Opera Sauvage

Opera Sauvage

BY Vangelis

(Customer Reviews)
$10.00
$ 6.00
SKU: 829663-2
Label:
Polydor
Category:
Electronic
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In the late 70s Vangelis was becoming quite prolific. This is an overlooked album that he recorded in 1979. It features Jon Anderson guesting on harp. It's a refined sound that pre-dates new age. Not a lot of pyrotechnic keyboards here - it has more of a dreamy, soundtrack quality.

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  • Limited mini-LP sleeve edition."Paul Chain is, apparently, a weirdo who came from the band Death SS, who I know nothing about and thus won’t bother trying to summarize. No, I think I have enough material here just talking about Paul Chain’s oddball solo debut Life and Death. It is an esoteric and individual beast without anything resembling trendiness or modernization, reaching back from its late 80s standing into the dark murkiness of the 70s at some parts, and at others into an entirely new dimension, unexplored by man before and since. People, I can’t come up with any more ways to say this is strange, so let’s just cut the middle man and start reviewing this sucker.Life and Death isn’t exactly a title that sends any warning signals to your brain, and neither the track names or the cover art does either, so I really had nothing to go on. I guess I was expecting some sort of dirty, minimalistic doomy affair with deep, grunted vocals and dirgey bass and occult themes, or something, but really I was completely unprepared for the airy strings, the clean, sluggish guitars that sometimes broke into melodious leads and the high-pitched warbling from the vocals that followed.Yes, Paul Chain as a vocalist is quite literally out of this world, as I can’t think of even one other singer I know to compare him to. His voice alone sounds a tiny bit like Jon Arch if he ever got a super-clean production job, but it’s the way he sings that is so different from anyone else. For one, a lot of the time he apparently isn’t even singing real words – he’s completely made up his own language. How fucked up is that? It’s actually really cool and lends to the alien mystical air this album was obviously trying to set up. And two, his vocal lines are just so idiosyncratic and so stylized that I doubt anyone could cover and not sound totally ridiculous even attempting. His voice dives and soars and croons and emotes a million different ways over the course of this album, and not once does he sound like he’s straining. His high, slightly breathy whine is layered over the music like a light morning mist.The music isn’t quite as weird, but it’s still pretty damned distinctive. The first track is a pretty useless intro without much to really make it worth hearing, but then “Antichrist” kicks in, with its crawling tempo and strange nuanced vocal lines, and this is a song that had to grow on me a little – it’s not one of the best on here, but it’s certainly good enough to introduce the listener to what’s going to come. This is music that succeeds when you just sit back and let it roll over you in waves – like on “Kill Me,” which rides a really simple, driving riff for the entire seven minute run-time, along with Chain’s moaning of the titular words for the chorus. But it works; it really works. It engulfs the listener in a chasm of melody so tight they might never be able to get out, and it’s probably the album standout at the end of the day. “Ancient Caravans” is a short, soft piece with some really delicate vocals and an atmosphere like the Middle East at nighttime, and then we kick into the other album highlight with “My Hills,” which explodes like a shooting star with happy island-style acoustics layered over colorful, blazing leads in what ends up being a mouthwatering affair. It’s not terribly metallic but it is a wonderful, engaging piece of music.The rest of the album remains curious, with the sliding guitar melodies of “Alleuia Song” and the muttered vocals and more traditional metal riff of “Spirits,” even though there are no songs as good as “My Hills.” “Cemetery” is 8 minutes of thumping bass-lines, grunted vocals and loopy, obscure guitar leads, and it comes together pretty well, never failing to entertain even if it isn’t really something that will blow you away. The album closes with “Oblivious,” which is an organ piece that leaves the listener feeling uncertain, staring at the night sky wondering what he or she has just experienced…I like it myself; it’s a good way to leave an impression. It’s like, what happened? I’d better listen to that again and inspect it more closely. And that’s always good.Life and Death is pretty much like that as a whole, really – it’s a curious affair, and no doubt inspired. With only seven tracks being actual songs it runs under 40 minutes of real music, and I think that hurts it a bit, as it really does fly by. And I don’t want to be mean to this album or anything, but a lot of these songs just don’t really catch fire. “Kill Me” and “My Hills” are about the only ones that do. Nothing else really comes up to that level, and it’s a little disappointing, as I know he has it in him to do a whole album like that. These songs are good, but most of them end up being just…curious, rather than spellbinding and arresting as those two mentioned songs can be. This feels like a warm-up album at the end of the day. Nothing wrong with that, and I can really dig this when it’s on, but I think the stars are telling me with this to go seek out Chain’s future exploits and find gold…" - Metal Archives 
