Cultosaurus Erectus ($5 Special)

"Signing on with Deep Purple/Black Sabbath producer Martin Birch, Blue Öyster Cult made more of a guitar-heavy hard rock album in Cultosaurus Erectus after flirting with pop ever since the success of Agents of Fortune. (They also promoted this album by going out on a co-headlining tour with Sabbath.) Gone are the female backup singers, the pop hooks, the songs based on keyboard structures, and they are replaced by lots of guitar solos and a beefed-up rhythm section. But the band still were not generating strong enough material to compete with their concert repertoire, so they found themselves in the bind of being a strong touring act unable to translate that success into record sales." - All Music Guide

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  • New album from this Austrian symphonic metal band.  The band has been a bit of a revolving door with vocalists but Maxi Nil has settled in nicely.  The music is based in the traditional female fronted gothic style with clean male vocals trading leads back and forth.  This time around I hear more of a poppier, catchy sound - somewhat like the direction Delain is moving towards.  Highly recommended to fans of the genre (I wave my hand proudly).  Digipak edition with one bonus track.
    $12.00
  • Third and final album from this Greek band led by Vangelis and Demi Roussos is one of the great prog masterpieces of all time. 666 is one of the most controversial albums in prog rock history. Originally conceived as a much larger work (rumored to be 4LPs worth), the band worked on it for 2 years with it ultimately seeing light of day as a double album release in 1972. By this point in time the band had already broken up. The album was composed by Vangelis, with the text written by Costas Ferris. The album deals with the Book Of Revelations and it's one that thematically will chill you to the bone. The music features the extraordinary psychedelic guitar work of Silver Kolouris and of course Vangelis' great keyboard work. Irene Papas' guest appearance on vocals will give you shivers. Plenty of Greek ethnic vibes abound. This is one of those albums you write about on and on - it has to be heard to be believed. A masterpiece that should be firmly imbedded in any prog collection. File under: AMAZING!
    $10.00
  • 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.
    $14.00
  • "In the interim between Van Canto albums, it was such a pleasant surprise to see Stefan Schmidt start up another project, this time shedding the a cappella metal he invented to incorporate more guitar and return metal to its roots….which doesn’t mean Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, or even The Beatles. No, Schmidt went back to the real roots of metal: Ludwig Beethoven and Johan Sebastian Bach. Joining him is recently retired and again activated drummer Jorg Michael (Ex-Every Metal Band In Europe), Sebastian Scharf (Schmidt’s former mate in Jester’s Funeral) and David Vogt on bass. The result was precisely as expected, a stunning album of metallic perfection that comes close enough to Statovarius’ “Nemesis” to make 2013 very challenging at year end.With nothing dramatic added or employment of new types of metal, Heavatar takes the power of metal and mashes it with classical (Beethoven and Bach are credited writers) without any string instrument orchestration. Sounds like a recipe for basic chicken soup, huh? Well….that may be true, but Schmidt’s secret weapon is really no secret at all: Van Canto. Try to envision the greatest band you can create and then relegate the world’s only a Capella band as your “backup singers.” What you just did was automatically make your choruses unattainable by any average band.Countless times throughout “All My Kingdoms” there are moments that evoke such feeling for a fan of power and “true metal.” There’s the incorporation of the Beethoven’s “5th” right at the onset of “Replica,” the galloping twin guitar attack of Schmidt and Sebastian Scharf during “Abracadabra” as Schmidt belts out “You accuse me, I don’t give a f**k” like the bastard child of James Hetfield and Eric Adams, and the rapid fire riff attack of “Elysium At Dawn.” Schmidt has such a commanding voice, and it is so nice to hear him come out from behind his vocal Stratocaster to shine again as a soloist.Another thing that stands out from other recent power metal releases (barring Mystic Prophecy) is the ability to sound solidly within other “euro” metal without sacrificing a deadly guitar crunch. This album is far from being happy power metal - it’s devastatingly heavy. Check out “Luna! Luna!,” a track with a punishing and pounding rhythm while the chorus soars above the crumbling earth. It’s like “Hail to England” era Manowar with Blind Guardian choruses. Speaking of Manowar, the album’s final track “To the Metal” is so over the top in metal pomp it rivals anything in Manowar’s cheese arsenal (the big difference – honesty and no bass buzz).“Opus I: All My Kingdoms” is a pure masterpiece of power metal in the truest sense of the word “power.” Though I uphold and admire Van Canto and it’s never-boring-always-brilliant material, when you add some punch the listener gets a glimpse of what truly could be like with that vocal talent over a six string. For those power metal fans that prefer more power with choruses that reach the stratosphere, this is just the gem you were looking for." - Metal Underground
    $12.00
  • Third and best album from this seminal Italian prog band. Originally Delirium was led by flautist/vocalist Ivano Fossati, who left after the first album and went on to a significant career in Italy as a pop singer (still going strong today). His replacement was Englishman Martin Grice who not only played flute but sax as well. In addition to Grice's great work you get some killer organ and Mellotron. The sax/organ interplay reminds a bit of VDGG and there is an obvious Tull influence at play as well. Nicely remastered and repackaged in a mini-lp sleeve.
