Impetus (BLOW OUT PRICE!)

"Impetus is the debut offering from Austrian melodic metal band Ecliptica. The band plays a fairly straightforward melodic metal that incorporates elements of both progressive and power metal. Imagine Axel Rudi Pell with traces of Edguy, Sonata Arctica, and perhaps Ayreon (lyrics weren't provided, but this feels like a rock opera or at least a concept album at times) and you'll get a basic idea of Ecliptica's sound.

It's a little surprising to find an album like this on the Frontiers label. Frontiers is no stranger to melodic metal, of course, but their releases tend to be of much higher profile and much higher quality. The musicianship on Impetus is high caliber, approaching progressive metal technicality at times, and there are some great melodies, but the songwriting is a bit uneven. When the band is doing a full-on rocker, it's easy to get into the music and melodies; likewise with their more melodic, sing-along power metal tracks (see "Carry On" and "Land of Silence"). The rock opera type songs ("Turn Away" in particular) just seem a bit too melodramatic, and are marred by some less than stellar vocal performances.

Making use of both male and female vocalists is a shrewd move, and one that would pay off if the vocalists in question further develop their talents. Elisabeth Fangmeyer and Thomas Tiebur have decent enough voices, but they both have a definite accent and seem to lack the kind of power that could really draw listeners into the music. It sounds like the vocals are buried in the mix as well. This would be a drawback for any release, but on an album like Impetus where Fangmeyer and Tiebur often appear to be playing characters in a rock opera, their weakness is a major distraction from the otherwise impressive music.

Impetus is a perfectly solid but not particularly remarkable offering from a band that definitely shows potential. Future releases from Ecliptica bear watching, but Impetus is unlikely to satisfy most fans of Frontiers' melodic metal roster." - Hardrock Haven

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    $12.00
  • Epic, bombastic, crazy over the top, power metal from Italay a la Rhapsody Of Fire."Somewhere in Italy there lies a well. In that well, there exists a special water that most Italian musicians drink from to obtain the gifts that few possess in the music world. After hearing Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody reach the sky with “Ascending to Infinity,” I thought it was nearly unattainable for any band to come close to it ever, let alone within months after its release. In fact, I thought the only band with a shot to match it would be Rhapsody of Fire....until now. Suddenly up from the fires of Hades...er, the former Olympic city of Turin, rumbles Sound Storm with its sophomore effort, “Immortalia.” Rather than presenting its form of symphonic power as “Rhapsody straight up,” Sound Storm serves it up as “Rhapsody and Wuthering Heights with a twist of jalapeƱo.” With its own modus operandi, Sound Storm expands the sound by adding a touch of extreme, which to me spells pure excitement.Like Parmigianino painting a beautiful landscape in the 1500's, Sound Storm paints its own masterpiece with each band member adding broad strokes to the soundscape of "Immortalia." Melody upon melody, the album is relentless in its ability to wrangle the imagination of the listener. The mesh of masterful guitar work from Valerio Sbriglione and the perfect atmosphere cast by keyboardist Alessandro Muscio, amid the thundering rapid fire drumming of Federico Brignolo and bass work of Massimiliano Flak, set up the devastating vocals of Phillippe D’Orange (a/k/a Filippo Arancio). The huge standout is the band’s use of harsh vocals a la Sbriglione, which accent D’Orange’s soaring “Fabo Lione meets Nils Patrik Johansson” range in a way that surpasses the male/female “beauty and beast” style.With Sound Storm’s unique approach, there is something for everyone within this 58 minute opus. Here the band covers an element sorely missing on many European power metal releases - a nod to the extreme. After witnessing Fabio Lione screeching near black metal on Rhapsody of Fire’s dazzling “Reign of Terror,” it hit me that symphonic power acts could add this little touch and change the very complexion of an album. It certainly doesn’t need to be overpowering or draw any attention away from the pageantry. On “Immortalia,” Sound Storm employs this tool as a secret weapon on songs like “Call Me Devil,” “The Curse of the Moon,” and “Faraway,” the latter of which is one of the finest on the album. It took some time to pick the winner when every song shines, but the rapid fire riff reminiscent of Rock N Rolf on “Wrath of the Storm” completely satisfied an undying hunger for speed.One of the things I really appreciate about this album is meticulous attention to the smallest of details. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the sweeping majestic symphony of the album, but there are tons of little sounds, time changes, and little inflections that come out from nowhere to grasp the listener. Few albums gave me so much enjoyment from start to finish because of this. Right then, you want examples: how about the stunning duet of D’Orange and guest vocalist Ilaria Lucille on both “Blood of Maiden” and “Call Me Devil” with Sbriglione’s evil grunts circling them both like a serpent. Or perhaps the “modern day Beethoven” composition in the middle of “The Curse of the Moon,” or the little psychotic guitar whips on the main verses of “Promises.” Add to those the beautiful piano interlude at the start of “Faraway,” and the heavily Middle Eastern influenced “Seven Veils.”“Immortalia” quite simply puts the band’s debut “Twilight Opera” to shame. The song writing and compositions are truly remarkable. There is no doubt “Immortalia” will top my list for 2012, as it has already crept into the same company as some of my all time favorite releases...just like that.Highs: Some of the most breathtaking compositions in symphonic power metal.Lows: Fans who desire less orchestration will find this gaudy.Bottom line: Sound Storm's sophomore effort is undoubtedly "Immortalia."" - Metal Underground
    $15.00
  • "Drop was the first fruit of Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison's collaboration with singer and extended range bass player 05Ric, and featured contributions from Robert Fripp, Dave Stewart and Gary Sanctuary.Nine carefully crafted songs combined with ground-breaking multi-layered guitars, vocal harmonies and rhythms.This is the 2013 Kscope edition of the duo's astonishing debut."
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  • Legit reissue with 5 bonus tracks from this 1970 monster UK rarity.  Red Dirt were a raw blues based quartet  but their music had progressive and psychedelic overtones.  Rippin' guitarwork through out.  Recommended to fans of Incredible Hog, Human Beast, and Groundhogs."Red Dirt were a blues band formed in East Yorkshire around 1968 comprised of Dave Richardson (vocals), Steve Howden (guitar), Kenny Giles (bass) and Steve Jackson (drums) who built up an impressive live reputation in clubs and venues in the North of England. They were subsequently signed to Morgan Bluetown, When released in 1970, on the Fontana label, their self-titled debut album sunk without trace and legend - or rumour - has it sold something like 100 copies. In the last forty years Red Dirt has become a rare and expensive album with more people having heard about it than actually seen an original copy. Although valued in the 2010 edition of the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide at E650 copies have sold for over £800 on eBay.But what was the story behind Red Dirt? Amazingly, when Record Collector announced the first vinyl reissue of the album in late 2009 the article was read by an aspiring American journalist Betsy Green who was in touch with original guitarist Steve Howden, now working as a delivery driver in Hollywood. Green interviewed Howden and four decades later we finally found out that the band came together after drummer Steve Jackson approached Howden in a pub in Bridlington in their native East Yorkshire. Howden was keen and Jackson's friends Kenny Giles and Dave Richardson were drafted in on bass guitar and lead vocals. Richardson had worked with future Hull legend Mick Ronson as well as Michael Chapman.The band attracted the interest of Morgan Bluetown who signed them. Red Dirt were put into the studio with producer Geoff Gill. "We recorded the album in Morgan studios London," recalls Howden, "McCartney finished his album in there which was a big buzz for us. They booked us in from midnight onwards, to six in the morning and the album didn't take that long, around twelve hours I think. They managed overdubs for the vocals to get them right but I don't think they ever put them on. It was all very rushed and was only ever released in England" In fact the album was licensed by Morgan to the Fontana label who released Red Dirt in 1970 and it literally vanished without trace.There has been much speculation in recent years as to whether legendary record sleeve designer Barney Bubbles was responsible for the eye-catching sleeve image of a red Indian with 4 bullet holes in his forehead dripping blood. The rear sleeve credits the design to Teenburger, Bubbles Notting Hill based company. As a number of people worked for Teenburger it is impossible to confirm if Bubbles had a hand in the, sleeve design.As for the music, Red Dirt is a lost classic. There is an element of the