    $17.00
  • Remastered with 2 bonus tracks."Over the course of their first three late-'70s albums, Foreigner had firmly established themselves (along with Journey and Styx) as one of the top AOR bands of the era. But the band was still looking for that grand slam of a record that would push them to the very top of the heap. Released in 1981, 4 would be that album. In producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange -- fresh off his massive success with AC/DC's Back in Black -- guitarist and all-around mastermind Mick Jones found both the catalyst to achieve this and his perfect musical soulmate. Lange's legendary obsessive attention to detail and Jones' highly disciplined guitar heroics (which he never allowed to get in the way of a great song) resulted in a collaboration of unprecedented, sparkling efficiency where not a single note is wasted. "Nightlife" is only the first in a series ("Woman in Black," "Don't Let Go," the '50s-tinged "Luanne") of energetic, nearly flawless melodic rockers, and with "Juke Box Hero," the band somehow managed to create both a mainstream hit single and a highly unique-sounding track, alternating heavy metal guitar riffing, chorused vocals, and one of the ultimate "wanna be a rock star" lyrics. As for the mandatory power ballad, the band also reached unparalleled heights with "Waiting for a Girl Like You." One of the decade's most successful cross-genre tearjerkers, it has since become a staple of soft rock radio and completely eclipsed the album's other very lovely ballad, "Girl on the Moon," in the process. And last but not least, the surprisingly funky "Urgent" proved to be one of the band's most memorable and uncharacteristic smash hits, thanks to Junior Walker's signature saxophone solo. Through it all, vocalist Lou Gramm does his part, delivering a dazzling performance that confirmed his status as one of the finest voices of his generation. Three years later, Foreigner would achieve even greater success on a pop level with the uneven Agent Provocateur, but by then Jones and Gramm were locked in an escalating war of egos that would soon lead to the band's demise. All things considered, 4 remains Foreigner's career peak." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • New remastered edition gets the full Mark Powell/Esoteric treatment and arrives with one bonus track. Great disc with Richard Sinclair and Mel Collins in the lineup. "Echoes" is an all time classic. Essential.
    $18.00
  • Who would have expected to see a major reinterest in thrash metal these days? Los Angeles revivalists Warbringer are leading the charge with their debut War Without End. The band "borrows" inspiration for thrash stalwarts Exodus, Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Death Angel and Testament in a way that has to be heard to be believed. You would think this is some kind of archival release from 1988. Bill Metoyer twiddles the knobs and he nails the sound as he should since he's worked with all of those bands. This one should come with a serious health warning. Heavily recommended to the thrash metal set.
    $11.00
  • Tiger Moth Tales is the working name for British multi-instrumentalist Peter Jones.  Mr. Jones has great facility on all instruments and all the more impressive considering he is blind.  He's also a fine vocalist, having had a run on the British X-Factor competition.Cocoon is a conceptual piece based around the four seasons.  The album has a contemporary sound but there are some obvious old school references.  Genesis, Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips solo work seems to be an influence as is the carnival elements of Haken.  In many ways I'm reminded of Big Big Train - one would think they drank from the same well.  Take something old and create something fresh.  No metal here although some flashes of heavy guitar now and then which work well against the acoustic bits.  Hackett vs. Phillips.  Not sure what it is about the British prog musicians but every once in awhile they create something that has a certain peaceful, tranquil vibe.  I often refer back to that old "Rain" album.  Long on mood and maybe short on chops.  Here we have the mood but Mr. Jones has injected the chops as well.  Highly recommended.
