Hall Of The Mountain Grill

SKU: 724353003524
Label:
EMI
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Transitional album for the band with the addition of ex-High Tide violinist Simon King. Music is getting a bit more progressive and a bit less psychedelic. Basically a foreshadowing of their Charisma sound. 4 bonus tracks, remastered and tons of liner notes.

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  • "Listening to Cardiacs, I get the mental image of a deranged gerbil in a hole somewhere composing music. Although at one point he may have been content to write jingles and fine- tuned pop ditties in exchange for sunflower seeds, Cardiacs represents everything past the point where the gerbil loses his grasp on reality and becomes wrapped up in creative fervor. Now unabated by mundane rodent things, the gerbil and his music fall deeper into madness. Although this may not do well to describe Cardiacs’ manic mix of punk rock and avant-prog, it should give a good indicator of the feeling “Sing to God” gives me as a listener. It’s catchy, experimental, and about as close to the peppy end of a manic depressive episode as I imagine music could aptly depict. Really, it’s pop music beyond words or sense, and I can’t seem to get enough of it.Among other things, punk music arose as an opposition to the bombast and overcomplexity of progressive rock. In lieu of this, it’s quite the irony to see Cardiacs not only fusing the two styles together, but doing so as if prog and punk were made for each other. “Sing to God” runs the gamut in terms of styles: a sense of symphonic bombast comparable to Yes is mixed with Beatles-esque baroque pop sensibilities and injected with the venom of pub- dwelling punk rock. These sounds- which would often conflict with each other in the ‘real’ world- are all fused with a viciously tongue-in-cheek attitude pleasantly reminiscent of Frank Zappa. I could also compare the band’s overdubbed vocal harmonies to Queen, or the general ‘what-the-hell-am-I-listening-to’ atmosphere to Mr. Bungle, but Cardiacs ultimately stand on a ground of their own. Did I forget to mention that the band manage to make this experimental chaos as catchy as the plague?Many of the songs on “Sing to God” rest on a tightrope between order and chaos. Many of the songs enjoy a level of comfort in catchy instrumental hooks and quaint vocal melodies. With the exception of a few tracks (most notably the cinematic-worthy “Dirty Boy”, the unsettling soundscape “Quiet as a Mouse” and some of the shorter musical sketches), the majority of “Sing to God” boasts a foundation in good old fashioned songwriting. Vocalist and mastermind Tim Smith has a zany and wildly charismatic voice that would have even fit comfortably into British alternative rock canon, were it not for the extent Cardiacs take their basic elements and contort them. Although some elements are best kept as a surprise for fresh listeners, be sure to expect everything from ‘chipmunk vocals’ to film score flourishes, classically-influenced pianos, circus music, hyperpunk rhythmic energy and everything in between. Of particular note are the extra-wacky tunes “Dog-Like Sparky”, “A Horse’s Tale” and “Dirty Boy”, a longer piece that gets remarkably profound and damned near celestial by the end of it. Tim Smith’s lyrics are a world of their own, and though there’s not often the sense that there’s an explicit meaning behind the absurdity, they’re absolutely fascinating within the context of such a chaotic album. Although- at an hour and a half- the album may be a little long for one comfortable sitting, there is no filler to speak of, although the first half is decidedly better than the latter.In spite of the zany effects, absurdly surreal lyrics, wall-of-sound production and mile-per- second flow of ideas, Cardiacs remain- at their core- a pop band, and “Sing to God” remains a pop album. In the end, it’s the interplay between the hyper-weird and catchy elements therein that makes the album so bloody fascinating. Depending on where your mental state may be at the time of listening, it will either be a trip through the most euphoric hyperparadise dreams could forge, or a reality-distrupting soundtrack to nightmares. Whatever way it may strike, “Sing to God” is pretty unforgettable, and it just may be the greatest experimental rock record I have ever had the strained pleasure of listening to." - Prog-Sphere
    $34.00
  • Cheap copies of the iconic fourth album from Yes.  This is not the remastered edition - so this could be good or bad depending on your point of view.  Some people prefer the earlier editions.
    $5.00
  • Second album of fine melodic metal from former Savatage member Zak Stevens, doesnt stray that far from his former bands path. Its not Savatage but its close enough. Comes with one live bonus track.
