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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  • "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 
    $14.00
  • 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.
    $12.00
  • New 2CD live set recorded in North America 1998 and Japan 1999.
    $6.00
  • "Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1970 album HOME by PROCOL HARUM. Released in June 1970, the record followed on from the huge international success of the band’s debut single "A Whiter Shade of Pale” and the superb albums PROCOL HARUM, SHINE ON BRIGHTLY and A SALTY DOG.  Hailed by many fans as one of the finest albums released by the band, HOME saw the exquisite song writing of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid reach new heights on pieces such as "The Dead Man’s Dream”, the epic "Whaling Stories”, "About to Die” and more.Produced by Chris Thomas, the album captured a new line-up of the band featuring Gary Brooker (voice, piano), Chris Copping (bass guitar, organ), Robin Trower (lead guitar), and B.J. Wilson (drums).Newly re-mastered from the original tapes, this Deluxe edition of "Home” has been expanded to include 11 bonus tracks (3 previously unreleased) over two CDs, including rare tracks, alternate session takes and 2 previously unreleased BBC Radio session tracks from May 1970. This expanded deluxe edition of "Home” also includes a lavishly illustrated booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay by Procol Harum biographer Henry Scott-Irvine."
    $19.00
  • 2 power metal classics at a budget price - housed in a slipcase jacket.
    $18.00
  • "I’ve only just got hold of this one, but it’s jumped to the top of my review list on the basis of being awesome. Being off ill at the start of the week, I had a significant pile of demos and promos to download at the weekend and I was ploughing through them. I always give a couple of tracks off each album a very quick listen just so I know what genre they are.Being a puerile child at heart, I obviously picked “Fuck You” out from the tracklist on Nightglow’s latest release and was immediately blown away. It’s a heavy song, full of groove and rhythm with harsh yet understandable lyrics.OK, so a lucky choice. Let’s pick… erm… “Scream”. That sound good. And it is. As was “On My Knees”, “Psychotropic” and every other song on Orpheus. What started as a quick check of the mp3s turned into two full listens to the album.Nightglow have been kicking around since 1998, but didn’t become Nightglow until 2003. Up until 2013 they were primarily a live band playing their own music, covers of songs by classic acts (Maiden, Priest and the like) and also enjoyed a stint as the official Italian Manowar tribute act!Metal credentials well and truly approved, the band finally released their first album, We Rise, in 2013. Obviously by now the band had a wealth of their own material so it only took another 18 months or so before the follow-up, Orpheus, was announced.This is a great album. Totally unpretentious, balls-out heavy metal. It doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, remembering that metal is about having fun and being loud! Oh, and doing the stock power ballad (“Stay With Me”)." -  The Moshville Times
    $13.00
  • "After his long exodus, Steve “Zetro” Souza is back! This hero of original Bay Area Thrash has returned with his fabulous new band HATRIOT, and disastrous impact is imminent! This time he is keeping it in the family legacy having both his sons in the band. This is no case of nepotism, though, as I know that he even considered ex-DEATH ANGEL drummer Andy Galeon to pound the skins, before realizing the pleasure of having his own flesh serve as the true “Heroes Of Origin”.If you were excited with what Zetro did with Jed Simon in TENET, or you crave for more DUBLIN DEATH PATROL, then join the chemikill invasion! In fact, if you were thrilled by the last two phenomenal comeback TESTAMENT albums, you should know that Zetro was actually one of  the main lyricists. Once you hear these brutal songs of annihilation, then you will go globicidal and prepare for even more lessons in violence!To say thatHATRIOT has captured that EXODUS sound we have longed for since “Tempo Of The Damned”, but really ever since “Fabulous”, “Impact”, and “Pleasures” is an understatement. HATRIOT's murder American style is a vicious strike of the best of the past, with a verbal razor to the throat of the present so-called New Thrash acts. HATRIOT is everything you love about this genre, guaranteed to kick in your face and rape and murder your life; so choose your weapons of class destruction!I sponsored and championed the original demo which featured original versions of “Weapons”, “Globacidal”, and “The Mechanics”, as well as another punishing track called “The Fear Within” (A damn fine song in the classic LEGACY tradition). For almost a year, I encouraged everyone to watch the YouTube video for “Blood Stained Wings” before the band was ever even signed.Kosta Varvatakis  heeds the Metal command, and becomes a true shredder in the vein of Gary Holt, Rick Hunolt, Rob Flynn, Lee Altus, and Craig LoCicero. Miguel Esparza also does an astonishing job of matching every bloodstained lead and terror-filled lick in the classic Kerry King to Jeff Hanneman reigning fashion. I am so pleased that Massacre Records stepped up and finally signed a band of such value and worth. I am grateful that Earsplit is promoting them in the U.S. This is the very sound – that raging slaughter of burnt offerings; that over the wall toxic overdose – that all old school 80s thrashers have been anticipating. Every element is present: that biting and harsh tempo of the damned, incredible solos, intense, yet thought-provoking lyrics which deal with violence and corruption,Sousa'sunique Bon Scott meets a deranged Paul Bailoff'sscowl and howl, and top-notch production. Fly high the scarred spangled banner; it is open season on the poseurs! I am not a patriot, but I totally support HATRIOT." - Metal Temple
