Högtid

SKU: TRANS127
Label:
Transubstans Records
Category:
Progressive Rock
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When the vinyl came in I proclaimed this as one of the frontrunners for album of the year and nothing has changed since.  Stunning album.

Agusa is an instrumental quartet from Sweden.  The band is derived from members of Sveriges Kommuner & Landsting, Kama Loka and Hoofoot.  This is a VERY retro sounding album that will appeal to fans of Kebnekajse, Pink Floyd, and perhaps even Anglagard.  No symphonic elements - just straight up organ, guitar, bass, and drums ripping it up over four long tracks.  Very dynamic sounds going on - shimmering echoey guitar leads that will remind you of Kenny Håkanson or Achim Reichel battling it out with undercurrents of organ that erupt into solos.  Overarching the music is a mystical psychedelic vibe - like this whole thing was cooked up in an Arab hashish den.  BUY OR DIE!!

Product Review

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Thu, 2014-07-17 14:43
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Agusa is a new band emerging from Malmö, Sweden; and this first album literally floored me. The band’s line-up at the time they recorded Hogtid was: Tobias Pettersson (bass), Mikael Ödesjö (guitar), Dag Strömkvist (drums) and Jonas Berge (Hammond Organ). Their Facebook page indicates since the recording, they have a new drummer, Tim Wallander. Agusa’s music is most certainly what many would describe as Prog Rock, but there is no denying the psychedelic influences, with obvious leanings toward such diverse acts as Kebnekajse (Sweden), Amon Düül II (Germany) and Colosseum (UK), but at the same time presenting something unique. The album is almost entirely instrumental except for one track and will take you back to Sweden in about 1975! Hogtid features five compositions, a total of 44 minutes of music and strangely it has a distinct Scandinavian feel to it. I say strange because you wouldn’t expect to hear that in instrumental music, but there is a certain feel to the way the music is played and the instruments used. Keyboards listed show only the Hammond Organ which provides the band a very distinct flavor. The songs are mostly instrumental and mostly on the longish side; anywhere from seven to fourteen minutes in fact. Each song consists of a number of core melodic themes that are run through and then either dispensed with or returned to after some experimental, spacey, droning musical excursions. There are plenty of long rambling musical excursions where each member has the opportunity to display their craft. Nothing here is overly angular; in fact it’s all quite musically melodic. So while the structure and arrangements are drawn from the Prog world, much of the guitar and organ soloing tends to reflect the genre’s earlier psych origins. Together it fits very well. Some might call this Retro-Prog because of its late sixties vibe, others may call it Krautrock because of the spacey extended solos, but whatever label you want to put on it, it’s well-played and certainly interesting to listen to. Agusa have a good thing going here and prog fans would do well to check them out. The music on Hogtid is a nice blend of psychedelic influences and progressive rock that would make a great addition to your prog CD or vinyl collection (I liked the album so very much that I bought both, vinyl and CD). Authentic 70's progressive tunes that lived through four decades can be heard on this amazing album!
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Product Review

[email protected]
Thu, 2014-07-17 14:43
Rate: 
0
Agusa is a new band emerging from Malmö, Sweden; and this first album literally floored me. The band’s line-up at the time they recorded Hogtid was: Tobias Pettersson (bass), Mikael Ödesjö (guitar), Dag Strömkvist (drums) and Jonas Berge (Hammond Organ). Their Facebook page indicates since the recording, they have a new drummer, Tim Wallander. Agusa’s music is most certainly what many would describe as Prog Rock, but there is no denying the psychedelic influences, with obvious leanings toward such diverse acts as Kebnekajse (Sweden), Amon Düül II (Germany) and Colosseum (UK), but at the same time presenting something unique. The album is almost entirely instrumental except for one track and will take you back to Sweden in about 1975! Hogtid features five compositions, a total of 44 minutes of music and strangely it has a distinct Scandinavian feel to it. I say strange because you wouldn’t expect to hear that in instrumental music, but there is a certain feel to the way the music is played and the instruments used. Keyboards listed show only the Hammond Organ which provides the band a very distinct flavor. The songs are mostly instrumental and mostly on the longish side; anywhere from seven to fourteen minutes in fact. Each song consists of a number of core melodic themes that are run through and then either dispensed with or returned to after some experimental, spacey, droning musical excursions. There are plenty of long rambling musical excursions where each member has the opportunity to display their craft. Nothing here is overly angular; in fact it’s all quite musically melodic. So while the structure and arrangements are drawn from the Prog world, much of the guitar and organ soloing tends to reflect the genre’s earlier psych origins. Together it fits very well. Some might call this Retro-Prog because of its late sixties vibe, others may call it Krautrock because of the spacey extended solos, but whatever label you want to put on it, it’s well-played and certainly interesting to listen to. Agusa have a good thing going here and prog fans would do well to check them out. The music on Hogtid is a nice blend of psychedelic influences and progressive rock that would make a great addition to your prog CD or vinyl collection (I liked the album so very much that I bought both, vinyl and CD). Authentic 70's progressive tunes that lived through four decades can be heard on this amazing album!
