Inside Of The Machine

"Assignment is another band releasing a new album on a new label after a short silence, five years to be correct. Inside Of The Machine, the progressive metal band's third work, finds them signed to Belgian's Mausoleum Records. It's also a quite ambitious work at that: a concept album with four different vocalist player character parts, and several guest guitarists.

For the concept and vocalists, which include Robin Beck, Mats Leven, and Michael Bormann, and their parts you can check out the information following the review. Of three guest guitarist the most notable wizard is Bernie Versailles from Redemption offering some lead songs, though I don't know on which song(s).
As for the music, this Assignment at their best, creating a progressive metal package by mixing elements of classic melodic hard rock, melodic and symphonic metal metal, power metal, and even a little rock fusion. That comes in the latter half of the instrumental Bug In The System, one of the best songs here. Some the best vocal songs are those with Bormann and Robin Beck (only because she's one of the best rock vocalists around), specifically Love Between Heaven & Hell and Ending Love. The latter one finds Beck's presence a bit stronger in front end which makes the song even more compelling. The antagonist in the story is obviously The Machine and it's introduction in I Am The Machine has a heavier darker feel. Alternatively, the concluding End Of The Machine has more melodic and brighter, yet still forceful, timbre to it. Throughout you get lots of ripping guitar leads often paired alternating synth solos. I'm guessing the full CD package comes with all the lyrics, otherwise, at times, the story is difficult to follow. Once more, Assignment's Inside Of The Machine is an ambitious and entertaining work of melodic progressive metal. Recommended." - Danger Dog

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  • Reissue of the 2006 album from this Italian progressive power metal band.  At the time the band was led by US vocalist Steve Braun.  Good singer but a bit of a high pitched wailer.  Comes with the band's original 2003 demo and is spiffed up with new artwork."Italian group Ashent released their debut back in 2006 now that same album Flaws Of Elation is being re-issued with new artwork and extra tracks taken off Ashent's four track demo from 2003. The rare demo tracks were included to highlight how the Italian progressive metal band have changed in style, increasing that technical musical input and with further inclusions giving Ashent's songs a wider scope. So here is your opportunity to get hold of these recordings especially as the original version of Flaws Of Elation has now been out of print for some time. Ashent's debut shows this group possess the capabilities to successfully implement their complex music.The demo tracks aren't as polished but still good enough to give examples of this metal band in its early stages, these same songs would also find their way onto Ashent's debut in their updated versions. Naturally the first obvious difference between the demos and how they would later sound on their debut album is the vast improvement in production. "Awakend's Transitions" now bursts out of your speakers with a cleaner more potent sound creating much more impact. The songs flows better and with more additions like that from their drummer they haven't greatly altered the running time just made some appropriate adjustments. "Fallen Angels" is the next and it's a similar case with the updated production aiding to bring the song to life more though I do quite enjoy both versions. I prefer the later version of "Anaemic Ardency" between the two releases the band did have some line-up changes on drums and guitar plus a new vocalist, and I do find his vocal delivery to be more appealing as is the case with the song "Eden".The remaining six tracks offer further strong and impressively structured progressive metal songs that are quite heavy and melodic with some power metal influences, and also included is an instrumental "A Puzzled Sentiment". Ashent have released another album since Deconstructive which I am not familiar with but after hearing how good this one is I would be very keen to also give it a go." - Sea Of Tranquility
