Batterie Deluxe (Mini-LP Sleeve)

SKU: ARC-3042
Label:
Arcangelo
Category:
Fusion
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This is what the ancient bearded one has to say:

"Morgan Ågren is one of the great drummers of our time. Best known for his work with Mats/Morgan Band, he's also a fine composer and musical thinker.

Since the mid 2000s, one of his interests have been to combine the intense jazz/rock stylings of the Mats/Morgan's earlier work with more contemporary technology, stylings and sounds (think 'beats' and 'electronica'); while those words might scare some folks reading this away, if you liked the sound of "Thanks For Flying With Us" and "[schack tati]", you've heard what I am talking about.

He's been working on this album for the last number of years and it's very much a companion to "[schack tati]" stylistically, some of it completely solo (but not solo drums by any means) and some of it with Mats, as well as Devin Townsend, Fredrik Thordendal, Jimmy Ågren, Simon Steensland and others. Highly recommended! Released only in Japan, in a elegant, mini-lp sleeve!"

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  • This Japanese edition comes with two bonus tracks: "Lonely" and "Sweet Enclosure".
    $15.00
  • Deluxe 5CD overview of Anthony Phillips catalog."His extensive back catalogue is celebrated with the release of "HARVEST OF THE HEART” a 5CD deluxe boxed set, which celebrates Anthony’s rich musical heritage by featuring recordings made between 1969 and the present day, drawn from his many albums. In addition the set will include ten previously unreleased tracks, the unreleased 1973 recording "Silver Song” (featuring Phil Collins as vocalist) and the rare track "Compression” by Mike Rutherford, (previously unreleased on CD) which features Anthony and was the B-side to Mike’s 1980 single "Working in Line”."TRACK LIST:DISC ONE1.    F SHARP2.    SILVER SONG (1973 SINGLE VERSION) – WITH PHIL COLLINS3.    FIELD OF ETERNITY4.    WIND – TALES5.    WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS6.    HENRY – PORTRAITS FROM TUDOR TIMESi.    FANFAREii.    LUTE’S CHORUSiii.    MISTY BATTLEMENTSiv.    LUTE’S CHORUS REPRISEv.    HENRY GOES TO WARvi.    DEATH OF A KNIGHTvii.    TRIUMPHANT RETURN7.    GOD IF I SAW HER NOW8.    OLD WIVES TALES9.    SCOTTISH SUITE - I. SALMON LEAP10.    SCOTTISH SUITE – II. PARTING THISTLE11.    SCOTTISH SUITE – III. ELECTRIC REAPER12.    SCOTTISH SUITE – IV. AMORPHOUS, CADAVEROUS AND NEBULOUS13.    SCOTTISH SUITE – V. SALMON’S LAST SLEEPWALK14.    WE ARE ALL AS WE LIE15.    NOW WHAT (ARE THEY DOING TO MY LITTLE FRIENDS)?16.    PAPER CHASEDISC TWO1.    WISE AFTER THE EVENT2.    UM & AARGH3.    SISTERS OF REMINDUM4.    BLEAK HOUSE5.    NIGHTMARE6.    LUCY WILL (ORIGINAL MIX)7.    COMPRESSION – MIKE RUTHERFORD8.    POLY PIECE9.    ARBORETUM SUITE: IV. LIGHTS ON THE HILL10.    FROSTED WINDOWS (VARIATION I)11.    PRELUDE ‘8412.    ANTHEM 1984DISC THREE1.    FALLING FOR LOVE2.    THE BALLAD OF PENLEE3.    EXOCET4.    SISTINE5.    APRIL6.    SHE’LL BE WAITING7.    LET US NOW MAKE LOVE8.    PROMENADE9.    SUITE: SEA DOGS MOTORING: III. SEA AIR10.    TEARS ON A RAINY DAY11.    EXILE12.    CARNIVAL13.    ELEVENSES14.    TARKA – MOVEMENT I: THE FIRST YEAR15.    TARKA – POSTLUDE: THE ANTHEM16.    LUCY – AN ILLUSIONDISC FOUR1.    STRANGER2.    SLOW DANCE ("HARVEST OF THE HEART” EDITED VERSION)3.    UNHEARD CRY4.    AUBADE5.    SARAH BLAKELEY’S EVENING6.    CREATION7.    LA DOLOROSA8.    CATHEDRAL WOODS9.    SERENITA10.    LIFEBOAT SUITE11.    LAST GOODBYES (FROM "THE LIVING ROOM CONCERT”)12.    COLLECTIONS (FROM "THE LIVING ROOM CONCERT”)13.    SLEEPFALL (FROM "THE LIVING ROOM CONCERT”)14.    