The Life And Times Of Scrooge

The Life And Times Of Scrooge

BY Holopainen, Tuomas

(Customer Reviews)
$14.00
$ 8.40
SKU: 3196-2
Label:
Nuclear Blast
Category:
Folk Rock
Add to wishlist 

Here's a weird one.  Nightwish's mastermind Tuomas Holopainen has collaborated with Disney artist/writer Don Rosa to create a symphonic work based on a graphic novel about Scrooge McDuck.  Don't expect metal.  This is a tastefully done marriage of orchestral music and Celtic folk.

"Having spent 2013 writing and producing The Life And Times Of Scrooge, Tuomas’ first solo album is now upon us after fourteen years in the making and to say it exceeds all expectations is an understatement.

To cut straight to the point, it’s a beautiful and atmospheric work of art that’s accessible to not only people familiar with his work in Nightwish, but also to a broader spectrum of music fans because it touches on a whole host of different genres and ideas that will appeal to casual or curious listeners as well.

Telling the story of Scrooge McDuck, it’s definitely an album best enjoyed as one sole entity as it takes the listener on an exciting adventure from start to finish, with stunning epic pieces such as Into The West that’s full of beautifully thick instrumentation and breathtaking imagery, and the somewhat more simplistic Dreamtime, which only really features one repeating idea throughout but is so effective (not to mention how quickly it gets stuck in your head as a result!)

There are also more vocal-heavy songs, which help to keep the storyline flowing and a particular standout performance is from Sonata Arctica frontman Tony Kakko on the song Cold Heart Of The Klondike – whilst the instrumentation is the main focus of the album, his voice gives that song in particular an extra sparkle.

The Life And Times Of Scrooge is an extremely rewarding listen and one you’ll keep wanting to come back to – it just gives so much and is a wholly stunning album." - Soundscape

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Third album from this very fine Irish neo-progressive band.  Dead Heroes Club have that traditional sound down.  Frontman Liam Campbell's voice has an uncanny resemblance to Fish and Peter Gabriel (which one depends on the tune).  This one is ripped right out of the Clutching At Straws playbook but the band tends to stretch out a bit more.  I also noticed that the guitar is cranked up a bit more than in the past.  Good stuff.
    $15.00
  • Phenomenal new studio album from the "classic" lineup - the first one since Unfolded Like Staircase. What makes it the classic lineup? Guitarist Jon Preston Bouda has returned to the band. His intensity is the perfect complement for Matthew Parmenter's vocals. Where ULS used a lot of Mellotron, this album really gives more space to Bouda's guitar. Parmenter still sounds like a more melodic version of Peter Hammill, primarily in the way that they both use emphasis. I keep making mental references to "intense". Simply the best way to describe this album. If these guys would have recorded more often...they could have played on a bigger stage. Luckily what we have is great. High energy, thought provoking progressive rock. It really doesn't come any better than this. Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • Latest in the 40th anniversary series featuring remixes by Steven Wilson.  Here is what you get:CD contains a new stereo remix plus 3 alternate mixes.  The DVD contains 5.1 remix of the album, a 24/96 and 24/48 stereo remix, the original album mix and alternate takes and mixes in 24/48.  The video content is the complete Beat Club performance and is worth the price alone.  
