Dark Passenger

SKU: BT042CD
Label:
Bakerteam Records
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"Well, Italy is known for being a country with extremes: on one hand, you have very good bands of extreme Metal; on the other, bands of more melodic and technical Metal. And the both ways granted the world with excellent works. Going into a more Power/Progressive Metal way, coming from Trieste (Milan), we have the trio STARBYNARY, which released their first work, the album “Dark Passenger”.

We can say that they follow a technical and heavy path of the style, making an elegant work on the same vein from old SYMPHONY X, but not eclectic as DREAM THEATER (so you won’t hear elements from Pop and Jazz on this album). Excellent vocals (a legacy from Italy in terms of Metal), very good riffs and solos (being melodic, heavy and technical in the due proportions), good rhythmic kitchen and powerful and grandiose keyboards parts is what they offer in a musical work full of elegance and weight. And we must accept it with opened heart and soul, for their efforts in create good music had success!

The sound production is fine, granting their music a clear and heavy sound quality, so we really can hear all the musical arrangements and little details that make the difference. Yes, they are near perfection on sound quality. To speak about this album is a pleasure, for the trio’s music is wonderful, flows spontaneously into our ears and souls, and really conquest, but to name songs on this album as the best ones is an act of injustice. From “…Dawn of Evil” to “The End Begins” (a very long song, divided in three excellent parts), they show that they made their songs with hearts and wisdom. So hear it, and you’ll understand what your Ol’ Big Daddy here is trying to say." - Metal Temple

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    $6.00
  • "It has become patently unfair to review a Luca Turilli creation as a “metal album.” No matter what you call it… “cinematic metal,” “symphonic metal,” “classical metal” – Turilli composes musicscapes beyond comparison. While he will never be held to the unattainable standard of a modern Mozart and Beethoven – the giants who receive 100% critical acclaim whether deserved or not – Luca can easily draw comparisons to modern composers like John Williams, Hans Zimmer and Jerry Goldsmith.With his composition company created, his ability to mix both old world classical and modern/new world classical with metallic elements is unprecedented in heavy metal. This music transcends the metal world and thrusts deeply into mainstream music and movie soundtrack lore. On “Prometheus – Symphonia Ignis Divinus” – Turilli uses both dark and light elements, a real combination of “Prophets of the Lost Eclipse” and “The Infinite Wonders of Creation,” to create a stunning masterpiece that trumps the impossibly towering “Ascending to Infinity.”It is literally pointless for fans that do not enjoy meticulously orchestrated cinematic metal to run out to buy “Prometheus,” so just stop right here. Long time Luca fans, read on! Imagine, if you will, being on board the Hollywood backlot tram tour, only its much cooler than you can imagined. As you pass by various sets for movies like “Solomon” (with “King Solomon and the 72 Names of God”) “Lord of the Rings” (with “One Ring to Rule Them All”), “Valhalla Rising” (with “Yggdrasil”) – you are whisked away on a musical journey that is a rich and pure as the breathtaking mountains, valleys, lakes and oceans. Luca creates music that conjures images teaming with life that flash on every note, which is as extraordinary as the breathtaking compositions themselves.After the accident that nearly took the hand and career of guitarist Dominique “Dodo” Leurquin, his presence on “Prometheus” is a both relieving and required. It’s also a welcome sight to see drummer Alex Landenburg (21 Octayne/Mekong Delta), who joined the band before the release of “Ascending Into Infinity” in 2012, but who hasn’t played on a release until “Prometheus.” A favorite skin basher for many years, it’s a triumphant display from one of the best and hardest working in the business. Sound wise…albums do not get much more pristine.With Luca at the helm along with his team of Sebastian Roeder (recording) and Christoph Stickel (mastering) – “Prometheus” is a sonic jewel. Having freed himself from the binding storylines of the pre-split Rhapsody/Rhapsody of Fire days, Luca seems bent on raising the bar with everything he does – becoming part opera, part soundtrack, part metal, part symphony.Where tracks like “Rosenkreuz,” “Prometheus” and “Yggdrasil” ratchet up the heaviness that metalheads expect (notably those fans who have become disillusioned at the orchestrated distractions away from guitar), other songs bring a beautiful “non-metal” element, best represented through “Il Tempo Degli Dei” – which has quickly grown to be the go-to favorite after a mediocre first listen (it sounds immensely happy) – and “Notturno,” the