On Lonely Towers

SKU: CM92402
Label:
Century Media
Category:
Death Metal
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"When multiple members of a sextet juggle recording and touring responsibilities for known entities such as Kreator, Turisas, and Moonsorrow, rest assured that new studio product isn’t going to hit the streets for a little while. Finnish progressive melodic doom/death metal act Barren Earth face their biggest challenge though to date beyond scheduling issues since their beginnings in 2007, as their third full-length album On Lonely Towers represents the vocal debut of Faroese native Jón Aldará – for Swallow The Sun requires Mikko Kotamäki’s full attention at this point in time.

To those unfamiliar to this band’s approach, these musicians offer up a heavy slice of Scandinavian death/doom, while also injecting a love of 70’s progressive rock in a lot of their piano/organ passages, spirited instrumental sections, and outside the box epic arrangements or left-field saxophone use. Early on they may have been considered sons of Opeth meets Amorphis, but not anymore. When they choose to be straight ahead doom in the closing sections of “A Shapeless Derelict”, the mid-range operatic bellows and evil heavy riff combination are classic Candlemass trademarks. Sami Yli-Sirniö and Janne Perttilä excel at layering guitars plus emotive, meaningful lead sections as the supplementary keyboards, bass and drums move in an alluring cadence that you can’t help but be swept into its melancholic majestic splendor – even at a close to 12 minute timeframe as in the title track.

Jón can gurgle from the swampiest lands (check out his Christian Älvestam register on the culturally adventurous “Set Alight”) but deliver these chill bump clean textures that recall the best work of Dan Swanö on “Howl”. And take a microscopic aural approach to the saxophone passages during “Sirens of Oblivion” – exotic, jazzy and occasionally syncopating to the churning guitars (2:36-2:51) but then free flowing in a lighter, progressive context during the subsequent instrumental section.

Barren Earth stands head and shoulders above a lot of the progressive doom/death pack because of their solid songwriting chemistry and ability to never push technicality over the limit to lose the human feel that makes On Lonely Towers special. Given North America’s proclivity to applaud foreign metal over much of the domestic product these days, you would be wise to add these 9 cuts to your playlist immediately." - Dead Rhetoric