    $20.00
  • "The last few years have been a turbulent time for British tech bands and their vocalists. Along with TesseracT and Aliases in particular, Monuments have had more than their fair share of strife in securing the right frontman. However, the recruitment of the multi-talented Chris Barretto last year seemed to reinvigorate the band’s live performance, and second album The Amanunensis gives us the opportunity to see whether the chemistry apparent onstage translates into the writing process.The short answer to that question, hinted at by the singles that have broken cover in the lead-up to the album’s release, is a resounding yes. Right from the first listen, The Amanunensis grabs the listener by the hair and demands their attention. With a number of the songs that comprised debut album Gnosis having existed in one form or another for more than two years before its 2012 release, The Amanunensis shows clearly how far the band have progressed, on pretty much every front.It is only natural, though, that the attention falls first on Chris, as the new guy. As well as his prodigious vocal talents (which we will return to in a moment), he has built the lyrical concept to The Amanunensis around a complex story that ties the whole album together, effectively turning the individual tracks into chapters. Rather than reprise that entire concept here, Chris helpfully outlined it in a recent interview with Noisefull, and we can probably expect to see it fleshed out further in the future.Drawing from various strands of spiritualism and science fiction, it seems that The Amanunensis - both in concept and execution – is best described by another eastern construct; the Yin and Yang. The twin pairing of “I, The Creator” and “I, The Destroyer” that effectively bookend the album seem to be a nod in the direction of the Hindu god Vishnu, which together with the Buddhist concept of “Samsara” provide the spiritual yin to the yang of an album title inspired by David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas and other sci-fi influences.But, deeper than that, Chris’ angelic, Michael Jackson-inspired falsettos provide a light to contrast the shade of some pretty fearsome screaming. Equally comfortable in both extremes and at numerous points in between, Chris unabashedly stamps his identity on the band’s sound. The net result proves that whilst the path to finding the right vocalist for Monuments was at times difficult, it was definitely worth the effort.Comparisons to the yin-yang can also be found in the real driving force of the Monuments sound: the riffs of guitarist John Browne. More so now than ever before, Browne’s riffs balance intense neocortex technicality with a more primal reptilian rhythmicality. There are tricksy time signatures and extended metre riffs aplenty, but they are always subordinate to the great God of Grooves, providing The Amanunensis with both immediate accessibility and the depth to warrant repeated listens and close attention. This is most immediately apparent on “Quasimodo“, which combines Tool-esque shifting rhythms with Sevendust‘s soaring melodies and guitar crunch.If this wasn’t enough, the tracks are then underpinned by the vibrant and imaginitive rhythm section of drummer Mike Malyan and bassist Adam Swan. Mike has spent much of the Monuments downtime as a key part of The Algorithm‘s headbending live performances, which have pushed out the boundaries of his already considerable skills even further, but once again the temptation to simply show off has largely been resisted, and his innovative beats and fills augment the songs rather than dominate them. Adam, too, seems to understand that the notes left unplayed are as important as those which are struck, and his understated basslines are deftly deployed, particularly on the verses of “Origin of Escape“.“Origin of Escape“, incidentally, is possibly the finest Monuments track to date, neatly encapsulating everything they have to offer in one four minute package that is both danceable and mosh-friendly. “Atlas” and “Horcrux” give free reign to strutting pop sensibilities, whilst “The Alchemist” and “Jinn” are blasts of lip-curling heaviness. Throughout the album, the choruses are huge and the hooks are numerous.With this combination of almost feral aggression and unashamed embrace of pop melody, The Amanunensis could almost lay claim to being ‘Angel Dust for the tech generation’. If anything were to stand in the way of that claim, it would be that it doesn’t quite have the same degree of diversity as Faith No More‘s magnum opus. Even with the yin and yang counterpoints discussed above, all of the songs rely on the key device of syncopated stabs interspersed with technical flourishes, so it will be interesting to see if the band can feel their way beyond that from time to time in the future.Nevertheless, The Amanunensis is bold, brash and thoroughly infectious. It delivers in full on the promises made by Gnosis and points to an even richer future ahead of the band, hopefully drawing a line under their somewhat tumultuous past.What we have here is the sound of Monuments coming of age. With this second album, their place in the pantheon of great British tech-metal bands is assured. Whilst there are hints that suggest there are still greater things to come from them in the future, there’s no reason not to see The Amanunensis as the must-have, feel-good metal hit of the summer." - The Monolith