    $14.00
  • 2nd album from this New York based prog rock band. They are obviously from the new breed of progressive rock bands like Spock's Beard, The Underground Railroad, and Echolyn in that they wear some of their influences on their sleeve but they wrap it up in an original package. Izz places more of an emphasis on hooks, memorable melodies and intelligent lyrics than they do balls to the wall playing. Which is not to say there isn't some great instrumental bits through out. At times I hear elements of Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, and The Beatles. Overall if there was one band I could compare them to it would be The Underground Railroad. I think it's safe to say that this is a band that in the years to come will make a name for themselves in the genre - this is a good start. Really good stuff - recommended!
    $12.00
  • "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
    $6.00
  • "Andy Tillison, the mastermind behind The Tangent, isn’t a wet-behind-the-ears newbie when it comes to the world of prog rock. He knows he’s taken a risk with the band’s new album, Le Sacre Du Travail, but ten years of leading the band on its journey and seven albums to show for it have given him the strength and courage to present something decidedly different in today’s world of prog.Spurred on by the growing resurgence of progressive rock to do something unexpected that stands outside the box, he zeroed in on the idea of creating an orchestra suite in the spirit of artists like Camel and Deep Purple’s dearly departed Jon Lord. The naysayers might consider the new album to be too far afield from what’s considered prog rock these days, but The Tangent enjoys a broad international fanbase that respects the fact their heroes are bent on being as big and bold and as adventurous as the people who originally started the progressive rock movement off in the late ‘60s.“Big and bold” i this case doesn’t mean loud and in-your-face. On the contrary, Le Sacre Du Travail serves up everything from ‘70s rock to smoky blues to jazz to classical music. Given the conceptual nature of the record, Tillison sees it as a soundtrack without a film.“Hopefully that's what I'm getting across with this music,” says Tillison. “I want to give the music the excitement I felt when I first started hearing classical music. That’s why I got into progressive rock music; hearing classical music as a child, I used to be off and away imagining pictures and scenes and telling myself stories to go along with it. What I wanted to do was tell those stories to somebody else with my own music.”Le Sacre Du Travail is, in brief, a story about 7 billion people that all have the same name; “You”. The Tangent wanted to put the listener into the picture, having decided that if they were going to present this story, it had to be something that absorbed everyone on a familiar level.Tillison: “We avoided the concept album idea for a really long time, and finally we’ve done one. Most of the lyrics came pretty easily; I never wrote them down, I just sang what I felt, lots and lots of different things. I had many takes and many ideas, so I had to go back and pick out the best ones, and eventually I got the idea of what I wanted to sing about. It came out very naturally.”Looking back on The Tangent’s catalogue, Tillison – who started his musical career writing punk songs and pays tribute to that era on a the bonus track ‘Hat (Live At Mexborough School 1979’ – admits that The Tangent’s evolution is something of a surprise. At the same time, given that he’s had a decade to refine his craft as a prog artist, “I knew this was coming.” Looking back on his roots, Tillison knows exactly what influenced the outcome of Le Sacre Du Travail“The obvious influence is one of the very first progressive rock albums ever made: The Days Of Future Past by The Moody Blues. They had the idea of breaking a day into pieces and running through it on the album. It must have been there in the back of my mind, although I must say I probably haven't listened to that album in 30 years. I never really thought about it while I was recording, but at some point I realized I was doing the history of a day with an orchestra and a rock band. Deep Purple’s Concerto For Group and Orchestra was a big influence, and at the same time Roger Waters' Amused To Death album is definitely in there.”“We know we’re taking a risk,” Tillison adds. “Some people will go ‘What the hell is this?’ because it’s a big piece of music to get into and you have to find your way around it. But that’s where I want to be; on the leading edge of progressive rock music.”"US jewel box edition with 3 bonus tracks. 
