Between Daylight And Pain

SKU: ETLCD20
Label:
End Of Light
Category:
Power Metal
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"Italian power metal band Holy Knights have managed to let ten years elapse between releases. This is not often the best business model- just ask Axl. The band currently consists of Simone Campione (Nexus/Thy Majestie/Ex-Irencors): Guitars, Bass with Claudio Florio (Crimson Wind/Trinakrius/Ex-Synthesys): Drums and Dario Di Matteo: Keyboards/Vocals and they have produced an easy-to-review-for-the-lazy album. Why is it easy? That would be because it would be simple to say something along the lines of, "If you like (insert Euro power metal band such as Rhapsody)...then you'll like Between Daylight and Pain.

In the main this is a generally accurate comparison as Holy Knights bombard the listener with a massive wall of sound including fairground/carnival type music on "Frozen Paradise". They are not quite as over the top as some of their contemporaries and when they rein it in they are like Royal Hunt which is a good thing. Yes it is somewhat of a cheesefest but it reveals a joie de vivre lacking in so much modern music and that makes this reviewer happy." - Sea Of Tranquility

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  • "The road to Altzi is paved with good intentions…. When Masterplan announced the new lineup in November of last year, Jorn apologists flooded the comment strings of various metal news outlets with comments like “another band is spoiled by a vocalist change” and “no Jorn…no Masterplan.” While I might agree that there was reason for outcry when a well-known/respected singer leaves a band, it’s not as if Masterplan has never had another vocalist and is not a band with more past members than present. The object is to listen and make judgments later. The announcement of Rick Altzi was particularly intriguing and any fan of At Vance and Thunderstone can attest – there was much reason for hope.The news that main man/guitarist Roland Grapow’s (Ex-Helloween) revealed that there was going to be a return to “faster” and “more metal” material made this more appealing. Add further still…the addition of Ex-Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and the naysayers should have stood back and waited to react. Why? As it turned out, Rick Altzi proves a more than compatible replacement for Jorn…and *GASP* dare I say – a wee bit better in spots? Blasphemy? Try it…prove me wrong.Musically, the album ranks as one of the band’s finest, recalling the best heard from the self-titled debut, 2005’s “Aeronautics,” and the appropriately titled 2010 “Time to Be King,” but with a heavier edge. Altzi is so compatible that only the most attentive Jorn fans can see the difference, most notably that low power that shifts with a slab of grit while on the way up to the high range. This is not besmirching Altzi at all, as his range is proven and perfect. His first appearance is at 0:47 on the album’s second track “The Game,” an admirable driving melodic metal song with noticeably well-crafted double bass from new drummer Marthus Skaroupka (Cradle of Filth) and copious amounts of heaviness intertwined with trademark melody. Grapow proves again what amazing solos he can play.The album’s first music video was for “Keep Your Dream Alive” – a mid-paced winner expertly chosen, as it’s the song where Altzi shines brightest, showing the breadth of his range – and for many moments I said “Jorn who?” The finest track on the album is “Betrayal,” which will prove to be one of the best of the year when all is said and done, if not for its Middle Eastern charm that falls into the heaviest riff on the album drawn out like slamming shudders by Axel Mackenrott’s keyboards. Other notables are the appealing riff in “Earth Going Down” (which is a tad swallowed by the keyboards as the song progresses), the Strato-feel of “Black Night of Magic,” the speedier “Return to Avalon” and the never dull 11 minute title track (especially 6:13 to 7:15) and vocal duet of Altzi and Grapow. Highly recommended is the digipak version with bonus tracks “1492” and “Fear the Silence.”My only complaint is not necessarily with the band’s play or its flawless execution, its more the melodic metal style in general. At the same time it represents a favorite style – in Masterplan’s case best defined as “what Whitesnake would sound like if they tipped a bit into power metal” – listening to entire album presents a challenge, if only for that mid-paced repetition. I find the album plays a bit better when I listen to a few songs at a time, mixing it in with other bands and styles.This may be “a new beginning” for Masterplan in member changes, however the creation of high quality melodic metal perseveres. Grapow assembled a new team of musicians that prove just as compatible, especially Altzi’s performance. With the proof in the product, fans of the band should have little to complain about with “Novum Initium,” though I suspect some Jorn lamenters will never take the road less traveled….the one where its “time for” Rick “to be king.”" - Metal Underground
    $14.00