    $12.00
  • Birds was the second album from the short lived instrumental prog trio led by Dutch keyboard wiz Rick van der Linden.  Featuring a 22 minute suite, it was a further extension of the debut.  Just killer prog in the ELP and Triumvirat vein.  This new 2CD version features one bonus track and a second CD featuring previously unreleased live recordings from 1975 and 1976.  Highly recommended.2CD TRACE – Birds + 10 bonus tracksChapter 11. Bourrée 2:272. Snuff 2:253. Janny - In A Mist 1:134. Opus 1065 7:455. Penny 2:426. Trixie-Dixie 0:267. Birds - suite 21:59Bonus Track8. Birds 3:39 - single versionChapter 21. Birds 5:16 - live                                   2. Tabu 11:47 - live                                   3. Gaillarde 11:06 - live                             4. King-Bird 2:15 - live5. Gaillarde 6:26 - live6. Snuff 2:32 - live7. Gaillarde - reprise 3:29 - live8. Birds 3:15 - live9. Peace Planet 4:02 - liveCD2 tracks 1-9 previously unreleased live tracksTracks 1-4 live on Swedish Radio, Stockholm, Sweden, April 7th, 1975Tracks 5-9 live in Langelsheim, Germany, January 18th, 1976 Historic live recordings, they do not represent the usual fidelity of studio recordings
    $22.00
  • "To avoid any lingering confusion right from the outset,  you may already be aware of this band because AudioPlastik began life under a different name or names to be more precise. Both Alpha Flood and Brave New Sky were trialled before the trio settled on the name AudioPlastik. Whatever the name though, it’s a musical collaboration which will more than prick the ears of fans of progressive rock or metal music. The trio is fronted none other than Dec Burke, the vocalist for Darwin’s Radio and Frost* as well as being a well thought of solo artist in his own right. Dec also plays the guitar and is joined by the impressive duo of Simon Andersson (Darkwater, ex-Pain Of Salvation) and Threshold’s keyboardist Richard West. Being a fan of all of the names mentioned in the preceding sentences, I have naturally been very excited to hear the final product ever since a debut album was announced to see the light of day early this year.The album is due out in the very near future and goes by the title of ‘In The Head Of A Maniac’. With a title like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the content of this record might be a bizarre, challenging or even a wild schizophrenic beast. However, you’d be wrong, at least to a certain extent anyway. This is progressive music and as such, it does blend many ideas into its collective whole. But it is far from being impenetrable or a difficult listen.To be honest, the most difficult thing is to accurately describe the musical direction on ‘In The Head of a Maniac’. In itself it’s an absorbing listen full of wondrous aspects, one that is instantly likeable but ever more addictive as the number of spins increases. But to be more exact in order to offer a worthwhile review? Ok…If I was to try and sum this album up in a few words, I’d say it’s an absorbing blend of melodic progressive rock, metal and pop with rich cinematic overtones.Dealing with the latter aspect first, the cinematic, symphonic flavour can be heard right from the outset via the relatively brief instrumental opening. This is Richard West at his best, creating a piece of music which is subtly dramatic, emotive and pure film soundtrack fodder. In fact, much the same can be said of the even more dramatic ‘Traveller’ which is equally as enthralling and which could easily fit a suspense or action thriller.That said, West’s stamp is all over each of the thirteen compositions, bringing a rich elegance to proceedings just like he does with Threshold. Whether it’s via more subtle layers of atmospheric synths or more in-your-face modern-sounding embellishments, of which there are several (‘John Doe’) it always fits the song perfectly, providing a foundation of real depth and richness upon which all else is built.Next there’s the guitar playing of Burke and Andersson which is actually surprisingly heavy. Occasionally it is reminiscent in tone of numerous djent artists, particularly when the riffs chug in step with a rumbling bass (also courtesy of Andersson) and powerful drumming. ‘It Matters So Much’ illustrates this perfectly and is also a track that also greatly benefits from a rare and decadent lead guitar solo. This being prog, naturally many of the riffs play around with interesting, complicated tempos and time signatures but they are never complex for the sake of it and never detract from the essence of the songs. A prime example being ‘The Sound Of Isolation’ which contains