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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  • Here's another one of those great German bands that fell through the cracks but thanks to Long Hair Music, their music is available for us to hear.  For Example was a large scale ensemble HEAVILY influenced by Chicago Transit Authority.  Notice I mentioned CTA as opposed to Chicago - this was not commercial music like the later incarnations.  For Example also utilized a horn section to excellent effect but also like their US counterparts there is killer guitar work all over this material.  Vocals are present but the music is predominantly instrumental.  So basically excellent jazz rock with killer guitar leads.This set consists of a session the band recorded for SWF Radio in 1973 as well as unreleased demos from 1972 while they were shopping for a record deal that never came.  Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • "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
  • "Despite what the name might lead you to think, progressive metal is among the most static and boring of all heavy music genres. Half the bands that fall under the moniker exist merely as a vehicle to show off the skills of the players involved, which is fine in small doses, but rarely sustains a creative career. The other half of the bands stick rigidly to the blueprint of one of the fore-bearers of the genre, giving us music that sounds exactly like something we've already heard. Very little of progressive metal is actually interesting, because it is a genre that lacks people dedicated to the art of songwriting. Songs are what makes any band successful, no matter how much sheer musical skill they possess. Dream Theater didn't get to where they are just because they are amazing musicians, they also wrote a slew of great songs and albums. The number of progressive metal bands who have impressed me with their songwriting in recent years is miniscule, but I mention all of this because Ascendia is one of them.As “At The End Of It All” swells into focus with a tribal drum beat and chanted vocals, it's already obvious that this is not going to be prog-by-numbers. The song kicks into gear with a syncopated guitar riff, before the vocals soar over the top of everything, slapping a thick coat of melody atop the sound. There's a quiet section in the middle of the song that feels like a cousin of Killswitch Engage, which is a fresh sound to hear in this kind of music. When it opens back up into the chorus, the song is massive, and it's hard to believe all of that music was contained in five and a half minutes.The songs on the album are more bite-sized than typical progressive metal, but that plays into the band's strengths as songwriters. By keeping the songs lean and tight, they hit harder than if the instrumental sections had been extended by a minute here and there. There is interesting playing going on, but it's all done within the framework of the songs, and never put out front to dominate the spotlight. It's an approach that is smart not just because of how easy it is to get bogged down in instrumental pyrotechnics, but because an album of that sort would never be able to survive the Herculean vocal presence of singer Nick Sakal.With more than a little bit of similarity to the former singer of the aforementioned Killswitch Engage, Howard Jones, Sakal's vocals dominate the album, making you wonder where a voice like that could have come from. His baritone is warm, rich, and not at all what you would expect to hear in a band that isn't playing down-tuned hardcore.But what is most important are the songs, and that's where Ascendia proves themselves as standouts. Whether tackling more modern fare like “Remember Me”, or more traditionally melodic songs like “Moonchild”, there's a phenomenal blend of heavy riffing and soaring melody. I can't tell you how rare it is to hear a progressive metal band that is so in tune with melody, and can write songs that could stand up if they were stripped down to the chord structure and the vocals. We get an example of that with the duet ballad, “The Song That You Deserved”, a largely piano and voice song that is as beautiful as it is heart-breaking. Ascendia's ear for songs is excellent, and that is what makes “The Lion And The Jester” such an engaging listen. Song after song, there's a warm and inviting chorus waiting to wrap its arms around you after you've heard the heavy and intricate moments.This year has been off to a ridiculously great start, with at least half a dozen legitimately great records having already come my way. Add “The Lion And The Jester” to that list, because Ascendia is making progressive metal the way it was always supposed to be. Both challenging and gratifying, intense and cathartic, “The Lion And The Jester” is a phenomenal piece of work that reminds me of the very best progressive metal I've ever heard. This is an album you need to hear.Oh, and how awesome is that cover art? That is one album that will look as good as it sounds in a collection." - Bloody Good Horror
    $10.00