Doors Morrison Hotel period and a whiff of Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band in the rocking driving blues of tracks like Death Letter and Problems. Song For Pauline on the other hand harks back to the Delta of Robert Johnston comprising of only slide guitar and vocals. Memories and In The Morning were probably considered as songs fit for release as singles as both have a compelling commercial edge and benefit from more extensive arrangements which the band augmented by what sounds like a mellotron and an organ that gives their powerful music more texture and depth.That Red Dirt's natural musical chemistry was honed on the live circuit is demonstrated on the riff and harmonica prowl of Ten Seconds To Go and the driving locomotive engine of Maybe I'm Right. There is also the acid smoke-folk of Summer Madness Laced With Newbald Gold which opens with Richardson groaning and laughing against a dirty guitar riff and the song is then propelled forward by drum pattern straight out of Safe As Milk. "It seems as if the red dirt is blowing into my eyes," sings Richardson on this outstanding track which sadly reflected the critical and commercial indifference that greeted the release of the album. It appears that the band later returned to the studio to record additional material earmarked for a second album that was, according to one press report when the band were supporting Mott The Hoople on a tour in January 1971 "nearing completion and should be available shortly".Sadly, the young Red Dirt dudes never did issue that second LP but this CD features five bonus tracks featuring Ron Hales on guitar who had replaced Steve Howden. So, as well as enjoying their debut you can also get down in the dirt and wrap your ears around From End To End, Yesterday And Today, The Circle Song, I'd Rather Go Back 15 Years and Tolly Cobbold. Thanks to Secret Records you don't have to pay an arm and a leg to do so!by Ian Shirley, Record Collector magazine" - Rockasteria
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  • New remixed, remastered edition with a bonus track and additional vocal and keyboard passages."My fellow BW&BK scribe (and boss) Chris Bruni described this album as "a masterpiece for the ages." Whether or not this description sounds hyperbolic even by metal scribe standards, well, that's a decision to be reached by the ages, I suppose. The specifity of this masterpiece (and it is) deserves clear focus. The Swedish doom metal outfit has passed beyond the promise of their debut to crystalize into one of two great bands striving for a seat on metal's highest throne-- the other one, naturally, being Opeth. But more about them soon!"Ghost of the Sun" sets the quality standard that the rest of the album more than exceeds. The Beatlesque harmonies are just the beginning. And not to profane any purist ears, but if you can stand the thought of emopunks The Ataris, whose videos blanket MTV and annoying popups dominate MP3 sites -- anyway, if you can stand the thought of The Ataris being cited in the same breath as Swedish doom, well, let's just say these guys are on the same page, a page called nostalgia.Let's be blunt: if you have a heart, Katatonia will break it. Whether it's the mournfully accepting Beatles reference in "Ghost of the Sun" -- "You said hello/I said goodbye," or it's charging chief riff, like a crystal shard through hope's molecular structure, or the way Jonas Renske's voice breaks like fragile glass and coheres around a cool determination; whether it's "the way the light hits the room" in "Criminals," in which love and its denial are coded in the discourse of penalism [check out Foucault's Discipline and Punishfor more on this]; or the coda, "Inside the City of Glass," which as the 13th song at the same time completes the cycle begun on "Ghost" -- there's so many layers, and rich at that, on this album that all I can say further is, buy it and cherish it. Chris is right." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • Glass Hammer get all existential on us...Perilous is the new band's new concept album about a man dealing with grand scale issues like mortality.  A bit of a downer but like all Glass Hammer projects there is a ray of sunshine at the end.  Glass Hammer is fronted by Jon Davison who was plucked away by the remaining members of Yes for current tours and cruises.  He remains a member of GH as well.  Naturally with the voice of a Jon Anderson sound alike, the music bears remarkable similarity to Yes.  Some of Fred Schendel's piano work reminds a bit of Going For The One.  When Fred is hammering away on the organ the music takes on a Kansas quality.  So essentially not much has changed.  Glass Hammer's sound has pretty much evolved into a Yes/Kansas hybrid over the past decade and there it remains.