  • "Annysia is a Symphonic Power Metal band from Spain, led by lead vocalist, Rose Mack. The obligatory instrumental, The Essence Of A New Born Star is a well written one, that builds up tension in the beginning of the disc much like a movie soundtrack to an epic battle movie. The operatic stylings of Mack can be heard immediately over a harpischord-laden keyboard effect before the rest of the band kicks in. She definitely has a style of her own, and the music behind her is well played. The highest range of her vocals on this song, show her range, though I think an octave lower is more in her power range. The guitar solo on the other hand sounds out of place, but it may be the production of the song,. Nephilim starts out much in the same vein, though the vocals during the verses are a little more subdued and similar to Liv Kristine in Leave's Eyes. The growly/black metal vocals on this particular song don't do much for me here. The brief but arppegio-laden guitar solo is again well played, and a better fit here. Battle of Mystics is the first track I heard from the band, and honestly the vocal gymnastics in the beginning and during parts of the song, show Mack's talent, but they are done a little too much for my taste, though the song itself is very good. Actually musically this is probably my favorite track on the disc Demontia is a track I could not get into, but musically is not a bad song. Fairysins though, features Mack and a soft piano. Her vocals on this song shows her unique tone, and her wheelhouse when it comes to her range. This song is actually quite beautiful. The epic-ness of Valkyrie is not just in its almost nine minute length, but the music as well. Mack commands her range throughout the entire song, and the twin guitar lead melody is well played. I am not sure if I like the lead tone of the guitar that much, its a little fuzzy for my taste, but the musicianship is definitely there. The previously mentioned death/black metal vocals make an appearance here, and again does nothing for me except take away from Mack's solid performance.Again the fuzzy guitar tone comes back on the beginning of Redemption though when it meshes with the symphonic parts it does not sound as bad. Straying from her operatic range for most the song, Mack shows that she can again, subdue her range, even on a much faster song. The ability for her to sing like this, without her sounding like she is singing in a monotone is a compliment to her abilities. Lost Soul is another piano song, showing the sweeping vocals of Mack. The expression “Less is more,” best explains her vocals on this song, and it was definitely the right call. The instrumental of Captain's Song shows her bandmates definitely have talent themselves, and it is a pretty damn good instrumental. Another standout song is the mid paced, Pirates Of The Sea. The male operatic vocals are too low in the mix to be heard clear enough, though they are much better than the “Blackened” ones of earlier. Nivek is next, and is another epic song in its song structure. For the seven minutes it runs, it pretty much hits all the right marks. With headphones on though, Mack's vocals could have been produced a little better,and be heard a little louder. Much like the disc begins, it ends with an instrumental track, an outro.While the imperfections do come to head when you hear the disc as a whole, Annysia's debut is actually a well written, if only inconsistently produced disc. The disc does have its highs, with strong songwriting and Mack's powerhouse vocals. I do believe in some songs, the band is trying to be as epic as possibly when possibly a little more restrain could have been used. Again most of this criticism is personal opinion, and every listener will have their own opinion. As a whole, this is a great start for a new band, who is obviously full of talented musicians. Let us hope for a label to find the band, and for stronger production values next time." - Metal Review
    $13.00
  • The female fronted metal scene is overcrowded at the moment and a lot of solid bands in the genre are getting overlooked.  Hopefully that won't happen to End Of The Dream.  The Dutch seem to gravitate towards this sound and lord knows there are tons of them coming out of the Netherlands.  Lets face it - Within Temptation, Delain, Epica - they do it best.  End Of The Dream don't seem to be trying to reinvent the genre - they seem content to fit comfortably in it and they do it extremely well.  Out front is vocalist Micky Huijsmans.  She's a rock solid singer and I must say not too hard on the eyes either.  The band seems to avoid the male growling and so the music is more in line with Evanescence, Delain and Within Temptation.  Like Epica there is a strong symphonic element that the Dutch always seem to inject into their sound.  Makes sense - this was produced by Joost van den Broek (After Forever) so he knows what the band is aiming for.  It would be a shame if this band gets lost in the crowd as they definitely have the material and sound to rise above the pack.  