operatic ballad showcasing uber-talented vocalists Alessandro Conti and Fench soprano Emilie Ragni.Once again, the album’s keystone monument is “Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer’s Fall” – this time with the second part, subtitled “Codex Nemesis.” Remembering greatness levels reaching stupid proportions on “Ascending to Infinity,” the second part matches but comes from a different melodic angle.Overall, “Prometheus - Symphonia Ignis Divinus” ties elements from all of Luca’s previous efforts – with a heavy dose of “Prophet of the Last Eclipse,” nods to the Dreamquest release “Lost Horizons,” and a victory lap from “Ascending to Infinity.” If you are a fan of Turilli, there is little doubt you will gush all over “Prometheus.” If you find the cinematic, operatic and symphonic elements a little too over the top for your metal cravings, then steer clear. One thing is certain, the only composer on earth who can top Luca Turilli is the man himself.Highs: High expectations realized from the world's best composer.Lows: With Luca's Rhapsody, either you find it amazing or way too over the top to be respectable.Bottom line: "Prometheus" may seem like an "Ascending to Infinity" victory lap, but it goes way deeper than what you hear on the first listen." - Metal Underground
    $15.00
  • "Unwritten Pages’ Noah is an album born out of a passion for progressive, driving music, concept albums and 80’s science-fiction film. It combines the broad musical taste of its creator Frederic Epe and the stylistic and unique musical backgrounds of each project member, reaching from rock and metal to Latin influences and more classical/score-oriented arrangements.The album features soaring guitars, fat organs and bone-breaking drums, as well as a healthy dose of retro. But most of all, it never loses its focus on unique and melody-driven song-writing. And it comes in the form of an ambitious story, told through the eyes of the vocalists and musicians.Noah tells the story of a boy born in the ruins of the futuristic Utopia City, and Maria, the daughter of a ruthless politician who has – literally – split Utopia City in half and driven the poor to a district known as LS01X. As the political climate escalates, a few hundred people from both sides of the city are forced to leave their home world and start a new life on Mars. Here, both Maria and the boy grow up in the middle of a rising conflict between two factions that are unwilling to ignore their grudge-ridden past. Noah features the talents of Damian Wilson (Threshold, Ayreon, Les Misérables), Karl Groom (Threshold, Shadowland), Davy Mickers (Stream of Passion, Ayreon), Alejandro Millán (Hello Madness, Stream of Passion) and many others."
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  • Well I guess the Odin tape vault has been opened after all these years. In addition to Long Hair Music's SWF release we get this live recording from Maxim club in Schweinfurt, Germany in September 1971. Its a mix of original and voer tunes. Detailed liner notes from Jeff Beer round out the package.
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  • "“Oblivion” is the early episode of a conceptual saga set to be released in a trilogy format by this Multinational band called EXXILES, the man behind all that is the former REIGN OF THE ARCHITECT’s drummer Mauricio Bustamante (EVANGELIUM) from Mexico, he started working on his new production right after his departure from R.O.T.A. with a new goal in mind : Created a new entity under a variable geometry size, working as a band with a core of fellow Mexicain players, like guitar player Sergio Aguilar (AGORA), on Bass the talented Simon Rojas , Noel Martinez on keyboards or axeman Antonio Rivera (from the Death Metal band SOLITUDE) and a bunch of illustrious guests coming from every corner of the Prog Metal Universe, in order to form a community around a musical project with a strong focus on the human relationship notion.Of course the renowned musicians around Mauricio are coming from different area of the world and some are quite popular, as their original bands are among the most respected in the whole genre : namely SYMPHONY X / SAVATAGE / T.S.O./ REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE or CIRCUS MAXIMUS but also more underground but quite highly regarded such as COMMUNIC /AGORA or STREAM OF PASSION and to complete the team, some less known musicians yet hyper talented from the fertile Scandinavian ground, with members from LOST IN THOUGHTS/SPIRAL ARCHITECTS…Indeed, Øyvind Hægeland is brilliantly taking the Lead Vocal role on the odd timing driven pace of “Hopelessness”…Generous in circonvolutions and complex to the max!Musically very rich, it’s not easy to understand it at the first encounter, but I immediately discerned some obvious qualities, notably in the vocal department… Indeed the performances by Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE/ ex SAVATAGE) in the opening cut “A Better Legacy ” is convincing in