Profoundemonium

SKU: NPR084
Label:
Napalm Records
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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Beauty and beast metal featuring Helena Michaelsen on vocals.

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  • "Tellus Requiem was formed back in 2007 by guitarist Stig Nergård. In 2010 Tellus Requiem released a self-titled debut album digitally. This album opened up some doors for the band, and resulted in some live concert supporting acts like Keep of Kalessin, Edenbridge, and Pagan's Mind. “Invictus” was mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen (Jailhouse Studios, Jorn, TNT, Helloween) with the cover art done by Thomas Ewerhard (Symphony X, Theater).According to the band’s biography, the main theme of the band’s writing is about worlds shattering to pieces. This can either be global or personal experience, fictional or literary. Tellus Requiem means; the earths death mass. Tellus being Latin for The Earth, Requiem being the last composition a composer writes before they die. Listening to the ten tracks featured on “Invictus”, it’s obvious that the band is comprised of five very talented musicians with a love for melodic progressive metal in the style of Symphony X and Dream Theater with flourishes of Eastern Folk and the big sound of a motion picture film score (as is evident on the opening instrumental song “Ab Aeterno”). “Red Horizon” kicks in with a vengeance and is highlighted by very Symphony x-like keyboard work by Anders Sundbø (whose frenzied playing style steals the show on this song) and heavy guitar crunch by Nergård.  Vocalist Ben Rodgers has a unique and impressive style and range without resorting to sounding like peers such as James Labrie or Russell Allen.Drummer Vidar Lehmann shows off his considerable chops and fast feet on the middle-eastern tinged “Eden Burns”. A beautiful acoustic guitar passage introduces “Reflection Remains” which leads into a melodic and majestic vocal performance by Rodgers accented by soaring harmonies and a soulful yet blistering guitar solo by Nergård.  The heavy melodic prog metal of “Twilight Hour” has plenty of melody, groove, instrumental chops, and odd time signatures to satisfy the most jaded prog metal fan.  “Sands of Gold” is a complex and chaotic attack of progressive drum patterns, middle-eastern melodies, heavy guitar and keyboard wizardry with Rodgers voice providing the melodic anchor holding it all together. The appropriately titled “Tranquility” is a slower, peaceful and introspective song with Rodgers showing his emotional side as well as his considerable range to great effect. “Redemption” starts off with an impressive Spanish style guitar playing and kicks into a heavy guitar rhythm and aggressive lead vocals and beautiful harmony vocals courtesy of a vocal choir. The heavy prog of “Invictus” is a fast paced and the vocals and musicianship are razor sharp here.  The final song is “Dies Irae” which is the “day of wrath” and was an old Medieval poem sung during the Mass of the Dead ceremony, is a short and sweet outro track and a fine way to end this musical journey. For such a young band, Tellus Requiem has created a stunning and impressive progressive metal feast that fans of Symphony X and Dream Theater will find quite enjoyable. " - The Metal Pit
    $12.00
  • "Italy's Odd Dimension burst on the progressive metal in 2011 with their surprising and entertaining debut album Symmetrical. Most of the intrigue came from both from their creativity and accessible complexity of their prog, generated from prior experimentation with various metal and rock genres.Their sophomore release, The Last Embrace to Humanity continues to reflect some of that experimentation. The album might even be a tale of two discs. The previous release, generally, was more heavier prog metal and so is this one, notably at the start. The Unknown King, Under My Creed, and Dissolving into the World are a rush of ambitious and blistering prog. You find this at the end as well in Far from Desires.But what's in between is a bit different. Not everything here is always heavy; it's more subtle and nuanced when it comes. It's So Late, which features Michele Luppi (Vision Divine, Secret Sphere), nears more melodic, though heavier, progressive rock. Another Time and Fortune and Pain, which follow, seems to want to invoke heavy metal but in the end turns on a stirring metal-rock fusion. The latter third of Fortune and Pain, notable in the guitar, sounds like metal-jazz fusion. The New Line of Times takes all these things, abandons the aggressive metal, and develops an epic song of pure melodic prog metal.Not dismissing the other songs, but these four songs are strength and surprise of The Last Embrace to Humanity. They also show once more the impressive talent and creativity of Odd Dimension. But we knew that already, didn't we. Easily recommended." - Danger Dog