GYPSY SUITE – MOVEMENT I: FIRST LIGHT15.    GYPSY SUITE – MOVEMENT III: EVENING CIRCLE16.    CREATURES OF THE MAGIC WATER – OPENING THEME17.    ISLAND OF STONEDISC FIVE1.    MIDWAY: ISLAND OF LIFE OPENING THEME2.    ONZA – EATER OF SOULS3.    JURASSIC SHARK – OPENING THEME4.    FIGHT TO THE DEATH5.    FROM THE JAWS OF DEATH – TOUCHING THE FACE OF GOD6.    RAY’S SONG7.    I WISH THIS WOULD NEVER END8.    MAJESTIC WHALES9.    WILDLIFE FLOTILLA10.    WHITE SPIDER11.    KISSING GATE12.    NOCTURNE13.    KING OF THE MOUNTAINS14.    CIRCLE OF LIGHT15.    THE GOLDEN LEAVES OF FALL16.    COURTESAN17.    SPEAK OF REMARKABLE THINGS18.    RIVER OF LIFEPREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS19.    CITY OF LIGHT20.    NIGHTJAR21.    SLOW ROLLER22.    IMPERIUM23.    A SIMPLE TRUTH24.    VESPERTINE25.    FORGET-ME-NOT26.    THE STORM OF THE WINDHOVER27.    PAS DE DEUX28.    RINGER
    $65.00
  • Xandria are back with a new singer and don't miss a beat. Replacing Lisa Middelhauve is Manuela Kraller, formerly with Haggard. The band doesn't deviate from their tried and true formula. This is epic symphonic gothic metal similar to Visions Of Atlantis, older Within Temptation, Edenbridge and countless others in the genre. Having said that they do this style of music about as well as it can be done. Napalm Records has pretty much cornered the market on this sound and I'm sure Xandria is sitting at the top of their roster.
    $12.00
  • "The first Mahavishnu Orchestra's original very slim catalog was padded out somewhat by this live album (recorded in New York's Central Park) on which the five jazz/rock virtuosos can be heard stretching out at greater length than in the studio. There are only three selections on the disc, all of which were to have been on the group's then-unissued third album -- two of them, guitarist John McLaughlin's "Trilogy: Sunlit Path/La Merede la Mer" and keyboardist Jan Hammer's "Sister Andrea," are proportioned roughly as they were in their studio renditions, while the third, McLaughlin's "Dream," is stretched to nearly double its 11-minute studio length. Each develops organically through a number of sections, and there are fewer lockstep unison passages than on the earlier recordings. McLaughlin is as flashy and noisy as ever on double-necked electric guitar, and Hammer and violinist Jerry Goodman are a match for him in the speed department, with drummer Billy Cobham displaying a compelling, raw power and dexterity to his work as well, especially on the CD edition, which also gives bassist Rich Laird a showcase for his slightly subtler work. Yet for all of the superb playing, one really doesn't hear much music on this album; electricity and competitive empathy are clearly not enough, particularly on the 21-minute "Dream," which left a lot of fans feeling let down at the end of its side-two-filling run on the LP. In the decades since this album was released, the studio versions of these three pieces, along with other tracks being worked up for their third album, have appeared as The Lost Trident Sessions -- dating from May and June of 1973 -- thus giving fans a means of comparing this repertory to what the band had worked out (or not worked out) in the studio; and Between Nothingness and Eternity has come up a bit in estimation as a result, benefiting as it does from the spontaneity and energy of a live performance, though even that can only carry this work so far -- beyond the personality conflicts that broke up the band, they seem to have been approaching, though not quite reaching, a musical dead end as well." - Allmusic
    $5.00
