Discovering James LaBrie (3CD Box Set)

"James LaBrie is renowned for being the vocalist of prog metal gods Dream Theater. His solo albums show a heavier facet of his creative output and profit immensely from his incredibly varied voice. Now, the albums "Elements Of Persuasion", "Static Impulse" and "Impermanent Resonance" are being offered as limited box set at discovery price."

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  • Nicely done third album from this Spanish band. The main man behind Kotebel is keyboardist Carlos Plaza but he frequently defers to guitarist Cesar Garcia Forero. The female vocals of Carlonia Prieto has a light ethereal quality which joins with the flute of Omar Acosta to create a balance or counterpoint to the fiery keyboard/guitar interplay. A nice mixture of classical, traditional prog and Spanish influences. This 71 minute effort is a real class affair.
    $15.00
  • New studio project put together by noted guitarist Henning Pauly of the band Chain. Most notable aspect of this project is the inclusion of Dream Theater vocalist James Labrie on all tracks. The music has a cinematic quality, melding progressive rock with a lighter style of progressive metal. At times the layering of Labrie's vocals are reminiscent of an old Queen album - it's almost larger than life. There are definite similarities to Dream Theater at points. Early listens remind me quite a bit of Pauly's band Chain but with a better singer and further refinement.
    $3.00
  • No idea where this band came from but its one hell of a breath of fresh air. This is the debut release from a new German progressive metal band. The Old Man And The Spirit is an existential concept album with a larger than life feel, perhaps a long the lines of the release release from Joseph Magazine. The band features two vocalists - Herbie Langhans and Dilenya Mar. Each one takes on the role of a character in the story. The male/female vocals work very well together. Beautiful juxtaposition of quiet acoustic passages and bombastic, symphonic metal. Its only January but I think you can already consider this one for a Top 10 prog metal list for 2012. Highly recommended."“The Old Man and the Spirit” is an ambitious concept album dealing with the polarity of human sensuousness and superhuman awareness. Two main characters interpret the music on this theatrical and challenging record: “The Spirit”, who is the personification of all wisdom and awareness that is unachievable to mankind but that lacks of the ability to feel, and her opponent “The Old Man”: a bon vivant who has lived through all highs and lows of human sensations. These two characters are interpreted by the two band singers: a female Dilenya Mar and a male Herbie Langhans.But the operatic and cinematic setting of the album was put together by the bands’ two masterminds: guitar player Peter Degenfeld and the classically trained ivory tinkler Christopher Tarnow. “From the beginning it was our intention to do an album presenting one big piece of music” tells Degenfeld. “One of the very first things that came about were the two characters together with the basic content of the story. Basically before the notes were written, we knew what each song had to sound and feel like and what the lyrics had to say. With these restrictions we started the songwriting process. In the end writing songs under these self-imposed limits turned out to be just great”.While “The Old Man and The Spirit” is undoubtedly a demanding musical statement, Beyond The Bridge are determined to make their steps to bring their music on tour. “We put a lot of effort into the goal of creating the studio sound on stage and we have already rearranged some parts to make them more suitable for live performances”, explains Degenfeld.Beyond The Bridge’sline-up is rounded out by bass player Dominik Stotzem, Fabian Maier on drums and Simon Oberender on keyboards and guitar. Simon also took care of the album production at the famed Gate Studios (owned by the famed producer Sascha Paeth, who mastered the album).While at first listen the album will easily appeal to the Progressive Rock / Metal audience, thanks to the virtuosity displayed in the playing and the compositional design, the album can be easily enjoyed by all who are looking for songs that can excite the listeners. “The music is touching. It will even touch you in a different way each time you listen to the album”, concludes Peter Degenfeld. “The lyrics are inspiring and ambiguous. This encourages to dig deeper into the spiritual journey of the "Old Man"."
    $14.00
  • In 1991 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso inexplicably decided to revisit their first two albums. The band completely re-recorded the albums and in fact expanded on some of the earlier versions of some of the songs. Shockingly it worked really well. There wasn't an attempt to do radical rearrangements or modernize anything other than the instruments they used. Perhaps just for sentiment I prefer the warmth and nostalgia of the original version but this an interesting attempt to revisit the material and add a bit of polish. Highly recommended - even if you have the original.
