Empire ($5 Special)

SKU: 724358107029
Label:
EMI
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24 bit remastered reissue in deluxe packaging at a budget price. A masterful blending of progressive metal and rock, "Empire" features two of their best known songs - "Silent Lucidity" and "Jet City Woman". Comes with 3 bonus studio tracks.

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    $5.00
  • Arjen Lucassen's long awaited Ayreon project is a total blast.  Like some of the earlier Ayreon albums, it owes as much to prog rock as it does metal.  All the old school heroes like Emerson, Wakeman, Wetton get to strut their stuff showing a young stud like Rudess a thing or two.  As always Lucassen latches on to some of the best vocalists around and this one is no exception.  Highly recommended.PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL BE A VERY EXPENSIVE IMPORT "ART BOOK" EDITION FORTHCOMING."You know what the metal world needs more of? Musicals. I'm not saying that ironically either. Sure, we have plenty of prog bands putting out concept albums, but cool as these records many be, the story themselves are not the focus of the album. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen has resurrected his grandest of all projects to continue showing these folks how to tell an epic story the right way.With 01011001 the Ayreon story came to an end, or so we thought. Arjen instead decided to focus on projects like Star One, Guilt Machine, and his solo album Lost in the New Real. When he revealed not too long ago that he was working on a new project, it wasn't a surprise to discover it was new Ayreon, but I was still plenty excited.Lucassen said of the newest record, "It's not science fiction, but a human story set in a science context." So no aliens or battling emotions or any of that. So, in an attempt to better understand the story, I contacting him for the lyrics and much to my surprise, he sent them to me saying, "Oh yes, you need the lyrics, definitely." Holy hell, was he right. The story is indeed more grounded than previous records, but there are still layers to this beast.Fans of Ayreon should know what to expect here. The Theory of Everything has seven guest singers and each singer plays a part in the story. They are JB (Grand Magus) as the Teacher, Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as the Mother, Michael Mills (Toehider) as the Father, Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as the Prodigy, Marco Hietala (Nightwish) as the Rival, John Wetton (Asia/ex-King Crimson) as the Psychiatrist, and Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as the Girl.Of these singers, the most impressive is the relatively unknown Sara Squadrani. She performs on a large portion of the story and shines every time, especially on "Love and Envy". I was also surprised to be so enamored with the performance of Christina Scabbia. She's always had  a wonderful voice, but her performance in this record might be her finest. Her harmonies with Squadrani stand out particularly on "Mirror of Dreams". This isn't to say only the performances by the female singers are worth mentioning. Tommy Karevik's introduction in "The Prodigy's World" is one of the strongest moments on the album.Press_Photo_01Every Ayreon album comes an eclectic group of guest musicians. This round primarily consisted of guest keyboardists. Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) handles a good portion of the record, while Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) both make excellent solo appearances on "Progressive Waves".Having listened to all of Lucassen's albums at least once, I can say The Theory of Everything is the most musically diverse offering he's had a hand in, perhaps with the exception of his solo record. This isn't as heavy as previous Ayreon titles, but it has its driving moments like "Collision" and the Dream Theather-esque "Frequency Modulation." The aforementioned "Love and Envy" is a slower introspective song, while "Diagnosis" is massive and a little cheesy, but so awesome. "Transformation" has a Middle Eastern feel to it, and  "The Eleventh Dimension" sounds like intergalactic renaissance faire music.Often times there are jumps in mood, genre, etc in the middle of a song. This is fairly typical for an Ayreon release; what isn't typical is that technically this record consists of only four songs. These four songs are each at least twenty-one minutes, but they are cut up into forty-two pieces (yes, that's a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference) .This is a fun record. It's a record that does require a time commitment. I'd say listeners should treat it as a proper musical or film in a theater. Try to experience it all in one sitting for the full effect. It's absolutely worth it." - Metal Injection
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  • One of the great hard rock albums of the 70s.  After Uli Jon Roth left the band he was replaced by Matthias Jabs.  His guitar technique was far removed from the neoclassical stylings of Roth, taking a more traditional hard rock/melodic metal approach.  Returning to the fold is Rudi's brother Michael Schenker.  With streamlined songwriting it all comes together.  A non-stop killer.
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  • Second album from this superb Italian prog metal band. Long out of print, this new edition is remastered and features four bonus tracks including the original Japanese bonus track, two demos from 1993 and a rehearsal version of "Erase" from 2006. Limited edition of 3,000 copies comes housed in a slipcase and has a poster. One of the killers!