    $14.00
  • Take 4 members of Shaman, add in Angra's incredible drummer Aquiles Priester.  Have Russell Allen produce their album and what do you get?  Well not exactly what you would expect but ultimately maybe something even better.  Noturnall's debut touches on power, trash, and progressive metal and all blended together with a melodic modern edge.  Russell Allen even provides guest vocals on one tune.  Turn this one up to 11!"What do you all expect from bands with some praised members in their lineups?Of course, all of us have great expectations, and in Brazilian NOTURNALL, with members from KARMA, SHAMAN, HANGAR, ANGRA, ALMAH, TEMPESTT and others really is above all our expectations, and their first album, “Noturnall” is a heavy piece, an excellent amount of heavy music.They play a modern and heavy form of Prog Metal, with great vocals (Thiago Bianchi is in a great shape, singing both in high tunes as in low ones), abrasive and heavy guitars (both in aggressive riffs and melodic solos, and Léo Mancini shows a very good technique), bass in a technical and heavy shape (Fernando Quesada is a excellent bass player), fantastic drums (please, it’s a work from Aquiles Priester, one of Brazil greatest drummers), and the keyboards are simple great (creating great atmospheres and passages, a fine work from Juninho Carelli). And prepare your ears, for the album is a heavy weight champion, one of best works from Brazil.The sound production is wonderful, done by SYMPHONY X’s vocalist Russell Allen along with NOTURNALL members. You can hear all instruments loud and clear, but the modern and aggressive aspect is present all time. It’s a blow in your face!The Best moments: “No Turn at All”, the heavy and with some groove aspects “Nocturnal Human Side” (great vocals, in a duet of Thiago along with Russell), the wonderful “Sugar Pill”, and the abrasive “Fake Healer”.Perfection, nothing more to say, so remember what your dear Ol’ Big Daddy here always says: buy your physical copies, for MP3 is for sissies." - Metal Temple 
    $15.00
  • Now here is a beautiful slice of contemporary progressive rock.  Anubis is an underrated band from Australia - bands down under don't seem to get the attention they deserve.  Hitchhiking is their third full length album.  2011's A Tower Of Silence was a big hit around here and frankly when it arrived it came as a huge surprise.  This long awaited follow up reinforces that the prog rock world needs to take notice.  The music has a cinematic Floyd-like feel.  Vocals from Robert James Moulding are emotion driven and have plenty of impact.  This is not a band who's music is filled with tons of soloing but what's here is solid.  In other words this is not old school prog - its very forward thinking but with a modern sound.  Highly recommended."I have long dreamt of an Australian progressive rock album that would inspire me to click the repeat button, in order to drift through its world all over again, and I am happy to declare that Hitchhiking to Byzantium has been on constant rotation for weeks at this point. Bringing an enchanting blend of Floydian melancholy and the energy of Rush to the table, Anubis have come to stake their claim as heavyweights in the Oz scene with their third opus.Whilst being equally impressed with their 2011 album A Tower of Silence (which I have only just heard recently also), I have found myself returning to Byzantium more to explore the subtle nuances contained within the album’s ten tracks. ‘Fadeout’ as an opening diddy is like riding a gentle breeze for just a short while before being swept up in all the drama and opulence of ‘A King with No Crown’, a reference quality track on every level, cinematic in scope and full of drama and tension and certainly an inspired choice as opening single for the album. ‘Dead Trees’ is a classic prog cut with all the bells and whistles sporting a vocal performance that harkens to a young James Labrie and a chorus that will have you by the balls from the first time you hear it.I mentioned a notable