Song For America

SKU: 517142A
Label:
Sony
Category:
Progressive Rock
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The band's second album now remastered and featuring two bonus tracks.

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  • In Crescendo is the fourth studio album from this Italian progressive band.  While originally working in a purely metal direction, the band has expanded the scope of their sound to encompass elements of progressive rock as well.  There is a very strong atmospheric component similar to Riverside, Porcupine Tree, and Pink Floyd but the heavier, metallic side of Opeth and Dream Theater is clearly present as well.Over the past two years Kingcrow has expanded their fan base with a European tour in support of Redemption and Jon Oliva as well as appearances at ProgPower Europe and ProgPower USA.  An announcement about 2013 US tour dates is imminent. 
    $13.00
  • Deluxe digipak edition comes with a bonus DVD chronicling the recording and mixing of the album."It is refreshing to see Timo Tolkki making new music instead of in the middle of some controversy. Over the last few years Tolkki has been embedded in a war of words with his former Stratovarius band mates.He has released records with new bands Revolution Renaissance and Symfonia, but both have failed to live up to his past legacy. He is now attempting another new project, Timo Tolkki’s Avalon. His debut, The Land of New Hope is a symphonic power metal opera in the style of Avantasia.This feels exactly like what Tobias Sammet created with Avantasia. Stylistically we are in the same territory, and Tolkki has enlisted the help of some of the best musicians that the power metal genre has to offer. Contributing vocals are Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Rob Rock, Russell Allen (Symphony X), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation) and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica). That is a who’s who of singers and they do not disappoint.The album also features stellar musicians such as Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater), Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody Of Fire) and Mikko Harkin (ex-Sonata Arctica).At the end of the day the quality of the talent isn’t the only thing that matters, as the songwriting has to be up to par. Over the years this is where Tolkki has been incredibly inconsistent. For every “Visions” and “Infinite” he has written he has also written “New Era” and the self-titled Stratovarius record.I can assure you that this is the best record Tolkki has written in thirteen years or maybe even in his career. As this is a rock opera, all the songs follow the storyline about a small group of survivors in 2055 A.D. who search for a sacred place known as “The Land of the New Hope” as planet Earth has been destroyed.The bulk of the vocals are by Ryd, Allen and Rock, who all rise to the occasion and sing with much emotion and power. The tender “In the Name of the Rose” is a magical moment. Ryd and Allen are meant to sing together. Allen shows off his vocal range in the chorus that you will no doubt be chanting along with. He delivers a throaty verse before singing a Maidenesque melody line for the chorus. A heartfelt lead by Tolkki puts an exclamation point on an incredible song.The title track is the only song that features Kiske, and he doesn’t disappoint. The almost nine minute epic begins with some gorgeous orchestration and an arpeggiated guitar line very reminiscent of the Scorpions. Kiske's vocals are soaring and he shows why he is one of the most in demand vocalists still at 45.Kiske is that rare singer that is technically perfect, but also has the gift to bring out a special emotion in his voice. This is the highlight of the record and these two legends should collaborate more.It is an incredible comeback story for Tolkki who was all but down and out. I am happy to see him put his demons to rest and release a record that he might be known for when his career is completed.He is enormously talented and I think this is the perfect atmosphere for him, as he doesn’t have a permanent band but only musicians who guest on the album. We know he is a dynamic personality who struggles to get along with band members, so with this unique situation he is the only permanent member.My biggest concern is that Tolkki seems to get bored with projects and moves on to the next one. Someone needs to guide him to stick with the Avalon project and continue to release records under this moniker.The Land of New Hope is Tolkki’s crowning achievement and I am glad to see one of the best guitar players in power metal return to his rightful place at the top of the genre. Let’s just hope he can keep it together." - About.com
    $11.00
  • Well Steve is done resucitating the Genesis catalogue and back to concentrating on fresh solo material.  The new album Wolflight is a bit of a loose concept album and I find it to be one of his strongest releases in years.  The album is filled with lots of guests (including Chris Squire) contributing exotic instruments to the mix adding an old world sound.  Steve's trademark sound is locked into place so if you are looking for the wailing guitar, liquid runs and acoustic delicacy you won't be disappointed.  His vocals has never been my favorite part of a Steve Hackett album but either I've mellowed in age or his voice has - not sure which.  Regardless it fits the music just fine.  Classic Hackett and nothing less.  BUY OR DIE!
