The Breaking Of The World

A new Glass Hammer is like a universal constant.  I can always expect exemplary old school prog rock.  For an old timer like myself Glass Hammer is right in my wheelhouse.  This is their 17th studio album (amazing!) .  If you are unfamiliar with the band you should know it revolves around the core of bassist Steve Babb and keyboardist Fred Schendel.  There have been a lot of musicians through the doors of their studio over the years but somehow they always seem to find an endless supply of them.  The line up seems to be fairly stable at the moment.  Salem Hill mainman Carl Groves handles lead vocals along with Susie Bogdanowicz returning as well.  Guitars are handled by Kamran Alan Shikoh and drums by Aaron Raulston.

Glass Hammer music is a reverential amalgam of Yes, ELP, Kansas and what the hell throw in a little bit of Genesis.  Steve and Fred proudly wear their influences on their sleeves.  Want wicked keyboard pyrotechnics?  Fred brings the thunder.  In fact they all do.  The Breaking Of The World arrives with epic length tracks and audiophile quality sound.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  BUY OR DIE!

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  • "It's the live classic that's waited for three years to happen. Reuniting for a fall 2006 tour to pay tribute to time spent in the mid-'70s fusion juggernaut, the New Tony Williams Lifetime, guitarist Allan Holdsworth and keyboardist Alan Pasqua recruited Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip and in-demand drummer Chad Wackerman for an exciting cross-section of material that first saw the light of day on a DVD recorded at Oakland's legendary Yoshi's. Now, Blues for Tony takes the best material from that tour and makes it available in CD form, creating an exciting "you are there" double-disc of music that comprises a full evening of music.Holdsworth's classic "Fred," Pasqua's equally iconic "Protocosmos" and Lifetime bassist Tony Newman's energetic "Red Alert" are all there from Believe It, New Lifetime's now iconic first release, but here stretched out with plenty of space for relentless soloing from everyone in the group. The 2006/2007 tours would have a lasting affect on Pasqua, inspiring him to return to higher octane fusion for his solo recordings. On Blues for Tony, he plays with the kind of unfettered abandon and deep sophistication that so defined his work with Williams, a direction he largely deserted for more elegant acoustic outings like 1995's Dedications, from which the darkly balladic "San Michele" is culled, but is here reinvented as a potential fusion classic, with its Mahavishnu Orchestra-like arpeggios, Pasqua's gritty electric piano and Wackerman's thundering kit.In addition to material from Believe It, the group revisits two of Holdsworth's own well-known classics: the change-heavy "Looking Glass," from 1985's Atavachron, and funkier "Pud Wud" from 1990's Sand, the latter opening with an atmospheric unaccompanied solo from Holdsworth that asserts his continued dominance as one of jazz's most harmonically distinctive players, and Haslip's most impressive solo of the set - the perfect confluence of pure virtuosity and in-the-moment melodic composition. Holdsworth's velvety smooth tone is more vocal-like than it's ever been, but equally there's an edge that's reemerged in recent years but has remained undocumented - until now.Wackerman contributes "The Fifth", undisputable evidence that fusion can swing. Easily filling the late Tony Williams' shoes by honoring his spirit rather than imitating him, his playing on Blues for Tony finds the nexus point of spare economy and unabashed power. Pushing "Protocosmos" and the opening section of the collective composition "It Must Be Jazz" with visceral groove, Wackerman also demonstrates, in the latter song's second half, an equal propensity for greater freedom. He works hand-in-glove throughout with Haslip, who may have grown up as a fan of New Lifetime, but is now an unequivocal equal and perfect fit for the group's combination of technical prowess and masterful interplay.Emerging on the British scene in the early 1970s with groups including Ian Carr's Nucleus, Soft Machine and Tempest, Allan Holdsworth's remarkable fluidity and profound vernacular quickly gained international attention, resulting in stints with Jean-Luc Ponty, Gong, UK, Bruford and, of course, Tony Williams. From 1983's Road Games to 2004's Then!, the guitarist has released a string of groundbreaking and essential solo albums that, with their sonic innovations