Cruel Symmetry

SKU: PPRCD010
Label:
Progressive Promotion Records
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Third album from this German retro-prog outfit.  A few seconds into the lead off 21 minute title track and you know you are taking a trip down memory lane.  The album is filled with enough old school keyboard sounds to embarass Tony Banks.  The main cog in the Argos wheel is keyboardist Thomas Klarmann, who also handles fute, bass, lead vocals.  He plays a mean Hammond organ and knows how to squeeze the right sounds out of a Mellotron as well.

Genesis is one of the touchstone influences but you will also hear nods to Canterbury, Gentle Giant, VDGG, and hosts more (if you can think of 'em they are here).  These guys aren't going to win any originality contests but it sure is great ear candy.  Highly recommended.

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  • "Album art can certainly set the tone and expectations around an album.  A quick look at the cover for Enlighten by Sleeping Romance instantly sends my mind to a gothic, dark medieval setting and that is the right place to go with this release.  Recently signed to Ulterium Records, Sleeping Romance from Modena, Italy has released an epic symphonic metal album that is very impressive for a debut.Being from Italy, my first thought was that this may be an album similar to that from Mourn In Silence, which I really liked as it is a blend of gothic, symphonic, power and black metal, but that is not quite where the sound of Sleeping Romance is.  Those familiar with female-fronted symphonic metal bands like HB, Within Temptation, Delain and others know what to expect from this genre and it is all here.  This is symphonic metal that borders on hard rock and power metal at times.  At times, the songs do seem a bit too formulaic for my tastes as most start with an orchestral intro with beautiful clean vocals and then the “metal” parts of the song kick in with much of the verses consisting of just drums and bass with the vocals at the forefront.  There is nothing wrong with this formula especially when done as well as it is here, but this does introduce a bit of predictability to the album.Any review of this album simply has to have some lines devoted to the vocals of Federica Lanna.  Throughout the entire album, her vocals are one of the standout qualities of the album.  At times, quiet, at other times soaring, but always fully in control with a great range and tone, these are the vocals designed for this genre.  Now, given the implied darkness and gothicness depicted in the album cover, I was expecting a bit of a darker tone from the vocals but they are somewhat surprisingly bright, complementing the music very well.   Quite a few other bands choose to employ some unrestrained, strained screaming female vocals or employ some deep guttural male vocals to provide a contrast to the clean vocals, but Sleeping Romance have chosen to highlight Federica’s vocals.  I would have liked to hear the vocals move a bit more toward the edge of being out of control, but that’s just my personal preference.  With the lush orchestral arrangements often being in the forefront and dominating the sound, having the vocals remain restrained works well with the overall sound.In terms of overall sound on the album, the production quality is very high and the emphasis is definitely toward the symphonic and away from the metal.  In fact, I found myself thinking some was definitely more power metal influences at times as well.  Some of the songs instantly reminded me of Evanescence with the use of certain keyboard effects and those would be hard to miss for anyone familiar with that band.  Despite some similarities, the overall sound of Sleeping Romance is a bit brighter than Evanescence and others in the genre, not just the vocals as mentioned earlier, but also the instrumentation both the metal and symphonic.  More of a light of dawn feel than a darkness of sunset feel, if that makes any sense.  There were moments that surprised me a bit as well. For instance the song “The Promise Inside” starts out with some of the Evanescence sound and feel and then morphs into almost a power ballad in the chorus that sounds strikingly like that from the song “Alone” by Heart in terms of tone and phrasing.  Thankfully, the song has much more to it than that including a string section in the middle and later in this song I found myself liking how the drums by Francesco Zanarelli carried parts.  “Devils Cave” certainly starts out as the darkest and heaviest track on the album, and carries that feel through much of the song with a hammer-like  driving guitar, bass, and drum beat through the verses, which picks up to a gallop in later parts of the song.  Vocal tone is a bit darker here through the verses as well and is more along the lines of what I was expecting after seeing the cover.  All in all, this song is a good example of an epic symphonic metal song due to the seemless combination of orchestral and metal elements, seemless transition between them, and the back and forth shifts between styles.  For example,  midway through the song there is a symphonic interlude with some spoken word from Federica that shifts into some beautiful clean singing and the return of the metal elements and one of the few guitar solos on the album before returning to a true symphonic metal section.Despite some of the songs leaning toward the formulaic, Enlighten is a great debut album of symphonic metal that highlights both the phenomenal vocals of Federica Lanna but also the intricate symphonic/orchestral arrangements of Federico Truzzi and makes a great addition to the genre." - The Metal Resource
    $14.00
