Memories From The Future

SKU: SR3074
Label:
Sensory Records
Category:
Power Metal
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"Maxi Nil (ex Visions of Atlantis) and Raphael Saini (ex Iced Earth) after touring the world and captivating audiences along the way, decided to join forces and re enter the music world as Jaded Star!

Exploding with energy, experience and drive the band's debut album "Memories From The Future" is ready.

Produced by Maxi Nil, mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordstrom at the legendary Fredman Studios in Sweden, this album showcases Maxi's electrifying vocals and the masterful drum work Saini is known for.

Guitar hero Kosta Vreto with his unique finger strumming style, eschews the plectrum in favor of a raw, organic sound that literally comes straight through his hands. Babis Nikou on the bass brings a solid foundation and the chemistry between he and Maxi as the song writing team provides emotion to match the power of the sound.

The elements are there, the forces have aligned, the Jaded Star is ready to shine!"

 

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  • "I am somewhat torn doing this review as it is one of my favorite Metal cd's, which in itself is a very brash statement and also it is Rob Halford "without" one of the greatest Metal bands in the world..... Judas Priest.During those few very sad years back in the early 90's when Halford left Priest,he formed a band called "Fight" which I think surprised everyone(including your's truly) with it's raw power and brutal almost Thrash-like Metal riffs.This was definatley not some some lame Priest cover band but it was a new way for Rob to showcase that incredible voice of his.The cd opens up with what was a staple of Mtv's Headbanger's Ball back then with the song "Into the Pit" which was a fast and furious tribute to the "Mosh Pit".The music continues to grab you by the throat and choke the life out of you and never let's you come up for air.Some of my other favorites are "Nailed to the Gun", "Life in Black" the title track "War of Words" and two absolute Thrash classics, "Contortion" and "Kill it".There is also the (Dare I say hit single..."Little Crazy").Sadly, Fight put out only one other cd but it did not even come close to the power of it's predecessor and shortly after that the band called it quits. Over the next few years Halford tried a few other projects but none of them had the "Balls" of "War of words".A few years laterHalford and Priest resolved their differences and Priest was reborn,Badder than ever.I strongly recommend this cd to any "real" Metal fan,especially the younger one's which may not have known that Rob Halford was ever in another band besides Judas Priest.Without a doubt this cd "War of Words" scores a very HEAVY....10." - The Metal Pit
    $5.00
  • 2 LP limited edition silver vinyl.  Only 500 copies.  Oh yeah...there is a bonus track as well.'Insane instrumental tech metal project from former Reflux guitarist Tosin Abasi. The album was engineered by Misha Mansoor, the equally adept guitarist for the (amazingly) unsigned band Periphery. Mansoor contributes some guitar parts and is responsible for the drum programming. While I strongly prefer an actual drummer, its a marginal distraction from this intense guitar album. Abasi plays 7 and 8 string guitar and the solos are pretty sick. The whole thing has a Spastic Ink meets Canvas Solaris vibe. I understand that Abasi has a live version of the band. The album is pretty crazy - I can only imagine what the live band is like. Highly recommended.
