Heaven Born And Ever Bright

"Easily the “odd-duck” of the major Cardiacs records, the most controversial, and probably the hardest to get into at first. Some fans actually think this is an outright failure. Tim Smith has been quoted calling it his favorite record! The album’s fumbled release is part of the it’s weird reputation – it was the first full-length by the new stripped down line-up (already grounds for fear in the hearts of fans), and it was set for release on Rough Trade. But the label tanked and the album sat in the vaults for years until Smith’s label eventually released it with a different master. When I first heard it, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The sound is definitely way different from “On The Land..” (though if you’ve heard “Sing To God” first it won’t be a huge surprise). The production is odd and harsh and obviously put together in the late 80s/early 90s. The songs are often really violent and complex, with a lot less breathing room than even before. But like all this band’s work, the compositions started to reveal themselves, and now I have very few bad things to say about any of these tunes. Is this my favorite Cardiacs record? No. But it’s cram-packed with amazing tracks and ideas. The opening track is a Cardiacs staple – the majestic anthem “Home of Fadeless Splendour.” Done entirely as a large-group-chant, it sort of sounds like a German political rally song, albeit one with Smith’s patented melodic style. It’s a genius tune. Next is the crazy and head-dizzying “She’s Hiding Behind The Shed,” one of my favorites. There seems to be a more trashy sound to some of these songs – the energy and thrust taking precedence over melody and intricacy (that’s particularly true on “Shed” as well as the pedal-to-the-metal “Anything I Can’t Eat”). “Goodbye Grace” is another trashy poppy standout. There’s another side to the record as well – a psychedelic 60s pop vibe represented by “Day Is Gone,” the absolutely beautiful ballad “Helen And Heaven,” and the incredible indescribable haunting closer “Snakes-A-Sleeping.” That last track has the best psych-out ending I’ve ever heard on a record – just hilarious and terrifying!!! I’ve come to appreciate every track here, though it definitely took some repeat listens and a push through the unappealing production  (“Core” has a fantastic vocal melody, “For Good And All” and “Bodysbad” are both insane and magical Smith-ian wonders). Not the best place the start, but a wonderful one to end up at!" - Madnest

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  • Kaipa's first two albums were probably the pinnacle of 70s symphonic rock in Sweden.  The band featured a very young Roine Stolt on guitar.  The band also featured keyboardist Hans Lundin who also handled vocals (in Swedish so be forewarned).  Lundin resurrected Kaipa and they are still going now.The first album from 1975, features a sound that is very much an amalgam of popular British bands like Yes and Genesis.  Hell - toss in a touch of Camel if you like.  Lundin's upper range vocals will remind you a bit of Jon Anderson in places but he never goes for the stratosphere.  On the other hand his keyboard work features a fair amount of Mellotron - never a bad thing.This 2015 remastered edition comes with two bonus tracks.
    $12.00
  • AlieNatura is the second album from this superb band playing in the classic "rock progressivo italiano" style.  The band is led by keyboardist Elisa Montaldo, who is as impressive on the ears as she is on the eyes (pardon the sexist comment).  One of the strong points of the band's debut was the inclusion in the lineup of former Museo Rosenbach vocalist Lupi Galifi.  With MR reforming he's left Il Tempio Delle Clessidre.  The obvious concern is who could fill his shoes?  Apparently the unknown Francesco Ciapica.  Truth is he does a fine job.  The guy can sing.  He has that expressive style that fits this music so perfectly.  Beautiful symphonic keyboards, liquid guitar runs, phat Moog solos - this band has the sound down pat.  The Italian scene seems to be burgeoning with new RPI bands and I would classify Il Tempio Delle Clessidre right up there with La Maschera Di Cera.  That's saying something.  BUY OR DIE!
    $16.00
  • "If Brian Wilson could operate a laptop...or Pink Floyd were young and skint in 2009……or Wayne Coyne was Scottish….or Grandaddy came from a land of drizzle…or Sigur Ros cracked a smile from time to time…or…we could go on.Because this is the sounds of straws being clutched as we struggle to find the perfect epithet to describe the sound of North Atlantic Oscillation. ‘Colourful’, ‘crepuscular’ and ‘expansive’ are three that spring to mind, but even they don’t quite do this Edinburgh-based three-piece’s sound justice.The debut album, Grappling Hooks, is due for release in 2010, in the meantime though comes an introductory EP ‘Callsigns’ featuring two album tracks, a remix by label-mates Engineers and an ethereal cover version of classic do-wop song, ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, first made famous in the 1959 by The Flamingos.It sounds nothing like you expect it to. But then that’s exactly what makes North Atlantic Oscillation so beguiling, intriguing and fascinating – there’s a surprise around every corner. Are you ready?"