  • "Released in 1988, Guitar may be the most important and ironically one of the least-known entries in Frank Zappa's voluminous discography -- which spans over seven-dozen LPs as of this writing. His proficiencies as a composer and instrumentalist have long been lauded. However, anthologies of this nature provide an outlet for the remarkable breadth and depth of Zappa's manual dexterity and improvisational scope, which can now be enjoyed on a myriad of levels. The casual enthusiast can revel in the seemingly endless personas and sounds summoned from the soloist and band alike. Devotees of the artist and/or instrument are presented with example upon example of Zappa's ability to create masterworks on the fly and often in the context of larger pieces. For example, "Which One Is It?" is an extraction from "The Black Page" in Munich, Germany, on June 26, 1982. Compare it to the likes of "Move It or Park It," which was likewise lifted from "The Black Page" two weeks earlier in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 11, 1982. Caveat emptor to those following the liner notes, as they are wrought with inaccurate dates. Interestingly, whenGuitar was prepped for CD, several of the mixes were altered. So, the original two-LP set -- despite containing 13 fewer cuts -- is preferred by some. That minutia aside, simply listening to Zappa as a primary player is always a treat for inclined parties and there are a few exceptional selections scattered throughout. "For Duane" -- a nod to fellow stringman Duane Allman -- is made all the more poignant for having been played before a (kinda) hometown crowd in Atlanta, GA, November 25, 1984. Other standouts include a pair of Joe's Garage-related cuts: "Outside Now" -- dating back to March of 1979 -- and the emotional immediacy infused into "Watermelon in Easter Hay," the latter taken from a Jones Beach show on August 16, 1984. On the whole, Guitar joins the Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar trilogy as a key component in unraveling the endless enigma of Frank Zappa as a major fretmeister." - Allmusic
    $21.00
  • First album. Has Charlie Dominici on vocals which is generally regarded as not such a good thing.
    $10.00
  • Germany’s most famous progressive rock band is back. In celebration of Eloy’s 40th anniversary, band founder/guitarist/visionary Frank Bornemann has returned to the studio to grace us with the band’s first studio album in 10 years. Bornemann’s goal was to recreate the vintage sound of their most popular period. To that end he assembled a lineup featuring members of the band’s past. Time was spent recording at world renowned Horus Sound Studios in Hannover, Germany. Actually owned by Frank Bornemann, it is the place where the classic Eloy sound was created. The result is “Visionary” – an album that can be simply described as pure Eloy. Frank Bornemann formed Eloy in 1969. By 1973 the band was signed to EMI’s prestigious Harvest label. Through constant touring they became a tremendous success in Germany and later on in the UK. Their 1977 album “Ocean” has now sold over 250,000 copies in Germany alone and was certified gold. The music of Eloy transcends genres. One of the originators of the European “space rock” sound, they added symphonic elements to their music that appeals to fans of both progressive and hard rock. The themes of Bornemann’s lyrics are derived from science fiction and ancient mythology with a liberal sprinkling of cosmic consciousness. The Laser’s Edge is proud to be part of this new chapter in Eloy’s history and present this historic new album to their North American fan base. “Visionary” arrives in a deluxe package, featuring a 16-page booklet and a “making of” video.