    $20.00
  • German import arrives in a mediabook with a patch."Our anticipation levels had maxed, as four years passed by since Sanctuary announced that they were releasing a new record. It is easy to imagine that the only going through their fans' minds was whether their new material will resemble the work they did 25 years ago. I was rather reluctant and ultimately, I was right.First things first, let's get some things straight. Is "The Year The Sun Died" close to the feel of their two emblematic records? Nope. Does it sound like Nevermore? Yeah, as Dane's vocals are closer to that type of delivery, without that being a bad thing. He wouldn't risk going back to his old type of delivery, even if he could achieve such levels with pro tools magic. Modern production trends have also played a significant role to the final cut of this album. On the other hand, the composition approach is quite different to that witnessed on Nevermore albums, as musical themes are much more approachable. On the other hand, even though we don't have the outbursts we were used to, there are a number of theme and tempo changes in many of the tracks which make them very interesting indeed.In general, if we were to analyse its style, we would conclude that we are dealing with a rather heavy record that incorporates bulky guitars in mid-tempo layouts, without that meaning that there are no tracks with a faster pace. Lyrically, it is quite dark and a constant claustrophobic atmosphere is always present, as there is no abundance of melodic guitar themes. It's multifaceted compositions do provide a rather "proggy" feeling, but nothing more than that. Sheppard and Budbill's rhythm section is poignant and to the point, but lacks the ingenuity we were used to them providing.Opening tack "Arise And Purify" is clear evidence of the two contradicting elements that comprise this record. The intro riff is heavy and modern, whereas the chorus uses backing vocals that reminds us of their past. Solos by Rutledge and Hull are unleashed from the get go, and are as precise and technical as required. "Let The Serpent Follow Me" is on the up-tempo side of things but winds down during the chorus, followed by a wonderful, nostalgic bridge. The first slow track is "Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)", which starts off with a calm intro and follows with an awesome riff. Dane also performs really well in this track. "Question Existence Fading" follows a similar path of interchanging musical themes. It sets off with a fast, edgy and fierce riff, includes great solos, awesome vocals and thrilling drumming."I Am Low" is one of the calmer moments of the record, which slowly builds up to a rather heartfelt climax. Another highlight would be "Frozen" which again starts off strong and dials things down during the chorus whilst guitar solos are flying around left, right and centre. The weakest moment of the album would be "One Final Day (Sworn To Believe)", whilst "The World Is Wired", which at first won me over with its groovy attitude, ultimately let me down after multiple listens. The strongest moment is definitely the self-titled track (introduced by the wonderfully acoustic "Ad Vitam Aeternam") which concludes the record. Words don't really give it justice. It is slow, heavy and very memorable. Everything from the Latin chants in the beginning of the track to the despair in Warrel's vocals during the chorus and inspiring guitar work makes this song great. A truly great composition.With this release, Sanctuary did what they had to do. They evolved. Now, because it took them 25 years to do so might not go down well with many people who were expecting a second "Into The Mirror Black", which is totally understandable. Having Nevermore in the meantime might have substantially reduced the shock factor anyway. Let us not forget though that one of the reasons why we loved this band is because of their progressiveness (for lack of a better word). It would be silly to assume that they would not have changed tones even if they hadn't disbanded in 1992." - Noisefull
    $10.00
  • Remastered edition finally taken from the original master tapes and transferred utilizing 24 bit / 96 khz technology.
