1614 (Digipak)

SKU: MV 0023
Label:
Metalville
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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Dark, ominous, symphonic, theatrical...and very compelling is the best way to describe this concept work. Put together by guys using the names David Grimoire and Adrian de Crow, Opera Diabolicus is a project embracing the darker side of metal. Featured performers include Snowy Shaw (KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, MEMENTO MORI, THERION), Mats Leven ( (KRUX, THERION, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) Jake E (AMARANTHE),and Niklas Isfeldt (DREAM EVIL) on vocals. Camilla Alisander-Ason provides all the female vocal parts. Andy LaRocque produced and mixed the album and given the direction of the music, he's the perfect man for the job. Big sounding production that craftily blends doom, black, gothic, and orchestral metal together. Think Phantom Of The Opera meets King Diamond meets After Forever. Highly recommended.

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  • Not to be confused with the Greek metal band Persona Non Grata, Persona Grata are a progressive rock band from Slovakia.  There has been a bit of a buzz about this band, even catching the ear of Mike Portnoy who invited them onboard for the upcoming Progressive Nation cruise.  So what's the deal with these guys (and girl)?Persona Grata work in a contemporary style - this isn't really old school prog rock.  Lots and lots of keyboards with more than enough solos over these long and developed tracks.  Guitars veer toward the heavier side crossing over into metal at times.  I can see the reviewers' comparisons to Yes and Dream Theater but really if anything they owe a lot more to the former rather than the later but this isn't Close To The Edge.  Vocals are handled by Martin Stavrovskỳ and he's got a killer set of pipes.  Hiding out in the background, augmenting the sound are female vocals and flute of Jana Vargova.  As a bit of a respite, about halfway through the album the band throws in some Middle Eastern motifs on the long three part instrumental "Orient Express" that will bring a huge grin to your face.  All in all it has a modern feel but with the long instrumental solos and interplay it should also appeal to fans of old school prog.  Looks like Persona Grata is the real deal and we will be hearing a lot more of them.  BUY OR DIE!!
    $12.00
  • "‘Idiosynchratically beautiful’. These are two words that have stuck with me for nearly 20 years and which I recall almost every time I hear or read the name Arcturus. These words were quoted on an advert for the Norwegian band’s 1997 release, ‘La Masquerade Infernale’ within an issue of either Terrorizer or Metal Hammer magazine; I can’t remember which. What I do remember was that I was deeply into a stage of black metal discovery at the time and this quote resonated with me for some reason. I took the punt and received the album as a Christmas present. It wasn’t love at first listen; instead it was a slow and steady slog that has ended in a lasting and deep love affair. It was the track ‘Ad Astra’ that was the catalyst for repeat listens. Full of drama, avant-garde vaudevillian oddness and a compelling crescendo, it impressed me and forced me to listen to the remainder of the album more than perhaps I might otherwise have done.It is arguable that in the intervening years, Arcturus have never managed to hit the heights of ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. Neither 2002’s ‘The Sham Mirrors’ nor ‘Sideshow Symphonies’ spoke to me in the same way and despite containing some outstanding moments, I came away both times with feelings of slight disappointment. And that, as they say was that. In terms of original studio albums, nothing has been released since; indeed after the release of ‘Shipwrecked in Oslo’ in 2006, the band called it quits with the individual members going on to do different things. And so it has remained until now.Rumours were rife from around 2011 when various members made comments that alluded to a resurrection of the band and later that year the rumours were confirmed. However, for one reason or another it has taken until 2015 for a new original recording to see the light of day, a development that has been greeted with great euphoria amongst the loyal Arcturus following.Arcturus version 2015 is comprised of Steinar Sverd Johnsen (keys), Hellhammer (drums), Knut Magne Valle (guitar), Hugh ‘Skoll’ Mingay (bass) and ICS Vortex (vocals). Together, they have created an album very much worthy of their lofty status and one that I would argue just about manages to match the quality of ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. The only reason I hedge my bets and say ‘just about’ is because I’ve only had about three days with ‘Arcturian’ as opposed to the 18 years I’ve had to enjoy ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. That said, I’ve listened to ‘Arcturian’ more times than I care to mention in recent days and it gives me chills on each and every listen. It is complex, quirky, brilliantly composed and professionally executed. I have no doubt that with even more time and attention, it’ll delight and captivate me even more than it does already.The one thing that perhaps I wasn’t expecting was the sheer amount of melody and accessibility that ‘Arcturian’ displays. It’s no exaggeration