Hyperdrive

SKU: LE1071
Label:
Laser's Edge
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Hyperdrive marks a new era for Knight Area.  The long running Dutch progressive rock band had previously released four studio albums and toured Europe and USA extensively, performing at all major prog rock festivals.  1n 2012 the band welcomed guitarist Mark Bogert as well as legendary bassist Peter Vink (Q65, Finch, Ayreon) into the fold. 

With these newcomers onboard, Knight Area introduced a heavier element and fuller sound to their repertoire.  All the classic symphonic rock traits of their previous albums are still clearly evident but the songs on Hyperdrive are more immediate and concise.

The band invited noted prog guitarist Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One) to participate as a special guest on one track.  Joost van den Broek, who is known for his production work with Epica, Mayan, and After Forever, mixed the album.   Rounding out the package is startling artwork by Gustavo Sazes.

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    $30.00
  • "In their quest to melancholize everybody’s lives and institutionalize sorrow as a beauteous condition, these Finnish metal legends have produced yet another record that is the perfect companion to a night of stargazing. As their eleventh studio album, Circle is an apt sonic reflection of the pensiveness that accompanies old age.Angst and gloom take turns to induce emotional roller-coaster rides (“Shades Of Gray”, “Hopeless Days” and “Enchanted By The Moon”) while the keyboard plays the role of a calm voice amidst electric guitar maelstroms (“Mission”, “The Wanderer” and “Into The Abyss”). Once again, Tomi Joutsen’s signature mix of powerful, guttural growling and deep, emotive clean singing does a splendid job of nailing catchy choruses. Folkish woodwind tunes (“Narrowpath”, “Nightbird’s Song” and “A New Day”) and a brief saxophone motif (towards the end of “A New Day”) give the music a soothing touch too.Alas, as beautiful as Circle is, it is one of those listenable records that you would spin to sleep to rather than energetically nod to. No new ground is trodden upon, but the starry sky above is reached once again" - New NoiseThis is the CD/DVD edition.  The CD comes with the bonus track "Dead Man's Dream" and the DVD features a "making of" documentary as well as a video clip.
    $8.00
  • The band's second album. At this point the progressive elements were just starting to be displayed.  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • "Death.Taxes.Ozric Tentacles.Since 1984 this loose collective have been releasing reliably great music from the mind of leader Ed Wynne. Their margin of error is enviably tiny – there is no such thing as a bad Ozrics album. Sure, some are better than others, but the body of work is as inescapably consistent as mortality and societal contributions. Technicians of the Sacred is their fifteenth studio album, second double album and the first release in this format since Erpland in 1990. It is also one of the best they have ever recorded.The blend of electronica and inner-space rock is instantly recognisable with ‘The High Pass’. World music and gently undulating synths take their time to ease us back into the required frame of cosmic consciousness. It takes almost 6 minutes for the secret weapon, Wynne’s signature lysergic lead guitar, to be deployed and that is the modus operandi of the whole album – nothing is rushed, each track unfolds lotus-like.‘Changa Masala’ distils all the band’s ingredients into a spicy side-dish. Sequencers, vocal samples and a reggae skank provide the base while acoustic guitar rips like a John McLaughlin solo, interjecting a nod to their past, a musical in-joke for the fans, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet heard it.The Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7 and sometime Ozrics collaborator) influence is foregrounded in the first disc’s closer, ‘Switchback’. Tap-delay guitar slithers over a web of ambient keyboard washes. Portamento bass notes slide and glide their way through the patchouli-scented psychedelic haze.f the first disc was an aromatic treat, then the second is manna. ‘Epiphlioy’ recalls the classic ‘Saucers’. Its serpentine twelve-string acoustic riffs employ Eastern modes to evoke a scene that is paradoxically earthy and otherworldly. Staccato strings conjure Kashmir while a celestial orchestra of whooshing keyboard pads threatens to levitate us into the stratosphere and beyond. We are back in the bizarre bazaar, folks. Brandi Wynne pins down the ethereal mix with a heavy dub bassline. The track changes constantly. This is the most compositionally complex music the band has ever produced.While there are references to Ozric history and a more organic feel similar to early classics with the occasional use of non-electric instruments and ethnic voices, the album as a whole is a step forward. The painstakingly crafted symbiosis of synthesised sounds and rock instrumentation, coupled with a slick production, lend Technicians of the Sacred a holistic integrity not heard since Jurassic Shift (which incidentally entered the UK charts at a very respectable number 11 in 1993). The whole gels together and flows with the multi-layered sophistication of a symphony while retaining some of the jam-band aesthetic of the free festival days.