    $7.00
  • "This man has no boundaries as far as music goes. From singing for Steve Vai at age 19, to the bastion of noise known as Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend has proven time and time again that he's a musical genius. There are so many metal acts out there that are just following the basic formula of heavy guitars, double bass drumming, and screaming vocals with some singing here and there. But so many of them fail at either end of the spectrum, especially when compared to something that Devin Townsend can pull off.Enter Physicist. Originally billed as "Strapping Young Lad lite" and rumored to be a project with Devin, Jason Newsted of Metallica, and SYL drummer Gene Hoglan, Physicist redefines what melody and metal should sound like when melded together. Physicist is basically the SYL lineup of Townsend, bassist Byron Stroud, guitarist Jed Simon, and Hoglan on drums.The melody on this album is amazing. With Devin on keys and guitar, there is a light, high-pitched synthetic aura behind each song that enhances Devin's familiar screams, most noticeable on the appropriate opener, "Namaste", a song about how Devin is tired of the meaningless, clichéd words that so many songwriters use today.Physicist doesn't really approach the visceral, possessed heaviness that SYL has been struck with on their albums, save for the song "Death" which might sound at home on an SYL album. Devin has stated before that he aimed for a more "pop" type sound for Physicist, and while I don't think N-Sync's position on Billboard's Hot 100 is threatened, the sound simply works for Physicist. It really manifests itself on the third track, "Material". The keyboard-laden chorus line kicks in with a strange, retro 1950's feeling as Devin sings "Ah, these are the days/ Let them roll, as they roll/ And be all you are/ Because you're beautiful/ Material". While it may sound like cheezy pop, Devin pulls it off like no one else can.The patented light speed double bass of Gene Hoglan is apparent on Physicist. This man is quite possibly the best true metal drummer out there. Having served time on crews like Testament, Dark Angel, and SYL, Hoglan slows it down.. a little bit.. for Physicist. He proves that creativity can prevail when you've proven yourself capable of all other talents behind the drumset. Jed Simon and Byron Stroud get the job done on the strings. Guitar riffs are crunchy, but the keyboards seem to take center stage on Physicist.This album also has some of the coolest artwork I've ever seen - a big P bursting out of a ring of lightning. Pretty sweet.Altogether, this may be one of the surprise albums of 2000, although it really shouldn't be, because I fail to see why Devin's music has gone largely unnoticed by the metal community. While SYL received some respect, his releases like Infinity and Ocean Machine have been ignored by most metal heads that consider those albums too soft. I invite everyone to take a listen to Physicist, an album that extends the heaviness of SYL towards the melodies of Infinity and Ocean Machine." - Blistering
    $15.00
  • 2CD remixed version of the 2003 album.  Comes with the previously limited edition 8 Days release.
    $15.00
  • This is the second album in the live series documenting the band's residency in Tokyo in April 2014.  This is a complete performance of Per Un Amico.  More in the series to come...
    $19.00
  • Raise The Curtain is the latest effort from the former Savatage mastermind.  Its quite different from the Jon Oliva's Pain project and in a surprising way.  The music has a strong 70s vibe blending elements of progressive rock, AOR, and metal.  Oliva plays all the instruments but he collaborated on the songwriting with Dan Fasciano.  From the opening roaring organ sounds you know you are in for something a bit different.  You can tell this is Jon Oliva - there are parts that will remind you a bit of Savatage but you will also think in terms of Kansas, ELP, Alice Cooper.  A mash up of styles for sure but quite well done.  A friend who heard an advance copy summed it up perfectly: "A fun album".  This is the first pressing that has one bonus track.  Grab it while we got 'em.