    $23.00
  • "I have often likened being an author for an online music webzine as similar to being a treasure hunter, we sift through hours of detritus trying to find that gem of music composition that strikes a chord and has meaning, unlike the bubblegum pop of the mainstream world where it is all about money and marketing. True, the music that we champion and review may have little commercial success but, for the artist, this is the culmination of many hours of soul searching and downright hard work.These little gems of music are what I live for as a reviewer and, when you get a surprise release from out of the blue that simply knocks your socks clean off then, it makes it all worthwhile and puts a huge smile on my face.  That sensation of the hairs standing on the nape of my neck started again when I first heard Anton Roolaart’s new release ‘The Plight of Lady Oona’. This time, it wasn’t my discovery, this record was sent my way by Lady Obscure herself and, upon seeing the album cover, I was immediately hooked, as you should know by now, I’m always a sucker for an impressive album sleeve (showing my age there). As I worked my way through multiple listens, it wasn’t just the cover that impressed me.Anton Roolaart is a Dutch artist who lives in America, he has one previous album release, ‘Dreamer’ in 2007. Anton’s music is said to portray the quintessence of melodic progressive rock accompanied with lush orchestration, and this new release is certain to capture the listener’s attention once again. He does this with the help of some talented friends and musicians including Vinnie Puryear, Kendall Scott, Pieter van Hoorn, Rave Tesar and Michael Frasche. Renaissance’s Annie Haslam provides additional vocals on the title track. All songs were composed and produced by Anton with the help of co-producer Rave.You are immediately drawn into Anton’s lush cinemascapes and soundscapes with the brilliant Gravity, gentle, lush instrumentation accompanied by a plaintive vocal infuses the music with a sci-fi feeling, future music if you like. The relaxed yet uplifting tempo is central to the pathos of the track, it is atmospheric with the textured keyboards central to everything. There are hints of 70’s progressive rock in the slow, measured moog solo but, to these ears, it is a song that is set in the stars and the emptiness of space.Stars Fall Down is introduced by a lilting piano and breaking vocal, when the keyboards and laid back drums slip into place it has a real synth pop ethos. That 80’s feel is emphasised by the organ and catching vocal that increases in power as the track runs on. Another song that is food for a healthy intellect, another nice touch is the pared back, distorted solo that gives a smooth, ambient haze to the proceedings. This guy has more than one string to his impressive bow.If you are after an atmospheric, multi-faceted prog epic full of wonderful melodies, plot turns and structures then, look no further than title track The Plight of Lady Oona. Flute and acoustic guitar drift in with the mist at the beginning of the song, a folk influenced vocal and piano carry on the ambience as the tale begins. There are multiple influences at play here that Anton moulds into his own unique sound around which, the addition of Annie Haslam’s dulcet tones is a clever touch. The mood take son a definitive 70’s Yes edge with the catchy guitar and expressive bass underscoring an urgent keyboard that ramps up the pace, a spiralling, complex guitar adds another layer of sophistication along with a fulsome organ and minstrel-like guitar. The interlude that follows, full of mystery and opaqueness, is leading the way for Annie’s refined and exquisite vocal. This part of the song is poignant and full of feeling as, eventually, Annie and Anton join forces to deliver an uplifting vocal experience followed by some delightful piano and exquisite guitar work which blossoms into an impressive instrumental section where church organ, soaring keyboards and chiming guitar all contribute to a smorgasbord of musical delight. That mediaeval minstrel effect returns at the end of the song with a short vocal and extended acoustic guitar section that John Williams would be proud of, this is a precise and complicated track that is delivered with verve and aplomb, sublime.There is a darker intensity to Standing in the Rain, it is ominous, evoking a dystopian spirit. The vocal delivery is heightened and impassioned, the guitar riffs are momentous and deep lying and the percussion is moody and profound. The violin touches are vivid and the song cuts through you like a knife, holding you in its hypnotic stare, unable to break free as the mesmerising guitar solo slowly works its way into your psyche.After the potent tension of the previous track, instrumental Memoires is a musical breath of fresh air, dainty and enchanting. The acoustic guitar dances around your mind before a luscious piano makes your heart sing. The heavenly keyboards and ululating guitar join forces to bring a lustre of hope to all around, a real ‘feel good track’ to my ears.This piquant treat for aural receptors comes to a close with The Revealing Light and, at the beginning it is rather enigmatic and secretive and a very slow burner. The flute sound signals the start of something as the cryptic vocals begin, ardent and fervid, backed by a distorted, acid guitar. Lush, electronic keyboard notes envelop you in their embrace as the song takes a psychedelic turn, all Sgt Pepper in its tone. Things change with a twisting, coruscating note delivered by a melancholic guitar  and the solemn drum beat giving a sober feel to the track as a sombre voice over closes out the album with just about the right feel.‘The Plight of Lady Oona’ is an album that gives up its delights bit by bit, there is no instant gratification on offer here, if you are prepared to invest time in the music it will deliver a cornucopia of musical delights. Anton Roolaart is a name to look out for, my first introduction to his music has been an intensive and incredibly impressive one and, it won’t be my last." - Lady Obscure
