The Future In Whose Eyes?

SKU: CDVILEF669
Label:
Peaceville
Category:
Technical Metal
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"It’s a fair estimate that at least 75% of the bands who have emerged in the last decade have little defence over their blatant pilfering of Meshuggah’s iconic guitar tone and polyrhythmic complexity. But as well as the Swedish masterminds, there’s a good chance bands within the tech and prog Venn diagram owe an immeasurable debt to British sextet Sikth, whose 2003 debut, The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild, and its follow-up, Death Of A Dead Day, laid down a blueprint of rhythmic acrobatics, frenzied riffing and kaleidoscopic lunacy that was, bewilderingly, overlooked at the time.

Sikth’s corpse was casually scavenged for years after their demise, so it was therefore a relief to see their 2014 return greeted with such enthusiasm, with successful tours and an EP, Opacities, which showed the band could still deploy the style and skill that many had tried to copy but never matched. This individualism was due in large part to the abstract dual vocals of Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill, with the latter’s departure last year providing a concern ahead of their full-length comeback. Yet within the opening minutes of Vivid it’s clear new vocalist Joe Rosser, who helms guitarist Graham ‘Pin’ Pinney’s excellent Aliases venture, has both the versatility and soaring pipes to trade off Mikee’s scattershot approach. Three tracks give Mikee the chance to indulge in some absorbing poetic excursions that venture down all manner of murky alleyways backed by subtle ambience, meaning there are only nine songs proper, all of which need multiple plays to even begin to decipher the twists and turns, abstract imagery and riveting idiosyncrasies. One of British metal’s finest drum and bass combos, James Leach and Dan ‘Loord’ Foord, jab and coerce each track through multiple avenues, James’s vibrant strings sitting high in the mix to rebound against the trademark guitar interplay of Pin and Dan Weller that chop and duel with fiendish imagination. Whether brandishing a flurry of notes on Century Of The Narcissist? or_Cracks Of Light_’s labyrinth of fast picking and dreamy meandering that features longtime proponent Periphery’s Spencer Sotelo, they’re as potent as the wild, histrionic vocals of the debut, yet with the more reserved metallic punch of Death Of A Dead Day onwards.

Yet while the dizzying musicianship and density of notes are expected, Sikth’s appeal has always been in their adeptness at melding all these ideas into something tangible, more often than not with melodies that constrict around your senses and refuse to let go. Whether it’s the seismic bounce of The Aura, the bonkers spats of Ride The Illusion that threaten to veer off the tracks or the brooding slow-burn of Golden Cufflinks, Sikth deploy irresistible hooks more capably than ever before, keeping you anchored and able to experience the cerebral brushstrokes in all their glory.

Given how effortlessly Sikth manage to blend their surrealist tangents into a such a perversely addictive combination, you wonder why The Future In Whose Eyes? is perhaps lacking that one defiant, nuclear blow to make up for lost time and thrust them to the dizzying heights their limited discography should have afforded them. Now firmly back in the saddle, that surely must be the goal for such a wildly ambitious and groundbreaking band who have again managed to defy expectations completely on their own terms." - Metal Hammer

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  • "After CYNTHESIS and its amazing second recording, the pertinently titled album, “ReEvolution”, the ultra talented Californian geminis Brothers, Troy & Jasun Tipton (ex ZERO HOUR), are back with another chapter in their instrumental project discography…ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS and once again the expansion of their genuine style and the maturated development is terrific, the release date is set for late June…The band broad universe is so extended that the term "limitless" seems underrated and non-representative of their extraordinary and unstoppable musical dominion!The young Guitar God Jasun Tipton, owner of a great fat tone, perform in his finest way as you would have expected, fluid, majestic and without effort (“Blindsight”), quite easy to understand why this man is worshiped by Guitar enthusiasts everywhere, but more than ever, it seems that his brother the Bass maestro Troy Tipton takes a even bigger role, while playing his typical two hand tapping licks, also some more ambitious melodic lines and sharing some hallucinating unison amazing arpeggios between Bass & Guitar (“Distortions Of Perception”)!This instrumental trio is apparently becoming a quartet with the recruit guitarist Richard Shardman, still featuring the former ex ZERO HOUR's drums expert Mike Guy (ex DEATH MACHINE), is providing everything, from stripped down ambiance to a flurry Shredding parts (“Delusions”), in a complementary unreal association, a syncronization similar to something that is identical to the special and unique twin brothers spirit/relationship (“Subliminal Perception”).The Bass guitar realm of low frequencies is honored with the superb track “Synesthesia” (An awareness of synesthetic perceptions that varies from person to another with confusion of colors/numbers and shapes, born from a neurological phenomenon that leads involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway to a disinhibited feedback triggered by specific sounds) where Troy is duelling with two other Bass monsters, namely the legendary Fretless player Michael Manring and the criminally undervalued John Onder (remember the great Shrapnel’s releases like “Infra Blue” by Joey Tafffola (???)