Praises To The War Machine

First solo album from Nevermore's vocalist finds him dialing it down a bit but still staying within the power metal realm. Frankly I think this gives Dane an opportunity to really show off what his voice is still capable of. The production is quite modern and with backing by members of Soilwork and Himsa you can be sure that it slams when necessary. Is it embarassing if I say that I enjoyed this more than recent Nevermore? Dand still has a real gift and this disc demonstrates it with full force.

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  • "There have been those times in man’s life where he tells himself that he had enough with everything that had been going on surrounding his ordinary environment. Aside from the warmth of family life or even by choosing, the soothing loneliness, there are the proceedings of the society such as the corrupt politics and fragmentary feast for power that seemed to be endless without a care for future consequences. So how one can escape such a world where everything seemed to be blackened, not like a starless night, but by mankind itself that commences various of actions without thinking first? The answer might be running away but to where? The only answer is to the far reaches of space by cunningly stealing a spaceship. Though it sounds like a story from the far future when space travel is available, but it has a sense it in and can also be inferred to the spiritual form of the works of the mind and how it can escape reality while submerging into an altered universe of hopes and dreams about better life. Well, I will stop here with the philosophical debate with myself, though it is rather intriguing. The purpose of my gibbering your thinking patterns is because it highly relates to the new concept album by the Italian Power Metal band, VISION DIVINE. “Destination Set To Nowhere”, released via earMUSIC / Armoury Records, is the Metal journey and your new Star Trek across the vast space in finding new fortunes and ideologies without forgetting where the warmth of home lies.I have to tell you that it has been really difficult to not keep on discussing VISION DIVINE’s ideas regarding this fascinating story that though sounds pretty simple it harbours so many standpoints that a whole article can be written on top of their basis. However, there is also the Metal behind the philosophical mind that created this story. Nearly like every Power Metal band coming from Europe, VISION DIVINE has been storming in high speeds without letting of the so important melodic touch, an element that has been chief for the large majority of European Metal bands of the kind. Olaf Thorsen(nickname of Carlo Andrea Magnani), guitarist of the veteran Power Metal band LABYRINTH, created this beast as a side project but it got into something more. While along the years massing some of the greatest talents of the Italian scene, including the special recruitment of RHAPSODY OF FIRE’s top notch frontman, Fabio Lione, VISION DIVINE, the way I see it, has been able to assert itself as the Italian STRATOVARIOUS, but in a much higher level, while when it came down to musical quality and tenacity topping their own local mother bands as RHAPSODY OF FIRE and LABYRINTH. Right from its foundation, while perfecting their style year after year, including this here release, that for me is the band’s greatest achievement, VISION DIVINE spread their high regard for melodic Power Metal but with such musical sophistication that took them into towering altitudes and even into the world of Progressive Metal with slight similarities to DREAM THEATER and ANUBIS GATE.As far as the diverse course of “Destination Set To Nowhere”, I believe that VISION DIVINE were able to entice with such profound technical abilities and incredible skills to create wonderful tracks that seem to be endless. Throughout the entire release I was trying to relive the lives of that men and women on that spaceship running away from the frustrations of Earth. The intense and clever riffing, rhythms, great keyboards layers and miscellaneous drumming, like fast paced heart beats of hundreds of people, aided on understanding what went on through the stages of the story, where is the next destination in the land of nowhere. On top of those all there is the magnificent vocal line by a voice that is so smooth and clear but also has its own deadly Hyde creeping from its cage from time to time. I can’t really break this tracklist into lone tracks because I believe that this entire release is something that you ought to experience in full. Of course that I have my personal choices regarding preferred tracks, and I am used to provide clear cuts, yet for the sake of the story and the effort that was spent on the material, I will leave you to decide which part of this journey suits you more. Generally, VISION DIVINE is offering you an accessible showcase of musical prowess and utter creativity to step into what could be in the not so far future, and maybe help you to think to who or what idea do you mark your ballot for. “Destination Set To Nowhere” certainly became one of my candidates for the album of year for 2012." - METAL TEMPLE
    $13.00
  • Solo album from Nevermore's guitarist is an instrumental affair. It touches on shred duels with Ron Jarzombek and Cannibal Corpse's Pat O'Brien as well as more adventurous material with showcases Michael Manring's basswork as well as producer Neil Kernon's long rumoured ability on guitar.
