A New Beginning

A New Beginning

BY Pascual, German

(Customer Reviews)
$14.00
$ 8.40
SKU: NMR567
Label:
Nightmare Records
Category:
Melodic Metal
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"Vocalist GERMÁN PASCUAL (Divinefire / Narnia / Mind's Eye) is set to release his debut solo album "A New Beginning" to North American and Europe via Nightmare / Sony / RED.

Blessed to have these special guest musicians joining on the album are Carl-Johan "CJ" Grimmark (Narnia / Fires Of Babylon / Rob Rock/ FullForce) and bassists Per Schelander (Pain of Salvation / Royal Hunt) and Raphael Dafras (Almah / Seven Horizons).

 

GERMÁN PASCUAL is a man with a very special voice, he's achieved much notoriety around the world, lauded greatly and likened with the greatest melodic metal voices of our day, like Ronnie James Dio, Jorn Lande, David Coverdale to mention but a few in international reviews. Germán was the last voice of NARNIA, a well known Swedish melodic heavy metal band, similar to Stryper and Rob Rock, The new music is hard heavy and melodic power metal without compromise. Germán was named as "the best metal voice 2009" by ”The Gates of Metal”.

Germán Pascual, born 1974 in Uruguay, raised in Brazil, and moved to Sweden with his family at an early age. At five years old, Germán sang to the radio with everything… popular music to opera even classical music. In 1994 Germán began an education in voice and music. Longing for Sweden again, he returned to look for work and a way back into music, doing a short stint with a Rap artist D.J. Mendez, but his friends helped him realize… he was meant for metal.
Starting music as a drummer in a thrash band at 15, he was invited to try out for a much better band rehearsing next door as a vocalist when they overheard him screaming next door. It was to be his destiny, the band next door was MINDS EYE. In 2008 NARNIA needed a singer, and through a good friend Germán  made contact with Narnia guitarist C.J Grimmark. The rest is history… “Course of a Generation”  by Narnia was launched in late 2009.  Feeling blessed to have found this great situation in Narnia, Germán was stunned when the band decided to end all activity. In addition to music, Germán works with the less fortunate, the homeless, and in drug addiction.

Recorded in Germán’s studio "Camel wash studios", Engineered and produced by Germán Pascual & Raphael Dafras,. Mixed and mastered by Thomas Plec Johansson in "The Panic Room" (Sweden)."

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  • THIS NORTHERN VIRGINIA BASED BAND is a three-piece at heart, musically rooted in the raw energy and rhythmic interplay of RUSH and KING’S X. Fans of dark, guitar-driven rock bands from ALICE IN CHAINS, DEFTONES to the contemporary metal riffing of LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, will connect to the heavy core of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. Add to that progressive complexity and moody synths inspired by DREAM THEATER and PORCUPINE TREE, and a liberal dose of memorable hooks and melodies, to understand some elements of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. And yet, the band has a distinct identity, not quite sounding like any of the aforementioned bands, and with an emotional urgency that pulls subtly from alternative and other influences.KARMA SOWN IS A TRIUMPH OF A DEBUT ALBUM, immediate and memorable but revealing layers and depth upon repeated listens."Progressive metal is in a rough period right now. The old guard are either releasing sub-standard albums that only make it more obvious how far they have fallen, or they are drastically uncool with anyone who didn't become a fan when progressive metal was first being created. Progressive today tends to mean djent, a style that has sapped all the life and humanity out of music, turning metal into a math equation of time signatures, and not songs that anyone can actually remember. There was a time when progressive metal remembered the ultimate goal of music; to have listeners enjoy the songs so much they would return to them again and