Ceremonial

Ceremonial

BY Pink Cream 69

(Customer Reviews)
$15.00
$ 9.00
SKU: FRCD585
Label:
Frontiers Records
Category:
Melodic Metal
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"Pink Cream 69 is an undisputed member of the elite class of melodic hard rock, the kind of band that rarely disappoints. Yes, some releases are better than others, but that is to be expected over the course of eleven studio albums and the fact is that all of them are worth your time and attention. Between the rock-solid vocals of David Readman and the immaculate production of Dennis Ward, expecting a PC69 album to fail is almost as foolish as expecting the Pope to announce his conversion to Satanism at the next Easter Mass.

So how does Ceremonial stack up within the PC69 pantheon? Pretty damn good, actually. Not quite as good as Electrified or Sonic Dynamite, but slightly better than In10sity and Thunderdome. By now you know what to expect when you pick up a PC69 album and that’s exactly what the band delivers. There’s more diversity to their sound this time, the band doing a nice job of mixing things up between high-octane rockers, melodic mid-tempo anthems, and the occasional burst of metal heaviness, all of which ensure the songs don’t blur into one another. PC69 know what fans want and serve it up in fine fashion with minimal deviation from ingrained expectations.

Of course, rock music is entirely subjective and how well you rank Ceremonial will depend entirely upon your personal proclivities, but there is simply no denying that this release features stellar musicianship, powering engineering, and some truly great hooks. The choruses really take off while the tight harmonies and sizzling guitar work together in tandem to make this one of the highlights of 2013.

Ceremonial is a less aggressive beast than many of the releases that came before, zeroing in on the melodic section of the hard rock bleachers, a minor adjustment that serves the band well; the overall vibe is just a little looser and more fun that some of their previous output. That’s not to say PC69 have turned into a bunch of featherweights; “Big Machine” alone proves the band can still bring the heaviness, laying down a punishing groove that leads into a hard-fisted chorus that Readman delivers with an extra dose of attitude. But for the most part the band is content to focus on the melodic rather than the metal. That’s neither a pro nor a con, simply a statement of fact. Do with it what thou will.

If the metallic tracks are scanter than venison in a vegan’s freezer, the catchy melodic rock tunes are in abundance. “Wasted Years” is a blissful mid-tempo number delivered in that inimitable way that only an experienced band like P69 can pull off. Next up is the urgently hard rocking “Special” and it gets the job done…assuming that job is to get your body moving. “Right From Wrong” is a jaw-dropping demonstration of how to do melodic rock right, featuring an insanely catchy hook and a bouncy sing-along chorus that really sticks in your brain. If you are asked what the best track on this album is and you don’t answer, “Right From Wrong,” then you are… well, wrong.

PC69 could have just whipped together a few solid songs, had Readman phone in some professional but heart-lacking vocals, used Ward’s glossy production to hide a multitude of sonic sins, and fans would have gobbled it up like a starving wolf chowing down on a crippled chicken. But being the consummate professionals they are, they refused to take the easy road. Instead, they actually crafted some damn fine melodic hard rock songs, coaxed a great vocal performance out of Readman, and used Ward’s crunchy production as icing on the cake rather than a crutch. The result is another top-notch offering from Pink Cream 69 that most melodic hard rockers will enjoy as much as oral connoisseurs enjoy the position from which the band takes its name." - Hard Rock Haven