    $12.00
  • "“Memories Of An Ancient Time”represents the second chapter of the trilogy start with "Countdown to Revenge" two years ago. HOLLOW HAZE has recently parted ways with singer Fabio Lione ( RHAPSODY, ANGRA, KAMELOT), But luckily the Italians, in person but shortly after it announced that Mats Leven (Y. MALMSTEEN, THERION, CANDLEMASS), Rick Altzi (MASTERPLAN, At VANCE) and Amanda Somerville took part in the recording sessions as very special guest singers. Their new and sixth album, that is set to be released on upcoming June’15 by Scarlet Records.This second saga will take you on an epic journey through the desert of Egypt, meeting the aliens, special mention to the amazing artwork realised by Stan W. Decker. This “Memories Of An Ancient Time” has been mastered by Mika Jussila (NIGHTWISH, APOCALYPTICA, CHILDREN OF BODOM) at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and as usually, Mika has done a good job, the production is magestic.“Memories Of An Ancient Time” is a mix of progressive meets power meets symphonic meets heavy metal, fast guitar riffs, neat double bass, magical and orchestral arrangements, big and beautiful choirs in the chorus, you can easily sing along all the songs, especially due to that the songs are relatively short compared to the first album of this trilogy.All the duets between Mats Leven & Amanda Somerville are all well done, Rick is mostly heard in the background, all the lead vocals are on the Mats‘s shoulders. As usual, Mats Leven has often proven, in the past, that he can carry an complete album. Whether by Y. MALMSTEEN or with THERION (even if i prefer his vocal performance with the guitar hero), he always convinced me with his charismatic voice, and he does this time again. HOLLOW HAZE has done the best choice with Mats for sure. Note the female choirs by Amanda & Claudia are just so sweet and touch your heart with their tender melodies. Everything else is fine, there is plenty of tunes (especially in the choruses), as know so well the Italian bands in this style.Its a bombastic album, but you need to hear the first part of the saga to understand, where the band wants to take you,  so you need also to buy the CD with the booklet included to jump into the lyrics and not download MP3! To finish his review, if you’re a fan of this style of metal, you still take pleasure to listen to this “Memories Of An Ancient Time” in a few years.This is already a classic! An emotional masterpiece!" - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "Unwritten Pages’ Noah is an album born out of a passion for progressive, driving music, concept albums and 80’s science-fiction film. It combines the broad musical taste of its creator Frederic Epe and the stylistic and unique musical backgrounds of each project member, reaching from rock and metal to Latin influences and more classical/score-oriented arrangements.The album features soaring guitars, fat organs and bone-breaking drums, as well as a healthy dose of retro. But most of all, it never loses its focus on unique and melody-driven song-writing. And it comes in the form of an ambitious story, told through the eyes of the vocalists and musicians.Noah tells the story of a boy born in the ruins of the futuristic Utopia City, and Maria, the daughter of a ruthless politician who has – literally – split Utopia City in half and driven the poor to a district known as LS01X. As the political climate escalates, a few hundred people from both sides of the city are forced to leave their home world and start a new life on Mars. Here, both Maria and the boy grow up in the middle of a rising conflict between two factions that are unwilling to ignore their grudge-ridden past. Noah features the talents of Damian Wilson (Threshold, Ayreon, Les Misérables), Karl Groom (Threshold, Shadowland), Davy Mickers (Stream of Passion, Ayreon), Alejandro Millán (Hello Madness, Stream of Passion) and many others."
    $3.00
  • Xystus is a Dutch progressive metal band formed in 1999 by drummer Ivo Van Dijk and guitarist/vocalist Bas Dolmans. They enlisted bassist Mark Brekelmans and second guitarist Bob Witsma. Through the course of releasing two albums – 2004’s “Receiving Tomorrow” and 2006’s “Surreal” – the band built up a buzz and fanbase in The Netherlands. The band supported Kamelot and made numerous festival appearances. In December 2005, Xystus went on a European tour in support of Epica. The band had even greater ambitions and in 2006 they contacted the Utrechtsch Studenten Concert – the oldest symphony orchestra in The Netherlands. The resulting two year collaboration resulted in the rock opera Equilibrio. Conceived as both an actual stage production and studio recording, Equilibrio was performed to four sold out audiences in July 2008 – over 4,000 people witnessed the opera. Sensory is proud to release the studio recording of Equilibrio, which features key scenes from the opera. In addition to the 60 piece USConcert orchestra and 30 member choir, Xystus enlisted vocal performances from Simone Simons (Epica), George Osthoek (Orphanage, Delain) and Dutch theater veterans Michelle Splietelhof and John Vooijs. The story of Equilibrio revolves around a wanderer named Diegu (Bas Dolmans) who finds himself caught between the forces of good and evil - the power mad ruler Primos (John Vooijs) and the altruistic rebel Avelin (Michelle Splietelhof). Primos makes a pact with Death (George Osthoek) to take over the world. After unsuccessful efforts by Diegu to mediate between Avelin and Primos, the latter ends up with complete power and the world is thrown out of balance. Diegu is summoned by the godess Lady Sophia (Simone Simons). She watches over Earth and entrusts Diegu with the job of reuniting Primos and Avelin in order to restore the balance between good and evil again.