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  • Another 2DVD compilation from the annual two day prog festival that takes place in Veruno Italy every year.Very varied and interesting lineup at the 2014 festival.  Bands included here are:FEMFranck CarducciMartin Turner's Wishbone AshFocusKingcrowOverheadSpock's BeardAnglagardBarock ProjectIO EarthLeprous
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  • "Many people were skeptical of Mercenary’s ability to deliver after last year’s major lineup change, which left Mercenary with half of its lineup. With Metamorphosis, Mercenary have proven that in their current incarnation, they are just as capable as they have ever been. In fact, Metamorphosis is a definite step in the right direction. Metamorphosis starts out on forceful footing with “Through the Eyes of the Devil,” one of the heaviest songs on the album and what could very well be one of the better melodic death metal songs I’ve heard in the last few years. This song delivers on all fronts; aggressive parts are matched with melodic guitar leads and a memorable chorus that proves that they can do just fine without ex-vocalist Mikkel Sandager’s singing. The rest of the album continues in a somewhat straightforward fashion in varying degrees of success on this formula. The heavy use of a growling vocal style on the opening track is a bit deceitful, as most of the songs that follow it are dominated by clean singing. This doesn’t necessarily have such a huge negative impact on the album, as anyone who is familiar with Mercenary could have seen it coming a mile away. The vocals are certainly quite catchy, especially in the decidedly Van Halen-esque “Memoria.” They don’t shy away from heavy moments completely however, as in “In a River of Madness,” which contains symphonic death metal elements complete with layers of synth that build up a very dark and ominous tone not uncommon in your average Behemoth song.In terms of technical prowess, there’s not much of a “wow!” factor here; but then again, if you wanted technical showmanship, you should probably look at a different genre entirely. Some leads and solos do manage to stick out in terms of complexity, with “On The Edge Of Sanity” having a wonderful and lengthy soloing section. The main focus lies in melodic delivery as expected, and with that, Mercenary do a damn fine job.The biggest concern met with Metamorphosis is that melodic death metal (or modern metal, rather) is hard to get right. The genre has been exhausted for quite some time, with a handful of bands able to maintain some sort of memorability and stick around past the genre’s prime to deliver consistently good albums. It’s safe to say that this genre of music is plagued with some very generic tunes, and Mercenary are dancing around on the line that separates the banal and the exceptional. There is definitely no new ground broken on Metamorphosis, but it definitely sits comfortably on the ears of the listener, bringing hooks and leads around every corner.So all in all, the common fears of Mercenary’s latest album being a flop were largely unfounded. In fact, they exceeded my expectations and delivered a much better album than 2008’s Architect of Lies. Metamorphosis shows that the band is resilient and has some definite lasting power beyond melodeath’s reign. This lineup is going places." - heavyblogisheavy.com
    $12.00
  • After their last performance at Nearfest Apocalypse, Anglagard's lineup went through a bit of an upheaval.  Luckily it didn't materially affect the band's sound.  Anglagard is still Anglagard.  Prog Pa Svenska is a 2CD set that documents the band's three day residence at Club Citta in Tokyo, Japan back in March 2013.  Material is drawn from all three studio albums.  The recording is beautiful and the performances are stellar.  What else do you need to know?  How about this review:"May 14th of this year will see the release of a new Änglagård live album: Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you’re anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård’s small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård’s last show prior to their 1994 breakup. While the liner-notes of Buried Alive reveal a band that was not 100% satisfied, 20 years later with the release of Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan, Änglagård is back and going strong with a new live recording that is rich in dynamic and deep in maturity, a performance that I am confident that they are proud to immortalize for their fans.Prog på Svenska represents the first of three consecutive nights that the masters of dark Swedish prog delivered at Club Città in Japan alongside The Crimson ProjeKCt (featuring the legendary Adrian Belew and Tony Levin). For me personally this is a special album that transports me back to when I witnessed their unbelievable performance only three weeks later at Baja Prog. Among a plethora of canonized acts at the festival (such as Hackett, New Trolls, and Three Friends), Änglagård’s remarkable performance showed that they stand in no one’s shadow. While there’s nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I’ve ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård’s next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn’t kill anyone, I’ll start right off with the new song: ”Introvertus Fugu Part 1.” Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it’s our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that “Introvertus” shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif,  and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. Johan and Linus continue pounding in the rhythm section before the eerie central motif returns to bring “Introvertus” towards its close with the full force of Anna and Linus’ dueling woodwinds, one hanging on the melody while the other produces chaotic squeals before withering off the melody in a very unsettling (but cool) way.After kicking it off with an exciting intro the band takes us back 20 years with “Hostsejd.” The rich dynamics, especially the meticulously controlled Mellotron swells, really shine on this one while some small differences in instrumentation (such as the sax on the first main melody instead of flute) really keep the piece fresh and exciting. Although I was craving the intro on the follow up track, “Längtans Klocka,” the supreme level of interplay between all instruments that starts off the piece is fantastic. Furthermore, the guitar/Mellotron duet at about 6:30 that leads into a memorable theme is quite the highlight. Finally, the circus-y melody towards the end of the song somehow becomes even more diabolic in this slightly stripped down version as Tord’s demented waltzy riff serves as a perfect backdrop for the drunken saxes. Speaking of Tord, it certainly is nice to see him back in the band, and I must add that his guitar playing and sense of emotion is perfect for the band and has improved over the years. This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated on “Jordrök,” a quintessential song in Änglagård’s catalog. The reality of the matter is that despite the fact that the band was quite mature at the time of Hybris‘ release, their capacity to bring out all the nuances in pieces like this shows that they are musicians who have truly refined their craft over the years. “Jordrök” sounds more alive than ever; the Mellotron flute section in the middle, one of the band’s absolute trademark melodies, is to die for, and Linus’ superb use of phrasing and pacing in the piano intro certainly takes this classic piece up several notches.Moving deeper into the performance we see “Sorgmantel,” one of my personal favorites from Viljans Öga. The first thing I noticed about this particular performance is that the intro sounds much more raw due to differences in instrumentation, this version starting out with a guitar and bass call and response. While I absolutely adore the studio version, this new arrangement and performance was also wonderful and brought its own set of advantages to the table. First, the bass/guitar duet at the beginning really exposes the melody and shows you that its not just about fancy instrumentation, it’s a gorgeous melody through and through. Second, the band is not concerned in the least bit with rushing through the performance of this piece; the pacing is delicate, precise, and emotional with plenty of space for ritard and sway as the intro melody gets passed around from guitar to bass and flute and is then countered by the piano, making the fugue-nature of this piece even more evident. The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as “Sorgmantel” takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful… even breathtaking.To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with “Kung Bore” and “Sista Somrar.” Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of “Sista Somrar’s” slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.In my opinion, Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don’t want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there’s just something missing, or the band simply doesn’t offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of ‘had to have been there’ to get what’s so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård’s latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn’t a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård’s extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs." - Progulator