/”Extreme Measures” by Vitalij Kuprij or 2000’s “Machine” by ARTENSION and even MSG’s “Adventures Of The Imagination”) another patented mix of elusive etheral soft moments that develops before entering again in a frenzy of note under a Neo-Classical style, built in total opposition with the hypnotic middle break in a new age approach!To prove their absolute artistic freedom ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS dare to break the all instrumental rules by adding some harsh lead vocals performed by the BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME singer Mike Rodgers, in the detuned “Nocturnal Haven”…But at the slot N°6 they offer us another superb rendition of the same theme, but this time in a fully instrumental version with some additional solo spots by Canadian citizen Tim Roth from INTO ETERNITY, however both tracks contains some lava sweeping avalanche by seven strings rising star Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY/ex SANCTURAY/ex NEVERMORE)!While their latest CD “Manipulation Under Anesthesia” was more extreme and ferocious than hell, pushing the intricacy at the maximum with some almost bio-mechanism rhythmic method and improving in the ultra-hi-tech reaches onto stellar and virgin territories: “Altered States Of Consciousness” is a concept album centered around neurobiologic sensations, in coherence it's a more enriched atmospheric disc, more spacey, groovy, layered with organic textures and full of emotional sequence, with still plenty of sudden bursting of agressive triplets-staccatto-trick, but clearly more accessible and not restricted to please a bunch of Guitar-Fretboard geeks, obviously the talent and the technical ability of the virtuoso musicians involved here, is still head and shoulders up above the level of the average new generation of Prog Metallers…The abnormal musical thoughts are welcome!" - Metal Temple
    $15.00
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  • "Mattias “IA” Eklundh is a Swedish guitarist, founder of the eclectic Metal band, Freak Kitchen, a band of which I am certainly a fan. The Smorgasbord is his third album under the moniker of Freak Guitar, essentially a solo album, and isn’t one I would quite classify as Metal. It is more of a guitar aficionado’s type of recording with a wide variety of types of music, ranging from nice acoustic pieces, songs that could fit in on a Rippington’s album, to heavier songs with lightning-fast playing and IA’s signature guitar sound and style. For the most part, it is an instrumental album as well. At 40 tracks, I simply cannot do a track by track review but will hit on some of the songs I thought to be highlights. Opener Amphibians Night Out has quite a bit of guitar wizardry over a dance-type beat. The second song on the album is Musth, an alternative-type Metal song with interesting playing and quite a bit going on. Apparently there is comb involved. IA’s take on the AC/DC song Hells Bells is well executed and gives me a new perspective on the song. Friedrichs Wahnbriefe is a cool, sort of chaotic, tune and very well executed. IA’s interpretation on Mambo Italiano of the mambo style is certainly interesting and displays some of his more traditional soloing. Mind Your Step has a nice riff throughout, a bit heavy, sort of something OSI might do. His take on the song That’s Amore is very cool and Metal. Keep it in the Dojo offers complexity in both the guitar lines and the drumming by Ranjit Barot. Mandur and Morgan’s Camel Safari is a song that easily could be mistaken for one on a Freak Kitchen album. Kali Ghat features a 23/16 time signature, making for a weird, different flow than most Westerns are used to hearing. Meralgia Paresthetica‘s drum tracks are played by Morgan Ågren and he is absolutely amazing: precise, powerful, intricate, and delicate are all words I would use to describe his playing here. IA is certainly a master at his craft and an amazing musician, not simply a guitarist. The Smorgasbord is a challenging album and has significant variety, a true smorgasbord of musical styles. It certainly is not a Metal album, but there are things on here that we may appreciate. For “heavier” stuff from IA, I definitely recommend Freak Kitchen, the album Organic to be specific. I hear the sound in a METAL way." - We Love Metal
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  • Second full length studio album from this British band finds them with new vocalist Ashe O'Hara replacing the great Dan Tompkins.  This shouldn't be inferred that O'Hara is any less a vocalist than Tompkins - he's excellent as well.While the core djent sound is there the band has moved a bit more into a prog rock direction.  In general its less metal and more rock.  O'Hara's vocals don't go in the screamo direction that a lot of djent bands prefer.  The instrumental parts are still stupifyingly crazy but crazy in a King Crimson meets Tool way.  I'm not sure what the djent metal community will think of this shift in course but I like this new direction.  The old was good - to my ears this is better.  Highly recommended.
