The Human Contradiction (2CD Mediabook)

I'm going to get straight to the point.  If you are a fan of female fronted metal you must own this album.  The Human Contradiction is a complete triumph.  It finds the band returning a bit to their roots.  There are still poppy elements - that's part of their core sound - but there is a heaviness that will remind you of Lucidity.  Nightwish's Marco Hietala returns contributing on clean vocals. Also back is Orphanage vocalist George Oosthoek who is one of the best growlers in the metal scene.  Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz makes a guest appearance.

Timo Somers' guitar riffs are chunkier, Charlotte's voice is impeccable as always, and Martijn's keyboards are simply epic.  The album was recorded at Studio Fredman and sounds massive.  Weaving the whole album together is a sci-fi theme borrowed from the writings of Octavia Butler.

This is an album filled with a enough earworm hooks to drive you crazy but at the same time its heavy!  For my taste its a top 10 album for 2014.  BUY OR DIE!

Limited edition 2CD mediabook edition.  The bonus CD contains 2 additional new studio tracks as well as live tracks and two orchestral versions of tracks from The Human Contradiction.  Essential.

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  • Remastered edition with 2 bonus tracks."Easily one of the most important heavy metal albums ever released, Stained Class marks the peak of Judas Priest's influence, setting the sonic template for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal more than any other single recording. This is the point where Priest put it all together, embracing their identity as the heaviest band on the planet and taking the genre to new heights of power, speed, musicality, and malevolence. Not until Painkiller would the band again be this single-minded in its focus on pure heavy metal. Their blues-rock roots have been virtually obliterated; largely gone, too, are the softer textures and gothic ballads of albums past. The lone exception is the morbid masterpiece "Beyond the Realms of Death," on which the band finally finds a way to integrate the depressive balladry of songs like "Epitaph" and "Last Rose of Summer" into their metal side. Starting out with quiet, mournful verses, the song's chorus is ripped open by a blazing guitar riff as Rob Halford shrieks about leaving the world behind, a dramatic climax that sounds like a definite blueprint for Metallica's "Fade to Black." Yet it wasn't this song that inspired the ridiculous 1989-1990 court case involving the suicide pact of two Nevada teenagers; that honor goes to the Spooky Tooth cover "Better by You, Better Than Me" (penned by none other than the "Dream Weaver" himself, Gary Wright), on which the band allegedly embedded the subliminal backwards-recorded message "Do it." Astounding implausibility aside (as the band pointed out, why encourage the suicides of fans who spend money?), it isn't hard to see why Stained Class might invite such hysterical projections. On balance, it's the darkest lyrical work of the band's career, thematically obsessed with death, violence, and conquest. That's not to say it's always approving. Sure, there are battle cries like "White Heat, Red Hot," horrific nightmares like "Saints in Hell," and elements of the fantastic in the alien monsters of "Invader" and stone classic opener "Exciter." But the band stays philosophical just as often as not. The twisting, turning title track adopts the biblical view of man as a hopeless, fallen creature preyed upon by his baser instincts; "Savage" foreshadows Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills" in depicting violent colonizers as the real savages; and closer "Heroes End" laments the many legends born from untimely deaths. So in the end, what really cements the celebrated morbidity of Stained Class is the sinister atmosphere created by the music itself. Never before had heavy metal sounded so viciously aggressive, and never before had that been combined with such impeccable chops. Seemingly at will, Tipton and Downing spit out brilliant riffs that cut with knife-like precision, usually several per song. This means that there's a lot to take in on Stained Class, but if there's nothing here as immediate as the band's later hits, there's also a tremendous amount that reveals itself only with repeated listens. While the album's overall complexity is unrivalled in the band's catalog, the songs still pack an enormous visceral impact; the tempos have often been jacked up to punk-level speed, and unlike albums past, there's no respite from the all-out adrenaline rush. Heavy metal had always dealt in extremes -- both sonically and emotionally -- but here was a fresh, vital new way to go about it. It's impossible to overstate the impact that Stained Class had on virtually all of the heavy metal that followed it, from the NWOBHM through thrash and speed metal onward, and it remains Judas Priest's greatest achievement." - All Music Guide
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  • "Having morphed--some would argue devolved--into a predictable ballad machine by the '80s, it's good to be reminded of Chicago's original artistic ethos and vibrant promise. And what better place to start than their spectacular 1969 debut? This digitally remastered edition compiles the double album on a single disc that retains the original LP artwork and features a 16-page booklet with a retrospective essay (based on new band member interviews) by David Wild. Chicago weren't yet the '70s hit-singles factory they would shortly become, and CTA showcases a band whose muscular musicianship and creative restlessness fostered two LPs worth of music that was as aggressive and far-ranging as its singles were friendly and inviting. Tellingly, the hits showcased here--"Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?" "Beginnings," "Questions 67 and 68," and their rhythmically pumped cover of the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man"--were often edited down from the original collection's suite-heavy structure. But those familiar cuts belie the downright progressive and angular nature of much of the rest, which fuses Terry Kath's neo-psychedelic guitar (which careens to noisy, feedback-laden Hendrixesque extremes on "Free Form Guitar") to one of rock's pioneering horn sections with enough experimentalism ("Poem 58") that it frequently overwhelms their undeniable genius with a pop song. Chicago would seldom sound so adventurous after this, one of rock's greatest debut albums." --Jerry McCulley
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  • Fates Warning guitarist goes new age with the help of Michael Mannring, Mark Zonder, and Charles Bisharat.