    $12.00
  • Fourth album and the first one to feature Marty Friedman. Completely remixed and remastered by Dave Mustaine. Features 4 unreleased bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • "Downtime doesn’t appear to be in this Swedish traditional group’s mindset, at least in this point of their career. Striking while the iron’s hot from their 2011 Heads Will Roll debut and touring with the legendary Lizzy Borden across mainland Europe, the quintet from Gothenburg set about writing the follow up, Storms of War rather quickly. With King Diamond guitarist Andy Larocque behind the production chair, Storms of War will either make Katana another worthy Swedish contender to the Wolf/Enforcer new brigade throne or may cast them into the land of bargain bins forevermore.The opening salvo of riff peeling from guitarists Patrik Essen and Tobias Karlsson on “Reaper” rivals the best 80’s Judas Priest with Accept for good measure- and the trade-off solos are pure ecstasy for all air guitarists worldwide. Sometimes the reference points get a tad obvious: Iron Maiden on “Wrath of the Emerald Witch,” Loudness on “The Samurai Returns,” but Anders Persson’s poised drumming and the multi-octave, high-octane melodies from Johan Bernspang more than make up for any similarities.Bernspang even shows off a lighter, lower playful side to his voice ala Bruce Dickinson during the shorter, gallop-worthy “City on the Edge of Forever.” The swirling wind effects and a slow moving bass line signal the start of the eight-minute epic “In the Land of the Sun,” the verse melody mirroring the open clean plucking before the tempo moves upward and you feel like you are experiencing another NWOBHM journey with a series of Egyptian point-counterpoint guitar refrains. And how about the Omen up and down guitar harmonies throughout “Modesty Blaise” circa Warning Of Danger?Since Iron Maiden feel that their fans desire more progressive rock-length arrangements over the classics they rendered on the first seven studio albums, Katana could fit that missing niche in your collection with Storms of War. Thank you gentlemen for bringing me back to my teenage years with this one. " - Blistering,com
    $14.00
  • Denmark's Behind the Curtain create their own avant garde vision of metal for the next millenium. 'Til Birth Do Us Part is a concept album filled with dynamic contrasts of crushing guitar riffs, symphonic keyboards, and original vocals. Although complex in nature, Behind the Curtain's music is often subtle and filled with powerful emotions.WE ARE CLOSING OUT OUR INVENTORY OF BEHIND THE CURTAIN "TIL BIRTH DO US PART". PLEASE NOTE ONCE OUR COPIES ARE SOLD WE WILL NOT BE REPRESSING IT.
    $4.00
  • Second album of fairly generic melodic power metal from Greece.
    $5.00
  • Here's one I never thought I would see... "The Battle" is marketed under the name Allen/Lande...those being Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (Ark, Masterplan). In actuality, the mastermind behind the project is Magnus Karlsson, the guitarist of Last Tribe and Starbreaker. He uses the singers individually and combined to interesting effect. Essentially an album of melodic metal it occassionally strays into the upper echelons due to the participation of these magnificent frontmen.
    $14.00
  • With each successive release the question always is asked – How will the Tipton Brothers top their last album? The band’s fifth album, Dark Deceiver, is another jaw-dropping achievement of technical metal. The quartet of Jasun Tipton, Troy Tipton, Mike Guy, and Chris Salinas take their “chops from hell” attitude to a new level. In creating Zero Hour, the brothers envisioned a dark, heavy, emotional vibe, expressed through intricate arrangements, forceful vocals, and meaningful lyrics.2006 found the band in a curious situation. Although they were attracting attention and accolades around the world they were in need of a new vocalist. The problem was solved by the arrival of noted vocalist Chris Salinas, formerly of Power Of Omens. The resulting album “Specs Of Pictures Burnt Beyond” met with stellar reviews, a US tour and a headlining slot at the Headway Festival in Netherland. The year culminated in the band’s third appearance at ProgPower USA in Atlanta – the largest progressive metal festival in the world.For the recording of their new album the band once again collaborated with producer Dino Alden. Dark Deceiver finds the band experimenting with their already defined sound. The compositions are more technical than before. Alden took advantage of Salinas’ incredible vocal talents to apply some interesting and dramatic treatments, creating something very different from their previous recordings. This is without question the band’s crowning moment.
    $13.00
  • "Babysteps tells the story of Nick (Jody Ashworth, Trans Siberian Orchestra), a professional athlete, who finds himself in a wheelchair having to recover in a rehabilitation center. The struggle with his arrogant doctor (James LaBrie, Dream Theater) reaches its climax in a big fight. Matt (Matt Cash, Chain/Frameshift/Solo), another patient, tries to befriend Nick who doesn’t trust people anymore. Matt introduces his physician to Nick, Dr. Sizzla (Michael Sadler, SAGA), who gives him valuable advice on how to approach his situation and his doctor. Babysteps is the story of Nick’s journey on the way to recovery and the obstacles he has to overcome.Also lending their talents to this project are Ian Crichton (Guitar) and Jim Gilmour (Keys) from SAGA who both recorded phenomenal solos on this album.Babysteps features 10 songs and 5 instrumental pieces for a total of 15 Tracks. The instrumentals all revolve around the same theme because they signify the return to the hospital cafeteria, a central place in the story.The music of Babysteps can best be described as in the vein of TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) or Savatage because of the orchestral elements and the extensive use of piano and metal guitars. Henning’s usual production methods are not as dominant on this release and the synthesizers and chopped guitars take a step back to make way for a more organic sound."