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • "7 long years it has been since PYRAMAZE’s last album, “Immortal”, with the famed Matt Barlow at the vocal helm. Come 2015, the band has seen half of the original lineup revamped; still remains Jonah Weingarten on keyboards, Morten Gade Sørensen on drums and Toke Skjønnemand on guitars, but have welcomed about longtime-friend and producer Jacob Hansen on guitars and Terje Harøy on vocals. “Disciples Of The Sun” assuredly marks the beginning of a new era for the band, adopting a new and fresh musical trajectory.Who would replace the former members were always at the forefront of the minds of their fanbase. A Danish band, with the exception of American Jonah, Jacob Hansen is well-known in the metal echelons of his home-country and abroad for working with and producing many of Metal’s greatest bands; DELAIN, ABORTED, ANUBIS GATE and EPICA among them. Already the band’s producer, the transition to guitar simply made sense. As for vocals, many considered Matt irreplaceable; such cynicism does not have a place in the metal world, for the band pulled in Terje from Prog/Heavy band CROSSNAIL (formerly TEODOR TUFF).On one hand, the decision to pick a relatively-unknown singer to take the vacant vocal position could be considered risky, but it was the best-possible decision the band could have made, because “Disciples Of The Sun” is chock-full of uplifting and powerful heavy-hitters, to which his voice is perfectly-suited. The introduction of epic proportions sets a spanning, cinematic scene for chugger “The Battle Of Paridas”. One of the album’s heaviest moments right off the bat, the track soon gets into the lyrics, where Terje’s power is obvious right away. Come the chorus (in fact, any chorus on the album, especially that of “Fearless” or “Hope Springs Eternal), the man’s voice lets loose with raw, unrestrained energy. Not losing their trademark, soaring atmospherics either, which are incredibly present in this track, as well as in the infectiously-catchy “Back For More”, PYRAMAZE proves that they have successfully moved forward without losing any trace of their identity.In hearing the wonderful lyrics for the album, written with absolute poetic flair in “Genetic Process” and “Hope Springs Eternal”, I learned that ANUBIS GATE’s very own bassist/vocalist/lyricist Henrik Fevre was asked to write the new album’s lyrics, given that Michael Kammeyer, the previous writer, had left. And they fit the music PYRAMAZE has lovingly-crafted ever so perfectly; uplifting crescendos and dramatic cascades the ideal vehicle. Heavy-hitting, Progressive Power Metal the band’s tried-and-true engine, not one track on the album hints to any monotony; each piece has its own vibe, and is a story all in its own. For one, “Perfectly Imperfect” booms with a series of Stoner-like opening riffs, before transitioning into soaring and gloriously-melodic choruses. The track to follow, “Unveil”, however, provides some of the more ‘Proggy’ moments on the record; the key-change in the last chorus leaving me light-headed, and probably best display’s Terje’s impressive range. As for the most balls-to-the-castle-wall Metal track on the album, “Hope Springs Eternal” is the package, containing the album’s fastest, most aggressive, most blistering riffs; but in a gracefulness only Scandinavian metallers have perfected, transitions to long-lasting, memorable and melodic choruses.For my own personal pleasure, the band picked the right year to release “Disciples Of The Sun”, being able to look forward to new NIGHTWISH and new KAMELOT albums as well, for if Metal were a competition, the genre heavy-weights would have serious competition. PYRAMAZE is, quite frankly, the come-back I’ve been waiting for." - Metal Temple
    $14.00
  • "My mantra; that you can never go wrong with Prog from the "lands of ice and snow", has yet to be proven wrong. Finnish band ADAMANTRA are soon to release their second album; allow me to begin by asking you, rhetorically, what you want in a melodic, Progressive Metal band. Whatever it is, you are to find it in "Act II: Silent Narratives". You may name an influential Power/Prog band, and you may find their influences creeping in."Lionheart" is an interesting choice to begin an album, since it runs at just over 18 minutes long. It had to happen at some point. In classic Prog fashion, one may divide it into audibly discernible movements. The first of which trudges at a medium canter, a basic drum and bass track, overlaid with, needless to say, a surprising vocal delivery. At first, I thought I was listening to Roy Khan. Tuomas Nieminen is simply that great of a singer, conveying KAMELOT-like nuances whether he meant to or not, yet definitely made it his own. As the song progressed (pun absolutely intended), the riffs became heavier, faster and more complex, blended with wonderful keyboard work and atmospherics. The vocals subtly soar between different melodic styles; I hear a little Michael Eriksen and James Labrie in places. Eventually, we're brought to a crushing Power Metal section, roots that the band are proud of, and it shows in the way that the instruments and vocals scream with vigor. An album within an album, essentially."In the Shadow of the Cross" was one of my favorites; as hard as that may be to choose. Multilayered, heavy riffs are masked by beautiful piano work, and vocals that transform in and out of soaring wails, catchy hooks and aggressive rasps. The bass playing reminds me much of the esteemed Andreas Blomqvist; Jukka