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  • "No need for introduction here I think, however I will write something about this Juggernaut band GRAND MAGUS. GRAND MAGUS are with us from around 2001, they started has more of a Doom \\ Stoner Metal band that moved into a more traditional Heavy metal with lyrics regarding, War, middle ages fights and the good against the evil conflict just with swords and less guns. I will tell you a little secret, I used to be a big fan of GRAND MAGUS from start till the “Hammer of the North”, their fifth album, it came after their masterpiece “Iron Will” but couldn’t stand high as the latter. However, after the release of the following, “The Hunt”, I kind of lost faith, with hoping that the “Triumph And Power” will bring back the blood in my eyes and the passion in my fists for GRAND MAGUS’s awesome Metal edition.“On Hooves Of Gold” and “Steel Versus Steel” are very similar musically, both of them starting with a more classic intro. “Steel Versus Steel” with an acoustic guitar and “On Hooves Of Gold” with cathedral music and a chant, both harboring classic GRAND MAGUS riffing. I started to become a believer again the moment I started to listen to the third track “Fight”, twitched with a low tempo riffing and high sound bass, however it changes into a speedy riffing that reminded me of the early “Fear Is the Key" of “Iron Will”. The title track, “Triumph And Power” shows Janne "JB" Christoffersson’s vocal versatility, really admire the guy’s voice, kind of a low thumping voice that strikes you directly in the chin, “Triumph And Power” is great track that has the quality to become a hit with the very classic chorus. “Dominator” ushers the diversity of the album with a faster pace, reminding more of classic hits of JUDAS PRIEST.“Arv” is an instrumental so I will jump directly to the best track on the album and I’m talking about the mighty “Holmgång” with amazing riffs by JB prompting past albums with miscellaneous riffing. The solo has that Glamish style that provides an elusive quality to the track. “The Naked and the Dead” continues the “Dominator” and “Fight” high paced riffing and drumming that made GRAND MAGUS to be a great band, I mean the combination and diversity; don’t miss “The Hammer Will Bite” that starts like a classic Power ballad however changes to a classic Metal riffing beast.I can’t say that it’s a masterpiece. it’s very hard for bands like GRAND MAGUS  that are veteran and known, the audience are expecting a masterpiece in every release and after a little set back by GRAND MAGUS with “The Hunt”, at least for me, I think that “Triumph And Power” made me a believer again, so GRAND MAGUS, I Believe." - Metal Temple
    $6.00
  • "The musical transition that seemed to have just begun with Fear of Music came to fruition on Talking Heads' fourth album, Remain in Light. "I Zimbra" and "Life During Wartime" from the earlier album served as the blueprints for a disc on which the group explored African polyrhythms on a series of driving groove tracks, over which David Byrne chanted and sang his typically disconnected lyrics. Remain in Light had more words than any previous Heads record, but they counted for less than ever in the sweep of the music. The album's single, "Once in a Lifetime," flopped upon release, but over the years it became an audience favorite due to a striking video, its inclusion in the band's 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, and its second single release (in the live version) because of its use in the 1986 movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills, when it became a minor chart entry. Byrne sounded typically uncomfortable in the verses ("And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife/And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?"), which were undercut by the reassuring chorus ("Letting the days go by"). Even without a single, Remain in Light was a hit, indicating that Talking Heads were connecting with an audience ready to follow their musical evolution, and the album was so inventive and influential, it was no wonder. As it turned out, however, it marked the end of one aspect of the group's development and was their last new music for three years." - Allmusic Guide