again. Today, progressive metal is mostly the sort of music that could pass for muzak, if you don't turn the volume up too loud.Iris Divine wants to change that. They set out with the mission of writing progressive metal that is intricate and challenging, but still produces the kind of songs that listeners who don't have an advanced degree can love and sing along to. It's a challenge, and it goes against the tide, but it's a desperately needed revolution if progressive metal is going to flourish anytime in the near future.I knew from hearing the pre-release track “A Suicide Aware” that Iris Divide was special, and the full album reinforces the point. “The Everlasting Sea” comes out of the gates with plenty of tricky riffing and unusual rhythms, but they lead into big melodies with strong hooks and vocals. Their progressive playing isn't meant for show, it's a tool used to set a tone that juxtaposes with the more melodic moments. Finding the proper balance between these elements is not easy, and many a band have failed miserably trying to do so, but Iris Divine doesn't. On their debut record, they show a skill some bands have spent their entire careers failing to learn.What I love most about the record is that it can be seen in many different lights. If you like straight-ahead metal, there is plenty of heavy riffing and pounding drumming here to keep you satisfied. If you like progressive music, these songs have twists and turns, and Rush-like keyboards, in enough quantity to match the djent crowd. And if you're a fan of old-school radio rock, the choruses in these songs will be music to your ears. Keeping all three of these in mind at the same time can be tricky, but it's worth the effort.For being a trio, “Karma Sown” is a massive sounding record. The production is flawless, big and clear, without ever sounding too polished. The heavy parts are heavy, the vocals are up front, and you would never believe this was a self-produced record that was crowd-funded. I can put it up against many, many of the big label releases, and it would win the fight.In fact, I can think of a dozen so-called progressive metal bands that should immediately hand over their label contracts to Iris Divine, because it's a crime that a band that is advancing progressive metal in the right direction doesn't have the backing of one of the labels. Not to name names, but this album would be bigger than half of the progressive metal released this year if it had the media push behind it.In case you haven't noticed, what I'm saying is that “Karma Sown” is a fantastic debut, and the future of progressive metal. Iris Divine isn't a Dream Theater clone, and they're not djent. What they have done is integrate all the strains of progressive metal into a singular sound, one that could set the standard moving forward. If every band sounded this good, progressive metal wouldn't need to be underground. “Karma Sown” is the best progressive metal album of the year, bar none." - Bloody Good Horror
    $13.00
  • Chicago prog-metal stalwarts Ion Vein are back but with a new game plan.  The music is now very much in the power metal vein and even has a groove to it.  New vocalist Scott Featherstone is a definite step in the right direction."ION VEIN's self-titled new album shows the band re-tooled, re-focused and re-energized in a way that captures the essence of their song-oriented and technically-skilled metal intensity. Also, a top notch production drives these pounding, meaty canvases to cut into the very core of your soul, while breathing new life into today's world of music. For fans of Metallica, Dio, Iced Earth and more!""The long awaited follow up to 2003's "Reigning Memories" was once again produced, recorded, and mixed by Neil Kernon (Judas Priest, Nevermore, Redemption) and is the first full length album with vocalist, Scott Featherstone, whom the band first debuted on the IV v1.0 and IV v2.0 three song digital EPs released in September 2011 and December 2012 respectively. Additionally, the six songs from those EPs have been re-mixed/re-mastered for inclusion on the full album."
