Awaken The Guardian (Remastered 2CD+DVD)

2005 deluxe remastered edition of the bands 1986 magnum opus, the last one to feature John Arch on vocals. This elaborate set features two cds and one live DVD. Disc One is the remastered version of the album. Disc Two features unreleased live and demo tracks. Disc Three is an NTSC Region 0 live DVD of a live gig from 1986. Mike Portnoy wrote the liner notes.

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  • Fine new release from this German power metal band featuring Andy Franck on vocals. The music is heavy but extremely melodic. This is real power metal but not in a slick Euro-way....it has an US power metal feel. So I guess the way to differentiate between Andy's two bands are this - Brainstorm heavy as hell, Symphorce melodic as hell.Metal Blade is trying something new, pricing this full length release at a mid-price point.
    $9.00
  • "Artistry is never about conformity and straight lines. It’s about taking risks, and then pushing boundaries to a point where the impossible suddenly seems a little more flexible. Such has been the career of Devin Townsend, one of the most uniquely insightful musicians of the 21st Century. And it’s certainly the case with the Retinal Circus.Staged at The Roundhouse in London on October 27, 2012, this was the chance for Townsend to present a performance that summarised his career so far. And he did it with aplomb, style, humour, a sense of blackness and a touch of the bizarre.“My manager and I were looking for a way to sum up 20 years of my music, without making it seem that I was some kind of multi-headed hydra. And over a period of time we came up with the idea of the Retinal Circus.”The concept was to piece together a presentation that was musical, visual and startling. One that reflected Townsend’s own remarkable ability to take up almost any idea, twist it within his own show, thereby adding to the overall impact.“To me it’s like somebody putting a cauldron in the middle of a room, with only a nail in it. Eventually someone comes along and says, ‘That cauldron could do with some potatoes’. And then someone else says, ‘Let’s add some tomatoes’, and before you know it you have a cauldron filled to the brim with all sorts of interesting items. That’s how we approached this concept.”Over a period of eight to 10 months, during which time he was also working on other projects, Townsend assembled all the factors and talents that would eventually help to spit this Circus into something so fascinating that it took The Roundhouse by storm, and is still being spoken about as one of the great triumphs of the live environment over the past decade. While the centrepiece was clearly the music that has helped to propel Townsend to such eminence, it’s very diversity allowed for the introduction of characters who were wild and wacky enough to be the music made flesh and blood – not to mention fire breathing skills, in some cases!“We always knew that it was going to be a one-off performance. It’s not as if we planned to repeat the process. So what you see and hear is captured from the one night when the Retinal Circus will ever be brought to life.”Given the complexity and wide-ranging nature of this production, it’s astonishing to think that there were just one-and-a-half days of rehearsal time prior to the show itself. But it would all prove to be quite extraordinary, as the night in question brought out a kind of collective feral belief from everyone.“To me, it’s like going on a long bicycle ride. You can always give up at any point, but what do get out of that? It’s far more satisfying to keep going, whatever the problems you face, and to know that you’ve made it on your own merit and in your own time.”Since the show itself happened, Townsend has been busy getting together the live release, and ensuring that every aspect reflects the night itself in the best possible sense.“I wanted the sound and musical quality to be of the highest order. I wanted the commentary, the visuals...everything about it to be appealing and comprehensive. And I feel that’s what I’ve now got. This will never happen again, so what I release to the fans has to be of a quality that reflects the original ideals. It was so much fun to do, and had so much passion. I believe you can feel that when you watch and listen.”The Retinal Circus was so extreme, full of depth and intelligence that it should have taken much longer to produce with considerably more financial and manpower back-up. But then the beauty of Townsend is that he made it work on his own terms and in his own times.“It was an absurd project to start. But it was an even more absurd project to finish. But I am proud of what I did. I will always have a special place for the Retinal Circus.”"
    $16.00
  • No need to go into a lengthy discussion of this seminal Canterbury band. This is the right way to do a reissue. Universal saw fit to use 24 bit mastering and filled up each disc in the series with extensive bonus material as well as copious liner notes. "If I Could Do It All Over Again" features 4 previously unreleased tracks. Essential.