    $12.00
  • This is the album where I had a hard time telling these guys apart from The Police. A fall off in quality from Moving Pictures - the tunes are shorter and more radio friendly.  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • "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
  • Import hardbound "mediabook" edition with the Iron Man bonus track.So here's my personal confession...after Neal left I felt that Spock's Beard lost their way.  Nick is a fine vocalist but there was something quirky about Neal's writing that had a reverential old school quality that I found lacking.  The albums didn't grab me.  Nick left and Ted Leonard took over on vocals.  Whether it was Enchant or Thought Chamber, he's always stood out and he fits Spock's Beard quite well.  The new drummer Jimmy Keegan slipped into the blend with no dificulty.  The result is (to my mind) a resurgence from this band.  Ryo Okumoto always puts on a show - in particular his heavy reliance on Hammond organ reminds me quite a bit of Steve Walsh.  In fact the sound of the whole album has a Kansas vibe. Coincidentally David Ragsdale guests on one track.  I'm not sure I can remember the last time I said this about a Spock's Beard album - Highly recommended."Very few bands are so recognizable that you know who you are listening to within 2 seconds.  That is all it takes at the beginning of the first track on The Oblivion Particle to know you are listening to Spock’s Beard.  There is no slow buildup or keyboard swells, just straight BAMM!, here we go.  And if the opening notes don’t get you, the organ 5 seconds in will.  The band’s 12th studio album, this one the second with singer Ted Leonard and drummer Jimmy Keegan, is a culmination of years of perfecting a sound and identity, one that not even 2 major lineup changes could fracture. With this new album, Spock’s Beard up their game again and show that this lineup is here to stay.If there was a track that defined what Spock’s Beard are, it might be the opening track, “Tides of Time.”  There are certain checklist items that mark their sound and they are all in this track.  The organ, the harmonies, the acoustic breakdown, the rocking middle and the epic ending.  Each member finds their moments to shine on this one and it provides a jaw-dropping sound overload that could leave one satisfied at that moment; only there is another 60 minutes to go.The album zigs and zags through a few more experimental moments, mixing in some surprises with more traditional Prog elements.  The album’s second track and first single is “Minion”, is a perfect example.  The opening a cappella harmonies provide the sort of memorable chorus and harmonies we’ve come to expect from the group.  While, the following distorted keyboard section is also standard Spock’s Beard.  But the verse and middle of the song is much darker and takes us on a surprising journey.The most unique song the album is the brilliantly titled “Bennett Built a Time Machine”, which the album’s cover is based on.  Drummer Jimmy Keegan takes lead on the vocals here and sounds incredible.  His voice actually fits the track better than Leonard’s probably would have.  The song is one of the album highlights and helps keep the record from sounding redundant.  It is almost a pop song most of the way through until turning on the jets and shifting into Prog mode.There are some heavier moments such as “Hell’s Not Enough” and “Get Out While You Can”. “The Center Line”, however, might be the most similar to something you might have found on their group’s previous album “Brief Nocturnes…”  The track opens with an expansive piano recital piece, before turning into a combo Prog-Western bounce with acoustic guitars carrying the groove. Ted’s voice lifts the choruses flawlessly and creates an almost cinematic soundscape.Even with all of these great moments, it is the album’s closing track that is the best song on the album.  “Disappear” might be one of the best songs the band has recorded since Neal left the group.  “We could disappear, you and me, we could be, anyplace else not here” sings Ted in the chorus as he wonders what might be if we left with no one knowing what happened.  