is a master, as we will hear more of later on. Singlehandedly, the track creates its own atmosphere of foreboding melancholy, and without you realizing it, turns it around and absorbs you into the story, and fills you with emotion. "Wicked Chain of Events" begins as a technically complex and mature Prog track, embellished with creative vocals and licks, Tuomas pushing his vocal limits (does the man have any?). We're soon treated by a terrific guitar/keyboard interplay that only northern Progressive masters could create.Listening to this album was an absolute pleasure; few other albums I know of sound different with each listen, and are an accompaniment to every mood, every activity. I hope this album will go down with the fan base as a Progressive masterpiece." - Metal Temple
    $16.00
  • "When multiple members of a sextet juggle recording and touring responsibilities for known entities such as Kreator, Turisas, and Moonsorrow, rest assured that new studio product isn’t going to hit the streets for a little while. Finnish progressive melodic doom/death metal act Barren Earth face their biggest challenge though to date beyond scheduling issues since their beginnings in 2007, as their third full-length album On Lonely Towers represents the vocal debut of Faroese native Jón Aldará – for Swallow The Sun requires Mikko Kotamäki’s full attention at this point in time.To those unfamiliar to this band’s approach, these musicians offer up a heavy slice of Scandinavian death/doom, while also injecting a love of 70’s progressive rock in a lot of their piano/organ passages, spirited instrumental sections, and outside the box epic arrangements or left-field saxophone use. Early on they may have been considered sons of Opeth meets Amorphis, but not anymore. When they choose to be straight ahead doom in the closing sections of “A Shapeless Derelict”, the mid-range operatic bellows and evil heavy riff combination are classic Candlemass trademarks. Sami Yli-Sirniö and Janne Perttilä excel at layering guitars plus emotive, meaningful lead sections as the supplementary keyboards, bass and drums move in an alluring cadence that you can’t help but be swept into its melancholic majestic splendor – even at a close to 12 minute timeframe as in the title track.Jón can gurgle from the swampiest lands (check out his Christian Älvestam register on the culturally adventurous “Set Alight”) but deliver these chill bump clean textures that recall the best work of Dan Swanö on “Howl”. And take a microscopic aural approach to the saxophone passages during “Sirens of Oblivion” – exotic, jazzy and occasionally syncopating to the churning guitars (2:36-2:51) but then free flowing in a lighter, progressive context during the subsequent instrumental section.Barren Earth stands head and shoulders above a lot of the progressive doom/death pack because of their solid songwriting chemistry and ability to never push technicality over the limit to lose the human feel that makes On Lonely Towers special. Given North America’s proclivity to applaud foreign metal over much of the domestic product these days, you would be wise to add these 9 cuts to your playlist immediately." - Dead Rhetoric
    $12.00
  • "This is Magnums 9th live album and is a fitting reminder of just how good last year’s studio release ‘Escape from the Shadow Garden’ is. If you missed the supporting tour then this is as faithful a reproduction as you are going to get, my venue on that tour was 53Degrees in Preston, but the less said about that venue the better.The first 6 tracks are taken from Magnum’s last three Studio albums, opening with ‘Live till you die’ a modern classic Magnum song in the making. The opening riff to The Visitation’s ‘Black Skies’ gives the band a edger sound, Bob is sounding as good if not better than ever and what can you say about Tony Clarkin, the man is a genius.‘Freedom Day’ and ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’ are defining Magnums new heavier sound and the band aren’t afraid to play them live with both five string bass player Al Barrow and drummer Harry James delivery a power house of a rhythm section. Pianist Mark Stanway’s playing is as fluid and complementary as ever especially on ‘Freedom Day’ the interplay between Tony and Mark is just sublime, a joy to watch and a pleasure to listen to.‘Blood Red Laughter’ is another strong track and deserves a place at the live table as well as the slow burning ‘Unwritten sacrifice’.The second half of the set see’s Magnum delivery the classics, but there are so many of them it must be hard to choose the set list.We get the mighty ‘How far Jerusalem’ the astonishingly moving ‘Les morts dasant’, the unexpected ‘Falling from the big plan’ as it’s taken from the Escape album, then it’s back to the classic’s with the anthemic ‘All England’s eyes’ and the uber catchy “Vigilante”.‘Kingdom of madness’, off course, rounds the set and the night off. My only critisim is that the running time and the gig is a little on the short side, another couple of tracks, both favourites of mine ‘Don’t wake the lion’ which hasnt been played live since 2010, or ‘Midnight’ has’nt been played since 2008, or countless other songs would have made a wonderful gig and disc. Still, can’t wait for the next tour.I have seen Magnum live many many times over the years and they never fail to impress, and this live release is no different, it is worthy of a place in your record collection." - PlanetMosh.com