    $10.00
  • "On first listen, you could be forgiven for thinking that Helker are German: in fact, they hail from that renowned hotbed of heavy metal Argentina, with ‘Somewhere In The Circle’ being their fourth album but the first to be both recorded in English and gain an international release, thanks to a deal inked last year with AFM Records.However, the assumption that the five piece’s geographic origins lie in Germany, or even Italy, is a fair one to make, due to a number of factors – not least their collaboration with one Mat Sinner, who not only produced the album but also co-wrote all of the 11 tracks. Then, there’s the material itself, which evokes classic Helloween, especially, as well as the likes of Hammerfall, Primal Fear (vocalist Ralf Scheepers makes a guest appearance, along heavy metal mercenary Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, on ‘Begging For Forgiveness’) and just about every other classic European power metal outfit.All the right elements are included – soaring guitar solos and harmonies, huge, catchy choruses and majestic vocals. Actually, let’s concentrate on the latter for a moment: Diego Valdez does have a powerful, impressive voice, with a delivery and style that is very reminiscent of the late Ronnie James Dio (perhaps a bit too closely imitative on the likes of ‘Modern Roman Circus’, ‘No Chance To Be Reborn’ and ‘Dreams’), Michael Kiske (check ‘Wake Up’ or ‘Ghosts From The Past’) and even Klaus Meine (as on ‘Flying’).Elsewhere, the musical performances are all powerful and impressive, delivering a collection of songs that don’t stray too far from the traditional power metal formulae but nevertheless do so in an efficient and tidy manner." - Planet Mosh
    $15.00
  • Iconoclast is Symphony X's 8th album and debut for their new home at Nuclear Blast. All traces of the symphonic neoclassical metal that characterized their sound through V are now gone. The band made a stylistic change with The Odyssey, developed it further with Paradise Lost and now have really locked into their own identity with Iconoclast. It would be simple to call this power metal but you don't have normally hear a guitarist in a power metal band playing they type of leads that Mike Romeo conjures up. He is one of the most inventive guitarists in metal. Combined with Mike Pinella symphonic accents the progressive elements come through loud and clear. There are a lot of great vocalists in metal but some are a little better than others. Then you get vocalists like Jorn Lande and Russell Allen who are a lot better than the others. Allen comes through with another vocal tour de force. Yes I miss the days of Divine Wings Of Tragedy and Twilight In Olympus but I'm on board with the new sound. Its heavier - crunchier - more direct - but never dull. Romeo makes sure of it - he just bludgeons you with creativity. Highly recommended.
    $6.00
  • "Shrapnel's trademark during many years has been the stuff of guitar virtuosos. You can find Malmsteen's Steeler and MacAlpine's stuff, just to mentioned the most well-known artists of the label, but in the first half of the '80s a four member project had released a very powerful album.The project is really astonishing with MacAlpine on guitars, Aldridge on drums, Rock on vocals, and Sarzo playing bass. It is much more than a project, but a dream team. Sadly, they just released this album.Describing its sound, it has the atmosphere of a space-themed power metal album with influences from bands like Queensr├┐che, Fates Warning, and even Crimson Glory (the well-known white collar USPM sound) with a touch of MacAlpine, who with no doubts marked the difference in the sound of the album. Years later, you'll find traces of the atmosphere of this band with German power metallers like Scanner and Forced Entry.In the first part (the power metal side), you'll find the hard speed metal hitters "Nations on Fire", "Stand Up and Fight", and "Unknown Survivor". These songs, of course, have the sound I mentioned, very effective speed metal with the neoclassical solos MacAlpine plays and Rob Rock vocals being the ingredients that the songs needed. Another important song is the ballad "Nostradamus". In this song, MacAlpine shows another talent he has: keyboard playing. In a more traditional vein, the second part is more relaxed. They explored a more romantic theme, leaving the space, power, and war lyrics of the first part. It isn't really one I enjoyed a lot, but another a good song is "Fantasy".So the album is a very good release. Maybe it isn't cheap (at least in this country), but if you have a chance, just buy it. If you would like to know a similar album, search for Forced Entry's (Ger) self-titled. The album has a similar sound (except for keyboards)." - Metal Archives
    $16.00
  • This is the album that really broke the band in North America.  Hit after hit..."After years of writing hook-laden choruses and triumphantly buzzing riffs, this German band finally perfected the formula. A fine mix of poise and passion, Love at First Sting appeals to both angry metalheads and Top-40 aficionados." -- Jon Wiederhorn
    $5.00
  • "Secret Voyage is another kaleidoscopic musical journey through time and space, incorporating and rearranging traditional melodies from all over Europe, blending the "old" and contemporary. The brilliant guitar stylings of Ritchie Blackmore, the enchanting vocals and lyrics of singer/songwriter Candice Night and the saturation of authentic Renaissance instruments woven throughout the melodies, create a unique style of music they call Renaissance/Folk/Rock. Secret Voyage consists of twelve new tracks, recorded by Candice Night, Ritchie Blackmore and their Band Of Minstrels. This musical journey is inspired by nature and incorporates acoustic and electric guitars, strings, renaissance instruments and Candice Night s ethereal voice and mystical lyrics."