The song is really the closest thing to a ballad on the album, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  2 minutes in, the song stirs into a frenzy just before a brief cameo by Kansas’ David Ragsdale, appearing with his violin.  Of course, the big epic orchestral ending takes us home as Alan Morse provides the finishing touches with his unique finger picking soloing excellence.Spock’s Beard are Prog rock’s most reliable unit.  They have yet to disappoint and always provide comfort to their faithful fans with music that is both inspiring and breathtaking.  And while The Oblivion Particle shows a harder edged Spock’s Beard, it also displays a group that shows no signs of slowing down and is ready to take on all comers." - The Prog Report 
    $18.00
  • "Arguments abound regarding the first works of art laid down in the early hard rock/metal age and whether they need to be updated for later generations. Truth be told – a lot of back catalog gets the second effort treatment to gain songwriting copyrights or merely to take advantage of modern recording updates. From Iced Earth to Testament, Destruction to Exodus to Sonata Arctica, it’s been a cash cow of sorts if you are an ardent collector of everything in your favorite artist’s catalog – yet something us old schoolers have a harder time swallowing. Because let’s face it, in our temples and hearts, how can you possibly better that indelible first impression seared in the psyche?Welcome to the dilemma placed before me in discussion of Secret Sphere and their latest recording. A Time Never Come 2015 Edition is in celebration of this Italian power/progressive metal sextet’s second album- originally set for an exclusive Japanese re-release, the band expanded their horizons to re-record this effort with their current lineup, adding in new arrangements and artwork to sweeten the deal. Two-thirds of the lineup has shuffled around in the 14 year interim since its original 2001 appearance, and there’s no doubt that the golden voice of current SS singer Michele Luppi (ex-Vision Divine) runs circles around Roberto Messina. Does it justify another 11 song transformation about Aurienne, the girl who finds a strange magical sphere as we watch her voyage handling a mortal illness?Keyboardist Gabriele Ciaccia definitely fills the sonic landscape on a more theatrical/symphonic path right from the start of “Legend”, but fortunately guitarists Marco Pastorino and Aldo Lonobile also factor heavily in the crunch/wow factor throughout, Aldo’s lead work a mix of semi-shred meets melodic master class. The slightly down-tuned guitar tone gives faster material like “Under the Flag of Mary Read” and “Hamelin” a darker feel than the original album – while the star of this 2015 edition has to be Michele. Singing low and high, accentuating words with texture, anger, excitement, and passion, the man can handle a power number like “The Brave” as easily as “Mystery of Love”, the graceful tear-jerker track. The fairy-tale oriented art from Nathalia Suellen seems better suited to the story on hand than the cyber-oriented first try.In the end, the fans will decide if they need A Time Never Come 2015 Edition and vote with their wallets. While not disputing the quality, give me the first go around – imperfections and all, as Secret Sphere wet appetites for their next original studio record." - Dead Rhetoric
    $15.00
  • "Standard DVD Edition. 2013 live release from the Tampa, Florida-based Heavy Metal outfit. Since Dystopia was released in October of 2011, Iced Earth has been on the attack in a big way, playing more shows in the past year than in the previous 10 years...combined! Early on in the World Tour the band decided that they wanted to capture this newfound energy and passion on film and tape. When the offer came in to film at the ancient Kourion Theater in Limassol, Cyprus, they were immediately attracted to that idea. The history and culture there, as well as the Cypriot audience, which the band experienced in December 2011, solidified the decision to record in Cyprus. Filming and recording a 2 1/2 hour show in an amphitheater that is 6000 years old and is not set-up for a Rock concert, paired with 40-degree Celsius heat, were just some of the obstacles to overcome. But the finished product makes up for any of the challenges that the band and crew faced on that special night."