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  • Current version of ELP's 1992 reunion album. Not exactly their best work but the worst was yet to come.  In retrospect there are some pretty decent tunes here but don't expect Brain Salad Surgery. This Sony edition comes with 4 bonus tracks.
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  • "It started in 2000 with "Down with the Sickness." Disturbed's thick, rhythmic take on alt-metal was perfect music for stalking bloody zombies, and vocalist David Draiman's jaw-snapping Pavlovian grunts made the trigger fingers of first-person shooters itch. There were threads of other groups in the sound -- Pantera's wrenching power, Slipknot, the ill-lighted parlor games of Tool -- but Disturbed held their own from the start. If 2002's Believe downplayed Draiman's guttural responses a little, that tact's long gone for 2005's Ten Thousand Fists. From Todd McFarlane's evocative wronged misfits artwork -- Suicide Girls stand fists upraised next to ghoulish fiends and disenfranchised truckers -- to the rousing staccato of the title track and the "Sickness" rewrite "Stricken," Disturbed solidify their stance as the black knights of gaming-console rock. Creepy electronics slither behind Dan Donegan's guitar, and he mostly forsakes soloing to concentrate on the visceral groove. When he's not hacking like a chained-up pit bull, Draiman emotes from the valley of reverb (that's next to the valley of death), and his moments of epic roar make the songs' choppier parts more effective. Now, "Overburdened" takes the epic stuff a little too far. Draiman starts off the song in narration, muttering "Fate is so unkind" like a monster who's been given the power to feel. But even in its swirling pretentiousness, you can't deny his intensity. Luckily the majority of Fists sticks to mid-tempo punishers that pound back anger-gritted teeth and no anesthesia. (Remember, Disturbed's tours are underwritten by Jägermeister, the black licorice firewater that punches Saturday night in the face.) "Deify" rails against blind devotion to political leaders and "Sons of Plunder" stalks at a faster, more aggressive faster heart rate, while "Decadence" and "Sacred Lie" drop into the rhythmic grip that by mid- to late album is almost comfortable in its gloomy thump. (Disturbed's ill-advised cover of Genesis' "Land of Confusion"? No comment.) Ten Thousand Fists does start to sound the same after a while. But those bloody zombies aren't going to stop pouring though the doorway, so it's a good thing it has at least 12 burly alt-metal rockers. Fire!" - Allmusic Guide
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  • Now here is a beautiful slice of contemporary progressive rock.  Anubis is an underrated band from Australia - bands down under don't seem to get the attention they deserve.  Hitchhiking is their third full length album.  2011's A Tower Of Silence was a big hit around here and frankly when it arrived it came as a huge surprise.  This long awaited follow up reinforces that the prog rock world needs to take notice.  The music has a cinematic Floyd-like feel.  Vocals from Robert James Moulding are emotion driven and have plenty of impact.  This is not a band who's music is filled with tons of soloing but what's here is solid.  In other words this is not old school prog - its very forward thinking but with a modern sound.  Highly recommended."I have long dreamt of an Australian progressive rock album that would inspire me to click the repeat button, in order to drift through its world all over again, and I am happy to declare that Hitchhiking to Byzantium has been on constant rotation for weeks at this point. Bringing an enchanting blend of Floydian melancholy and the energy of Rush to the table, Anubis have come to stake their claim as heavyweights in the Oz scene with their third opus.Whilst being equally impressed with their 2011 album A Tower of Silence (which I have only just heard recently also), I have found myself returning to Byzantium more to explore the subtle nuances contained within the album’s ten tracks. ‘Fadeout’ as an opening diddy is like riding a gentle breeze for just a short while before being swept up in all the drama and opulence of ‘A King with No Crown’, a reference quality track on every level, cinematic in scope and full of drama and tension and certainly an inspired choice as opening single for the album. ‘Dead Trees’ is a classic prog cut with all the bells and whistles sporting a vocal performance that harkens to a young James Labrie and a chorus that will have you by the balls from the first time you hear it.I mentioned a notable influence from Floyd and Rush earlier, but if I was to be honest, I would love to ask them if they are fans of American prog band Tiles and those wonderful Brits Anathema, because both bands are called to mind on this album amongst others like Sweden’s Anekdoten. The title track is a sublime centrepiece and features a plaintive aura that is sent soaring when spine-tingling female backing vocals lace the chorus. It’s so hard to choose a favourite song when they are all so filled with creamy goodness, but any of these three  - ‘Blood is Thicker than Common Sense’ (a seductive groover), ‘Tightening of the Screws’ (a majestic slice of melancholia reminiscent of early The Pineapple Thief) or ‘Partitionists’ (a lyrical and musical marvel) - could easily take the title for this humble listener.The final triptych features dark drama in ‘Crimson Stained Romance’, a song that reminded me most of a classic Floyd epic, the 15+ minute ‘A Room with a View’, which is nothing short of a sweeping symphony of moods and tones and the closing ‘Silent Wandering Ghosts’ sounds exactly like its title would suggest, haunting and transcendent with an outro to die for.These seven talented lads are a gifted lot, with every performance of outstanding quality, enhanced by a jaw-dropping production that let’s every instrument tell its own little story and play its part in this emotionally resonant work that as the band state themselves: "I feel that there's more of us in there - the hurdles that life throws at us and the only way to feel true inner peace - by examining the love around you. It's certainly an introspective record - but it's real life. It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us. Hitchhiking to Byzantium. That journey is life."And somehow I believe them." - Loud Mag