influence from Floyd and Rush earlier, but if I was to be honest, I would love to ask them if they are fans of American prog band Tiles and those wonderful Brits Anathema, because both bands are called to mind on this album amongst others like Sweden’s Anekdoten. The title track is a sublime centrepiece and features a plaintive aura that is sent soaring when spine-tingling female backing vocals lace the chorus. It’s so hard to choose a favourite song when they are all so filled with creamy goodness, but any of these three  - ‘Blood is Thicker than Common Sense’ (a seductive groover), ‘Tightening of the Screws’ (a majestic slice of melancholia reminiscent of early The Pineapple Thief) or ‘Partitionists’ (a lyrical and musical marvel) - could easily take the title for this humble listener.The final triptych features dark drama in ‘Crimson Stained Romance’, a song that reminded me most of a classic Floyd epic, the 15+ minute ‘A Room with a View’, which is nothing short of a sweeping symphony of moods and tones and the closing ‘Silent Wandering Ghosts’ sounds exactly like its title would suggest, haunting and transcendent with an outro to die for.These seven talented lads are a gifted lot, with every performance of outstanding quality, enhanced by a jaw-dropping production that let’s every instrument tell its own little story and play its part in this emotionally resonant work that as the band state themselves: "I feel that there's more of us in there - the hurdles that life throws at us and the only way to feel true inner peace - by examining the love around you. It's certainly an introspective record - but it's real life. It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us. Hitchhiking to Byzantium. That journey is life."And somehow I believe them." - Loud Mag
    $15.00
  • Third album from this New Jersey symphonic rock band.  All of the band's albums are conceptual pieces based around literary works.  In fact the band's name is derived from a Ray Bradbury story.  On A Dark And Stormy Night is based on Madeleine L'Engle's fantasy novel of the same name.  The album is a wet dream for any fan of symphonic prog.  As I make my way through the album I'm frequently reminded of some similarities to Glass Hammer.  This is very keyboard driven music with a healthy amount of guitar leads.  There are even some nice Mellotron sounds popping up now and then.  These guys dream big and hit the mark.  Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • "2012 Blu-Ray live release. The Tea Party is a Canadian rock band with blues, progressive rock, Indian and Middle Eastern influences, dubbed "Moroccan roll" by the media. Active throughout the 1990s up until 2005 when the band broke up, The Tea Party released eight albums on EMI Music Canada, selling 2 million records worldwide, and achieving a #1 Canadian single "Heaven Coming Down" in 1999. The Tea Party toured Canada on twenty-one occasions and Australia on twelve. In November 2002, The Tea Party toured Canada with symphony orchestras reinterpreting a decade's worth of shared songwriting. The band broke up in 2005 due to creative differences, but re-united in 2011 to play several Canadian tour dates during the summer. During the tour it was decided to continue and the band has now reformed. Live From Australia: The Reformation Tour was recorded in 2012 during The Tea Party's Australian tour and showcases the band bursting with renewed energy."
    $17.00
  • Mayan is the other band of Epica founder Mark Jansen.  As you can expect by now from Jansen, he doesn't do anything on a small scale.  Like Epica, Mayan is an epic sounding band.  The raison d'etre of Mayan is melodic death metal.  The band features Lauren Macri providing soprano vocals, Henning Basse on clean male vocals, and Jansen handles the death growls.  There is actually a pretty good balance between clean/death vocals.  As expected, lots of great guests - Floor Jansen appears on a couple of tracks, and Stream Of Passion's Marcel Bovio sings on three.  Dimitris Katsoulis contributes violin.  Mayan has coalesced into a band, as opposed to the debut which really was more of a project.  Symmetry guitarist Frank Schiphorst provides the shred, and ex-Delain bassist Rob Vander Loo is on board as well.  After Forever's Joost van den Broek co-produced the album and you get that larger than life sound that this music craves.   Oddly enough the album actually starts off with the bonus track...its a good one!  Highly recommended.