    $10.00
  • New end of days Christian themed project put together by Neal Morse's drummer Collin Leijenaar. He's put together an interesting lineup. Spock's Beard/Enchant's Ted Leonard handles the vocals (he's amazing as always), Mike LePond of Symphony X is on bass, as well as German guitarist Daniel Fries. There is no keyboardist so Leijenaar enlisted a bunch - Alex Argento, Jordan Rudess, Neal Morse, and Derek Sherinian. Transatalantic producer Rich Mouser mixed the whole thing. As you would expect the whole shebang is all about the apocalypse and its wrapped up in this epic sounding amalgam of progressive rock and metal. Lots of shredding solos on guitar and keys. These guys need to take it on the road before they run out of time!!
    $15.00
  • Xandria have been around for quite some time and for whatever reason they seem to churn through vocalists - perhaps each one better than the previous.  Their new vocalist is Dianne van Giersbergen, formerly with the Dutch band Ex Libris.  She's a great one for sure.  Luckily the overall band sound hasn't changed very much.  This is pure bombastic symphonic metal that follows the Tarja-era Nightwish template very closely.  You may have to play this one in secret or the originality police may come after you but if you do play it loud!This is the deluxe mediabook edition.  It comes with a bonus CD that features an exclusive studio track as well as an instrumental mix of the album so you can karaoke to your hearts content.  
    $16.00
  • "Sometimes I like a little power in my heavy. Swiss band CRYSTAL BALL is a powerhouse that performs metal with a force to be reckoned with. Following a 6 year hiatus, a new album "Dawnbreaker" was finally released this year, and they bring with them a new energy. What makes this band especially interesting is their blend of classic Heavy Metal, euro-Rock and melodic Power Metal; some of the tracks sound like something off a EUROPE album; other times I am recalled back to IRON MAIDEN; and other times I hear RHAPSODY OF FIRE. Naturally, the musicianship is excellent, but keeping things from growing bland are the vocals; gruff and aggressive, not normally found on a melodic Power Metal album, and almost add a Lemmy-like atmosphere.The opener "Break of Dawn" is a through-and-through Heavy Metal track, with heavy and aggressive guitar-driven passages; even the vocals are percussive, putting particular emphasis on adding an extra axe blade to those of the chugging guitars. Immediately following is a strongly Euro-flavored track, "Anyone can be a Hero", with wailing guitar and vocal melodies and very, very 80's melodic progressions. A nice touch, I think; albums like this simply do not feel complete without the odd blast from the past. A song that stuck out like a sore thumb, for me, is "Skin to Skin"; at first, I thought it was an EDGUY piece, because it sounds like it could have come directly out of "Mandrake" or "Rocket Ride". A copy? Nay; a nice remembrance piece; mid-tempo but catchy, groovy, heavy and melodic.I hope this band is "Back for Good", or at least for a while. Another EDGUY-like track, complete with atmospheric synths, this is another rocking mid-tempo track that even, in terms of arrangement, reminds me a lot of STRATOVARIUS' "Kiss of Judas". Allow me to go on and on about the guitar solo; it is a damned fine work of art, and the twin harmonized solo is at a Scandinavian level. Next up, the band returns in a blaze of glory to the roots of melodic Heavy Metal in "Power Pack", which combines the aggressive grooves of METALLICA's peak era, and some additional Euro-style melodies. Lyrics are cliché as hell, but I do not care; essentially my favorite song on the album. The end track, "Bond of Love" proves that a Metal album does not need an over-abundance of guitar-shredding, blast beats and double kicks (of which this album has none) to be brimming with molten steel. Hell, I'm even noticing a few slight progressive touches here.I admire CRYSTAL BALL for not trying too hard to be Metal, for not being too cliché, and for effectively bring back to full force the essence of Heavy Metal into modern times." - Metal Temple
    $9.00
  • Redemption is one of the leading progressive metal bands in the world today.  Formed in Los Angeles, California in 2000 by guitarist / keyboardist / songwriter Nicolas van Dyk, the band features legendary progressive metal vocalist Ray Alder of Fates Warning, as well as guitarist Bernie Versailles (Agent Steel), and the phenomenal rhythm section of Chris Quirarte (drums) and Sean Andrews (bass).Redemption’s combination of heaviness not usually found in progressive metal, irresistible melodies and emotional urgency has created a unique and resonant voice for this band that sets them apart from the many clones in the genre, and which has gained them the attention of fans, critics and musicians.Through the band’s first three studios CDs (2002s self-titled first release, 2005’s The Fullness of Time, and 2007’s The Origins of Ruin), Redemption gained a loyal