    $15.00
  • "A Hauntingly Beautiful and Dark Sophomore Effort. Get it before the darkness comes...Anais Nin said "we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are".That is the absolute truth - in life and in great art, literature, and music. It speaks to you in a deeply personal way. The artist's specific intent, the story behind the story, matters not. What does matter is that when you interact with what the artist has wrought, you feel something. You feel as if it was created especially for you, about you, your life, your life experience. It speaks to you. It makes you stop in your tracks and forces you pay attention. It touches something deep in your soul."The Final Breath Before November" is that album. Edison's Children is that artist. Artists is more accurate. This masterwork showcases vocalists and multi-instrumentalists and Eric Blackwood and Pete Trewavas, drummer Henry Rogers, and backing vocalist Wendy Farrell-Pastore, who also designed the release's haunting artwork. The album was mixed by a virtual Who's Who of Progressive Rock including King Crimson's Jakko Jakszyk, Marillion's Mike Hunter, It Bites' John Mitchell, Robin Boult, and Pete Trewavas.Yes. It is a ghost story. But, that is the most simplistic view of what it is.It is a love story. It illustrates the power of love. It drives us to do crazy things. It endures after death. It endures across time and space. It reminds us that people never really leave you. They linger in the ether, in your heart, in your mind. Their essence stays behind to watch over you.It is also a cautionary tale. It is a warning not to act harshly or rashly. Don't do things that you can not come back from. Don't make mistakes you can not fix. Once things have been done (or said), you can never take them back. You can never get back to the place where you once were. You can never go home again. No matter how much you want to. No matter how hard you try. You just can't.It is a reminder that we have to let go of the pain, hurt, anger, regret and whatever else we have pent up inside ourselves. If we don't let go of all those things, we become stuck and can't move on. We remain in the same place all of our lives. The same physical place. The same emotional place. The same spiritual place. Stuck. Never growing. Never changing. Never becoming who or what we were supposed to be. We remain a shadow of ourselves, forever trapped in a darkness of our own making.It is a reminder that we have to face our demons. They will come at us over and over again until we do. If we don't, they will be back and they will try to pull us down to even darker places. Over and over again. We will be stuck in the mire for our lifetime, for eternity if we don't.What this album says to me is that love is a powerful thing. The most powerful thing in the Universe. But, in the end, you have to let go of those you love. People change. People die. Relationships change. Relationships end. If you keep holding onto someone who is no longer with you, then you can't move on. Not until you let go. You can't be truly happy. You can't feel the sunshine. You can't walk into the light. You destined to live in a hell (or a purgatory) of your own creation. Unless you let go." - ProgArchives.com
    $12.00
  • US version with 3 bonus tracks."The shady stretch of land that exists somewhere between the crossroads of rock, metal, prog, and alternative is one that generates discussion, but not necessarily sales. Fans of Dredg, Oceansize, Cog, and the like have watched countless inspired dissenters of the rock norm leave their mark on music boards and venue bathrooms, only to fizzle into obscurity when radio deemed their playful idiosyncrasies just a little too off-putting. There is a certain burden any group that shakes off standard typecasts faces, yet, with the Australian music scene abuzz with newly recognized talent, and the current popularity of all things delay-driven, it’s an interesting time to be a band like Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus.In a recent editorial Vince wrote about Tesseract, he echoed a sentiment I’ve long held: the current line of alternative progressive bands might just be the perfect “something for everyone” presence heavy music has needed to escape the rigid confines of the underground.It is difficult to shake the sense, in listening to Dead Letter Circus’s sophomore album, The Catalyst Fire, that the term “alternative rock” does no justice to them, and that there are a whole lot of people who could conceivably enjoy the crap out of this work.Dead Letter Circus already proved that touring with significantly heavier bands (the likes of which include Animals as Leaders, Intronaut, Last Chance to Reason, and Monuments) posed no challenge to winning over fans who would normally avoid anything quite so digestible, and with the impeccable song craft and memorable hooks on display in The Catalyst Fire, I think it’s only a matter of time before the people standing on the other side of the aisle also take notice.The first things that standout on any number of these tunes are Kim Benzie’s explosive tenor vocals and the big, shimmering walls of sound his band mates house them in. Benzie has the kind of voice that is perfect for this style of music—familiar, but never readily traceable to a sum of affected influences. His range alone is impressive, but his ability to weave it into inescapably catchy