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  • CD/DVD digipak edition.  The DVD contains two video clips plus a "making of" documentary."Do you like melody? Do you like duets? And do you like POOOWEEER?!? Then this album has you covered. This project between Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville has produced a beast that’s every bit as forceful and epic as it is catchy, and even moving at times, with the stunning vocal talent from both singers really delivering on the emotional front. The duets between the two are really the highlight of the release, with some songs mainly including harmonies and others being more of an interaction between the two.The titular “City of Heroes” is one of the definite highlights, opening the album in an uplifting, upbeat explosion of sound. “Rising Up” may be even better, with its very fast rhythm and catchy chorus putting it somewhere among the best songs of the album. The style of music can be described as somewhere between DRAGONFORCE and WITHIN TEMPTATION’s more recent work, with the drums being a massive driving force and propelling the synth and guitars up into the stratosphere.The synth is an essential part of the mix, providing the introduction for the majority of the songs, as well as being the backbone of the record, possibly more so than the drums. Magnus Karlsson has done a great job in both of his roles, giving every track a melody that is enhanced massively by the vocals. It would be easy to imagine that the bass has been smothered by the plethora of other sounds that it supports, but that is fortunately not the case, as it is still present and correct alongside the drums.One strange thing that happened to me while listening to the album was that I felt an overwhelming urge to sing along to each track, and found myself doing so during the occasional chorus, despite being clueless as to what the lyrics were. That’s not the result of a language barrier either; for a mostly German project, it’s surprising that all the lyrics sound so clear in English.The softer songs are worth mentioning, as well as the powerful ones, as they give the vocalists a chance to show off. “Ocean of Tears” is a good example, using strings to provide a minimalistic backing sound to Kiske and Somerville, who belt out a heartfelt duet that is perhaps the best emotional display of the record.There is virtually nothing negative to say about this album; it’s long enough without being too long, it’s varied, the production is top notch, and the musical quality is fantastic. If you haven’t heard it, you’re missing out. Go and listen to it.…Well go on then!" - Metal Temple 
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  • "The Contortionist are really speaking my Language (PUN!) on their first full-length with Last Chance to Reason's Michael Lessard on vocals.Last year I went to see Between The Buried and Me and one of the openers was The Contortionist. I knew of them vaguely from my college radio days, but couldn't recall much. I was mainly interested in seeing them because Michael Lessard of Last Chance To Reason had just been announced as their permanent vocalist, and I fucking LOVE(D?) Last Chance To Reason. The set was mostly (if not entirely) from their album Intrinsic and was pretty solid, but I felt like Lessard was a little out of place. He wasn't quite at his full potential. This brings us to Language, and this is Lessard and existing Contortionist members at their best.Language opens with a melodic piece comprised almost entirely of vocal layers that I could really only compare to something on the level of Imogen Heap. The album keeps the melody going on the following track "Language I: Intuition" and it is fucking gorgeous. With the exception of a few parts the song suppresses the metal, instead opting for a rhythmic post rock feel. The heaviness does pick up as the album progresses, but there is definitely and ebb and flow (an idiom that appears a lot in the album) happening that favors the prettier side of the band, and I don't have a problem with it. There is still quite a bit to headbang to with the very next tracks, "Language II: Conspire," "Integration" and more.  So don't fret, they haven't gone soft by any means.It's unclear to me how much of the album is the added influence of Lessard, and how much is natural growth here. The band was able to progress their sound enough while staying grounded in who they are. I find this is rare for a band in general, but especially rare for a band often lumped into the "djent" category. This record is a lot more of everything that worked. It is heavier when it needs to be, it is bigger when it needs to be, it is prettier when it needs to be, etc. For example, "Thrive" could have easily fit anywhere into Intrinsic for about the first minute or two, but then Lessard soars and the song crescendos into pure atmospheric metal glory to a level they hadn't achieved before.I