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  • A tremendous album where they mix the avant-garde stuff in a bit with the tunes and it really works! Don't let this description drive you off. This is a powerful fusion band. Just one with a fervent imagination. I know several people that hate that squeaky stuff but love the tune Evaporazione from this disc. Fusion with accessible avant-guarde moments.-Rick Eddy
    $15.00
  • The Japanese East Wind label was active in the 70s and into the early 80s.  This was a jazz label that focused on Japanese artists but also covered many popular US players.  While not as overtly audiophile as Three Blind Mice, the East Wind label was always noted for immaculate reference quality production.Universal Japan has released 72 titles from the East Wind catalog in extremely limited editions.  We've cherry picked those titles that we think are of interest to our customer base.This monumental modal jazz set from 1975 features Masabumi Kikuchi (piano), Terumasa Hino (trumpet), Kohsuke Mine (tenor sax), Juni Booth (bass), and Eric Gravatt (drums).  The album consists of two side long pieces that showed the world that Japanese jazz was not merely aping US musicians.  This is as soulful and spiritual as you can get.  A dynamo performance enhanced with superior production.  After this Kikuchi started to explore fusion realms leading up to Kochi.  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • "This is the second expanded edition of this 1968 paean to psychedelia to have appeared in just 28 months -- it was preceded by a "Deluxe Edition" two-disc hybrid SACD/CD edition from Polydor's European division in the late winter of 2006; apparently, those in charge of the label either didn't think the U.S. could support that high-priced package, or that the Super-Audio CD market is purely a European and Japanese phenomenon. Whatever the reason, this edition has shown up here with no multi-channel SACD layer, but with the remastered CD sound from that hybrid release. In Search of the Lost Chord was originally the most poorly-served of all the Moodies' original albums on CD, with a late-'80s edition from Polydor that literally had a crack in the sound on one song. Since then successive remasterings have made it one of the group's more satisfying CDs, as the nuances and layers are brought out -- the original album was done in a spirit of experimentation that was unusual for a pop album, with the members very consciously seeking out the richest, most outre sounds that they could generate in the studio, piling on one exotic instrument after another, along with many layers of voices; they would get better and bolder at this process over the next two albums (until they realized, in 1969, that they'd painted themselves into a corner as far as actually performing their new material on-stage); but beneath the psychedelic sensibilities on numbers like "Voices in the Sky," "The Best Way to Travel," "Legend of a Mind" etc., as one listens to the cleanest, crispest mix the record has yet had on CD (and one should state here that the multi-channel SACD mix on the European Deluxe Edition does outdo it), in the layers of finely nuanced playing, one does get a real sense of five musicians reveling in their own skills (and perhaps a recently ingested controlled substance or two) and the freedom to take them as far as the moment will carry them. That experimental nature has always resided just below the surface of what was otherwise a very pretty and smooth exercise in pop music mysticism ("Visions of Paradise" is still one of the most profoundly beautiful records this reviewer has ever heard from the psychedelic era) -- but here it's a little more up front, amid the enhanced clarity, and one would like to think it could help this album hold and renew its audience for another 40 years. The sound is so good that it's almost a shame that anything was put on here after "Om," the original album closer, but it was obligatory in these times that there be bonus tracks -- and as there was less room here than on the Disc Two of the Deluxe Edition, some decisions had to be made about removing some extras. The released Mike Pinder-sung version and the alternate Justin Hayward-sung take of "A Simple Game" are present, bookending the bonus tracks, whilst the rest includes the Mellotron track for "The Word," the lost Hayward song "What Am I Doing Here," two BBC performances ("Dr. Livingston, I Presume," "Thinking Is the Best Way to Travel"), and extended, unfaded versions of "Om" etc. They would be certain to delight serious fans, except that it's hard to imagine too many of the latter not having already bought them on the Deluxe Edition of this album over the preceding two years. Still, they may open the door to the group's sound a little further for the casually curious." - Allmusic
    $20.00
  • Special 2 CD collector's edition features an instrumental orchestral version of the album (DO I HEAR KARAOKE?) plus a bonus track.
    $19.00
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    $29.00
  • Alive & Well Recorded In Paris has been out of print for many years. Esoteric Recordings uncovered the original multitrack tapes and presented an expanded edition.The original sessions were recorded in Paris in 1977. This lineup featured John Etheridge on guitar and Ric Sanders on violin as lead instruments. It was a vastly different sounding version of Soft Machine - at this point there were well into their fusion phase. The bonus disc features 45 minutes of unreleased material from these live recordings as well as 2 tracks from a single they released on Harvest. Of course you get an expanded booklet with nice liner notes. Typical great Esoteric job. Highly recommended.
