Cornerstone

SKU: SOM293
Label:
Season Of Mist
Category:
Doom Metal
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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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  • "In the mighty and fertile cold lands of Sweden in the early 2000, Markus Sigfridsson, a skilled young guitar player, with his best friend, Tobias Enbert behind the drum kit, created HARMONY, a Christian Power Metal band influenced by the great Scandinavian Neo-Classic tradition updated with a strong Melodic Prog-Metal tendency…The perfectly named HARMONY, is an ambitious group that was immediately warmly acclaimed by our community, a general positive consensus that occured right after the succesful release of their debut album, “Dreaming Awake”, in 2003, an impression that was even reinforced by its solid sucessor, "Chapter II: Aftermath", published in 2008.In late November 2014, it was the next crucial step in their career, their third offering, "Theatre of Redemption", was available. The big announcement was that it featured in the Lead Vocal role, one of the most reputed Metal singer from Sweden, the one and only LOST HORIZON’s former Daniel Heiman, who provides, as expected, a superb performance; very impressive in every section, displaying an amazing range and an outstanding emotional imperssonated feeling, and I had the privilege to review it with a good rating of 9 in result…"Theatre of Redemption" finally ends up really high, in my famous top list for 2014…They also encountered some kind of achievement with DARKWATER as a side-project; the duet of musicians is still very active and full of ressources!On May 22nd in Europe, and on May 26th in North America, the Swedish melodic Power Metal band HARMONY, will release a new work in EP format, entitled “Remembrance”…Once again published through Ulterium Records will features the legendary vocalist Daniel Heiman (ex LOST HORIZON/ex HEED/ now frontman for LAVETT) on vocals. This six track EP includes four re-recorded songs from the HARMONY's debut album, “Dreaming Awake”, as well as two brand-new songs.Of course, “Eternity”, “Dreaming Awake”, “Without You” or “She” are the reworked tracks; the running order is still the same, keeping the original successivity, while at the final slots, the songs ”In His Heart” and ”Feed My Hunger” are the newest compositions; you can count on the ultra precise sonic rendition in the purest Swedish Tradition as, like “Theatre of Redemption, “Remembrance" was mixed by the same glorious team at Studio Fredman (DREAM EVIL/HAMMERFALL/IN FLAMES).Although a little short, "Remembrance" is fully packed with the best exemples of "how Modern Power Metal has evolved" with orchestrated arrangments, a few ballads, sporadic acoustic elements and more subtle, understated interludes (“Without You”) and something sounding quite parallel to Progressive Rock (“She”), the whole is clearly well played and superbly produced with with a huge dynamic range .The epic side and the Metal straightness is still present, strategically added, giving a more accessible feel to the listener with song like the opening cut, “Eternity”.If the style of the early album is respected, obviously the new found technically and proficient focus has given another color to this EP, a challenging method crafted under a even more epic flavor, the title track and “She” were two of my favorites in their “Dreaming Awake”. Now maybe in concurrence with the quality of the recently added tracks, like the infectious chorus within ”In His Heart” and its numerous layers of harmonized vocals, or ”Feed My Hunger”…The second being the most emblematic; it fit into the existing stylistic musical realms and show the more Melodic way forward for what could be the band's future, with a sophisticated Eastern/Oriental chord-structures mixed with the refreshing harmonic excellence!Another warning coming from the North…Will you remember?" - Metal Temple
    $10.00
  • The third and final album of the Blackmore/Dio marriage was a fine one. "Gates Of Babylon" and "Kill The King" and the title track are now timeless classics of hard rock.