melodic motifs with intelligent messaging behind them is paramount to DLC’s universal appeal.Of course vocals alone are not the full package; this is passionate, high-energy music, and the band behind Benzie just kills it. As with This is The Warning, the group’s instrumental voice consists of delay-blasted, tremolo-heavy guitar leads jousting with one of the growliest bass tones in rock music and an ever-stimulating rhythmic presence that never feels “in the way.” Luke Williams shows off more than a little of [The Mars Volta's] Jon Theodore’s influence in his nutty patterns, but by keeping them within the architecture of 4/4 time he never detracts from the immediacy of his surroundings.This package is all further elevated by Australian production ace Forrester Savell (Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect), who returns for his second project with the band. His distinctive mix style of “rhythm guitar in the background— everything else upfront” plays a pivotal role in what makes Dead Letter Circus sound so friggin’ huge and heavy without sounding like a metal band.High praise aside, it’s worth acknowledging that very little has changed in the group’s formula. The Catalyst Fire is just another batch of very tightly written and memorable songs, with all of the group’s strengths made readily apparent. Despite having two new guitarists in the band’s ranks (following the departure of founding member Rob Maric), the aforementioned stylistic elements that made This is The Warning successful remain firmly in place.There does, however, seem to be more of an effort made to vary things up on this work. Where the group’s debut, at times, felt a little too consistent in its approach, The Catalyst Fire sees Dead Letter Circus shuffling out the constant adrenaline of songs like “Stand Apart” and the single “Lodestar” for contemplative slowburners to the tune of “The Veil” and “I Am.” One could argue that the group has become a little comfortable with the harmonic framework of their choosing, but it would be difficult to imagine them conveying the same feeling in their music outside of their beloved major-flavored-minor key progressions.As a whole, The Catalyst Fire, is darker and snappier in its execution than This is The Warning, making for a subtle evolution of an already very strong base. Also, the fact that Karnivool recently made a serious deviation from their relative norm makes a more immediate and urgent sounding release from the Dead Letter folks all too welcome in 2013. I have little doubt that those in the metal and prog worlds who dug the group’s first release will have no trouble rekindling the flame with The Catalyst Fire, but with a little marketing muscle, this could be the vehicle that makes Dead Letter Circus an “anybody band,” and a damn good one at that." - Metal Sucks
    $12.00
  • "‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ is a conceptual album by Swedish band THERION that features only French lyrics and consists of cover versions of old French pop songs from 60-70s. THERION celebrates by "a special art project", headlining by the material, its 25 anniversary. It was also said that the album is available only during the tour and from THERION online store; it is sponsored by the only founding member, Christofer Johnsson. But you can buy it i.e. on Amazon as well. I am not going to go at length comparing THERION old and new and trying to rationalise things. The reason is simple, as this album was actually the first that caught my full attention. I start from the cover: it's full of topless females. Obviously, Charles Baudelaire's legacy is quite reminiscent there. The cover is made of a quite rich artwork of Saturno Butto, themed mainly erotic and varying from matte painting to charcoal sketches.Most of the songs here are quite short, yet powerful. Why these songs? I have at hand some lengthy explanations from the press kit, but in fact it boils to one single thing: the overall direction of French songs that are dark and telling some quite grim stories. Yet we all aware of a largely poetic language and melodic music background of French culture. Christofer has a great, fluent knowledge of musical styles and approaches, so he claims influences from King Diamond, Candlemass to folk music and ABBA. The album is beating with energy, in carries you along with its set of 15 songs performed mainly by the lead opera singer, soprano Lori Lewis.Of course I was curious about how exactly the original songs were altered. It's too much of effort to get past all these tracks, so I picked few favourites. ‘Mon amour, mon ami’ by Marie Laforet is a playful pop song, performed originally in circus-like up-tempo, but THERION specialists worked closely in order bring about the "inner darkness", toned down tempo and timbre and added traditionally "darker" music instruments such as organ - so song became indeed heavier and more minor, yet more powerful and strong. ‘Polichinelle’, performed with a cute teenage girl's voice by France Gall, is initially a pretty love ballad that relates to a Commedia dell 'arte character (note that comedian masks are worn by the naked ladies on the album booklet. (Thumbs up for the throughout conceptual work!) THERION ended up with an operetta rendering of the song, making of it somewhat of an opera house hymn, this type of sound you would expect from contemporary French musicals. Despite being one