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  • I can't remember a buzz on a band's debut since Circus Maximus.  Perhaps due to the album being released in Japan a year ago and its unavailability elsewhere, maybe because they are lined up to play ProgPowerUSA.  Whatever the reason the album finally gets a wide debut and it was worth the wait.  Damnation Angels is a British symphonic metal band fronted by a Norwegian singer.  He goes by the name PelleK and was a contestant on Norway's version of X Factor.  The band's stock in trade is epic sounding metal that pays a huge debt to Kamelot.  The instrumental passages take on the grandeur and scope of Nightwish.  PelleK does a sold job out front - he's obviously listened to a Khan quite a bit.  Highly recommended.
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  • Well Steve is done resucitating the Genesis catalogue and back to concentrating on fresh solo material.  The new album Wolflight is a bit of a loose concept album and I find it to be one of his strongest releases in years.  The album is filled with lots of guests (including Chris Squire) contributing exotic instruments to the mix adding an old world sound.  Steve's trademark sound is locked into place so if you are looking for the wailing guitar, liquid runs and acoustic delicacy you won't be disappointed.  His vocals has never been my favorite part of a Steve Hackett album but either I've mellowed in age or his voice has - not sure which.  Regardless it fits the music just fine.  Classic Hackett and nothing less.  BUY OR DIE!Please note this is the US edition that arrives in a digipak.  Its a 2 disc set.  Disc 1 is the standard CD.  Disc 2 is actually a Blu-ray.  Tontent includes hi-res stereo and 5.1 mix of the album, 2 bonus tracks not on the standard CD (in hi-res no less!), and extensive interview footage with Steve Hackett.
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  • " Living Madness, available everywhere June 16, is VANGOUGH's crowd-funded live CD that was recorded while on tour with Pain of Salvation last fall. Topping just over 40 minutes with seven tracks; Living Madness is a testament to VANGOUGH's unhinged and dominating live performances, which touched down in such cities as New York City, Toronto, Seattle and San Diego among others.Taking a cue from their 2013 album Between the Madness, VANGOUGH have upped the ante in terms of ferocity as is displayed here on their live release. Featuring tracks from across the band's career, including a medley from 2009's debut Manikin Parade, fans will be very pleased to hear their favorite tracks in a new way. "Seeing as this was our very first tour, we wanted to capture all the raw energy and emotion you'd expect from a first-time touring act."Recorded by guest guitarist Cameron Conyer, Living Madness was then mixed back in Dallas by long-time collaborator and producer Sterling Winfield. "I love working with Sterling and always trust him to produce a killer mix." The band also connected with famed album artist Travis Smith for the cover. "We felt like it was time to further shift the artwork into a more brooding and disturbing direction as is befitting of where we're headed. Travis' vision fit perfectly with ours.""Most importantly, this album was made possible by our amazing fans who backed us via our Kickstarter campaign. We are truly humbled by their show of support and hope that this album is a reflection of how hard we work to bring you the very best that VANGOUGH has to offer.""
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  • "By the late-80’s, thrash became refined, advanced and varied, subgenres of the subgenre itself appeared, from power thrash to progressive while very few kept the original essence of the early days in their music. Even the extreme Teutonic acts embraced much more accessible sounds, moving away from their initial schemes because they had to evolve inevitably to prevail among the rest. During those times of diversity for thrash, Evildead put out their debut, which combined melody and violence in almost equal percentages. The enormous pile of generic groups demanded making a difference from the rest and these guys did it in their own way, although the uncertainty of those days eventually condemned them to languish in obscurity.The album features pretty direct thrash tunes of total aggression, “Unauthorized Exploitation” and “F.C.I./The Awakening” in particular are plenty of power and speed, with that rapid tempo and those sharp riffs attacking so intense. However, they’re not the topical raging thrash intended to be only heavy and rough because Evildead’s performance and song-writing preceding process show some sophistication and grace. The music is violent but at the same time slightly melodic on some sequences, immaculately played and exact, proving the experience and skills of veteran Juan García and Albert Gonzales specially, whose lines lead and determined the tunes. Some of those rabid riffs are quite intricate, not excessively difficult but they make a difference from other band’s lack of precision and exhausting palm mute riffing. So they alternate sonic violence with tenuous technique on those, while “Living Good” and the title-track increase the complexity of structures, introducing distinct riff series, lengthier instrumental passages and much more melody, which becomes a characteristic element of this material. On other hand, it seems the band is trying to not play it that technical and remain accessible and casual, far from the ambitious patterns Juan developed on his Agent Steel years. That resolution becomes evident on “B.O.H.I.C.A.”, the most scruffy chaotic number of the pack, which sounds like uncontrolled hardcore combined with humoristic lyrics. But there’s another exception of opposite nature here: “Holy Trials” is the most progressive composition, tender with some constant acoustic guitar arrangements that make it sound sentimental at times, along with much more meticulous riffs and alternative structures. Apart from those 2, the rest offer no difference: “Parricide” includes a killer intro with both guitarists having a friendly duel of weighty riffing, then it follows the usual band patterns of energetic rhythms and diverse riffs, while “Gone Shooting” puts bigger emphasis on vocals.Those who expected some trace of previous Juan García projects’ sound here will be disappointed, because this was never intended to be a sequel of Agent Steel or Abattoir. The band preferred to make it simpler, straighter without an excessive presence of melody and instrumental complexity. The lack of pretention is clear on some of these numbers, which are focused on the basic characteristics of thrash, making them limited and predictable sometimes. Although Evildead can’t deny their natural predilection for difficulty and melody, both inevitably present during the album, providing their music of excellence and class which most of their peers lacked. Luckily, melody isn’t a tiring element here like it became on post-80’s Artillery and Whiplash, but it’s obvious this material is far from extreme. Phil Flores’ voice contributes tremendously to make this stuff so polite and slightly commercial. His lyrics are incessant and omnipresent, his choruses repetitive and his tone particularly sweet. It’s one of those singers who could’ve sung for a hard rock group instead perfectly, whose presence lacks strength and attitude but manages to fit the nature of these cuts. His words are about entertaining usual issues of pollution, toxic waste and environmental apocalypse, though also combined with mysticism and evil inherited from excessive hours in front of TV watching horror movies. The group name makes it clear and in fact, this mixture of urban thrash identity and horror stuff wasn’t that common, probably just Rigor Mortis introduced some cinema inspiration in their imagery. It’s not only about zombies and witchcraft, expressions like “girl beware of my probing anal tongue dart, I'll kiss your bush, and spread your cheeks apart” on the final composition prove lust and sarcasm are also part of their policy.It’s a very competent record, surprisingly refreshing and aggressive, admirably executed and well-produced. It could’ve got further for sure, maybe the presence of thousands of other common thrash albums around relegated it to discreet success and I’m not talking about selling CDs. In contrast with most of inoffensive subgenre work of that period, Evildead still included velocity, brutality (in small portion) and some obscure lyrics in their music, showing some nostalgia for the good old times. Sadly, like what happened with many other promising bands, this enjoyable material came in the wrong time, shortly afterwards thrash was no longer popular." - Metal Archives
    $14.00