a riff which befuddles my brain but which works in and around the simpler aspects of the song.One of the biggest strengths on this record however is its melodic sensibility. I mentioned earlier about the pop influences and its in the choruses that this is most noticeable. Just about every song has a hook or a melody that’s memorable. Some are immediate and others take a bit longer to work into the psyche. Regardless, they are there and many of them, alongside those modern programmed flourishes, lend the music that more mainstream feel. ‘Leave Me Here’ and the beautiful ‘Now’ for example, might not be out of place on mainstream popular radio. Elsewhere, ‘Bulletproof’ offers one of the most gorgeous choruses I’ve heard in recent times, ironic given that it’s also one of the heavier, busier tracks that packs a lot of light and shade as well as apparently disparate elements into its relatively short length. Oh and then there’s the stunning closer, ‘Distant Skies’ which pushes ‘Bulletproof’ very close, almost beating it depending on my mood when I listen.Then, to top things off, you’ve got the vocals of Burke. Those familiar with his other work with Frost* or Darwin’s Radio will know exactly what to expect and he doesn’t disappoint. Burke has a tone that’s very melodic and almost soothing but which also has a slightly rough, gritty edge to it that I really like. It means that the vocal delivery can fit both the softer, more introspective parts but which can also do justice to the heavier moments that require something a bit edgier vocally.As you can probably tell, I’m completely enamoured by this album. Almost imperceptibly, it has burrowed into my head and my heart and it refuses to let go. If your tastes dictate that you enjoy music that is rich and varied, deep and thoughtful, beautiful and genuinely unique, look no further than ‘In The Mind Of A Maniac’ by AudioPlastic. You won’t be disappointed." - Man Of Much Metal  
    $16.00
  • "Crystal Palace are a progressive rock band from Germany. In the band are Yenz (vocals, bass), Frank Köhler (keys), Frank Brennekam (drums) and Nils Conrad (guitars). Also included are some well-known guests; Colin Edward (Porcupine Tree) and Yogi Lang and Kalle Wallner of RPWL fame.The band has been around since the mid '90s and System Of Events is their sixth studio album. With a name like Crystal Palace one would expect progressive music and that is exactly what you get although this batch of tunes is as melodic as it gets. That is what makes this music so utterly enjoyable; these guys know how to write a good tune. A case in point is the album's fourth track "Green Way". The guitar rhythms are some of the catchiest on the disc, a major earworm in every way. The album also ventures into art rock/prog territory. Just listen to the twelve minute "Beautiful Nightmare" to hear the band's proggier side. Chiming guitar chords and understated vocals lead to a dynamic instrumental break of squelching guitar/effects and tasty keys. This is not about playing as fast as you can but more about texture and ambience reminding me of bands like Porcupine Tree. The lead vocals have a slight accent but you need not worry as Yenz has a good voice, well suited to the band's slightly melancholic sound. The title track at over thirteen minutes is the longest song and also my favourite. Its moody and forlorn beginning of stark piano notes and vocals to match leads to a mid tempo groove and some ear candy guitar soli. The instrumental break of voice samples, delicate acoustic guitar and winding keyboard lines hearkens of '70s Pink Floyd. The vocals are outstanding as well.The System Of Events has turned into a another great find. Judging by the quality of this release their back catalogue should be well worth exploring as well. Highly recommended." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00
  • OK WE GOT A HOT ONE HERE!  Latest album from keyboard maestro Lalle Larsson is full-on balls to the wall fusion.  He's hooked up again with Richard Hallebeek, who is one of the great Holdsworth clones out there.  The rest of the band is Stefan Rosqvist (rhythm guitar), Jonas Reingold (bass), and Walle Wahlgren (drums).  Larsson lays down lethal synth leads and swaps back and forth with Hallebeek who matches him with dexterous legato runs.    Time will tell but I think this may be Lalle Larsson's best solo album yet!  