    $15.00
  • Steven Wilson's solo career apart from Porcupine Tree, is for this listener, far more interesting.  Whereas PTree currently skirts the line between rock and metal, his solo work fits squarely in the progressive rock arena.  The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) is easily his magnum opus.  The musicianship is stellar - he recorded with his touring band: Nick Beggs (Stick), Guthrie Govan (guitar), Adam Holzman (keys), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Theo Travis (flute, sax).  Mr. Wilson has also dug two things out of mothballs - King Crimson's Mellotron and Alan Parsons.  It was Steven Wilson's wish to one day work with Alan Parsons, who came on board as engineer.  I can't tell you who is responsibile for what but I can tell you that the production is impeccable.  The opening epic "Luminol" drips with the holy 'tron sounding like a cross-generation blend of King Crimson eras.  And so it goes through out the album.  Some utterly fierce playing on this album.  From beginning to end a stunning effort.  BUY OR DIE!
    $11.00
  • Remastered edition."At least half of the songs on Van Halen's eponymous 1978 debut are still considered classics, and the Eddie Van Halen instrumental "Eruption" revolutionized the guitar community by introducing a technique called finger-tapping into the heavy metal lexicon. A magnificent debut for sure, but maybe the band should have held onto a few of their blockbuster tunes to bolster the lean years that started after 1984, and continue to the present day. Regardless, Van Halen amply demonstrate their drive, showmanship, and musicianship throughout, blowing the needle off the scale on such tracks as "You Really Got Me," "Jamie's Cryin'," "Runnin' with the Devil," and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love."" --Jon Wiederhorn
    $6.00
  • Excellent full length from this up and coming German band. Effloresce fits within the realm of progressive metal but not neatly. Effloresce is fronted by female vocalist Nicki Weber. She has a solid midrange voice. Curiously she also adds harsh black metal vocals in spots as an embellishment...and she also plays flute. Keyboards have a bit of an old school feel (I might even be hearing some Mellotron samples mixed in). In general there is a dark spirit to the music that touches on Opeth territory. Dan Swano mixed and mastered the album so I can understand that angle. The album is filled with epic tracks and while not really solo crazy there are lengthy instrumental passages that demonstrate these guys can certainly play. I'm definitely enjoying the prog rock aspects that keep turning up in unexpected places. Be forewarned, some of you may be turned off by Nicki's use of raspy vocals in spots but its not done in a heavy handed way.
    $15.00
  • Released by Camel some years ago, this is a wonderful archival live set from 1972. Four tracks: "Lady Fantasy", "White Rider", "Six Ate", and the incredible "God Of Light".
    $16.00
  • Years ago before Mind's Eye were Mind's Eye (they were known as Afterglow), the band had demoed many different vocalists. One of them was German Pascual. Reflecting back on those demos I always felt that Pascual was a diamond in the rough and had great potential. He didn't stick with Mind's Eye and to be honest I don't know what he's been up to all this time. He's landed in the Narnia lineup and damn if he isn't a great singer! Guitarist Carl Johan Grimack has toned down all his Malmsteen-isms that always seemed to fit Narnia into a Christian Malmsteen clone box for all these years. Instead there aren't that many solos and the writing has taken the music into a melodic metal direction with catchy choruses. The lyrical themes are still religious and that seems to fit Pascual well as he's also gone down that path.
    $12.00