Immortal

SKU: IW8035
Label:
Inner Wound Recordings
Category:
Power Metal
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Lance King is out...replaced by Iced Earth's Matt Barlow.

"Formed in 2001, Danish power metal band Pyramaze has managed to maintain a fairly steady line up. However, there have been several recent changes to the vocalist position. After releasing two albums with Pyramaze, 2004's "Melancholy Beast" and 2006's "Legend of the Bone Carver," vocalist Lance King decided to step down. Pyramaze would find a surprising replacement in Matt Barlow, who stepped down from American power metal giant Iced Earth in 2001 to pursue a career in law enforcement. However, Barlow's stay in Pyramaze would be brief, as he was only used to record vocals on "Immortal" before reuniting with Iced Earth. Urban Breed is now the current vocalist for Pyramaze.

"Immortal" has a predictable, but interesting theme. Each song depicts a different form of immortality. Including the recount of the 300 Spartans gaining immortality both historically and mythologically during their legendary last stand at the battle of Thermopolea, to the horror of not being able to escape from a nightmare and a ghost that wanders for eternity. The theme also covers emotional subjects such as finding peace via suicide to suffering in hell and the never ending battle against the demons that plague us everyday. Though immortality has become a cliche in the power metal subgenre, Pyramaze has shown how diverse the theme of immortality can be.

Stylistically, "Immortal" is intended to be a power metal epic, and it delivers. The main influences seem to be Iron Maiden and Iced Earth's "Horror Show" and are dominating throughout. Other influences that appear are the Kamelot inspired piano ballad "Legacy in Rhyme," the Children of Bodom keyboard tone and riff in "Ghost Light" and the King Diamond influenced "Touched by the Mara." Symphonic elements give the album a very epic sense. The opening track "Arise" and the closing track "March through an Endless Rain" sound like they could have come from the "Gladiator" or "300" movie soundtracks.

The music on "Immortal" is quality symphonic power metal. Guitarist and mastermind Michael Kammeyer puts in an excellent performance with Matt Barlow showing that he hasn't lost a step and delivering a stand out performance. However, the use of some cheesy Dragonforce-esque guitar effects for a few solos along with some cheesy vocal melodies and overly simplistic riffs are my biggest criticism of the album. However, these complaints are nothing new, as every Pyramaze album to date has incorporated those elements. Even so, the cheesy elements are only a small portion of the album and don't take away from the overall epic feel. Overall, "Immortal" is a positive step for Pyramaze." - Metal Underground

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  • "Wow, what lovely album!When we talk about North American Metal, always comes to our minds the idea of a good level of musical technique and the use of great melodies. It’s a characteristic of their scene, and the Power/Heavy Metal trio NINTH CIRCLE is to be as melodic and catching, knowing how to be heavy and melodic on the same proportions. And their new album, “Legions of the Brave”, is an excellent sample of what your Ol’ Big Daddy here is saying.Their music is catching, elegant, heavy, full of life and energy, with good level of technique. And their music really is charming, with excellent clean vocals, great guitar riffs and solos, a rhythmic kitchen showing a good work in terms of technique and weight, and the keyboards work is lovely. And their music is not simply a mix of Heavy Metal with Power Metal aspects, but has high doses of AOR/Hard Rock touches. And it’s excellent.The sound production really is on a high level, making the band sound clear and the arrangements appear, but without losing the notion that we’re dealing with a Metal band.So, you will got in love with their work listening great and perfect songs like “After the Rain”, “Living on the Sun” (what great chorus), “The Quickening” (the great chorus and keyboards are giving a delicious taste to the music), the bold and heavier “Legions of the Brave”, and “Grinding the Bastards Down”. But don’t get the wrong idea: the album is wonderful from beginning to the end.Listen, got on the circle, and buy it. Illegal downloads are for sissies, wimps, posers and other sick mind idiots." - Metal Temple
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  • "Sinbreed is the project around 27 year old Guitarist Flo Laurin who joined forces with dedicated artists of the European metal scene. The blistering combination of speed, melodic and aggressive arrangements combined with high and soaring vocals characterizes Sinbreed's distinctive Power metal, and they now present their debut album "When worlds collide".The project has been in the making since the late nineties by founder Flo Laurin, and piece by piece everything has fallen in place; from the style of the music, the influences and the band members. Three demo’s were recorded, and the last one was voted “Best newcomer of the month” in Germany’s Heavy Magazine. During spring 2009 a deal was made with Sweden’s Ulterium Records, and the band started to work hard on their debut album.The members of Sinbreed are Frederik Ehmke [Blind Guardian] on drums, Hebie Langhans [Seventh Avenue] on vocals, Alexander Schulz on bass and Flo Laurin who handles guitars and keys. For the mixing and mastering of the album the band decided to work together with the highly acclaimed producer Markus Teske, famous for his work with Symphony X, Vanden Plas, Neal Morse among others.Guests on the album includes Thomas Rettke [Redkey, Ex. Heaven's Gate], Joost van den Broek [Ayreon, Star One] and Morten Sandager [Pretty Maids]. The artwork was created by Felipe Machado Franco [Iced Earth, Ayreon, Pyramaze] and the booklet by Markus Sigfridsson [Darkwater, Harmony]."
