The Blue Hour

"As the spring of 2012 fades, Rhys Marsh And The Autumn Ghost return with their third full-length record, 'The Blue Hour', in which Marsh leads them into another bold sonic-territory.

The trademark combination of dynamics & melancholy remains, though this time the strings & Mellotrons have stepped aside for brass & woodwind ensembles. There is also a noticeable change in the vocal presentation — the thickly-layered harmonies have now been stripped back to a more monophonic point of focus. All of these elements come together beautifully, giving the album an incredibly warm & intimate atmosphere.

From the outset — the hypnotic rhythms & longing woodwind arrangement of 'And I Wait', which slowly unfurls over seven minutes, after which heading straight into the sixties-tinged 'Read The Cards', with its heavily-staccatoed horn section & old-school double drums — it's clear that Marsh is pushing further forward.

From here, the album twists and turns even further, from the dulcet tones & enticing polyrhythms of 'The Movements Of Our Last Farewell', to the frantically-paced 'Wooden Heart' — which, even with several intense dynamic-shifts & irregular time-signature changes, still manages to swing — before coming to an end with elegantly-psychedelic 'One More Moment'.

For 'The Blue Hour', Marsh has once again assembled a new Autumn Ghost, this time featuring the cream of the crop of the contemporary Norwegian music scene. In fact,this is the first album on which Marsh has chosen to feature an entirely Norwegian line-up, borrowing from bands such as Jaga Jazzist, The National Bank, Emmerhoff And The Melancholy Babies & Pelbo, along with collaborators of Susanne Sundfør, Kaizers Orchestra & Magnet. This also marks the first occasion that an Autumn Ghost album has been written & recorded entirely in Norway."

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  • "Besides the SWF (German south-west broadcast) series with German bands of the Krautrock era, Long Hair start a new series with recordings form the vaults of Bavarian Broadcast Corporation (located in Munich). Volume 1 of the series is dedicated to Aera, one of Germany´s finest bands of this time and well known because of their albums 'Humanum Est' and 'Hand und Fuss' (vinyl version re-released on Long Hair, LHC43 and LHC44). On January 9,1975 Aera with the line-up (same as on 'Humanum Est') Muck Groh, guitar, Klaus Kreuzeder, sax and flute, Dieter Bauer, bass and drummer Wolfgang Teske, performed in an extraordinary setting-St. George´s Church in Freising, district of Munich. The idea of the concert was to open the church for contemporary music and to give the musicians the chance to interpret the Roman Catholic liturgy, the 'Holy Mass', with their music. Aera went a long with the five components of the holy mass and played two titles of their up coming album 'Humanum Est' and another three titles that were not included on any album. The titles presented during the second part of the concert were earlier versions of titles that were later released on the album 'Hand und Fuss'. Aera played more than 75 minutes. All titles were digitally remastered from original master tape. Booklets contains story and a review of the concert and rare photos. Highly recommended!"
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  • Its been four years since this British ensemble's debut album.  Been a long time coming but there have been a number of personnel changes in the band.  Founding members Alex Crispin (vox/keys) and bassist Dan Pomlett left the band, while guitarist Nicholas Richards switched over to bass.  While the band went through a state of flux their core sound didn't really change a hell of a lot.  Yeah maybe its pared down a bit but it is still steeped in the sounds of the early 70s.  Mellotron, organ and reeds abound.  Guitar is a bit more dominant but still with that retro Vertigo vibe.  Vocals only appear on one track and they are OK.  Think in terms of an instrumental VDGG in a massive jam session with members of Soft Machine and Eloy.  As if!  I will be hard pressed to come across a better progressive rock album released in 2012.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • "ALLEN/LANDE (or ALLEN-LANDE) is a Melodic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal super group / band project formed in 2005 by guitarist Magnus Karlsson (PRIMAL FEAR, STARBREAKER) with two highly acclaimed metal vocalists - vocalist Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X) and former MASTERPLAN vocalist Jørn Lande. The band released such albums: "The Battle" (2005), "The Revenge" (2007), "The Showdown" (2010) and "The Great Divide" on 17th October 2014.Opening track “Come Dream With Me” takes listeners on the journey through the Melodic Rock & Metal world where you can find stronger melodic guitars with wonderful vocals, clear rhythmic section, catchy chorus with an impressive guitar solo which makes goose-flesh, and little PRIMAL FEAR echoes. Powerful