    $15.00
  • Japanese mini-LP sleeve. "I've waited years for this to become available on CD. This is one of the greatest live rock albums of all time. I'm not kidding. Every track is a winner with Gallagher and his rhythm section of McKenna and McAvoy absolutely burning a hole in any CD player! This is rock and roll blues energy that should come with a radioactive sticker. Anybody who never saw the late Rory G live missed something very special. He had that rare combination of chops, soul and energy laced with more than his share of Irish charm and twinkle that made him a popular music treasure for all time. I strongly urge you to buy this album, d'you hear me!" - Amazon.com
    $13.00
  • New solo album from Arjen Lucassen demonstrates a lighter hand than the Ayreon and Star One projects. This has a more overtly prog rock feel - quite melodic and at times spacey. Lots of similarities to Pink Floyd circa "The Wall" in places."The story of "Lost In The New Real" follows Mr. L, a 21st-Century man who was cryopreserved at the moment of clinical death from a terminal disease. The album begins as Mr. L is being revived at a point in the distant future, when technology has advanced enough to cure his disease. Mr L finds himself in a world that has drastically changed — to the point that the line between what's real and what's not is no longer clear.Mr. L's appointed psychological advisor (played by legendary screen actor Rutger Hauer) is tasked with helping him emotionally adapt to this strange new world. The songs on CD1 follow the main character Mr. L's emotional journey as he is confronted with both serious and comical aspects of the "New Real", and desperately tries to decide if he can find a meaningful place within it.CD2 is a mix of songs that are part of the concept but didn't fit on CD1, and cover songs that are (more or less) related to the concept. "
    $16.00
  • "The great dream of Fabio Zuffanti since he began writing the music on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The rime of the mariner ancoent" was to transpose the whole opera in a theatrical version, giving people a version that could visualize its magic words and music. Thanks to the meeting with genoese director Susanna Tagliapietra, author of the great achievements in the field of the musical with his versions of "Aida" and "Jesus Christ Superstar", the dream has become reality.Susanna has helped to bring alive the musical world of Zuffanti creating a multimedia work and reproducing on stage the supernatural universe of Coleridge with multimedia elements, dance and stage actions. The first of the show was held last December 16, 2012 in the prestigious Teatro Verdi in Genoa getting a great success.From that evening comes this double album, containing a DVD with the shooting of the show (and a funny backstage) and a CD with the audio recording of the evening. Compared to the studio version, published on CD last year, the theatrical version contains many new arrangements and a brand new piece ("Interlude")."
    $25.00
  • 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
  • Fifth album from this German instrumental psych/stoner band is a real mind crusher.  You like My Brother The Wind?  You need to hear this.  If Samsara Blues Experiment recorded an instrumental album it might sound something like this.  The album is interspersed with quieter introspective interludes that just seem to made the heavier parts heavier and the spacier parts trippier.  If you like your psych served up hard you can't pass it up.  Devastating stuff.  BUY OR DIE!BTW - the angry metal guy tells it way better than I can:"It was difficult for me to turn down a promo so intertwined with one of the subjects of my recently-completed dissertation. Aldous Huxley‘s migration to Eastern philosophy, influenced by both Taoism and Buddhism, is well documented in his final novel, Island. The inhabitants of the idyllic island practice such spiritual, philosophical models, culminating in the consumption of so-called “Moksha-medicine,” a hallucinogen which permits heightened awareness and understanding. The band which explores similarly Zen and reflective topics is one to catch my eye and I excitedly embarked on this quest for internal liberation.Moksha is the fifth full-length by Germany’s My Sleeping Karma, succeeding their previous release Soma (also a reference to Eastern spirituality and prominently interpreted in Huxley’s Brave New World). It accordingly incorporates Eastern instrumentation in a groovy, psychedelic exploration of exactly how mellow one can be while the music can still be interpreted as metal. Though it could be described as relaxing mood music, the distorted guitars and surprising technical proficiency of the band grounds Moksha in the space between rock and metal (and also qualifies it for AMG, you goddamned haters).If Kraut or psychedelic rock is your jam then you will assuredly find plenty to enjoy here. The minimalist approach with sparingly-used instruments and catchy but repetitive leads will worm its way into your skull. There aren’t multiple riffs throughout each song; rather, a core motif which gradually progresses and develops throughout, lending a charming coherency to the album – see opener “Prithvi” for this. Occasional synths and piano keys afford an ethereal air too. However, it’s the points at which more overt Eastern instrumentation is used that the material really stands out. The five “Interlude”s which split each of the main songs strongly evoke My Brother The Wind, with groovy bass-lines and the interesting use of monk’s chants and hand-operated drums. The album’s concept is thus drawn into the music and it creates a quite captivating effect. The sudden and disturbing emanation of pop shite from one of my housemates’s bedrooms drew me from my trance and alerted me to how involving the material is.Despite the repetitive and seemingly improvised nature of the music, its technicality is another boon. As the songs progress and layer, the guitars and drums can become quite intense despite the over-arching serenity (I’m aware this sounds like a contradiction but it’s a testament to the subtle song-writing). The nifty transition at 2:30 of “Akasha” foregrounds a sound very similar