Iconoclast

SKU: NB2462-2-CL
Label:
Nuclear Blast
Category:
Power Metal
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Iconoclast is Symphony X's 8th album and debut for their new home at Nuclear Blast. All traces of the symphonic neoclassical metal that characterized their sound through V are now gone. The band made a stylistic change with The Odyssey, developed it further with Paradise Lost and now have really locked into their own identity with Iconoclast. It would be simple to call this power metal but you don't have normally hear a guitarist in a power metal band playing they type of leads that Mike Romeo conjures up. He is one of the most inventive guitarists in metal. Combined with Mike Pinella symphonic accents the progressive elements come through loud and clear. There are a lot of great vocalists in metal but some are a little better than others. Then you get vocalists like Jorn Lande and Russell Allen who are a lot better than the others. Allen comes through with another vocal tour de force. Yes I miss the days of Divine Wings Of Tragedy and Twilight In Olympus but I'm on board with the new sound. Its heavier - crunchier - more direct - but never dull. Romeo makes sure of it - he just bludgeons you with creativity. Highly recommended.

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  • Dream Theater began their mammoth A Dramatic Tour Of Events world trek in July 2011 with the final leg in South America taking place in August 2012. It was here at the Luna Park arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina that they decided to film the two nights that go to make up this DVD release. It was Dream Theater's first tour with new drummer Mike Mangini and all the tracks from their first album together A Dramatic Turn Of Events are included in either the main show or the bonus performances. Dream Theater are rock s supreme virtuosos with many awards to their name and here in concert they bring all the power and drama of their music to life with breathtaking performances of classic tracks from across their career.Features many of their classic tracks including: Metropolis Pt. 1 , The Silent Man , Pull Me Under , The Root Of All Evil , The Test That Stumped Them All , The Spirit Carries On and the recent On The Backs Of Angels .Bonus FeaturesDocumentary / Trailer / Behind The Scenes / Cartoon IntroTrack ListingDVDDisc One Main Show1) Bridges In The Sky 2) 6:00 3) The Dark Eternal Night 4) This Is The Life 5) The Root Of All Evil 6) Lost Not Forgotten 7) Drum Solo 8) A Fortune In Lies 9) The Silent Man 10) Beneath The Surface 11) Outcry 12) Piano Solo 13) Surrounded 14) On The Backs Of Angels 15) War Inside My Head 16) The Test That Stumped Them All 17) Guitar Solo 18) The Spirit Carries On 19) Breaking All Illusions 20) Metropolis Pt. 1Disc Two Bonus Tracks1) These Walls 2) Build Me Up, Break Me Down 3) Caught In A Web 4) Wait For Sleep 5) Far From Heaven 6) Pull Me Under
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  • UK band Touchstone take a surprising (at least to my ears) turn in a heavier direction.  While I would never call this full on metal, mixing engineer John Mitchell decided to turn their guitar up a notch.  Some good crunchy guitar bits through out the album.  The band was never a complex prog band.  Touchstone always had a melodic sensibility touching on AOR and neo-prog.  There is a symphonic element that keeps the music rooted in the prog world but you can tell that this is a band that is looking to cross over into other genres.  Their strongest asset remains vocalist Kim Seviour , who along with Leslie Hunt is one of the best female vocalists in the prog world."Returning once more to confound listeners and music reviewers alike, such as yours truly, with their ever evolving and pleasing neo-prog is England's Touchstone with their fourth long player, Oceans Of Time. Dare say, for their benefit, it's hard to pigeonhole Touchstone's sound. Is it hard rock? AOR? Progressive rock? Yes and then some, and it's not necessarily all that confounding really.However, I might say that Oceans Of Time could be their most 'proggy' album to date. If anything, the songs are quite varied, visiting old territory and exploring the new. Touchstone also returns to some familiar themes. The title track continues the Wintercoast story, and Shadow's End wraps up the Shadows trilogy begun on Discordant Dreams.These songs are also good examples of the strong progressive nature of the album, with Touchstone throwing curves to your ears. Yet Oceans Of Time will also sound more like familiar Touchstone as well. The musical canvas is quite grand lavished with layers of instrumentation, notably Hodgson's guitar and Cottingham's keyboards. Flux is another fine example of Touchstone's exotic musical brew. It's got some hard rock chops mixed with the prog, and then, about the three minute mark, it calms down. Synths stir, then Kim Seviour's vocals arrive, and the arrangement swells to sweet crescendo. It's one of best moments of the album.Other highlights include the bass and drum lines of Contact, a moody piece where Seviour's voice is alluring and graceful; the clever drumming within Fragments, possibly the closest thing to straight melodic rock song here; and, Spirit of the Age, a song with balancing lighter moments with heavier ones, and Seviour at her most sublime. Touchstone is band that keeps evolving and getting better, and so is always interesting and entertaining. Oceans Of Time is well recommended." - Dangerdog.com