his traditional majestic mode, but most of all the sonic enlightement comes from the great vocals provided by the Brazilian citizen Gus Monsanto (SYMBOLICA/ex ADAGIO /ex REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE / HUMAN FORTRESS) which are uppar with the most exigeant taste or in total coherence with the excessive perfectionism of some HM bloggers!This album will expand its qualities later, in a precise and clever way little by little, a long process to fully enjoy it in its fullness, the tagged identity is based around a Dark classy sound with some Melodic method and some intricate harmonic arrangements, more dramatic in the ambiances than it seems, while the smartness and the complex shape of their creative ways are updated by an evolutive style in a thick schema of Heaviness, and this intrepid proof of their capacity to created some unexpected ideas in a fresh theory and a regenerated light!Another great surprise is the Wilmer Waarbroek (already known from AYREON) vocal input at the end of the album in the duet of song “Awakening Part I (Dark Renaissance)”& “The Messenger”, ultra rewarding numbers, those songs along with Marcela Bovio in the Spanish song “Llorona” is another persuasive addition and a good alternative to the superb cast of vocalist!However, the superb singer Gus Monsanto is quite omnipresent while singing on 50% of the songs, this man is holding a serious set of pipes, giving a demonstration of his great polyvalency and contrast (“Page of the Night”), each track is well arranged, the succession of different pace is salvatory sharing some subtle progressive moments with some more Heavy spark in a very dense manners (the fantastic pair “Dictator of Trust”/”Anthem Of Lies”), some epic bombastic instrumental parts like in the unvocalized track “Entropy”,  a few piece of Prog Symphonic Metal with weird structure and some experimental orchestral sounds to create an impressive outcome, very well written with some incredible talented writing and utmost playing skills in every area, notably in the soloing sector, thanks to the guest appearances of some terrific players such as Mats Haugen (CIRCUS MAXIMUS) or David Grey (LOST IN THOUGHT) is the icing on the cake, the ultimate uplifting details to complete the whole .After the overflowing of essential releases in this genre, the ambitious EXXILES “Oblivion” first chapter is another good advice for the Smart-Metal-music avid fanatics and a tip for those who already missed PANTOMMIND ,,Searching For Eternity” or SOUL SECRET ,,4”…This time I hope my reminder will not fall into oblivion." - Metal Temple
    $12.00
  • "The venerable Max Cavalera unfurls another diverse sonic tapestry with Soulfly's fourth album -- and where the former Sepultura man of ideas floundered a bit with Primitive and 3, Prophecy simultaneously returns to his roots (pun intended) while successfully integrating the myriad of organic influences that resulted in his being tagged the "Bob Marley of metal." That being said, Prophecy's first five cuts come armed with stone-carved riffs that are ragged, sharp, and fresh from the grinding wheel, and hulking steamroller rhythms, until "Mars," halfway through, deviates into a placid oasis-jam of Caribbean percussion, organs, and nylon-string mariachi guitar. "I Believe" and "Moses" are perhaps Cavalera's most powerful and spiritual endeavors to date, the former a heartfelt, unpretentious excursion into melody and spoken word expression, and the latter being a fascinatingly meandering, reggae-inflected jam with Serbian group Eyesburn. While the biggest criticism leveled at Soulfly on albums past was their lack of continuity, Prophecy isn't a hodgepodge of unusual instrumentation and guest stars (although former Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson plays on a few tracks with minimal distraction), hardcore screeds such as "Porrada," "Born Again Anarchist," and "Defeat U" meshing coherently with Cavalera's ever-present ear for experimentation, usually integrated in segues between songs. It all makes for an equally inspired and inspiring dozen tracks featuring some of Cavalera's best straightforward metal, possibly since Sepultura's Roots ("Execution Style" is particularly riveting and visceral, as is a cover of Helmet's seminal "In the Meantime"). Now that Soulfly is essentially Cavalera's guitar, voice, and songs plus a revolving door of musicians, the often-spectacular Prophecy finds him coalescing nicely as a solo artist, and solidifying the truth behind the initially superficial Bob Marley comparison." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • Edguy vocalist Tobias Sammet revisits the Avantasia concept with another supergroup effort. The lineup is another starpacked assemblage: Alice Cooper, Roy Kahn, Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Amanda Somerville, Oliver Hartmann, Eric Singer, Sascha Paeth, Kai Hansen, Henjo Richter, and even Rudy Schenker! Expect epic power metal and you won't be disappointed.