realize much of this review is praising Michael Lessard's vocal abilities, and if Level 3 didn't already cement him as one of the best voices in modern metal/rock/whatever, this album should (I mean, just listen to him on "Ebb & Flow"!). However, this band is really tight and unique regardless of who is the voice. Often bands in the rhythmic, atmospheric, progressive blah blah blah, genre will give in to tropes of the genre, The Contortionist either avoids them or spins them enough to make them seem outside of the box. So many bands will have one guitarist chugging along in wacky rhythms with the bassist and drummer while the other guitarist noodles over the top, and it's just so overdone. These guys will either have everyone noodling in a cool way interweaving with one another, or they just go different directions completely. This could be said about previous records as well I'm sure, it's just especially notable here.This album is not everyone. If you're quick to lazily label any rhythmic progressive band out there as "djent" and dismiss them accordingly, you should probably just not bother here. This album is for fans of progressive music, atmospheric metal, theory nerds, and especially the previous work of either LCTR or The Contortionist.I was a much bigger Last Chance fan going into Language, but this has really turned me on to The Contortionist more. This is a fantastic release that is best digested as one long piece." - Metal Injection
    $13.00
  • After a 10 year absence Enchant are back.  The band started in 1993 making them one of the earliest prog metal band.  Actually they are sort of an interesting band in that they seem to exist in both the prog rock and prog metal realms.  Some metal fans think of them as a bit lightweight and some prog rock fans think they are too heavy!  One thing is for sure they are wildly successful.  This is definitely prog but it never loses sight of the melody.  Fronted by the great Ted Leonard (who is now doing double duty with Spock's Beard) this one is a no-brainer - whether you are metal or prog head.  "irst impressions are the similarities to Spock’s Beard. Hardly surprising since Ted Leonard has been singing with them since 2011. He’s been with Enchant longer; their first CD came out in 1993. And familiarity doesn’t breed contempt here, fortunately.Bay area progressive rockers, they steer a straight course composing guitar-structured songs that they extemporise over. Guitarist Douglas A Ott is also the band’s main producer, with The Great Divide having been recorded at his own studio, but if in the past the band’s followed his direction they’re now more involved after a ten year gap working on other projects. Also, while integral, Ott doesn’t dominate Enchant’s sound but flows in and out adding a hard rock bias to their generic musical flavouring. Drummer/percussionist Sean Flanegan and bassist Ed Platt have the solidity of early Kansas and musically there are some pretty snazzy and often too brief keyboard solos from Bill Jenkins.A rolling cyclical bass line forms the basis of opening number ‘Circles’ with Leonard pondering life going round well, like a circle – while the lyrics aren’t profound they feel right and though this isn’t a concept album, despite the band stating otherwise, there are common themes concerning the human condition in a loosely existential manner. Mainly straight verse and choruses ‘Circles’ breaks out into more complicated time signatures before an acoustic comes to the fore, vocals return, an electric guitar take over and it concludes with a nicely warm keyboard solo. ‘Within An Inch’ follows with a steady rock backbeat over which Ott’s playing echoes Camel’s Andy Latimer interrupted briefly by some John Ellis punk-styled sirening. ‘The Great Divide’ follows suit in a more epic manner, the arrangement akin to Genesis in their golden period.Enchant don’t play with the fairies, despite what their name suggests. If anything they’re two steps removed from an AOR sound leaning in towards early Asia with some latter day Beatles thrown in, and a less grandiose take on Spock’s Beard. One might refer to them as technically proficient rather than emotionally overwrought, meaning there is a heartfelt flavour to their songs, and they tend to grow on you.The subdued opening to ‘Life In A Shadow’ throws a brief curveball echoing the Canterbury sound of Hatfield & The North before a heavy chorded chorus takes this into a rocking tune with soulful harmonies. ‘Deserve To Feel’ pours on the technical drumming and dribbling triplet bass figures with some flashy pyrotechnics predominantly on guitar but with keen keyboard flourishes, moving into a more intricate musical score as Jenkins and Ott trade inspired lines towards its conclusion. Likewise, ‘Here And Now’ builds reflectively moving towards emotional drama.Finely composed, played well, Enchant’s The Great Divide might not have you falling under its spell, but you may well be surprised how you find yourself being drawn to playing it." - The Midland Rocks