    $18.00
  • "Three years after Ai, Taiwanese symphonic power metal band Seraphim is back in strength with the well-titled Chinese language record Rising, which was also released with English lyrics to the international market one year later. A lot of things have changed between the third and the fourth (and up to now, last) records from the band. Guitarist Lucas Huang, drummer Simon Lin, bassist Jax Yeh and even singer Pay Lee left the band for numerous reasons. Band leader Kessier Hsu was responsible for guitar and bass duties on this release. The new singer Quinn Weng had joined the band back in 2004, and new drummer Van Shaw completed the trio in 2005. Bassist Mars Liu only joined the band shortly after the recordings in 2007, while second guitarist Thiago Trinsi from Brazil came to the band in 2010.Despite all these changes, the fourth record is typically Seraphim, with all the trademarks that distinguished the first three records, and only a few minor differences. The clean male vocals and death growls are less present on this release, and the music focuses on the vocal duties of new singer Quinn Weng. She had quite a difficult task in replacing the unique and powerful voice of Pay Lee, but does a very solid job. Her vocals are very grounded, but nevertheless variable. They are less operatic and spiritual than those of her predecessor, but I think she appeals to a wider audience, as her vocals rock more and fit more neatly into the power metal genre. This being said, the new record has less symphonic elements and focuses on more power metal sounds. The songs have become faster and heavier than ever before, and the drumming in particular is a killer on this release. Just listen to an energizing song like “Spring Wind” and you will understand what I mean. The music makes me think of the Liechtenstein gothic metal outfit Elis or Germany’s Xandria at times.The softer tracks are much less prominent on this album, but once they finally appear they are very strong. “No More” is a dreamy and transcending rock ballad with some commercial potential (and I mean this in the most positive way). The track has an amazing guitar solo, but it’s the calm parts that make me think of a symphonic new age epic. Let me add that Quinn Weng gives her best performance of the record on this track, truly equaling Peggy Lee. She sounds almost as heavenly as her predecessor did, but adds her very own touch upon this track that sends shivers down my spine. This song is definitely one of two highlights of this release, and also one of the strongest tracks in the band’s entire discography, as far as I’m concerned.My personal highlight of the record is nevertheless an epic symphonic piece that goes back to the style of the previous records and takes it to a new level of greatness. The stunning title track “Rising” is easily among the best of Seraphim’s catalog. In almost ten minutes, the song never gets boring, and features very elaborate song writing with catchy parts and diversified changes, as well as folky passages and heavier instrumental parts with tight riffs. This track is a firework of diversity and an absolute must-hear anthem for fans of gothic, power, and symphonic metal alike.In the end, this record is generally much heavier and obviously power metal-oriented than previous releases. Gone are most of the heavenly symphonic elements, but Rising is a lot faster and really rocks. Despite this new direction, old and new fans alike should be kept happy, and funnily enough, the two most outstanding songs are the ballad and the self-titled epic. The new line-up sounds fresh and promising, and I still hope for a new fifth release that might arrive in coming years. The band members are now living all around the world in Canada, Iceland, and Taiwan, but they are bound to meet again this year, and will hopefully work on new compositions. I will certainly keep in touch with Seraphim, and suggest that you do so as well, as well as (re)discover their back catalog while we wait for new things to come!" - Black Wind Metal
    $13.00
  • This is the first North American release for Move, the fifth album in the Freak Kitchen discography.  Freak Kitchen is led by renowned guitarist/vocalist Mattias Eklundh. The band describes Move as "More metal, more experimental, more fascinating… will please the fans and will without any possible doubt convert the newcomers." It is also the first album to feature drummer Bjorn Fryklund.  Intense guitar driven music that blurs the fine line between progressive rock and metal.  