    $6.00
  • "US band ODIN'S COURT have been around ever since 2001, with a good handful of productions to their name so far, and in terms of full length albums they have released six of them so far. Their most recent one, "The Warmth of Mediocrity", was issued through US label The RecordLabel.net's Progrock Records division towards the end of 2013.While this is a full length album, I guess the majority would really sort this one as a compilation rather than a bonafide studio disc, as the greater majority of the songs have been pulled from old releases. But as these songs have been both remixed and to some extent remade as well, due to the addition of Dimetrius LaFavors as lead vocalist, this really is a new album even if much of the material have been available in other versions previously.As far as style is concerned, Odin's Court is among those bands that venture back and forth across the border between the rock and metal part of the progressive universe, although the main emphasis appears to be on the latter of these. They explore, at least in recent years, a brand of progressive metal that explore the contrasts between grimy, gnarly dark toned guitar riff constructions and light toned, subtly exotic sounding keyboard textures, with ample room for movements of a more careful nature to alternate between the harder edged and more intense ones. The piano is employed for an additional delicate touch on several occasions, and what I presume to be digitally crafted orchestral backings also have their place in the material of this band. The dulcimer is also used to good effects to convey effects of a more careful nature within this landscape.From what I can recall of their older material, it would appear that their new vocalist is a good addition to this band. There are still some issues with the vocals however. That there are songs here not written with the new vocalist and his particular voice in mind is a fact, and that some of the vocal parts comes across as somewhat odd in structure and execution both is a detrimental detail at times. As is the band's slight tendency to hit off in a dramatic, technically oriented run with quirky staccato riff bursts in asynchronous patterns, although this latter aspect probably has more to do with personal taste and not quite as much to do with stylistic expression and structure as such.Personally I found the band to be most interesting when exploring territories of a more regular nature, with the remade version of Utopian Rust and the following instrumental Paradise Lost: Chapter 1 to be clear album highlights. The former a fairly traditional progressive metal creation sporting a fairly smooth, dark toned guitar riff and a fairly predictable but effective keyboard contrast as the dominant elements, with compelling harmony based guitar soloing and a nifty bass motif beneath that fits this song in this guise very well indeed. The latter of these two songs appears to be a case of progressive metal inspired by classical music, using orchestral details to supplement the guitars and organ that otherwise sets the mood and atmosphere. Opening and title track The Warmth of Mediocrity also warrants a mention, and again we're dealing with a more common variety of progressive metal with strong and distinct contrasts between guitar riffs and keyboards, majestic themes and a harmony based song in general expression and instrumental solo runs both.All in all a somewhat uneven production as far as I'm concerned, where the most experimental numbers also comes across as the least inspired of the lot. But when Odin's Court starts exploring a more common and predictable variety of progressive metal, then they are going strong with all cylinders firing in a fitting, majestic manner. A band and an album worth taking a look at if you're curious of a band that are at their best exploring traditional progressive metal Dream Theater style, while also having a go at assembling compositions of a more challenging nature that may not be quite as appealing - all of this very much depending on personal taste admittedly." - ProgArchives
    $3.00
  • For some reason this live set originally released as a double album in 1975 only came out in Japan. It features the Headhunters lineup and they blow through incendiary version of material from Thrust, Maiden Voyage, Man-Child, and Headhunters. Expensive but worth it.