fanbase and garnered rave reviews worldwide from critics, who describe Redemption’s music as“one of the best progressive metal acts to emerge in the past decade” – DPRP“magical aura and incredible songwriting” – BLABBERMOUTH“it's powerful, catchy, enslaving, technical; it's the whole bunch” – LORDS OF METAL“the new star on the US prog-metal sky” – SQUEALER ROCKSAfter touring in support of Dream Theater and documenting at headlining show at tour’s end entitled Frozen in the Moment, the band returned to the studio to release 2009’s Snowfall on Judgment Day and 2011’s This Mortal Coil.Performing in support of that record, in 2012 Redemption co-headlined the world-famous ProgPower Festival in Atlanta, where the band recorded a unique show featuring nearly 80 minutes of material and staged with complementary visuals that drive home the compelling emotional impact of this band.   That performance is now being released as a CD/DVD set with additional bonus material through Sensory Records, the band’s original label.  From fan favorites such as the never-before-performed Parker’s Eyes to the crushing emotional weight of Stronger than Death, Redemption’s performance captured the special ability of its music to deeply connect with fans.  In the words of one concert-goer, Redemption’s show “was definitely the most exhausting, personal and emotional musical experience I’ve ever had.” 
    $17.00
  • "What are we going to do with Angra? I don't really enjoy their early material that much – sure it's very well written, and technically sound at that, but it has not yet engaged me and the vocals of then-frontman Matos rub me the wrong way. Temple of Shadows was good but held back by a lot of things that made it hard to listen to all the way through – for instance, it was fruity as hell, and overloaded with too many ideas. Aurora Consurgens fixed those problems and delivered a great album of modernized power metal. But I still thought they could do better...and hence, Aqua.This album is just really awesome. It's proggy and dense – much more so than anything else they've ever done. This is not the kind of album that you would expect after hearing Temple of Shadows alone, and for that I think this is getting a lot of unwarranted bad press from the metal community. In reality this is the sound they seem to have been shooting for all along. Where on Temple they just tossed random elements into a melting pot and hoped it came out with some good hooks – succeeding only half the time – on Aqua, they condense their rumbling guitars, folksy melodies and epic vocal lines into full-throttle progressive metal without any apologies.The restraint on this album is just maddening, as when you think the song might explode into a high-flying chorus or screaming climax...it doesn't. And that's what's so good about it – they've managed to construct a bunch of tunes that never go for the obvious hook, rather choosing to try for a new twist – most of the time it works really well. Edu Falaschi's vocals are reigned in to a deeper, darker intonation than he's ever had, and his vocal melodies are just superb on here. They're slow-burning growers, but once they hit you, they really hit you, as on "Hollow" or "A Monster in Her Eyes." "Weakness of a Man" is just great with this, too.The guitars are always heavy and rhythmic, not always going for a straight-ahead metal attack, but always being complex and riveting – check out the blistering "Awake from Darkness" or the more straight-ahead power metal cruiser "Arising Thunder." There are some subtle folk elements on a few tracks like the excellent "Lease of Life" and the crushing, searing "Weakness of a Man," and a lot of slow, ballad-esque moments that allow Falaschi to stretch out his pipes and the guitarists to cook out some more emotive moments. "A Monster in Her Eyes" is absolutely stunning in this regard.Nothing on here is really done in a way you'd expect, and since the hooks are so angular and fresh, the songs never wear out their welcome, always sounding cool and innovative. There is a somber twinge to the melodies here at times, and at others, an angry, wrathful one, making this album sound somewhat like a journey through the raging, untamed wilderness – if not for the pristine sense of refinement in the songwriting, that is. With Aqua the band eschews more and more of what held them back in the early days and also brings closer the themes and motifs they always wanted to get down in their lyrics and atmosphere. This album is progressive, raw, subtle and a huge grower if there ever was one, revealing new layers with each spin. Angra has never sounded better." - The Metal Crypt
    $15.00
  • "On March 25th, 2014, Dream Theater performed at the Boston Opera House with very special guests from the Berklee College of Music orchestra and choir. Filmed and directed by Pierre and François Lamoureux, and mixed and mastered by Richard Chycki, Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House) is over 2 hours in length, complete with special bonus features." 