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  • "In the mighty and fertile cold lands of Sweden in the early 2000, Markus Sigfridsson, a skilled young guitar player, with his best friend, Tobias Enbert behind the drum kit, created HARMONY, a Christian Power Metal band influenced by the great Scandinavian Neo-Classic tradition updated with a strong Melodic Prog-Metal tendency…The perfectly named HARMONY, is an ambitious group that was immediately warmly acclaimed by our community, a general positive consensus that occured right after the succesful release of their debut album, “Dreaming Awake”, in 2003, an impression that was even reinforced by its solid sucessor, "Chapter II: Aftermath", published in 2008.In late November 2014, it was the next crucial step in their career, their third offering, "Theatre of Redemption", was available. The big announcement was that it featured in the Lead Vocal role, one of the most reputed Metal singer from Sweden, the one and only LOST HORIZON’s former Daniel Heiman, who provides, as expected, a superb performance; very impressive in every section, displaying an amazing range and an outstanding emotional imperssonated feeling, and I had the privilege to review it with a good rating of 9 in result…"Theatre of Redemption" finally ends up really high, in my famous top list for 2014…They also encountered some kind of achievement with DARKWATER as a side-project; the duet of musicians is still very active and full of ressources!On May 22nd in Europe, and on May 26th in North America, the Swedish melodic Power Metal band HARMONY, will release a new work in EP format, entitled “Remembrance”…Once again published through Ulterium Records will features the legendary vocalist Daniel Heiman (ex LOST HORIZON/ex HEED/ now frontman for LAVETT) on vocals. This six track EP includes four re-recorded songs from the HARMONY's debut album, “Dreaming Awake”, as well as two brand-new songs.Of course, “Eternity”, “Dreaming Awake”, “Without You” or “She” are the reworked tracks; the running order is still the same, keeping the original successivity, while at the final slots, the songs ”In His Heart” and ”Feed My Hunger” are the newest compositions; you can count on the ultra precise sonic rendition in the purest Swedish Tradition as, like “Theatre of Redemption, “Remembrance" was mixed by the same glorious team at Studio Fredman (DREAM EVIL/HAMMERFALL/IN FLAMES).Although a little short, "Remembrance" is fully packed with the best exemples of "how Modern Power Metal has evolved" with orchestrated arrangments, a few ballads, sporadic acoustic elements and more subtle, understated interludes (“Without You”) and something sounding quite parallel to Progressive Rock (“She”), the whole is clearly well played and superbly produced with with a huge dynamic range .The epic side and the Metal straightness is still present, strategically added, giving a more accessible feel to the listener with song like the opening cut, “Eternity”.If the style of the early album is respected, obviously the new found technically and proficient focus has given another color to this EP, a challenging method crafted under a even more epic flavor, the title track and “She” were two of my favorites in their “Dreaming Awake”. Now maybe in concurrence with the quality of the recently added tracks, like the infectious chorus within ”In His Heart” and its numerous layers of harmonized vocals, or ”Feed My Hunger”…The second being the most emblematic; it fit into the existing stylistic musical realms and show the more Melodic way forward for what could be the band's future, with a sophisticated Eastern/Oriental chord-structures mixed with the refreshing harmonic excellence!Another warning coming from the North…Will you remember?" - Metal Temple
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  • Swedish masters of melancholy KATATONIA have announced a new concert film, "Sanctitude", to be released in North America on March 31 via Kscope."Sanctitude" will be released in four formats:* Blu-ray/DVD in 5.1 Surround Sound plus "Beyond The Chapel" documentary, including brand new interviews with Anders Nyström and Jonas Renkse.* CD/DVD package - audio / visual set including "Beyond The Chapel" documentary.* Double LP (incl. download code)* Digital download (audio)"Sanctitude" was filmed and recorded in the stunning, candle-lit setting of London's Union Chapel during KATATONIA's May 2014 "Unplugged & Reworked" tour — an intimate acoustic evening performing tracks from the "Dethroned & Uncrowned" album alongside atmospheric classics from the band's entire career, stripped and reworked. The 80-minute set features 17 songs across the albums "The Great Cold Distance", "Viva Emptiness", "Brave Murder Day", "Last Fair Deal Gone Down", "Dead End Kings" and "Dethroned & Uncrowned", including fan favorite "Teargas". The show closes with the sublime "The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here" and a special guest appearance by Norwegian vocalist Silje Wergeland of Dutch rockers THE GATHERING. The band was also joined on guitar and vocals by THE PINEAPPLE THIEF frontman and songwriter Bruce Soord."As a band we set out on uncharted waters, but while apprehensive about the journey ahead, our intentions couldn't have been more genuine to undertake this beautiful experience," commented guitarist Anders Nyström. "Sailing this project into harbor turned out to be bliss and has ultimately enriched all the members of KATATONIA."All audio on "Sanctitude" has been mixed and mastered by Bruce Soord, with artwork once more supplied by longtime visual collaborator Travis Smith.Disc 1:01. In The White02. Ambitions03. Teargas04. Gone05. A Darkness Coming06. One Year From Now07. The Racing Heart08. Tonight's Music09. Sleeper10. Undo You11. Lethean12. Day13. Idle Blood14. Unfurl15. Omerta16. Evidence17. The One You Are Looking For Is Not HereDisc 2:* Concert Film (80 minutes)* Documentary "Beyond The Chapel" (66 minutes)
