Heaven Tonight ($5 Special)

SKU: EK65648
Label:
Epic/Legacy
Category:
Classic Rock
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Remastered with 2 bonus tracks.

"Heaven Tonight, like In Color, was produced by Tom Werman, but the difference between the two records is substantial. Where In Color often sounded emasculated, Heaven Tonight regains the powerful, arena-ready punch of Cheap Trick, but crosses it with a clever radio-friendly production that relies both on synthesizers and studio effects. Even with the fairly slick production, Cheap Trick sound ferocious throughout the album, slamming heavy metal, power pop, and hard rock together in a humongous sound. "Surrender," the definitive Cheap Trick song, opens the album with a tale about a kid whose parents are hipper than himself, and the remainder of the record is a roller coaster ride, peaking with the sneering "Auf Wiedersehen," the dreamily psychedelic title track, the roaring rocker "On Top of the World," the high-stepping, tongue-in-cheek "How Are You," and the pulverizing cover of the Move's "California Man." Heaven Tonight is the culmination of the group's dizzying early career, summing up the strengths of their first two albums, their live show, and their talent for inverting pop conventions. They were never quite as consistently thrilling on record ever again. " - Allmusic

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  • "Album art can certainly set the tone and expectations around an album.  A quick look at the cover for Enlighten by Sleeping Romance instantly sends my mind to a gothic, dark medieval setting and that is the right place to go with this release.  Recently signed to Ulterium Records, Sleeping Romance from Modena, Italy has released an epic symphonic metal album that is very impressive for a debut.Being from Italy, my first thought was that this may be an album similar to that from Mourn In Silence, which I really liked as it is a blend of gothic, symphonic, power and black metal, but that is not quite where the sound of Sleeping Romance is.  Those familiar with female-fronted symphonic metal bands like HB, Within Temptation, Delain and others know what to expect from this genre and it is all here.  This is symphonic metal that borders on hard rock and power metal at times.  At times, the songs do seem a bit too formulaic for my tastes as most start with an orchestral intro with beautiful clean vocals and then the “metal” parts of the song kick in with much of the verses consisting of just drums and bass with the vocals at the forefront.  There is nothing wrong with this formula especially when done as well as it is here, but this does introduce a bit of predictability to the album.Any review of this album simply has to have some lines devoted to the vocals of Federica Lanna.  Throughout the entire album, her vocals are one of the standout qualities of the album.  At times, quiet, at other times soaring, but always fully in control with a great range and tone, these are the vocals designed for this genre.  Now, given the implied darkness and gothicness depicted in the album cover, I was expecting a bit of a darker tone from the vocals but they are somewhat surprisingly bright, complementing the music very well.   Quite a few other bands choose to employ some unrestrained, strained screaming female vocals or employ some deep guttural male vocals to provide a contrast to the clean vocals, but Sleeping Romance have chosen to highlight Federica’s vocals.  I would have liked to hear the vocals move a bit more toward the edge of being out of control, but that’s just my personal preference.  With the lush orchestral arrangements often being in the forefront and dominating the sound, having the vocals remain restrained works well with the overall sound.In terms of overall sound on the album, the production quality is very high and the emphasis is definitely toward the symphonic and away from the metal.  In fact, I found myself thinking some was definitely more power metal influences at times as well.  Some of the songs instantly reminded me of Evanescence with the use of certain keyboard effects and those would be hard to miss for anyone familiar with that band.  Despite some similarities, the overall sound of Sleeping Romance is a bit brighter than Evanescence and others in the genre, not just the vocals as mentioned earlier, but also the instrumentation both the metal and symphonic.  More of a light of dawn feel than a darkness of sunset feel, if that makes any sense.  There were moments that surprised me a bit as well. For instance the song “The Promise Inside” starts out with some of the Evanescence sound and feel and then morphs into almost a power ballad in the chorus that sounds strikingly like that from the song “Alone” by Heart in terms of tone and phrasing.  Thankfully, the song has much more to it than that including a string section in the middle and later in this song I found myself liking how the drums by Francesco Zanarelli carried parts.  “Devils Cave” certainly starts out as the darkest and heaviest track on the album, and carries that feel through much of the song with a hammer-like  driving guitar, bass, and drum beat through the verses, which picks up to a gallop in later parts of the song.  Vocal tone is a bit darker here through the verses as well and is more along the lines of what I was expecting after seeing the cover.  All in all, this song is a good example of an epic symphonic metal song due to the seemless combination of orchestral and metal elements, seemless transition between them, and the back and forth shifts between styles.  For example,  midway through the song there is a symphonic interlude with some spoken word from Federica that shifts into some beautiful clean singing and the return of the metal elements and one of the few guitar solos on the album before returning to a true symphonic metal section.Despite some of the songs leaning toward the formulaic, Enlighten is a great debut album of symphonic metal that highlights both the phenomenal vocals of Federica Lanna but also the intricate symphonic/orchestral arrangements of Federico Truzzi and makes a great addition to the genre." - The Metal Resource