    $34.00
  • "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
    $12.00
  • 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
  • Some of this sounds so much like Black Sabbath that I thought I was listening to a Count Raven album.  Latest album from this French doom metal band continues to mix in 70s prog moves as well as psychedelic folk.  A bit underproduced but that does lend a bit of charm.  Cool stuff!"It’s no secret that the French progressive doom band Northwinds is a favorite here at Vertical Chamber Apparatus as the band continually pushes themselves both creatively and compositionally. Despite their two-and-a-half decades of existence and a bulletproof discography the band still dwells in relative obscurity to the world at large. While the group is often and not necessarily unfairly labelled as a “doom metal band” that label is really only a fraction of the story. Northwinds definitely invokes the ancient rites of doom metal—mostly in an organic, proto-doom spirit—but they also voyage extensively into the realms of progressive rock, folk, psychedelia, and 70’s inspired hard rock thus taking the listener on phantasmagorical journeys into uncharted lands. With four outstanding releases already under their collective belts the band is poised to release their fifth full-length, the long-awaited and highly anticipated ‘Eternal Winter.’The band’s excellent 2012 album, ‘Winter,’ was initially conceived as a double album appropriately titled ‘Winter…Eternal Winter,’ but the idea was shelved by Black Widow Records as a risky venture. ‘Winter’ was a career defining moment for the band as the release seemed to capture them not only at their doomiest, but also at their most mystical. Based on the strength of ‘Winter’ it is exciting to know that most, if not all, of the material of ‘Eternal Winter’ was conceived and composed during the same writing cycles that have produced some of Northwinds’ strongest and darkest material to date.‘Eternal Winter’ is unquestionably an extension of ‘Winter,’ though the latest doesn’t quite descend into the same dark depths as its predecessor, nor does it establish the consistent magical atmosphere that was threaded throughout the previous album. These points should not be mistaken as criticism, but should be taken as mere observation as Northwinds has yet to disappoint and ‘Eternal Winter’ is no exception from that rule. While the magical atmospherics that were in abundance on ‘Winter’ are in slight decline on the band’s latest they definitely are not absent. The dreamy intro of “Chimeres” gives way to one of the most powerful tracks of the album. “Chimeres,” with its effective use of synths and ghostly sound effects, shares a stylistic and tonal kinship to other standout tracks from the band’s discography like “Black Tower” or “Winds of Sorrow.” Adding to the atmosphere of “Chimeres” is a sinister, phantom-like vocal effect that echoes the vocals of Sylvain Auvé—a subtle, yet effective detail that enriches the track as a whole.Where ‘Winter,’ for the most part, was steeped in darkness ‘Eternal Winter’ chooses to travel paths more related to progressive influenced hard rock. The flute heavy “Crossroads” has an epic, classic rock vibe that is fueled by majestic guitar solos, organ, and Auvé’s soulful vocals. The uncharacteristic “From the Cradle to the Grave,” one of the shortest non-instrumental songs written by the band, is dominated by a 70’s style strut that seemingly burns out almost as soon as it starts. “A Light for the Blind” may just be the best representation of Northwinds’ sound. It is a sprawling track that is embedded with moments of catchiness—particularly due to the lead guitar—juxtaposed with sonic explorations to other dimensions. It’s a great track that captures Northwinds doing what they do best—crafting intricate, often emotional tunes that never fail to keep the listener engaged.Northwinds have, impressively, continued their upward trajectory by releasing another stunner in a succession of stellar albums. The band is poised to have an incredible year with the upcoming release of ‘Eternal Winter’ hot on the heels of their killer split 7” with fellow countrymen Marble Chariot. In addition, the vinyl release of their 1995 demo courtesy of metalloscope-music has just been released. ‘Eternal Winter,’ like the rest of Northwinds’ discography, is an enchanting album that is comprised of a multitude of layers. Fans of doom metal and progressive rock will undoubtedly discover and hear a lot to admire in the music of Northwinds and ‘Eternal Winter’ is no exception. An engaging listen from start-to-finish. Highly recommended." - Vertical Chamber Apparatus
    $16.00