    $10.00
  • "Problems with the Mushroom label delayed the release of Magazine, which eventually went platinum and peaked at number 17 on the album charts. Only the hard-rocking "Heartless" made it into the Top 40, and the album didn't really live up to Heart's last few efforts. 1976's Dreamboat Annie showed stronger songwriting, while Little Queen had a lot more bite to it. Magazine lacks in energy and, to a much greater extent, fluency. The songs sound careless and scrambled together, and while some of the blame can be placed on the label controversy, it's apparent that the Wilsons seem unconcerned, for the most part. "Here Song," "Just the Wine," and the predictable "Without You" all have weak seams in both the writing and the articulateness of the tracks as a whole. 1978's Dog & Butterfly shows more interest and rock & roll vitality than its predecessor, making Magazine an album even the band likes to forget about." - All Music Guide
    $6.00
  • "One word to describe Universal Totem Orchestra would be unique. This Italian band, formed in 1998 by Uto G. Golin (drums) and Dauno Buttiglione (bass), who has since left the band, is anything but boring. The Magus is their second album, the first being Rituale Alieno. There is so much going on here, so many layers to peel back, that this music is extremely difficult to describe. For a record based in the Zeuhl genre there are a surprising number of melodic moments that find their way to the surface. Subtle guitar phrasings here, a beautiful piano melody there, well you get the idea. Do not get me wrong though, this is not what I would call easy music to digest. It is another one of those albums that will probably take a little time to fully grasp and appreciate, especially if you are unfamiliar with esoteric progressive music.Musically, the band combines a number of styles under the Zeuhl umbrella, such as jazz, classical, symphonic, opera and metal. Probably the most unique attribute of this band are the vocals performed by Ana Torres Fraile and various male performers. You will hear choirs, operatic (tenor and soprano) and traditional vocals all done very well. There is so much happening instrumentally that the listener really needs to pay attention. This would not be good background music as it is one of those albums that demands your full attention. Odd time signatures and sudden stops and starts allowing for different movements to take place is the norm not the exception. It is clear these musicians know how to play and a tremendous amount of work has gone into this piece of music. After all, there are not many albums just short of 80 minutes long so you know you are getting your money's worth. Sometimes with albums this long, the music gets tiresome and boredom starts to set in prematurely but that is not the case here. I never got the sense they made a long album just for the sake of it. All of the pieces fit the musical puzzle and nothing seems excessive or irrelevant. What makes this even more rewarding are some of the nice melodies provided by piano, guitar and saxophone."De Astrologia" gets things rolling with some electronic sounds before delving into some power chords and chanting vocals and a really cool, although short lived, synth solo. An angular lead guitar solo follows and that is just in the first 4 minutes. We also get to hear rollicking piano, some lovely melodies, a variety of singers, and dynamic tempo changes There is a marching rhythm underlying much of the song allowing us to use our imagination as to what the song is about. There is just a lot happening musically, it really is something that you need to hear for yourself, and I can say that for the entire album.One of the shorter songs on the album, "Les Plantes Magiques", begins with a lovely piano melody and great female vocals. This is the most delicate song on the album although the song does have some passionate moments especially in the vocals and drumming. This one has a lot in common with classical music and how movements are allowed to gradually build up in intensity. Sax provides the melody in "Ato Piradime" with nice playing throughout. Electric piano, sax and the voice of Fraile gradually intertwine creating some wonderfully listenable moments.Universal Totem Orchestra must be commended for making an album of such magnitude and scope. While this will not appeal to everyone, those of you who like to take musical adventures outside of the norm, would do well do give this a shot. I found this to be a fascinating and enjoyable listen. Highly recommended." - Sea of Tranquilty
    $16.00
  • Yet another one to file away under the "I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime" category. NTSC Region 0 DVD of the live appearance by these Polish symphonic rock legends at Rockin' Jamboree '80. The DVD also contains videoclips of various appearances on Polish television as well as a video clip by Madmax - a band put together by four of the members after Exodus broke up. As a bonus there are some audio tracks taken from The Most Beautiful Day and Supernova. Make sure you don't mistake this for the thrash band from California or you will be in for a real surprise.