‘Smiling Potion’ features interlocking sequences even Tangerine Dream would be proud of and a tribal metronome-sense beat straight out of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ.As ‘Rubbing Shoulders With The Absolute’ throbs along on a blissed-out dub rhythm artificially generated voices ensure the weirdness meter is kept firmly in the red.Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende makes his first studio appearance and throughout the album he proves to be a superb addition to the group, whether approximating the tight programmed style of The Hidden Step era or, as on the closing track, ‘Zenlike Creature’, tackling elusive prog time signatures with ease and finesse. As Ed Wynne winds up a solo worthy of fusion maestros Mahavishnu Orchestra he introduces a shimmering Hillage-esque repeating motif that stays in the mind long after the music has stopped.Technicians of the Sacred, for all its dynamic shifts and intricacies, is a very chilled-out release, one for relaxing to and for transportation to the other, wherever that may be. There are no jarring wig-out rock guitar hero sections or all-out sonic attacks like ‘The Throbbe’. Rather this is Ozric Tentacles’ most cohesive and accomplished effort in almost 20 years and a highlight of a long and peerless career." - Echoes And Dust
    $13.00
  • Mega-rare German underground organ/bass/drums trio blends Nice-like prog with some freakier moments. A great one!
    $21.00
  • "IRON MASK stand out from many other artists of the neo-classical metal genre because they manage to combine high musical ambitions with a certain kind of accessibility and lots of variety. With 'Fifth Son of Winterdoom', Dushan Petrossi and his band manage the musical claim to be very catchy, so fans of Firewind, Dio, Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen and Rainbow will all have their joy in this extraordinary album."
    $15.00
  • Budget priced 5CD set in a slimline set compiling the following:PhenomenonForce ItNo Heavy PettingLights OutObsession
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  • "There’s a certain irony to a band naming its debut album A Long Time Listening and then waiting five years to release its follow-up – but whether by accident or design, this is exactly what Agent Fresco have done. In the interim, however, with only occasional ventures outside of their native Iceland, the quartet have managed to build something of a cult following with music that is both electrifying and emotional in equal measure. Amongst their fanbase, anticipation levels for second album Destrier are several orders of magnitude beyond stratospheric. So how can they possibly be met?So let’s put everyone who may have clicked on this review with a sense of trepidation at ease as soon as possible, because not only have Agent Fresco met those expectations, they have surpassed them with almost astonishing ease. Destrier is, bluntly, a fucking masterpiece. Whether you read what follows this paragraph or not, you need to hear Destrier as soon as you can. You have been told.For those of you that are still with us, let’s delve a bit deeper into exactly what makes Destrier (pronounced DE-streer, linguistics fans) so very special. Like its predecessor, the contextual nucleus of the album is an extensive exploration of the complex web of emotions surrounding a pivotal event in the life of singer Arnor Dan Arnarson. Whereas the theme of A Long Time Listening was the grief following the death of his father, Destrier deals with the aftermath of a particularly violent attack that left some significant physical and mental injuries. As one might expect, Destrier is a considerably more burly – at times even angry – affair.A significant proportion of what makes Agent Fresco’s music so special is how cohesively the band operate together. Throughout Destrier, they pulse, flex, twitch and turn together like the sinews of a single, well-honed muscle. There is layer upon layer of complexity in the sound they create, yet it coalesces into something so immediately accessible that it reaches out to hug the listener like a long-lost friend even during that first, glorious, play through the record.What’s more, whilst each individual track stands firmly on its own two feet, they are given an extra lease of life in the context of the album as a whole. This is particularly apparent with lead single “Dark Water“, whose eruption out of the ominous, brooding, Massive Attack-esque tones of opening track “Let Them See Us” pushes it into a practically euphoric release. The album ebbs and flows as a single, continuous work of art that makes pushing the stop button tremendously difficult, so it’s best to make sure you have a free hour for that first listen. What’s more, as my colleague and our resident Icelander Jon Þor pointed out to me, final track “Mono No Aware” fades down to the same delicate note that opens the album after reprising