    $14.00
  • New edition comes with a bonus DVD filled with videos and documentaries. Same price as before!!Amaranthe are a new Swedish/Danish band signed to Spinefarm. The band is fronted by Elize, who you will know from her touring with Kamelot. To say Elize is hot is an understatement. The band don't take the expected gothic metal route. Their order of business is a mix of poppy-melodic metal laced with death metal. Curiously the band features three vocalists. Elize is front and center but she shares the spotlight with the death growls of Dreamland's Jake E and the clean vocals of Andy Solvestrom. At times there is a similarity to some of Delain's poppier tunes but the death growls add a heavier aspect. There was a buzz developing on this disc before it hit here - I have to say I was quite surprised.
    $12.00
  • "This was the first U.S.-released CD-5 from Kate Bush, assembled from parts of three prior U.K. CD single releases (the additional tracks can also be found on This Woman's Work). It includes the album mix of "The Sensual World," as well as an instrumental version (she's avoided the extended remixes and rethinks this time), which, the video and other work considered, comes off as a wonderful pagan ditty, despite the rather flat and slightly muddy mixing job. In addition, there's also "Be Kind to My Mistakes" from the Nicholas Roeg-directed Castaway (an otherwise dull and disappointing film, despite Oliver Reed and the lead actress spending most of her onscreen time in a state of undress), "Ken" (from the mini-movie G.L.C., released only in the U.K.; she also contributed the incidental score), and "I'm Still Waiting," which, with "Be Kind to My Mistakes," graced the CD-5 release of the U.K. remix of "This Woman's Work." "Be Kind to My Mistakes" and "I'm Still Waiting" are good examples of a Kate Bush song -- full tilt percussion, almost jazzy vocal arrangements that sometimes seem unconnected to the rhythm, and other times seem part of it; "I'm Still Waiting," unfortunately, also has a little of Bush's tendency to shriek histrionically for emphasis. "Ken" is an outright crowd-pleasing stomp of a piece, not so much arranged as bashed together -- basically a theme for one of the major characters of G.L.C., and performed with unabashed enjoyment with drums, bass, voice, and Fairlight strings. The only real negative here is that Columbia chose to leave out two other tracks released in the U.K.: "The Confrontation" and "One Last Look Around the House Before We Go...," both on the U.K. 12" version of "Love & Anger."" - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "As of late, at least with their previous album, and the current Pariah's Child, Finland's Sonata Arctica has been throwing their faithful some musical curve balls. Putting them in the category of traditional Scandi power metal is no longer fitting, although they do play the same and often.No, their sound is much more diverse, enterprising, these days. A good example is the song Half A Marathon Man. It's opening strokes of guitar, keyboards, then drums could lead to most any sound. But it delivers this huge rock grooved melodic metal monster, with hooks galore, from vocals to lyrics to riffs. Then there's the power metal romp of X Marks the Spot, disguised as a rock tune, and wrapped in the motif a religious revival. It's familiar, but strange; clever and a whole lot of fun. Also of note is What Did You Do In the War, Daddy which merges the feel of classic heavy metal anthem with the bluster of power metal in places.Yet something more familiar comes with the longest number, Larger Than Life, which sounds like old school Sonata Arctica, where they draw upon their symphonic progressive power metal roots. Perhaps still more straight forward Sonata Arctica is the first half of the album. Notably The Wolves Die Young or Take One Breath are classic Scandi melodic power metal tunes, straying little from the foundation from which the band was built. Yet, fans should know that it is no less interesting than the aforementioned more crafty pieces. Once more I think Pariah's Child represents Sonata Arctica as a band being carefully faithful to their roots, yet always moving forward in their creativity. Easily recommended." - Dangerdog.com