  • Creation's End is the vision of New York City's Rudy Albert (guitar - from Zandelle) and Dario Rodriguez (drums).Rudy and Dario, who met in school, have been playing music together since 1999. As they grew tighter in their playing, they began to focus on writing original material. The nature of the material evolved from simple metal tunes in the early years, to more complex and mature compositions.During the summers of 2003 through 2006, Dario and Rudy convened to write music. The focus of the sessions was simply to make great music that they both enjoyed, and each summer, Rudy and Dario wrote and recorded a new demo of original material.Rudy soon took on keyboard duties in the band Until Destiny, where he met John Macaluso (drummer of James LaBrie Band, Fool's Game, ex-Ark, ex-TNT, ex-Yngwie Malsteen). After a short period of time, Rudy and Dario decided that the time was right to revisit their old material to record and release it the right way.With a newly renovated studio and producer John Macaluso on board, Rudy and Dario set out to record 8 reworked versions of songs that appeared on their demos. They were joined by the lineup - Mike Dimeo, (ex-Masterplan, ex-Riot), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie Band), and Joey Bones (Chris Caffery, ex-Zandelle).In Summer of 2010 the band decided to have world known engineer Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Yes, Nile, Cannibal Corpse etc) mix the album.November 2010 will see the release of "A New Beginning" and marks the fruition of the album envisioned from the beginning - melodic, touches of prog, a strong sense of groove, and brutally heavy and dark. US and European tour dates are being planned, with a date at ProgPower USA in September 2011 already confirmed.
    $8.00
  • Second album from this Sieges Even offshoot/rebranding. Touchstones is a bit heavier than the debut as Markus Steffens struts his stuff again. Mid-80s Yes is an obvious influence on the band's direction. On some of the material vocalist Arno Menses sounds like a dead ringer for Jon Anderson. The music sits on the fence between the prog rock and metal realms. If you like the post-reformation Sieges Even albums you'll find much to sink your teeth into. Further - if you found the first Subsignal a bit on the light side you'll find this one has a bit more heft and frankly its better for it. Highly recommended.
    $19.00
  • "Tellus Requiem was formed back in 2007 by guitarist Stig Nergård. In 2010 Tellus Requiem released a self-titled debut album digitally. This album opened up some doors for the band, and resulted in some live concert supporting acts like Keep of Kalessin, Edenbridge, and Pagan's Mind. “Invictus” was mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen (Jailhouse Studios, Jorn, TNT, Helloween) with the cover art done by Thomas Ewerhard (Symphony X, Theater).According to the band’s biography, the main theme of the band’s writing is about worlds shattering to pieces. This can either be global or personal experience, fictional or literary. Tellus Requiem means; the earths death mass. Tellus being Latin for The Earth, Requiem being the last composition a composer writes before they die. Listening to the ten tracks featured on “Invictus”, it’s obvious that the band is comprised of five very talented musicians with a love for melodic progressive metal in the style of Symphony X and Dream Theater with flourishes of Eastern Folk and the big sound of a motion picture film score (as is evident on the opening instrumental song “Ab Aeterno”). “Red Horizon” kicks in with a vengeance and is highlighted by very Symphony x-like keyboard work by Anders Sundbø (whose frenzied playing style steals the show on this song) and heavy guitar crunch by Nergård.  Vocalist Ben Rodgers has a unique and impressive style and range without resorting to sounding like peers such as James Labrie or Russell Allen.Drummer Vidar Lehmann shows off his considerable chops and fast feet on the middle-eastern tinged “Eden Burns”. A beautiful acoustic guitar passage introduces “Reflection Remains” which leads into a melodic and majestic vocal performance by Rodgers accented by soaring harmonies and a soulful yet blistering guitar solo by Nergård.  The heavy melodic prog metal of “Twilight Hour” has plenty of melody, groove, instrumental chops, and odd time signatures to satisfy the most jaded prog metal fan.  “Sands of Gold” is a complex and chaotic attack of progressive drum patterns, middle-eastern melodies, heavy guitar and keyboard wizardry with Rodgers voice providing the melodic anchor holding it all together. The appropriately titled “Tranquility” is a slower, peaceful and introspective song with Rodgers showing his emotional side as well as his considerable range to great effect. “Redemption” starts off with an impressive Spanish style guitar playing and kicks into a heavy guitar rhythm and aggressive lead vocals and beautiful harmony vocals courtesy of a vocal choir. The heavy prog of “Invictus” is a fast paced and the vocals and musicianship are razor sharp here.  The final song is “Dies Irae” which is the “day of wrath” and was an old Medieval poem sung during the Mass of the Dead ceremony, is a short and sweet outro track and a fine way to end this musical journey. For such a young band, Tellus Requiem has created a stunning and impressive progressive metal feast that fans of Symphony X and Dream Theater will find quite enjoyable. " - The Metal Pit
    $12.00
  • BACK IN PRINT Renowned guitarist Scott McGill returns with his second instrumental solo album. Influenced by legends Bill Connors and Allan Holdsworth, McGill reinvents the genre by creating an aggressive style of progressive fusion. His high-energy fretwork matched by the potent rhythm section of Chico Huff (Mistaken Identities) on bass, and Vic Stevens (Gongzilla, Mistaken Identities) on drums. Ripe charts a new direction for both fusion and progressive rock.