    $5.00
  • "The Prog Rock supergroup whose debut became the surprise hit of 2012 returns with a brand new album featuring an even more impressive lineup of stellar musicians and artists lending their talents to this incredible project!Features performances by mindblowing musicians Steve Stevens, Rick Wakeman, Steve Morse, Peter Banks (in his final appearance) as well as Captain Kirk himself William Shatner, PLUS members of Yes, Dream Theater, Nektar Asia, Gong and more!Deluxe digipak packaging!Performed by:Rick Wakeman Steve Stevens Chris Squire Peter Banks Steve Morse Larry Fast Alan Parsons Sonja Kristina Jordan Rudess Steve Hillage John Wesley Nik Turner Geoff Downes Roye Albrighton Gary Green Tony Kaye William Shatner Colin Moulding Mel Collins John Wetton Derek Sherinian Billy Sherwood Fee Waybill Patrick Moraz Jim Cuomo "
    $15.00
  • Long out of print 2nd album from this Los Angeles based thrash band featuring Gene Hoglan on drums.  2008 versions with 8(!) live bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • The third album from Haken once again demonstrates why they are at the forefront of the progressive metal scene.  The first two albums Aquarius and Visions are quite different.  Aquarius is a much quirkier album - lots of twists and turns that kept you off balance through out.  It had more of a prog rock feel and some real oddball approaches that resulted in some reviewers referring to it as circus meteal.  Visions was quite different.  It was much more linear and clearly defined in terms of content.  It was a prog metal album and wonderful one at that.The Mountain is the first release for the band's new home at Inside Out.  The direction of the band takes a bit of a u-turn.  The music falls somewhere in between the first two.  There is a quirky, prog rock vibe but you get the heaviness and complexity of prog metal.  One particular track I keep going back to is "Cockroach King" which essentially pays homage to Gentle Giant's counterpoint vocals.  Regardless of which direction you preferred, The Mountain has enough diversity to go please everyone.If you want to keep track of where progressive metal is headed then climb the mountain - this is where its at.  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • This is where the progressive elements really start to coalesce ie. the 20 minute "The Fountain Of Lamneth".  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • Following two highly successful tours with established Progressive metalists PAIN OF SALVATION and two years of exacting work, DARK SUNS have finished their third album "Grave Human Genuine.""Grave Human Genuine" – this unconventional title was chosen with care and purpose, as it represents the three characteristic elements of this work: "Grave" signifies darkness, the sinister force, and the inevitable fate. "Human" is synonymous with the music’s inherent soul-depth, while "Genuine" means "real" or "authentic" and hence refers to DARK SUNS’ uncompromising approach to music.But what about the music? DARK SUNS don’t merely pick up where the successful predecessor "Existence" (2005) left off, they present themselves as many-facetted as never before. A clear nod to Doom, complex polyrhythms, unusual and diverse instruments and, last but not least, drummer NIKO KNAPPE’s characteristic yearning vocals comprise the album’s cornerstones. The variety of sounds stretches from angular Metal riff attacks via atmospheric ambient soundscapes and Techno reminiscences to Avant-garde influences – despite this complexity, an accomplished musical mosaic of enormous expressiveness.Exciting nuances are created by the incomparable bass of Pain Of Salvation’s long-time member KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW, a friendly turn that resulted from the tours mentioned above, and DISILLUSION’s SCHMIDT’s guest vocals in "Flies In Amber."With "Grave Human Genuine," DARK SUNS have created a haunting album full of autonomy and instrumental class, self-consciously charting new musical territory. In this, the band from Leipzig embodies the essence of every true progressive band: compositional genius coupled with advancement. The dark suns radiate: gloomy, human and egregiously genuine.