    $14.00
  • "One of the great things about Jeff Beck is his utter unpredictability. It's also one of the most maddening things about him, too, since it's as likely to lead to flights of genius as it is to weird detours like Beck, Bogert & Appice. It's hard to tell what exactly attracted Beck to the rhythm section of Vanilla Fudge and Cactus -- perhaps he just wanted to rock really loud and really hard, beating Led Zeppelin at their own game. Whatever the motivation, the end result was the same -- a leaden album, with occasional interesting guitar work smothered by heavy riffs and rhythms that don't succeed on a visceral level. It's a loud, lumbering record that may be of interest for Beck archivists, provided they want to hear absolutely everything he did." - All Music Guide
    $8.00
  • Arguably the best American prog band going present us with their first album in 8 years.  Its a 47 minute mindf**k of a journey - just one long continuous track.  It starts out in quiet, ambient territory and then transmogrifies into something else.  Guitar leads snake to the fore and then disappear, Mellotrons and Moogs carry you along into the deepest regions of your mind.  Flute and bouzouki and there...and then they are gone.  Intense stuff that walks a similar path to early 70s Pink Floyd.  The band recommends you listen with headphones.  I agree!  Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • Creation's End is the vision of New York City's Rudy Albert (guitar - from Zandelle) and Dario Rodriguez (drums).Rudy and Dario, who met in school, have been playing music together since 1999. As they grew tighter in their playing, they began to focus on writing original material. The nature of the material evolved from simple metal tunes in the early years, to more complex and mature compositions.During the summers of 2003 through 2006, Dario and Rudy convened to write music. The focus of the sessions was simply to make great music that they both enjoyed, and each summer, Rudy and Dario wrote and recorded a new demo of original material.Rudy soon took on keyboard duties in the band Until Destiny, where he met John Macaluso (drummer of James LaBrie Band, Fool's Game, ex-Ark, ex-TNT, ex-Yngwie Malsteen). After a short period of time, Rudy and Dario decided that the time was right to revisit their old material to record and release it the right way.With a newly renovated studio and producer John Macaluso on board, Rudy and Dario set out to record 8 reworked versions of songs that appeared on their demos. They were joined by the lineup - Mike Dimeo, (ex-Masterplan, ex-Riot), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie Band), and Joey Bones (Chris Caffery, ex-Zandelle).In Summer of 2010 the band decided to have world known engineer Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Yes, Nile, Cannibal Corpse etc) mix the album.November 2010 will see the release of "A New Beginning" and marks the fruition of the album envisioned from the beginning - melodic, touches of prog, a strong sense of groove, and brutally heavy and dark. US and European tour dates are being planned, with a date at ProgPower USA in September 2011 already confirmed.
    $8.00
  • So here's my personal confession...after Neal left I felt that Spock's Beard lost their way.  Nick is a fine vocalist but there was something quirky about Neal's writing that had a reverential old school quality that I found lacking.  The albums didn't grab me.  Nick left and Ted Leonard took over on vocals.  Whether it was Enchant or Thought Chamber, he's always stood out and he fits Spock's Beard quite well.  The new drummer Jimmy Keegan slipped into the blend with no dificulty.  The result is (to my mind) a resurgence from this band.  Ryo Okumoto always puts on a show - in particular his heavy reliance on Hammond organ reminds me quite a bit of Steve Walsh.  In fact the sound of the whole album has a Kansas vibe. Coincidentally David Ragsdale guests on one track.  I'm not sure I can remember the last time I said this about a Spock's Beard album - Highly recommended."Very few bands are so recognizable that you know who you are listening to within 2 seconds.  That is all it takes at the beginning of the first track on The Oblivion Particle to know you are listening to Spock’s Beard.  There is no slow buildup or keyboard swells, just straight BAMM!, here we go.  And if the opening notes don’t get you, the organ 5 seconds in will.  The band’s 12th studio album, this one the second with singer Ted Leonard and drummer Jimmy Keegan, is a culmination of years of perfecting a sound and identity, one that not even 2 major lineup changes could fracture. With this new album, Spock’s Beard up their game again and show that this lineup is here to stay.If there was a track that defined what Spock’s Beard are, it might be the opening track, “Tides of Time.”  There are certain checklist items that mark their sound and they are all in this track.  The organ, the harmonies, the acoustic breakdown, the rocking middle and the epic ending.  Each member finds their moments to shine on this one and it provides a jaw-dropping sound overload that could leave one satisfied at that moment; only there is another 60 minutes to go.The album zigs and zags through a few more experimental moments, mixing in some surprises with more traditional Prog elements.  