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  • "There is something about those nights with friends outside by the fire with music filling the air. Sitting in the dark watching flames dance or the heavens shine is a very hard experience to convey with only words. That and going on adventurous and epic quests in between those nights.  Italy’s Vexillum try to capture moments of this by infusing power, symphonic, and folk metal into one album to create such different aspects of a big story. The Bivouac is truly an epic journey laced with intense and calming moments. What I interpreted while listening is that every song is the adventure and the times of rest. They have recreated the atmosphere between tracks of being there with sounds of the fires, horses, ambient talking, flutes playing, etc. Then they ramp up to full power and hit you with soaring vocals and galloping drums.  A great example of this is the transition from the songs ‘The Hunt’ and ‘The Dream’. There are melodies and folk tidbits weaved throughout the record but this is above all power and symphonic. Feel good; raise your sword to the sky for victory, metal! There’s always room in my life for this kind of metal.There are a lot of layers and effort in to making this album organic and sounding as if someone just turned on the metal switch in a medieval village and gave everyone access to guitars, synths, and drum kits. ‘The Marketsquare of Dooly’ has moments where you can hear barters and people laughing to build the atmosphere like I’ve been talking about, ending back around the fire after another day of travel. One way or another, you’re going to find yourself back to hearing the crackling sparks and the sounds of bottles and horses. Vexillum is the mix of the band Rhapsody with an alto version of Jarmo Pääkkönen (Excalion), wearing kilts. That is really dumbing it down but it’s what I felt while listening.Anyone who is a fan of epic power metal with soaring vocals and whaling melodic folk solos with hints of flutes and bagpipes is going to like, or perhaps love this band.  The production is solid and there is a lot of depth when it comes to the layering of tracks. A little hidden treasure from the land of inventors, artists, lovers, vineyards, and pasta." - Xplosive Metal 
    $13.00
  • Michael Romeo doesn't work quickly.  The man takes his time and a new Symphony X album is ready when its been honed to perfection.  Underworld is the first new album in four years.  To get to the point its ridiculously great.  Up through V, the band were the modern agents of neoclassical/symphonic metal.  With The Odyssey the band took a left turn with Russell Allen's vocals being more agressive and a pervasive overall crunchiness, heaviness to the sound.  Perhaps a bit less symphonic sounding.  With Underworld fans of the "old style" will smile once again.  The band has found a way to balance both sides of their sound.  Its heavy but extremely melodic.  Russell's vocals are spot on and Mr. Romeo's solos have an organic flow that will sweep you through the tune.  Its a beautiful marriage of styles - not too much of either direction that the band has exhibited in the past.  Toss in a theme built around Dante's Inferno and you've totally sucked me back in to the fold.  BUY OR DIE!"A lot has happened with New Jersey-based progressive metal band SYMPHONY X since the Iconoclast album was released four years ago. Singer ‘Sir’ Russell Allen recorded and toured behind several releases with ADRENALINE MOB, toured with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and recorded the album The Great Divide with ALLEN-LANDE. Bassist Mike Lepond toured with HELSTAR and released his excellent solo album under the name SILENT ASSASSINS. Keyboardist Michael Pinnella released a solo album and guitarist Michael Romeo made guest appearances on some albums. Drummer Jason Rullo battled and successfully recovered from heart failure in 2013.Four years later, SYMPHONY X delivers another fantastic album, the band sounding just as powerful as Iconoclast, and amazingly never missing a beat. Titled Underworld, it is sort of a concept album, loosely based on Dante’s epic poem Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is not a totally original topic in the metal world; ICED EARTH featured an epic song based on it on their 1995 album Burnt Offerings and SEPULTURA wrote a concept album based on it with 2006’s Dante XXI, while SYMPHONY X themselves included references to it on their 1997 album The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. Several other metal bands have also been influenced by the poem.SYMPHONY X do not follow the tale word for word, but use it more as an inspiration. Michael Romeo is quoted as saying that the album has a theme of “going to hell and back for something or someone you care about.” He also said that this album is more about “the song” instead of the album as a whole, allowing it to flow better from song to song. This doesn’t mean every song is an attempt at a single. Romeo’s intent when writing songs for Underworld