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • Limited edition digipak with 2 bonus tracks."The road to Altzi is paved with good intentions…. When Masterplan announced the new lineup in November of last year, Jorn apologists flooded the comment strings of various metal news outlets with comments like “another band is spoiled by a vocalist change” and “no Jorn…no Masterplan.” While I might agree that there was reason for outcry when a well-known/respected singer leaves a band, it’s not as if Masterplan has never had another vocalist and is not a band with more past members than present. The object is to listen and make judgments later. The announcement of Rick Altzi was particularly intriguing and any fan of At Vance and Thunderstone can attest – there was much reason for hope.The news that main man/guitarist Roland Grapow’s (Ex-Helloween) revealed that there was going to be a return to “faster” and “more metal” material made this more appealing. Add further still…the addition of Ex-Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and the naysayers should have stood back and waited to react. Why? As it turned out, Rick Altzi proves a more than compatible replacement for Jorn…and *GASP* dare I say – a wee bit better in spots? Blasphemy? Try it…prove me wrong.Musically, the album ranks as one of the band’s finest, recalling the best heard from the self-titled debut, 2005’s “Aeronautics,” and the appropriately titled 2010 “Time to Be King,” but with a heavier edge. Altzi is so compatible that only the most attentive Jorn fans can see the difference, most notably that low power that shifts with a slab of grit while on the way up to the high range. This is not besmirching Altzi at all, as his range is proven and perfect. His first appearance is at 0:47 on the album’s second track “The Game,” an admirable driving melodic metal song with noticeably well-crafted double bass from new drummer Marthus Skaroupka (Cradle of Filth) and copious amounts of heaviness intertwined with trademark melody. Grapow proves again what amazing solos he can play.The album’s first music video was for “Keep Your Dream Alive” – a mid-paced winner expertly chosen, as it’s the song where Altzi shines brightest, showing the breadth of his range – and for many moments I said “Jorn who?” The finest track on the album is “Betrayal,” which will prove to be one of the best of the year when all is said and done, if not for its Middle Eastern charm that falls into the heaviest riff on the album drawn out like slamming shudders by Axel Mackenrott’s keyboards. Other notables are the appealing riff in “Earth Going Down” (which is a tad swallowed by the keyboards as the song progresses), the Strato-feel of “Black Night of Magic,” the speedier “Return to Avalon” and the never dull 11 minute title track (especially 6:13 to 7:15) and vocal duet of Altzi and Grapow. Highly recommended is the digipak version with bonus tracks “1492” and “Fear the Silence.”My only complaint is not necessarily with the band’s play or its flawless execution, its more the melodic metal style in general. At the same time it represents a favorite style – in Masterplan’s case best defined as “what Whitesnake would sound like if they tipped a bit into power metal” – listening to entire album presents a challenge, if only for that mid-paced repetition. I find the album plays a bit better when I listen to a few songs at a time, mixing it in with other bands and styles.This may be “a new beginning” for Masterplan in member changes, however the creation of high quality melodic metal perseveres. Grapow assembled a new team of musicians that prove just as compatible, especially Altzi’s performance. With the proof in the product, fans of the band should have little to complain about with “Novum Initium,” though I suspect some Jorn lamenters will never take the road less traveled….the one where its “time for” Rick “to be king.”" - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • Another 2DVD compilation from the annual two day prog festival that takes place in Veruno Italy every year.Very varied and interesting lineup at the 2014 festival.  Bands included here are:FEMFranck CarducciMartin Turner's Wishbone AshFocusKingcrowOverheadSpock's BeardAnglagardBarock ProjectIO EarthLeprous
    $18.00
  • So here's my personal confession...after Neal left I felt that Spock's Beard lost their way.  Nick is a fine vocalist but there was something quirky about Neal's writing that had a reverential old school quality that I found lacking.  The albums didn't grab me.  Nick left and Ted Leonard took over on vocals.  Whether it was Enchant or Thought Chamber, he's always stood out and he fits Spock's Beard quite well.  The new drummer Jimmy Keegan slipped into the blend with no dificulty.  The result is (to my mind) a resurgence from this band.  Ryo Okumoto always puts on a show - in particular his heavy reliance on Hammond organ reminds me quite a bit of Steve Walsh.  In fact the sound of the whole album has a Kansas vibe. Coincidentally David Ragsdale guests on one track.  I'm not sure I can remember the last time I said this about a Spock's Beard album - Highly recommended."Very few bands are so recognizable that you know who you are listening to within 2 seconds.  That is all it takes at the beginning of the first track on The Oblivion Particle to know you are listening to Spock’s Beard.  There is no slow buildup or keyboard swells, just straight BAMM!, here we go.  And if the opening notes don’t get you, the organ 5 seconds in will.  