mix- Original Album mix (flat transfer)- New Album mix (instrumental version)- Alternate version of The Yes Album drawn from live tracks, singles edits & an extended mixPlus further audio extras some exclusive to the Blu-Ray edition.NTSC, all regions, LPCM playable in all Blu-Ray players & Blu-Ray drivesBlu-Ray - Full Track Listing:New Stereo Mixes 24/96 MLP Lossless:1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeSurround Mixes (24/96 MLP Lossless):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeOriginal Stereo Mixes (Flat Transfer from original master 24/96 MLP Lossless):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeAdditional Material:The Alternate Album :1. Yours Is No Disgrace (Live, London 1971)2. Clap (Studio Version)3. Starship Trooper (single edit)Life seeker4. I've Seen All Good People (Live, London 1971)5. A Venture (extended mix)6. Perpetual Change (Live, New Haven 1971)Blu-Ray Exclusive:Single versions, edits & live:1. Your Move - single version, stereo2. Clap - single version, mono3. America - Live, London 19714. It's Love - Live, London 19715. Your Move - single version, monoNew Stereo Instrumental Mixes (24/96 LPCM):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeNeedle-drop (A1/B1 UK vinyl transfer 24/96 LPCM):Original stereo, archived master transfer (Flat Transfer 24/96 LPCM):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual Change 
    $25.00
  • New band put together by Renato Tribuzy, the former singer of the Brazilian power metal band Thoten. In addition to his regular band Tribuzy got some incredible guests to appear: Bruce Dickinson, Michael Kiske, Roland Grapow, Kiko Loureiro, Ralf Scheepers, Roy Z, Matt Sinner, Dennis Ward, and Chris Dale.
    $9.00
  • "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
  • "Vital Science bears all the hallmarks of your atypical Scandinavian progressive metal outfit. You know, the likes of Circus Maximus, Illusion Suite, and Oceans Of Time (to name but a few). What I’ve found odd, though, is that despite peddling a sound which on the surface is commonplace these days; Vital Science manages to bring something strangely fresh to the table. This is something I feel I’ve pegged down, although it could well be a plant by Vital Science’s aural tentacles, which by now have plunged deep and scrambled my brains.There are a fair few elements that Vital Science offers which will be familiar to anyone with slight knowledge of the genre. A foundation of Dream Theater, a generous lavishing of Symphony X; essentially the Circus Maximus formula, although try adding a sprinkling from the more aggressive rack. Yeah, let’s take a pinch of Control Denied, a few drops from Future’s End; and don’t forget a spot of Nevermore. It’s in the deft inclusion of the heavier end of the progressive metal spectrum where Vital Science begins to find itself crawling out from beneath the “average” atypical sound, and from the realms of melodic prog; strangely enough, I feel that the album flows in that sense.The first couple of tracks are without doubt friendly in their utilization: Alexey Boykov’s smooth, Russell Allen-meets-Mark Basile vocal styling is enticing, and when painted over a symphonic backdrop eases you into Imaginations On The Subject Of Infinity. As such, the first song proper, “Bridge Of Sorrow”, flows by as a solid piece, one well-written although lacking in fire. It houses that comforting familiarity – much like you’d feel kicking back in your living room. The following number delivers more in the way of the heavy, as well as that of technicality and, well, prog. It’s that chill running up your spine, or a growth beginning to fester. It’s at this point that Vital Science begins to kick up the excitement.Riffs that, dare I say, come across as unconventional given the progressive power style, begin to rear their heads. Like spiders or other unwelcome guests seeking to compromise the comfort in the aforementioned living room, clamoring through the cracks in a wall, or the gap under a door. It’s here that Vital Science shows that its really pretty damn bad-ass. These are riffs and rhythms that you’re going to want to headbang to; boasting infectious groove, and even some of the more “evil” sounding chord progressions and scales I’ve heard lately. Mixing in the darker, heavier textures with the more pristine, melodic prog conventions makes for an involving listen. In fact, speaking of darker and heavier texture, at times Vital Science spring the likes of Adagio and To-Mera to mind; especially so when considering technicality.As the album continues to progress, so does the band. With each track it feel that Vital Science opens up a little more, stretching the boundaries of their sound a little wider. To the point where some of the music