    $5.00
  • Remastered edition with bonus tracks."The debut Jefferson Airplane album was dominated by singer Marty Balin, who wrote or co-wrote all the original material and sang most of the lead vocals in his heartbreaking tenor with Paul Kantner and Signe Anderson providing harmonies and backup. (Anderson's lead vocal on "Chauffeur Blues" indicated she was at least the equal of her successor, Grace Slick, as a belter.) The music consisted mostly of folk-rock love songs, the most memorable of which were "It's No Secret" and "Come up the Years." (There was also a striking version of Dino Valente's "Get Together" recorded years before the Youngbloods' hit version.) Jorma Kaukonen already displayed a talent for mixing country, folk, and blues riffs in a rock context, and Jack Casady already had a distinctive bass sound. But the Airplane of Balin-Kantner-Kaukonen-Anderson-Casady-Spence is to be distinguished from the Balin-Kantner-Kaukonen-Casady-Slick-Dryden version of the band that would emerge on record five months later chiefly by Balin's dominance. Later, Grace Slick would become the group's vocal and visual focal point. On Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, the Airplane was Balin's group. (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off was released as RCA 3584 on August 15, 1966. It was reissued as RCA 66797 on January 30, 1996, as a CD that contained both the stereo and mono versions, and that added back the track "Runnin' 'Round This World," which had been deleted from all but initial copies due to the sexual and perceived drug references of the line "The nights I've spent with you have been fantastic trips." But the included version still eliminated the word "trips.")" - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • "And straight out of left field…One thing you really don’t expect to hear these days is proper gothic/symphonic metal in the classic late 90’s-mid 00’s tradition.While a few bands have recently begun making overtures towards a return to form if not revitalization of a genre that’s been effectively moribund since 2008, many of them are veterans going back to the sound that made them famous in the first place.  Leaves Eyes come immediately to mind, as does a recent surprising move to the operatic frontlines from longstanding (if previously somewhat boring) second stringers Xandria, who proved that sometimes losing a few founding members can be the best thing that ever happened to a band*.*for another glaring example of this principle, see also Theatres des Vampires, who only became a truly notable venture under the ostensible leadership of the lovely Sonya Scarlet…But what happens when we’re not talking classic acts undergoing some measure of renewal?  Moreover, when we’re not only talking a brand spanking new outfit, but one that (get this) doesn’t even hail from European climes.  Say what the hell?But here you go, a self-released gem right out of that busy musical hotspot of Minnesota (of all places…and we’re not even talking a Prince related project here!).  While not as bombastic as, say, Phantom Agony/Consign to Oblivion era Epica, Leaves Eyes or Mother Earth/Silent Force era Within Temptation, keyboardist/guitarist Damien Villarreal and vocalist Chelsea Knaack have come together to make what may be the first actual gothic/symphonic metal offering to come out of the United States.Sure, we’ve had a gothic/death metal crossover act (Echoes of Eternity, though they’re at least part Canadian) and a few lower rung gothic cum pop radio acts (remember that lone album where anyone cared about Evanescence?  Good move breaking up with Ben Moody, there, Amy…), but actual symphonic metal with operatic vocals?  This is total bizarro world stuff over here, in a nation still (sadly) dominated by aggro acts, hip hop and tuneless, emotionless math metal and prog wannabes.So once you manage to get over the shock factor engendered by their domestic origin, how does the music rate?  Well, for one thing, Knaack taps into similar vocal range and dynamics to earlier Simone Simons, albeit with a bit more stiffness that calls Carmen Schaeffer of Coronatus to mind (though I’m betting she was aiming more for earlier Floor Janssen if not Tarja Turunen stylistically).The guitars are somewhere in the middle, managing to keep Villarreal’s fingers a whole hell of a lot busier than the standard chunka-chunka single note stutter rhythms that tend to be a genre standby.  This is a good thing, as is his ability to hold down a reasonably melodic solo or harmony lead fill on occasion; these certainly enhance the sound to an unusual degree and keep the listener more on their toes than fans of the genre are accustomed to.But is he a virtuoso guitar hero on any level?  Not in the least.  Consider him a rather competent, melodically oriented craftsman with light prog leanings (you can pick out the Fates Warning by way of Dream Theater aspirations in a few of the rhythmic choices and modulations, not to mention the mostly inobtrusive but omnipresent keyboards which he also provides).Rounding out the trio is drummer Jordan Ames, who offers equally competent drumming, which appropriately for the style is never very flashy or notable, but filled with enough stuttering polyrhythms, cymbal work and a dash of double bass-inflected kit runs to show the guy to be quietly accomplished (much like what I’m trying to get across about Villarreal).  