    $6.00
  • "It has been an eventful year or so in the world of Haken. In September 2013, the sextet released what can only be described as a masterpiece of progressive music in the form of their third album, the magnificent ‘The Mountain’. This album received almost universal critical acclaim upon its release and even led to interest from the likes of Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Transatlantic) and Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess. In the case of the former, it led to an invitation to play the inaugural ‘Progressive Nation At Sea’, but thanks to both ringing endorsements, the door to the American market has opened more widely of late. And if that wasn’t enough, Haken recently received no less than three nominations in the Progressive Music Awards, quite an achievement for a band so relatively young.However, with the smooth, also comes the rough and almost immediately following the release of this ‘breakthrough’ album, bassist Tom MacLean announced his departure from Haken. An apparently amicable split, it was nevertheless a hurdle that had to be overcome at a point when the largest wave of the band’s career was about to be crested. An international audition invitation was extended and, following an extensive search, a young American by the name of Conner Green was assimilated into the Haken collective. Welcome sir!In many ways, ‘Restoration’ a three-track EP is as much a bedding-in of their new colleague as it is an opportunity to maintain the momentum created by ‘The Mountain’ whilst a new full-length album is brought to life. That said, to consider ‘Restoration’ a stop-gap is disingenuous in the extreme. It may only contain three tracks, but when the three tracks last well over half an hour and sound this good, who cares?The three compositions that make up this EP are very loosely based on tracks from the bands 2007/08 demo days, thoroughly re-envisioned, re-worked and re-produced in order to reflect the changing personnel and the experience gained since the demos were originally written. The result is, frankly, stunning.Whilst it took me a good many spins and many hours of effort to get fully submerged into the world of ‘The Mountain’, the music on ‘Restoration’ is much more immediate to these ears. No less complex and challenging of course, but for some reason, the music has ‘clicked’ much more quickly here.The EP opens up with ‘Darkest Light’, (Official video below) an energetic track that ably demonstrates the up-tempo and powerful side of Haken well. It’s an agile composition too that alters pace and timing signatures seemingly at will and pulls in influences from everyone from Dream Theater to Meshuggah. The latter is primarily due to the impressive combination of Ray Hearne’s powerful drumming, the chunky guitar tones courtesy of Charlie Griffiths and Richard Henshall and Green’s intricate bass work. Importantly however, the song is never derivative and contains everything you now expect from a band at the height of their powers. It’s a piece of music that oozes class but also offers that touch of playful cheekiness that has become synonymous with the Haken sound.‘Earthlings’ is a completely different proposition entirely. For my money, its closest reference point would be ‘Deathless’ from ‘Visions’ in so far as it is a much more introspective track with real atmosphere and a quiet, brooding intensity that is utterly beguiling. The melodies are much more immediate, much more pronounced and the whole thing builds beautifully and stubbornly towards a fulfilling climax that pushes all the right buttons.The undisputed star of the show however, is ‘Crystallised’. At over 19 minutes, it offers a return of the Haken ‘epic’, joining the likes of ‘Visions’ and ‘Celestial Elixir’ in an already formidable armoury. If anything, ‘Crystallised’ may be even better than the aforementioned, thereby easily taking its place among the very best that Haken has ever created.First and foremost, the sheer ambition is staggering. The composition begins unassumingly enough but quickly reveals a more grandiose underbelly thanks to some lush orchestral arrangements. From then on, the gloves well and truly come off and Haken take us on a wondrous journey full of twists and turns, light and shade, lengthy and dextrous instrumental segments and gorgeous melodies that stay with you long after the music has ended.There are echoes of those Gentle Giant influences and nods towards ‘Cockroach King’ et al in some of the a capella segments as well as hints of ‘Pareidolia’ at other times, thanks to that by now familiar delivery of vocalist Ross Jennings. Never once do the extended instrumental passages, led by the flamboyant keys of Diego Tejeida feel contrived or out of place; they are full of those classic progressive overindulgences, further reinforcing the importance of the likes of Yes, early Genesis and many others, but crucially, they fit in with the core of the composition and seamlessly segue from one to another perfectly.And then, everything comes together in what I can only describe as a stunningly epic finale, the kind where