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  • Steven Wilson's solo career apart from Porcupine Tree, is for this listener, far more interesting.  Whereas PTree currently skirts the line between rock and metal, his solo work fits squarely in the progressive rock arena.  The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) is easily his magnum opus.  The musicianship is stellar - he recorded with his touring band: Nick Beggs (Stick), Guthrie Govan (guitar), Adam Holzman (keys), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Theo Travis (flute, sax).  Mr. Wilson has also dug two things out of mothballs - King Crimson's Mellotron and Alan Parsons.  It was Steven Wilson's wish to one day work with Alan Parsons, who came on board as engineer.  I can't tell you who is responsibile for what but I can tell you that the production is impeccable.  The opening epic "Luminol" drips with the holy 'tron sounding like a cross-generation blend of King Crimson eras.  And so it goes through out the album.  Some utterly fierce playing on this album.  From beginning to end a stunning effort.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • "EXPEDITION DELTA is a project from Srdjan Brankovic, one of the founders of ALOGIA, the biggest selling progmetal band in Serbia. After the huge success of their 2 albums and tours opening for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, Savatage and Paul Di Anno, Srdjan decided to do a no holds barred progrock/metal album in English, assembling some of the worlds finest players and EXPEDITION DELTA is the result.Together with Srdjan Brankovic, many famous and great musicians are involved with the \"Expedition Delta\" album. Some of them are Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery), Andrea De Paoli (Labyrinth), Richard Andersson (Time Requiem), Erik Norlander (Rocket Scientists), Joost van den Broek (Sfter Forever), Sabine Edelsbacher (Edenbridge), Torsten Roehre (Silent Force), Santiago Dobles (Aghora) and many others...The whole album is sung by Nikola Mijic with the exception of 3 songs that include the appearance of Sabine Edelsbacher, Irina Kapetanovic and Aleksandra Jankovic in a duet with Nikola.The album was recorded and produced by Srdjan in his Paradox Music studio where he works with many other Serbian bands. The cast of the album includes:Srdjan Brankovic (Alogia)Nikola Mijic (Alogia)Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery, Amaran's Plight)Sabine Edelsbacher (Edenbridge)Erik Norlander (Rocket Scientists, Lana Lane)Vladimir Djedovic (Alogia)Richard Andersson (Time Requiem, Space Odyssey)Andrea De Paoli (Labyrinth)Joost van den Broek (After Forever)Santiago Dobles (Aghora)Alex ArgentoTorsten Roehre (Silent Force)Rene Merkelbach (Ayreon)Borislav MiticVivien Lalu (Lalu)Miroslav Brankovic (Alogia) Ivan Vasic (Alogia) Irina Kapetanovic (Irina & Storm) Mikkel Henderson (Evil Masquerade, Circusmind) Alexandra Jankovic
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  • "The somber black and white cover could have been a knowing allusion to Meet the Beatles!, but it's really a signal that Van Halen is playing it for keeps on OU812, their second record with Sammy Hagar. Indeed, the striking thing about OU812 is that all its humor is distilled into a silly punny title, because even the party tunes here -- and there are many -- are performed with a dogged, determined vibe. When David Lee Roth fronted the band, almost everything that Van Halen did seemed easy -- as big, boisterous, and raucous as an actual party -- but Van Hagar makes good times seem like tough work here. Apart from a few cuts -- the countryish hook on "Finish What Ya Started," the slow, bluesy strut "Black and Blue" -- the riffs are complicated, not catchy, the rhythms plod, they don't rock, and Sammy strains to inject some good times by singing too hard. It gives OU812 a bit of a dour feel, not entirely dissimilar to Fair Warning, but unlike that early unheralded gem, this isn't a descent into darkness; it's merely a very inward rock record, as Eddie Van Halen pushes the band toward interesting musical territory. Often, this takes the form of jazzy chord changes or harmonies -- most evidently on the sleek opener, "Mine All Mine," but also on the otherwise metallic boogie "Source of Infection" -- but there's also "Cabo Wabo," the longest jam they've laid down on record to date, and a cover of Little Feat's "A Apolitical Blues" (which could have been a salute to producer Ted Templeman's early glories as much as a chance to do some down-n-dirty blues rock). Of course, there's also a pair of power ballads here, both poppier than the ones on 5150 -- "When It's Love" is pure balladry, "Feels So Good" rides along on a gurgling synth -- but really, they're red herrings on a record that's the hardest, darkest rock Van Halen has made since Fair Warning. And if it isn't as good as that record (even if it's nearly not as much fun), it's nevertheless the best showcase of the instrumental abilities of Van Hagar." - Allmusic Guide
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  • Remaster of the band's third album comes with 5 bonus tracks. This one has some of their best toons...