and unmistakable harmonic language, have influenced guitarists worldwide. Since playing in New Lifetime, Alan Pasqua has been a busy session player for over 30 years, working with everyone from Gary Burton, Peter Erskine and John Patitucci to Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper and Santana. He began focusing more heavily on his solo career in the mid-'90s, with albums including 1993's stellar Milagro, 2005's sublime My New Old Friend and 2007's electrifying Antisocial Club.Starting out charting complex territory in Frank Zappa's early-'80s groups, Chad Wackerman quickly became one of Holdsworth's drummers of choice in addition to a busy session career with artists ranging from Barbra Streisand and Bill Watrous to Steve Vai and Andy Summers, and has since built a small but significant discography as a leader, from 1992's Forty Reasons and 1994's The View, both featuring Holdsworth, to recent 2000’s Scream and 2004’s Legs Eleven. Haslip's primary focus has been Yellowjackets, the group he co-founded with keyboardist Russell Ferrante in 1980, but he's also released two albums as a leader and three with the collective supertrio Jing Chi, played with the late Tommy Bolin, Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart, while continues to be an in-demand player with artists including Bruce Hornsby and Terri Lyne Carrington.Blues for Tony brings four masters of their instruments together for an exciting set that may have started with a tribute in mind, but quickly turned into something much more. Fusion at its best, it combines all the prerequisite energy and virtuosity with a deeper language and freer approach, as Holdsworth, Pasqua, Haslip and Wackerman deliver the goods on what will certainly be one of 2009's hottest jazz and fusion releases."
    $18.00
  • "The first Primus album to achieve much widespread airplay (thanks to its release on a major), and the one that broke them on MTV, Sailing the Seas of Cheese completely redefined the possibilities of the electric bass in rock music for those who'd never heard the group before. Slapping like a funk player, but strumming power chords and finger-tapping like a metal guitar hero, Les Claypool coaxed sounds from his instrument that had rarely if ever been made the focus of a rock band. Claypool's riffs were so full and dominant that they hardly needed to be doubled by guitarist Larry LaLonde (and wouldn't have had the same effect anyway), which freed him up on most songs to launch into dissonant, atonal solos that essentially functioned as texture, complementing Claypool's oddly whimsical sense of melody. The combination results in a weird atmosphere that could be transformed into something dark or eerie, but Claypool's thin, nasal voice and demented blue-collar persona place the record firmly in the realm of the cheerfully bizarre. The compositions are mostly riff-driven, fleshing out their heavy metal roots with prog rock tricks from Rush and Frank Zappa, as well as the novelty side of Zappa's sense of humor. The willful goofiness may alienate some listeners, but it can also obscure some genuinely dark humor, and it never detracts from the band's frequently stunning musicianship. Somewhat analogous to jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, Claypool hasn't inspired many direct imitators because of his tremendous feats of dexterity. But his stature as a virtuoso able to take his instrument into previously undreamed-of realms is without question. Though Sailing the Seas of Cheese tones down Primus' penchant for jamming, it's the tightest, most song-oriented representation of their jaw-dropping, one-of-a-kind style." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "The Roaring Wolves are back… On a strong wake of a surprising and a triumphal album in 2011, that was much simply called “Wolfpakk”, the turbulent duo of vocalists comprised of Mark Sweeney (ex-CRYSTAL BALL) and Michael Voss (MAD MAX/MSG / ex-CASANOVA) unleash the successor, named "Cry Wolf" , and again the choral all-star project shift is the trick to give a marketing format for this burning platter, by gathering a pack of many high-class guest musicians and a few full blooded terrific barking voices to produce another raving record in the same musical vein as the great and self-titled debut.Running and undaunted Guests on "Cry Wolf" are :Vocals: Amanda Somerville (AVANTASIA), Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR / ex-GAMMA RAY), Göran Edman (ex-RISING FORCE / ex-GLORY), Johnny Gioeli (A.R.P. / HARDLINE), Tony Mills (ex-SHY/ ex-SIAM / ex-TNT), Doogie White (ex-RAINBOW / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-CORNERSTONE / MSG), Blaze Baley (ex-IRON MAIDEN / WOLFSBANE), Piet Sielck (IRON SAVIOR / ex-SAVAGE CIRCUS).Guitars: Kee Marcello (ex-EUROPE / ex-EASY ACTION), Mandy Meyer (UNISONIC / KROKUS / ex-GOTTHARD / ex-COBRA), Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN / ex-HELLOWEEN).Keys: Don Airey (ex-OZZY / DEEP PURPLE), Tony Carey (ex-RAINBOW).Drums: Brian Tichy (SUN / ex-WHITESNAKE), Hermann Rarebell (ex-SCORPIONS), Roland Jahoda (ex-PARADOX / F.U.C.K.)Under the leitmotiv of “if isn’t broken don’t fix it”, the Duet of Alpha Wolves and the fantastic AFM Records are teamed again in order to reedit the successful experience in giving the full and wild creative responsibility to the werewolf duet: the champions of Melodic Metal -Mister Sweeney and Doctor Voss.They wrote all the songs together (minus one surprise cover version from RAINBOW “Run With The Wolf” featuring the participation of the iconic keyboard player Tony Carey) and they were also in charge once again, for production and mixing duty, and of course they performed some ferocious vocals. This is a work of art tremendously and carefully polished that put some lights in a brilliant manner to the songwriting talent of the savage binomial Voss / Sweeney.The highlights of the albums are , the beginning track "Moonlight” with Ralf Scheepers who provide a very typical high flux of screaming and yelling, embellished by a fast pace and an epic dimension somewhere between HEAVENS GATE and MIND ODYSSEY with a little something from GAMMA RAY.In the same melodic power frenzy, the solid "A Matter of Time" that sounds like VICTORY meets BONFIRE, boosted by a share of battling vocals between Sweeney and Johnny Gioeli with an uplifting performance, courtesy of Mr. Brian Tichy beating his drum kit."Palace of Gold" reveals a new heaviness and a dark density before transforming in a more pompous style than usual with the participation to the voice of Tony Mills and a massive multi-layer backing vocal section choir, like a symphonic version of DIO merged with a delicate and fragile Prog Rock melody.Another fast double kick power number is "Beast In Me" with the always classy singing of Goran Edman, recalling that he was the singer for RISING FORCE / SPACE ODYSSEY / STRATOSPHERE and for 1999’s third album “The Last Viking” by The JOHANSSON BROTHERS and a true Neoclassical expertise demonstration in the lead spot provided by Roland Grapow.Then it's time for a real entertaining Teutonic Metal with an Hard Rock touch cut named "Pressure Down" with the very distinctive voice of Doogie White which is highlighted in a mid tempo heavy rhythm , and a strong sing along headbanging refrain with a great gang backing vocal unit, like ACCEPT meets SINNER with an extensive ad lib howling final.The rest of the tracklisting is also enjoyable mixing a few gimmick True Metal tracks as a simple sing along hymn as "Wakken" in the HAMMERFALL / IRON  SAVIOR / RUNNIG WILD and obliviously ACCEPT's fashion (…"bang your head…Metal attack"…)  or the less catchy but energetic, epic, tortuous and poignant title track "Cry Wolf" that extend to ten minutes with atmospheric sequence, special FX surreal sounds like wind and rain plus a few narrative parts in with a very surprising vocal interpretation of Blaze Bayley and a ultra-fast shredding piece of lead guitar signed by the one and the only, the other Swedish maestro Mr. Kee Marcello himself for a big fat guitar lesson and a serious beating .Before that we had a ballad with Mrs. Somerville but I think it's just a flat and ordinary number, very caricaturish, in a not really inspired style, before that it was the moment for the WOLFPAKK's leaders to be left alone in the vocal department at least, Voss / Sweeney are dueling in the single, a quite regular Euro Metal cut under the moniker of "Dark Revelation"…Not my favorite.The cover version of a legendary classic rock track, is as always, a double edged sword but secured with the approval and the additional playing of the early RAINBOW's keyboardist Tony Carey, to keep it in the right path, in this case "Run With The Wolf" is a good revision lightened in its rhythmic cadence structure as a result we have a more pompous rendition, with obviously the Hammond keyboards quite upfront.Finally, the album is the perfect sequel of the highly acclaimed debut; this sophomore episode fulfilled the dangerous task, with maybe a less impressive guest list but with a real focus on bringing back, proudly and under one united flag, the old nature of the pure roaring Euro-Metal mania." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "Anthrax's first album with vocalist Joey Belladonna is a huge leap forward, featuring strongly rhythmic, pounding riffs and vocals that alternate between hardcore-type shouting and surprising amounts of melody. Two tracks left over from the Dan Lilker days are here as well. The traditional metal lyrical fare is more original, while also introducing a penchant for paying tribute to favorite fictional characters and pop culture artifacts ("Lone Justice" and "Medusa" are prime examples). One of Anthrax's best efforts." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "2012 Blu-Ray live release. The Tea Party is a Canadian rock band with blues, progressive rock, Indian and Middle Eastern influences, dubbed "Moroccan roll" by the media. Active throughout the 1990s up until 2005 when the band broke up, The Tea Party released eight albums on EMI Music Canada, selling 2 million records worldwide, and achieving a #1 Canadian single "Heaven Coming Down" in 1999. The Tea Party toured Canada on twenty-one occasions and Australia on twelve. In November 2002, The Tea Party toured Canada with symphony orchestras reinterpreting a decade's worth of shared songwriting. The band broke up in 2005 due to creative differences, but re-united in 2011 to play several Canadian tour dates during the summer. During the tour it was decided to continue and the band has now reformed. Live From Australia: The Reformation Tour was recorded in 2012 during The Tea Party's Australian tour and showcases the band bursting with renewed energy."
    $17.00
  • "Tracer release their new album ‘Spaces In Between’ on October 3rd (UK release) on the Cool Green recordings label.  The Australian desert rockers, who are based in Adelaide, comprise of brothers Michael and Leigh Brown and Andre Wise. They have had success with two previous independent releases, but ‘Spaces In Between’ will I feel launch Tracer to new heights.Tracer’s blend of 90’s stoner and 70’s classic rock is steeped in epic guitar sounds, clever hooks and raw, uncompromising vocals.I hope (and imagine) that Tracer can reproduce live on stage the intensity and passion and raw rock n roll that is so evident in this album. With the UK tour coming up I think we should all go and check out these Aussie contenders!“So what’s the album really like?” I hear you say.   The album starts with ‘Too Much’ and a great start it is. A guitar riff straight from the 70’s classic-rock bible. A solid, constant rhythm throughout. A very catchy rock song, which is understandably the first single from the album.Check out the video belowTrack two; ‘Push’ has a more laid back feel. It still rocks, but in a groovier kinda way. If Jimi Hendrix and Paul Rodgers had a lovechild, it would sing like this!‘Walk Alone’ continues the 70’s rock vibe. A solid drum beat throughout which has a simple yet traditional guitar riff over the topThe fourth track, ‘Louder Than This’ is stoner rock at its finest. Distorted vocals over a solid pounding drum beat, with guitars turned to eleven. There is almost a Slade vibe to this song. I can imagine Noddy Holder belting this out in the 70’s.The next track ‘Devil Ride’ goes back to the rockier tempo of track one. Definitely the catchiest chorus on the album so far.  I have a feeling that ‘Devil Ride’ might just be the next single.Track six is another thumping tune. ‘ The Bitch’ is the song which will get the crowd going wild in the mosh-pit, although they will still sing along to the chorus, with devil-horns flying high.The seventh track, ‘Voice In The Rain’ has a much slower pace than most on the album. The Paul Rodgers comparison to Michael Browns vocal is most evident here. A great performance.The album’s title track ‘Spaces In Between’ is the stand out track. The bass line complements the raw guitar sound and you find yourself singing along to ‘The Spaces In Between’ line of the chorusTrack nine is ‘Dead Inside’. This starts slow and Bluesy, rocks in with screaming vocals and guitar solos, slows back down again then totally rocks out towards the end. A clever song, which highlights the bands musical talents.‘Save My Breath’ is another pulsating rocker with some nice stop/start moments and even a little psychedelic middle eight!‘All In My Head’, the eleventh track, is a mellow rocker with another catchy chorus.The album closes with ‘Won’t Let It Die (Run Mary)’. A shot of Bad Company, a dash of Led Zeppelin and topped up to the brim with Jimi Hendrix.  Get the idea? A laid back song but with great guitar work, especially the solo. This will have you singing along by the end." - I Review Rock