to say that for all of the complexity and raw heaviness, almost every track on the album contains a melody, lead vocal or some kind of hook that makes me sit up and take real notice. When I listen to new music, I have a tendency to make an ‘oooh’ noise and smile broadly if something excites me. I suspect that there will be some of you out there who do something similar. On ‘Arcturian’, I admit to ‘ooh’-ing all over the place.One of main reasons why this album feels so melodic and accessible is, I believe down to vocalist ICS Vortex. Yes he is an acquired taste but so unique is his delivery and so impressive is his range that seemingly very little is off-limits. He complements the music beautifully, managing sound both majestic but also a little unstable, as if he could spiral out of control at any moment. I mean, at times, he sounds like he’s yodelling for heaven’s sake; it’s superb.Onto the compositions themselves, they are all dense, multi-layered affairs that contain an abundance of richness. There are no songs that tend to extend over six minute mark and yet, such is the ambition of Arcturus that it feels like a million different ideas are injected into each composition, testing the listener and toying with them at every turn. I strongly suspect that this has been done with a certain playful, yet mischievous intent. Those strong Vaudervillian overtones of the band’s past make a welcome return, as do a number of various influences that pull Arcturus away from being simply discarded as a black metal band. As they demonstrate on ‘Arcturian’, there are elements of black metal to their underlying sound but they deliver so much more that to pigeonhole them in such a way would be inaccurate and disingenuous.Opening track, ‘The Arcturian Sign’, starts off somewhat disconcertingly with weird electronic noises and sounds. It’s a typically eccentric beginning which soon gives way to those unmistakable vocals of ICS Vortex and, at its core, a black metal meets prog composition. Dominated by powerful synths and relentless double pedal drumming, those odd sounds like laser guns nevertheless re-surface throughout. But within the tumult and idiosyncrasies is a really catchy, hook-laden chorus.‘Crashland’ has a light and breezy feel to it, taking in influences from space rock, folk music and more extreme climes. The sweeping synths are immediately reminiscent of the ‘La Masquerade Infernale’ era, as they are during my personal standout track, ‘Game Over’ with its addictive melodies and the way it builds and morphs so elegantly from one guise to another almost imperceptibly, ending in a crescendo of sorts that elicits another ‘ooh’ from my lips.‘Angst’ is a powerful and more extreme slab of metal, dominated by a blistering tempo, tortured screams atop another strong synth melody and the threat of a descent into chaos on more than one occasion. ‘Warp’ on the other hand introduces more electronic influences but has such an imposing and catchy melody that it’s impossible to ignore. ‘Demon’ has demonstrable Gothic synth pop overtones whereas ‘Pale’ delights with a marvellous driving central riff, a great chorus of sorts and some of the most varied and brilliant vocals on the entire record. The album ends with ‘Bane’, a track that further backs up the gorgeous ‘The Journey’ by providing amongst other things, some truly beautiful and subtle acoustic guitar playing which is a real joy.For all that, I have to say that ‘Arcturian’ is an album that’s best enjoyed in its entirety rather than picking and choosing individual songs. The album has a distinct flow and overall feel that helps to make it as special as it is, something that could be lost if listened to in a piecemeal manner.For the sake of balance, my only small gripe relates to the production which I think is a little on the weak side and robs some of the aforementioned richness from the music. Occasionally, the layers of music come together is a slightly messy muddle of impenetrable white noise which is a bit disappointing. But then again, there’s a certain ‘old-school’ charm to the mix too, reminding me of their heyday more than once. Maybe therefore, the production is entirely deliberate, those naughty scamps.It’s almost impossible sum up ‘Arcturian’ in a concise manner and do it the justice it deserves, except to say that if you’re a fan of Arcturus at their most original, challenging, audacious and quirky, prepare to take ‘Arcturian’ straight to your heart." - Man Of Much Metal
    $16.00
  • THIS NORTHERN VIRGINIA BASED BAND is a three-piece at heart, musically rooted in the raw energy and rhythmic interplay of RUSH and KING’S X. Fans of dark, guitar-driven rock bands from ALICE IN CHAINS, DEFTONES to the contemporary metal riffing of LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, will connect to the heavy core of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. Add to that progressive complexity and moody synths inspired by DREAM THEATER and PORCUPINE TREE, and a liberal dose of memorable hooks and melodies, to understand some elements of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. And yet, the band has a distinct identity, not quite sounding like any of the aforementioned bands, and with an emotional urgency that pulls subtly from alternative and other influences.KARMA SOWN IS A TRIUMPH OF A DEBUT ALBUM, immediate and memorable but revealing layers and depth upon repeated