    $10.00
  • "In case you’re actually a dog and I don’t know about it, I’m going to begin this endeavor with an explanation of why Leprous is so important. Leprous are a progressive metal band; they are extremely good and their last two albums (Bilateral and Coal) are among this decade’s best prog/avant garde releases. While Bilateral lead us into strange, trumpet-infested Mars Volta territory, Coal took a completely different approach, pairing exceptionally strong melodies with endless drones and subtle drumming that provided counterpoint for Einar Solberg’s unparalleled voice. Coal also bequeathed to the world the best song ever written, “The Cloak.” So The Congregation has some pretty grand expectations around these parts. Thus, contrary to his finite but arbitrarily large wisdom, and as a direct result of his finite but arbitrarily small amounts of spare time, Angry Metal Guy has deigned that I inform you of what you don’t already know, unless you have lived within a few blocks of me in the past few months, which is that The Congregation is pretty damn good.“The Price” introduces a post-Coal Leprous with an even stronger sense of melody but retaining a minimalist core. While Einar’s choruses are impossible not to fruitlessly pantomime, the song retains the measured drama and reductionist sensibilities that made “The Valley” the nine-minute epic that it is. “The Third Law” and “Rewind” retain these traits but are the album’s weakest tracks by far. They’re not boring, but come off as a bit superfluous, especially in an album that’s over an hour long. Luckily, “The Flood” turns things around, preluding a phenomenal mid- and late-album stretch. The song’s extreme repetition of a two-note anti-swing rhythm builds a prog metal lullaby over which measured crooning and burst of exuberant motion play out a complex game of tic-tac-toe.Of course, just like Coal, the centerpiece of The Congregation is its shortest and strongest song. “Within My Fence” gets better and better as it goes along riffing on its syncopated opening bars. Einar’s vocal performance is wincredible here as well, and even more enjoyable because of how perfectly it slides into the synth-heavy, mechanical march of the song. Also of note is Baard Kolstad’s contribution to the album; his drumming, though not quite as distinctive as Tobias Ørnes Andersen’s on Coal, continues in the less-is-more vein that the last album established and is incredibly tight.After “Within My Fence,” the album cools off, but doesn’t perceptibly decrease in quality. It’s still infectious and emotional and cements Einar Solberg’s place as prog’s best vocalist – a well-deserved but easy win, given that Darroh Sudderth doesn’t seem to be active at the moment. My main issue with The Congregation is, unsurprisingly, its length. “Third Law,” “Rewind,” and “Triumphant” could have easily been cut from the album and it would be much better. The songs aren’t bad, but Leprous has a lot more to show off than these lukewarm affairs.While part of me is disappointed with Leprous‘s lack of editing here, the part of me that has listened to the album dozens of times has more sway over my decisions. The Congregation will give you just the scratch behind the ears you need after disappointing half-year of metal, and while it’s certainly not the equal of its predecessors, it wont tarnish the band’s growing legacy. Go fetch it." - Angry Metal Guy
    $13.00
  • Submarine Silence is a side project from Moongarden's Cristiano Roversi.  The bands first album was released 12 years ago on Mellow Records.  It was an instrumental album that paid a huge debt to early Genesis.  This low awaited follow up album is cut from a similar cloth but it does feature vocals.  Most of the band is fleshed out with other members of Moongarden and Mangala Vallis.  Vocals are sung by Mirko Ravenoldi, who frankly I'm not familiar with.  He sings in English and truth be told he's a much better guitarist than singer.  Luckily the album features long swathes of instrumental passages - all cut from the Genesis cloth.  Roversi's keyboard arsenal is chock full of all the old favorites - Mellotron, Hammond organ, Arp and Moog synths, etc.  Lots of similarities to Tony Bank's set up and I believe that is the whole point.  Not very Italian sounding at all.  If you long for the old school sounds of Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot check this one out.