to mid-era Anathema, and the transition at 4:00 demonstrates the talent of the bassist and drummer, leading into an appropriately-climatic harmony. This is just one song, but jazzy drum fills and strong bass work permeate the entirety of the release. The Floydian jam on “Interlude 5” is compelling too.I would argue that Moksha effectively achieves its goal and nails the style it strives for. However, I do feel that it may be too niche for some listeners – it’s easy for me to concertedly listen for the technical accomplishments as a reviewer, but the music can slip to the background into the realms of mood music. Though a pleasant listen it may be, one could argue it’s a little safe and it certainly doesn’t arouse my passions sufficiently to push my score to excellent. Furthermore, each of the main tracks can sound quite similar if not explicitly listening – that said, the interludes split up the record nicely so this effect is mitigated. I’m also part of the niche rock and metal market that appreciates the spiritual subject matter, if only on an academic level.Turning my gaze to the empirical and away from the spiritual, the solid dynamics certainly aid affairs. The principle tracks hit a DR score of 8, with the “Interlude”s varying between 10 and 14. There is good breathing room for each instrument and each is clean without being over-produced. A holistic sound is achieved which envelops the listener well.I imagine there is quite a specific demographic that this music hits so it may not be for everyone, but I’m enjoying my journey to the geographic heights of Nepal, the enigmatic Sadhus of India and through the tenets of Yin Yang. The ultimate dearth of diversity and Moksha‘s intrinsic tranquility limits my true passion for the record, but it’s a worthwhile investment nonetheless. Aldous would be proud." - The Angry Metal Guy
    $13.00
  • In Crescendo is the fourth studio album from this Italian progressive band.  While originally working in a purely metal direction, the band has expanded the scope of their sound to encompass elements of progressive rock as well.  There is a very strong atmospheric component similar to Riverside, Porcupine Tree, and Pink Floyd but the heavier, metallic side of Opeth and Dream Theater is clearly present as well.Over the past two years Kingcrow has expanded their fan base with a European tour in support of Redemption and Jon Oliva as well as appearances at ProgPower Europe and ProgPower USA.  An announcement about 2013 US tour dates is imminent. 
    $13.00
  • First time on CD of this rarity from the Cybotron catalogue.  This one's been in my collection for decades so its nice to finally see it in the digital domain.  If you are not familiar with Cybotron, they were more or less Australia's answer to Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel.  The band features Steven Maxwell Von Braund and Geoff Green on a variety of instruments.  Back in the day Sunday Night At The Total Theatre was an "official bootleg" that the band gave away at gigs in order to drum up interest.  Pure cosmic bliss out music.  Comes with a bonus track and beautiful packaging.  Highly recommended."Firstly there’ a man in a cape on the cover of this obscure 1976 semi bootleg from the groundbreaking Australian cosmic Kosmische duo Cybotron. Secondly there are a whole bunch of cool looking analogue modular synths. It’s common knowledge in music circles that a cape alone is a guarantee of great music, but if you add modular synths to the mix then you’re approaching almost divine intervention.Make no mistake, there is definitely something quasi spiritual about this live recording. The label calls the pieces ecstatic mood ragas and it’s hard to disagree. These are definitely pieces that are all about worship, yet it’s not organised religion that’s the focus here, rather it’s the synthesizer that is the deity.Consisting of Steve Maxwell Von Braund and Geoff Green, Cybotron were heavily influenced by German electronic sounds from the early 70′, and would go on to release 3 studio recordings with an assortment of collaborators before finally disbanding in the early 80′. For this brief period in the mid to late 70′ Cybotron were the mainstays of the cosmic electronic music movement in Australia and did much to develop electronic music in this country.This is electric drone music, large beautiful synthetic slabs of electronics played out across an entire side of an album, thick semi improvised highly repetitious oscillations approached with a rare kind of patience. Here the journey is more important than the destination. There’ tranquillity to side one, which is taken up by the piece Parameters of Consciousness, where it’s not until a quarter of the way in that a beat slowly makes its presence felt. It all happens in such a gradual manner that it’s really only the change in their synth melodies that alert you to its presence. This is space music, experimental synthetic wig outs, and it’s probably more relevant today than it was then.Side 2 is Vulcan, which goes straight for space with seemingly improvised high pitched squiggles of sound accompanying some lower end noodling. It doesn’ really seem to know where its going, though just as there’ a moment of clarity the drum machine beat is brought in high in the mix and suddenly the squiggles turn into riffs and we’re part of a peculiar wrong almost pop stomp. It’s beautiful, chaotic and despite being one of the more musical elements on this recording, still quite experimental. Whilst this takes up much of the side, there’ also a super rare cut Ride To Infinity that was originally released on a 7inch, which is a much more carefully constructed sequencer heavy Tangerine Dream influenced tune of space electrics.The live recordings were originally recorded by 3ZZZ and were released just after Cybotron’ self-titled debut a year earlier. It’s a pretty incredible set. Even on a recording 37 years later it’s still an overwhelming near mystical experience. It feels so right to re release this material now (on vinyl), as here’ one of the almost forgotten pioneers of synthesizer music in this country and they actually sound better and more relevant than most of the music being made today." - Cyclic Defrost
    $15.00