    $3.00
  • Sky of Rage is an offshoot of Astral Doors led by guitarist Joachim Nordllund.  He found a great singer named Staffan Carlsson that fits the classic hard rock sound perfectly.  This will go down a ton with fans of Rainbow, Deep Purple and Dio.  The disc is filled with solid hooks.  This comes from a relatively new label that has been pretty much hit and miss with their releases.  With no expectations going in I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  These guys go for that classic sound and hit the mark dead on.
    $14.00
  • DGM has been cranking out albums for years and with all the lineup changes they go through, somehow the music gets better and better.  Forget that Russell Allen and Jorn Viggo Lofstad guest on the album - sure that's cool.  More important are the facts that vocalist Mark Basile is rock solid and the band has come up with a perfect blend of melodicism, heaviness and proginess. (not sure that is a word).  This one makes all the right moves. File under: AWESOME!   Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • This is where the progressive elements really start to coalesce ie. the 20 minute "The Fountain Of Lamneth".  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • Arjen Lucassen's long awaited Ayreon project is a total blast.  Like some of the earlier Ayreon albums, it owes as much to prog rock as it does metal.  All the old school heroes like Emerson, Wakeman, Wetton get to strut their stuff showing a young stud like Rudess a thing or two.  As always Lucassen latches on to some of the best vocalists around and this one is no exception.  Highly recommended.PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL BE A VERY EXPENSIVE IMPORT "ART BOOK" EDITION FORTHCOMING."You know what the metal world needs more of? Musicals. I'm not saying that ironically either. Sure, we have plenty of prog bands putting out concept albums, but cool as these records many be, the story themselves are not the focus of the album. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen has resurrected his grandest of all projects to continue showing these folks how to tell an epic story the right way.With 01011001 the Ayreon story came to an end, or so we thought. Arjen instead decided to focus on projects like Star One, Guilt Machine, and his solo album Lost in the New Real. When he revealed not too long ago that he was working on a new project, it wasn't a surprise to discover it was new Ayreon, but I was still plenty excited.Lucassen said of the newest record, "It's not science fiction, but a human story set in a science context." So no aliens or battling emotions or any of that. So, in an attempt to better understand the story, I contacting him for the lyrics and much to my surprise, he sent them to me saying, "Oh yes, you need the lyrics, definitely." Holy hell, was he right. The story is indeed more grounded than previous records, but there are still layers to this beast.Fans of Ayreon should know what to expect here. The Theory of Everything has seven guest singers and each singer plays a part in the story. They are JB (Grand Magus) as the Teacher, Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as the Mother, Michael Mills (Toehider) as the Father, Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as the Prodigy, Marco Hietala (Nightwish) as the Rival, John Wetton (Asia/ex-King Crimson) as the Psychiatrist, and Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as the Girl.Of these singers, the most impressive is the relatively unknown Sara Squadrani. She performs on a large portion of the story and shines every time, especially on "Love and Envy". I was also surprised to be so enamored with the performance of Christina Scabbia. She's always had  a wonderful voice, but her performance in this record might be her finest. Her harmonies with Squadrani stand out particularly on "Mirror of Dreams". This isn't to say only the performances by the female singers are worth mentioning. Tommy Karevik's introduction in "The Prodigy's World" is one of the strongest moments on the album.Press_Photo_01Every Ayreon album comes an eclectic group of guest musicians. This round primarily consisted of guest keyboardists. Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) handles a good portion of the record, while Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) both make excellent solo appearances on "Progressive Waves".Having listened to all of Lucassen's albums at least once, I can say The Theory of Everything is the most musically diverse offering he's had a hand in, perhaps with the exception of his solo record. This isn't as heavy as previous Ayreon titles, but it has its driving moments like "Collision" and the Dream Theather-esque "Frequency Modulation." The aforementioned "Love and Envy" is a slower introspective song, while "Diagnosis" is massive and a little cheesy, but so awesome. "Transformation" has a Middle Eastern feel to it, and  "The Eleventh Dimension" sounds like intergalactic renaissance faire music.Often times there are jumps in mood, genre, etc in the middle of a song. This is fairly typical for an Ayreon release; what isn't typical is that technically this record consists of only four songs. These four songs are each at least twenty-one minutes, but they are cut up into forty-two pieces (yes, that's a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference) .This is a fun record. It's a record that does require a time commitment. I'd say listeners should treat it as a proper musical or film in a theater. Try to experience it all in one sitting for the full effect. It's absolutely worth it." - Metal Injection
    $17.00
  • "1984 was a successful record not only because it contained solid, catchy hard rock, but also because it incorporated synthesizers into the mix, the first metal album to do so to any serious extent. Although the advances in electronic music make this material sound dated now, it's still a highlight of Van Halen's career. Songs like "Jump" contain a pop element that gave 1984 mainstream appeal, and David Lee Roth turned the frontman role into an art form on songs such as "Panama," "Hot for Teacher," "Drop Dead Legs," and "I'll Wait." To a large extent, it was 1984 that set the standard for '80s pop metal, and David Lee Roth who set the standard (or takes the blame, depending on your point of view) for the aggressively good-time attitude most pop-metal bands took for their own." --Genevieve WilliamsRemastered edition.
    $6.00