  • The band's first album is a bit raw in sound. This is pre-Peart material. LIstening to this today you would almost think it's a different band although their trademark tune "Working Man" is here.  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • "Counting Leslie West's July 1969 solo album, Flowers of Evil was the fourth album in 28 months for West and Felix Pappalardi's Mountain, and the pace was catching up with them: Flowers of Evil was only half of a studio album with five new songs, its second side filled up with a live 25-minute rock & roll medley and encore of Mountain's sole Top 40 hit, "Mississippi Queen." This was unmistakable evidence that Mountain had run their course. There would be live albums, compilations, and reunions over the succeeding years, but Flowers of Evil marked the creative end of a surprisingly short-lived enterprise. " - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Germany's Mob Rules hit an absolute home run in 2010 with their album Radical Peace, and the band is back with the equally stellar Cannibal Nation. Don't let the title fool you into thinking that the veteran power/prog metal act has gone all horror on us, as Cannibal Nation is another sizzling collection of melodic, heavy, power & progressive metal songs. With a singer as good as Klaus Dirks, Mob Rules already has a step up on the competition, and he once again delivers a stunning performance here. "Tele Box Fool", "Lost", and the brilliant opener "Close My Eyes" all feature his confident, powerful vocals amidst plenty of catchy melodies and challenging metal arrangements. "Ice and Fire" has been picked as the first single from the CD, and it's a hook laden slice of melodic power metal with Dirks' soaring vocals over tasty guitar riffs & solos from Matthias Mineur & Sven Lüdke with just the right amount of keyboards courtesy of Jan Christian Halfbrodt. The CD has its share of heavy thumpers too, like the headbanging "Soldiers of Fortune" and the crunchy, harmony guitar laden title track. For those that like the more proggy side of Mob Rules, there's the atmospheric "Scream for the Sun (May 29th 1953)" and the textured "Sunrise", both heavily melodic and dripping with emotion.Cannibal Nation is another fine, classy release from Mob Rules, a band that consistently delivers one winner after another without relying on traditional European power metal or progressive metal characteristics." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00
  • 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
  • Second album from this retro hard rock band led by Wicked Minds guitarist Lucio "Swan" Calegari. The band is fronted by female vocalist Monica Sardella and she fits the music perfectly in a Robert Plant/Geddy Lee kind of way. The music owes an obvious debt to bands like Captain Beyond, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Ramatam. Lots of ripping soulful guitar with underpinnings of organ and vintage synth sounds. One could easily take this for a 70s recording. Good stuff!
    $16.00
  • "Devin Townsend - fully 30 records into an astonishing career - has now just raised the stakes in the form of a new double album combining Ziltoid The Omniscient’s triumphant return and the follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Epicloud!” Feasting upon Z2 is akin to immersing oneself in the arcane creases of the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT catalog, bludgeoning heaviness and angelic melodies living under the cathedral of Devin’s more contemplative solo vision. The effect is lush, full- range, cinematic, and expressive. Addressing the creative tension between the two discs, Devin explains “...it’s DTP...the ‘humans’ against Ziltoid, and it’s a battle of sorts...The DTP and Ziltoid side of my writing has evolved to where this statement was necessary and undoubtedly inevitable. The battle between the two seems like a great way to priced to the next chapter of my work. It’s a backdrop for something that hopefully engaging for people. I hope that the point that I’m trying to make with Ziltoid and the metaphor behind it, isn’t lost in just a sea of absurdity.” Guest musicians include Anneke Van Giersbergen (solo artist, ex-THE GATHERING) and Chris Jericho (WWE star, FOZZY) as Captain Spectacular! Also featuring the "Universal Choir", 2000 voices strong, the biggest choir on a metal record ever! "
    $15.00
  • 2CD edition comes with a bonus live disc recorded at the Loud Park 2010 festival."Taking a cue from where post-psychedelic and hard rock left off in the seventies before our hard rock heroes either went disco or into questionable directions, Spiritual Beggars’ picks up the pieces, just like Grunge did in its heyday; but adding a little more balls to the mix as an authentic force to be reckoned with. A supergroup featuring members of Arch Enemy, Opeth, Firewind, Carcass, and other extensions, the amped up sound of this Swedish powerhouse throws the pretentious mannerisms of out of the mix, gaining them a status that has created a solid dichotomy between them and many other stoner rock bands.Even as these guys are native to extreme and symphonic metal bands, the tunage gets to the point, reflecting Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult and early-Priest, as the heavy blues & R&B flavored upbeat moods have always raised the roof. Inflamed by grinding riffage and screaming Hammond organ, Earth Blues again sees Spiritual Beggars taking no retreat from their enigmatic rock and roll feast. The opening track “Wise as a Serpent” immediately spurs the dark groove into power pop territories, yet more intricate sides are heard on the multi-faceted “Sweet Magic Pain” & the dark 1-2 punch of “Kingmaker,” both offering up a salvo of to a Sabotage-meets-Agents of Fortune attitude. Without reckless abandon, these guys also explore a psych/funk mindset on “Turn the Tide,” plus you have “One Man’s Curse” which could have been a long last tune from Come Taste the Band.Even on the ballad “Dreamer” and the low key rocker “Dead End Town,” the band flexes their ideology the same way Zeppelin did at times; and that ideology is further expressed by way of  a set of live tracks on a bonus disc, proving they can hit the road with the attitude to kick ass. Still, whatever way you hear Spiritual Beggars, there will be no denying that their solid foundation of hard rock possesses intrigue, forgoing all the poser musicianship and letting the songs, the true grit of emotion, and the conviction to simply rock out speak loud for Earth Blues. Heavy, commanding, & sophisticated, Spiritual Beggars continue to map out their presence with bold, sharp, & gripping, metallic grandeur, affording no shame whatsoever." - Ytsejam.com
    $14.00
  • Its been seven years since the first release from The Fractured Dimension.  The core of the band is led by two ex-members of the avant metal band Scholomance: Jimmy Pitts (keyboards) and Jerry Twyford (bass).Given the extensive lineup of guest musicians Pitts and Twyford have corraled one would expect a supreme tech metal blow out.  In parts you get that but there are very strong symphonic rock, classical and fusion elements woven into the music.    Essentially they let the musicians be themselves and it makes it more challenging and interesting to hear them work their styles in to the compositions.OK so here is who is on th album:Jimmy Pitts (keys), Jerry Twyford (bass), Hannes Grossmann (drums), Vishal J Singh, Tom "Fountainhead" Geldschlager, and Tom Kopyto on guitars, Joe Deninzon (violin), Kasturi Nath Singh (Indian Classical Fusion Vocals), and guest guitar solos by Christian Muenzner, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Mike Abdow, Pete Pachio, Aaron Roten, Bill Bruce, and Jeremy Barnes.So you have guys from Obscura and lots of insane guitar soloists letting it all hang out with overlays of keyboards, violin all thrown at you with lots of intensity.  The whole thing will keep you off balance and I promise you won't be bored.  Highly recommended."“How can less be more? That’s impossible. More is more”, is a famous quote by Yngwie Malmsteen, and US/Germany-based super-group The Fractured Dimension have turned that statement into their modus operandi through their new album ‘Galaxy Mechanics’. By just looking at the star-studded 16-man line-up, not many would expect anything less than all-out super-technical music: a sound the band itself has labelled ‘Cosmic Instrumental Metal’.Despite the large number of members, from over 7 countries, Keyboardist Jimmy Pitts and bassist Jerry Twyford are the ones spearheading The Fractured Dimension, while the others have special and guest appearances on the record. Where you’d see drummer Hannes Grossmann (ex-Necrophagist, ex-Obscura, Blotted Science, Alkaloid), you’d see his Alkaloid band-mate and guitarist Christian Muenzner, and where you’d see Christian, you’d see current Obscura guitarist Tom Fountainhead Geldschlager, and the list goes on. It includes guitarists Tom Kopyto, Mike Abdow, Jeremy Barnes, Bill Bruce, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Pete Pachio and Aaron Roten. Indian guitarist Vishal J Singh is also among the ranks, as is Indian classical fusion vocalist Kasturi Singh and violinist Joe Deninzon.The album is extremely complex, and features an incredible range of musical styles not just through different instruments and tones, but through stylistic variations within an instrument itself. For example, the guitarists exercise their own style of playing, and since different guitarists worked on different tracks on the album, each song is given a unique vibe. The songs are progressive and only subtly repetitive, while each one is quite different from the other not only in terms of the guitars, like mentioned, but also in the way they’re structured and layered instrumentally.Dealing with each track individually is impossible because of their highly complex nature, but some of the high points from the album include songs like “Displacement” and “Elysian” which, like the other tracks, make use of interesting keyboard patches and time changes. The bass and keyboards are prominent everywhere and along with some brilliant drumming, form the backbone of the sound around which the guitars weave their magic.However, the main issue that needs to be addressed is this: does all of this complexity and variation give rise to music that is, put simply, enjoyable? Not