the title track. This effectively means that the album loops almost seamlessly, which is a magical thing.The titular Destrier itself is a type of medieval war horse, whose use was reserved for battle alone. It is metaphorically deployed here by Arnor as a kind of spirit animal, giving him the fortitude to confront the anger and vulnerability he felt in the aftermath of the attack. This shows neatly the cryptic yet vivid imagery that Arnor is capable of conjuring through his lyrics, placing him in the same league as Maynard James Keenan, perhaps coupled with Muse‘s Matt Bellamy in both his sense of theatre and his achingly beautiful falsetto. However, without access to a full lyric sheet as I write, I’ll refrain from any hamfisted analysis of half-heard lines; I think it deserves more than that.Destrier also shows that whilst their music is almost immediately identifiable as Agent Fresco, they are not bound by any restrictions of genre, making the album as much of a musical voyage of adventure and exploration as a lyrical one. Perhaps the most surprising moment lies in the title track itself, which suddenly drops into dense, practically atonal shards of syncopated noise. Elsewhere, elements of greasy garage rock, slinky lounge music and soft, bubbling electronica can be found alongside more familiar choruses (which are often big enough to be visible from space), delicate piano-led sections and ebullient math-rock riffing.With more dynamic surprises like the vulnerability of “Bemoan” dropping into the brash savagery of “Angst” to be discovered, Destrier is a near-perfect artistic expression that stimulates mind, body and spirit in equal measure. Listeners may well find themselves immediately besotted, then even more deeply gratified through repeated listens.As you can probably tell, Destrier is a most uncommon delight. It will almost certainly prove to be one of the most essential listens of 2015, and maybe an even longer timescale than that. We can only hope that it won’t take another five years for Agent Fresco to release their next album, but even if that does happen, we will probably not have tired of this one by then. Destrier is a masterpiece; a glorious, life-affirming masterpiece that, once heard, will make you wonder how you managed without it. Go seek." - The Monolith
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  • "A Chinese Firedrill is a project assembled and put together by bass player Joey Vera. He has written all the tunes, and play most instruments, with just drums and "DJ scratching" handled by others. Which makes this album more of a solo release than a band project as such. Previous to this release Vera was best known as a band member, with his involvement in Armored Saint, Fates Warning and OSI arguably being the most high profiled. The album “Circles” was issued by Bridge Records in 2006, and re-released in 2007 by ProgRock Records when Joey Vera signed for them.Musically this release will be seen as an odd one by many listeners. Vera's background from metal bands shines through in the guitarwork on many tracks, while his involvement with bands like Chroma Key and OSI are easily detected by the use of synths, as well as ambient and industrial sounding elements in the musical tapestry. But the most striking feature of “Circles” is variation, as all songs explore more or less different musical styles.“Circles” moves between hard rock and heavy metal in style, with some nice synth work throughout, "Automatic Fantasy" explores a more folk-rock influenced musical landscape, spiced with at times extensive synths and a hard rock influenced chorus. The more or less aptly named tune "Insane" mixes mellow psychedelic influenced moods with a grandiose prog metal chorus, fusing both styles at the end, whereas "Siúcra" is more of a symphonic rock and neo-prog musical journey. "Never Say Never" is a trip into prog metal territories with space rock elements included, and the following track "Grass and Stone (Ethereal)" is more of a haunting metal ballad with symphonic and psychedelic tendencies. "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is the final track, mixing electronic and ambient sounds with hard rock and metal in a song with numerous changes in style, pace and sound.Vera is a talented performer and producer, and “Circles” proves that he's a very talented songwriter too. All tunes are coherent, even when exploring multitudes of styles. The songs move effortless between the different styles explored, and each individual song as well as the album as a whole has a distinct, individual sound. Overall this comes across as a very strong release - but perhaps with a slightly limited appeal.Personally I'd recommend this album to people into OSI in general, and fans of their second release Free in particular, but fans of slightly experimental progressive rock and metal might also find this album intriguing." - Olav Björnsen/USAProgressiveMusic.com
    $3.00
  • Great great album if you dig Mellotron. Not overly complex prog with more of an emphasis on drama and melodies. Nicknamed the "Poor-man's Moody Blues" by the press and that about sums them up. Nice one.