The band’s 12th studio album, this one the second with singer Ted Leonard and drummer Jimmy Keegan, is a culmination of years of perfecting a sound and identity, one that not even 2 major lineup changes could fracture. With this new album, Spock’s Beard up their game again and show that this lineup is here to stay.If there was a track that defined what Spock’s Beard are, it might be the opening track, “Tides of Time.”  There are certain checklist items that mark their sound and they are all in this track.  The organ, the harmonies, the acoustic breakdown, the rocking middle and the epic ending.  Each member finds their moments to shine on this one and it provides a jaw-dropping sound overload that could leave one satisfied at that moment; only there is another 60 minutes to go.The album zigs and zags through a few more experimental moments, mixing in some surprises with more traditional Prog elements.  The album’s second track and first single is “Minion”, is a perfect example.  The opening a cappella harmonies provide the sort of memorable chorus and harmonies we’ve come to expect from the group.  While, the following distorted keyboard section is also standard Spock’s Beard.  But the verse and middle of the song is much darker and takes us on a surprising journey.The most unique song the album is the brilliantly titled “Bennett Built a Time Machine”, which the album’s cover is based on.  Drummer Jimmy Keegan takes lead on the vocals here and sounds incredible.  His voice actually fits the track better than Leonard’s probably would have.  The song is one of the album highlights and helps keep the record from sounding redundant.  It is almost a pop song most of the way through until turning on the jets and shifting into Prog mode.There are some heavier moments such as “Hell’s Not Enough” and “Get Out While You Can”. “The Center Line”, however, might be the most similar to something you might have found on their group’s previous album “Brief Nocturnes…”  The track opens with an expansive piano recital piece, before turning into a combo Prog-Western bounce with acoustic guitars carrying the groove. Ted’s voice lifts the choruses flawlessly and creates an almost cinematic soundscape.Even with all of these great moments, it is the album’s closing track that is the best song on the album.  “Disappear” might be one of the best songs the band has recorded since Neal left the group.  “We could disappear, you and me, we could be, anyplace else not here” sings Ted in the chorus as he wonders what might be if we left with no one knowing what happened.  The song is really the closest thing to a ballad on the album, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  2 minutes in, the song stirs into a frenzy just before a brief cameo by Kansas’ David Ragsdale, appearing with his violin.  Of course, the big epic orchestral ending takes us home as Alan Morse provides the finishing touches with his unique finger picking soloing excellence.Spock’s Beard are Prog rock’s most reliable unit.  They have yet to disappoint and always provide comfort to their faithful fans with music that is both inspiring and breathtaking.  And while The Oblivion Particle shows a harder edged Spock’s Beard, it also displays a group that shows no signs of slowing down and is ready to take on all comers." - The Prog Report 
    $12.00
  • OK now this is over the top indulgent and incredibly limited.  I doubt we will be able to restock it as a limited amount has been made available for North America.  This is an oversized hardbound slipcased book with a 44 page booklet.  It also comes with a CD plus a DVD with the album in 5.1 surround and 24 bit hi-res stereo mixes.  Finally there is a second DVD with a "making of" documentary.  Certain to be a collector's item in years to come."It’s been quite a past few years for the incredible Anathema. Honors have been bestowed upon them, they’ve released an instant classic album in “Weather Systems”, and last year they released one of the best live concert films I’ve ever seen, “Universal”. Anathema is on top of the world, and they are only getting bigger. With all of this on their shoulders, they approach the world once again with their new album, “Distant Satellites”, a fitting name for a massive album. Again, with all of their recent success creating huge expectations, can this band meet such critical reception? Needless to say, Vincent Cavanagh on vocals, Danny Cavanagh on guitar, Jamie Cavanagh on bass, John Douglas on percussion, Daniel Cardoso on drums, and Lee Douglas with her wonderful vocals were all up to the challenge.