the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and you find yourself grinning from ear to ear, enveloped in a musical utopia. The melodies are so uplifting and gorgeous that, coupled with the grandiose return of the orchestral embellishments, mere words find it hard to adequately express just how good it makes you feel.The bones of these songs may have been written many years ago in the band’s infancy. However, they have been brought back to life in the most brilliant way possible; taking everything that’s been good about the band in recent years and applying them to their early past to create something truly special. I only wish that ‘Restoration’ was six, seven or eight songs long. Mind you, if it were, I think I might have fainted from bliss before reaching the conclusion." - Man Of Much Metal blog
    $14.00
  • "These days, it is one thing just to be able to release an album given the current state of the music business. However, to release said band’s best material while trying to pin down a job, scrap together some funds, have a family, maintain a “normal life” and deal with record companies with a 2014 “business model” is a whole other thing all together.Most bands know that the gold at the end of this rainbow, through all the hard work and creativity, is merely deeming albums a “labor of love” and hope and pray they get enough gigs to make it “worth it” even with vast monetary loss. So is the life of A Sound of Thunder – a snapshot of a hard working band that is both the current and future of this business. Blessed with immense talent upswing that garners a “legion of thunder” to quickly reach crowdsourcing campaign goals, it is actually hard to take any record company offers seriously. Whether or not the band made a pact with the seven princes of hell, “The Lesser Key of Solomon” is A Sound Of Thunder's best work to date and a sleeper album of the year that should not go unnoticed.In stark contrast to “Time’s Arrow” (which listening back now almost sounds Cro-Magnon by comparison), “The Lesser Key of Solomon,” pushes the band in a much more progressive and mature direction over a bed of gleefully evil lyrical content. The style is a unique combination of progressive rock, 90’s W.A.S.P. and an overly obvious dose of eerie King Diamond. Oddly enough, when the Kickstarter edition of opening track “Udoroth” was issued to backers, it was a real stripped down pure metal song in the “Queen of Hell” vein and seemed way more basic metal than what the band has been releasing in recent years. However, when the completed album version hit my stereo it was as if it had been transformed. Choirs, sound clips, and added vocal parts have expanded it into way more than the simple barbaric nature of the pre-release.With longer songs and higher levels of progression all around, “The Lesser Key of Solomon” presents the band's most complex material to date – with a foursome of tracks in “The Boy Who Could Fly,” “Elijah,” “Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb,” and “House of Bones” that stand up to any album released this year and back. “Elijah” is near 10 minutes with so many flowing parts it could really be divided into three separate and distinct tracks, but it is just so damn perfect linked together.Guitarist Josh Schwartz has perfected his craft over the years and each album presents an ever growing talent. On “Lesser” there is more exploration with bluesy styles alongside the usual butchering riffs and soaring, engaging solos that have propelled him into one of the best out there. Sadly though, he is still under the radar of most of the world. Check out the guitar emoting on “Black Secrets” and “House of Bones.” Backed up by the monster rhythm section of drummer Chris Haren and bassist Jesse Keen, the musicianship is absurdly fantastic.Vocalist Nina Osegueda has blossomed into one of the leading front women in the business today (and if you haven’t heard….shame on you). You won’t hear an operatic droning or any glitzy bubble gum pop metal infused vocals that are all the rage in Scandinavia these days. What you get is ass kicking, bold, face-punching power. On “Lesser,” Osegueda really expands her “softer side” (shown last on “Time’s Arrow” favorite “I’ll Walk With You”). Check out the performances on “One Empty Grave” and “Lesser” favorite “The Boy Who Can Fly,” with just the perfect amount of emotion to draw listeners into the same feeling. On top of all that, Nina has clearly re-stumbled upon the King Diamond back catalog, for she adds a huge dose of creepy “sing song-telling” in tracks like “Elijah” (check out 7:34-7:50 for example).Armed with the knowledge that the next album is already nearly completed… I can’t even imagine where this talented U.S. act will take its musical direction. “The Lessor Key of Solomon” already represents the best material the band has released to date, which is exactly how I felt with “Time’s Arrow.” The constant drive to be better coupled with perfect execution makes "The Lesser Key Of Solomon" easily rank among the elite albums released in 2014. Skipping over this album would be a real disservice to truly inspiring and independent music." - Metal Underground