    $11.00
  • Remastered edition of the band's 1987 album comes with a few bonus tracks (some incosequential single edits truth be told) as well as fresh liner notes and photos. Not a lot of "prog" happening here.
    $8.00
  • The Laser’s Edge is proud to announce the signing of the British progressive rock band Magenta for the exclusive North American release of their fourth studio album, titled Metamorphosis. Without abandoning the sense of melody and dynamics that remain the Magenta trademark, Metamorphosis sees the band taking a darker, more intense path with powerful, sometimes disturbing subject matter. "I think this album is going to surprise a lot of people," says keyboardist Rob Reed "It will challenge many people's preconceptions of what Magenta are, and what we are capable of musically. Most of it was written on guitar, so some of the material is heavier than before, whilst retaining most of the elements of the Magenta sound." The album also marks the band's return to long-form pieces of music, with two 20 minute-plus songs, and a new, richer sound with the addition of strings. "Watch out for some brilliant performances on the record." Reed says. "Christina Booth's vocals are just astonishing, Tim Robinson delivers a virtuoso performance on drums and Chris Fry has pushed the bar even higher than usual with some amazing lead guitar. I have no doubt that this is, by far, our finest album to date." Magenta was formed in 2001, quickly capturing the attention of progressive rock fans around the world with a sound influenced by the icons of the past. Over the years the band has performed at virtually every major progressive rock festival in the world including gigs at Rosfest, BajaProg, and Nearfest. Year after year, the band has received awards from various progressive rock publications. In 2007, the band won two awards from the esteemed British Classic Rock Society including Best Band and Best Female Singer. The album was mastered by Grammy winning engineer Bob Katz. To further enhance the package, Metamorphosis features startling artwork from the noted graphic design house Killustrations.
    $14.00
  • "This is the second expanded edition of this 1968 paean to psychedelia to have appeared in just 28 months -- it was preceded by a "Deluxe Edition" two-disc hybrid SACD/CD edition from Polydor's European division in the late winter of 2006; apparently, those in charge of the label either didn't think the U.S. could support that high-priced package, or that the Super-Audio CD market is purely a European and Japanese phenomenon. Whatever the reason, this edition has shown up here with no multi-channel SACD layer, but with the remastered CD sound from that hybrid release. In Search of the Lost Chord was originally the most poorly-served of all the Moodies' original albums on CD, with a late-'80s edition from Polydor that literally had a crack in the sound on one song. Since then successive remasterings have made it one of the group's more satisfying CDs, as the nuances and layers are brought out -- the original album was done in a spirit of experimentation that was unusual for a pop album, with the members very consciously seeking out the richest, most outre sounds that they could generate in the studio, piling on one exotic instrument after another, along with many layers of voices; they would get better and bolder at this process over the next two albums (until they realized, in 1969, that they'd painted themselves into a corner as far as actually performing their new material on-stage); but beneath the psychedelic sensibilities on numbers like "Voices in the Sky," "The Best Way to Travel," "Legend of a Mind" etc., as one listens to the cleanest, crispest mix the record has yet had on CD (and one should state here that the multi-channel SACD mix on the European Deluxe Edition does outdo it), in the layers of finely nuanced playing, one does get a real sense of five musicians reveling in their own skills (and perhaps a recently ingested controlled substance or two) and the freedom to take them as far as the moment will carry them. That experimental nature has always resided just below the surface of what was otherwise a very pretty and smooth exercise in pop music mysticism ("Visions of Paradise" is still one of the most profoundly beautiful records this reviewer has ever heard from the psychedelic era) -- but here it's a little more up front, amid the enhanced clarity, and one would like to think it could help this album hold and renew its audience for another 40 years. The sound is so good that it's almost a shame that anything was put on here after "Om," the original album closer, but it was obligatory in these times that there be bonus tracks -- and as there was less room here than on the Disc Two of the Deluxe Edition, some decisions had to be made about removing some extras. The released Mike Pinder-sung version and the alternate Justin Hayward-sung take of "A Simple Game" are present, bookending the bonus tracks, whilst the rest includes the Mellotron track for "The Word," the lost Hayward song "What Am I Doing Here," two BBC performances ("Dr. Livingston, I Presume," "Thinking Is the Best Way to Travel"), and extended, unfaded versions of "Om" etc. They would be certain to delight serious fans, except that it's hard to imagine too many of the latter not having already bought them on the Deluxe Edition of this album over the preceding two years. Still, they may open the door to the group's sound a little further for the casually curious." - Allmusic
    $20.00
  • Remastered edition of the second ELO album.  Roy Wood split to form Wizzard and Jeff Lynne pretty much took control and ran with the concept.  While there were better things to come, it was all in all still a pretty damn amalgam of prog, classical and pop.  Comes with 4 bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • Second album from Rush influenced band. New edition comes with four bonus tracks.