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  • After a 10 year absence Enchant are back.  The band started in 1993 making them one of the earliest prog metal band.  Actually they are sort of an interesting band in that they seem to exist in both the prog rock and prog metal realms.  Some metal fans think of them as a bit lightweight and some prog rock fans think they are too heavy!  One thing is for sure they are wildly successful.  This is definitely prog but it never loses sight of the melody.  Fronted by the great Ted Leonard (who is now doing double duty with Spock's Beard) this one is a no-brainer - whether you are metal or prog head.  "irst impressions are the similarities to Spock’s Beard. Hardly surprising since Ted Leonard has been singing with them since 2011. He’s been with Enchant longer; their first CD came out in 1993. And familiarity doesn’t breed contempt here, fortunately.Bay area progressive rockers, they steer a straight course composing guitar-structured songs that they extemporise over. Guitarist Douglas A Ott is also the band’s main producer, with The Great Divide having been recorded at his own studio, but if in the past the band’s followed his direction they’re now more involved after a ten year gap working on other projects. Also, while integral, Ott doesn’t dominate Enchant’s sound but flows in and out adding a hard rock bias to their generic musical flavouring. Drummer/percussionist Sean Flanegan and bassist Ed Platt have the solidity of early Kansas and musically there are some pretty snazzy and often too brief keyboard solos from Bill Jenkins.A rolling cyclical bass line forms the basis of opening number ‘Circles’ with Leonard pondering life going round well, like a circle – while the lyrics aren’t profound they feel right and though this isn’t a concept album, despite the band stating otherwise, there are common themes concerning the human condition in a loosely existential manner. Mainly straight verse and choruses ‘Circles’ breaks out into more complicated time signatures before an acoustic comes to the fore, vocals return, an electric guitar take over and it concludes with a nicely warm keyboard solo. ‘Within An Inch’ follows with a steady rock backbeat over which Ott’s playing echoes Camel’s Andy Latimer interrupted briefly by some John Ellis punk-styled sirening. ‘The Great Divide’ follows suit in a more epic manner, the arrangement akin to Genesis in their golden period.Enchant don’t play with the fairies, despite what their name suggests. If anything they’re two steps removed from an AOR sound leaning in towards early Asia with some latter day Beatles thrown in, and a less grandiose take on Spock’s Beard. One might refer to them as technically proficient rather than emotionally overwrought, meaning there is a heartfelt flavour to their songs, and they tend to grow on you.The subdued opening to ‘Life In A Shadow’ throws a brief curveball echoing the Canterbury sound of Hatfield & The North before a heavy chorded chorus takes this into a rocking tune with soulful harmonies. ‘Deserve To Feel’ pours on the technical drumming and dribbling triplet bass figures with some flashy pyrotechnics predominantly on guitar but with keen keyboard flourishes, moving into a more intricate musical score as Jenkins and Ott trade inspired lines towards its conclusion. Likewise, ‘Here And Now’ builds reflectively moving towards emotional drama.Finely composed, played well, Enchant’s The Great Divide might not have you falling under its spell, but you may well be surprised how you find yourself being drawn to playing it." - The Midland Rocks
    $13.00
  • Latest from this fine French band. Nemo is led by guitarist JP Louveton who is also the lead singer. Barbares features all long tracks including the 26 minute title piece. The music of Nemo is quite dynamic. Louveton is a fine player with has a bit of John Petrucci in him. His instrumental foil is keyboardist Guillaume Fontaine who takes a more symphonic approach to his playing. While there is more than enough flash he tends to emphasize textures over blazing fast solo runs. For some reason Louveton has a reluctance to sing in English. If could get over this the band might be able to expand their following on a much broader level. Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • Blazing second solo album, from 1977. This has some of the fastest guitarwork you will ever hear in your lifetime. DiMeola shows many facets to his playing touching upon pure electric fusion as well as gorgeous acoustic work. The acoustic duet with Paco De Lucia on "Mediterranean Sundance" is breathtaking. Jan Hammer and all the other stars play their nuts off here. Great.
    $5.00
  • Magnus Karlsson's name might not be that familiar to you but if you are a fan of melodic metal you probably own an album or two he was involved in.  The Swedish guitarist's original band was Last Tribe.  After a number of albums for Frontiers he was the man behind the curtain for the two Allen/Lande albums as well as a bunch of other projects for the label.  Ultimately he became a member of Primal Fear and toured with this.Freefall is his first solo album under his own name.  He plays all the instruments except drums which are handled by Danny Flores of Mind's Eye.  Calling in favors, Karlsson has enlisted a who's who of vocalists from the melodic metal realm: Russell Allen (Symphony X), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Tony Harnell (TNT), Rick Altzi (Masterplan), David Readman (PC69), Mark Boals (Malmsteen), Michael Andersson (Cloudscape), Rikard Bengsston (Last Tribe), and Herman Saming (A.C.T).  That's a lot of good pipes!
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  • One of the great overlooked prog metal albums of the 90s made available again. This album with the odd name was only released in Japan by Toshiba-EMI in 1998. It was the debut album from this Swiss trio and featured the great Thomas Vikstrom on vocals. The music was keyboard driven, a bit off kilter and totally amazing. The band didn't release anything again until this year's Retrospective but the similarities are superficial. Retrospective is a great album but a bit more conventional. Cosmic Handball has a lot more personality. Its been remixed and remastered which can only help as the original production was a bit murky sounding. Highest recommendation.
    $5.00