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  • "Abnormal Thoughts Patterns is a new technical metal trio that comes onto the scene equipped with twenty-plus years of experience. Featuring Mike Guy on drums and twins Jasun and Troy Tipton on guitar and bass respectively, ATP is perhaps better known as the musical backbone of underrated prog metal purveyors Zero Hour. Apt comparisons between the Californian three-piece and acts such as Death and Animals as Leaders have been made, but when Abnormal Thought Patterns are at their most frenetic, they also share Blotted Science's aptitude for conjuring up aural insect swarms. Some of this stuff is guaranteed to make listeners' heads spin.Manipulation Through Anesthesia is ATP's debut full-length release, and it gets off to an excellent start, extending on the saga of the very first tracks they wrote, "Velocity and Acceleration" parts 1-4. These songs, numbered from 5 to 8, flow together as one connected work, clearly taking place in the same universe and containing shared motifs. It's 13 minutes of some of the finest instrumental metal out there. The album then takes a left turn in the form of "Calculating Patterns", a pleasant, jazzy cooldown. It is the first of several mellow tunes that demonstrate Abnormal Thought Patterns' diversity."Harmonic Oscillators", the album's most challenging cut in more ways than one, is also worth a mention. Here, the guys in Abnormal Thought Patterns lose themselves in mathemathics for the first and only time on the album. It's the type of song to make aspiring musicians seethe with envy and set their instrument of choice on fire, being a technical tour de force full of mindboggling time signatures and incredibly dexterous playing. It's also, again with the maths, the only 7+-minute song on an album where the average one clocks in at 4 minutes, and without changing the formular around much. For many, this all-out assault will no doubt be considered the highlight of the album. For others, it'll be a bit too much of a good thing.Speaking of the formular, ATP seems to have carved out a more than solid niche for itself already. Though the notes-per-minute count is oftentimes off the charts on Manipulation Under Anesthesia, the majority of its content manages to stay quite musical. The main event of their faster songs tend to be a heavy, hypnotic, repeated guitar riff, assisted by the always-very-audible bass humming surprisingly melodic tunes while the drums keep everything in place, usually prioritizing cymbal and snare patterns over flashy tom fills. On that note, the album is in no way lacking in heaviness or rhythmic depth despite foregoing the use of double kick drums. Quite an unusual feat in the shred-based instrumental metal environment.For anyone familiar with Zero Hour, it should come as no surprise that ATP succeeds in shredding with style. But there's a lot more to them than that. Abnormal Thought Patterns keep an excellent balance between all three instruments (which are occasionally joined by some light synth accompaniment), making sure there's always something worthwhile happening on several fronts, and they're able to impress even when venturing out of their comfort zone. Manipulation Through Anesthesia does lose a bit of steam towards the end, but is nonetheless an impressive album and a very promising debut." - Metal Revolution
    $14.00
  • Limited edition mediabook features a bonus DVD with the album in 5.1 and 24/96 2 channel hi-res."The kings of djent are back with a brand new album all the way from sunny England. However, is Tesseract's Polaris a worthy successor to Altered State? I remember watching Kubrick's 2001 for the first time quite a few years back, and it had me floored. The colours, the story, the everything about that movie made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. And there has been very few bands which have given me the same reaction on singlular songs, let along entire albums. However, there are a couple which populate this list - Dream Theater's Octavarium is one that I can put on repeat and get the same feeling time and time again.Of course the downside of this is that most other movies, films, albums, and what have you, seem to pale in comparison. It's the downside of experiencing something truely phenomenal - an often once in a decade event which you'll be comparing everything to for years after. For me, TesseracT's 2013 album Altered State was nearly but not quite there. And post the British prog-rock outfit's last offering, many had been wondering - including myself - what the new album would bring.In the interest of full disclosure, I was a huge fan of Altered State. Just the use of saxophone is a super deep and melodic metal album was enough to blow me away - and of course with tracks like "Nocturne" and the entirety of the "Of Matter" movement it just sealed the deal. However, I always found myself skipping around the album or skipping to certain parts of certain songs - and they never gave me that "hair-standing-up" effect. However, I