was for people to be able to take in the whole album in one listening. (The total album length is just over an hour, compared to Iconoclast’s two discs that were around 83 minutes).To be honest, the last two SYMPHONY X albums, 2007’s Paradise Lost and 2011’s Iconoclast were my favorite albums released by the band so far. I refer to them as the “angry” SYMPHONY X, mainly due to Russell Allen’s vocal delivery and the aggressive music on those particular albums. So, I waited to see if we would get a third album in this same vein from SYMPHONY X. The songs on Underworld seem to alternate between prog and aggression, but for the most part, the album is not as “angry” as Iconoclast. The album strikes a perfect balance between prog and power. Some songs are aggressive without being “angry”. There are definitely more classic SYMPHONY X elements here than on recent releases.The album is much more accessible than previous albums. The songs overall are shorter (most clocking in at around the 5-6 minute mark), and more to the point than on previous albums. For example, “Kiss Of Fire” is one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard by SYMPHONY X. It immediately became a favorite of mine on this album, with the verse, “Bring down the hammer, with serious anger – It’s me against the world!” section and the chorus becoming some of my favorite moments. This song probably represents the album to me more than any other, but the album is filled with classics, such as opener “Nevermore”, a ferocious track that is aggressive in the verses, while the chorus is more melody-driven. The title track follows, with many twists, turns and speed sections. “Without You” is a standout track. With its guarded delivery by Allen and acoustic guitar flowing in the background, it is probably the mellowest moment on Underworld, but that’s not a bad thing. The chorus is the focus of the track, with Allen performing some of his best work. The song probably has the most potential as a single. Another solid track, “Charon”, named for the ferry boatman of the underworld, follows. This track has a middle-eastern flavor to it.The longest track on the album (9:24 in length) follows, the excellent “To Hell And Back”. This song has so many great parts, it’s hard to pick a particular favorite, possibly Allen’s soaring vocal on the chorus or the “on and on and on / no quarter asked, no quarter given” section. “In My Darkest Hour” follows and is another favorite of mine, featuring speed riffing parts, mixed with a melodic chorus. Allen really shines on this song. “Run With The Devil” is even more up-tempo and another one of the more accessible songs due to the chorus. “Swan Song” finds keyboardist Pinnella taking the bulk of the spotlight with his piano flourishes. The album closes with the excellent “Legend”. Allen’s aggressive pre-chorus vocals and melodic chorus vocals make this an instant classic.I believe the playing on Underworld is at another level for the band. Lepond’s bass work is spectacular throughout and Jason Rullo makes a real statement with his drum performance. Fantastic work from keyboardist Michael Pinnella and of course guitarist Michael Romeo’s amazing riffs and solos are worth the price alone. But you get more, don’t you? You get one of the best singers in metal, Sir Russell Allen, making yet another classic album even better with his voice.The album’s exquisite cover artwork (once again by illustrator Warren Flanagan) features the return of the SYMPHONY X masks, around which are eight symbols that represent the circles of hell: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, and fraud. The symbol for treachery, the ninth circle, is underneath the masks, and hopefully will be revealed in full inside the album packaging.Underworld is a great album, which grew on me the more I listened to it. SYMPHONY X are masters of American prog metal, and have been for quite some time. Underworld further cements that reputation, and will undoubtedly please fans of all eras of the band." - KNAC.com 
    $14.00
  • "Think of the new Megadeth album like this: take Endgame and add a large dose of Youthanasia and Countdown to Extinction, then mix it all in a blender and you’ll get a good idea of how it sounds. For die-hard Megadeth fans (like me), the album is a catchy, solid slice of good metal. Much like Endgame and United Abominations, Th1rt3en has a few weak spots, but is generally a decent album. Far from just generic recycling however, it has some fantastic highlights.The three opening tracks easily fit with some of Megadeth’s classic material, as Dave Mustaine has lost none of his talent for catchy melodies and thrash-metal attitude. Well produced and composed, the album flows much better than Endgame and more consistently than United. Dave’s voice retains much of its character but is not what it once was. He has wisely chosen to stay in his lower range, perhaps in order to avoid having to use his falsetto (…case in point). A curious thing about this album is its inclusion of earlier Megadeth material from past sessions. One of my favorites has to be Black Swan, from the United Abominations-era. As it happens, Dave’s voice was still in good condition in 2007, and it shows. Lyrically, Dave sticks to standard Megadeth-themes: the apocalypse, personal demons, ect. Some of the lyrics here are very compelling and well-written, but his pedantic musings on the “New World Order” have become a little obnoxious. Dave’s lyrics on political paranoia and deception worked very well with cold-war topics like those on Rust in Peace, but nowadays I can only cringe when he mouths off about The Illuminati and a “one world currency”.  