recalls that of (modern) technical death metal, although (and this is something that I can’t stress enough) this resemblance comes in terms of musical prowess and note progression, as opposed to production or tonality. The last half of the album is seriously cool nonetheless, and seeks to catapult Vital Science from the realm of “good band” to that of a great one.In a way, I guess Vital Science amalgamate a considerable amount of what I’ve enjoyed from progressive metal on the whole over the last decade or two. I could write a scary long list of bands that Vital Science springs to mind at any one point throughout the album – and trust me it would extend far – but I feel Imaginations On The Subject Of Infinity deserves more than that. Instead, let’s just say that the band manages to evoke varying shades of atmosphere, and proudly covets an arsenal of sharp hooks, deft songwriting tricks, heavy hitting riffs, and enough in the way flamboyant technicality to ruin many a mind." - Blackwind Metal
    $15.00
  • "Andy Tillison, the mastermind behind The Tangent, isn’t a wet-behind-the-ears newbie when it comes to the world of prog rock. He knows he’s taken a risk with the band’s new album, Le Sacre Du Travail, but ten years of leading the band on its journey and seven albums to show for it have given him the strength and courage to present something decidedly different in today’s world of prog.Spurred on by the growing resurgence of progressive rock to do something unexpected that stands outside the box, he zeroed in on the idea of creating an orchestra suite in the spirit of artists like Camel and Deep Purple’s dearly departed Jon Lord. The naysayers might consider the new album to be too far afield from what’s considered prog rock these days, but The Tangent enjoys a broad international fanbase that respects the fact their heroes are bent on being as big and bold and as adventurous as the people who originally started the progressive rock movement off in the late ‘60s.“Big and bold” i this case doesn’t mean loud and in-your-face. On the contrary, Le Sacre Du Travail serves up everything from ‘70s rock to smoky blues to jazz to classical music. Given the conceptual nature of the record, Tillison sees it as a soundtrack without a film.“Hopefully that's what I'm getting across with this music,” says Tillison. “I want to give the music the excitement I felt when I first started hearing classical music. That’s why I got into progressive rock music; hearing classical music as a child, I used to be off and away imagining pictures and scenes and telling myself stories to go along with it. What I wanted to do was tell those stories to somebody else with my own music.”Le Sacre Du Travail is, in brief, a story about 7 billion people that all have the same name; “You”. The Tangent wanted to put the listener into the picture, having decided that if they were going to present this story, it had to be something that absorbed everyone on a familiar level.Tillison: “We avoided the concept album idea for a really long time, and finally we’ve done one. Most of the lyrics came pretty easily; I never wrote them down, I just sang what I felt, lots and lots of different things. I had many takes and many ideas, so I had to go back and pick out the best ones, and eventually I got the idea of what I wanted to sing about. It came out very naturally.”Looking back on The Tangent’s catalogue, Tillison – who started his musical career writing punk songs and pays tribute to that era on a the bonus track ‘Hat (Live At Mexborough School 1979’ – admits that The Tangent’s evolution is something of a surprise. At the same time, given that he’s had a decade to refine his craft as a prog artist, “I knew this was coming.” Looking back on his roots, Tillison knows exactly what influenced the outcome of Le Sacre Du Travail“The obvious influence is one of the very first progressive rock albums ever made: The Days Of Future Past by The Moody Blues. They had the idea of breaking a day into pieces and running through it on the album. It must have been there in the back of my mind, although I must say I probably haven't listened to that album in 30 years. I never really thought about it while I was recording, but at some point I realized I was doing the history of a day with an orchestra and a rock band. Deep Purple’s Concerto For Group and Orchestra was a big influence, and at the same time Roger Waters' Amused To Death album is definitely in there.”“We know we’re taking a risk,” Tillison adds. “Some people will go ‘What the hell is this?’ because it’s a big piece of music to get into and you have to find your way around it. But that’s where I want to be; on the leading edge of progressive rock music.”"US jewel box edition with 3 bonus tracks. 
    $10.00