    $15.00
  • With almost forty minutes of new material, AGUSA delivers a wide array of seamlessly-executed, organic rock on the aptly titled Agusa 2. The band’s tranquil output blends tripped-out psychedelic and progressive rock structures are inspired by more folk than occult influences, instilling visions of nature, the cosmos, and dreamlike passages, meandering into realms of a possibly supernatural or parallel existence. While not a fully instrumental recording, backing vocal mantras only seep in through purposeful cracks in the construction of these immense movements, adding an even more spacious feeling to the overall flow of the album.AGUSA was formed in the springtime of 2013, when Tobias Petterson and Mikael Ödesjö, former members of Kama Loka, recruited Dag Strömqvist and Jonas Berge for their early ‘70s progressive rock project. In the Summer, the outfit ventured out to the countryside where Dag lived, to a place called Agusa — virtually only a loose gathering of homes deep in the forest. Within these secluded surroundings, and the most amazingly sunny, warm Summer day, the new collective had an extensive, extremely inspired jam session which somewhat solidified the direction of their sound, so of course, the name AGUSA was simply perfect for the outfit.In the Autumn of 2014, the band went into the studio to record their first album, Högtid, which was released on vinyl and digital media in early 2014. After a handful of gigs during the Winter, Dag decided to leave AGUSA to travel around India, and following a number of auditions, Tim Wallander, also a member of blues trio Magic Jove, joined the band. In the beginning of 2015, the refreshed lineup went into Studio Möllan once again to record their sophomore full-length, this time having asked a close friend of theirs, Jenny Puertas, to play flute on the recording. The match was so perfect that the band instantly invited her into the band on a full-time basis, expanding their lineup once again. They began performing with this new arrangement weeks later, and have not looked back.CD mastering is courtesy of Bob Katz, done to his usual audiophile standards.
    $13.00
  • "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
  • "Unbelievably, it’s almost 50 years since Fairport Convention and their followers – Steeleye Span, Trees, Dando Shaft, Mellow Candle and others – fashioned British folk-rock. Kent-based sextet Galley Beggar – who take their name from a mischievous spirit in English folklore – describe their mission as ‘to imagine the next phase of English folk-rock’ on their third album, Silence & Tears. “We’ve always loved English folk, but when we formed in 2009 it felt like nothing much was happening to carry the style forward,” says guitarist Mat Fowler, “so we thought, we love listening to folk-rock and we love playing it – why not try to write something in that vein?”The results can be heard on their earlier albums, Reformation House and Galley Beggar, and now onSilence & Tears. “Our first record was very folky,” reflects Mat, “but since then we’ve moved towards a more electric rock feel.” Indeed, the eight tracks on the new album span traditional song, Gothic balladry and peculiarly British acid rock, the mood alternately fragile and robust, with sweet vocal harmonies (led by Maria O’Donnell), lyrical guitar playing from Mat and his cohort David Ellis, and added texture from the violin of Celine Marshall (calling to mind Mr. Fox’s Carolanne Pegg), all anchored by Bill Lynn’s steady bass and Paul Dadswell’s deft drumming. The material spans reworkings of the ancient classics Geordie and Jack Orion, brooding ballads like Adam & Eve and the otherworldy Empty Sky, and the intense 9-minute epic Pay My Body Home, which triumphantly recalls folk-rock’s early 70s glory days.Silence & Tears may echo centuries of folk tradition, but its crisp, punchy sound is resolutely modern, despite calling on retro flourishes such as phasing, wah-wah and backwards guitar. Much of that is down to the fact that it was recorded at the profoundly analogue Toe Rag studios, where White Stripes, Tame Impala, the Zutons and many others have also worked with renowned producer-engineer Liam Watson. “We made our first two albums ourselves,” says Mat, “so this was the first time someone else has produced us. Recording at Toe Rag was just wonderful – to see all that incredible gear at work, and to have a tangible recording experience rather than staring at a screen, was amazing. And watching Liam at work is mesmerising – the sounds he gets onto tape are better than they are in real life!”In an era when bands such as Trembling Bells, Circulus and Wolf People have brought folk-rock to the fore again, the hypnotic interplay and inspired jamming on Silence & Tears is sure to find an enthusiastic audience. “We’ve already got a few festivals lined up this summer, including Leigh Folk Festival and Wessex Festival, and several other shows are still being arranged,” says Mat. “It’s an honour to be compared to other folk-rock bands – but we like to think we’ve got something of our own to offer too.”" 