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  • Long awaited second album from this Finnish progressive death metal bands.  Pressure Points music bears some resemblance to Soilwork and Opeth.  Lots of prog rock influences are present as well."Coming at us from Heinola, Finland is Pressure Points. Weighing in at just under 57 minutes is their brand new, sophomore effort, False Lights, released through 7hard Records.The result is something rather unique, but -as with many prog releases of this nature- may require an investment of your time and an open mind.False Lights is an atmospheric offering that showcases a number of progressive influences, often falling far more on the “rock” side of prog, rather than within the ranks of accepted “progressive metal”. Within is a package of six meaty tracks guaranteed to please fans of the progressive rock genre, while listeners looking for something a bit more extreme may be left feeling rather unsatisfied. Make no mistake, Pressure Points draws the line much closer to Leprous or Spock’s Beard than to Into Eternity, and frankly tend to only use “death metal” as a tool in their arsenal, rather than the hallmark of their sound.And this isn’t a bad thing.In spirit, False Lights feels quite spacey, and at worst can seem a bit ambiguous for the uninitiated listener. It proudly wears its respect for seventies prog on its sleeve (check out “Sleepwalk”), which may prove challenging for some, and charming to others. Each track, however, when properly dissected, offers the full gamut of musical indulgence we come to expect from a truly progressive band. Beautiful piano pieces, soaring vocals, and baby-maker guitar solos are brought to bare in this fine collection of six tracks that all clock in at 8 minutes or more. Invoking a compositional style at times similar to Opeth, the harshest bits come unpredictably, and hit hard, as you can hear in the release’s single, “Electric Shadows”.Never overly indulgent, Pressure Points offer something incredibly solid with False Lights. With each listen, one will notice elements and passages that they may have overlooked before. It’s about getting to know this album. And it’s that kind of relationship building with their music that I believe should be rallying prog fans the world over to this promising Finnish five piece." - It Dents
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  • "Klaus Schulze - the master of electronic music - will release with ""La Vie Electronique Vol. 14"" recordings from the years 1993 to 1999. In Klaus Schulze's music we each find what we're looking for. Today there is still the same intensity that first drew listeners in four decades ago. It's repetition without repetition and that is the art of what Schulze does, it's an arena in which he is second to none. His music continuing to strike a chord at the heart of what all the world's greatest music seeks to achieve, to uplift and affect the human soul. With the release of ""La Vie Electronique Vol. 14"" the widening collector community will be delighted again. We are coming to the end of a long journey - this series will end for the time being with the release of Vol. 15 in Spring 2014."
    $21.00
  • Magenta's latest finds them returning to an overtly progressive rock sound and the music is all the better for it.  The Twenty Seven Club is a concept album based around famous rock stars that died at the age of 27 (Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hedrix, Kurt Cobain, ao).  The core lineup is Rob Reed, Christina Booth, and Chris Fry.  For this album the band is rounded out by guest drummer Andy Edwards of IQ.  Reed's keyboard work is back in the fore and Fry's Howe-isms on guitar always bring a polish to the music (and grin on the face).  Christina Booth's voice is a real gift and she shines as always.  Overall the music makes some overt references to Yes and Genesis so you get that old school flavor that the band hasn't offered in many years.  The album arrives in a special edition with a bonus DVD.  You get the complete album in a 5.1 mix, documentary footage and a promo video for one of the tunes.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • "When Tosin Abasi released his debut solo album under the moniker ANIMALS AS LEADERS in 2009, few would have predicted the band’s meteoric rise to the apex of the progressive rock/metal world. Although Abasi earned acclaim as the lead guitarist in the Washington, D.C.-based metalcore act Reflux, it was still a long-shot that an instrumental album of progressive metal with jazz, electronic and ambient flourishes would develop anything more than a cult following.Fast-forward two-plus years to Weightless, the group’s sophomore effort, and ANIMALS AS LEADERS is revered worldwide as a trailblazing pioneer of modern heavy music. The group’s genre-defying compositions have earned extensive praise — Steve Vai called the band “the future of creative, heavy virtuoso guitar playing.” Guitar World Magazine also featured Abasi on the cover twice over the course of this album cycle, further cementing his legendary status within the current progressive scene.Now in 2014, ANIMALS AS LEADERS delivers what is quickly going to be hailed by fans and media alike as the group’s career defining release that will ultimately redefine the progressive world as we know it. This third full-length release is a bombastic, dynamic and innovative explosion incorporates elements spanning across the entire musical spectrum. It also marks the recording debut of drummer Matthew Garstka, whose technical proficiency and unique style allows Abasi and guitarist Javier Reyes the room to push their boundaries to previously unthinkable heights.Reyes states: “I think some of the new tracks are some of AAL’s strongest and musical material yet and extremely happy with how the album came out. Everyone who took part with this album (Misha Mansoor (Periphery), Adam Getgood (Periphery), Diego Farias (Volumes), and Navene Koperweis) is extremely talented and I think we’ve done a great job of capturing it onto what is now the third ANIMALS AS LEADERS album.”"