That and, for obvious reasons, I would advise some caution when writing lyrics that denounce “A book written by man, use to control and demand” (from New World Order), when you espouse a similar book in your private life. I won’t even start with the lyrics on Fast Lane (you’d think Dave would have learned from Moto Psycho, ugh). Anyway, I should say that the guitar playing from Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick is absolutely mind-blowing and it’s great to have Dave Ellefson back in the rhythm section as well. Aside from some of the things I've moaned about here, I found Th1rt3en to be a very satisfying Megadeth album." - Metal Injection
    $10.00
  • "The rise of Greek power metaller, Firewind, has give the world two new metal heroes. They are Bob Katsionis (keyboards) and Gus G. Both are skillful musicians, now world class respected. Bob released his solo album in 2012, but only in March 2014 that Gus G finally catch up with a release his long waited solo album. Gus G's solo album titled as I Am the Fire, he is well backed by world class musicians and singers. As Gus G was previously active in Ozzy Osbourne team, the styles of heavy metal and hard rock in this solo album is not surprising, a bit step further away from his main band of Firewind, which is a power metal band.Let's see the two most interesting tracks by observing the guess list. Vengeance is back by Megadeth's David Ellefson. This is instrumental track for sure, the riffs are heavy, fast double pedal drum and of course Gus' shred + David's bass attack was more than cool enough. The second instrumental is fall to "Billy Sheehan's track". Terrified is yet another ultra fast shreds with a title that reminds us to Scarified by Racer X. Both instrumental tracks is enough to made guitars fans demand an exclusive instrumental guitar album from Gus!On the vocalized songs, they are all excellence. Mat Levén is acting as host singer, he tackled four tracks. From the opener My Will Be Done, a straight forward modern rock tunes, then Blame It On Me, a happier glam metal one. On the later are Eyes Wide Open, this is kind of late '80s hair metal scenes feel. The last from Mat is End Of The Line, acoustic ballad in the style of wild wild west. Mat Levén was once Firewind singer also.I Am The Fire is a collaboration with Devour The Day / Blake Allison. The riffs quickly brings us to modern nu-metal feels, this concurred with the style of singing, the song's structures, and utilizing of choruses, which is in the spirit of alternative metal. Long Way Down on the other hand is the only female guess track with Alexia Rodiguez. Alexia is from the band Eyes Set To Kill. The song can be categorizing as a heavier version Evanescenes style. Jacob Bunton from Lynam / Adler fame contributed in Just Can't Let Go. This is yet again in alternative / US modern metal feel. Michael Starr from Steel Panther trusted with Redemption, a track that focused on wild glam metal form, fit the image of Steel Panther. Veteran singer Jeff Scott Soto is in the spiritful AOR track of Summer Days. Finally there at least an European feel in Dreamkeeper, where Evergrey singer Tom S. Englund delivered it epic-ly!What a great packed of quality materials in one album. Of all tracks not only Gus G able to fit the styles of his song to the respected guess, he also seem like outdone the guess' each band. For example in Tom Englund's track, we can feel Evergrey's music in it. There are enough punches on each song, added more  replay value to the album. Interestingly, Gus G decided to not gives any clue about his music from Firewind. A good choices, meaning his creativity in the area of power metal will still dedicated to the main band. I Am the Fire is a great album with fresh ideas stretching  from modern metal to oldies glam metal. A must have." - Metal Harem
    $12.00