    $15.00
  • I guess there is a new trend for ethnic metal developing. Arkan falls somewhere between Orphan Land and Myrath. The band is based out of France but is led by Foued Moukid, the former drummer of The Old Dead Tree. Arkan is very similar to Orphan Land in that they mix brutal death metal with strong ethnic influences - in this case Morocco and Algeria. There are even clean vocals fitting in with the Arabic themed music. Its an interesting approach that will definitely appeal to fans of Mabool. Recommended with a warning - if you can handle the death vocals there is much to dig into here.
    $14.00
  • "SILENT VOICES is a relatively unknown band hailing from Finland, nevertheless they had already published many recommended albums such as their debut in 2002 “Chapters Of Tragedy” or 2006’s “Building Up The Apathy” or the great “Infernal” (2004), the line-up team is also composed by ex-members of REQUIEM and also share some musicians with SONATA ARCTICA like Henrik Klingenberg as keyboardist and bass player Pasi Kauppinen (WINTERBORN / KLINGENBERG SYNDROME). It’s been a while since the last SILENT VOICES album was out in the streets, it had occurred a lot of things in their lives, lots of turmoils, hassles -you name it-, the band was on deep winter sleep and they lost their vocalist, the great but rather inconstant Michael Henneken (SENTIMENT / ADAMANTRA) was gone for good.While they were in quest of searching for a new perfect singer they opted for the trick that consist to have different famous vocalists at the same time in order to increase their creativity and the band’s polyvalence, it’s also a good marketing move but the risk is to weakened the impact, to have a dilution of the personality of the music with each guest singer's specificity but finally the idea works pretty well, I believe.Now the new permanent singer for SILENT VOICES is known as Teemu Koskela from WINTERBORN’s fame (their 2008’s release “Farewell To Saints” is warmly recommended). But the album contains, beside the impressive vocals of Mr. Koskela in the very first song (which is a killer), nothing more than four guest vocalists such as:Mats Leven (ex-TREAT / ex-SWEDISH EROTICA / ex-ABSTRACT ALGEBRA / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-SOUTHPAW / ex-THERION / ex-ADAGIO / ex-AT VANCE / ex-FATAL FORCE / ex-SABBTAIL / DOGFACE), Michael Vescera (ex-LOUDNESS / OBSESSION / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-FATAL FORCE / ex-DR SIN / ex-REIGN OF TERROR / ex-KILLING MACHINE / WARRION / ANIMETAL USA / SAFE HEAVEN / MVP), Tony Kakko (SONATA ARCTICA / ex-NOTHERN KINGS) and Mike DiMeo (PHENOMENA / THE LIZARDS / ex-RIOT / ex-ILLIUM / ex-MASTERPLAN).Swedish citizen Mats Leven is absolutely stunning within the songs “No Turning Back” & with “Burning Shine”, his vivid interpretations, his deep implication and his voice leaves no hope for another contender, his signature vocalizing are clearly unbeatable, he is the king. Those songs are very well composed , maybe a little more direct than before but with still some intriguing arrangements and great orchestrations plus as always some acrobatic playing.Mike Vescera from USA delivers also a very solid performance, within the third track that is quite reminiscent of the SILENT VOICES old style, with an amazing display of virtuosity in the solo section, that’s funny that they opted for the titled “Reign Of Terror” with Vescera singing on it. Tony Kakko is the weakest of all the hired vocalist, the track is quite good but don’t fit with the thin voice of the SONATA ARCTICA’s mastermind, I believe that Teemu Koskela could do a better job with that particular one.“Black Water” is an instrumental number that allows to each member to shine a little more, a fine demonstration of agility. New York City very own Mike DiMeo is doing a fine rendition of this song called “Through My Prison Walls” but I still think that Teemu is able to sing even better, the long epic cut itself  is a good mix of past and fresh Prog Metal , with some amazing musical parts and many twists and turns.Only little disappointment is the length of the disc itself, after seven years in the making I had wished for one more song with Teemu, a remake of an old song could have been a good ide. Maybe this is their best album, I don’t know only time will tell, but it surely can compete with their great back-catalogue, easily. " - Metal Temple
    $14.00