Coming from the Shrapnel school back in the day, I prefer a lot more flash in my players, but there’s nobody here who’s less than superlative in their musical competencies.The one major failing, and one I find with far too many acts these days, irrespective of genre, age or nation of origin is a noticeable lack of soul.  Like comparing Jimmy Page to Carlos Santana or the guys in Queensryche to Randy Rhoads, while in the right general ballpark, there’s something central and essential that just isn’t there.While more effusive and warm than several likeminded European acts (as befits a trio of blustery, heart on the sleeve wearing Americans), there’s a certain unexpected coldness to the sound and lack of bombast that baffles somewhat.  More of a note of constructive criticism, much akin to chiding a favored student for the mistakes that kept him from getting an A+ instead of a B, but worth noting nonetheless.All told, if you’re a fan of gothic symphonic metal in the days before that scene became overcrowded with no-talents and pop radio leanings and have some measure of respect for progressive leanings in your metal (think Ray Alder-era Fates Warning far more than Jason McMaster-era Watchtower and you’ll get a clearer picture), you really don’t want to miss out on this one.The first US overture into the gothic symphonic revival delivers a very credible and respectable showing, and gets themselves some high marks in the bargain.  Good stuff." - Third Eye Cinema
    $12.00
  • "One of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power is just what is says: a raw, pulverizing, insanely intense depiction of naked rage and hostility that drains its listeners and pounds them into submission. Even the "ballads," "This Love" and "Hollow," have thunderingly loud, aggressive chorus sections. Preaching power through strength and integrity, Phil Anselmo discards any further attempts at singing in favor of a militaristic bark and an unhinged roar, while the crystal-clear production sets Diamond Darrell's pummeling riffs against a rhythmic backdrop so thunderously supportive that Darrell often solos without underlying rhythm guitar parts. The album again follows Cowboys from Hell's strategy of stacking the best songs at the beginning and letting their momentum carry the listener through the rest, but the riffs and sonic textures are more consistently interesting this time around. Pantera's thick-sounding, post-hardcore power metal and outraged, testosterone-drenched intensity would help pave the way for alternative metal acts like Korn and Tool; Vulgar Display of Power is the best distillation of those virtues." - All Music Guide
    $9.00
  • "The Jefferson Airplane opened 1967 with Surrealistic Pillow and closed it with After Bathing at Baxter's, and what a difference ten months made. Bookending the year that psychedelia emerged in full bloom as a freestanding musical form, After Bathing at Baxter's was among the purest of rock's psychedelic albums, offering few concessions to popular taste and none to the needs of AM radio, which made it nowhere remotely as successful as its predecessor, but it was also a lot more daring. The album also showed a band in a state of ferment, as singer/guitarist Marty Balin largely surrendered much of his creative input in the band he'd founded, and let Paul Kantner and Grace Slick dominate the songwriting and singing on all but one cut ("Young Girl Sunday Blues"). The group had found the preceding album a little too perfect, and not fully representative of the musicians or what they were about, and they were determined to do the music their way on Baxter's; additionally, they'd begun to see how far they could take music (and music could take them) in concert, in terms of capturing variant states of consciousness.Essentially, After Bathing at Baxter's was the group's attempt to create music that captured what the psychedelic experience sounded and felt like to them from the inside; on a psychic level, it was an introverted exercise in music-making and a complete reversal of the extroverted experience in putting together Surrealistic Pillow. Toward that end, they were working "without a net," for although Al Schmitt was the nominal producer, he gave the group the freedom to indulge in any experimentation they chose to attempt, effectively letting them produce themselves. They'd earned the privilege, after two huge hit singles and the Top Five success of the prior album, all of which had constituted RCA's first serious new rock success (and the label's first venture to the music's cutting edge) since Elvis Presley left the Army. The resulting record was startlingly different from their two prior LPs; there were still folk and blues elements present in the music, but these were mostly transmuted into something very far from what any folksinger or bluesman might recognize. Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, and Jack Casady cranked up their instruments; Spencer Dryden hauled out an array of percussive devices that was at least twice as broad as anything used on the previous album; and everybody ignored the length of what they were writing and recording, or how well they sang, or how cleanly their voices meshed. The group emerged four months later with one of the rawest, most in-your-face records to come out of the psychedelic era, and also a maddeningly uneven record, exciting and challenging in long stretches, yet elsewhere very close to stultifyingly boring, delightful in its most fulfilling moments (which were many), but almost deliberately frustrating in its digressions, and amid all of that, very often beautiful.The album's 11 songs formed five loosely constructed "suites," and it didn't ease listeners into those structures. Opening "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil" (a Kantner-authored tribute to Fred Neil) amid a cascading wash of feedback leading to a slashing guitar figure, the band's three singers struggle to meld their voices and keep up. A softer, almost folk-like interlude, highlighted by Slick's upper-register keening, breaks up the beat until the guitar, bass, and drums crash back in, with a bit of piano embellishment. Then listeners get to the real break, an almost subdued interlude on the guitars, and a return to the song at a more frenzied pitch, the guitar part dividing and evolving into ever more brittle components until a crescendo and more feedback leads to "A Small Package of Value Will Come to You, Shortly." This brilliantly comical and clever percussion showcase co-authored by Spencer Dryden and the band's manager, Bill Thompson, is a million miles beyond any drummer's featured number in any popular band of that era, and it leads into Marty Balin's "Young Girl Sunday Blues," the most rhythmically consistent song here and one of a tiny handful of moments that seem to slightly resemble the band's past work. The aforementioned tracks comprise just the first suite, designated "Steetmasse.""The War Is Over" suite opens with "Martha," the album's folk-style interlude, almost a throwback to the group's original sound, except that the listener suddenly finds himself in the midst of a psychedelic delirium, heralded by the dissonant accompaniment and a high-energy fuzztone guitar solo (spinning out sitar-like notes) coming out of nowhere and a speed change that slows the tempo to zero, as though the tape (or time, or the listener's perception of it) were stretching out, and the pounding, exuberant "Wild Tyme," a celebration of seemingly uninhibited joy. "Hymn to the Older Generation" is made up of Kaukonen's "The Last Wall of the Castle," an alternately slashing and chiming guitar pyrotechnic showcase that rivaled anything heard from Jimi Hendrix or the Who that year, and Grace Slick's gorgeous "Rejoyce," a hauntingly beautiful excursion into literary psychedelia, whose James Joyce allusions carry the Lewis Carroll literary allusions of the previous album's "White Rabbit" into startlingly new and wonderful (if discursive) directions and depths. "How Suite It Is" opens with the album's single, the lean, rhythmic "Watch Her Ride," whose pretty harmonies and gently psychedelic lyrics persuaded RCA that this was their best shot at AM airplay and, true to form on an album filled with contradictions, it leads into "Spare Chaynge," the crunching, searing, sometimes dirge-like nine-minute jam by Kaukonen, Dryden, and Casady that wasn't ever going to get on AM radio -- ever -- and, indeed, might well initially repel any Airplane fan who only knew their hit singles. "Shizoforest Love Suite" closes the album with Slick's "Two Heads," with its vocal acrobatics and stop-and-go beat, and "Won't You Try"/"Saturday Afternoon," the latter Kantner's musical tribute to the first San Francisco "Be-In" (memorialized more conventionally by the Byrds on "Renaissance Fair"); it features many of the more subdued, relaxed, languid moments on the record, divided by a killer fuzz-laden guitar solo.Needless to say, this is not the album by which one should start listening to this band -- "Spare Chaynge" remains an acquired taste, a lot more aimless than, say, the extended jams left behind by the Quicksilver Messenger Service, though it did point the way toward what Kaukonen and Casady would aim for more successfully when they formed Hot Tuna. But most of the rest is indisputably among the more alluring musical experimentation of the period, and Kantner's "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil" and "Watch Her Ride," as well as Balin's "Young Girl Sunday Blues," proved that the group could still rock out with a beat, even if not so prettily or cleanly as before. [After Bathing at Baxter's was represented poorly on CD until 1996, when it was finally reissued in an upgraded edition, which was later deleted and was only available as part of the bizarre 2001-vintage Ignition box. It has since been remastered again, with very important, downright essential bonus tracks, as of 2003. Additionally, After Bathing at Baxter's was the last Jefferson Airplane album to appear in a mono version, which sounds very different than the more common stereo mix, and has yet to show up on CD." -All Music GuideRemastered edition with bonus tracks. 