    $5.00
  • OK WE GOT A HOT ONE HERE!  Latest album from keyboard maestro Lalle Larsson is full-on balls to the wall fusion.  He's hooked up again with Richard Hallebeek, who is one of the great Holdsworth clones out there.  The rest of the band is Stefan Rosqvist (rhythm guitar), Jonas Reingold (bass), and Walle Wahlgren (drums).  Larsson lays down lethal synth leads and swaps back and forth with Hallebeek who matches him with dexterous legato runs.    Time will tell but I think this may be Lalle Larsson's best solo album yet!  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • Love 'em or hate 'em you know you want to hear them. This British cheese metal band has captured the hearts and souls of the Guitar Hero set. For any metal head that thinks time stood still in 1984.
    $4.00
  • Wow! This Swiss band sounds so much like Tool it's ridiculous. The material isn't bad but it sounds like they wrote it with tracing paper. If you are fan of Tool, Riverside, or any emo-metal band you might enjoy this. They are obviously talented but I hope they come up with something more original next time.
    $16.00
  • New 3 CD edition of the long out of print album from Glass Hammer.  Arguably their best effort, the band was never fully satisfied with the mix so they decided to remix and resequence the album.  Bob Katz handled the mastering to give the album the sound it ultimately deserved.PRODUCTION NOTES - FRED SCHENDELNotes On The Inconsolable Secret “Remixed” CollectionThe project that was ultimately known as The Inconsolable Secret was conceived as a grandiose undertaking from the outset. We knew we wanted to do a themed album and we had the idea to try and incorporate orchestral elements, but hopefully in a way that bands often didn't; that is, written and orchestrated by ourselves as just another palette in the band and not as something grafted onto the music by an outside arranger.But as the project wore on we soon realized that it was going to be even more daunting than we had envisioned.Finally, the double cd was released and went on to a warm reception from fans.As time went by and Steve and I realized a new perspective on The Inconsolable Secret, we were forced to admit that maybe the album didn't truly reflect what we had envisioned as we worked on it. One conscious decision we had made (largely at my insistence, if I recall) was to mix the album in a very raw, unprocessed way. I felt that approach would help give the album a classic vibe. Also, we carefully avoided a lot of overdubbing, especially of keyboards, in an attempt to give the album a live feel, and looked to the orchestration to add the extra fullness and color. That was fine as far as it went but again, in hindsight, we clearly realized that was not the only approach to the material and there might be considerable merit in pursuing a more typical approach - that is, to make the production as big as the concept.It was probably as early as 2008 I first began to tinker with remixing parts of the album. It started with the drums. Our approach to the mix originally was basically to push the faders up and, there you go! Natural. When I revisited the drum tracks, there was frankly only so much that could be done due to the way we had mic'd them in the first place. But I did what I could to punch them up in the manner we would for a more "modern" sounding recording.Phase two of the revisit was overdubs, whatever and however many we felt would sweeten the overall sound to our liking. I started with guitar. I had played guitar initially on A Maker Of Crowns and basically ran out of steam after that. I had my hands full at the time and felt the last thing I needed to do (on what we hoped to be our ultimate recorded statement) was to fumble around in the studio trying to be a guitar player. Walter Moore's time was limited and better utilized as a singer. So we didn't get any guitar from him on the project. We asked David Carter add his talents to the project. He did manage to record guitar on Long and Long Ago, then left abruptly to play golf! Fortunately, Steve and I decided we were liking the idea of a power trio; keys, bass and drums enhanced with orchestra. So, The Inconsolable Secret inevitably had very little guitar. I have since added acoustic guitar to almost every song. As the remake stretched out over the years we ultimately had several guitarists add electric here and there and they all did a stellar job.Next, I added all the little keyboard pads and subtle embellishments we had eschewed originally.We then turned our attention to the vocals. While most of the vocal tracks fit well with the music, we couldn't say that they all did. A couple pieces in particular had always been envisioned, in a perfect world, to feature more of an archetypal high clear tenor, shall we say. At this point we saw no reason to reign back our ambitions in any way, so we searched the Internet for someone who might fit the bill and subsequently contacted a very nice young man from California to see if he'd like to try. He did, and susequently sang