drums and mega energetic guitar riffs in “Down from the Mountain” are truly kick-ass with amazing vocals in climate of BLACK SABBATH, AXEL RUDI PELL and memorable refrain in high style. All tracks have similar sounds to GAMMA RAY and TIMO TOLKKI songs. The energetic atmosphere of “Dream About Tomorrow” is caused by heavier riffs, SCORPIONS echoes, great solo, and keys in Power Metal style.My favourite song on the album is “Lady of Winter”, which has everything that is the best in Hard Rock and Metal music – so gentle piano opening, then heavy riffs, clear drums, fabulous memorable high chorus, and perfect worked guitars full of melody. Stunning track with rockin sounds, mid-tempo, perfect bass, slower climate, and totally in the style of JORN. Stronger riffs with gentle keys and massive JORN vocals in pathetic melodic refrain in track “Solid Ground” is perfect, also with a massive and brilliant guitar solo!The band proves that they are on high-class level in powerful “In the Hands of Time” where keys and melodic guitars have STRATOVARIUS echoes. The energetic “Reaching for the Stars” with gentle keys in the background with memorable refrain and massive sounding “Hymn to the Fallen” with mixing Heavy Metal sounds together with rockin style.Also I like very much the ballad titled track “The Great Divide” with beautiful strong voices of singers, calmer guitars, keyboards, and passionate guitar work and chorus in high style with choir in amazing slower tempo – what a wonderful sound! Another ballad “Bittersweet” has a slower rate, clear drums, piano, and brilliant singing together with climatic stronger high riffs. Sounds total perfect!ALLEN/LANDE, again, proved that they are Kings of Rock and Metal. They connect different kinds of sounds – Hard Rock, Heavy Metal with doses of melody. The band creates music with passion. Every track is a masterpiece and in each sound the experience of musicians is hear able. ALLEN/LANDE is simply a fantastic band, and their fresh CD “The Great Divide” is more than highly recommended to every lover of Melodic strong sound!" - Metal Temple
    $16.00
  • "Nik Turner, the founding member of pioneering space-rock band HAWKWIND, returns to his intergalactic roots with his mind-blowing new CD titled "Space Gypsy". Featuring all-new material, "Space Gypsy" boasts guest appearances by fellow HAWKWIND alumnus drummer Simon House, and GONG guitar legend Steve Hillage, along with Nicky Garratt of the UK SUBS, Jurgen Engler of German industrial band DIE KRUPPS, and Jeff Piccinini of '70s punk icons CHELSEA. Making the CD release even more exciting, Nik Turner has filmed a dark, hypnotic new video called "Time Crypt featuring Simon House". This is the second video Nik has released in support of "Space Gypsy", the first being "Fallen Angel STS-51-L"; from the album's first single about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster." 
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  • Its been almost 4 years since the band's phenomenal debut.  Since that time the duo of Mariusz Boniecki and Marcin Kledzik have expanded into a live gigging quartet.  I'm pleased to say that in terms of their music the band has not lost any momentum.  The same influences are still present - you will hear the imprint of Porcupine Tree and King Crimson.  The title of the album is a bit of a giveaway - this is not uplifting music.  It is filled with noir-ish, melancholy atmosphere.  Emotion filled vocals ride on top of Crafty guitarwork.  The technicality is there but you have to listen for it.  Think of a head on collision between In Absentia and Discipline and then take it one step beyond.  Clearly Pinkroom does it again.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • Arjen Lucassen's long awaited Ayreon project is a total blast.  Like some of the earlier Ayreon albums, it owes as much to prog rock as it does metal.  All the old school heroes like Emerson, Wakeman, Wetton get to strut their stuff showing a young stud like Rudess a thing or two.  As always Lucassen latches on to some of the best vocalists around and this one is no exception.  Highly recommended.PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL BE A VERY EXPENSIVE IMPORT "ART BOOK" EDITION FORTHCOMING."You know what the metal world needs more of? Musicals. I'm not saying that ironically either. Sure, we have plenty of prog bands putting out concept albums, but cool as these records many be, the story themselves are not the focus of the album. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen has resurrected his grandest of all projects to continue showing these folks how to tell an epic story the right way.With 01011001 the Ayreon story came to an end, or so we thought. Arjen instead decided to focus on projects like Star One, Guilt Machine, and his solo album Lost in the New Real. When he revealed not too long ago that he was working on a new project, it wasn't a surprise to discover it was new Ayreon, but I was still plenty excited.Lucassen said of the newest record, "It's not science fiction, but a human story set in a science context." So no aliens or battling emotions or any of that. So, in an attempt to better understand the story, I contacting him for the lyrics and much to my surprise, he sent them to me saying, "Oh yes, you need the lyrics, definitely." Holy hell, was he right. The story is indeed more grounded than previous records, but there are still layers to this beast.Fans of Ayreon should know what to expect here. The Theory of Everything has seven guest singers and each singer plays a part in the story. They are JB (Grand Magus) as the Teacher, Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as the Mother, Michael Mills (Toehider) as the Father, Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as the Prodigy, Marco Hietala (Nightwish) as the Rival, John Wetton (Asia/ex-King Crimson) as the Psychiatrist, and Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as the Girl.Of these singers, the most impressive is the relatively unknown Sara Squadrani. She performs on a large portion of the story and shines every time, especially on "Love and Envy". I was also surprised to be so enamored with the performance of Christina Scabbia. She's always had  a wonderful voice, but her performance in this record might be her finest. Her harmonies with Squadrani stand out particularly on "Mirror of Dreams". This isn't to say only the performances by the female singers are worth mentioning. Tommy Karevik's introduction in "The Prodigy's World" is one of the strongest moments on the album.Press_Photo_01Every Ayreon album comes an eclectic group of guest musicians. This round primarily consisted of guest keyboardists. Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) handles a good portion of the record, while Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) both make excellent solo appearances on "Progressive Waves".Having listened to all of Lucassen's albums at least once, I can say The Theory of Everything is the most musically diverse offering he's had a hand in, perhaps with the exception of his solo record. This isn't as heavy as previous Ayreon titles, but it has its driving moments like "Collision" and the Dream Theather-esque "Frequency Modulation." The aforementioned "Love and Envy" is a slower introspective song, while "Diagnosis" is massive and a little cheesy, but so awesome. "Transformation" has a Middle Eastern feel to it, and  "The Eleventh Dimension" sounds like intergalactic renaissance faire music.Often times there are jumps in mood, genre, etc in the middle of a song. This is fairly typical for an Ayreon release; what isn't typical is that technically this record consists of only four songs. These four songs are each at least twenty-one minutes, but they are cut up into forty-two pieces (yes, that's a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference) .This is a fun record. It's a record that does require a time commitment. I'd say listeners should treat it as a proper musical or film in a theater. Try to experience it all in one sitting for the full effect. It's absolutely worth it." - Metal Injection
    $17.00
  • "The Netherlands are a fertile ground for bands that are strongly influenced from the heavy sounds of the early 1970's, and Orange Sunshine and Wallrus may serve as good examples here. New to that bands is DEWOLFF, founded in 2007 in a Southern part of the Netherlands (Limburg) called Geleen. The band consists of three very young guys between the ages of 14 and 18, but they sound as if they were playing music since twenty years. Here, we have their debut album, released at the end of 2009 by REMusic Records and I'm surprised in a positive sense about the quality of their music. Even though the riffage, harmonies, guitar leads are reminiscent of all well-known classic rock bands - Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster, Groundhogs, Cream - this album distills it all and still manages to sound totally different. It's all there with smokin' guitars and bellowing organs that summon the gods back to the days of 1970's hardrock. Despite this, the production is modern which makes sure that the band isn't on a complete musical retro trip. What also strikes me is the variety of 'Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants'. You can find heavy organ-based songs such as the opener 'Mountain' or 'Don't You Go Up In The Sky' which convinces with powerful rippin' leads that are guaranteed to rock your ass.In contrast to the aforementioned tracks, 'Birth Of The Ninth Sun' is a soulful ballad with additional piano. In the middle section is a sinister psychedelic segement which reminds me to The Doors. But not only there are strong doses of psychedelia. 'Parloscope' awakens the spirit of 1960's psych with the help of intense melodies - interspersed with heavy organ. With 'Red Sparks Of The Morning Dusk' DEWOLFF displays their talent to combine psychedelic pop with organ-based hardrock and jazz. Especially the saxophon in the last quarter is simply excellent. What I also like very much are the clear vocals of organist Robin Piso that fits in beautifully with their sound. Moreover, he also takes on the function of a bass player with his organ just as Ray Manzarek (The Doors) had done years before. Well, to put it simple: all songs are packed with great memorable riffs, cool arrangements and superb musicianship. I can assure that 'Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants' will please every fan of classic/retro hardrock. Oh yes, not to forget, that the LP has a different cover artwork, but the packaging of the CD is also very tasteful." - Cosmic Lava