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  • "True in the name of fantasy, true in the name of what is Metal and the heavenly meaning of life of enjoyment and partying, looking for the right thrill. It is above and beyond being mere serious about things, it is about letting yourself out, free as bird, or an eagle in the sky looking for chances, for its next prey. Keeping it steady as they go, not abiding by any other contemporary trend, there is the German FREEDOM CALL, a veteran band led by Chris Bay, no short or far in their musical range than late 80’s / early 90’s HELLOWEEN along with a hefty dosage of mid to late 90’s GAMMA RAY, retaining it Teutonic, massively melodic and bombastically memorable as it can be. Following a tight stature, FREEDOM CALL is about to release their eighth album, “Beyond”, via SPV / Steamhammer Records. Though easily a reminiscent of everything that is considered German Metal, minus ACCEPT, or melodically within the German Metal scene, this album strongly positioned FREEDOM CALL as a free spirit, implementing flowing and smooth songativity, a measure of cheerfulness, plenty of imagination but with a distinct upfront Power Metal prowess.Fortunately, I had the chance to write about the band’s previous, “Land Of The Crimson Dawn”, and also the “Legend Of The Shadowking” album, and it helped me to keep a certain perspective with “Beyond”. Scouring and molesting this album for countless of times, it made me realize how glued I was to the songs. It is fairly true that FREEDOM CALL are the last band to be recognized as genuine, especially with the adjacent proximity to GAMMA RAY (Sometimes even Chris Bay sounds like Kai Hansen) and at times one would notice how their melodic guitaring, meaning the leads and licks aren’t that varied and being represented as clichés under equally similar templates in different versions. However, in an awkward kind of way, this foursome crew has the ability to keep certain elements as their own, for example their commendable lust for life that inspired positivity within their tunes, adhering party like tracks of Traditional Metal, leaving Hard Rock and emotive AOR behind, while flaring the Boogie with heaviness and class. In overall, “Beyond” felt less dark, needless to say sinister, than its previous contenders. On the contrary, it is much more welcoming, haunting, harmonic, fluent songwriting that somewhat focused on the traditional structure of 80’s oriented songs along with emphasizing the choruses that are the bread and butter for any sing along. Instrumentally, I noticed raging rhythm guitar heavy riffery and brick wall rhythm section searing speed junkets by the book, while pampering all the merits that preserved German Metal’s influence. Also several tuned thundered with wonderful soloing and of course, hard to pass it by, tremendous vocal performance under an extraordinary vocal production, nothing shorter than a semi operatic conclusion.Thus, while virtually crossing the hour mark, “Beyond” felt as if it was much shorter in length, it passed me by so rapidly that I just had to push the play button once again to let the material sweep me for another outing. “Heart Of A Warrior” is yet another war hero track, a hymn that is one of the many that signaled me why Metal music is the best thing that ever happened to, a classic Power Metal emblem that had me thinking of early HAMMERFALL, specifically due to its emphatic chorus. “Paladin” and “Follow Your Heart”, a chain of two hits, one by one they barraged my essence with memorable sheer moments of heavenly glory, musically nothing really changed, captivating melodic turmoil, sparkling with a few heavier passages, yet I was more obsessed by production of the vocals, typically on these two, multi channeled fury highlighting an imposing spiritual release, riding into the night under the wings of a dragon. “Beyond”, could be mistaken as the album’s epic, yet though its length, it is nothing of a sort from my end. This song’s character is the precise formula and means for the creation of an ultimate Power Metal track tracking over seven minutes. Infusing GAMMA RAYish harmonic main lead guitar riff, bombastically treading near operatic proportions and combining them with both slow to fast tempo drum ignitions, you may have yourself a winner, an ultimate song that will carry you with it for just enough time for you to grasp it straightforwardly.FREEDOM CALL, in their own special way, might be disjointed a bit from what is happening around them, as our existence became harsher over the years, however, they remained true to their previous forms, snubbed Hard Rock a bit in favor of hard to the bone Metal, reoccurring themselves occasionally but in this here release formed a heartwarming demonstration of notable songwriting that would cause you to bite the bullet time and time again." - Metal Temple 
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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