    $18.00
  • "Christianity and Heavy Metal have never really been the most obvious of bedfellows. Ever since the formation of the genre at the end of the 1960's, the relationship between Heavy Metal, in particular the more extreme variations of it, and the established Church, have been, for the most part, frosty. This doesn't mean that the two cannot come together though; There are countless great bands that have been playing great music that pays homage, rather than expressing outright hatred, to Christianity; TROUBLE, MORTIFICATION, HORDE, CRIMSON MOONLIGHT and DIVINEFIRE are the first bands that spring to mind for me every time I hear some closed minded moron quote that old, cringe-worthy and wholly incorrect adage about the Devil having the best tunes. Slovakian Power Metallers, SIGNUM REGIS, are one such band that are not only proving this phrase wrong, but are also using their knowledge of their faith to create great themes and concepts for their albums. Their last full length, for example, was based around Moses' liberation of the Israelites and their trials in the desert. This latest EP is full of the sort of classic Power Metal that many have grown to love, and it sounds amazing.This EP opens with a very solid, powerful opener, "Living Well". This is a great piece of Power Metal, with all the hallmarks of the genre; with a few harder aspects peppering the classic sound, which gives it it's own unique flavour. All this track’s elements work well together; it's really well mixed, and doesn't wander into the realms of cheesiness as some Power Metal has a tendency to, and above all, it's a great way to kick the record off. "Through the Desert, Through the Storm" treads down a much more straightforward Heavy Metal path, with razor sharp guitar lines, angelic vocals and some fairly interesting keyboard parts thrown in for good measure. The chorus is great, with some genuinely hair-raising parts that were just made for singing along to. "My Guide In The Night" is another really good piece of Power Metal with brilliant vocals and guitar work, punishing drums and some really cool keyboard sections. The fourth track, "Come and Take It", is perhaps the most straight forward Power Metal song on here, with plenty of great hooks to keep the listener interested. The penultimate track, a re-recorded version of "All Over the World", sounds even better for having been redone, and sits very well among the bands newer material.  "Vengeance Liar", which closes this EP, is perhaps the strongest song on this record apart from "Through the Desert, Through the Storm", and has a really cool, classic Power Metal sound with some genuinely inspired guitar playing and really spectacular vocals to match. It sounds awesome, and is a very good high note to end this record on.This EP is very good. Anyone who loves Power Metal will most likely enjoy this. This sounds like a band that have honed their style and perfected their image, now ready to take their music to the world at large. I'd highly recommend this EP, and indeed the rest of this bands awesome back catalogue, to anyone who loves, powerful, uplifting Metal music." - Metal Temple
    $10.00
  • Kindly Bent To Free Us is the long awaited third album from Cynic.  It finds the core trio of Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert, and Sean Malone intact.  Just as Traced In Air was an evolution from Focus, so is Kindly Bent To Free Us a natural sounding progression from Traced In Air.  There is a common underlying sound which is clearly Cynic.  The music still maintains metallic and jazz roots but it serves as a foundation for a sound that owes more to prog rock.  If you are expecting Focus you will be disappointed.  This probably owes more to Porcupine Tree and Riverside as its not quite as technical as in the past, relying more on atmosphere.  But don't get me wrong, there is some unbelievable playing going on.  Once again Sean Malone demonstrates that he is the most underrated bassist in the world.  Highly recommended.This box set features a deluxe faux book with faux leather finish and gold foil print including “Kindly Bent to Free Us” in Digisleeve CD with the exclusive bonus track “Earth Is My Witness”, and numerous exclusive items including a poster, lyrics booklet, notation sheets booklet, and 5 transparent slides of additional artwork. Limited to 1000 copies worldwide!
    $66.00