was still curious to see what the band would come up with next.But, with the departure of vocalist Ashe O'Hara I was concerned they'd head back to their screamy previous style - a style which in all honesty left me a little cold. As it was announced previous vocalist Daniel Tompkins was to rejoin the band, my heart sank - i knew the band would return to a bellowing metal state which had not impressed - and it would probably leave my favourite Tesseract album as a one off. And boy was I wrong.I'll say it now. TesseracT's Polaris is, hands down, the best album so far of 2015. The previous holder was of course the other badass British band, MUSE. But I have to say that unlike the trio from Devon, the quintet from Milton Keynes had my attention for the entire album.Beginning with "Dystopia" - a super funky hard back to One (without the sandpaper vocals) I knew I was in for a treat. The vocals are super strong, awesomely written and produced, and right on point. The guitar work is, as to be expected, phenomenal along with the drumming and bass playing. Other tracks which were phenomenal were pretty much all of them - though "Messenger" and its attached "Cages" were the ones which sent shivers up my spine - just for the connection in the middle.The only true issue I had with the album was a lack of connecting tracks, which was merely a minor quip. Sure I'd have loved to have seen more of it, but overall I was so taken with the album from the beginning I barely noticed until the end.In fact what I loved so much about the album was the amount of ups and downs, peaks and valleys if you will, throughout all of the songs across the entire album. I could hear influence from everywhere - Story of the Year, Periphery, Muse, and a stack of others I couldn't put my finger on. I realised after the sixth track "Phoenix" just why - it sounded like TesseracT. Sure all the influences were there and poking their head up at times, but overall it just sounded like one of the freshest bands around at the moment. And I don't say this lightly - there are very few bands who truely have their own sound in today's day and age.Polaris is, in my opinion, a Kubrick-level moment for this band. This is their 2001, their Octavarium, 1984, or piano-key neck-tie. In short, if you are a fan of djent music, buy this album. If you like metal, do the same. If you like music, do it. You know what, just get it. If you want to be sat in awe with one of the most amazing albums you'll hear this year. Just prepare yourself, there may not be anything this good again.Not for some time." - The Aureview
    $15.00
  • Its been seven years since the first release from The Fractured Dimension.  The core of the band is led by two ex-members of the avant metal band Scholomance: Jimmy Pitts (keyboards) and Jerry Twyford (bass).Given the extensive lineup of guest musicians Pitts and Twyford have corraled one would expect a supreme tech metal blow out.  In parts you get that but there are very strong symphonic rock, classical and fusion elements woven into the music.    Essentially they let the musicians be themselves and it makes it more challenging and interesting to hear them work their styles in to the compositions.OK so here is who is on th album:Jimmy Pitts (keys), Jerry Twyford (bass), Hannes Grossmann (drums), Vishal J Singh, Tom "Fountainhead" Geldschlager, and Tom Kopyto on guitars, Joe Deninzon (violin), Kasturi Nath Singh (Indian Classical Fusion Vocals), and guest guitar solos by Christian Muenzner, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Mike Abdow, Pete Pachio, Aaron Roten, Bill Bruce, and Jeremy Barnes.So you have guys from Obscura and lots of insane guitar soloists letting it all hang out with overlays of keyboards, violin all thrown at you with lots of intensity.  The whole thing will keep you off balance and I promise you won't be bored.  Highly recommended."“How can less be more? That’s impossible. More is more”, is a famous quote by Yngwie Malmsteen, and US/Germany-based super-group The Fractured Dimension have turned that statement into their modus operandi through their new album ‘Galaxy Mechanics’. By just looking at the star-studded 16-man line-up, not many would expect anything less than all-out super-technical music: a sound the band itself has labelled ‘Cosmic Instrumental Metal’.Despite the large number of members, from over 7 countries, Keyboardist Jimmy Pitts and bassist Jerry Twyford are the ones spearheading The Fractured Dimension, while the others have special and guest appearances on the record. Where you’d see drummer Hannes Grossmann (ex-Necrophagist, ex-Obscura, Blotted Science, Alkaloid), you’d see his Alkaloid band-mate and guitarist Christian Muenzner, and where you’d see Christian, you’d see current Obscura guitarist Tom Fountainhead Geldschlager, and the list goes on. It includes guitarists Tom Kopyto, Mike Abdow, Jeremy Barnes, Bill Bruce, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Pete Pachio and Aaron Roten. Indian guitarist Vishal J