Notes From The Shadows

SKU: MLL-CD-47
Label:
Metalville
Category:
Power Metal
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"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

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  • Since the release of 2013’s In Crescendo, Kingcrow toured North America in support of Pain Of Salvation, and headlined a European tour.  Kingcrow kept busy in 2014, touring Europe with Fates Warning and at the same time crafting the material that would become Eidos.“Eidos” is a new conceptual album about choices, consequences, dealing with regret and disillusion. Their earlier album Phlegethon dealt with childhood and In Crescendo about the end of youth.  Eidos can be considered the third part of a trilogy about the path of life. Musically it sees the band exploring new territories and pushing the extremes of its complex soundscape with a darker atmosphere and a more progressive attitude.Describing the band today is quite a difficult task, but one could state that the influence of such artists as Porcupine Tree, Riverside, Opeth, Anathema, Radiohead , King Crimson and Massive Attack are all present in the music of Kingcrow.With each release Kingcrow has taken a step further away from their original roots as a classic metal band and is now one of the most personal and exciting bands that Italy has to offer.
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  • "Remastered by award-winning engineer Andy Jackson, this version comes with new artwork by I Monster’s Jarrod Gosling and a booklet featuring sleeve notes by founder members Tim Bowness and Stephen Bennett.A distinctive combination of 60′s/70′s Progressive influences (Gabriel-era Genesis/Pink Floyd/Soft Machine), Ambient experiments and hard-hitting group improvisations (King Crimson/Mogwai/Miles Davis), the album was released 12 years prior to its critically acclaimed successor Men Singing.Alongside Bennett and Bowness, other contributions come from Brian Eno collaborator Peter Chilvers, No-Man live guitarist Michael Bearpark, Myke Clifford (sax/flute) and Pendragon/Steve Hackett drummer Fudge Smith.Two of the album’s tracks were mixed by Steven Wilson, Tim Bowness’s partner in No-Man.‘A nice blend that takes inspiration from the rich symphonic source of the late 60s-early 70s with references to Genesis, Pink Floyd and Soft Machine and group improvisations a la King Crimson.’IO Pages"Henry Fool came in life out of the coffee shop chats between No-Man's singer Tim Bowness and ex-Lahost/Airbridge's keyboardist Stephen Bennett to come up with a project indicating their music influences as youngsters.Henry Fool officially formed in spring 2000 with the two men gathering also bassist Peter Chilvers, Pendragon's drummer Fudge Smith, guitarist Michael Bearpark (known also for his work with No-Man) and woodwind player Myke Clifford.The project recorded its debut at Chaos Studios in Norwich and at the Music Farm in the hamlet of Lenwade between March 2000 and April 2001 and the album was eventually released on the Cyclops label.The album contains 16 short tracks connected to each other and making a long composition, which passes through extremely different soundscapes and each drawing influences from a mass of music styles.These unrelated textures will definitely surprise the listener in a positive way, though this is the same reason the album lacks in coherence.With Bowness as the leading figure ''Henry Fool'' contains lots of ambiental/psychedelic textures akin to NO-MAN with hypnotic guitars, dreamy flutes, distorted electronics/sound effects and sensitive vocals creating calm, chill-out images.The psychedelic vibes do not stop here, there are also a couple of more upbeat moments with solid grooves and jams, very much in a Kraut Rock enviroment, led by impressive guitars and a powerful rhythm section.The more Classic Prog-oriented tracks feature always the presence of Bennett.Loads of Mellotron, refined electric piano and light organ themes recall the 70's Prog Rock era, mainly influenced by KING CRIMSON, offering dark but well-crafted soundscapes with an orchestral mood.The next leading figure of the album seems to be Myke Clifford and his sax.Many moments in ''Henry Fool'' are led by his strong sax experiments with evident VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and EMBRYO inspirations, somewhere between Psych/Prog and Kraut/Jazz Rock.Beautiful performances with an obvious jazzy approach, much in a loose mood.This album should be easily regarded as a nice trip into the world of NO-MAN's music and the Classic Prog ages.Alternating calm and nervous passages result a work of a documentary character as a whole.Not a masterful album, but definitely an original and pleasant listening.Recommended." - ProgArchives
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  • Many years ago Finnish guitarist Jarno Keskinen released two Kenziner albums.  They were cookie cutter neo-classical metal albums ripped straight from the Malmsteen playbook - right down to the haircut.  The thing is, for the style, they were really well done.  After 14 years Keskinen has reactived Kenziner with an all new lineup.  No signficant changes in style.  If you are a fan of the sound - Malmsteen, Artension, Adagio and their ilk you should definitely check this out since the guy can shred with the best of them and he's certainly got the sound down pat.  Don't expect originally but enjoy it for what it is.
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