    $20.00
  • First album for this Finnish band, recorded for the Christian based metal label Rivel Records. OK...so is it any good? Well if you are fan of Stratovarius I would think you would go insane for this band. It's melodic power metal with just the right amount of crunch. Not original by any stretch of the imagination but it fits neatly into that niche of melodic but slightly speed filled bands like their Finnish brethren.
    $14.00
  • "This is my favorite album of 2014 so far! I've been a fan of the Swedish solo artist FreddeGredde's proggier compositions since his early YouTube releases, and while his debut album had some great material, there were also many uninteresting tracks that I wouldn't consider prog at all. This has certainly been adjusted with this second album, because what we get is only seven tracks, no fillers, and they are (almost) all very prog, very creative, and just a pleasure to listen to. I can hear similarities with Moon Safari, Frost*, A.C.T, IQ and early Dream Theater, but also classics like Gentle Giant and Genesis, and it all lands in something entirely unique.Songs by song:1. Welcome the Bright Skies A very welcoming opening track for sure! I notice many similarities between FreddeGredde's first album and this second one, and one is the structure and feel of the opening tracks. "Lonely Starlight" on the debut was full-on prog, but was still accessible and had a coherent flow throughout the track, and most of it was in a 13/8 time signature. All the different themes came back together at the end, making a very tight composition. This new opening track has a very similar structure, with a lot of different themes that flow together, mostly in 15/8 this time, and it's all tied together with the majestic "it all comes together" ending. Both albums have very strong openings, and I like them equally but in different ways. My rating: 5 stars2. The Autotelic Self This is the rocker of the album, the most "prog metal" one. But it's still warm and full of synths and layers, separating it from most other modern prog metal, which tends to feel generic and forgettable. But this one is far from that! Clocking in at a little more than 11 minutes, it goes through a wide range of moods and styles, from crazy instrumental sections reminiscent of Images & Words era Dream Theater, to beautiful piano and acoustic guitar breakdowns, to mandolin based "folk" sections. This track has it all, and it all flows extremely well! It might be the highlight track of the album. My rating: 5 stars3. Your Life After two mostly up-beat and intense tracks, this is a welcomed breather. Based on classical guitar and mandolin, it gives a folk/Irish vibe, with almost sing-along qualities, except that there is no repetitive chorus that sticks with you on a first listen. Despite its soft and accessible sound, there's some "prog" to be found here, with 5/4 and 7/4 time signatures and a longer solo section that's alternating between the guitar and the mandolin. The solos are accompanied by an increasingly powerful choir, which creates a pretty powerful climax considering the type of song it is. It's a little odd among the other tracks on the album, but on it's own, it's a pretty little track. My rating: 4 stars4. This Fragile Existence Is the title possibly a reference to "This Falling World" from his previous album? Musically, they have similarities as they both feature large contrasts and breakdowns, and swiftly go through several moods and ideas (maybe more so than usual, even by FreddeGredde's standards). The stand-out features of this track are the complex vocal harmonies, which at times remind me of Queen and other times of Gentle Giant. It's overall a very playful composition, and the adventurous nature of it always manages to make me smile. My rating: 5/5 stars5. The Tower This is the second calmer track of the album, and is more ambient and cinematic than anything he has done before. Starting with only piano and accompanying synth pads, it gives off a cold and wintery vibe, but as the song goes on, it slowly changes back and forth between positive and sad in a very tasteful way. It's prog and it's got the high amount of variation that FreddeGredde is known for, but it's more atmospheric and slower paced. The ending is just extremely beautiful, probably the highlight of the entire album. My rating: 5 stars6. Shining Another shorter song in-between the epics. It's probably the most pop on the album, with a very catchy chorus that you can sing along to even on the first listen. It's got some prog moments though, some interesting time signature changes, and a cute mandolin based bridge. A solid track, but one more for a casual audience rather than the hardcore prog fans. My rating: 3-4 stars7. Ocean Mind And finally, the 18 minute epic. This one is difficult to process, because there is so much going on, and though I love a majority of it, there are some sections that don't grab me entirely. The instrumental sections are the highlights for me, as they are VERY adventurous and crazy, going from jazzy sections to metal to I-can't-even-describe-it. Again, I think the closest resemblance is early Dream Theater. My rating: 4 starsAll in all, definitely warmly recommended to fans of prog!" - ProgArchives
    $14.00