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  • "The road to Altzi is paved with good intentions…. When Masterplan announced the new lineup in November of last year, Jorn apologists flooded the comment strings of various metal news outlets with comments like “another band is spoiled by a vocalist change” and “no Jorn…no Masterplan.” While I might agree that there was reason for outcry when a well-known/respected singer leaves a band, it’s not as if Masterplan has never had another vocalist and is not a band with more past members than present. The object is to listen and make judgments later. The announcement of Rick Altzi was particularly intriguing and any fan of At Vance and Thunderstone can attest – there was much reason for hope.The news that main man/guitarist Roland Grapow’s (Ex-Helloween) revealed that there was going to be a return to “faster” and “more metal” material made this more appealing. Add further still…the addition of Ex-Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and the naysayers should have stood back and waited to react. Why? As it turned out, Rick Altzi proves a more than compatible replacement for Jorn…and *GASP* dare I say – a wee bit better in spots? Blasphemy? Try it…prove me wrong.Musically, the album ranks as one of the band’s finest, recalling the best heard from the self-titled debut, 2005’s “Aeronautics,” and the appropriately titled 2010 “Time to Be King,” but with a heavier edge. Altzi is so compatible that only the most attentive Jorn fans can see the difference, most notably that low power that shifts with a slab of grit while on the way up to the high range. This is not besmirching Altzi at all, as his range is proven and perfect. His first appearance is at 0:47 on the album’s second track “The Game,” an admirable driving melodic metal song with noticeably well-crafted double bass from new drummer Marthus Skaroupka (Cradle of Filth) and copious amounts of heaviness intertwined with trademark melody. Grapow proves again what amazing solos he can play.The album’s first music video was for “Keep Your Dream Alive” – a mid-paced winner expertly chosen, as it’s the song where Altzi shines brightest, showing the breadth of his range – and for many moments I said “Jorn who?” The finest track on the album is “Betrayal,” which will prove to be one of the best of the year when all is said and done, if not for its Middle Eastern charm that falls into the heaviest riff on the album drawn out like slamming shudders by Axel Mackenrott’s keyboards. Other notables are the appealing riff in “Earth Going Down” (which is a tad swallowed by the keyboards as the song progresses), the Strato-feel of “Black Night of Magic,” the speedier “Return to Avalon” and the never dull 11 minute title track (especially 6:13 to 7:15) and vocal duet of Altzi and Grapow. Highly recommended is the digipak version with bonus tracks “1492” and “Fear the Silence.”My only complaint is not necessarily with the band’s play or its flawless execution, its more the melodic metal style in general. At the same time it represents a favorite style – in Masterplan’s case best defined as “what Whitesnake would sound like if they tipped a bit into power metal” – listening to entire album presents a challenge, if only for that mid-paced repetition. I find the album plays a bit better when I listen to a few songs at a time, mixing it in with other bands and styles.This may be “a new beginning” for Masterplan in member changes, however the creation of high quality melodic metal perseveres. Grapow assembled a new team of musicians that prove just as compatible, especially Altzi’s performance. With the proof in the product, fans of the band should have little to complain about with “Novum Initium,” though I suspect some Jorn lamenters will never take the road less traveled….the one where its “time for” Rick “to be king.”" - Metal Underground
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  • After releasing a lengthy EP a few years ago, this eclectic French jazz rock band have returned with a full length release. I say eclectic only in that the instrumentation is a bit unusual: harp, vibes, electric guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, ao. The band's music is very melodic with a lot of energy. There is an obvious influence from Frank Zappa at his instrumental best (and they manage to leave Frank's humorous aspect behind). The band's name also gives away their affectation for the music of Gong - but of the later period when Pierre Moerlen was at the helm. The music of Forgas Band Phenomena also comes to mind. Very highly recommended.
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  • Blazing new progressive metal band led by Marcel Coenen, former guitarist of Lemur Voice. It's nice to see a band develop. They went through many stylistic changes from their earlier demos and they seem to have finally settled into a style that fits their objectives. In addition, after much searching they finally found a vocalist, Andre Vuurboom, who serves the music appropriately. What we are talking about here is highly charged progressive metal with a bit more intensity and crunch than Lemur Voice. The obvious reference that springs to mind is Dream Theater - most notably due to Vuurboom's vocals that recall James LaBrie. The music has lots of twists and turns but never gets overly technical. Marcel does his thing - laser guided guitar runs that at times are simply jawdropping. The disc was mixed by Arjen Anthony Lucassen. The prog metal drought seems to be ending with Sun Caged leading the charge.