    $9.00
  • Special edition with bonus tracks."At first, I was somewhat unsure what I was going to get when I was sent this promo. The name seemed to be an attempt at a funny pun on the name of a “Harry Potter” character from my childhood. Then I read the press release, and just who was involved and realised it was going to be something awesome. Featuring ex-HELLOWEEN member Roland Grapow on guitars, as well as Thomen Stauch, who used to be in BLIND GUARDIAN, amongst other particularly good musicians, I just knew it was going to be a power metal treat.The album opens up with “I Seek No Other Life” and we’re straight into awesome riff territory, and some fantastically delivered vocals from Urban Breed, combined with awesome riffs and a powerful rhythm section, further developed by some nice bombastic keyboard melodies from Jan Vacik (ex-DREAMSCAPE). This is followed by “High And Low” and this has an awesome main melody that meets perfectly with the powerful chorus as well. A nice sense of groove really moves this song along.Some nice piano melodies open up “Sealing My Fate” in a delicate fashion, with some equally soft vocals here, before the song slams into a nice heavy yet melodic riff. This song has a really nice powerful chorus, and some great playing throughout. “Temple Of The Sun” is an instrumental with a fitting melody considering the title, with a highly symphonic sound to it, which then slams into “Akhenaton”, which is of course thematically similar to its instrumental introduction. This one has a real STRATOVARIUS feel to it, with really good use of dynamics in amongst some fantastic musical moments.“My Mystic Mind” is a real hard hitting track with some great guitar melodies and some nice use of dynamics, clashing stabbing guitars with piano melodies in a really interesting way. “Trail Of Murder” is straight off the bat a fantastic song, with some great guitar riffs meeting some tasty melodies. Again, the strong sense of dynamics is at play here, with lots going on in the song.Title-track “As Daylight Breaks” is a softer track, mainly relying on symphony and vocals to carry the track, with some really well performed parts all around making this a nice emotional sounding track with plenty of build and atmosphere. “Setting Fire To The Earth” follows this up and this one feels like PRAYING MANTIS on steroids, with heavy riffs and some great lyrical themes and vocal harmonies colliding to form a great track.Penultimate track, “Listen To The Storm”, builds an aptly moody atmosphere to start off with, with thunderous sounds meeting some nice guitar parts. The song develops nicely as it goes, with a really nice catchy chorus!The album ends on “Older And Wiser” and this is a nice high energy power metal track to finish things off, with some nice virtuosic playing and a nice fast pace throughout. This closes the album on a real nice note, leaving you feel pumped up and ready for more.The production is spot on, everything has a nice sense of power to it when needed, and softer moments are also equally well done. All the different things that are going on are mixed nicely, from heavy guitars to the softest piano moments. The vocals are also really nicely done, and a heavy rhythm section sound really powers this album along.“As Daylight Breaks” is a must-have for fans of Power Metal the way it should be done, there’s heavy and melodic riffs, soaring vocals, and great songwriting throughout this mammoth of an album. Keep your eyes peeled for this in 2015." - Metal Temple
    $16.00
  • The late Michael Hedges was one of the great visionary guitarists of our lifetimes. He used tapping techniques on acoustic guitar to create a wall of sound. He was influenced by John Fahey and Leo Kottke and made us all rethink what can possibly be done with an acoustic guitar.  Introspective but addictive.  If you have any interest in guitar you need to hear this album.
    $8.00
  • Limited first edition digipak of live recordings culled from Firewind's 2012 European tour as well as their 10th anniversary gigs in Greece from December 2012.
    $7.00