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  • "As we’ve been chronicling all year long, 2013 has been a great year for Norwegian progressive metal with some excellent progressive power metal from Illusion Suite, Tellus Requiem and Pellek, the new album by the long-running prog metal band Divided Multitude, the fantastic new album by Leprous and the exciting debut by Withem (you can read our review here).  Now, into that great mix the young band Vicinity has just released their debut full -length album, Awakening and it easily stands with the best of what their countrymen have produced this year. The band works in a decidedly melodic and dramatic fashion anchored around the wonderful voice of Alexander Lykke, the multi-faceted guitars of Kim-Marius Olsen and the powerful drumming of Frode Lillevold.  Interestingly there are no keyboards on the album (except for a few background sounds for effects) which wasn’t readily apparent to me at first because the songs are so well written and the vocal melodies are so strong. Olsen multi-tracks soft and harder textures to really give the album a rich sound.  The album has a great full sound and was mastered by the prolific Jens Bogren.Awakening is an hour long album but only has six songs.  Three are in the 11-14 minute range and the other three are between 5-6 minutes. The longer songs are not really more complex, but just feel necessary to the structure of each song which is really a testament to the band’s composition style -- the band will do a long song if warranted but works well in both long and short song formats.  The album begins with Mass Delusion which starts as a high-energy rocker but has a great instrumental mid-section that propels the song to its energetic conclusion. Opportunities Lost is the longest song on the album at over 14 minutes and is a deceptively simple song that consistently builds tension throughout the piece, alternates between short instrumental interludes, both soft and hard, and has a great vocal melody that ends in a wonderfully dramatic finale. Again, it’s fairly simple in structure but is so well written that I couldn’t believe it was as long as it was.  I was reminded of what great neo-progressive bands like IQ often do so well -- take a great idea and vary and expand on it to great emotional conclusions.  Across The River is a shorter, five minute song and is mostly a ballad that builds in intensity throughout to a powerful finale.   Walk All The Way is an 11-minute song that’s easily my favorite on the album as its got some of the most beautiful vocals on Awakening, has the heaviest section on the album right in the middle (complete with some harsher vocals for contrast and intensity) before building to a wonderfully majestic finale.  Olsen also really shines here as well with some great emotional soloing.  The Time For Change is next and it’s yet another amazing power ballad that shows, yet again how well this band can create drama and excitement.  The album ends with the 11 minute album title song that has a fairly heavy opening section but ends with a stunningly beautiful epic finish.  Honestly there’s not a weak moment on this album and if dramatic and emotionally affective progressive metal is your cup of tea, this album will hit you hard.Awakening is a really, really solid album that has so much going for it. It’s got a great, joyously youthful spirit and is decidedly focused on the emotional content instead of trying to wow the listener with technicality.   Vicinity is primarily a band of great melodic songwriters and they have the perfect vocalist in Lykke to carry out their vision of exciting  progressive music and if they continue on this path could really make some waves in this great genre." - Prog Metal Zone
    $15.00
  • "GAZPACHO was formed in 1996 by Jon-Arne Vilbo and Thomas Andersen and Jan-Henrik Ohme, later completed by the three others. They released six studio albums, which were well received. The Norwegian band is bringing out their seventh album, ‘March Of Ghosts’ which Vilbo describes as “a collection of short stories. The idea behind the album was to have the lead character spend a night where all these ghosts (dead and alive) would march past him to tell their stories. Characters include Haitian war criminals, the crew of the Marie Celeste, a returning American WWI soldier who finds himself in 2012 and the ghost of an English comedy writer who was wrongly accused of treason.” You might then expect quite a