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  • "This fifth album for the underground Norwegian Prog / Power Metal kings starts with a short Flamenco guitar and compass handclap pattern intro named “Esperanto”, luckily DIVIDED MULTITUDE will quickly manage to change everything soon with a real Metal riff and a double kick onslaught, they set the power to maximum heaviness mixed with sheer elegance, indeed since then the remaining 10 tracks on the album are pretty sharp with furious drums and almost Thrashy rhythmic guitars but moderated with ultra-catchy vocals in the real Scandinavian method. I like to think of them about as an heaviest version of CIRCUS MAXIMUS (“What I See”), applicant of a few hyper challenging Melodic motifs with a stunning Schizophrenic vocal rendition, indeed Mr. Sindre Antonsen alternates brilliantly between "testo-tenroic" multi layered singing like Jekyll & Hyde, in the great PRETTY MAIDS & Ronnie Atkins tradition with a two-faced styled that switch from velvet to sandpaper in the same sentence.Of course all the players are ultra-competent, Christer Harøy (PS: his other band with his brother Rayner called TEODOR TUFF is also warmly recommended by yours truly) is a solid guitar player but stay quite discrete leaving much room to another essential strong element in their sound: the fantastic yet subtle Eskild Kløften, who provides some fine effective performance in multipl(a)ying synthetic ambient waves & Progressive Rock keyboards.In this genre the songwriting should be uselessly complicated, well it’s not exactly the case with “Feed On Your Misery”, but don’t get me wrong please, there is plenty of weird or cerebral moments as some strange structures mixed with passionate and luxurious arrangements quite rich in complexity with an average over six minutes in length without never sounding hermetic or rigid.The smartest cuts like the title track “Feed On Your Misery”, the delicious “Crimson Sunset” or the dark “Vicious By Heart” are also pretty much influenced by early QUEENSRYCHE or CRIMSON GLORY with some modernized vocals taken from the inherent omnipresent obvious reference while speaking about Prog Metal singer, the soulful, the one, the only: Sir Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X / ADRENALINE MOB) himself (“Scars”).Finally, the best comparison could have been PAGAN’S MIND meets ANUBIS GATE meets CONCEPTION. I already said it, I will say it again: “Feed On Your Misery” by DIVIDED MULTITUDE, that’s Scandinavian Melodic Prog at its Best." - Metal Temple
    $14.00
  • Pinhas is back and Cuneiform has him (once again). Incredible array of musicians evokes the good old days. Here is what Cuneiform says:"Metatron is over 2 hours of spacey and flowing music that isn't afraid to rock out completely as well, by French electronic rock pioneer Richard Pinhas (on guitar and electronics), with Jerome Schmidt on laptop, drummer Antoine Paganotti (Magma) and ex-Heldon members Didier Batard (bass), Patrick Gauthier (minimoog) and Alain Renaud (guitar), as well as Chuck Oken, Jr. (Djam Karet) on synths and Philipe Simon on violin on one track each. While a lot of this is definitely comparable to Tranzition, his great last album, there really is a lot more rock involved this time around, as there are drums on the great majority of tracks. In addition to all the great music, there is a QuickTime video with footage from Richard and Jerome's 2004 North American tour."
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  • This band might be a bit of a stretch for typical Laser's Edge fare but I think they are great and definitely worth your attention.  You might not have a choice since they are about to blow up on a world wide basis and you'll have trouble avoiding them.  Smoke Fairies are the duo of Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies.  Their music fits into the "freak folk" category.  It has a mystical and melancholy feel - almost hypnotic.  They harmonize so well their voices almost meld into one.  There is a bluesy element present as well but I tend to focus on the psychedelic vibe I get off the tunes.  Its straight forward music but incredibly intoxicating.  These British ladies will draw you in with their voices and not let you go.  This edition is limited and comes with a bonus CD with five extra tracks.  Highly recommended."Smoke Fairies have been carefully gathering their influences like the ripe fruit of a summer’s feast. The British duo took their formative music experiences in New Orleans and Vancouver and settled with this combination in London, crafting ethereal mixes of wicked, sultry folk. Their second album, Blood Speaks, takes those same ingredients and pushes them to the brink. It’s no wonder Jack White picked them up as the first UK act to sign with Third Man Records. Smoke Fairies are at once entirely fitting of White’s trademark style and yet timeless in a very different way.“Feel it Coming Near” is an oscillating gem, its driving, bluesy bridges sonic gold. Opener “Let Me Know” may be as rocky as Smoke Fairies get, though it’s an apt introduction to the progressive melodies and rich harmonies. The band straddles a complex boundary between Yes sensibilities and Fleetwood Mac spunk throughout the ten-track LP. Nowhere are those two styles as starkly represented than in “Hideaway,” a surprisingly mellow call to arms against a heartless lover and their intoxicating spells. Even in the overly-elaborate “Awake,” the busyness of arpeggios clashing against vocals somehow grows on you. Smoke Fairies tend to be just as alluring as their subjects, and even in their missteps, you can’t help but listen." - Mxdwn.com
