School Days ($5 Special)

SKU: EK36975
Label:
Epic
Category:
Fusion
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"Every pro electric-bass player and their mothers wore out the grooves of this record when it first came out, trying to cop Clarke's speedy, thundering, slapped-thumb bass licks. Yet ultimately, it was Clarke's rapidly developing compositional skills that made this album so listenable and so much fun for the rest of us, then and now. The title track not only contributed a killer riff to the bass vocabulary; it is a cunningly organized piece of music with a well-defined structure. Moreover, Clarke follows his calling card with two tunes that are even more memorable -- the sauntering ballad "Quiet Afternoon" and an ebullient, Brazilian percussion-laced number with a good string arrangement and a terrific groove, "The Dancer." Clarke also brings out the standup bass for a soulful acoustic dialogue with John McLaughlin on "Desert Song." Evidently enthused by their leader's material, David Sancious (keyboards) and Raymond Gomez (guitars) deliver some of their best solos on records -- and with George Duke on hand on one cut, you hear some preliminary flickerings of Clarke's ventures into the commercial sphere. But at this point in time, Clarke was triumphantly proving that it was possible to be both good and commercial at the same time." - All Music

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  • "Santana's fourth album, Caravanserai, finally being reissued and remastered by Columbia Legacy/Sony, is a landmark recording for the band. Originally released in 1973, this album marked a change for the band, as they were moving away from the Latin tinged psychedelic pop rock of their earlier recordings to a more ethereal, jazz fusion based sound. Change also brought about line-up shuffles, as after this album second guitarist Neal Schon and keyboard player/singer Gregg Rolie left the band to form Journey. Famed keyboard virtuoso Tom Coster made his first appearance on this release, and he later spent many years alongside Carlos Santana in various incarnations of the band. The influence of groups such as Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Lifetime, Miles Davis, Larry Coryell's Eleventh House, and John Coltrane are heard all throughout this CD. Latin percussion mixes with swirling organ while Santana and Schon's guitar licks run rampant on each track. While the bands signature melody on "Song of the Wind" still remains a classic, it's the extended breakouts on tunes like "La Fuente Del Ritmo" , complete with an amazing electric piano solo from Coster, and the energetic "Just in Time to See the Sun" that really shine. Drummer Mike Shrieve comes into his own on this albums more jazzy context, and the percussive tandem of Jose "Chepito" Areas, Mingo Lewis, and the legendary Armando Peraza provide the perfect Latin rhythms. "Every Step of the Way" features some wicked guitar work from Schon and Santana, supported by manic percussion and raging organ from Rolie, and stands out as a classic example of Latin jazz fusion.My advice to you all, don't walk, but run to your local CD shop and indulge yourself in this timeless classic. The remaster job is superb, with every instrument crisp and clear, and you get a nice booklet that goes into the history behind the album. A must have!" - Sea Of Tranquility
    $5.00
  • "Esteemed international metal label Season of Mist began pursuing the two-guitar, three-singer Vancouver quartet Anciients after hearing a series of early mixes for what would become the band’s debut album. It’s easy to imagine what initially lured the diverse label to the band: The tracks on Anciients' nine-song entrance, Heart of Oak, are hyperkinetic but heavily anchored. They surround the hooks you might expect from a Baroness anthem with tangential and technical playing that trends toward prog rock but stops short of Opeth or Enslaved’s maze of redirections. Anciients excel at muscular and agile guitar solos, while the guitarists, Kenny Cook and Chris Dyck, also volley the vocal duties, jumping from death metal bellow to pop-metal lift. It’s exciting stuff, really-- often complicated without seeming excessive, skillful but soulful, approachable but not pedestrian. At its best, Heart of Oak is immediate and electrifying, an album that suggests Anciients’ half-prog, half-pop metal is bound for big stages.By this point, though, you’ve probably wondered what’s up with the band’s name: Why, after all, add an extraneous vowel to a perfectly good handle? That excess is emblematic of Anciients' chief musical foible-- time and again, they add unnecessary sidecars to songs that would have been more effective left alone. Of these nine tracks, only one doesn’t break the six-minute mark. The exception is a tender but predictable instrumental, a mid-album interlude meant as a tribute to some late friends and family members. But the rest of these things are hyperbolic monsters that speak to a rookie act attempting to get through all of their influences at once, even though three of the members have been playing together in other