Look Into The Future ($5 Blowout Price!)

Second album from this post-Santana lineup is a bit more commercial than the debut but there are still progressive overtones. Neil Schon shines again.

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  • "Retribution” is the new album from Sweden’s Nightingale, the intended one-off project that refuses to die. Established by musical multi-talent Dan Swanö almost 20 years ago, the band is proof that good music can take on a life of its own, often when the artist least expects it.Known for his work both as a producer/engineer and with metal acts Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath, Pan-Thy-Monium and most recently Witherscape, Swanö began his unplanned Nightingale journey in 1995 with “The Breathing Shadow”. It was a one-off goth-flavoured solo album heavily reminiscent of The Sisters Of Mercy, meant to satisfy his interest in the genre and then be put quietly to bed as Swanö moved on to other projects. The album was successful enough to warrant a follow-up according to his label at the time (Black Mark), but Swanö was, as he puts it "so over the goth thing.""I thought that if I was going to make a second record it had to reflect what I was listening to at the moment. I was going through a big revival of Gamma, Foreigner, Journey and all that super melodic AOR pomp rock stuff. It was a weird turn from the first record, so I decided to make Nightingale a home for music that I write in the moment, no matter what it is."Nightingale released five more albums between '96 and '07, slowly establishing a band line-up that began with Swanö's guitarist/keyboardist brother Dag in 1996 acting as a co-producer and session player on “The Closing Chronicles”. He officially came aboard in 1998 under his Tom Nouga moniker. The band was fleshed out by bassist Erik Oskarsson and drummer Tom Björn, who had their first rehearsal with the Swanö brothers on Christmas Day 2000. “White Darkness” from 2007 could well have been the last Nightingale album, as it featured very little songwriting input from Swanö due to severe writer's block. He decided to focus on his career as an engineer and chose to make music as a hobby. His creative side won eventually, however, as the urge to write and play again became irresistible."I bought a few instruments that would inspire me, and eventually the riffs started piling up," Swanö recalls. "I was collecting them for some kind of death metal release, and the other stuff that came out ended up being what could be used for a future Nightingale record."Originally titled “Bravado” in the working stages, “Retribution” offers up 10 songs steeped in uncomplicated '70s and early '80s-flavoured rock. Tracks such as 'Chasing The Storm Away', 'Forevermore' and 'The Maze' could have easily found a home on commercial rock radio 30 years ago, yet the album is completely relevant in 2014. Fans of Swanö's heavier works that are unfamiliar with Nightingale may be surprised the simplicity of the music and the band's non-aggressive approach."It's not easy to write simple stuff that's good," Swanö points out, suggesting people take a good long listen to “Retribution” rather than dismissing it.In Swanö's estimation “Retribution” succeeds because the songs "just kind of happened." He never set out to write any specific parts; the music is in fact a result of spontaneous moments, whether it was an accidental combination of notes on a keyboard that became an opening riff ('On Stolen Wings') or an odd guitar tuning ('Warriors Of The Dawn'). On top of that, the songs were hashed out in the rehearsal room before the band went into the studio, resulting in major changes to some of the music as it developed."When I listen to the record I don't want to have any regrets," explains Swanö. "There's no point in releasing a new Nightingale record if I don't think it's the best we ever did. That a pretty high standard to have, but if I don't feel that way when I listen to it the moment it's ready, it's got nothing to do with our back catalogue. That's the way I've felt with every record."Asked to sum up what “Retribution” means to him with regards to Nightingale's legacy, Swanö offers the following: "Classic rock with that pomp attitude really inspired me. I just wanted a good production that could hold up well against a band like Alter Bridge but still have a bit of the sonic charisma of the records from '79, which was a great year for music. The target was to make a timeless record with good, classy songs that the four of us can agree are really cool."Nightingale’s “Retribution” comes packaged in beautiful artwork courtesy of Travis Smith (Opeth, Nevermore, Katatonia, etc.) and should equally appeal to open-minded atmospheric metal and also to melodic prog rock supporters into bands like Rush, Marillion, Styx, Kansas, The Mission, Queensryche, Enchant, Threshold, Arena oreven Opeth and Katatonia."