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  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • This is the limited special edition that is not being released in North America.  It features two bonus tracks and is housed in a gatefold CD wallet.AMARANTHE, the fast-rising modern metal sextet, will release their sophomore album, 'The Nexus', on March 26th via Spinefarm Records.Produced by Jacob Hansen (whose credits include Volbeat, Dreamshade & Ginger Wildheart, and who worked on Amaranthe's 2011 self-titled debut), 'The Nexus' sees the Swedish/Danish outfit further honing a musical style that blends cutting-edge melodic metal with soaring pop melodies, the whole thing topped off by a unique three-vocal attack.Says guitarist and band co-founder Olof Morck: "The moment has come to let loose 'The Nexus' on an unsuspecting world! This time we went all the way with our futuristic dream-nightmare - a no-compromise vision steeped in deep contrast between the mechanically ultra-heavy and shimmering serene melody. 'The Nexus' is everything we dreamed about doing with our debut album; we laboured to make this offering as diverse as it is direct and catchy. and remember, no-one can be told what 'The Nexus' is - you have to hear it for yourself!"
    $13.00
  • Reign Of The Architect is a multi-national metal project with its core musicians based in Israel.  The main "architect" appears to be Yuval Kramer, guitarist for Amaseffer.  Not surprisingly there is a musical connection here as well.  While most of the members are Israeli, some prominent names crop up: Mike LePond (Symphony X), Jeff Scott Soto, Joost Van Den Broek (After Forever).  The album is put together like a metal opera with various vocalists - male and female filling the different roles.  The overall feel is purely epic in nature.  In terms of musical reference guideposts, Amaseffer and Saviour Machine come to mind but the male/female vocal parts bring to mind Beyond The Bridge.   Highly recommended."Reign of the Architect are a multi-national progressive metal band that came together in 2008. Originally started as a side-project collaboration by Mexican drummer Mauricio Bustamente and guitarist for Israeli progressive metal group Amaseffer Yuval Kramer, the group also numbers Israeli singer Yotam Avni of death metal band Prey For Nothing, who wrote the basic storyline for what would turn out to be their debut album Rise.The group emailed ideas back and forth until it was time to record in 2010. To fill out the lineup, the group recruited several well-known and respected metal musicians, including bassist Michael Lepond (Symphony X), as well as guest musicians in keyboard player Joost Van Der Broek (Ayreon), highly regarded Israeli jazz fusion guitarist Assaf Levy, and the legendary Jeff Scott Soto (Yngvie Malmsteen, Journey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) to perform on certain tracks. Reign Of The Architect’s first album was delayed due to the inability to find a label to release it, but finally it has seen the light of day. What could have been a disappointment instead was revealed to be a truly gripping, cinematic work of symphonic progressive metal.Rise is a sci-fi concept album of some sort. According to Kramer, the story is an “allegory of the powers that rage inside the human soul”, dealing with the subjectivity of things such as good and evil, and right and wrong. In accordance with this duology, the music on this album falls into one of two categories; either slower dramatic and mournful, or heavier bombastic and angry. Both are done in a very cinematic fashion, and combining influences from Latin, Middle Eastern, European, and jazz fusion traditions into one melting pot of progressive metal riffing.After a symphonic intro, the album opens, interestingly enough, not with a high energy song as would be expected, but with a waltz-type song, and then a ballad which starts very minimal and then turns into something more dramatic for the finale. The song “False” has a heavy, desperate feeling, and is a very powerful metal song which descends into a very surprising but very fitting jazz fusion-esque solo. The song also ends with an almost-ragtime piano section, which nicely contrasts the rest of the song.There are three vocalists featured on the album: Davidavi Dolev, Tom Gefen, and Denise Scorofitz – and this is one of its greatest strengths, as each one is given parts that perfectly suit their range and sound within the music. It adds an amazing amount of dynamicism and variance to the album.There are also a few guest vocalists to add even more to what Rise has to offer. The singers are given specific characters that are important to the concept to sing. Most appear