three albums for us and joined Yes as well.The last few odds and ends involved unfinished business in the orchestral department. There were some solos intended for real instruments that we just never got a chance to do, most important among them being the solo flute in Having Caught A Glimpse. There were attempts originally to beef up the orchestral sound to what some call a "Hollywood" or "film score" style in terms of its size; using samples and keyboards that I thought I could address and improve. We also re-recorded some choral parts to reflect new arrangements that we had been performing live.In the meantime, The Inconsolable Secret had become the only album of ours ever to become unavailable, simply due to the huge cost of keeping it in print. This had the unintended consequence of raising its status to near-mythic in some quarters and we knew we had a great opportunity to reintroduce it with our new embellishments in an (ironically) even bigger and more expensive version.Any time an artist revisits a work there will be controversy, especially when that work was generally highly regarded in the first place. We are well aware that the new versions will be regarded as heresy in some circles and it was always our intention to make sure the album was included in its original form. We warrant that the two discs representing the original album here are identical to the old release in every regard, save for the deletion of the multimedia files that had been on Disc One. Nor is it our intent to present the new mixes as definitive, or necessarily the “correct” ones. They do however represent a move toward the album as we originally had conceived it in our minds from a sonic standpoint. Obviously, since not all the material is represented, to experience the album as a conceptual whole you must refer back to the original (although we welcome you to assemble your own version from the two provided if you are so inclined). We realize that with the changes come some losses - the openness and simplicity of the original sound has been traded for a denser, fuller feel and we respect those who consider that a bad tradeoff. As for us though, we feel the effort to revisit this material was well worth it, and invite you all to enjoy both what was, and what is. In the end we hope that the music itself wins out over all the technical considerations.
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  • "Are we being manipulated? Who would benefit from us, to follow pre-established rules? Careless. As sheeps. Political parties? Religious organisations? Commercial companies? TV networks? Beware of everything, even NEMO...NEMO is one of the leading Prog Rock bands in France, and after 13 years of existence they conquered the world community of Prog lovers with their previous albums (Si, Barbares, R€volu$ion…). Their 8th studio album is about every kind of manipulation. On 2 CDs, 12 songs, they warn you about everyone, even them! Musically you will hear a varied and strong blend of what Nemo is all about, featuring a big dose of experimentation and new exploration. Beware of this album, you will succumb to its charms! "CD1:01. Stipant Luporum 2.0102. Trojan (Le ver dans le fruit) 8.5303. Milgram, 1960 5.5904. Verset XV 7.5505. Un pied dans la tombe 7.1106. Neuro-Market 6.3407. Le fruit de la peur 9.43CD2:01. A la une 5.0802. Triste fable 7.4603. Allah Deus 5.0804. Opium 9.1005. Arma Diania 17.19
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  • The band's fifth album was a brilliant amalgam of Beatles influenced pop and classically influenced progressive rock. I still get a rise out of hearing "Fire On High". This remastered edition comes with five bonus tracks which are a bit dispensible alternate mixes.
    $5.00
  • Third album from this New Jersey symphonic rock band.  All of the band's albums are conceptual pieces based around literary works.  In fact the band's name is derived from a Ray Bradbury story.  On A Dark And Stormy Night is based on Madeleine L'Engle's fantasy novel of the same name.  The album is a wet dream for any fan of symphonic prog.  As I make my way through the album I'm frequently reminded of some similarities to Glass Hammer.  This is very keyboard driven music with a healthy amount of guitar leads.  There are even some nice Mellotron sounds popping up now and then.  These guys dream big and hit the mark.  Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • Korekyojinn is the avant fusion trio led by crazed Japanese drummer Yoshida Tatsuya.  This is a newly reworked version of the 2006 release Jackson.  This version features newly recorded drums, an expanded version of the track Kaleidoscope (with 7 extra minutes) and their incredible Yes medley.This is heavy angular frenetic stuff not for the faint of heart.  
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  • Double CD set contains the two great - but recently out of print - albums from the Seattle thrash band that morphed into Nevermore. Warrel Dane at his finest!
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