of the most experimental pieces on the album, it would be, probably, one of the most noticeable tracks.Finally, Victoire Scott's ‘Une fleur dans le coeur’ - Christofer did not like very much a feature you can hear in original, the honky-tonk (tuned-off) piano that he only describes as "dreadful". Instead, THERION interpretation is deeply lyrical, with plenty of acoustic guitar and strong soprano of Lori multiplied by the riffs you might expect from Jann Tiersen, metal additions and whole lot of different styles changing one to another. One drawback that I see is that the vocal style often remains of the same across album, so if you listen to 15 songs in a row, you might be tired a bit with the similar style. Yet the band paid enough attention to insert pleasant breaks by quest vocalists. The album sounds sound, fresh, and original and there is additional fun to compare originals to the covers." - Reflections Of Darkness
    $11.00
  • Hardbound digibook import comes with 1 bonus track."It seems strange that a musician from a genre notorious for its unwillingness to embrace outside influences and to stay ‘true’ to its original vision has made one of the most forward-thinking albums of the year. But Ihsahn has always displayed broader influences than many of his contemporaries from the black metal scene, and previous album After was pretty much the man moving on from his black metal roots and veering into more progressive territories. Emerita sees him fully make that transition. The relatively straightforward opener ‘Arrival’ is a slightly misleading introduction to the album, sounding more hard rock in structure than the onslaught of ideas that awaits you once the monstrous ‘The Paranoid’ brings its wrath and fury straight into your brain. Starting with a blastbeat the song spreads out in several different directions, evoking the dark majesty of Opeth, but without the 70s connotations. The sweeping riffs and chanting refrains of the chorus – not to mention a monster of a chugging riff that hits around the 1:20 mark – change the mood totally before the blasting begins again, and then closes on more of those lush melodies. This album keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure.‘Introspection’ adds more musicality into its beautiful opening rhythms, with Ihsahn’s strong voice giving the song some depth and clarity before he changes tack and goes all gruff, with Devin Townsend adding his two-pennies’ worth on backing vocals. ‘Introspection’ and ‘The Paranoid’ on their own would be worthy of glowing praise for their progressive and avant-garde noodlings but come ‘The Eagle and the Snake’ – and the return of the saxophone that graced After, courtesy of Shining saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby – the game is upped once again. Where the sax on After seemed more like an afterthought, here it is truly woven into the structure of the song and sounding wonderfully evil.To be honest, the first half of this album is such a whirlwind of exciting ideas and musical adventures that it’s quite difficult to see how Ihsahn can keep up the quality throughout, but as the album moves on the twists and turns keep on coming and a breakdown of each track and its merits would probably fill up the pages of a novel. Needless to say, things don’t get any less hectic and apart from the short instrumental ‘Grief’ – which serves as an interlude before the massive ‘The Grave’, which again features Munkeby on a slightly more intrusive saxophone – the album carries on bringing forth all manner of expansive soundscapes before the closing, off-kilter beats of ‘Departure’.Probably one of the most inventive musicians working within music – and not just metal – today, Ihsahn has pushed the envelope once again, combining avant-garde, jazz and progressive elements into his gnarly, dark metal, and released an album that will no doubt appear in many end-of-year lists come December, and rightly so." - One Metal
    $17.00
  • Special edition arrives with a bonus DVD of the band performing material from Concrete Gardens filmed at EMGTV."Sound: Tony MacAlpine was one of the Shrapnel label guitarists of the '80s, and also played keyboards for the debut releases of Vinnie Moore and other Shrapnel artists. Tony's debut solo album, "Edge of Insanity," came iout in 1986 - the same year as his first side project, M.A.R.S., with release of the album "Project: Driver." Since that time Tony MacAlpine has released numerous solo albums, participated in collaborations, made live guest appearances, and even acted as part of Steve Vai's backing band. "Concrete Gardens" is Tony's twelfth solo studio album, and is entirely instrumental like the vast majority of Tony's solo work. The album has been in the works since 2013, but took a while to release due to Tony's numerous collaborations and other projects. Jeff Loomis provides a guest guitar solo on the album on the track, "Square Circles." The album contains 12 tracks with a total runtime of just under sixty minutes. The album differs from Tony's previous work by having more of a progressive metal flavor to it, while I think of most of his previous releases as just being straight instrumental rock.The album opens up with the track "Exhibitionist Blvd," with some seriously flanged guitar and a major key melody that builds into something a little different as the track goes on. There is a specific passage that shows the