Singh is also among the ranks, as is Indian classical fusion vocalist Kasturi Singh and violinist Joe Deninzon.The album is extremely complex, and features an incredible range of musical styles not just through different instruments and tones, but through stylistic variations within an instrument itself. For example, the guitarists exercise their own style of playing, and since different guitarists worked on different tracks on the album, each song is given a unique vibe. The songs are progressive and only subtly repetitive, while each one is quite different from the other not only in terms of the guitars, like mentioned, but also in the way they’re structured and layered instrumentally.Dealing with each track individually is impossible because of their highly complex nature, but some of the high points from the album include songs like “Displacement” and “Elysian” which, like the other tracks, make use of interesting keyboard patches and time changes. The bass and keyboards are prominent everywhere and along with some brilliant drumming, form the backbone of the sound around which the guitars weave their magic.However, the main issue that needs to be addressed is this: does all of this complexity and variation give rise to music that is, put simply, enjoyable? Not everyone may appreciate the highly intricate music, but it makes no sense to say that The Fractured Dimension tried to impress everybody anyway. What can be seen, or rather, what flares up and makes itself obvious in the music, is the honesty behind it. The songs do not feel like they are forced, and the creative freedom of the musicians is in full display here. If one can see this honesty for himself/herself, that person will end up enjoying Galaxy Mechanics. There aren’t many other albums for which the same thing can be said, so the album is a definite hit and not a miss, and while dealing with super-technical and intricate music it is very easy to go wrong.A quarrel one could pick with Jimmy Pitts and Co. involves intriguing song titles, like “Bolshevikian Mythological Creature” and “Seventh Hymn to Nibiru” for example, and no vocals and lyrics to explain them. This doesn’t mean the music would be better off with vocals, but it means that there is no vocal expression of these concepts in a manner everybody can understand. Other than this, Galaxy Mechanics is a sublime effort from The Fractured Dimension, and one can only wonder what this exceptional pool of talent will conjure up next." - Metalwani
    $9.00
  • "Periphery have been an omnipresent force in the prog metalcore realm since their first album released in 2010 – band founder Misha Mansoor has served as producer on several of the genre’s albums, and the other members are all famous in their own right, whether it’s simply for their craft (Matt Halpern), their involvement in other projects (Spencer Sotelo, Mark Holcomb, Nolly Getgood), or just simply being the nephew of someone exceedingly famous (Jake Bowen). This makes whatever they decide to do extremely important, and the band’s decision to release a concept double album has created hype of hugelargic proportions. In my humble opinion, the band has delivered on all fronts, but not without some disappointments in the “could’ve been” area.Since their inception, Periphery have changed from a chugga-chug ambidjent project posting demos on the internet in the late 2000s to a full-fledged prog metal band with heavy elements of metalcore, post-hardcore, and pop music in general. If you weren’t onboard for “Periphery II”, “Juggernaut” likely won’t change your mind (unless your issues were relatively small), as it’s more of the same poppy atmosphere and less of the techy downtuned riffs, though god knows THOSE are still around. But there’s also a lot of style experimentation – jazz fusion, death metal, and various forms of electronica are all utilized on a semi-normal basis, and range from being seamlessly integrated into the music to being tacked on to the ends of songs like gluing a top-rate dildo onto an already particularly throbby penis. If this all sounds a bit schizophrenic, rest assured that the songcraft is, for the most part, tighter than it’s ever been. Singles from Alpha like “22 Faces” and “Alpha” itself show off Periphery’s pop prowess with choruses and hooks that refuse to leave your head, and complex riffs that are somehow just as ‘wormy as the vocals. And the songs on Omega are longer, more complex, and still manage to be as infectious as the most annoying of STDs – even the twelve minute sprawling title track that has more in common with the bombastic riffs of Periphery I has a shapely middle section that rivals even the hottest of…ugh, fuck it, done with the metaphors. It’s just insane. I cried when I heard it.And now onto what I don’t care for; first off, the decision to split the album into two parts was definitely well-informed from a marketing standpoint. Most people don’t go around listening to 80 minute records all day, myself included, and the supposedly delicate structure