    $13.00
  • "Trans-Siberian Orchestra's second album, Christmas Attic, may not be as focused or serious as Christmas Eve, but it is just as enjoyable and maybe even more consistent, thanks to Paul O'Neill's increasingly impressive compositions and an improved musicality." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • 28 years is a long time for a band to stay together but that's how long Woodenhead has been playing together. They have quietly cultivated a dedicated cult following in New Orleans. Now Free Electric Sound is bringing this extraordinary quartet to a national audience. Woodenhead's music is a spicy gumbo of jazz fusion, symphonic rock and local R 'n' B flavors (sorry for the wordplay!) The group has toured the U.S. and Central America and has played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for over 20 years. The band has played with the Dixie Dregs, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea's Elektrik Band, John McLaughlin Trio, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Tuck And Patti, Hugh Masekela, Spyro Gyra, Robben Ford, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and John Mayall, and has toured with the Steve Morse Band and Allan Holdsworth."Perseverance", the band's 6th album, was recorded live in New Orleans and captures all the energy and emotional playing of a Woodenhead gig. Augmented by a horn section, the band's music comes across as a blend of the Dixie Dregs, Happy The Man, and Hot Rats-era Zappa. This is an album with broad appeal to fans of jazz rock, prog rock and even Cajun music. "At the New Orleans jazz festival, Woodenhead gets a standing ovation for teaching traditional jazz fans just how far imagination and electricity can push the form" - Esquire magazine
    $5.00
  • Yet another one to file away under the "I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime" category. NTSC Region 0 DVD of the live appearance by these Polish symphonic rock legends at Rockin' Jamboree '80. The DVD also contains videoclips of various appearances on Polish television as well as a video clip by Madmax - a band put together by four of the members after Exodus broke up. As a bonus there are some audio tracks taken from The Most Beautiful Day and Supernova. Make sure you don't mistake this for the thrash band from California or you will be in for a real surprise.
    $18.00
  • Now this stuff in weird and interesting...Vulture Industries is a Norwegian metal band that has been around for almost 20 years but this is only their third album.  Apparently they were originally a black metal band.  That may be true but there are only vestiges of that in their current sound.  Vulture Industires play the weird metal card - I'd classify them as "avant garde metal", very similar to bands like Arcturus, Diablo Swing Orchestra and Devin Townsend.  Hey what the hell - toss in some Faith No More as well.  This is heavy, guitar driven music with some of that carnival atmosphere that these oddball bands some to love to throw in to keep you off kilter.  The real standout is vocalist Bjørnar Nilsen, who has a real commanding presence on this disc.  Lots of emotion and angst.  A fascinating band.  Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • Ambient/prog reworking of Dead End Kings arrives in a limited edition 2 disc digibook.  You get the CD version as well as a DVD featuring a 5.1 and 24 bit hi-resolution stereo mix."After last year’s successful release of their 9th full-length Dead End Kings, Katatonia have returned with a special release entitled Dethroned and Uncrowned. This album is special for two reasons. Firstly, it was brought to life with the help of the so-called ‘Katatoniacs’; that is, the fans were the ones who financed this project through a pledge campaign the band had set up where fans could pledge for various album formats and other items such as drumsticks, lyric sheets, posters, backdrops and even one of Anders’s old guitars. Needless to say, the pledge campaign was highly successful and reached its goal in four days. Secondly, the album is special music-wise, as it contains the same tracks that were found on Dead End Kings, but all of them have undergone a major makeover. As Katatonia wrote on their website: ‘the drums will be dethroned and the distorted rhythm guitars will be uncrowned’. What they have basically done is that they have kept the vocal lines intact but have experimented with the rest of the music, creating stripped-down, semi-acoustic versions of the songs with the focus on ambience and atmosphere, showcasing the band’s progressive song-writing talent. Katatonia have masterfully and rather elegantly transformed the songs into totally different entities and have given themselves as well as the listeners the opportunity to discover different aspects of each track, by adding little interesting details or emphasizing some parts that were not as noticeable as in the previous version, like the Jan Johansson-esque piano touches in ‘Leech’, or the 70s prog vibe in ‘Dead Letters’. All in all, Katatonia have managed yet again to create a beautiful, melancholic and touching piece of work that will certainly fulfill the expectations of the majority of their fans. Those who were not very keen on Dead End Kings (if such people exist), might enjoy some of the songs in their new versions, and, who knows, they might even appreciate that album a bit more after listening to this." - Metal Recusants
    $9.00
  • The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there.  Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan.  One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice.  It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji.  The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics.  The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time).  Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz.  Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics.  There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing.  The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element.  Very little of it would be hard card fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present.  This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music.  Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label.  They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process.  We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.  More will follow in the near future.This is the first of a trilogy of albums coordinated by label founder Tee Fuji.  Its a bit of an all-star jam with members of the TBM roster.  Its a fully electric set that features serious blowing.  Some of it gets pretty freaky but in a good way."Sounds beyond compare – one of those really special 70s sessions from the Japanese Three Blind Mice label – put together in a way that almost seems to be a genre unto itself! The group here have a keen understanding of advances in free jazz and fusion, but work with a deeper spiritual undercurrent and a great sense of sound (shaped by producer Takashi "Tee" Fujii) – so that their individual instrumental elements flow together in rich new ways that are sometimes subtle, sometimes quite righteous! The lineup shifts a bit from track to track – and the set features xcellent work on flute and bass clarinet from Kenji Mori, electric piano from Masaru Imada, tenor from Takao Uematsu, and bass and cello from Nobuyoshi Ino. Titles include "End Of November", "Mort", "Our Foolish", and "Dragon Garden"."