Essential for fans of Frank Zappa, Bumblefoot, and Steve Vai."Freak Kitchen return with their fifth album, a new drummer and bass player. The first noticeable difference is the inclusion of double kick drums at the beginning of the opening track "Propaganda Pie." They definitely add an extra metal "oooomph" to Freak Kitchen's sound.Of course Eklundh fills the album with crazy, off-the-wall, impossible to play solos and licks. His playing alone is worth the price of the album. But that is not even the best part, as basically every song on the album is extremely catchy and memorable. These are the type of songs that get stuck in your head for hours.The lyrics generally deal with real world issues, such as sweatshops ("Logo"), divorce ("Seven Days In June"), and drug addiction ("Herion Breakfast"). The topics are serious, but generally the music is upbeat; they are addressed in a somewhat sarcastic way, although a few songs could be considered 'depressing.' Probably "Seven Days In June" and "Razor Flowers." The latter track is sung by the bassist, and he does a great job.Move is definitely not 100% TR00 METUHL, but it rocks, and it has the high quality of musicianship that metal fans enjoy, so it should appeal to many a listener." - Metal Archives
    $14.00
  • "Animals as Leaders have slowly been building momentum since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2009. Just two years later Tosin Abasi has gained a cult following and dropped jaws around the world with his technical style and virtuosic experimental compositions.The production on this album is phenomenal, the band have been seamlessly fused to create a flawless ride through unpredictable time signatures and complex song structures that suck you straight into the heart of the album. Animals as Leaders may not be the easiest band to listen to for those unacquainted with technical progressive metal, but their inimitable blend of jazz, metal, and even classical Spanish guitar at one point, makes for an oddly relaxing listen.The first album was a powerful showcase of Tosin Abasi’s mastery of the guitar which could leave a listener bleeding internally from the pounding of sampled drums. Weightless however, shows a far greater amount of variation and experimentation, it is great to see that Abasi has developed his style and added even more spice to his already delicious stew.There appears to be a lot more synth in this album, yet the addition of a real band instead of the sampling track method used in the previous album really works to create a fusing of the synthetic and the organic. Classic motifs appear alongside new and unexpected turns in the soundscape, fresh cuts of riff and a richly textured sound provide a meaty dish with just the right amount of vegetables and a good helping of gravy to help it go down. What I really mean to say, is that the sound varies between slow, fast, rich and sparse often, unexpectedly and in ways that make this album a box of mysteriously flavoured Revels. You never know what you’re going to get. There is even a hint of the underwater theme from Super Mario in ‘Odessa’, title track ‘Weightless’ is oxymoronically heavy but an incredibly light and easy listen. Isolated Incidents too stands out with its animalistic style and evolution into a more complex, dense sound until exploding into the palm muted disjointed world of djent.Once the end of the album looms you may expect a large underwater octopus to come into the room wielding a SNES, a portal to the 90s and one of those hoverboards from Back to the Future. Further symptoms may include feeling as if no other progressive metal will ever be good enough.This is a progression from the debut album that is precisely what fans need: still a trademark Animals as Leaders album but containing so much more. This is a masterpiece of a second album that is a great improvement on the first in terms of development and style whilst exceeding all expectations. I can only hope Animals as Leaders create something like this once more. So what if this album isn’t a carbon copy of the last one, this band is precisely what the genre needs: some fresh new ideas." - Metal Injection
    $14.00
  • Its been seven years since the first release from The Fractured Dimension.  The core of the band is led by two ex-members of the avant metal band Scholomance: Jimmy Pitts (keyboards) and Jerry Twyford (bass).Given the extensive lineup of guest musicians Pitts and Twyford have corraled one would expect a supreme tech metal blow out.  In parts you get that but there are very strong symphonic rock, classical and fusion elements woven into the music.    Essentially they let the musicians be themselves and it makes it more challenging and interesting to hear them work their styles in to the compositions.OK so here is who is on th album:Jimmy Pitts (keys), Jerry Twyford (bass), Hannes Grossmann (drums), Vishal J Singh, Tom "Fountainhead" Geldschlager, and Tom Kopyto on guitars, Joe Deninzon (violin), Kasturi Nath Singh (Indian Classical Fusion Vocals), and guest guitar solos by Christian Muenzner, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Mike Abdow, Pete Pachio, Aaron Roten, Bill Bruce, and Jeremy Barnes.So you have guys from Obscura and lots of insane guitar soloists letting it all hang out with overlays of keyboards, violin all thrown at you with lots of intensity.  The whole thing will keep you off balance and I promise you won't be bored.  Highly recommended."