    $13.00
  • "The kings and queens of Scandinavian folklore are back! Thundering in on a north wind from the ancient forests and Scandinavian skies full of fire and mystery. Once lost inside ice and snowcapped mountains and forbidden islands, where you cannot remove a stone, lest you face the curse of bad tidings forever…returns the wonder of Kaipa, with their latest effort: "Vittjar". This time they return to inject wonder into the dog days of summer, much as they did for the springtime with their last album, "In the Wake of Evolution". Kaipa, in case you are new to the band, includes such well-known artists and composers as Hans Lundin, on electric and acoustic keyboards and vocals; Per Nilsson, from Scar Symmetry, on electric and acoustic guitars; Morgan Ågren, from Mats & Morgan and Zappa on drums; Jonas Reingold, from The Flower Kings and Karmakanic, on electric basses; Patrik Lundström, from Ritual; on vocals, and Aleena Gibson on vocals. Hans Lundin is the leader of the band and has been making music since 1965. The band's discography dates back to the mid – 1970s, so these are old pros venturing into new uncharted territory, with music that combines inspiration from the folklore of their past. It makes for a wonderful combination that will provide hours of listening pleasure. I didn't stop playing their last album until deep into the summer after receiving it in early spring. "Vittjar" will be available in the USA on August 28th, 2012. The opening, "First Distraction" is a Renaissance – like, triumphant march, full of flutes, keys, and later lead guitar and strong drums. You can almost visualize the musicians emerging from an opening in the forest to join the field of play. Off to a nice start. Then the action truly begins. "Lightblue and Green" opens with firepower from keys, heavy drums and power lead guitar…just like…yes…one of your favorite Yes songs from the past. Lundström begins the story, "painting my morning in light blue and green…a nice picture indeed. You can visualize early morning sunbeams and the feeling of awakening from some interesting dreams. The power drums, bass, and keys set an excellent tone and build a strong soundscape to surround Lundström's "visions". An awakening from winter and its frigid surroundings, into the fullness of spring. The heavier guitar licks and drums separate this album from the golden charm of the last, with its spring – tinged softness. "Our Silent Ballroom Band" is the epic and longest track at 22:11 minutes, on the album. Few bands can pull off the epics. And even fewer can do it well by adding a great story that raps you into the theme like Kaipa. This track brings the return of Aleena Gibson, reprising her role, singing as a little girl sharing her experiences and reflections of the world around her. The flutes that surround her take you right to Scandinavia and a field, where she is "dancing in the misty summer grass…in a deafening dance of her life". Lundström's vocals return to compliment Gibson's. The keyboard and guitar instrumentals add even more wonder to this, my favorite track." "Reach for the stars"… and they do. The Yes – like power of this journey – filled track will bring back memories of the power of the 70s. "Vittjar", the title track is up next and it features Lundström's vocals, in native language providing a violin filled, Renaissance – like track which is easily the second best track on the album. Even if you don't understand the lyrics you can feel the emotion in the vocals and the strings, guitars, keys, bass, and drums. The instrumentation helps create that magic environment we fans remember so well, from all of their albums. "Treasure House" is a good track full of amazing guitar."A Universe of Tinyness" is another of the best songs on the album. The violin work so compliments Gibson's careful vocal delivery that holds the listener spellbound to the story. "Tiny soldiers reach my shore"…"I'm moving back in time…in search of missing lines...I'm moving in reverse in my own universe". The violin is back in "The Crowded Hillsides", and this time it and the cool lead guitar play a major role. Simply spectacular music. The track is full of great Squire-like bass reminders that really help make this track an instant classic like some of the best tracks off "In the Wake". "All of the wonders that hide in the sky…the sky is the limit"…yeh! "Second Distraction" is a great closer full of fantastic lead guitar, bass, mysterious keys and explosive drums. This is a great follow up album to "In the Wale…" This band is expanding its abilities and delivering on the promise of mixing modern rock music with the folklore, music and traditions of the past." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $12.00