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  • "In June 2013, Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans took to the road in Europe to present a series of live concerts that featured a set list that excited devotees of Van Der Graaf Generator like no other for many years. The band had decided the time was right to present their epic classic piece "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers” in its entirety on stage for the first time, along with Peter Hammill’s equally epic "Flight”. As the centrepieces of the band’s live set, a series of wonderful concerts took place, drawing on the classic material from the band’s past, as well as their more recent albums such as "A Grounding in Numbers”.Fortunately, some of these shows were recorded for posterity and have now been gathered together to form "Merlin Atmos”.  Arguably the finest live album in the history of the band, "Merlin Atmos” confirms Van Der Graaf Generator as a continuing musical force and explains the loyalty and respect they continue to receive from devotees the world over. "Merlin Atmos” is a stunning musical statement from a stunningly innovative band."
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  • Its been quite a long time since we've heard from Magic Pie.  They went through lots of trials and tribulations getting this album finished but now its finally arrived.  If you are not familiar with this band here's the deal: Magic Pie are a Norwegian band with a retro 70s sound.  The music is a bit of a high wire act balancing the neo-prog sounds of The Flower Kings with the heavier elements of classic Uriah Heep.  They also seem to be the darlings of Rosfest having played there multiple times."It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since these proggers from Norway released their promising debut "Motions of Desire". At that time, their music struck me as an enthusiastic combination of classic prog and classic hard rock. (Think Deep Purple for the hard rock side of that equation.) At their best, they offered memorable passages and pieces that sounded like they very well could have been long lost recordings from many years ago. At their worst, they sometimes fell short of filling the big shoes of the legendary bands whose music they strove to emulate. That's actually not bad for a debut album from a new prog band. I found much to like and looked forward to hearing from them again in the future.Checking back in on them a decade later, I must say that I am very impressed with how they have developed and matured. No longer do I get the feeling that certain sections of songs are direct homages to any particular band from any one particular decade of prog's illustrious history. Their influences, while still very present and valid, are now more varied, including a greater percentage of modern reference points. More importantly, their influences are just that--merely influences rather than templates or even primary reference points.The sound quality on "King for a Day" is superb thanks in large part to the enlistment of sonic genius Rich Mouser (whose resume includes similar work for prominent contemporaries like Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Dream Theater).Keyboardist Erling Hananger is an excellent addition to Magic Pie's recipe. His keyboard parts are expressive, dynamic and integral to the music. When appropriate, his leads seamlessly blend, harmonize, and work synergistically with electric guitar.The lyrics have a melodramatic and somewhat tragic flair this time around, but this is prog so you should be accustomed to the musical ride including a few tragic tales from time to time by now, right?OK ' so it's time for the "magic" question... A decade after their debut album, how has my impression of Magic Pie changed?On "King for a Day", I now hear a band which has found "its own voice", one that resonates confidently in the space somewhere between classic arena rock of yesteryear (on prog-steroids of course) and modern melodic prog of the 21st Century (like Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings). Add a few dashes of modern prog-metal to taste and you, my friend, have baked up a very nice confection indeed... MAGIC PIE!If you love modern prog anthems with big harmonies and 'sing along' choruses, give "King for a Day" a listen! I'm glad I did!" - ProgArchives
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