The Mountain

SKU: 0659-2
Label:
Inside Out Music
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The third album from Haken once again demonstrates why they are at the forefront of the progressive metal scene.  The first two albums Aquarius and Visions are quite different.  Aquarius is a much quirkier album - lots of twists and turns that kept you off balance through out.  It had more of a prog rock feel and some real oddball approaches that resulted in some reviewers referring to it as circus meteal.  Visions was quite different.  It was much more linear and clearly defined in terms of content.  It was a prog metal album and wonderful one at that.

The Mountain is the first release for the band's new home at Inside Out.  The direction of the band takes a bit of a u-turn.  The music falls somewhere in between the first two.  There is a quirky, prog rock vibe but you get the heaviness and complexity of prog metal.  One particular track I keep going back to is "Cockroach King" which essentially pays homage to Gentle Giant's counterpoint vocals.  Regardless of which direction you preferred, The Mountain has enough diversity to go please everyone.

If you want to keep track of where progressive metal is headed then climb the mountain - this is where its at.  Highly recommended.

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  • Third album from this progressive metal band based out of Sweden.  The band is fronted by former Seventh Wonder/current Aeon Zen vocalist Andy Kravlijaca who frankly is very underrated.  Silent Call touches on a variety of genres while firmly rooted in the metal realm.  You'll hear some fluffy AOR bits and some prog rock at times.  Very much a band that is strong on melody.  Highly recommended."I’m torn. Torn between championing the cause of a massively underrated and under-exposed Metal band, and the pride I feel when chatting about Progressive Metal to like minded people and playing them Silent Call – who invariably they have never heard of, and can’t believe they have passed them by! The secret will be out of the bag y’see. No more gloating for yours truly, no more “Surely. You’ve heard of Silent Call”, complete with knowing smile. Nope, people can just read this review and know all about them – which is the least the band deserve! Decision made then. Ladies and Gentlemen, fans of Melodic Progressive Metal, I give you Silent Call…unless, of course, you’ve already heard them and it’s just here in the windswept hills of deepest Yorkshire where they are unknown…a bit like super fast reliable broadband…This is Silent Call’s 3rd album – I got their debut way back in 2008 because it was on Escape Records (home of all things light and fluffy) and someone sold it to me after being horrified that Silent Call weren’t in the least bit light OR fluffy! He even wrinkled his nose (the nerve!) when he described the heaviness of the guitars and drums. This was the same day I informed him that one of his favourite Melodic bands of the 80’s – Fate – were in fact previously called Mercyful Fate (omitting the fact it was only Hank Shermann in Fate), so he rushed off to buy their back catalogue, Harrgh Harrgh, Harrgh…I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me… But I digress – Silent Call are way too heavy for a Melodic Rock label, and hopefully now they have found a worthy home on DOTT.For existing fans (because I’m sure there are many fans outside the UK), “Truth’s Redemption” is just as good as their previous two – The production is a little bit heavier and fuller which just enhances things more and allows the songs to have even more impact. You will not be disappointed! For the uninitiated, Silent Call have their sound rooted in the best of the Progressive Metal bands around the turn of the Millennium. Blending aspects of Angra, Lion’s Share, Eldritch, Stratovarius, Labyrinth – even early Kamelot and Sonata Arctica to name but a few. Their technicality is more subtle, crafted, and less showy than Dream Theater and their ilk, leaning more towards a sound centred around melody and memorability than individual musicians egos. And this is what really works for Silent Call and widens their appeal. The vocals are an expertly delivered mid-to-high range, somewhere around an amalgam of Carsten Schulz, Apollo Papathanasio, David Readman and maybe Tobias Sammet…but then, it isn’t really, as his tone – his ‘timbre’ if you pretentiously prefer – is quite unique to Andi Kravljaca. The Drums, Bass, Keys and Guitar are all executed with precision and flare, always complementing each other yet shining when it is their moment or when specifically listened out for. Musically, I’ve covered some of their bases, but their attention to detail, delivery and arrangements open the band up to fans from Pink Cream 69 through to Evergrey.The predictable thing to do here is to try and sum up the album with one or two songs – well I’m not going to make it that easy for you. Mainly because I can’t pick out a favourite OR a track that if you randomly chose it, then it wouldn’t convince you to hear the rest of the album. Every band member’s performance on every well-crafted track is first rate, there are no fillers – just top quality Melodic Progressive Metal from start to finish. If you’ve got this far through the review then surely you have thought this album is worth checking out? So one of my best kept band secrets is now out there – the cat is out of the bag as it were, so run Kitty run, run and be free…LOOK OUT FOR THAT TRUCK…!!!" - Ave Noctem
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  • ""These Woods Breathe Evil" reads like something straight out of a horror flick... well this haunting title is actually that of the first song off of the new CD from Finland's Swallow The Sun. New Moon is their new death/doom creation, out now on Spinefarm Records, and brimming with dark riffs.Swallow The Sun's New Moon is indeed an entertaining and memorable atmospheric metal album, back to the moving opening song "These Woods Breathe Evil" the dark atmosphere surrounds and the guitar playing really grasps you, as it does on "Falling World" a song which features a mixture of vocal styles. New Moon's tracks do comprise of many evil growls from Mikko Kotamaki, but clean vocals both male and female do make appearances, which truly add to Swallow The Sun's creation.A track with many changes is "Lights on the Lake (Horror pt. III)", which, after a gentle guitar introduction during which we are also treated to female vocals, the power level escalates as Swallow The Sun's other members join in. As the song progresses the single kicks switch to blacker blasts and rapid double beats, and after an onslaught of dark metal the tempo subsides, but that powerful undertone is still felt.New Moon ends strongly with "Weight of the Dead", which has a very cool atmospheric start to this long number, and after some sweeping dark music, next on "Weight of the Dead" the band drops back through the gears, and the song evolves into a slow very potent crushing doomster.All this makes Swallow The Sun a band to keep your eye out for, and New Moon's a very strong addition to a popular genre." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • "It’s tempting to categorize Jacco Gardner by the scope of his musical instruments. Hypnophobia features a Wurlitzer electric piano, mellotrons, harpsichords, an obscure, ancient Optigan, an antique Steinway upright — these are relics of a particular nature, hand-selected and played to achieve a baroque pop period piece. Initial single “Find Yourself,” its trippy video, and the title track confirmed the record’s exploration of a retro-psych wonderland. But it’s not all acid trips, and moments of real introspection appear.Listening to the full album expands Gardner’s scope considerably; there’s “Make Me See,” a quiet, unexpected songwriter number that barely lasts a minute and a half. Or “Grey Lanes,” an almost pastoral, instrumental lullaby that only gets electronic toward the tail-end. On Hypnophobia, Gardner takes psychedelia and twists it to suit his idea of what blissed-out baroque should be. If late-’70s residents of Laurel Canyon re-imagined themselves 40+ years later with an expanse of antique instruments, they probably couldn’t have done a better job than Gardner has of creating their own modern, alternate reality. It’s a heady, hypnotizing look at the past through the always rose-colored glasses of the present. Backward glances rarely sound this good though." - Stereogum.com
    $14.00