    $14.00
  • Archangel is the side project of Ubi Maior (and former The Watch) keyboardist Gabriele Manzini.  Like the first album, this one is a concept piece.  I guess vampires are in vogue these days so we get stories of Countess Bathory, Nosferatu, et al.  The musicians on the album are drawn from Ubi Maior, Red Zen, and some other Italian bands.  The key to the album is the return of Damian Wilson who once again stands out as one of the featured vocalists.  The music is squarely in the prog rock vein with a keyboard orientation but with an overall harder edge.  The overall tone of the album is gothic dark.  Manzini includes two cover tunes - he takes his own spin on BOC's "Nosferatu" and Roxy Music's "My Only Love".
    $15.00
  • Deluxe mediabook edition.  CD plus a DVD with 5.1 surround mix, 24 bit stereo, and a "making of" video."Always fond of conceptual storytelling, Ian Anderson goes himself one better with his latest prog-folk-metal concept album. The 15 songs of Homo Erraticus inhabit not one but two metafictional layers. The Gerald Bostock character, hero/anti-hero of the seminal Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick and its recent sequel Thick as a Brick 2, is back again, having now discovered a manuscript left behind in the 1920s by a malaria-ridden old British soldier delightfully named Ernest T. Parritt.Parritt's supposed writings range over northern European history from the Mesolithic era to his own - and on into his future, through the whole 20th century and into our own time and beyond. Winnowed into lyrics written by "Bostock" and set to music by the real protagonist of the story, Ian Anderson, these materials give Anderson - whose creative scope and energy remain robust even as his singing voice has thinned with age - a walk-in-closetful of pegs on which to hang a sequence of songs evoking nothing less than the history of mankind in his part of the world.The first track, "Doggerland," commemorates the area of the southern North Sea that used to be dry land connecting today's British Isles with the rest of Europe. Doggerland vanished under the waves as the last Ice Age ended but, as fisherman discovered not long ago, the sea floor retains much archeological evidence of human occupation. The succeeding songs address migrations, metalworking, invasions (from the Romans to Burger King), the arrival of Christianity, the Industrial Revolution, and so on. To appreciate the songs, you'll want to (at least once) follow along with the notes and lyrics in the accompanying 32-page booklet.The Foreword, in which Anderson discusses the history of Jethro Tull and why he hasn't used the band name for his last few recordings, will especially interest longtime Tull fans. The real question is, will the songs themselves? Some yes, some no. The gruff metal of "Doggerland" gives way to the sweet, plinking folk of "Heavy Metals." (I imagine Anderson chuckling to himself at the irony - no pun intended - of creating such a gentle-sounding song with that title, and on that literal topic.) Both satisfy my Tull craving. "Meliora Sequamur" (Let Us Follow Better Things), which paints a picture of 12th century schoolboys amid religious chant (and cant), does too, and "The Turnpike Inn" is a solid rocker, and the hard-Celtic style of "The Engineer" moves briskly.I like the instrumental track "Tripudium ad Bellum" (Dancing to War). It starts off with an echo of a theme from the original Thick as a Brick (there are others elsewhere on the album), then resolves into a 5/4 march, like a more insistent "Living in the Past." War's aftermath appears in the next track, the sad, deliberate "After These Wars," in which I really feel the lack of Anderson's full-strength vocals. While he was never among rock's greatest singers, that didn't matter - when he sang his songs, you always felt he was all there, and that's what mattered. But now, and not only in the harder songs that shade into old-school heavy metal, his voice just isn't always a match for his music's energy any more.On the other hand, his gift for crafting pleasing, original melodies, writing smart, clever lyrics in complete sentences and true rhyme, and setting much of it in non-traditional time signatures remains strong. The first verse of "After These Wars" reads:After battle, with wounds to lick andbeaus and belles all reuniting.Rationing, austerity: it did us good after the fighting.Now, time to bid some fond farewells andwalk away from empires crumbling.Post-war baby-boom to fuel with post-Victorian half-dressed fumbling.No one in pop music writes like that anymore.Listening to the album as a complete conceptual work, my overall feeling is that there isn't very much new here. Since the 1960s Anderson and Tull have explored countless different musical paths and styles. Some of these produced some of my all-time favorite songs and