listens."Progressive metal is in a rough period right now. The old guard are either releasing sub-standard albums that only make it more obvious how far they have fallen, or they are drastically uncool with anyone who didn't become a fan when progressive metal was first being created. Progressive today tends to mean djent, a style that has sapped all the life and humanity out of music, turning metal into a math equation of time signatures, and not songs that anyone can actually remember. There was a time when progressive metal remembered the ultimate goal of music; to have listeners enjoy the songs so much they would return to them again and again. Today, progressive metal is mostly the sort of music that could pass for muzak, if you don't turn the volume up too loud.Iris Divine wants to change that. They set out with the mission of writing progressive metal that is intricate and challenging, but still produces the kind of songs that listeners who don't have an advanced degree can love and sing along to. It's a challenge, and it goes against the tide, but it's a desperately needed revolution if progressive metal is going to flourish anytime in the near future.I knew from hearing the pre-release track “A Suicide Aware” that Iris Divide was special, and the full album reinforces the point. “The Everlasting Sea” comes out of the gates with plenty of tricky riffing and unusual rhythms, but they lead into big melodies with strong hooks and vocals. Their progressive playing isn't meant for show, it's a tool used to set a tone that juxtaposes with the more melodic moments. Finding the proper balance between these elements is not easy, and many a band have failed miserably trying to do so, but Iris Divine doesn't. On their debut record, they show a skill some bands have spent their entire careers failing to learn.What I love most about the record is that it can be seen in many different lights. If you like straight-ahead metal, there is plenty of heavy riffing and pounding drumming here to keep you satisfied. If you like progressive music, these songs have twists and turns, and Rush-like keyboards, in enough quantity to match the djent crowd. And if you're a fan of old-school radio rock, the choruses in these songs will be music to your ears. Keeping all three of these in mind at the same time can be tricky, but it's worth the effort.For being a trio, “Karma Sown” is a massive sounding record. The production is flawless, big and clear, without ever sounding too polished. The heavy parts are heavy, the vocals are up front, and you would never believe this was a self-produced record that was crowd-funded. I can put it up against many, many of the big label releases, and it would win the fight.In fact, I can think of a dozen so-called progressive metal bands that should immediately hand over their label contracts to Iris Divine, because it's a crime that a band that is advancing progressive metal in the right direction doesn't have the backing of one of the labels. Not to name names, but this album would be bigger than half of the progressive metal released this year if it had the media push behind it.In case you haven't noticed, what I'm saying is that “Karma Sown” is a fantastic debut, and the future of progressive metal. Iris Divine isn't a Dream Theater clone, and they're not djent. What they have done is integrate all the strains of progressive metal into a singular sound, one that could set the standard moving forward. If every band sounded this good, progressive metal wouldn't need to be underground. “Karma Sown” is the best progressive metal album of the year, bar none." - Bloody Good Horror
    $13.00
  • New "super deluxe edition" box set includes the following:1. CD1: Remaster of the original album - original mix2. CD2: "The Alternate Brain Salad Surgery" including a variety of unreleased alternate mixes as well as B-sides.3. CD3: New stereo remix done by Jakko Jakszyk4. DVD-A: New hi-res stereo and 5.1 remix done by Jakko Jakszyk as well as a hi-res verison of the original mix.5. DVD-V: The Manticore Special Documentary6. LP: 180 gram vinyl edition of the original mix.You also get a 20 page booklet and a replica of the poster that originally came with the album.
    $139.00
  • Quite melodic, would actually appeal to fans of Stratovarius, etc.
    $9.00
  • THEY'RE BAAACCCCKKKK! German band led by Kai Hansen that is virtually synonomous with the phrase "speed metal".
    $12.00
  • Chamber ensemble from Hell led by Daniel Denis and Roger Trigaux. Extremely dark music sounds like a cross between Bartok and King Crimson. This is the new edition which has been remixed and remastered by Daniel Denis. The album is commonly known as "1313" because that was the catalog number of the original vinyl release. Included is a history of the band, rare photos...oh yeah...an unreleased 28 minute bonus track.
    $15.00
  • Smoking hot chick alert!! New band formed by four members of the now defunct Karnataka. Taking over on vocals is Anne-Marie Helder, who also plays flute. The band has jettisoned the celtic touches of Karnataka. Instead they have a more varied and modern sound. Guest violinist Liz Prendergast adds a nice spacey touch with her solos. For a band that is going for a more immediate and less complex sound no one bothered to let them know that a 19 minute track like the album closer "The Dreaming" isn't going to get them any radio airplay!