dramatic concept album with a lot of turbulent and heavy soundscapes or with the ghostliness some eerie and ethereal, thickly layered atmospheric songs, but with the mixture of ambient and folk elements into their post-art rock sound the music is more on the relaxing side. Though the layers and atmosphere are there, it’s rather straightforward and unpretentious and accessible. Many of the songs are dreamy, mostly evoked by Ohme’s vocal, take the first part of the ‘Hell Freezes Over’ songs, of which the second part, following the first, ups on the intensity, but it’s still pretty low key affair, reminiscent of MUSE. Added interest to this song comes with some bagpipe-y, Celtic sounds towards the end raising the oomph as it fades. ‘Black Lily’ is enhanced by some unimposing and non-bombastic orchestra parts. Some compare GAZPACHO to ANATHEMA, PORCUPINE TREE and MARILLION, yet the sound so many times reminds me of the band I’ve previously mentioned – MUSE, this track in some ways is the most representative of it - with the vocals and the way the melody sways, lets go and intensifies with that nearly MUSE-like music diction. Guitar details and folk-ish elements in the ‘Gold Star’ change this tack somewhat and earn rather the comparison with MARILLION. The violin and dreaminess in the third part of ‘Hell Freezes Over’ and its melancholy create the best moment of the album together with ‘Mary Celeste’ which has this precarious steering towards heavier sound with some wonderful detailing going on with piano, and darker, moodier strings. The lyrical narrative stands out more here too. ‘Golem’ has a most pronounced sense of experimentation woven together in an appealing way. Lyrically I especially enjoy how they’ve worked the legend of Golem into an interesting metaphor. The last part of ‘Hell Freezes Over’ is the hardest here, yet atmospheric and quite beautiful and the reference to ANATHEMA comes justified here. In fact within the last few sentences I have also written some of the adjectives that fit this album overall quite well - appealing, (very) interesting, beautiful, and also a multi-faceted and richly rewarding listen. " - Reflections In Darkness
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  • Guitarist/vocalist Clay Withrow is the heart and soul behind Vangough.  He's made some fine albums in the past but this is clearly his best as you can tell that he's exerting more of his own vision.  The previous albums were fine slices of progressive metal, bu they were clearly influenced heavily by Pain Of Salvation.  While there is some of that early PoS feel, Between The Madness has more of Clay than Daniel.  Its very angst driven music - from the vocals to the grinding guitar solos.  This is one pissed off band.  Its a non-stop prog metal roller coaster ride.  BUY OR DIE!"Over the last two full-length albums leading up to this, the band’s most important release, one thing is strikingly clear: Vangough has been eating their Wheaties. Whereas the last album couldn't find its center of gravity despite merits and high replay value, "Between The Madness" bridges the gap between Vangough's left brain and right brain. Moreover, the band feels much more balanced with the addition of drummer Kyle Haws. Further, it sounds like mastermind Clay Withrow had pushed himself beyond his limits to expand the Vangough tone palate.On the “Acoustic Scars” EP, Withrow developed a vocal technique that finds full maturation on "Between The Madness:” the rage-sing. Almost a yell, but neither a scream nor a simple vocal fry and free of any pitch interference, Withrow's rage-sing makes the lyrical intent as clear as it can be. The album offers bile to many parties, lyrically, and puts the listener behind a sometimes uncomfortable but necessary first-person perspective: any other perspective simply would not do justice to the intent. Vangough has always been more effective at conveying feelings than telling stories, but never before had the songs had such a natural novel-like flow to them. All the while, Withrow peppers his versatile clean singing with elaborate layers of harmony and polyphony, making for subtly different listening experiences each time.The overall sound hasn't drastically changed, and even shows some musical nods to prior songs. In "Vaudeville Nation," a scathing condemnation of a track, a clever link is established with "Mannikin Parade" around 4:28. The main melody of the latter is re-introduced on guitars in a straight-played