    $21.00
  • Deluxe digipak version comes with a bonus NTSC DVD featuring "The Making Of Trust".
    $15.00
  • "Next To None is the band of four young guys that are from Lehigh Vallay in Pennsylvania. Their names? Max Portnoy (d), Thomas Cuce (key/v), Ryland Holland (g) and Kris Rank (b). Portnoy, Portnoy, Portnoy? Yes, Max is the son of Mike Portnoy who some of you know from his time at Dream Theater or many other projects.The boys began already at the age of 12 and 13 to write own music. Additionally they also could gain already some live experience by being on tour with Adrenaline Mob and The Winery Dogs.The music of Next To None has many influences. There is the harder stuff that Max brings in and on the other hand the classic rock component that comes via Holland. The result is an interesting metal cocktail that is very entertaining.The diversity of sound comes back in songs like the melodic "Runaway" which is a straight-forward one. It includes a heavy riff, but also a keyboard-based middle part that give the tune a slightly new expression.The opener "The edge of sanity" instead is an nine minutes long epos that start with pouring rain, thunder and a chiming bell. It builds up to an dark prog metal track that reminds to Dream Theater not a big surprise. Their are two more of those extraordinary long tracks on "A light in the dark". "Control" is another nine minute long tune while the closer "Blood on my hands" is with eight minutes a bit shorter. Also those two numbers are more complex prog metal that shows the musical quality of the guys.Next to these extralong tracks it's the different influences that enables Next To None to numbers like "You are not me" too. Here we are talking about a raging metal track with a brutal verse. The chorus is more melodic, however, it is one of the heaviest tunes on the album. And it still fits into the context.But it also shows the wide vocal range of singer Thomas Cuce. He can handle the angry screams like on the before mentioned track as well as some soulful vocals that are need for e.g. "A lonely walk". The classic rock influences are very present in this song and I had to think about the good old Rainbow times. Cool stuff.There are maybe a few smaller parts that sound a bit unfinished but it's amazing how far the four guys got already. Still being in their teenage days the boys write already excellent songs and their musical talent is amazing. If these guys continue we can expect something very special for the coming years.These boys did a great album that has for sure a 'Wow'-factor." - Markus' Heavy Music Blog
    $13.00
  • "After several years' absence with members going off in their own various directions, Echolyn returned with a new offering. Cowboy Poems Free shows a decidedly more straightforward sound than their earlier days, while retaining the layered harmonies and often intricate phrasing for which the band is known. In many ways, this album strikes me as a worthy modern-day successor to The Band's work, a promenade of the American mythos part past and present, an examination that seems at once both of a particular time and universal. "Texas Dust" is a powerhouse of an opener. Brett Kull's plaintive, everyman voice is the perfect harness for this tale of live-by-the-day Texas farmers trying to eke out a living while at the mercy of nature. From the forceful, offbeat main riff that drives the tune, to Kull's final awe-engulfed cry "the wind came on," this is my favorite track of the album. Ray Weston, now taking over bass duties for the band, provides vocals ranging from the Prohibition-defying, hedonistic "Swingin' the Ax" to the loneliness of "1729 Broadway" (if I recall correctly, the lyrics to this one are adapted from an actual letter of an ancestor). "High as Pride," seems to point the way towards the band's next release, Mei. A sharp observation here from Kull: "At 18 our convictions are hills on which we look/At 45 they're caves into which we hide." The band takes one easy target liberty: urbane yuppie types in "Gray Flannel Suits," which is probably the least of the tracks, though I do like the line about "martini glasses that shimmer all weekend." Apart from that, this is pretty compelling music throughout, and the lyrics are consistently top-notch. Like Mei, well worth a listen." - Ground And Sky
    $14.00