    $29.00
  • "2014 surely seems to be a year of fruitful reunions; CARCASS is one we could see coming from a mile away, but alas, one name stood somewhat overshadowed by the band’s guitarist-mastermind’s main band, ARCH ENEMY; Chris Amott has brought ARMAGEDDON back to life, “Captivity And Devourment”: the first new material from the band since the last album, “Three”, in 2002. A band known for each album being a completely separate entity, genre-wise, “Captivity And Devourment” retains the blistering Melodic Death Metal from the first album, but combines modern nuances, and Chris’s own clean vocal performances, first heard on the last ARMAGEDDON album, and later, on his solo album work. This release is what ARMAGEDDON and the more aware of ARCH ENEMY fans have been waiting for the past 12 years.Fully unified and re-energized, the frontman position now takes the form of thunderous coarse vocalist Matt Hallquist provides the majority of the vocal delivery; a supermassive, unrelenting delivery of harsh growls, yet Chris’s clean singing deliveries are thoughtfully emblazon a number of tracks; the man is a master guitar player, and that is what this album shows. That being said, he a skilled vocalist in his own right.The title track opens the album, and what a monster of a song it is; hinting that this will be the band’s heaviest album to date, it explodes forth with a blast-beaten intro, before subsiding into a pummelling series of groove-ridden riffs. A powerful reminder that the ex-shredder of one of the world’s biggest Melodic Death Metal bands has once again made a foray into the Extreme Metal world, as such, the guitar work on this track drew a smile to my face.  “Locked in” is a bit more mellowed in the heaviness department, but is thickly substantiated with meaty riffs, and soaring, double-kicked sections, though the top dollar are the deliciously-catchy chord progressions .“Thanatron” was one of the first tastes we were given earlier this year, of the band’s new material. Beginning with a crisp, acoustic passage, some of the riffs on this track are as heavy and robust as you’ll hear on the album; a strong Groove Metal sound drives the main riffs. The necksnapping headbangery of this track shovels the coal into the massive engine that powers this album, from the beautiful and up-beat acoustic interlude of “Background Radiation”, through to one of my two favourite piece on the album, “The Watcher”. Seemingly more epic in stature, as the massive, thrumming intro riffs would give away, it certainly pulls no punches. This track happens to be strongly-embellished with clean vocals, not necessarily provided in the lead vocal sense but noticeable nonetheless. Chris commands the lyrics with an unusual style of delivery, sitting somewhere in the mid-range and capable of powerful belts, but with a mysterious, almost Gothic nuance about his singing. Quite frankly, he sounds like no one else I’ve ever heard; the grandiose, soaring section partway through the track will surely convince of this.A power metal enthusiast at heart, I was secretly hoping for more vocal belts; I was met with this and more on “Equalizer”, my other favourite. A virtuosic guitarist at heart, fans of his guitar playing will be at the very least satisfied and sated with the stellar lead work on this track. Chris certainly made no mistake in taking on the  best musicians for the job, either; I couldn’t be more pleased with the line-up after listening to this album, particularly the thundering bass tone provided by Sara. In fact, the overall production of this album is to be highly commended; seemingly, deliberately raw, it is far from overproduced, and everything comes across as far more organic, definitely playing a part in the heaviness factor.Am I approaching this with rose-tinted glasses/headphones? Hardly; ARMAGEDDON is a different band now. Something bigger, something stronger, and hopefully that little bit more infinite. Either way, this is the calibre of comeback I had been hoping for." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "It's a bit surprising that Pantera waited until 1997 to release a live album, considering how brutal and powerful the band had been in concert. At an average Pantera show, it would not be unusual to see security evicting overzealous fans, and club bathrooms filled with bloody wads of paper towels from mosh pit injuries. Official Live 101 Proof captures the group in its natural, violent element, combining abrupt, barbed riffs with pulse-pounding beats and furious vocals. The record spans Pantera's career, from the classic guitar lick of "Cowboys from Hell" to the fuzzbomb fury of "Suicide Note Pt. 2" (from album The Great Southern Trendkill). As an encore, the band offers album buyers two new studio tracks, the bluesy bonecrusher "Where You Come From" and the grinding piledriver "I Can't Hide." As the fortress of alternative rock continues to crumble, Pantera stomp vindictively through the rubble, their metallic legacy intact."--Jon Wiederhorn