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  • ""If the voice don't say it, the guitar will play it," raps Saffron on "Pork-U-Pine," the third track on Jeff Beck's minimally titled Jeff. And he does. Beck teams with producer Andy Wright, the man responsible for his more complete immersion into electronic backdrops on his last outing, You Had It Coming. This time the transition is complete. Beck used electronica first on Who Else!, moved a little more into the fire on You Had It Coming, and here merges his full-on Beck-Ola guitar heaviness with the sounds of contemporary spazz-out big beats and noise. Beck and Wright employ Apollo 440 on "Grease Monkey" and "Hot Rod Honeymoon," and use a number of vocalists, including the wondrously gifted Nancy Sorrell, on a host of tracks, as well as the London Session Orchestra on others (such as "Seasons," where hip-hop, breakbeats, and old-school Tangerine Dream sequencing meet the guitarist's deep blues and funk-drenched guitar stylings). As for atmospherics, David Torn (aka producer Splattercell) offers a shape-shifting mix of glitch tracks on "Plan B" for Beck to wax on both acoustically and electrically, and make them weigh a ton. But it's on cuts like "Trouble Man," a purely instrumental big drum and guitar skronk workout, where Beck truly shines here. With a rhythm section of Dean Garcia and Steve Barney -- and Tony Hymas appears as well -- Beck goes completely overboard: the volume screams and the sheer crunch of his riffs and solos split the rhythm tracks in two, then four, and finally eight, as he turns single-string runs into commentaries on everything from heavy metal to East Indian classical music.The industrial crank and burn of "Grease Monkey" is an outing fraught with danger for the guitarist, who has to whirl away inside a maelstrom of deeply funky noise -- and Beck rides the top of the wave into dirty drum hell and comes out wailing. For those who feel they need a dose of Beck's rootsier and bluesier playing, there is one, but the context is mentally unglued. "Hot Rod Honeymoon" is a drum and bass sprint with Beck playing both slide and Texas-style blues à la Albert Collins, letting the strings bite into the beats. The vocals are a bit cheesy, but the entire track is so huge it's easy to overlook them. "Line Dancing With Monkeys" has a splintered Delta riff at its core, but it mutates, shifts, changes shape, and becomes the kind of spooky blues that cannot be made with conventional instruments. His turnarounds into the myopic rhythms provide a kind of menacing foil to their increasing insistence in the mix. Before gabber-style drum and bass threaten to break out of the box, Beck's elongated bent-note solos tame them. "JB's Blues" is the oddest thing here because it's so ordinary; it feels like it belongs on an updated Blow By Blow. In all this is some of the most emotionally charged and ferocious playing of Beck's career. Within the context of contemporary beatronica, Beck flourishes. He find a worthy opponent to tame in the machines, and his ever-present funkiness is allowed to express far more excess than restraint. This is as fine a modern guitar record as you are ever going to hear." - All Music Guide
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  • "This is the 1st album by a French band whose sound & compositional style are firmly rooted into Zeuhl and who features a line-up of vocals, guitar, bass, drums, synths, & flute.Vak started in 2008, centered around the prog/zeuhl compositions of drummer Vladimir Mejstelman : repetitive patterns, asymetric measures, crafted melodies and emphatic moments. After several musicians changes over the years, further influences completed the melting pot, from the rhythmic progressive metal influences reminiscent of Tool or some of Mike Patton's projects, to experiments echoing the Rock in Opposition scene, such as Guapo.Vocalist Aurelie Saintecroix does a great job, her wordless vocals strongly evoking Eskaton's early works. This first album has been recorded between 2011-2014, originally planed to be issued as 2 EPs (6 long tracks) - which never happened!Vak is currently heading towards a new kind of zeuhl with broad perspectives and influences, notably including metal & space-rock touches; a second album which will features more of this sound will hopefully be issued in 2016, but now, finally, you can hear all they have accomplished up to now!"
    $17.00
  • Third album from this Danish band is a futuristic concept album based on the book Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Manticora play mega-fast power metal that mixes US and European styles. At times it has the coarsness of Iced Earth and at other times there is a more produced symphonic feel.
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