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  • "Home to koala bears, kangaroos, and vegemite sandwiches (thank you Men At Work for that reference), Australia also maintains a very healthy metal scene, especially in the power/progressive and extreme sub-genres. Black Majesty from Melbourne revels in melodic power metal with progressive tinges, establishing over the course of their four studio records a sound appealing to an older generation who love double-bass fury, kinetic dueling guitar work and multi-octave vocal prowess. The fifth platter Stargazer delivers more of the same, with no apologizing in their commitment to their cause.Guitarists Stevie Janevski and Hanny Mohamed waste no time unleashing their clean and electric riff knowledge, using a Masterplan-like template 15 seconds into “Falling” to crush your ears with power glory. It’s obvious that the musicians love to flash around happy Helloween cultural reference points - the speedier “Voice of Change” giving vocalist John Cavaliere ample chance to reside in his higher falsetto Dickinson-meets-Kiske zone. The band also know when to fluctuate their tempos- becoming more morose and theatrical on the militant “Symphony of Death” which begins ballad-ish before the Maiden and Iced Earth stomp prepares you for the impending battle cry.Recording at their own studio in Melbourne as well as with Masterplan’s Roland Grapow at his studio in Slovakia, the sound has a clarity that emphasizes strong melodies, hero worthy soloing, and a rhythm section up to the energy exchange challenge. The title cut even throws down a tip of the influence cap to Blind Guardian, who the band toured with on their Australian tour last year.Black Majesty has their own niche brand and performs their songs with a majestic grace that bleeds professionalism. Transforming Iron Maiden and Helloween at their creative peaks for a modern, 2012 audience, Stargazer should have no trouble settling in to those audiences’ record collections. " - Blistering.com
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  • Remastered edition with bonus tracks."Relieved from the pressures of having to record a hit single, Gary Moore cuts loose on some blues standards as well as some newer material. Moore plays better than ever, spitting out an endless stream of fiery licks that are both technically impressive and soulful. It's no wonder Still Got the Blues was his biggest hit." - Allmusic Guide
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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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  • "When Gregg Allman was asked why Dickey Betts was kicked out of the Allman Brothers Band in the spring of 2000, he is reported to have suggested the answer lay in the tapes from the group's two-week stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York. That makes it surprising that the Allmans would turn to those tapes to assemble their first new album release in five and a half years, Peakin' at the Beacon. Happily, however, there is no evidence of Betts' alleged shortcomings on the disc, though it must be admitted that, since he is one of two lead guitarists (the other being Derek Trucks, making his recorded debut with the band), it isn't always easy to tell who is playing. There is plenty of guitar work, and it is up to the Allmans' usual standard. Following the instrumental opener, Gregg Allman sings lead on seven straight songs, all of which come from the band's first three studio albums. Betts finally appears as a vocalist on the ninth track, the 1990 folk-country tune "Seven Turns." Finally, there is a 27-and-a-half-minute version of the 1975 Betts instrumental "High Falls," a typical extended workout complete with jazzy interludes and a lengthy percussion section. the Allmans may not have been due for another live album (two of their last three releases being concert recordings), but the series of Beacon shows has become an annual event, and the disc serves as a souvenir from the March 2000 shows. Fans who attended those shows, or who just want to be reassured that the Allmans sound much the same as ever, may enjoy the album; less devoted listeners probably shouldn't bother." - Allmusic
    $5.00