    $17.00
  • New remastered edition of the band's first album. This release contains both the mono and stereo mixes of the album. Booklet is gorgeous filled with copius notes. Bonus track of the single mix of "Hello Hello
    $9.00
  • Subsignal is the new progressive rock band put together by former Sieges Even singer Arno Menses and guitarist Markus Steffen. The rest of the band has a great prog pedigree - Ralf Schwager and David Bertok from Dreamscape as well as Roel Van Helden from Sun Caged. It doesn't have the overall heaviness or rhythmic pyrotechnics of Sieges Even but fans of Art Of Navigating The Stars and Paramount should dig this immensely. When needed Steffen coughs up the goods - lots of great guitarwork through out. Oh yeah - I really enjoyed Bertok's keyboard work. Its tasteful and is spotlighted when necessary.
    $15.00
  • They don't come as often as we'd like but a new Vanden Plas album is almost a guaranteed success.  Chronicles Of The Immortals may well be their best effort yet.  It sounds like Vanden Plas that we know and love but scaled up.  The band collaborated with noted German author Wolfgang Holbein to create a rock opera.  After a series of live performances the band hit the studio and shaped it into the first half of a duology.  Highly recommended."Four years after the release of The Seraphic Clockwork, German progressive metallers Vanden Plas are back with their seventh full-length Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld. Known for creating highly detailed conceptual albums, in 2012 the band teamed up with Germany’s one of the biggest selling authors Wolfgang Hohlbein to create a rock opera for the stage based on his The Chronicle of the Immortals series of novels. The resulting rock musical named Bloodnight ended up having 25 sold-our performances during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.The next challenge for Andy Kuntz and Vanden Plas was to adapt the theatre musical to the Vanden Plas standards and produce an album comprised of the first act of Bloodnight. Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld – Path 1 is a full title of the record that includes ten songs. The release of Path 2, the final part of the story will be released early in 2015.Musically speaking, since the release of their debut Colour Temple Vanden Plas continued to mature and improve – eventually hitting the top with 2006′s Christ 0. However, Netherworld proves to be the band’s most demanding release. In most cases, the problem with conceptual albums is that the music suffers the lack of quality on behalf of the actual story or opposite, but Vanden Plas relying on experience forged a record that possibly may serve as a light of hope for progressive metal in 2014.One of the biggest differences between this one and the previous Vanden Plas efforts lies exactly in the theatrical atmosphere Netherworld brings. Although it can be said that the visual factor is on par with music on almost every Vanden Plas album, it’s Netherworld that stands out for the balance between the two. Heavily rooted in the progressive metal genre with plenty of melodic lines on top of it, the whole story is dependant to Kuntz‘s interpretation and singing.The album flows as a single song, although it’s divided into ten songs (visions) what ultimately brings to mind that these ten titles are there just to separate the distinctive parts or moods of the whole story. These parts are pretty well balanced, the story dynamic follows the music. And what is perhaps most important for a progressive metal album today – it incorporates a number of different elements.Three crucial segments for a Vanden Plas album are strong melodic side, progressive metal and conceptual story. And these three segments are present on Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld. In which measure, time will be the best judge." - Prog-sphere.com
    $13.00
  • I thought Felix Martin's debut was insane but he's taken it to the next level with this one...If you are unfamiliar with Felix Martin that will probalby change soon.  He plays a custom made 14(!!) string guitar.  His musical background has strong roots in jazz but its clear he's able to feel comfortable with different styles.  His approach to this unusual guitar includes tapping as well as legato runs.  If you have seen any videos of him playing live its really something to see.  The Scenic Album is a trio affair - Martin is supported by Nathan Navarro on bass and Chapman Stick, and the mighty Marco Minnemann is behind the drum kit (ex-Behold The Arctopus' Charlie Zeleny is on the last track).  I don't think anyone other than Marco could tackle this material.  Martin's music touches on so many different genres - metal, prog rock, latin and fusion - all within a single composition.  Prepare to have your jaw drop! 
    $12.00
  • Limited edition of 1000 CDs, from mastertapes. The Ghost was a short lived UK psychedelic folk band led by ex-Velvet Fogg guitarist Paul Eastment. The band featured singer Shirley Kent who later on developed a career as a folk and jazz singer. The music is mostly prominent for the Farfisa organ of Terry Guy lending a psychedelic vibe. Housed in a digipak and new artwork.
    $13.00
  • Kit Watkins runs wild!! Comes with 2 live bonus tracks.
    $17.00