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Originally started as a side-project collaboration by Mexican drummer Mauricio Bustamente and guitarist for Israeli progressive metal group Amaseffer Yuval Kramer, the group also numbers Israeli singer Yotam Avni of death metal band Prey For Nothing, who wrote the basic storyline for what would turn out to be their debut album Rise.The group emailed ideas back and forth until it was time to record in 2010. To fill out the lineup, the group recruited several well-known and respected metal musicians, including bassist Michael Lepond (Symphony X), as well as guest musicians in keyboard player Joost Van Der Broek (Ayreon), highly regarded Israeli jazz fusion guitarist Assaf Levy, and the legendary Jeff Scott Soto (Yngvie Malmsteen, Journey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) to perform on certain tracks. Reign Of The Architect’s first album was delayed due to the inability to find a label to release it, but finally it has seen the light of day. What could have been a disappointment instead was revealed to be a truly gripping, cinematic work of symphonic progressive metal.Rise is a sci-fi concept album of some sort. According to Kramer, the story is an “allegory of the powers that rage inside the human soul”, dealing with the subjectivity of things such as good and evil, and right and wrong. In accordance with this duology, the music on this album falls into one of two categories; either slower dramatic and mournful, or heavier bombastic and angry. Both are done in a very cinematic fashion, and combining influences from Latin, Middle Eastern, European, and jazz fusion traditions into one melting pot of progressive metal riffing.After a symphonic intro, the album opens, interestingly enough, not with a high energy song as would be expected, but with a waltz-type song, and then a ballad which starts very minimal and then turns into something more dramatic for the finale. The song “False” has a heavy, desperate feeling, and is a very powerful metal song which descends into a very surprising but very fitting jazz fusion-esque solo. The song also ends with an almost-ragtime piano section, which nicely contrasts the rest of the song.There are three vocalists featured on the album: Davidavi Dolev, Tom Gefen, and Denise Scorofitz – and this is one of its greatest strengths, as each one is given parts that perfectly suit their range and sound within the music. It adds an amazing amount of dynamicism and variance to the album.There are also a few guest vocalists to add even more to what Rise has to offer. The singers are given specific characters that are important to the concept to sing. Most appear throughout, as the concept demands, but Jeff Scott Soto makes his mark on only one track: the brilliant “We Must Retaliate”, the second single release from the album. Members of the Israeli thrash metal band Dark Serpent appear on the final song, “Hopeless War” as soldiers, and also making guest appearances (and acquitting themselves wonderfully) are Joost Van Der Broek (playing a keyboard solo on the first single release, “Distant Similarities”) and Assaf Levy, who provides guitar solos on “False” and “As The Old Turns To Sorrow”.Musically, the rest of the band is excellent. The guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards all sound fantastic and work very well together. Guitar-wise, the riffs in the more metal moments are strong, flowing, and cohesive. The bass parts, half of which are played by Michael Lepond who replaced original bassist Kyle Honea when the latter was unable to continue, are their own entity not just following the guitar. Lepond is a fantastic bassist, one of the best in progressive metal, and it shows here.Rise is three acts and fifteen songs long, running at 65 minutes. It is not long for progressive metal record, but it does occasionally feel like it drags a bit. All the songs are within the four to six minute range, and contain enough variety to keep things interesting for the most part, but the back half of the album is less interesting than the first half. The first seven songs are brilliant, while the next nine have a few shining moments, namely “We Must Retaliate” “Crown of Shattered Dreams” and “Hopeless War” among others, but are generally a little less remarkable. It is also the first part in a planned two part saga. No word on when the second album will be released, but one can hope it will be just as good as this one. Reign of the Architect have created a fantastic work of progressive cinematic metal for their debut. The variety of sound showcased, and the strong composition and musicianship along with some great guest musicians make this an excellent addition to any progressive metal collection. 