of a concept album also means that listening to Juggernaut by skipping to different songs would devalue the experience. So the band broke it into two records to make it seem more manageable to listen to in daily life. Another stated reason was so that newcomers to the band would be able to buy Alpha at a discounted price, decide if they liked it, and then purchase Omega if they were so inclined (music previewing doesn’t work like that anymore, but hey you can’t fault the band for trying to turn that into tangible record sales). The problem I have is that Omega isn’t really paced to be its own album, which makes releasing it on its own instead as simply as the second disc in a package a little pointless. It’s not like the excellent “The Afterman” double albums from Coheed and Cambria, which were each albums that worked in their own right. I realize that this is really just semantics, but I think calling Juggernaut both the third and fourth album from Periphery, while technically correct, is just disingenuous, and judging them fairly on their own as separate albums is impossible (which is why all reviews being published are including them together).Periphery has always had a unique way of pacing their albums, regularly including playful, sometimes relatively lengthy interludes between tracks. Juggernaut is no different, and these interludes are now occasionally used to seed songs that will appear later on the album, or provide callbacks to tracks already present. The transitions aren’t always elegant however, and can range from grin-inducing to head-scratching to just plain grating. Thankfully, the band isn’t going for the illusion that each song flows seamlessly into the next, at least no more than they were going for it on any of their previous albums, and it’s easy to get used to everything given multiple listens.Overall, Juggernaut is a dense album that’s going to take a myriad of listens to fully sink in, just like most of the band’s prior releases (I don’t think anyone is gonna argue that “Clear” has any depth that you would find after about the fifth listen or so, but hey hey that’s ok kay). But it’s also accessible on the surface with deceptively simple rhythms and poppy choruses, which draw you in to appreciate the deeper cuts. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes unique and thoughtful music in the post-hardcore, metalcore, and progressive metal genres, but I’d also recommend it to anyone ever, because this is my absolute favorite band and I think they’ve created a masterpiece. So take from that what you will, and then get the fuck out of here. The play button is calling my name." - iprobablyhateyourband.com
    $11.00
  • Counter-World Experience are a great instrumental tech/prog/jazz metal trio from Germany.  Imagine Morglbl minus any humor.  This is serious, heavy intricate stuff that you can bang your head to.  For the band's fifth album they've brought some accomplished guests on board: Steve Di Giorgio (ex-Death) on bass, Hannes Grossmann (ex-Obscura) on drums, Fountainhead (ex-Obscura) on guitar, and Christian Meyers on trumpet.  Highly recommended."After the success of their last release, “Music for Kings”, which more than ever presented Counter-World Experience as one of the most technically accomplished bands dedicated to Progressive Metal, comes what may be termed the logical next step. On their fifth studio album “Pulsar”, the band demonstrates better than ever their talent at combining powerful Staccato-Riffs and extravagant solo musings with electronic sound textures and listener-friendly melodies.2016 sees Counter-World Experience creating more material utilizing the band members’ shared interest in science fiction. Pulsar consists of 11 futuristic sounding compositions, which were named after stars. The modern metal sound of the band was mixed with electronic elements such as sequencers.The guarantor for the band won´t lose its ties to the jazz world is bassist Sebastian Hoffmann, who surely has a playing rank as one of the finest musicians in the German Jazz scene. His improvisatory solos, combined with his fluid bass lines, act much as a counterweight to the bands harder metal parts.Counter-World Experience is proud of featuring some highly acclaimed guest musicians on “Pulsar”. Beside fretless bass legend Steve Di Giorgio (Testament, Sadus, Ex-Death) on the song "Alpha Serpentis" there is an appearance of drum magician Hannes Grossmann (Blotted Science, Ex-Obscura, Ex-Necrophagist) on "Cygnus". Trumpet player Chrisitian Meyers and fretless guitar virtuoso Fountainhead (Ex-Obscura) add even more colors to the record.As per the band´s previous studio album, “Music for Kings”, the production values on the new CD cannot be underestimated or underappreciated: recorded at Light Mountain Berlin and mastered at the renowned Studio Pauler Acoustics, the production gives the songs the necessary balance between power, transparency and depth. In addition, “Puslar” benefits from clever graphic design and thorough booklet notes."