    $11.00
  • First part of a trilogy from this German band enamoured with the idea of the rock opera.  Perhaps similar to an Ayreon album, it straddles the line between progressive metal and rock but with an overarching symphonic angle.  Like all traditional rock operas, various singers perform roles of characters in the story.  Lots of guest musicians/vocalists on this one."The world is under siege by an alien force –The Minders. They have declared war on the earth because they know that the humans will soon destroy the “mighty equation” in space. Humanity has become intelligent and technologically advanced but lacks the imagination and wisdom to see the devastation they wreak. The Magistrate has decided to annihilate the entire human race before its greed and pursuit of power can reach beyond its own planet. They send devastating solar storms to snuff out all life on Earth. The last surviving human “elite” fight to liberate their world and vow to “turn over a new leaf.” But a brave soldier named John believes that they have a very different plan…Beside the core of Flaming Row, Kiri Geile, Martin Schnella, Marek Arnold and Niklas Kahl, there are a lot of well-known guest musicians like Jimmy Keegan (Spock’s Beard, Santana), Leo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation), Kristoffer Gildenlöw (Ex-Pain Of Salvation / Rust), Ted Leonard (Spock’s Beard / Enchant), Magali Luyten (Ayreon / Beautiful Sin), Johan Hallgren (Ex-Pain Of Salvation), Dave Meros (Spock’s Beard), Eric & Nathan Brenton (Neal Morse), Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon / Star One), Gary Wehrkamp & Brendt Allman (Shadow Gallery), Diego Tejeida (Haken) and many more playing and singing on „Mirage“.So this time Martin Schnella reached his aim again. Putting the high musicality of unknown and famous musicians of the progressive rock/metal scene on one CD."
    $15.00
  • Only for true metal freaks (you know who you are). If Manowar is too wimpy for ya check 'em out.
    $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
  • "Quite the misleading band name, ya know? Project Arcadia isn’t much of a “project” as it is a Bulgarian outfit fronted by the ever-awesome Urban Breed, he of Tad Morose, Bloodbound, and currently, Trail of Murder fame. Prior to Breed joining, the band released From the Desert of Desire in 2012 to rather muted results, as in, no one on this side of the pond gave a flying toss. Sure enough, add Breed to the fold, record a new album in the form of A Time of Changes, and viola, Nightmare Records takes care of the rest. Not a bad deal.Hovering around traditional power metal and 80s metal protocol (the accompanying bio cites MSG and the Scorpions, which there is scant correlation), Project Arcadia wisely focus on the considerable vocal talents of Mr. Breed. He’s given ample breathing room to allow for his superbly melodic and hefty pipes to get their kicks, like on the soaring chorus for “I Am Alive,” and the acoustic-led “The Ungrateful Child,” which sees the Swede go full-on tender. But for the most part, the band plays it muscular, hitting some brute riffs in stride on “Formidable Foe” or finding some double-bass happenings on opener “Here to Learn.”The addition of Breed is sure to bolster Project Arcadia’s profile immediately. However, being that Breed is also known for being a bit of metallic nomadic, one had to wonder how long he’ll stick it out with the band. But the songs are certainly here on A Time of Changes, suited perfectly for Breed, who ten years after his shining moment on Tad Morose’s Modus Vivendi, can still hang with the best of ‘em. If the Swede was smart (and he is), he’ll stick with this, and Trail of Murder and keep on being productive…" - Dead Rhetoric
    $12.00
  • German import digibook comes with 3 exclusive bonus tracks. "All eyes are on Gus G., especially from the casual mainstream heavy music follower who probably just discovered this axe-slinger’s skill set taking over for Zakk Wylde as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitar man. Those of us stalwart metal maniacs know Gus from his work in Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage, and Dream Evil through the years, but Firewind has always been his main original productive act, releasing five power metal albums prior to Days of Defiance. Does this latest album deserve wider adulation and popularity? I would safely say that following the 35-second acoustic opening to “The Ark of Lies”, Gus comes out of the gates with a fireball riff attack and vocalist Apollo Papathanasio delivers the complementary blues based melodic metal pipes you expect much like the old Dio/Blackmore or Coverdale/Sykes days. As a band, Firewind prefer to keep the emphasis on catchy verse/chorus oriented material, leaving most of the shake and bake instrumental flexing for the solos or brief interludes like the keyboard galaxy event “The Departure” or the 5-minute plus sans vocals “SKG” where keyboardist/guitarist Bob Katsionis puts on a speed finger play clinic of the neo-classical kind. Those who love faster numbers