“How can less be more? That’s impossible. More is more”, is a famous quote by Yngwie Malmsteen, and US/Germany-based super-group The Fractured Dimension have turned that statement into their modus operandi through their new album ‘Galaxy Mechanics’. By just looking at the star-studded 16-man line-up, not many would expect anything less than all-out super-technical music: a sound the band itself has labelled ‘Cosmic Instrumental Metal’.Despite the large number of members, from over 7 countries, Keyboardist Jimmy Pitts and bassist Jerry Twyford are the ones spearheading The Fractured Dimension, while the others have special and guest appearances on the record. Where you’d see drummer Hannes Grossmann (ex-Necrophagist, ex-Obscura, Blotted Science, Alkaloid), you’d see his Alkaloid band-mate and guitarist Christian Muenzner, and where you’d see Christian, you’d see current Obscura guitarist Tom Fountainhead Geldschlager, and the list goes on. It includes guitarists Tom Kopyto, Mike Abdow, Jeremy Barnes, Bill Bruce, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Pete Pachio and Aaron Roten. Indian guitarist Vishal J Singh is also among the ranks, as is Indian classical fusion vocalist Kasturi Singh and violinist Joe Deninzon.The album is extremely complex, and features an incredible range of musical styles not just through different instruments and tones, but through stylistic variations within an instrument itself. For example, the guitarists exercise their own style of playing, and since different guitarists worked on different tracks on the album, each song is given a unique vibe. The songs are progressive and only subtly repetitive, while each one is quite different from the other not only in terms of the guitars, like mentioned, but also in the way they’re structured and layered instrumentally.Dealing with each track individually is impossible because of their highly complex nature, but some of the high points from the album include songs like “Displacement” and “Elysian” which, like the other tracks, make use of interesting keyboard patches and time changes. The bass and keyboards are prominent everywhere and along with some brilliant drumming, form the backbone of the sound around which the guitars weave their magic.However, the main issue that needs to be addressed is this: does all of this complexity and variation give rise to music that is, put simply, enjoyable? Not everyone may appreciate the highly intricate music, but it makes no sense to say that The Fractured Dimension tried to impress everybody anyway. What can be seen, or rather, what flares up and makes itself obvious in the music, is the honesty behind it. The songs do not feel like they are forced, and the creative freedom of the musicians is in full display here. If one can see this honesty for himself/herself, that person will end up enjoying Galaxy Mechanics. There aren’t many other albums for which the same thing can be said, so the album is a definite hit and not a miss, and while dealing with super-technical and intricate music it is very easy to go wrong.A quarrel one could pick with Jimmy Pitts and Co. involves intriguing song titles, like “Bolshevikian Mythological Creature” and “Seventh Hymn to Nibiru” for example, and no vocals and lyrics to explain them. This doesn’t mean the music would be better off with vocals, but it means that there is no vocal expression of these concepts in a manner everybody can understand. Other than this, Galaxy Mechanics is a sublime effort from The Fractured Dimension, and one can only wonder what this exceptional pool of talent will conjure up next." - Metalwani
    $9.00
  • "New Era is an apropos name for Cloudscape's fourth album as the band has gone through some significant changes. In the last several years, the band lost three of its founding members including bass player Hans Perrson, drummer Roger Landin, and guitarist Bjorn Eliasson. Cloudscape had to scramble to fill the gaps.New Era could also refer to the course of Cloudscape's musical direction. Although uneven maybe a better word for the album. While melodic metal, that of power and nuances of prog, still bolsters the arrangements, there seems a slant to a more raw modern sound. You can hear this in Your Desire and Share Your Energy, which includes some dirty vocals from Peter Wildoer (Darkane, James LaBrie). Conversely, there's some familiar Cloudscape material here as well. Pull the Brake finds them accessing more melodic hard rock. Voyager 9, the longest cut, offers the power prog side of the band. Heroes integrates a little of both. Ultimately, New Era is mixed bag of songs, and I can honestly say I can't point to one as being jaw-dropping compelling. Nevertheless, this is not a bad album either. It's merely different. Possibly with a few more spins it would grow on me. But considering two spins brought to a mostly ambivalent assessment, it's not likely to happen. Fans, and the curious, should be the first to check out New Era." - Dangerdog.com
    $12.00
  • "“Appalachian Court is a new, all acoustic album from Odin’s Court, firmly rooted in acoustic rock. It has its own, unique, well blended sound featuring aspects of various genres such as rock, progressive, folk, country, bluegrass, reggae, jazz, and more.” The album contains completely rearranged versions of tracks from three previous Odin's Court albums: Driven by Fate, Deathanity and Human Life In Motion. For the first time, the band is including covers on the release."