  • "The second installment of our 20th Anniversary celebration, "Off the Floor 02" continues with more live-in-the-studio performances of staples from our live sets. Taken from the same sessions as "Off the Floor (01)," the track list draws from each of our five studio albums and includes a healthy dose of improvisation, a bit of re-imagining and even a little new music in the form of a bass & drums interlude.We won't repeat the "Brief History of Tiles" from the OtF (01) liner notes, but will take a moment to revisit the basic 'off the floor' concept. After much discussion about our "platinum" milestone (unfortunely not for sales!), we decided to do a live album using the somewhat non-traditional approach of recording live in the studio. This is actually what the phrase 'off the floor' means in recording lingo: to record a song as a complete performance without adding more parts (overdubs) later. We recruited a few friends to be our audience – for inspiration and to keep us on our toes.Having the controlled environment of a private 'soundstage' allowed us to focus on the music. We didn't have to haul a bunch of equipment into a club and deal with recording technicalities, show promotion and other business distractions. Although we were in a studio, "OtF 02" is still "live" – complete with the occasional less-than-perfect note and other minor imperfection. We did, however, take advantage of the relaxed setting and usually played each song twice, picking the best version for the CD. Occasionally we didn't need a second take, but a couple of times we needed a third take ("Patterns" oddly enough!).To offer a little something different, "OtF (01)" had a couple special guests plus an expanded arrangement of 'The Wading Pool.' For "Off the Floor 02" we dug into our archives and dusted off a few tunes from our appearance at the 2005 Rites of Spring Festival (ROSfest). We had recorded our entire 2-hour set, but filed the hard drive away with little thought it would see the light of day. Technical problems had dogged us the moment we hit the stage and left us feeling unsatisfied with our performance. Sampler and keyboard sounds would mysteriously reset and the bass amp would cut in and out. Figuring out why these intermittant problems were happening was made even more challenging by Jeff's state of exhaustion; even though it was a good kind of exhaustion caused by the birth of his daughter just four days before the show. Since the problems were on his side of the stage he had to play detective and keep up with the songs! Eventually, the issue was discovered and duct tape strategically applied to a loose electrical wall outlet – which worked just fine unless someone happened to use the side-stage walkway.Although tempted by the 12-minute "venting" version of "Capture the Flag," we didn't want to repeat any songs already included on either Off the Floor disc. Fortunately, "Facing Failure," "Ballad of the Sacred Cows," "Paintings" and "Window Dressing" were in all-around good shape. We only needed to drop in a couple missing samples and a keyboard part. By including selections from ROSfest as part of the Off the Floor project we get to acknowledge Pat Deleon, our drummer from 1997 to 2005, and present a complete live history of Tiles." - Chris Herin/TilesDisc One: Off the Floor 021. Patterns (4.38)2. Hide & Seek (8.09)3. Taking Control (5.14)4. Remember To Forget (5.00)5. Analysis Paralysis (5.18)6. Cactus Valley (7.01)7. Sacred & Mundane (6.30)8. Dancing Dogs (5.45)9. Safe Procedures (7.31)10. Another's Hand (6.26)Mark Evans: Drums & PercussionChris Herin: Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsPaul Rarick: Lead VocalsJeff Whittle: Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsDisc Two: Live at the 2005 Rites of Spring Festival1. Intro/Facing Failure (6.48)2. Ballad Of The Sacred Cows (7.24)3. Paintings (5.04)4. Window Dressing (17.03)Paul Rarick: Lead VocalsChris Herin: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsJeff Whittle: Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsPat DeLeon: Drums, PercussionBonus Videos (from the Off the Floor sessions):1. Landscrape (4.27)2. Remember To Forget (5.00)
    $15.00
  • Deluxe mediabook edition.  CD plus a DVD with 5.1 surround mix, 24 bit stereo, and a "making of" video."Always fond of conceptual storytelling, Ian Anderson goes himself one better with his latest prog-folk-metal concept album. The 15 songs of Homo Erraticus inhabit not one but two metafictional layers. The Gerald Bostock character, hero/anti-hero of the seminal Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick and its recent sequel Thick as a Brick 2, is back again, having now discovered a manuscript left behind in the 1920s by a malaria-ridden old British soldier delightfully named Ernest T. Parritt.Parritt's supposed writings range over northern European history from the Mesolithic era to his own - and on into his future, through the whole 20th century and into our own time and beyond. Winnowed into lyrics written by "Bostock" and set to music by the real protagonist of the story, Ian Anderson, these materials give Anderson - whose creative scope and energy remain robust even as his singing voice has thinned with age - a walk-in-closetful of pegs on which to hang a sequence of songs evoking nothing less than the history of mankind in his part of the world.The first track, "Doggerland," commemorates the area of the southern North Sea that used to be dry land connecting today's British Isles with the rest of Europe. Doggerland vanished under the waves as the last Ice Age ended but, as fisherman discovered not long ago, the sea floor retains much archeological evidence of human occupation. The succeeding songs address migrations, metalworking, invasions (from the Romans to Burger King), the arrival of Christianity, the Industrial Revolution, and so on. To appreciate the songs, you'll want to (at least once) follow along with the notes and lyrics in the accompanying 32-page booklet.The Foreword, in which Anderson discusses the history of Jethro Tull and why he hasn't used the band name for his last few recordings, will especially interest longtime Tull fans. The real question is, will the songs themselves? Some yes, some no. The gruff metal of "Doggerland" gives way to the sweet, plinking folk of "Heavy Metals." (I imagine Anderson chuckling to himself at the irony - no pun intended - of creating such a gentle-sounding song with that title, and on that literal topic.) Both satisfy my Tull craving. "Meliora Sequamur" (Let Us Follow Better Things), which paints a picture of 12th century schoolboys amid religious chant (and cant), does too, and "The Turnpike Inn" is a solid rocker, and the hard-Celtic style of "The Engineer" moves briskly.I like the instrumental track "Tripudium ad Bellum" (Dancing to War). It starts off with an echo of a theme from the original Thick as a Brick (there are others elsewhere on the album), then resolves into a 5/4 march, like a more insistent "Living in the Past." War's aftermath appears in the next track, the sad, deliberate "After These Wars," in which I really feel the lack of Anderson's full-strength vocals. While he was never among rock's greatest singers, that didn't matter - when he sang his songs, you always felt he was all there, and that's what mattered. But now, and not only in the harder songs that shade into old-school heavy metal, his voice just isn't always a match for his music's energy any more.On the other hand, his gift for crafting pleasing, original melodies, writing smart, clever lyrics in complete sentences and true rhyme, and setting much of it in non-traditional time signatures remains strong. The first verse of "After These Wars" reads:After battle, with wounds to lick andbeaus and belles all reuniting.Rationing, austerity: it did us good after the fighting.Now, time to bid some fond farewells andwalk away from empires crumbling.Post-war baby-boom to fuel with post-Victorian half-dressed fumbling.No one in pop music writes like that anymore.Listening to the album as a complete conceptual work, my overall feeling is that there isn't very much new here. Since the 1960s Anderson and Tull have explored countless different musical paths and styles. Some of these produced some of my all-time favorite songs and recordings. Others I hated. But he never seemed to be resting on his laurels. Here I feel like I'm reading a chapter that's not much different from the last chapter.But listening to the songs individually, I like a lot of them. As I write this I'm trying to count the beats of the off-time closer, "Cold Dead Reckoning," with its grim imagery of a future of lost souls navigating their way over a metaphysical Doggerland "amongst the ranks and files of walking dead." I hear crunching minor-key guitar-bass-piano unison figures, a sprightly flute solo. A hopeful verse about "angels watching over" at the end doesn't convince me, as the music continues to growl on as before. Yet there follow a sweet, gentle instrumental coda, reminded us that while things may not turn out well for humanity as we teem over and ruin our only planet, our capacity to create and to appreciate beauty will be with us as long as we live. So let's raise the cup of crimson wonder to Ian Anderson as he charges not-so-gently through his seventh decade." - Seattle Pi
    $17.00
  • Believe it or not this is where it all began for me. After coming home from school one day I saw Rick Wakeman on the Mike Douglas show. He was this odd looking guy with long blonde hair and a flowing cape to match. He had an arsenal of keyboards making strange sounds...it was "The Battle". That appearance led me down to Sam Goody's to buy my first prog album - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. Sure it's pompous, overblown, whatever. I still have fond memories of it and love Wakeman's elaborate keyboard work and the band's integration with the orchestra. A personal classic.