    $6.00
  • "When push came to shove, few metal fans ever had any doubts that Max Cavalera would do just fine on his own after his acrimonious split from Brazilian death metal heroes Sepultura. In fact, the guitarist/singer/songwriter quickly proved himself the better of the two parties with the release of his new band Soulfly's eponymous debut in 1998. But, whereas that record maintained a rather linear progression from Sepultura's often underappreciated, at times groundbreaking work, clearly the singer's more adventurous work was now behind him. Primitive, Soulfly's sophomore "solo" project, introduces the listener to yet another slew of "new" musical styles, experiments, and collaborations. Frustratingly, where albums like Arise and especially Roots broke through standard metal clichés by reinventing its aesthetic with often startling results, a record like Primitive just seems like a haphazardly thrown-together melange of styles, with few cuts really managing to inspire or even gel. In fact, most of Cavalera's ideas sound half-baked here -- teetering on the cusp of something great, but never fulfilling that promise. With its mishmash of moods and irreverent sense of experimentation, Primitive teases but mostly plays it safe with its facile over-the-top posturing. Maybe it's the fact that Cavalera's lyrics have become something of an embarrassing mess these days, with the singer (and we use the term loosely) abusing every overwrought rap-metal cliché imaginable. Ignore the words (and let's not kid ourselves, a lot of folks will) and one is left with a solid, somewhat predictable metal release, which almost redeems itself thanks in part to a punchy production courtesy of Korn and Alice in Chains producer/engineer Toby Wright. As for the individual tracks themselves, opener "Back to the Primitive" is perfectly interchangeable with any other of the opening cuts on all the previous Soulfly and Sepultura albums (something Metallica once mastered to perfection back in its heyday). However, at the end of the day, Cavalera is no Hetfield and "Back to the Primitive" is no "Fight Fire With Fire" or "Battery" for that matter. Primitive then succumbs to a cluster-f**k of guest appearances including Slayer's Tom Araya, the Deftones' Chino Moreno, and the entire Mulambo Tribe (huh?) from Brazil -- yielding as many "ooh, that was neat" reactions as it does "what the hell was that for?" confusion. Of the aforementioned lyrical calamities, the otherwise satisfying "Bring It" and "Jump the F**k Up" are especially laughable for their sheer stupidity. "Mulambo," as one has come to expect, is the album's meaningless, supposed tribal chant (and no, it doesn't mean anything in Portuguese either), while "In Memory of..." is simply a blatantly shortsighted attempt at hip-hop. Two offerings, however, are pretty much beyond reproach: there's "Son Song," a surprising lucid collaboration with Sean Lennon that succeeds because it is so downright catchy and off the wall, and the closing "Flyhigh," truly surprising with its female lead co-vocal and bludgeoning detuned guitar groove. Ultimately, Primitive finds Cavalera in a reluctant holding pattern, and begs the question: "Where do we go from here?"" - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • "Since Phil Anselmo joined Pantera they had gone from strength to strength with sales increasing for each subsequent album and along with their worldwide reputation as a devastatingly violent and energetic live act; this album was highly anticipated in the barren metal years of the mid-nineties. The pressures of success had however, along with excessive alcohol consumption, exhausting touring duties and Phil's drug problems, caused a rift in the band and the recording of this album was anything but a smooth process. What this in-fighting, drug addiction and despair with success spewed forth was one of the most powerful pieces of pure hatred, attitude and anger filled music ever to come out of the American deep south.The first ten seconds is an aural assault on the listener as the screams come at you with the full force of all Phil's pent-up frustrations. The guitar barbarity and drum battery will quickly have you starting a mosh pit with any unsuspecting and unfortunate individual to cross your path. Before long Dimebag Darrell's trademark Southern Hard Rock, groove layered guitar flair rears its head and the riffs are as enticingly sinister as they are absorbingly technical. The lyrics lecture us on a wide variety of topics from the evils of the media to the corruption of the justice system. There are momentary breaks from this franticly heavy barrage on tracks like