manner. Later in the song, a similar "Mannikin Parade" vocal melody emerges in the line "...and burn the circus to the ground," and up through the yell following it. Further, continuing the storyline started with "Road To Blighttown" on the “Acoustic Scars” EP, "Depths of Blighttown" adds a fitting dark and ominous chapter to the story.The added input from Haws and bassist Jeren Martin have made the songs seem more logical, acting as balancing forces. The drumming style of Haws is noticeably organized, nuanced, and thought-out and could be accurately categorized as a blend of the styles of Lamb of God's Chris Adler, Opeth-era Martin Lopez, and Pain of Salvation-era Johan Langell. The mixing job by Sterling Winfield is a stunning step forward for the band as well, and the drum sound is particularly remarkable for its bright, punchy, but balanced character. Lead guitarist Jay Gleason makes several shred-tastic appearances to accentuate the technicality of Vangough's instrumentation, while Justus Johnston and Jose Palacios make appearances on strings to further amplify the feeling of the songs and add a superb creep factor touching on Resident Evil levels at times.No song feels out of place or unessential, with "Infestation," "Schizophrenia," "Vaudeville Nation," "Useless," and "Corporatocracy" as highlights. The dynamic growth between “Kingdom of Ruin” and “Between The Madness” makes this album out to be Vangough's “Blackwater Park,” what many will no doubt cite as the band’s seminal record. Put simply, there has never been a better time to jump off of whatever progressive metal train you've been on and ride with Vangough. "Into the dark I take you," Withrow jabs at us. Make sure your seatbelts are securely fastened." - Metal Underground
    $11.00
  • "After some high profile releases and particularly impressive ubiquity, the ex-DREAM THEATER / A7X drums God Mike Portnoy is back again with his new musical partner the magnificent Bass Maestro Billy Sheehan (NIACIN / TALAS / DAVID LEE ROTH / MR BIG / STEVE VAI / PSMS), under a power trio format, completed by none other than one of the most gifted Guitarist of his generation once Sharpnel Records alumni Richie Kotzen but this time no instrumental trickery, no instrumental knitting, because Kotzen beside his absolute skilled six strings wizardry is also indeed an hell of a fantastic soulful singer and a very underrated vocalist of the best brand. This is a  supergroup, a Dream Team hell yeah…but mostly a great band.With such a busy time schedule for both workaholics Portnoy & Sheehan, we could have feared a fast almost sloppy affair, luckily with this first album is exactly the opposite. Sheehan & Kotzen were working many years together with MR BIG and in fact the sound of THE WINERY DOGS isn’t that far from what Sheehan, Paul Gilbert , Pat Torpey and Eric Martin have magnificently achieved.The album start with groovy 70s infused blast of “Elevate” and followed by the heavy Funk flavor of “Desire” each track feature an intense rhythmic groove with short but impressive unison synchronized lead bass / lead guitar whirlwind licks of exuberant virtuosity, some unexpected harmonies that coming out of the Jazz-Rock / Rhythm N' Blues recipe book owned by Kotzen, but every song carries most of all a strong focus both on the catchy melodies and on the sing-along hooks which are everywhere boosted by rich Backing vocals (“The Other Side” or “The Dying”) really magnetic & irresistible. Those who are familiar with the prolific superb Kotzen’s discography knows that he’s an hugely skilled songwriter with a lot of style in his arsenal, so THE WINERY DOGS debut album is out of the same tradition as THE MOTHER HEAD'S FAMILLY REUNION, “Not Hopeless” contains however some over the top sharing duo between Richie & Billy, in the real MR BIG's shredding frenzy fashion, like a modern day GRAND FUNK RAILROAD with full injection of high tech dexterity.Cuts like “One More Time” or “Six Feet Deeper” seems to be outtakes from the breath taking 1990s “Fever Dream”, with furious playing and great musicality concentrated for an even more efficiency. The Japan only bonus track, “Criminal” is strangely one of the most commercial song with an almost AOR chorus, a syncopated bridge and another outstanding lead guitar solo spot in two parts with a tasty sound. The closing number “Regret” is the sole composition handled exclusively by Mr. Kotzen: it’s a soul music track with slight Hammond layers and a real harmonious