    $12.00
  • Joyous Lake was one of two dead on fusion albums recorded by the illustrious jazz guitarist.  Pat Martino's career is legendary and he is one of the premier guitarists in the world.  When he left Muse Records in the mid-70s he signed with Warner Brothers and briefly jumped on the fusion bandwagon.  Joyous Lake was the first effort in 1976 and Starbright followed.  Both are essential.Joyous Lake featured support from Delmar Brown (keyboards), Kenwood Dennard (drums), and Mark Leonard (bass).  Martino experimented with early guitar synthesizer in places and it sounds like he moved over to a solid body guitar since his tone cuts through like a knife - as opposed to his hollow body guitar tone that has a very muted treble.  High energy playing from a very skilled quartet.  This will appeal to fans of Al Di Meola, Return To Forever, and Mahavishnu Orchestra.  One of the great fusion albums of the 70s available from Japan at a bargain price!
    $12.00
  • Iconoclast is Symphony X's 8th album and debut for their new home at Nuclear Blast. All traces of the symphonic neoclassical metal that characterized their sound through V are now gone. The band made a stylistic change with The Odyssey, developed it further with Paradise Lost and now have really locked into their own identity with Iconoclast. It would be simple to call this power metal but you don't have normally hear a guitarist in a power metal band playing they type of leads that Mike Romeo conjures up. He is one of the most inventive guitarists in metal. Combined with Mike Pinella symphonic accents the progressive elements come through loud and clear. There are a lot of great vocalists in metal but some are a little better than others. Then you get vocalists like Jorn Lande and Russell Allen who are a lot better than the others. Allen comes through with another vocal tour de force. Yes I miss the days of Divine Wings Of Tragedy and Twilight In Olympus but I'm on board with the new sound. Its heavier - crunchier - more direct - but never dull. Romeo makes sure of it - he just bludgeons you with creativity. Highly recommended.
    $6.00
  • "Alternative Rock is not a genre that graces my ears very often, but as always, they are open; as is my mind. The funny thing is, any time I am exposed to something I wouldn't normally find myself listening to, there is always something about that band that has my wanting attention for one reason or another, be it the sound of the vocalist, the mixing, or those infectious hooks in the chorus. For its genre, the ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN (formerly AGUA DE ANNIQUE) is perfectly postulated and is a leading act, with their non-repetitive writing (something I hear too often in commercial rock), excellent vocals and songs leaving you burning with an urge to sing along.Their latest release, "Drive", is no exception; as an album, it proves to be versatile, with no two songs sounding identical, but every song keeping the rhythm and mood to make the album fit piece by piece. "We Live On" feels like a typical pop-rock track, upbeat and driving, with an extremely powerful vocal performance in the choruses by Van Giersbergen. "Treat Me Like A Lady" does not want to be treated like a lady, and takes a noticeably heavier tone, brimming with attitude. "She" begins ever so modestly, making us think we're brought back to some level of calm, but explodes into an incredibly fast-paced chorus for such a Rock band, and includes yet another infectious chorus; something that is fast becoming an obvious highlight. "Drive" – I adore the sound of the bass in this song, the way it is dislocated from the drums, adds another dynamic. Van Giersbergen's even more stellar performance in the chorus demonstrates her large vocal range and versatility. Save for electric bass, "My Mother Said" is an entirely acoustic song and is the softest, most heartfelt song on the album; the band's namesake flawlessly demonstrates her ability to fit her voice around any song to emote any mood wants. "Forgive Me" is especially different, demonstrating unusual chord progressions, totally different instrumentation, and revealing even more, the extent of control that Van Giersbergen has over her range. "You Will Never Change" is upbeat and punchy, through-and-through with an – okay, let us just assume that every song on this album has an infectious chorus; definitely one of my favorites on the album. "Mental