the comparatively slower "10's" and most notably on "Suicide Note Pt. 1" an acoustic tale of depression. Using unusual sound effects this sombre episode looks at the man contemplating suicide and divulging his innermost emotions. "Suicide Note Pt. 2" is Pantera's attempt at creating their fastest and heaviest offering yet as they get deep down into the angers and frustrations of life and offers a warning not follow the same path. One of the major standout tracks on this album is "Floods", the guitar solo on this song is widely renowned by guitar aficionados as one of Dimebag Darrell's very best in his illustrious career and the song itself is again a rather morbid look at the state of mankind.This album is anything but easy listening and can come across as quite disjointed on the first few listens, but given time you will soon find that this album is right up there with any Pantera album and the songwriting is at times truly astonishing. It may possibly be the heaviest album they ever did yet they never got too caught up on being heavy on this one. The slower tracks really add to its diversity and make the heavier tracks sound that much more heavy. You can see why this was the beginning of the end for this band, any group this angry and self righteous would find it simply impossible to stay together indefinitely and this album sums up everything Pantera were in one nice little package." - Metal Storm
    $6.00
  • "RCA Records released Live at the Fillmore East in April 1998, nearly 30 years after it was recorded. At the time, Jefferson Airplane was coming down from the peak of Takes Off, Surrealistic Pillow and After Bathing at Baxter's, and they were performing material form their forthcoming record, Crown of Creation. In other words, they were at a peak, and the record has a raw, exciting energy that illustrates why the group were considered one of the greatest bands of their era." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Incredible warehouse find.  Scored a small horde of these and I can pass them on to you at an amazing price."Gamma Ray! Undoubtedly one of the most important names in contemporary, classic Heavy Metal, and thee most respected and influential German band in the genre. Fronted by Kai Hansen, following his departure from Helloween, Gamma Ray has become one of the most prominent bands in European Heavy Metal. "To The Metal" is the 10th studio album in 21 years of worldwide success and a new diamond in their never-ending experimental creativity. The Special Edition contains a bonus DVD in HD with interview, rehearsals, live studio sessions and 3 videoclips."
    $3.00
  • "Twelve years, eight studio albums, two live DVDs and tours that have taken them from Moscow to Quebec. Now one of the most enduring third wave progressive rock bands on the scene returns - a band that has never made an album using the same personnel as the previous album. In fact, the same lineup has (to date) never been used twice.But there are regulars. And some of the favorite regulars are back for the 8th album: Flower Kings bass legend Jonas Reingold; the ever-faithful and gifted Theo Travis, familiar to many from his work with the Steven Wilson band, Gong and Robert Fripp, with his arsenal of wind textures from saxophones to flutes; and the return to the fold of the amazingly talented Luke Machin, a guitar hero for a new generation who can even wow the old generations (and who also fronts his own band, Maschine). And of course there's band leader Andy Tillison (keyboards and vocals), the only member of the band to have played on all the records.This team is joined by Morgan Ågren, Swedish drumming phenomenon who can even count Frank Zappa among his previous jobs (others include, but not limited to, Kaipa, Devin Townsend, and his own acclaimed Mats/Morgan Band). Morgan introduces to The Tangent a real live energy full of inspiration and eccentricity.The band, who were only supposed to make one single album in 2003, are now back with their eighth! A Spark In the Aether is a joyous and uplifting romp that sees the band concentrating on their forté: delivering driving, melodic, thoughtful and inspired songs with a large grin on their faces as they do it."Using protest, sadness and negative images in music is a part of an artist's job" says Andy Tillison, "and it's something we have often done. But every so often I think we need to turn to the music itself and remember why it is we get so much from it. On this album I just wanted us to play - have fun, make music and mischief that can be enjoyed just for the sake of it"So, twelve years further down the line, after albums about dystopian societies, midlife crises, alienation, homelessness and communications - the Tangent return to the very beginning and once again celebrate The Music. You are invited to join in."
    $16.00