everyone may appreciate the highly intricate music, but it makes no sense to say that The Fractured Dimension tried to impress everybody anyway. What can be seen, or rather, what flares up and makes itself obvious in the music, is the honesty behind it. The songs do not feel like they are forced, and the creative freedom of the musicians is in full display here. If one can see this honesty for himself/herself, that person will end up enjoying Galaxy Mechanics. There aren’t many other albums for which the same thing can be said, so the album is a definite hit and not a miss, and while dealing with super-technical and intricate music it is very easy to go wrong.A quarrel one could pick with Jimmy Pitts and Co. involves intriguing song titles, like “Bolshevikian Mythological Creature” and “Seventh Hymn to Nibiru” for example, and no vocals and lyrics to explain them. This doesn’t mean the music would be better off with vocals, but it means that there is no vocal expression of these concepts in a manner everybody can understand. Other than this, Galaxy Mechanics is a sublime effort from The Fractured Dimension, and one can only wonder what this exceptional pool of talent will conjure up next." - Metalwani
    $9.00
  • With almost forty minutes of new material, AGUSA delivers a wide array of seamlessly-executed, organic rock on the aptly titled Agusa 2. The band’s tranquil output blends tripped-out psychedelic and progressive rock structures are inspired by more folk than occult influences, instilling visions of nature, the cosmos, and dreamlike passages, meandering into realms of a possibly supernatural or parallel existence. While not a fully instrumental recording, backing vocal mantras only seep in through purposeful cracks in the construction of these immense movements, adding an even more spacious feeling to the overall flow of the album.AGUSA was formed in the springtime of 2013, when Tobias Petterson and Mikael Ödesjö, former members of Kama Loka, recruited Dag Strömqvist and Jonas Berge for their early ‘70s progressive rock project. In the Summer, the outfit ventured out to the countryside where Dag lived, to a place called Agusa — virtually only a loose gathering of homes deep in the forest. Within these secluded surroundings, and the most amazingly sunny, warm Summer day, the new collective had an extensive, extremely inspired jam session which somewhat solidified the direction of their sound, so of course, the name AGUSA was simply perfect for the outfit.In the Autumn of 2014, the band went into the studio to record their first album, Högtid, which was released on vinyl and digital media in early 2014. After a handful of gigs during the Winter, Dag decided to leave AGUSA to travel around India, and following a number of auditions, Tim Wallander, also a member of blues trio Magic Jove, joined the band. In the beginning of 2015, the refreshed lineup went into Studio Möllan once again to record their sophomore full-length, this time having asked a close friend of theirs, Jenny Puertas, to play flute on the recording. The match was so perfect that the band instantly invited her into the band on a full-time basis, expanding their lineup once again. They began performing with this new arrangement weeks later, and have not looked back.CD mastering is courtesy of Bob Katz, done to his usual audiophile standards.
    $13.00
  • "If Astral Doors had an intention to re-revolutionize the metal and rock industry – flipping it on its ear and leaving mouths agape - well, it might be time for you to awaken from the fantasy. Astral Doors has and always will play badass rock ‘n’ metal that is so steeped in the historical realms of Rainbow and Ronnie James Dio that the material is stained a deep reddish brown. With that said, if you set those expectations to moniker of reality, “Notes from the Shadows” really is one of the most enjoyable metal albums you'll hear all year.Although I do think vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson (Civil War) plays tribute to the great Ronnie James Dio, he is quite distinctive and is by no means the “replica” which many people have stamped him as. A much closer listen to his work (check Civil War, Wuthering Heights, and Lion’s Share for reference), reveals a much deeper variety in style than the stigma he has received from critics who lazily overgeneralize. I’m sure Johansson is likely flattered by the comparison (who wouldn’t be), but on top of drawing influences from a myriad of vocalist admired over the years, he has a style that is easily identifiable.With that said, “Notes from the Shadows” presents a basic rock ‘n’ metal approach – a heavier Rainbow, if you will, so if this is not your bag…move on. For those that enjoy well written songs with bad ass Hammond style keyboards (from Joakim Rodberg) and absurdly infectious hooks (from Joachim Nordlund) all shadowed by Johansson’s bold vox, then this release will be met with insane enjoyment. “Last Temptation of Christ” and “Confessions” have all those typical Astral Doors hallmarks, including Johansson’s trademark “intro shouting” of the song title just shortly after the start. The best offerings include “Disciples of the Dragon Lord” (perhaps the heaviest on the album), “Walker the Stalker” and “Desert Nights” – all with more hooks than a Bassmaster tournament.My personal favorite is “Shadowchaser,” which starts with a melody that is a near replica of “Man on the Silver Mountain” (which certainly won’t help with that Dio/Rainbow stigma). It quickly turns into one of the most accessible tracks on the album. “Die Alone” – which is a drum clinic of badassery from Johan Linstedt (and not for awe inspiring fills, just ability to inspire headbanging) – is another in a string of tracks that would make the Astral Doors best-of release.Don't expect “Notes from the Shadows” to teach you a new way to rock. If that happens, you probably are not listening to Astral Doors. Consider this a lesson in how to properly rock through echos of the greats like Rainbow, Sabbath and, of course, Dio. If you enjoy the extension of a great legacy carried on through newer acts, you will find much to enjoy on this album. "Notes from the Shadows" is just a continuation of the great song writing and unique ability to force the body rock out which you should come to expect from Astral Doors." - Metal Underground
    $15.00
  • HDCD remastered digipak with 3 bonus tracks."As the second long-player by the Grateful Dead, Anthem of the Sun (1968) pushed the limits of both the music as well as the medium. General dissatisfaction with their self-titled debut necessitated the search for a methodology to seamlessly juxtapose the more inspired segments of their live performances with the necessary conventions of a single LP. Since issuing their first album, the Dead welcomed lyricist Robert Hunter into the fold -- freeing the performing members to focus on the execution and taking the music to the next level. Another addition was second percussionist Mickey Hart, whose methodical timekeeping would become a staple in the Dead's ability to stop on the proverbial rhythmic dime. Likewise, Tom Constanten (keyboards) added an avant-garde twist to the proceedings with various sonic enhancements that were more akin to John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen than anything else coming from the burgeoning Bay Area music scene. Their extended family also began to incorporate folks like Dan Healy -- whose non-musical contributions and innovations ranged from concert PA amplification to meeting the technical challenges that the band presented off the road as well. On this record Healy's involvement cannot be overstated, as the band were essentially given carte blanche and simultaneous on-the-job training with regards to the ins and outs of the still unfamiliar recording process. The idea to create an aural pastiche from numerous sources -- often running simultaneously -- was a radical concept that allowed consumers worldwide to experience a simulated Dead performance firsthand. One significant pattern which began developing saw the band continuing to refine the same material that they were concurrently playing live night after night prior to entering the studio. The extended "That's It for the Other One" suite is nothing short of a psychedelic roller coaster. The wild ride weaves what begins as a typical song into several divergent performances -- taken from tapes of live shows -- ultimately returning to the home base upon occasion, presumably as a built-in reality check. Lyrically, Bob Weir (guitar/vocals) includes references to their 1967 pot bust ("...the heat came 'round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day") as well as the band's spiritual figurehead Neal Cassidy ("...there was Cowboy Neal at the wheel on a bus to never ever land"). Although this version smokes from tip to smouldering tail, the piece truly developed a persona all its own and became a rip-roaring monster in concert. The tracks "New Potato Caboose" and Weir's admittedly autobiographically titled "Born Cross-Eyed" are fascinatingly intricate side trips that had developed organically during the extended work's on-stage performance life. "Alligator" is a no-nonsense Ron "Pigpen" McKernan workout that motors the second extended sonic collage on Anthem of the Sun. His straight-ahead driving blues ethos careens headlong into the Dead's innate improvisational psychedelia. The results are uniformly brilliant as the band thrash and churn behind his rock-solid lead vocals. Musically, the Dead's instrumental excursions wind in and out of the primary theme, ultimately ending up in the equally frenetic "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)." Although the uninitiated might find the album unnervingly difficult to follow, it obliterated the pretension of the post-Sgt. Pepper's "concept album" while reinventing the musical parameters of the 12" LP medium. [The expanded and remastered edition included in the Golden Road (1965-1973) (2001) box set contains a live performance from August 23, 1968, at the Shrine in Los Angeles. This miniset features an incendiary medley of "Alligator" and "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)" concluding with over four minutes of electronic feedback.]" - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00