groups for a decade. They are trying to make a very big point all the time, and the weight collapses in on itself. “The Longest River”, a nine-minute cut with a woefully apropos handle, swivels from acoustic foreboding to contract-and-expand thrash, from distended solos to dense stomp, from sweet-singing verses to growled impasses. None of it’s bad, but none of it is astounding enough to pardon the way it obviates an excellent refrain.That’s a consistent problem for Heart of Oak, a record that adulterates many incredibly exciting moments with consistent excess. “Flood and Fire”, a late-album highlight, seems more like a string of song pieces than a proper song, with a righteous solo swiping momentum from a great chorus that, in turn, stymies several great and grim hardcore shout-alongs. As Cook told Metal Underground, album opener “Raise the Sun” initially keys on Fleet Foxes before leaping into a verse so sticky and warm that ASG or Torche might like to have it back. Elsewhere, the song convincingly invokes metalcore and psychedelic rock, hangman riffs and fleeting blast beats. The parts are exhilarating, but strung together with more enthusiasm than wisdom so they’re mostly exhausting. Taken a track or two at a time, Heart of Oak is manageable; make it from end to end, though, and it’s difficult not to feel frustrated by the fatigue.These complaints aren’t meant as some preclusive warning against Heart of Oak; rather, they’re only an honest assessment of a band that, in years to come, is probably going to be great. If Anciients choose to venture further deeper into labyrinthine prog, they’ve got the riffs and rhythms to make it compelling over the long haul. They seem as steeped in the suffocation of black metal from Scandinavia as they do in the sweetness of Allman licks from Georgia, as capable of thrash sprints as they are stoner lulls. And as the pealing organ and rumbling field recordings of the gorgeous (but, again, incredibly excessive) closer “For Lisa” suggest, they bring a wide-eyed approach to their music. Heart of Oak doesn’t have a compelling, cohesive narrative thrust, but there’s always time to buy a book of folklore, right?Alternately, Anciients could choose the route of bands such as Baroness or even Mastodon, embedding that sharp technicality within songs that make their points with concision that doesn’t forsake intricacy. The kernels of these songs are strong enough to suggest that they’re not very far off-- that is, their biggest problem as a band isn’t a dearth of ideas but, rather, discretion with those ideas. Anciients are exciting new prospects, with or without that cumbersome vowel chaiin." - Pitchfork
    $13.00
  • Second solo album from the legendary RTF bassist, originally released in 1974. Its a burning set featuring Jan Hammer and Tony Williams. Oh yeah...a guy name Bill Connors is playing guitar and going off his nut.
    $5.00
  • The band's second album now remastered and featuring two bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • Almendra is one of the seminal Argentinian psych bands. Led by guitarist Luis Alberto Spinetta, the band's two albums attained legendary status. The songs on their debut are a mix of folk and pop all served up with a healthy dose of Hendrix inflected acid guitar.
    $12.00
  • One of the best US prog metal. Firmly rooted in the Dream Theater sound.
    $5.00
  • "Equinox produced Styx's first single with A&M, the highly spirited "Lorelei," which found its way to number 27 on the charts. Although it was the only song to chart from Equinox, the album itself is a benchmark in the band's career since it includes an instrumental nature reminiscent of their early progressive years, yet hints toward a more commercial-sounding future in its lyrics. "Light Up" is a brilliant display of keyboard bubbliness, with De Young's vocals in full bloom, while "Lonely Child" and "Suite Madame Blue" show tighter songwriting and a slight drift toward radio amicability. Still harboring their synthesizer-led dramatics alongside Dennis De Young's exaggerated vocal approach, the material on Equinox was a firm precursor of what was to come . After Equinox, guitarist John Curulewski parted ways with the band, replaced by Tommy Shaw, who debuted on 1976's Crystal Ball album." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Cheap price for this reissue of the first album from the band that ultimately evolved into the AOR radio friendly band. This stuff isn't like that at all. Essentially the initial incarnation of Journey featured Neal Schon and Greg Rolie from Santana, along with Aynsley Dunbar (post-Zappa), and bassist Ross Valory. The music is high-energy with strong progressive rock and fusion elements. The three instrumentals veer towards the fusion side but Rolie's organ work lend the music the prog rock touches. Schon simply annihilates on this entire disc - he sounds like a cross between Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana. Forget your preconceived notions - this is like a different band with the same name as the one you are thinking of. Not a wheel in the sky to be found...