  • "Back in 2008, a force in the German melodic power metal scene released an album called “Eternal Empire.” The album was met with as much disdain as I have seen critic’s muster. It seemed that after the release of epic power masterpieces “Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir” and “Defenders of the Crown,” the band had all but abandoned the foundation that built the Human Fortress. On one hand, creating a new sound to generate a bigger audience is understandable, but to hardened power metal fans it’s a sacrilege. So, after a five year hiatus, the departure of Carsten Frank (who sang and played guitar on “Eternal Empire”) and return of one the original members Volker Trost (guitarst) and vocalist Jioti Parcharidis, the band was set to regroup and attack. However, in 2010 Parcharidis left again for health reasons, leaving the band to seek a new vocalist. The search turned up one of the rising voices in metal - Brazil’s Gus Monsanto (Symbolica/Code of Silence/Ex-Adagio). With that, Human Fortress seeks to reclaim lost glory with “Raided Land.” The end result is a successful transition back to pre-2008 derailment as the the train coasts back on the track of straight melodic power metal, with the added bonus of the best production in the band’s history.In Monsanto, the band has brought back the soaring beauty that was lost with Frank’s pseudo-harsh style vocals. His range is even more varied than with his other bands (Code of Silence and Symbolica) and there are brief moments where he is inseparable from Tommy Karevik (see “Under Seige”). It seems there is no end to the breadth of what he can sing. His style is more wide open than that of original vocalist Parcharidis, though I suspect that many fans will identify his style with the band. In a similar aspect to MasterPlan, yet on a much smaller scale, the band’s rabid fanbase will raise red flags with a new vocalist. However, the only red flag that should be raised is the one depicted on the album artwork. Monsanto is by far the best vocalist Human Fortress has ever had, and it is his range that properly propels the band to a modern audience while keeping true to its history.With a perfect mix and fantastic sound (from Orden Ogan vocalist/guitarist Sebastian "Seeb" Levermann on the music side and vocalist extraordinaire Michael Bormann on the vocal side), Human Fortress draws elements from the first two releases with a distinct nod to the current style of Kamelot. Pure power metal fans might find that it leans more progressive and is mired in mid-paced muck and pure progressive fans will find it dips into more power than they might like. For those in the middle, “Raided Land” is the band’s finest hour. The songs are a perfect balance of power and progressive with the songs averaging a svelte 4 minutes.With a recipe of “Silverthorn” Kamelot and “Mystery of Time” Avantasia, the band also throws some shades of Running Wild within the riffs of “Gladiator of Rome, Pt. 2,” the album’s strongest track. “Evil Curse” is the longest track – at 5:22 – and also the heaviest. I do wish that mighty riff was carried in force through the first verse, but it comes back half way in the second. However, if there was one song on the album that shows the full range that Monsanto offers, this is it. Other notables are “The Chosen One,” “Child of War” and “Wasted Years.” The one most closely related to Kamelot is “Under Seige,” which if I hadn’t known better could have easily fooled me as coming from that band.“Raided Land” is a return to the style that started it all for Human Fortress. With Gus Monsanto, the group added the most versatile vocalist its ever had (with no disrespect to Parcharidis). The sound and production is the most pristine in the band’s history, striking a perfect mix – a testament to the mastery of both Sebastian Levermann and Michael Bormann. While I know some diehards will find the album unfulfilling as a pure power metal album, I cannot find a time in the band’s history outside of “Eternal Empire” where it sounded dramatically different, or better. “Raided Land” is one of the finest efforts from a German band with a tremendous upswing for the future." - Metal Underground
    $15.00
  • 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.
    $5.00
  • "A concept album following the life cycle of a human being, childhood to citizen adult, the lyrics (and music) are replete with references to all of the odd destructive and self-destructive patterns our 'civilized' race has attached itself to. Brainchild of Athenian Nikitas Kissonas, Methexis' music is never predictable and always unexpected. Begin with The Enid's Joe Payne's amazing and enigmatic voice. (Please excuse my previous error in that I mistakenly thought it was Nikitas singing.) It seems that Joe can sound like anyone he chooses. Then focus on Nikitas' eclectic and stunningly diverse guitar soundings and stylings. Then try to pinpoint his influences, the styles he is drawing from in order to make his eminently creative and original songs. It is nearly impossible. This is music that draws from so many diverse and unusual styles and ideas. This is music that tests the capabilities, the combinations and permutations, that are possible within the realms of human expression using sound and music.1. "Chapter IV - Ruins" (4:49) starts the