    $5.00
  • Second (or first - they are interchangeable) half of the simultaneous release from this Argentinian prog rock band.  "The Facts" might differentiate itself slightly from "The Tales" in that there seems to be a bit more of a crunch factor in the guitarwork but overall this is still symphonic rock.  Pretty damn good too!  Guesting on this album is the great Damian Wilson on vocals.
    $13.00
  • Digipak edition with bonus track."The legendary RIOT are back in the form of RIOT V. With the passing of guitarist Mark Reale the band Nick Lee is the new addition with bassist Don Van Stavern playing a big part in the writing of this album dedicated to Reale. This is an album that promises not to disappoint and lives up to that.“Ride Hard Live Free” hits us with an awesome guitar melody right away, before slamming into some classic power metal riffs. Powerful vocals accentuate the melodies really nicely, with some stellar harmonies too. “Metal Warrior” follows this up with some great drumming and some super-fast guitar riffs backed by solid bass playing. The vocals here are really cool, with lots of interesting layering and an awesome guitar solo.“Fall From The Sky” is an awesome old school metal track, with a great main riff and some cool basslines, traditional lyrical themes and a great chorus too. “Bring The Hammer Down” is also a slice of superb musicianship, with a great chorus, a massive vocal range on display and powerful riffs.RIOT V really shows what they are capable of with this album, with chunkier heavy tracks like “Kill To Survive” which has a great sense of attitude with yet another mighty chorus. There’s also the more melodic material which is just as valid, like “Immortal” which has some great dynamics between verses and choruses, with some well put together sections, and a really emotive chorus.“Take Me Back” is one of my highlights here, with some really great and interesting dynamics, and a really emotive feeling chorus that is quite catchy too. Another highlight was “Land Of The Rising Sun” which had a really epic feel about the track, with lots of cool“Until We Meet Again” is the final track here, and this is a nice sounding ballad style track to start with, with some nice bluesy guitars and some tasteful harmonies too. The vocal performance is really great here, with a lot of feeling in this song that feels very much like it was made in memory of Mark RealeThe production here is spot on, with awesome guitar tones, supported by deep bass guitar. The vocal sound is pretty stellar, with lots of layering going on too. The drums are exactly what you’d need for this sort of release.Unleash The Fire is a blistering cut of real metal, the way this sort of stuff should be done! The talent of each band member is put to very good use here, with fantastic musicianship and songwriting making for a very special album indeed." - Metal Temple
    $16.00
  • Vocalist Silje Wergeland has been fronting The Gathering since 2009.  She has developed into a more than able replacement for Anneke Van Giersbergen.  The Gathering's music is far removed from the early death and gothic metal days.  They have firmly moved into the post-progressive rock genre.  Their music deals more with mood and tension - textures and atmosphere.  Think of a more rock oriented version of Portishead. 
    $15.00
  • Its been four years since this British ensemble's debut album.  Been a long time coming but there have been a number of personnel changes in the band.  Founding members Alex Crispin (vox/keys) and bassist Dan Pomlett left the band, while guitarist Nicholas Richards switched over to bass.  While the band went through a state of flux their core sound didn't really change a hell of a lot.  Yeah maybe its pared down a bit but it is still steeped in the sounds of the early 70s.  Mellotron, organ and reeds abound.  Guitar is a bit more dominant but still with that retro Vertigo vibe.  Vocals only appear on one track and they are OK.  Think in terms of an instrumental VDGG in a massive jam session with members of Soft Machine and Eloy.  As if!  I will be hard pressed to come across a better progressive rock album released in 2012.  BUY OR DIE!
    $13.00