    $3.00
  • "Periphery have been an omnipresent force in the prog metalcore realm since their first album released in 2010 – band founder Misha Mansoor has served as producer on several of the genre’s albums, and the other members are all famous in their own right, whether it’s simply for their craft (Matt Halpern), their involvement in other projects (Spencer Sotelo, Mark Holcomb, Nolly Getgood), or just simply being the nephew of someone exceedingly famous (Jake Bowen). This makes whatever they decide to do extremely important, and the band’s decision to release a concept double album has created hype of hugelargic proportions. In my humble opinion, the band has delivered on all fronts, but not without some disappointments in the “could’ve been” area.Since their inception, Periphery have changed from a chugga-chug ambidjent project posting demos on the internet in the late 2000s to a full-fledged prog metal band with heavy elements of metalcore, post-hardcore, and pop music in general. If you weren’t onboard for “Periphery II”, “Juggernaut” likely won’t change your mind (unless your issues were relatively small), as it’s more of the same poppy atmosphere and less of the techy downtuned riffs, though god knows THOSE are still around. But there’s also a lot of style experimentation – jazz fusion, death metal, and various forms of electronica are all utilized on a semi-normal basis, and range from being seamlessly integrated into the music to being tacked on to the ends of songs like gluing a top-rate dildo onto an already particularly throbby penis. If this all sounds a bit schizophrenic, rest assured that the songcraft is, for the most part, tighter than it’s ever been. Singles from Alpha like “22 Faces” and “Alpha” itself show off Periphery’s pop prowess with choruses and hooks that refuse to leave your head, and complex riffs that are somehow just as ‘wormy as the vocals. And the songs on Omega are longer, more complex, and still manage to be as infectious as the most annoying of STDs – even the twelve minute sprawling title track that has more in common with the bombastic riffs of Periphery I has a shapely middle section that rivals even the hottest of…ugh, fuck it, done with the metaphors. It’s just insane. I cried when I heard it.And now onto what I don’t care for; first off, the decision to split the album into two parts was definitely well-informed from a marketing standpoint. Most people don’t go around listening to 80 minute records all day, myself included, and the supposedly delicate structure of a concept album also means that listening to Juggernaut by skipping to different songs would devalue the experience. So the band broke it into two records to make it seem more manageable to listen to in daily life. Another stated reason was so that newcomers to the band would be able to buy Alpha at a discounted price, decide if they liked it, and then purchase Omega if they were so inclined (music previewing doesn’t work like that anymore, but hey you can’t fault the band for trying to turn that into tangible record sales). The problem I have is that Omega isn’t really paced to be its own album, which makes releasing it on its own instead as simply as the second disc in a package a little pointless. It’s not like the excellent “The Afterman” double albums from Coheed and Cambria, which were each albums that worked in their own right. I realize that this is really just semantics, but I think calling Juggernaut both the third and fourth album from Periphery, while technically correct, is just disingenuous, and judging them fairly on their own as separate albums is impossible (which is why all reviews being published are including them together).Periphery has always had a unique way of pacing their albums, regularly including playful, sometimes relatively lengthy interludes between tracks. Juggernaut is no different, and these interludes are now occasionally used to seed songs that will appear later on the album, or provide callbacks to tracks already present. The transitions aren’t always elegant however, and can range from grin-inducing to head-scratching to just plain grating. Thankfully, the band isn’t going for the illusion that each song flows seamlessly into the next, at least no more than they were going for it on any of their previous albums, and it’s easy to get used to everything given multiple listens.Overall, Juggernaut is a dense album that’s going to take a myriad of listens to fully sink in, just like most of the band’s prior releases (I don’t think anyone is gonna argue that “Clear” has any depth that you would find after about the fifth listen or so, but hey hey that’s ok kay). But it’s also accessible on the surface with deceptively simple rhythms and poppy choruses, which draw you in to appreciate the deeper cuts. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes unique and thoughtful music in the post-hardcore, metalcore, and progressive metal genres, but I’d also recommend it to anyone ever, because this is my absolute favorite band and I think they’ve created a masterpiece. So take from that what you will, and then get the fuck out of here. The play button is calling my name." - iprobablyhateyourband.com
    $11.00