    $16.00
  • "Scale the Summit is an epic progressive metal act hailing from the great state of Texas. The quartet has been raising eyebrows on the scene since 2007 with their self-released debut,  Monument. They gained considerable attention from participating in the Progressive Nation tour in 2009 with Zappa meets Zappa, Dream Theater, and Bigelf. The latest installment on the band’s sonic journey, mark’s their fifth studio effort; appropriately titled, V.Unlike other progressive rock acts that have influenced Scale the Summit, such as Cynic and Dream Theater, this group does not use, and have stated that they will never  use, guest or lead vocalists. Instead, the group prefers to convey their messages through the mastery of their respective instruments. The current lineup consists of dual guitarists Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier who play 7 and 8-string guitars to full effect. Mark Michell on 6-string bass, and J.C. Bryant on the drums.  Letchford is the mastermind behind the band, and as expected by listening to this album, he has considerable knowledge of music theory, which adds to the group’s almost mind-bending instrumental pieces.  The album was produced by Jamie King, who has extensive credits including; Between the Buried and Me, Native Construct, and Trioscapes.Getting down to the meat and potatoes of the record, V starts off quietly and atmospherically with a track called “The Winged Bull”, which builds into an epic, mid-tempo, guitar-driven jam. More than likely, and throughout this album, there is music theory going on here that is beyond the scope of this reviewer’s knowledge. However, the sonic results are evident, with the interplay between the bass and crunchy rhythm and lead guitars, setting a beautiful, sonic landscape for the wizardry ahead.Another of V’s highlights includes what starts off as a bombastic shredder of a piece called “Trapped in Ice”. The first four minutes of this song are nothing more than breakneck riffing and soloing, but the track abruptly puts the brakes on and morphs into a minimalistic and atmospheric coda. Letchford and company also manage to somehow keep the instrument wizardry modest. You can tell these guys are not trying to show off, just getting the message across the best way they know how.Second to last is a favorite track called “Oort Cloud”. Starting off with complex bass guitar driven finger-tapping that almost sounds like a Chapman Stick, this song is a perfect example of woven interplay between instruments that blend together perfectly – these guys make it sound easy.  Even with no lyrics, and like almost all the songs on this album, this is one of those pieces that beautifully conveys a clear emotional message. The musicians are so skilled that they do not need voices to convey their message.  Simply put, this song, and the others on the album make the listener feel. There is emotional resonance, and it is great to find that in metal today.Scale the Summit have created another breathtaking example of auditory wizardry with V. Just like the albums before it, the band has proven once again that modesty can have just as much of an impact in technical, progressive music as three hours of unadulterated guitar wankery. There is not a single track on this album below the four-minute mark, and each track on the record simultaneously rips your face off, and refreshingly forces you to use your brain. V is definitely thinking man’s metal, and if you enjoy acts such as Animals as Leaders and other progressive acts in that vain, this is definitely a must have; along with the band’s entire catalog. As their name suggests, Scale the Summit continue to climb the ranks of the progressive music elite, and V continues to elevate the respect they have earned. Prepare for intelligent metal folks, because Scale the Summit have returned." - Metalholic
    $5.00
  • Incredible djent band from Bethesda, Md led by guitarist Misha Mansour. Mix of clean and barking vocals.