Jungle" begins with a strange, Arabic-sounding vocal melody, also featured on the chorus; I do indeed also love this chorus, as well as the interesting chord progressions. Quite easily the most unique song on the album, it strays from the pipeline rock sound that this record has been purveying. "Shooting for the Stars" takes the cake for the 'radiorock' track on the album, where every note, every beat, every lyric, screams commercialism and airtime. Not necessarily a bad song, but not the most interesting on the album. The album closes with "The Best Is Yet To Come" which makes me thing, Anneke has even better music to offer us in the future? The song itself takes first place on the album for me; the presence of the overdriven guitars and bass compliment her voice perfectly to create a powerful and catchy, yet Heavy Rock track, with interesting and unpredictable licks and hooks.Van Giersbergen and her band are quickly cementing themselves as one of Europe's currently most powerful and gorgeous-sounding rock groups, whom don't necessarily always cling to the commercialized, radio cliché sound, although no doubt perfectly suited to long air time. Coming from a metal head who listens to a fair share of female singers, I believe she could sing anything she wanted to, and the band of musicians that have got together and recorded this organic album with her have done so masterfully, and I'm not sure if the best is yet to come." - Metal Temple
    $7.00
  •  "After over two years from the event, we can still hear today the echoes of that memorable Italian progressive rock night.That Saturday 6th November 2010 the same Locanda delle Fate went first on stage, playing their masterpiece “Forse le lucciole non si amano più” almost in its entirety, adding the then-unreleased songs “Sequenza circolare” and “La giostra”, later included in the recent “The missing fireflies” (2012). Locanda delle Fate's today line-up includes four original members - Leonardo Sasso (vocals), Oscar Mazzoglio (keyboards), Luciano Boero (bass guitar) and Giorgio Gardino (drums).Once available only as vinyl, “Live in Bloom” is here reissued on CD/DVD; the first 1000 copies come in a special lavish format, comprising a hard-cover mini-booklet inside a horizontal slipcase (15 x 25cm).Compared to its previous release, this edition finally contains, both on the CD and the DVD, the entire Locanda delle Fate’s concert, which could not be included as a whole in the space of a single LP. The sound quality is excellent, and the visual part has been professionally recorded with a 4-cam system.To sum it all, this is a release not to be missed by Italian prog fanatics, especially who was present during that Progvention 2010 night, and also an important document that testimonies how the genre is still today very much alive!"
    $24.00
  • "The debut recording from the Dixie Dregs (The Great Spectacular is considered a demo) stands as one fusion's high-water marks. This music is wholly original and played with a freshness and vigor that had begun to wane in a genre that was becoming a model in self-parody. The influences here are plentiful, but it is the country roots that provide the music with its vitality. Founder/guitarist Steve Morse proved to be an important new guitarist, offering an inimitable style with the technique the music demands. The music is complex and challenging, but that's easy to overlook due to the band's sunny approach. While they would go on to create more fully realized recordings, this one proved that fusion had a soul." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Jazz Q was a seminal jazz rock/fusion band from the Czech Republic.  The band was formed by keyboardist Martin Kratochvil along with some members of Modry Effekt (although the lineup changed frequently over the years).  In the early days the band were very much a jazz rock band but with strong progressive overtones.  Vocals would be utilized from time to time - some albums have female vocals in English - some have male Czech vocals - but for the most part these are long form compositions that are instrumental or have really long instrumental breaks.  In other words, the vocals that appear are used almost as an instrument and are not the focus of the band.  Towards the middle of the 70s, Kratochvil became influenced by Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra.  The music became a bit more high energy.  This box set collects all 7 of the band's studio and live albums and comes with a bonus CD featuring unreleased and singles tracks.  Highly recommended!