album with 'the end'! The fourth and final suite in the album's song-cycle, entitled "ruins," is what Nikitas chooses to begin his album with. I love it! It is an atmospheric 'post-apocalyptic' song much in the vein of Mariuz Duda's LUNATIC SOUL or even Norway's ULVER.2. "Chapter 1 - Exterior - Remember, Fear's a Relic" (6:11) opens with the energetic force of a great blues-based jazz-rock song--complete with Hammond organ, sassy horn section, and bluesy GINO VANELLI-like vocal. A surprise as this was quite unexpected but I have to admit: it is quite refreshing and enjoyable. The falsetto chorus is also quite unusual, but then, everything Nikitas creates is quite unusual and unexpected. Quite fun. (9/10)3. "Chapter 1 - Exterior - The Windows' Cracking Sound" (1:46) (9/10) is another unusual song for its surprising mix/engineering: the entire time a heavily treated electric guitar is slowly strumming the accompaniment to Joe Paynes' delicate, untreated voice, a drummer is jamming away at a very fast pace in the background. Once, at the end, the drums are brought up to front and center before being faded back to deep background for the horn opening of the next song, 4. "Chapter I - Exterior - Who Can It Be" (6:34) is a song performed by a horn ensemble with occasional whispered vocal and mid-song classical guitar interlude (including a brief slightly angular/diminished replication of Beethoven's "Ode to joy"). The post-guitar interlude shifts into PETER HAMMILL territory with some odd jazz instrumentation for accompaniment and the PH vocal. When thing amp back up--first via return of the horns and then full TOBY DRIVER-like band to spacey end. So odd! So outstanding! (10/10)5. "Chapter I - Exterior - The Origin of Blame" (3:27) starts out as a piano-accompanied cabaret-like vocal much in the MATTHEW PARMENTER style. The cacophonous 'chorus' is equally 'out there'--but so creative and idiosyncratic! This is such an amazing mind that can successfully weave such odd and unusual sounds and styles into the flow of this, a concept album. I call it genius! (10/10)6. "Chapter I - Exterior - Prey's Prayer" (6:07) is an instrumental support/setup for an amazing guitar solo. The guitar play reminds me of JEFF BECK, ROY BUCHANAN, HIRAM BULLOCK, or RAY GOMEZ! Great horn support. This is not a song to be missed! Guitar this sublime is too seldom recorded! (10/10)7. "Chapter II - Interior - Sunlight" (8:20) opens with some more adventurous guitar sounds before shifting into a sensitive acoustic guitar supported ballad--not unlike the recent work of JOHANNES LULEY including the voice (though on this song Joe's voice is more similar to that of RITUAL lead vocalist, Patrik Lundström). Quite unusual song structure and sound combinations. So like our enigmatic chameleon Nikiitas! Excellent song. The final section sounds like recent ECHOLYN before the solo voice closes in Peter Hammill fashion! (10/10)8. "Chapter II - Interior - The Relic" (8:28) opens with a minute of purposefully picked chords on acoustic guitar which are eventually joined by Joe Payne's equally composed yet emotional vocal. By the end of the second minute piano and then full band have joined in to support a multi-voiced chorus. In the instrumental fifth minute the music builds in layers and intensity before crescendoing and crashing into silence with a brilliantly placed audible sigh to restore the gentle yet plaintive sounds and structures of the opening. Piano and violin--and later cello--perform some nice soli to accompany the synth orchestral sounds. Nice Post Rock song. (9/10)9. "Chapter - Suiciety" (6:40) opens with a fast-paced, hard-driving PORCUPINE TREE-like sound of drums, odd spacey synth sounds and ominous keyboard bass chords until 1:37 when the drumming cuts the pace in half while the pile of ominous incidentals and washes mounts higher and higher. Then at 2:20 everything drops away to leave the slowly picked notes of a solo classical guitar. Cymbol play accompanies the addition of orchestral participation (I especially like the horns sections' contributions). This is then followed by a creative section in which the drummer creatively fills orchestra-supported 'space' with his cymbol and kit play. A return to full force in the ominous chord progressions crescendoes and decays while Joe Payne's treated voice alone fills the album's sad finale. (9/10)This is an awesome album of eclectic music! Being a concept album with songs integrated to express this elevates it a notch above Methexis' previous 2011 effort, The Fall of Bliss (which I also love). A brilliant masterpiece of modern progressive rock music--one that gets me so excited to come back to it and hear it again. Special shout out to Linus KÃ¥se and Nikos Zades, the keyboard player and sound design/D&B programmer, respectively. Amazing contributions! And Walle! Awesome play on the batterie! Check this one out, people!5 stars, definitely essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music." - ProgArchives
    $15.00