throughout, as the concept demands, but Jeff Scott Soto makes his mark on only one track: the brilliant “We Must Retaliate”, the second single release from the album. Members of the Israeli thrash metal band Dark Serpent appear on the final song, “Hopeless War” as soldiers, and also making guest appearances (and acquitting themselves wonderfully) are Joost Van Der Broek (playing a keyboard solo on the first single release, “Distant Similarities”) and Assaf Levy, who provides guitar solos on “False” and “As The Old Turns To Sorrow”.Musically, the rest of the band is excellent. The guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards all sound fantastic and work very well together. Guitar-wise, the riffs in the more metal moments are strong, flowing, and cohesive. The bass parts, half of which are played by Michael Lepond who replaced original bassist Kyle Honea when the latter was unable to continue, are their own entity not just following the guitar. Lepond is a fantastic bassist, one of the best in progressive metal, and it shows here.Rise is three acts and fifteen songs long, running at 65 minutes. It is not long for progressive metal record, but it does occasionally feel like it drags a bit. All the songs are within the four to six minute range, and contain enough variety to keep things interesting for the most part, but the back half of the album is less interesting than the first half. The first seven songs are brilliant, while the next nine have a few shining moments, namely “We Must Retaliate” “Crown of Shattered Dreams” and “Hopeless War” among others, but are generally a little less remarkable. It is also the first part in a planned two part saga. No word on when the second album will be released, but one can hope it will be just as good as this one. Reign of the Architect have created a fantastic work of progressive cinematic metal for their debut. The variety of sound showcased, and the strong composition and musicianship along with some great guest musicians make this an excellent addition to any progressive metal collection. It is very well-produced and has some very thoughtful lyrics. Rise is definitely one of the top progressive metal albums of the year so far." - The Monolith
    $14.00
  • "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
    $9.00
  • "In the true, Ritchie Blackmore/Yngwie Malmsteen’s autocratic/despotic fashion, David Shankle is the only master on board. Shankle is the lone captain who's driving the DSG vessel in his own way, and the constant shift of musicians and the continuous, musical chair game in the line-up of David Shankle Group is the proof of this statement. However, as long as the music is good and loud, that’s not our problem, right ?The new disc “Still A Warrior”, is quite good indeed, with loud on yer’  face shredding guitars, outstanding and expanded solo spots, fast double pedal drumming and hyper high-pitched vocals in the tradition of WILD DOGS/REIGN OF TERROR/IMPELLITTERI/ONWARD/CHASTAIN/APOCRYPHA & CO…For my biggest pleasure I should admit!The powerful, soaring vocals and the capacities range of the new singer Warren Halvarson (also frontman with underground legend DAMIEN THORNE) is perfectly in coherence with the demanding melodies and the complex songwriting method required for such high profile music genre.If you are not familiar with the band DSG aka David Shankle Group here is a short description provided by the marketing agency:Powerful and modern played US Power Metal meets sophisticated arrangements…The very well appreciated musician by all the Mano-warriors : David Shankle is back!Of course, the technical, the intensive shred‐styled playing of the axe-master hero can be heard very well in many solos, an more precisely in extreme fast piece like the blistering “Demonic Solo” (taken from the in horror movie “Jezebeth”) and in the demented instrumental, "The Hitman" at slot N°7.This Neoclassical/Power American Metal promising group has already recorded two albums in the 2000’s, Mr. Shankle ex-guitarist for MANOWAR (between 1988 and 1994)  has returned, recruiting a polished new line-up and the result of this is quite the cracking slab of smoking US Metal release named “Still A Warrior”, the talented shredder is tearing it up all over this release and display his excellent guitar work, and it never gets too tedious or self-indulgent like sometimes it happens on this kind of album.After eight long years of waiting and hard work, Germany’s finest label Pure Steel Records is very proud, to publish the DSG's third album "Still A Warrior", a manifesto of US Metal legacy coming from the noblest lineage, the release is set for 24th April 2015…Get ready for the final guitar battle!" - Metal Temple
    $15.00