    $10.00
  • "Periphery have been an omnipresent force in the prog metalcore realm since their first album released in 2010 – band founder Misha Mansoor has served as producer on several of the genre’s albums, and the other members are all famous in their own right, whether it’s simply for their craft (Matt Halpern), their involvement in other projects (Spencer Sotelo, Mark Holcomb, Nolly Getgood), or just simply being the nephew of someone exceedingly famous (Jake Bowen). This makes whatever they decide to do extremely important, and the band’s decision to release a concept double album has created hype of hugelargic proportions. In my humble opinion, the band has delivered on all fronts, but not without some disappointments in the “could’ve been” area.Since their inception, Periphery have changed from a chugga-chug ambidjent project posting demos on the internet in the late 2000s to a full-fledged prog metal band with heavy elements of metalcore, post-hardcore, and pop music in general. If you weren’t onboard for “Periphery II”, “Juggernaut” likely won’t change your mind (unless your issues were relatively small), as it’s more of the same poppy atmosphere and less of the techy downtuned riffs, though god knows THOSE are still around. But there’s also a lot of style experimentation – jazz fusion, death metal, and various forms of electronica are all utilized on a semi-normal basis, and range from being seamlessly integrated into the music to being tacked on to the ends of songs like gluing a top-rate dildo onto an already particularly throbby penis. If this all sounds a bit schizophrenic, rest assured that the songcraft is, for the most part, tighter than it’s ever been. Singles from Alpha like “22 Faces” and “Alpha” itself show off Periphery’s pop prowess with choruses and hooks that refuse to leave your head, and complex riffs that are somehow just as ‘wormy as the vocals. And the songs on Omega are longer, more complex, and still manage to be as infectious as the most annoying of STDs – even the twelve minute sprawling title track that has more in common with the bombastic riffs of Periphery I has a shapely middle section that rivals even the hottest of…ugh, fuck it, done with the metaphors. It’s just insane. I cried when I heard it.And now onto what I don’t care for; first off, the decision to split the album into two parts was definitely well-informed from a marketing standpoint. Most people don’t go around listening to 80 minute records all day, myself included, and the supposedly delicate structure of a concept album also means that listening to Juggernaut by skipping to different songs would devalue the experience. So the band broke it into two records to make it seem more manageable to listen to in daily life. Another stated reason was so that newcomers to the band would be able to buy Alpha at a discounted price, decide if they liked it, and then purchase Omega if they were so inclined (music previewing doesn’t work like that anymore, but hey you can’t fault the band for trying to turn that into tangible record sales). The problem I have is that Omega isn’t really paced to be its own album, which makes releasing it on its own instead as simply as the second disc in a package a little pointless. It’s not like the excellent “The Afterman” double albums from Coheed and Cambria, which were each albums that worked in their own right. I realize that this is really just semantics, but I think calling Juggernaut both the third and fourth album from Periphery, while technically correct, is just disingenuous, and judging them fairly on their own as separate albums is impossible (which is why all reviews being published are including them together).Periphery has always had a unique way of pacing their albums, regularly including playful, sometimes relatively lengthy interludes between tracks. Juggernaut is no different, and these interludes are now occasionally used to seed songs that will appear later on the album, or provide callbacks to tracks already present. The transitions aren’t always elegant however, and can range from grin-inducing to head-scratching to just plain grating. Thankfully, the band isn’t going for the illusion that each song flows seamlessly into the next, at least no more than they were going for it on any of their previous albums, and it’s easy to get used to everything given multiple listens.Overall, Juggernaut is a dense album that’s going to take a myriad of listens to fully sink in, just like most of the band’s prior releases (I don’t think anyone is gonna argue that “Clear” has any depth that you would find after about the fifth listen or so, but hey hey that’s ok kay). But it’s also accessible on the surface with deceptively simple rhythms and poppy choruses, which draw you in to appreciate the deeper cuts. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes unique and thoughtful music in the post-hardcore, metalcore, and progressive metal genres, but I’d also recommend it to anyone ever, because this is my absolute favorite band and I think they’ve created a masterpiece. So take from that what you will, and then get the fuck out of here. The play button is calling my name." - iprobablyhateyourband.com
    $11.00