    $5.00
  • "Elf was an American rock/blues band formed in the late 60's and early 70's. One member who stood out from the rest was Ronnie James Dio. The band's music is a somewhat mish-mash of honky tonk mixed with basic rock riffs. The band made 3 albums: Elf, Trying to Burn the Sun, and Carolina County Ball. During some of Elf's songs, you can hear the beginnings of Dio's interest in other types of music such as his later work with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and on his own with the band, Dio. Elf used to open for Deep Purple. They were on the same label as them and would tour together from time to time. Eventually, Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore became good friends and would later form the band Rainbow in 1975"
    $5.00
  • After their last performance at Nearfest Apocalypse, Anglagard's lineup went through a bit of an upheaval.  Luckily it didn't materially affect the band's sound.  Anglagard is still Anglagard.  Prog Pa Svenska is a 2CD set that documents the band's three day residence at Club Citta in Tokyo, Japan back in March 2013.  Material is drawn from all three studio albums.  The recording is beautiful and the performances are stellar.  What else do you need to know?  How about this review:"May 14th of this year will see the release of a new Änglagård live album: Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you’re anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård’s small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård’s last show prior to their 1994 breakup. While the liner-notes of Buried Alive reveal a band that was not 100% satisfied, 20 years later with the release of Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan, Änglagård is back and going strong with a new live recording that is rich in dynamic and deep in maturity, a performance that I am confident that they are proud to immortalize for their fans.Prog på Svenska represents the first of three consecutive nights that the masters of dark Swedish prog delivered at Club Città in Japan alongside The Crimson ProjeKCt (featuring the legendary Adrian Belew and Tony Levin). For me personally this is a special album that transports me back to when I witnessed their unbelievable performance only three weeks later at Baja Prog. Among a plethora of canonized acts at the festival (such as Hackett, New Trolls, and Three Friends), Änglagård’s remarkable performance showed that they stand in no one’s shadow. While there’s nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I’ve ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård’s next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn’t kill anyone, I’ll start right off with the new song: ”Introvertus Fugu Part 1.” Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it’s our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that “Introvertus” shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif,  and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. Johan and Linus continue pounding in the rhythm section before the eerie central motif returns to bring “Introvertus” towards its close with the full force of Anna and Linus’ dueling woodwinds, one hanging on the melody while the other produces chaotic squeals before withering off the melody in a very unsettling (but cool) way.After kicking it off with an exciting intro the band takes us back 20 years with “Hostsejd.” The rich dynamics, especially the meticulously controlled Mellotron swells, really shine on this one while some small differences in instrumentation (such as the sax on the first main melody instead of flute) really keep the piece fresh and exciting. Although I was craving the intro on the follow up track, “Längtans Klocka,” the supreme level of interplay between all instruments that starts off the piece is fantastic. Furthermore, the guitar/Mellotron duet at about 6:30 that leads into a memorable theme is quite the highlight. Finally, the circus-y melody towards the end of the song somehow becomes even more diabolic in this slightly stripped down version as Tord’s demented waltzy riff serves as a perfect backdrop for the drunken saxes. Speaking of Tord, it certainly is nice to see him back in the band, and I must add that his guitar playing and sense of emotion is perfect for the band and has improved over the years. This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated on “Jordrök,” a quintessential song in Änglagård’s catalog. The reality of the matter is that despite the fact that the band was quite mature at the time of Hybris‘ release, their capacity to bring out all the nuances in pieces like this shows that they are musicians who have truly refined their craft over the years. “Jordrök” sounds more alive than ever; the Mellotron flute section in the middle, one of the band’s absolute trademark melodies, is to die for, and Linus’ superb use of phrasing and pacing in the piano intro certainly takes this classic piece up several notches.Moving deeper into the performance we see “Sorgmantel,” one of my personal favorites from Viljans Öga. The first thing I noticed about this particular performance is that the intro sounds much more raw due to differences in instrumentation, this version starting out with a guitar and bass call and response. While I absolutely adore the studio version, this new arrangement and performance was also wonderful and brought its own set of advantages to the table. First, the bass/guitar duet at the beginning really exposes the melody and shows you that its not just about fancy instrumentation, it’s a gorgeous melody through and through. Second, the band is not concerned in the least bit with rushing through the performance of this piece; the pacing is delicate, precise, and emotional with plenty of space for ritard and sway as the intro melody gets passed around from guitar to bass and flute and is then countered by the piano, making the fugue-nature of this piece even more evident. The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as “Sorgmantel” takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful… even breathtaking.To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with “Kung Bore” and “Sista Somrar.” Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of “Sista Somrar’s” slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.In my opinion, Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don’t want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there’s just something missing, or the band simply doesn’t offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of ‘had to have been there’ to get what’s so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård’s latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn’t a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård’s extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs." - Progulator
    $25.00
  • Emerging from the post-Beat era band I Quelli, Premiata Forneria Marconi (or PFM) is one of the most important progressive rock bands of all time. Storia Di Minuto is the album that kicked it off. The interplay between violinist/flautist Mauro Pagani and guitarist Franco Mussida is breathtaking. Keyboardist Flavio Premoli is perhaps one of the most overlooked virtuosos of the progressive rock era - every much the equal of Emerson and Wakeman.
    $11.00
  • Their first real prog effort. Killer keyboard excursions in an ELP vein.
    $12.00
  • "Devin Townsend - fully 30 records into an astonishing career - has now just raised the stakes in the form of a new double album combining Ziltoid The Omniscient’s triumphant return and the follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Epicloud!” Feasting upon Z2 is akin to immersing oneself in the arcane creases of the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT catalog, bludgeoning heaviness and angelic melodies living under the cathedral of Devin’s more contemplative solo vision. The effect is lush, full- range, cinematic, and expressive. Addressing the creative tension between the two discs, Devin explains “...it’s DTP...the ‘humans’ against Ziltoid, and it’s a battle of sorts...The DTP and Ziltoid side of my writing has evolved to where this statement was necessary and undoubtedly inevitable. The battle between the two seems like a great way to priced to the next chapter of my work. It’s a backdrop for something that hopefully engaging for people. I hope that the point that I’m trying to make with Ziltoid and the metaphor behind it, isn’t lost in just a sea of absurdity.” Guest musicians include Anneke Van Giersbergen (solo artist, ex-THE GATHERING) and Chris Jericho (WWE star, FOZZY) as Captain Spectacular! Also featuring the "Universal Choir", 2000 voices strong, the biggest choir on a metal record ever!"Limited edition 3CD digipak with bonus disc and special artwork.
    $20.00