that showcase drum work fueled by hurricane arm/leg movement, a firm keyboard underpinning and the back and forth chemistry that classic singers and guitarists feed off of should delight in the Rainbow-like “Heading For the Dawn” and “When All Is Said.” Contrasting that material you can count on a few tracks with definite commercial potential- such as the Riot-meets-Maiden dynamic within “Chariot” or the quieter power ballad “Broken” where Apollo’s bluesy charm shines. Days of Defiance contains the desired balance between the average Firewind follower’s expectations and the five piece’s insistence to challenge themselves in terms of technique and songwriting ability. If pushed correctly, Gus G and Firewind could get used to a hefty touring cycle and bigger sales as this clearly is their most accomplished album to date. - Matt Coe/blistering.com
    $17.00
  • Here's a nice archival discovery courtesy of Esoteric Recordings.  Fields was the post-Rare Bird trio consisting of keyboardist Graham Field, ex-King Crimson drummer Andy McCullough, and bassist Alan Barry.  Their 1971 eponymous release on CBS is a prog rock gem in which Field shows off his abilities as an organ player.Contrasts is a previously unknown to exist second album that sat on a shelf gathering dust since 1972.  It finds Alan Barry replaced by ex-Supertramp Frank Farrell on bass and vocals.  Field concentrates on organ but he does play some synthesizer.  The music has a melodic feel that reminds a little bit of Spring.  Comes with plenty of liner notes by Sid Smith.
    $16.00
  • "Alice Cooper wasted little time following up the breakthrough success of Love It to Death with another album released the same year, Killer. Again, producer Bob Ezrin was on board and helps the group solidify their heavy rock (yet wide-ranging) style even further. The band's stage show dealt with the macabre, and such disturbing tracks as "Dead Babies" and the title track fit in perfectly. Other songs were even more exceptional, such as the perennial barnstorming concert standard "Under My Wheels," the melodic yet gritty "Be My Lover," and the tribute to their fallen friend Jim Morrison, "Desperado." The long and winding "Halo of Flies" correctly hinted that the band would be tackling more complex song structures on future albums, while "You Drive Me Nervous" and "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" showed that Alice Cooper hadn't completely abandoned their early garage rock direction. With Killer, they became one of the world's top rock bands and concert attractions; it rewarded them as being among the most notorious and misunderstood entertainers, thoroughly despised by grownups." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Magenta's latest finds them returning to an overtly progressive rock sound and the music is all the better for it.  The Twenty Seven Club is a concept album based around famous rock stars that died at the age of 27 (Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hedrix, Kurt Cobain, ao).  The core lineup is Rob Reed, Christina Booth, and Chris Fry.  For this album the band is rounded out by guest drummer Andy Edwards of IQ.  Reed's keyboard work is back in the fore and Fry's Howe-isms on guitar always bring a polish to the music (and grin on the face).  Christina Booth's voice is a real gift and she shines as always.  Overall the music makes some overt references to Yes and Genesis so you get that old school flavor that the band hasn't offered in many years.  The album arrives in a special edition with a bonus DVD.  You get the complete album in a 5.1 mix, documentary footage and a promo video for one of the tunes.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • "Secret Voyage is another kaleidoscopic musical journey through time and space, incorporating and rearranging traditional melodies from all over Europe, blending the "old" and contemporary. The brilliant guitar stylings of Ritchie Blackmore, the enchanting vocals and lyrics of singer/songwriter Candice Night and the saturation of authentic Renaissance instruments woven throughout the melodies, create a unique style of music they call Renaissance/Folk/Rock. Secret Voyage consists of twelve new tracks, recorded by Candice Night, Ritchie Blackmore and their Band Of Minstrels. This musical journey is inspired by nature and incorporates acoustic and electric guitars, strings, renaissance instruments and Candice Night s ethereal voice and mystical lyrics."
    $15.00
  • Fourth album from this excellent Italian progressive rock band. Madame Zelle is a concept album based on the life of double agent Mata Hari. Plenty of solos from keyboards and flute without sounding dated. In fact this doesn't sound like 70s Italian prog at all - they achieve a contemporary sound that bears a striking similarity to White Willow's Storm Season period. I wish vocalist Simona Rigano sang in English. It would bring this band acceptance from a much broader audience. She has a nice voice that serves the music quite well. Overall an album with a nice flow to it. Highly recommended.
    $19.00