balanced to finish this album in a positive way. The pristine production is powerful and crystal clear, still organic with a strong vintage feel but not muddy, in fact it sounds like how Classic Rock in its purest form should sound in 2013. Just unadulterated genuine Rock played by an exemplary bunch of extremely talented musicians and it’s an understatement.After an imposing huge list of albums and projects under his belt, Mike Portnoy with the help of another all-star lineup show to the incredulous crowd of jealous fellows, how his playing field is broad and how he can multiply in an almost monthly omnipresence the recording with the same prestige and the same success as FLYING COLORS / NEAL MORSE / PSMS / ADRENALINE MOB and the forthcoming BIGELF." - Metal Temple
    $14.00
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  • Amazing how these guys are still able to bring it. A Night For Baku turns it up a notch and then kicks it into overdrive finding the boys from Cali unleashing their usual assortment of psych-tinged progressive mayhem. Somewhere...someplace...the Progressive Gods are looking down on us with a big grin on their faces...Djam Karet have delivered the real goods again.
    $15.00
  • "Forever tied with fellow gothic symphonic metal band Tristania, Sirenia were formed when Morten Veland left Tristania over musical and personal differences in 1999, despite the band just releasing their breakthrough record Beyond the Veil. Now twelve years later, Sirenia have taken two and half years to perfect the songwriting for their latest opus Perils of the Deep Blue.Early on Sirenia followed the approach of the “Beauty and the Beast” style vocals where they blended operatic female singing with guttural death metal vocals. That all changed with 2009’s release The 13th Floor where they brought in female vocalist Ailyn as their permanent vocalist. She had just participated in the Spanish version of X Factor and her wide vocal range brought a sense of melody and more of a rock style vocal to the band.Perils of the Deep Blue is a marked improvement over their last release The Enigma of Life. This time around the songs sound inspired and not so formulaic. Their utilization of combining clean male and female singing with harsh vocals is second to none. Despite utilizing more of his raspy vocals, Veland is on fire with his clean singing on “Ditt Endelikt.”Ailyn is the star here though, as her vocals play a major role in the songwriting. “Decadence” captures her accessible side as she embodies Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel. She also utilizes an amazing range and uses opera inspired vocals on “Darkling” and the first single “Seven Widows Weep.” Her ability to capture the mixture of technicality and memorable vocal lines is impressive.The use of orchestration is not over the top and executed with a lot of finesse. “Seven Widows Weep” also incorporates a choir and the interplay between the heavy riffs, double bass drumming and strings is outstanding. “Profound Scars” has a driving tempo and incorporates some electronic elements to go with the energetic guitar riffs. A little reminiscent of later day Theatre of Tragedy, Sirenia should incorporate faster tempos more often.The 12-minute plus “Stille Kom Døden” is epic in scope. By far the longest song of their career, the melody lines on the guitar are gorgeous and work well with the orchestration. The pace is very slow and is a great throwback to Veland’s doom past. A moving riff comes in half way through the track as Veland’s vocals annihilate the listener.At an hour and seven minutes, Perils of the Deep Blue is a lot to digest. Even though the songwriting is more focused this time around, it is simply too long. It could have been shortened considerably as the tempos aren’t varied enough and we do run into some monotony.A more inspired release that we have seen from Sirenia in a long time and their best with vocalist Ailyn. Their continued use of three distinct vocal styles is impressive and Veland is an exceptional musician. Not only does he sing and play guitar but plays a plethora of musical instruments throughout.I was concerned with the future and direction of Sirenia after the release of The Enigma of Life, but am pleasantly surprised with their renewed focus as the songwriting is not lethargic this time around. Not many do the symphonic gothic metal style better, and that tradition continues with Perils of the Deep Blue." - About.com
    $13.00