recordings. Others I hated. But he never seemed to be resting on his laurels. Here I feel like I'm reading a chapter that's not much different from the last chapter.But listening to the songs individually, I like a lot of them. As I write this I'm trying to count the beats of the off-time closer, "Cold Dead Reckoning," with its grim imagery of a future of lost souls navigating their way over a metaphysical Doggerland "amongst the ranks and files of walking dead." I hear crunching minor-key guitar-bass-piano unison figures, a sprightly flute solo. A hopeful verse about "angels watching over" at the end doesn't convince me, as the music continues to growl on as before. Yet there follow a sweet, gentle instrumental coda, reminded us that while things may not turn out well for humanity as we teem over and ruin our only planet, our capacity to create and to appreciate beauty will be with us as long as we live. So let's raise the cup of crimson wonder to Ian Anderson as he charges not-so-gently through his seventh decade." - Seattle Pi
    $17.00
  • "Gäa was one of the more obscure German underground bands from the 70s.  They recorded one album for the Kerston label.  According to legend, after the album was released, many copies were destroyed due to poor sales.  Of course this has driven the price of an original copy into the stratosphere.The five piece had a sound a bit similar to early Eloy.  Lots of organ, some flute, but more importantly some of the most wicked Hendrix influenced leads you will hear.  Whip it all together with production that sounds like it was recorded in a massive echo chamber and you've got a winner.  A stone cold killer." - ProgArchives
    $18.00
  • Legendary first album comes with 4 unreleased bonus tracks. Now available at a great price.
    $5.00
  • This new double CD concept album carries on guitarist Dussan Petrossi's Malmsteen worship. Dionysus vocalist Olaf Hayer fronts this neoclassical assault. Make no mistake and know what you are buying here. This is symphonic power metal that fits exactly into the mold of early Yngvie Malmsteen. Petrossi is a more than capable guitarist and he seems to revel in hero worship. Luckily he pulls it off with flying colors. This limited edition comes with a slipcase, 2 bonus tracks, a videoclip, interview, poster, sticker and wallpaper. Heartily recommended to neoclassically inclined.
    $17.00
  • "Back in 2008, Arkan helped to expand the diversity of metal even further by including Arabic and oriental sounds in brutal death metal with the “Hilal” album. Although not without its flaws, the release showed that metal can’t be pegged down and all fans of the genre should learn to expect the unexpected. In the three year interim, Arkan has matured and progressed this burgeoning sub-genre of “oriental metal” to create an album that isn’t just a mashup of two diverse styles, but a complete package that will be hard to top in future releases.Like with its predecessor “Hilal” (reviewed here), the Arabic sounds and influences rarely detract from the heaviness on the album. Rather than being a primarily symphonic metal experience, “Salam” sticks fairly consistently to a heavy vibe. The first half of the disc tends to be more crushing than the second half, which has more instrumental interludes, but overall the album is constantly on a simmer getting ready to explode with death metal at any given moment.This time around the band also makes frequent use of clean female vocals for an added melodic element alongside the deep death growls, and Kobi Farhi of Orphaned Land even makes a guest appearance on the song “Deus Vult.” Besides simply changing up the vocal styles, the music itself is much more varied and willing to explore new territory than in the last release. Rather than being relentlessly brutal in some parts and then completely ethnic and melodic in others, the songs instead go for a measured and properly paced assault that blends the two. The tracks also have consistently more staying power this time around, with elements of other metal styles working their way into the guitar playing.The 37 second instrumental “Common Ground” is where the disc shifts into a more melodic focused atmosphere. It’s not clear if anything is supposed to be read into the length and title of the song, such as if the band is trying to say there’s not enough common ground or common ground is only a small step away from the various religions of the world. Overall the song titles and lyrics seem to head in a direction similar to Orphaned Land, touching on issues of how religions impact the world.For anyone who liked the idea of Orphaned Land but wanted a much stronger death metal presence, “Salam” is a must-hear album. The band’s second full-length outing is a fantastic blend of modern heavy death metal with traditional Middle Eastern sounds." - Metal Underground
    $7.00