influence that Vai has had on MacAlpine, though I would rank them close to equal in the virtuoso racket. "The King's Rhapsody" opens up with a keyboard intro, played by Tony, of course. Heavy guitars come in and takes the song to a few unexpected places, and actually gets my foot tapping, too - which is an accomplishment for instrumental rock! "Man in a Metal Cage" has some interesting note choices, with some mildly middle-eastern sounds for a few brief moments in the track mixed in with some obligatory sweep tapping. Otherwise, there are several passages working to create several moments of extreme tension. There are a few arpeggiated parts that are reminiscent of some other song that I can't quite place. "Poison Cookies" has a weird jazz-fusion funk feeling going on with it that I definitely appreciated - if for nothing else it changed gears long enough to shake off any monotony I thought the album might be working towards."Epic" was both a more laid back song, but also was very cerebral - the keyboard and guitar parts built on each other in a weird/cool way. "Napoleon's Puppet" very briefly reminded me of some material written by Brendan Small for his album, "Galaktikon," but it had that rhythm part to it that definitely separated it by giving it some incredibly strong groove. "Sierra Morena" is played on piano/keyboard in the intro but guitar, bass and drums come in pretty quickly. The song is named after a mountain range in Spain with the same name. I can't quite connect the music as being descriptive of a mountain range unless they're being written about the context of flying over them. "Square Circles" has some moments in the track that remind me a little bit of King Crimson, though the sense of melody is still a tad more traditional. Jeff Loomis guests on this track for a guitar solo, and it is a fairly outstanding solo in the context of the song, having a good balance of being emotive and twisted."Red Giant" is a pretty intense track, with some more middle-eastern vibes going on, and one of the most engaging and vocal-like melodies from the album, to my ears. "Confessions of a Medieval Monument" definitely grabs a certain type of vibe from the opening, with a cool (but fairly simple) bassline running behind it. This is definitely one of those songs that creates a fertile atmosphere for a little mind movie to play along to it. The way the dynamics are used on this song, as well as the recurring melodic theme, make this easily one of the strongest tracks on the album. The title track, "Concrete Gardens," is interesting with a heavy rhythm guitar and a (initially) much cleaner lead part. Something about this track reminds me of Frank Zappa, which is absolutely a good thing. The album closes out with a song called "Maiden's Wish," which is played on keyboard/piano as a solo piece. It is a fairly light-hearted song to end the album with, and I enjoyed it. If you just listen for the crazy guitar, then you can stop short of "Maiden's Wish." // 8Lyrics: There are none. // 8Overall Impression: I have always been extremely impressed with Tony MacAlpine, and this album just reinforces my opinion. While he may not be quite at the technical/speed level of some other virtuoso guitarists, especially the whole Shrapnel bunch, he makes up for it in a strong sense of feel and musicality. I especially enjoy the melodies he uses as recurring themes in many of his songs. I highly recommend this album to anyone who's a fan of instrumental rock or metal. // 8" - Ultimate-Guitar.com
    $15.00
  • Previously unavailable on CD, Hermann Szobel’s “Szobel” was originally released by Arista Records in 1976. Over the years the album has established a worldwide cult following and the mysterious Mr. Szobel has become a bit of an enigma. Szobel was a 17-year virtuoso pianist who arrived from Austria with aspirations to become a star in the world of jazz. He also happened to be the nephew of rock impresario Bill Graham. Originally intended for release on Arista’s Freedom jazz imprint, the decision was made by Clive Davis to release the debut album on Arista proper in order to give it a chance at a broader appeal. An extraordinary band was assembled to record Szobel’s highly complex music: Michael Visceglia on bass, Bob Goldman on drums, Dave Samuels on percussion including marimba and vibraphone, and Vadim Vyadro on tenor sax, clarinet, and flute. Szobel was highly influenced by Martial Solal and Frank Zappa. His compositions are rooted in jazz, rock and Western classical composition. They are extremely complex and the recording sessions were quite laborious. While he gives space to all of the musicians, his phenomenal technique as a pianist is clearly displayed. In the September 6, 1976 issue of Downbeat the review said that Szobel had "a conception and technique far in advance of most musicians twice his age." Upon its release the album did not sell well and Szobel’s behavior became more and more eccentric. In the middle of recording a second (still unreleased) album, rumor has it that he suffered a mental breakdown. He disappeared from the music world forever. Since then rumors have swirled and a mythology has been created. Unconfirmed reports have Mr. Szobel currently living in Austria. “Szobel” has now been mastered for CD release by audiophile engineer Bob Katz. Extensive liner notes by bassist Michael Visceglia unlock some of the mysteries of Hermann Szobel.