  • Yet another brilliant work from this Norwegian prog band.  The Greatest Show On Earth is the band's third effort.  While the first album Identity delved into alternative/prog realms bearing similarity to Radiohead, their second album All Rights Removed was full on Pink Floyd worship.  This latest effort carries on in similar fashion.  There are parts of the album that were written with tracing paper.  It evokes the mood and feel of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and maybe even a bit of The Wall.  This isn't to say the band doesn't inject any personality of their own - they do.  There are contemporary elements, its just that when they go into full on Pink Floyd mode its so apparent and so well executed that it blinds you to everything else that is going on.  What Bi Kyon Ran is to King Crimson or The Watch is to Genesis, Airbag is to Pink Floyd.  Original?  Truth be told not really.  It doesn't matter, its so well executed that you will just immerse yourself in the listening experience.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • "Don’t let the Appearance Of Nothing distract you from hearing A New Beginning, because, despite such deception, there’s a lot to be enjoyed from one of Switzerland’s few progressive metal bands. I’ve decided to adopt a policy of responding to stupid band names with stupid puns, and I won’t stop until they do. Appearance Of Nothing plays straightforward melodic progressive metal that’s heavy on the melodic. The band has been around for about ten years, and this is their third album. For fans of their first two albums, as well as fans of the more accessible forms of progressive metal, this is a very strong release.Expect synth and guitar heavy music. Every song is carried by crunchy rhythm guitars, and I’m happy to report that the recording and production is spot on to allow them to really shine. As far as distinct strengths of the album: look no further the choruses. Every single one, particularly on the daunting 14 minute title track, is remarkably catchy. This memorability, along with the consistently driving pace of the album, makes it a very easy and enjoyable listen. The lead vocal performance is also pretty great, and the songwriting even manages to accommodate interspersed harsh vocals. Usually throwing harsh vocals into melodic prog is a quick turn-off for me, but I applaud Appearance Of Nothing for pulling it off.Where drawbacks are concerned, I can’t point to any specific “problems”, but there are a few minor disappointments. For a pretty heavy synth presence, strong vocals, and ample songwriting diversity, I was disappointed with the overall atmosphere of the album. While the songs were certainly strong, they lacked a unique identity. This isn’t so much a drawback as it is lost potential for a band that’s got everything else they need to be really, really good.Certainly check out the single “Chains Of History”, as well as the title track. As common to great progressive music, it’s often that the longest song ought to be the best, and that’s certainly true here with the title track. I again applaud solid work from the studio to draw out a powerful performance so that it actually sounds powerful. Where technically proficient progressive metal meets great melodies and an excellent performance, you can’t go wrong." - Black Wind Metal
    $15.00
  • "Some four years ago Borealis released their Fall From Grace, and my conclusion was simple. They presented adequate, yet typical, melodic European power metal just misplaced in Canada. To the present, it seems things may have changed, even improved, for the band for their third album, Purgatory.Yet, I'm not sure I want to get ahead of myself here. One spin and you hear echoes of previous material: riff heavy and intense, speedy power metal. As Mets manager Yogi Berra once said, "It's deja vu all over again." Actually, for my money, you could boil this album down to two things: blistering power metal and lots of epic guitar solos. Now, you say: "Dude, I love that shit!" Okay. Stop reading and go buy the album.But there's more. The keyboards seem more present, even adding a large portion symphonic orchestration to add to Borealis' naturally bombastic sound. Take note of My Peace, for example. Also, and not knowing who the principal guitarist is, Matt Marinelli or Mike Briguglio, the guitar lines are phenomenal. Forget the twin bombastic riffs, the leads are killer: soaring to the wow factor. Additionally, the arrangements are more dynamic; the progressive metal has gotten a bump here over the last album. Yet, this is not a hyper-technical leap. It's more changes in tempo and breakdowns. You'll catch some of this within Place Of Darkness or Welcome To Eternity. The latter also a good example, in the second half, of Borealis adding some thrash metal to overwhelm you.The wild card in this mixture is vocalist Matt Marinelli. I would like to say he can sing, and I think he can. But he's so often totally overwhelmed by the music to be nearly underwater. He's seems always striving and straining to stay ahead or, to continue the metaphor, stay above the music. Then you find out he has a generally pleasing voice and presence when you listen to Darkest Sin or Rest My Child, the two quietest songs here. I would imagine when you hear Borealis live, you'll have a Pink Floyd moment, from The Wall, when observing Marinelli: "Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying." Nevertheless, Purgatory is definitely an advancement for Borealis, a fine album of more ambitious progressive power metal than past efforts. Recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00