The album’s second track and first single is “Minion”, is a perfect example.  The opening a cappella harmonies provide the sort of memorable chorus and harmonies we’ve come to expect from the group.  While, the following distorted keyboard section is also standard Spock’s Beard.  But the verse and middle of the song is much darker and takes us on a surprising journey.The most unique song the album is the brilliantly titled “Bennett Built a Time Machine”, which the album’s cover is based on.  Drummer Jimmy Keegan takes lead on the vocals here and sounds incredible.  His voice actually fits the track better than Leonard’s probably would have.  The song is one of the album highlights and helps keep the record from sounding redundant.  It is almost a pop song most of the way through until turning on the jets and shifting into Prog mode.There are some heavier moments such as “Hell’s Not Enough” and “Get Out While You Can”. “The Center Line”, however, might be the most similar to something you might have found on their group’s previous album “Brief Nocturnes…”  The track opens with an expansive piano recital piece, before turning into a combo Prog-Western bounce with acoustic guitars carrying the groove. Ted’s voice lifts the choruses flawlessly and creates an almost cinematic soundscape.Even with all of these great moments, it is the album’s closing track that is the best song on the album.  “Disappear” might be one of the best songs the band has recorded since Neal left the group.  “We could disappear, you and me, we could be, anyplace else not here” sings Ted in the chorus as he wonders what might be if we left with no one knowing what happened.  The song is really the closest thing to a ballad on the album, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  2 minutes in, the song stirs into a frenzy just before a brief cameo by Kansas’ David Ragsdale, appearing with his violin.  Of course, the big epic orchestral ending takes us home as Alan Morse provides the finishing touches with his unique finger picking soloing excellence.Spock’s Beard are Prog rock’s most reliable unit.  They have yet to disappoint and always provide comfort to their faithful fans with music that is both inspiring and breathtaking.  And while The Oblivion Particle shows a harder edged Spock’s Beard, it also displays a group that shows no signs of slowing down and is ready to take on all comers." - The Prog Report 
    $12.00
  • "The Aristocrats by any measure the hottest new band in instrumental rock/fusion today rewrote their own rules for their third studio album, Tres Caballeros. After two fairly raw trio albums, guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia/GPS), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Dethklok) and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani) set up camp at legendary Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood, CA, where Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen all recorded landmark albums. The result: Nine new compositions of greater sonic depth and breadth than ever before, with unique textures and lush layering augmenting the band s preternatural ability to improvise at the highest levels possible. But it s all still tempered with a steadfast refusal to take themselves too seriously, and The Aristocrats are still having more fun than a fusion band has any right to have. We ve learned a lot since we started this band four years, three studio albums, two live DVDs and about a billion notes ago! and I think our latest offering reflects this in all kinds of ways, says guitarist Guthrie Govan. The decision to road-test our new material in front of a live audience before commencing the recording process; the choice to record in a studio which had some thoroughly inspiring rock'n'roll "mojo"; our sudden urge to become more bold and experimental with overdubs rather than feeling any pressure to record exclusively in a strict trio format... all of this has had some kind of positive effect on the way the new record came out. Plus, I think the material on this album is some of the most interesting stuff we ve ever written for each other, so... here s hoping our noble listeners will like the finished product as much as we do! Deluxe Edition Bonus DVD Features 30min documentary w/exclusive individual interviews, studio & live footage Bonus audio (outtakes/demos) & group interview"
    $19.00
  • James LaBrie once again that there is life outside of Dream Theater.  His solo band features a stable lineup consisting of Matt Guillory (keyboards), Marco Sfogli (guitars), Ray Riendeau (bass), Peter Wildoer (drums, death vox).  Jens Bogren once again mixed. An interesting twist to the mix is the inclusion of Soilwork's Peter Wichers who contributes some guitarwork and also collaborated on songwriting with LaBrie.While the music is square on prog metal and all in all not too dissimilar to Dream Theater its different enough to have its own vibe.  Wildoer's coarse vocal approach offers an interesting counterbalance to LaBrie's upper midrange clean voice.  The limited digipak edition comes with two bonus tracks.  Highly recommended.
    $13.00