    $60.00
  • Once upon a time there was a brilliant Canadian composer musician named Franck Dervieux. In 1971 he recorded a great album of classically influenced progressive rock called "Dimensione M". Dervieux passed away at an early age due to cancer. The members of his ensemble essentially formed Contraction upon his passing. The main drivers behind contraction was vocalist Christiane Robichaud and bassist Yves Laferriere. While the self-titled debut didn't hit the lofty heights that their second album reached it's not without it's charms. The focus is on Robichaud's ethereal vocals with all the firepower a bit in the background. Start with "La Bourse Ou La Vie" first.
    $18.00
  • "Another album---another vocalist. I feel badly for bands that just cannot seem to retain a lead vocalist. Italy's Soul Secret started out with a guest singer, progressed to Fabio Manda's amazing voice on their sophomore album, and now have turned to Lino Di Pietrantonio to lead them. This choice, much like the album, is a solid one, though flawed in some ways.Soul Secret's third album is called "4", and, yes, that is confusing as hell. It represents a slight change in sound for Soul Secret, due not only to the change of singer, but also to the maturity of these guys as musicians. Indeed, I hear stylistic changes across the board. Soul Secret, if you are not familiar, are definitely a progressive metal band in the vein of Dream Theater, though I'm sure that's a shadow they don't want. Either way, though, it is the truth, as they rely on strong guitars from Antonio Vittozzi, sizzling keys from Luca Di Gennaro, foundational bass from Claudio Casaburi, and the ever present structure of Antonio Mocerino's drums.Their styles have changed somewhat, though. I am a huge fan of their previous album "Closer to Daylight", and the band as a whole has moved on from shorter, more structured tracks to longer and more varied concepts. This is both good and bad, as you won't really find much to sing along to here, but you will certainly find incredible instrumentals to admire (something Soul Secret has always done well). In fact, it seems like each and every track has a noteworthy instrumental, and some, like "Traces on the Seaside", "On the Ledge", and "Our Horizon", have multiple sections that are incredibly sublime. This is partially due to the new sounds for this band, especially Luca's wonderful keys. He has moved on from the standard atmospherics so often found in prog metal to new heights of solos, even leading the music many times. Needless to say, I'm very impressed with the large range of key tones used, too. Besides this, I sense a change for Mocerino's drums, too, as he has opted for a more delicate touch than his blast beating past. In addition, Vittozzi's guitars seem much more deliberate and inspired in composition.Thus far, we have a great third album called "4" that features some notable changes in sound. This is where my slight issues with the album appear. First of all, I do feel that it is a bit long. At 72+ minutes long, I feel like some of the incredible effectiveness of the first half of the album wears off by the end. Indeed, I feel like they realize it, too, as most of the really amazing rhythms are found in the first half. This is not to say that the latter half is bad. It's actually great, especially songs like the instrumental "Silence" or the addictive ending to "My Lighthouse". Heck, "Downfall" might be my favorite song on the album! The first few tracks, however, just gel so well that you barely notice the time pass.My other issue with this album is the Dream Theater sound. This is primarily because of Lino's vocal performance. Indeed, I think the band actively tries to avoid the DT sound by including plenty of small oddities, like harsh vox, crazy synth, and a notable lack of overpowering guitar. Lino's voice, however, sounds SO much like Labrie's vox on "Images & Words". This isn't a bad thing, as I don't think Labrie has ever sounded better. Lino does avoid the pretentious wailing (thank God), but there are definitely a few times where I could have imagined that I was listening to DT.Overall, though, this is another solid album from Soul Secret, and they really show their instrumental chops. Indeed, the ending epic "The White Stairs" opens with a fantastic groove that always makes me stop everything else I'm doing. For progressive metal fans, then, I don't think there has been a better offering so far this year. Be sure to get your hands on this album!" - ProgArchives
    $14.00