    $15.00
  • James LaBrie once again that there is life outside of Dream Theater.  His solo band features a stable lineup consisting of Matt Guillory (keyboards), Marco Sfogli (guitars), Ray Riendeau (bass), Peter Wildoer (drums, death vox).  Jens Bogren once again mixed. An interesting twist to the mix is the inclusion of Soilwork's Peter Wichers who contributes some guitarwork and also collaborated on songwriting with LaBrie.While the music is square on prog metal and all in all not too dissimilar to Dream Theater its different enough to have its own vibe.  Wildoer's coarse vocal approach offers an interesting counterbalance to LaBrie's upper midrange clean voice.  The limited digipak edition comes with two bonus tracks.  Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • Dream Theater began their mammoth A Dramatic Tour Of Events world trek in July 2011 with the final leg in South America taking place in August 2012. It was here at the Luna Park arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina that they decided to film the two nights that go to make up this DVD release. It was Dream Theater's first tour with new drummer Mike Mangini and all the tracks from their first album together A Dramatic Turn Of Events are included in either the main show or the bonus performances. Dream Theater are rock s supreme virtuosos with many awards to their name and here in concert they bring all the power and drama of their music to life with breathtaking performances of classic tracks from across their career.Features many of their classic tracks including: Metropolis Pt. 1 , The Silent Man , Pull Me Under , The Root Of All Evil , The Test That Stumped Them All , The Spirit Carries On and the recent On The Backs Of Angels .Bonus FeaturesDocumentary / Trailer / Behind The Scenes / Cartoon IntroBlu-Ray1) Bridges In The Sky 2) 6:00 3) The Dark Eternal Night 4) This Is The Life 5) The Root Of All Evil 6) Lost Not Forgotten 7) Drum Solo 8) A Fortune In Lies 9) The Silent Man 10) Beneath The Surface 11) Outcry 12) Piano Solo 13) Surrounded 14) On The Backs Of Angels 15) War Inside My Head 16) The Test That Stumped Them All 17) Guitar Solo 18) The Spirit Carries On 19) Breaking All Illusions 20) Metropolis Pt. 1Bonus Tracks1) These Walls 2) Build Me Up, Break Me Down 3) Caught In A Web 4) Wait For Sleep 5) Far From Heaven 6) Pull Me Under
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  • 2009's debut from this Italian gothic band made quite a mark at the time.  Unfortunately they lost their momentum and waited 4 years to put out a second effort - last years excellent Untouchable Failure.  The debut was their calling card.  This is angst driven metal very much along the lines of Katatonia and early Anathema with a tip of the cap to contemporary prog bands like Riverside and Porcupine Tree.  Excellent stuff.
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  • Deluxe edition of this classic album.  Perhaps I have a soft spot for this disc because I saw Mike twice on his first US tour in support of this album. The side long "Taurus II" is a stone cold killer. Mike wrote "Family Man" which wasn't much of a hit for him but made Hall & Oates some coin (well I guess Mike didn't do to badly on the publishing end). This was really the first album that represented a band approach as many of the members of his touring ensemble perform here. Highly recommended.Disc One is the original album remastered with two bonus tracks.  Disc Two is a previously unreleased live performance from the Five Miles Out tour in Cologne, Germany from 12/6/82.  Disc Three is the DVD.  Its a new 5.1 surround mix of the album plus bonus video content.
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  • Al DiMeola's solo debut from 1976, was released right around the time of RTF's Romantic Warrior. Stellar lineup includes the other three members of Return To Forever, Mingo Lewis, Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson, Barry Miles, Jaco Pastorius, and Alphonse Mouzon.
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  • Second album from this Swiss band draws very heavily from the Katatonia musical gene pool.  Melancholy metal that actually has a groove.  Some of the proggier bits remind of Tool.   
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