“Distant Satellites” is a very different album from “Weather Systems”, or anything else they’ve done, for that matter. It is different, yet somehow instantly familiar. It includes everything that makes them Anathema, but adds new and exciting elements to their already excellent formula. If you’ve never heard Anathema, their formula (in their last few albums, anyways) includes soaring guitars, amazingly catchy melodies, spiritual lyrics, and emotional flow both vocally and structurally. They are the masters of melody, and they remain complex and progressive even while being simple and accessible. They are truly masters of their craft.This new album, then, is no different in those terms. The melodies return in force, such as the serene beauty of “The Lost Song” parts 1-3. And, yet, there is something different here. The melodic lines are somewhat more complex, less in-your-face, and more organic. This especially shows in the song lengths, most of them being over five minutes. This allows for more growth and more progression. Indeed, then, the melodies on “Distant Satellites”, while not being as instantly lovable or recognizable, are certainly more difficult and possibly will have a longer “shelf life” in my mind. Yes, the orchestrations seem to be lower key, as well, allowing the vocalists to express themselves more personally then ever.There are other improvements, too. I feel that the musicianship is more fervent and on a higher plateau of difficulty than Anathema has tried. Drummer John Douglas, especially, plays amazingly well from start to finish, accenting the music with awesome pounding and fills. The rest of the band are at their peak, too, with Vincent and Lee being especially great with emotional and meaningful vocal performances.“Distant Satellites” is different in more meaningful ways, too. Utilizing post-rock/metal structures is nothing new for Anathema, but they really do perfect them here, as on “Dusk”, a dark, climactic song. Yet, there is a sense of continuity between tracks, too. This is obviously the case between the three parts of “The Lost Song”, but it’s also apparent throughout the album, as if Anathema is telling us a story, convincing us of our true selves and our connection with the universe and with each other.This album is wonderful in the first half, but my excitement reached new heights in the second half. Anathema has taken it upon themselves to change things up a bit. They wanted to progress their sound, but make it all seem so natural. So, in the second half, the album climaxes with one of the best songs, simply called “Anathema”. But then, we are thrown for a loop somewhat, as “You’re Not Alone” features a hefty portion of electronic vibe. It’s great, but the best is still to come.Next, “Firelight”, a darkly ethereal instrumental track that is completely electronic, is thrust upon us, and is followed up by what may possibly be the best song Anathema has ever produced, “Distant Satellites”. This track combines everything that has ever made Anathema great: soaring melodies, climactic structure, gentle spirituality, amazing vocals, and now an electronic beat that is both complex and catchy. Vibrant, mesmerizing, and pure, this track elates me every time I hear it. It takes this album, and my heart, to new heights. The album finishes with a gentle ballad that just seems so fitting, yet it still has the strong electronic influence.So, is “Distant Satellites” a winner? In every way! Is it their best album? I don’t know; it has the potential, but it might take time, just like “Weather Systems” did. What I can tell you is that this new album is more mature, more progressive, more interesting and eclectic, and less formulaic then anything Anathema has crafted yet. It does sacrifice some accessibility and some instant likability for these things, but I respect their decision massively, and I fully expect to see “Distant Satellites” at the tops of many lists at the end of 2014." - Progulator
    $70.00
  • “Known/Learned’ is the third album from this thought provoking progressive band from Brisbane, Australia.  It’s a sprawling 2CD collection of themes and moments, captured between recurring characters. While never explicitly told in the traditional vein of the ‘concept album’, the imagery of Known/Learned depicts fragmented moments in the lives of a father and his daughter, their loss, their love, their journey. A bittersweet love song for life.Occupying a unique place in the Australian progressive music scene, Arcane’s transcendental live performances and 2009’s critically acclaimed, dark and enigmatic concept album 'Chronicles Of The Waking Dream' have earned them a inimitable reputation as one of Australia’s premier progressive rock bands.Sharing stages with artists as diverse as Anathema (UK), Soilwork (Swe), Queensryche (USA), Dead Letter Circus, Ne Obliviscaris and hundreds more, Arcane's live show, often accompanied by a backdrop of staggering visualizations, is a vast sensory experience.Arcane's immersive sound, and the vocals of Jim Grey quickly found favor throughout Australia, headlining the annual Progfest tour, providing touring support for Ne Obliviscaris, and performing to capacity crowds at Sonic Forge Festival in Melbourne. A crowd funding campaign in July, 2013 heralded the 2015 release of 'Known/Learned' a 16 track conceptual double album. Arcane blends the technicality of progressive metal with the atmospheric intensity of bands like Tool, Riverside and Anathema.  The world is about to discover what their Australian fan base already knows – that Arcane is a rising star in the world of progressive music.