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  • "Temperance is back with the sophomore release “Limitless” and as predicted/foreshadowed, the album takes a more distinctive directional turn towards Amaranthe, but fortunately, with enough Delain and Italian songwriting/musicianship to balance. Over the year since the release of the debut from the musicians who were once known as Bejelit, I began padding my mind with enough psychic cushion to soften the distraction of glitzy "popcore" keyboards while straining to hear what lies beneath. Pushing aside the glitz will reveal the heart of Italian power/progressive still beating – one that produces excellent songwriting, fantastic solos and a vocalist who can actually sing rather than belt out "Cavalleria Rusticana." If you can bear the glamour and core style vocal distractions, in many ways “Limitless” is superior to its predecessor. Unfortunately, even a strong will may not be able to overcome.Let's get one thing straight - a band should not be faulted for trying to make a living. What many call “selling out” is akin to deciding that every band must cater to the whim of every listener, with no care towards the lives musicians try to lead – especially in this day and age. Temperance has molded its sound in a way to make itself globally appealing, keeping an ear to the trends that will allow the group to circle the globe and realize a dream. This doesn’t mean everyone has to like that style, just look around – there are thousands of bands that can garner one’s attention. The same can be said for Amaranthe, which has cracked the U.S. market, sadly something that Olof Morck’s incredible fantasy power metal act DragonLand has yet to do. Temperance recently cracked the U.S. market and “Limitless” will only widen the door to hopefully an east coast run.What “Limitless” presents is a formula that is currently hot: the three singer mold – one female, two male (harsh/clean) - and elements of symphonic, pop, core, Scar Symmetry-esque modern metal, all creating a symbiotic relationship. It all boils down to whether you find it palatable or not. Apparently, this works and finds appeal with a large fanbase – where fans can bounce and have their fun. I’m sure hordes of teenage fans will fall for tracks like “Here & Now” and “Save Me.” Temperance plays it so well and is actually superior to bands like Amaranthe because rarely do the Italians completely abandon their roots. Patience and endurance will reveal that the heart of Bejelit still beats. You may take the renaissance out of Italian metal, but you can never take away that neo-classical training. It still shines…just buried beneath overbearing modernization.You can hear it in songs like “Side By Side” and “Burning,” two of the best songs the band has written, the former being the favorite. Marco Pastorino is among Italy’s best guitarists (with a voice to boot) and his riffs, solos, and melody lines are as great as ever, even if they are completely slathered by techno/dance style keys. Chiara is as uber talented as she is super attractive. However, if it were up to me, nixing the keyboards completely along with the harsh core vocals would allow the real music to breathe, but surely that would undermine what the band is trying to accomplish here. Bottom line…we don’t always get what we want. Other notable tracks include the Delain inspired tracks “Amber & Fire” and “Stay," "Mr. White," and the gorgeous piano driven “Goodbye.”As far as production, “Limitless” sounds top notch and expertly mixed. You can take Simone Mularoni’s name as your stamp of auto-perfection. For fans seeking bands with supercharged pop, core, modern influenced styles along the lines of Amaranthe, Temperance plays it with more style and grace than all of them. For fans of the classical influenced power/progressive style of Bejelit – it really is still there, only entombed behind a wall of glitz for which it will take “limitless” concentration to block the distractions." - Metal Underground
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  • earMUSIC is happy to announce the long-awaited final chapter of the successful Savatage re-issues series. Previously unreleased and originally only intended for the Broadway rendition, “Streets: A Rock Opera” - the groundbreaking album by Savatage – is now released including its original narration parts.To complete this extraordinary release and to award the many fans who have shown dedication and love for Savatage’s legacy, the final chapter of this reissue series will feature the band’s favourite videos. Released for the first time on DVD and restored from the original tapes, the video collection spans from Savatage’s 1987’s video ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’ until 1996’s ‘One Child’.As on all previous chapters of the Savatage re-issues series, the album includes newly-written liner notes by Jon Oliva, who is sharing his memories about all Savatage videos.Fans looking for unreleased and rare bonus tracks will be happy to discover a lot of extra audio content on the DVD: ‘Shotgun Innocence’, ‘Forever After’, one instrumental acoustic version of ‘Voyage’, live versions of ‘Stare Into The Sun’ and ‘Conversation Piece’ recorded in Japan (but NOT included on the official live CD) and the piano version of ‘Sleep’. The bonus track ‘Larry Elbows’ deserves a special mention: this previously unreleased song didn’t make it on the original “Streets: A Rock Opera” album due to time limits and is finally available to all the fans that never forgot the creativity and the energy of this extraordinary band.“I’m really excited for this version of ´Streets´ to finally be released" – says Jon Oliva – “It was something different, an idea that Paul O’Neill had to take the progressive rock opera format to a bigger and better place than anything we had done, and anything I had heard anyone else doing before. This version of the album has only been floating around on bootlegs.”
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  • A great album perhaps beaten to death by radio airplay of "Spirit Of The Radio" and "Freewill".  Remastered edition.
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