    $14.00
  • "Power metal has always been as fun as it is ridiculous. I may be overstepping my bounds, but if any bands care to disagree, let their dragons smite me where I stand. Dark Moor has been around since, what feels like, the beginning of time. Actually, it was closer to the late '90s when _Shadowland_ was released. Since their glorious debut into the golden halls of classical influenced power metal, the band has gone through serious line-up changes, including the 2003 departure of vocalist Elisa Martin. I would say that Dark Moor has changed drastically since 1999, but then again I would be overstepping my bounds. Fans have been divided over Martin led Dark Moor versus the new line-up with rich tenor Alfred Romero taking vocal duties. _Ancestral Romance_ is the band's eighth album, continuing the tradition of making music which sounds like battle themes for "Final Fantasy" games. _Ancestral Romance_ travels down well worn paths dug and paved by Blind Guardian, Helloween and Stratovarius. In fact, Dark Moor does nothing which breaks tradition with European power metal as well as previous releases. Despite its conceptual shortcomings, _Ancestral Romance_ does everything it should, at the right time and with the level of energy which soars straight through a vaulted roof.Stark realism hasn't always been a popular subject for power metal, as most albums are dedicated to high fantasy and various forms of speculative fiction. _Ancestral Romance_ deviates slightly with its pastoral paintings dedicated to Spanish folklore. If I could describe a song as framed and gilded in ornate gold, I would. While there is some historic truth to many songs, the level of fiction present is enough to make Rhapsody of Fire blush. Everything is inspired by actual events, and those events have been dramatized, exaggerated and heavy diffused. There are some obvious Spanish songs, such as the Don Quixote ballad " Tilt at Windmills", while others are more specific, like the Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar centered "Mio Cid". The Spanish Golden Age is usually not a popular period of inspiration, however, "Ah, Wretched Me" and its tribute to Pedro Calderón de la Barca says otherwise. _Ancestral Romance_ reads like the syllabus to a grad level Spanish literature class. It's exclusivity and somewhat obscure subject matter makes this portion of the record a highlight and selling point.There are, however, downfalls such as the middle selection entitled "Just Rock". I would try to brush this song off as a poor translation, but anything named "Just Rock" has one unfortunate conclusion. The congratulatory nature of "Just Rock" and masculine celebration of music in general feels silly as a midpoint pep rally which no one asked for. I am not pointing any fingers, but "Just Rock" may or may not have the lyrics "You feel the beat, you get a shock / when your soul harmonized with rock". This song completely disrupts a perfect afternoon with a coerced battle hymn. Dark Moor interrupts your picnic by dragging their muddy feet on the blanket. Luckily, after this shipwreck, the album moves along swimmingly until the end._Ancestral Romance_ could also be praised for its position on tempo. Speed, for Dark Moor, isn't necessarily the end goal as with most power metal. While the ferocity of DragonForce and Sonata Artica is fun, it is sometimes treated as a technical checkmate. Dark Moor coasts at midspeed while still showing off technical prowess and unnecessary bass solos. The cruising speed of Manowar's _In Glory Ride_ and Iced Earth's _Night of the Stormrider_ worked fine in the past and works again for _Ancestral Romance_.It is hard to fault a band for doing everything with textbook style and predictable grace. Dark Moor has made it apparent they intend on skipping forward with little to no change. There is some admiration granted to an artist working through a style over the course of eight albums. Each album is another step in becoming folk heroes or possibility having their faces engraved on coins. _Ancestral Romance_ , for better or worse, is everything you expect it to be and nothing more." - chroniclesofchaos.com
    $6.00