    $14.00
  • US version with 3 bonus tracks."The shady stretch of land that exists somewhere between the crossroads of rock, metal, prog, and alternative is one that generates discussion, but not necessarily sales. Fans of Dredg, Oceansize, Cog, and the like have watched countless inspired dissenters of the rock norm leave their mark on music boards and venue bathrooms, only to fizzle into obscurity when radio deemed their playful idiosyncrasies just a little too off-putting. There is a certain burden any group that shakes off standard typecasts faces, yet, with the Australian music scene abuzz with newly recognized talent, and the current popularity of all things delay-driven, it’s an interesting time to be a band like Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus.In a recent editorial Vince wrote about Tesseract, he echoed a sentiment I’ve long held: the current line of alternative progressive bands might just be the perfect “something for everyone” presence heavy music has needed to escape the rigid confines of the underground.It is difficult to shake the sense, in listening to Dead Letter Circus’s sophomore album, The Catalyst Fire, that the term “alternative rock” does no justice to them, and that there are a whole lot of people who could conceivably enjoy the crap out of this work.Dead Letter Circus already proved that touring with significantly heavier bands (the likes of which include Animals as Leaders, Intronaut, Last Chance to Reason, and Monuments) posed no challenge to winning over fans who would normally avoid anything quite so digestible, and with the impeccable song craft and memorable hooks on display in The Catalyst Fire, I think it’s only a matter of time before the people standing on the other side of the aisle also take notice.The first things that standout on any number of these tunes are Kim Benzie’s explosive tenor vocals and the big, shimmering walls of sound his band mates house them in. Benzie has the kind of voice that is perfect for this style of music—familiar, but never readily traceable to a sum of affected influences. His range alone is impressive, but his ability to weave it into inescapably catchy melodic motifs with intelligent messaging behind them is paramount to DLC’s universal appeal.Of course vocals alone are not the full package; this is passionate, high-energy music, and the band behind Benzie just kills it. As with This is The Warning, the group’s instrumental voice consists of delay-blasted, tremolo-heavy guitar leads jousting with one of the growliest bass tones in rock music and an ever-stimulating rhythmic presence that never feels “in the way.” Luke Williams shows off more than a little of [The Mars Volta's] Jon Theodore’s influence in his nutty patterns, but by keeping them within the architecture of 4/4 time he never detracts from the immediacy of his surroundings.This package is all further elevated by Australian production ace Forrester Savell (Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect), who returns for his second project with the band. His distinctive mix style of “rhythm guitar in the background— everything else upfront” plays a pivotal role in what makes Dead Letter Circus sound so friggin’ huge and heavy without sounding like a metal band.High praise aside, it’s worth acknowledging that very little has changed in the group’s formula. The Catalyst Fire is just another batch of very tightly written and memorable songs, with all of the group’s strengths made readily apparent. Despite having two new guitarists in the band’s ranks (following the departure of founding member Rob Maric), the aforementioned stylistic elements that made This is The Warning successful remain firmly in place.There does, however, seem to be more of an effort made to vary things up on this work. Where the group’s debut, at times, felt a little too consistent in its approach, The Catalyst Fire sees Dead Letter Circus shuffling out the constant adrenaline of songs like “Stand Apart” and the single “Lodestar” for contemplative slowburners to the tune of “The Veil” and “I Am.” One could argue that the group has become a little comfortable with the harmonic framework of their choosing, but it would be difficult to imagine them conveying the same feeling in their music outside of their beloved major-flavored-minor key progressions.As a whole, The Catalyst Fire, is darker and snappier in its execution than This is The Warning, making for a subtle evolution of an already very strong base. Also, the fact that Karnivool recently made a serious deviation from their relative norm makes a more immediate and urgent sounding release from the Dead Letter folks all too welcome in 2013. I have little doubt that those in the metal and prog worlds who dug the group’s first release will have no trouble rekindling the flame with The Catalyst Fire, but with a little marketing muscle, this could be the vehicle that makes Dead Letter Circus an “anybody band,” and a damn good one at that." - Metal Sucks
    $12.00