    $16.00
  • WOW!  Corima is a California based quintet that worships at the Magma altar.  Full on zeuhl but with a theme based around the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl.  Instrumentation is bass, sax, violin, keys, and drums.  Chanting vocals are a prerequisite.  The band doesn't win points for originality but if you love Magma you'll totally dig on this album.  It slams and will have your head spinning from beginning to end.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • "Most bands will reach a creative peak at a certain point in their career after which they simply continue in a less interesting fashion before eventually calling it a day. Not so with Motorpsycho. After more than 20 years they continue to develop and to to challenge themselves artistically. On this epic, double concept album, easily their most ambitious yet, Motorpsycho has assembled the cream of classical and jazz musicians from world class ensembles established in Trondheim, their hometown. ”The Death Defying Unicorn” was first commisioned by Molde International Jazzfestival for their 50th anniversary in 2010 where it was performed on the main outdoor stage. This, however, has been partly re-arranged, refined and recorded from scratch at Propeller Studios in Oslo with Kåre Chr. Vestrheim once again co-producing as he did with ”Heavy Metal Fruit”. Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent, Elephant9, Humcrush, Terje Rypdal) is considered one of Norway´s top keyboardists but here he also comes into his full as a writer and not at least arranger of the two ensembles. His contributions to this album can not be stressed enough. Among the players in Trondheim Jazz Orchestra are wellknown names such as Kjetil Møster (Ultralyd), André Roligheten (Albatrosh) and Mathias Eick, not to forget star violinist Ola Kvernberg."
    $22.00
  • Remastered edition of the second album is a must own for anyone that was a fan of the first UK album. Some of Mr. Holdsworth's best work. Comes with a bonus track.
    $18.00
  • Heavy progressive monster rarity from Denmark. Recorded in 1971, the music of Blast Furnace features killer guitar breaks playing against a wall of swirling organ. Other tracks feature serene melodic flowing prog with a trace of psychedelia thrown in (and some great flute as well!). At times the music reminds me a bit of another Danish band - Old Man & The Sea. Apparently these guys joined Culpepper's Orchard a bit later on. This fine reissue from master tapes comes courtesy of the folks at Long Hair Music and features a bonus track.
    $18.00
  • Sophomore release from this Sabaton offshoot.  This time the Swede's fixation is on the American Civil War.  Whatever floats your boat (or sinks it as the case may be).  Digipak edition with two bonus tracks."Civil War: a Swedish metal band styled after the American Civil War of 19th century. I'm not sure I get foreigner's fascination with one of the worst times in my country's history. But here they are. This is my first experience with Civil War, so for those who know the band, bear with me for a few words about their origins.Civil Was started by four original members of Sabaton, Daniel Mullback, Rikard Sundén, Daniel Myhr and Oskar Montelius, when they bailed from the band in 2012. They hooked up with Nils Patrik Johansson, of Astral Doors fame, for a lead vocalist. They returned to their melodic power metal roots for their chosen musical style. Next, lyrically, the tell tales of war and warriors. Did I say four guys were original members of Sabaton? Yup. It appears there's a recurring theme here, and it is possible to reinvent the wheel.As for the music, it's rather typical power metal and really requires no explanation. However, in combination with the lyrical themes, you may have difficulty shaking off the Sabaton vibe. Yet, if you like military history, Civil War becomes somewhat of a thinking man's heavy metal band. Though their name suggests the songs would be about that American war, Civil War speaks to a variety of persons and conflicts.Some of these are self-explanatory like Braveheart (William Wallace), Schindler's Ark, Back to Iwo Jima or the Bay Pigs, the failed invasion of Cuba by rebels financed by the American government. Some need a little explanation like Admiral Over The Ocean which concerns Nelson and the sea battle of Trafalgar or Tears of the North, about Vikings in Russia. Two songs speak specifically to the American civil war: USS Monitor, about the first ironclad steamship created by the Union Navy and Gods and Generals. The intent of the latter is more sketchy; it could have something to do with the Jeffery Shaara novel of the same name. My digital promo came with a lyric sheet which was helpful. I'm sure the lyrics will be in the CD booklet.Again, all these things are wrapped up in melodic heavy and power metal: good melody and harmony, quick pacing, flourishes of synths, and lots of guitar solos. The wild card here is probably Johansson's voice. He has the gruff sandpaper style which, for me, has always taken some to time to appreciate. Overall, Gods And Generals is solid, if not typical, European power metal, with the thoughtful militry history lyrics the strong feature, though this is not novel either. Recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $13.00