    $18.00
  • "This sophomore release by German outfit Seven Steps to the Green Door is an odd one, very well made, well performed, but still an odd one.In the 10 tracks on the CD, 12 if you have the US version with bonus tracks, the band steers it's listener through an erratic - or perhaps rather eclectic - menu of all sorts from the world of music.The compositions themselves have a high degree of variation, the first bonus track the most stellar example with segments exploring funk, laidback jazz and prog metal in one and the same song, but most other tracks have style variations with a minimum of two different styles explored.Lighter neo-progressive touches and heavy progressive rock leaning towards prog metal at times are the most dominant features, closely followed by jazz and fusion. Spirited and energetic in general, and even the hip hop or nu-metal inspired vocal segments come across rather well.The mix and production are high class, but seems to be directed at a mainstream audience though. The guitars are tuned down, contrasts are dampened rather than highlighted; and for such an adventurous creation the overall sound is very slick. Perhaps too slick to cater for a progressive audience; while the music may be too weird for a more mainstream oriented public. Personally I found this to be a great record; but can understand those who doesn't manage to get enthralled by this one.Still - a highly worth investigating tag for this production from me." - ProgArchives
    $3.00
  • "Counting Leslie West's July 1969 solo album, Flowers of Evil was the fourth album in 28 months for West and Felix Pappalardi's Mountain, and the pace was catching up with them: Flowers of Evil was only half of a studio album with five new songs, its second side filled up with a live 25-minute rock & roll medley and encore of Mountain's sole Top 40 hit, "Mississippi Queen." This was unmistakable evidence that Mountain had run their course. There would be live albums, compilations, and reunions over the succeeding years, but Flowers of Evil marked the creative end of a surprisingly short-lived enterprise. " - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • It is extremely difficult to put one specific label on the Degree Absolute material. While having firm roots in progressive metal, DA strays from the path quite frequently, exploring the worlds of jazz and ambient music, as well as doom, thrash, and technical metal. If it was possible to compare the music of DA to the music of other well-known bands, one could say that it is based somewhere between Fates Warning's semi-progressive melodies and WatchTower's technical playing skills.The Degree Absolute project began when multi-instrumentalist Aaron Bell came to the conclusion that his song ideas and concepts could not be realized in a typical band situation. After attempting to bring his original material into different local bands with disappointing results, he decided that a new project, void of any of the compromises associated with a true band, was necessary.To fill the bassist position, Aaron immediately contacted Dave Lindeman. They had worked together in a local band, Chaos Game, and Aaron thought Dave would be perfect for the role. Dave is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, where he majored in music synthesis. He has performed in various capacities as a bassist in the Boston area, both as a studio musician and in live settings.The addition of Doug Beary on drums completed the Degree Absolute line-up. Doug has been drumming with the melodic metal band, Defyance, since its inception 15 years ago. Since joining Degree Absolute, he has proven himself to be a perfect match as well as the final piece of the puzzle.Mixing of the debut recording was performed by noted producer Neil Kernon (Nevermore, Spiral Architect, Cannibal Corpse, etc.) at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas.
    $4.00
  • This is without question the most "prog" album The End has released on their label. Unexpect are a unique 7 piece ensemble from Quebec. It's somewhat hard to dissect this avant metal band but the closet comparison I can come up with is Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Musicianship is insane - be it guitar, violin, keys, drums, or 9-string bass. The vocals are a predominantly clean mix of dual male/female harmonizing. It can be a cacophonous mix of shifting meters and then gorgeous melodies - all with the space of 30 seconds. A real grower of an album that really grabs your attention. Highly recommended.
    $10.00