    $5.00
  • Second full length studio album from this British band finds them with new vocalist Ashe O'Hara replacing the great Dan Tompkins.  This shouldn't be inferred that O'Hara is any less a vocalist than Tompkins - he's excellent as well.While the core djent sound is there the band has moved a bit more into a prog rock direction.  In general its less metal and more rock.  O'Hara's vocals don't go in the screamo direction that a lot of djent bands prefer.  The instrumental parts are still stupifyingly crazy but crazy in a King Crimson meets Tool way.  I'm not sure what the djent metal community will think of this shift in course but I like this new direction.  The old was good - to my ears this is better.  Highly recommended.
    $9.00
  • "The seventh studio album for Norwegian dark gothic metal band Trail Of Tears comes fresh on the heels of a new label deal with Massacre Records. Beginning their writing sessions in 2011, the quintet would record again in the familiar French Sound Suite Studio with Terje Refsnes behind the boards who they've worked with on and off since 2002's "A New Dimension Of Might" record. "Oscillation" is a 13 song, 59 minute plus platter that travels through dynamic gothic metal pastures, incorporating a slew of extreme and commercial elements that should keep the listeners on their toes.The cascading, echo guitar passage that opens "Waves of Existence" quickly gives way to this thumping gothic charge, Bjorn Erik Naess using a myriad of heavier picking and clean transitions on his guitar while extreme vocalist Ronny Thorsen and female clean vocalist Catherine Paulsen trade off the verse and chorus work to heighten the contrasts within the song. "Scream Out Loud" as a follow up is slightly more commercial in nature, the keyboard hook and alluring high melodies more in line with long-time Nightwish fans (although the whispering vocals from Ronny bring classic Moonspell to the table).Many will appreciate the heads down emphasis on aggressive guitars and semi-progressive/ tribal transitions for the title track (some of the best drumming on the album courtesy of Bjorn Dugstad Ronnow) and the upper soprano vocal delivery from Catherine on "Room 306"- wrenching out all of the drama that makes this sub-genre appealing to a wide swath of the populace. Trail Of Tears belong in the metal genre as they are unafraid to approach these arrangements with ferocity- emphasizing darkness and despair through all facets while adding outside influences from the symphonic world as texture and not overpowering the mix."Oscillation" is a strong effort from Trail Of Tears- packed with an assortment of dark gothic metal colors and professionally executed from a veteran act. Let's hope we don't have to wait 4 years between the next recordings." - Eternal Terror
    $15.00
  • "Two years ago, a virtually unknown Russian band released a debut with chamber classical orchestration, gorgeous multi-layered vocals, and the occasional modern rock touch. Very few initially noticed it, but eventually by word of mouth, it became an unexpected favorite 2012 album in progressive rock, despite the scarcity of progressive rock elements. Listeners there mainly rated on songwriting and enjoyment.Now, we have a second iamthemorning album, expanding on the elements from the first album. A confident, mature album that will likely bring rave reviews all over the place given the band is not as obscure as in 2012.The music is once again heavily influenced by classical music. Vocals and piano continue creating the foundation of the music, with orchestral instrument, drums, and modern rock sounds adding layers whenever needed. Even the modern rock sounds are used in a very classical, 'iamthemorning' way.The added complexity of the music was a risk. After all, the debut's instantly rewarding melodies and its safe, if brilliant, songwriting approach made it very difficult for many listener to honestly hate such an album. Now, we're dealing with complexity levels more to the tune of classical music and progressive rock. This is now easily categorized as progressive rock, with less direct melodies, knotty musical ideas, occasionally long songs, more in-depth instrumentation and lyricism. The risk is that I enjoyed the first listen less than the first listen of the debut. However, I cannot decide which album I prefer now. I feel like this one has a few minor flaws based on the risk-taking approach, compared to the near-perfection pop of the debut. However, there are even more 'WOW!' moments here in my opinion, some of the very best musical passages I perceive to come across.Flaws? I seem to only gripe about the slow development of their last full song, the samples in 'Howler' and the beginning of 'K.O.S' with a repetitive, awkward drum beat and one-chord guitar riff. Luckily, the latter two songs are overall highly interesting and dynamic songs otherwise, which is why I said the flaws are not severe as they involve a small fraction of two songs.Strengths? It's hard to name them all. The intermissions remain impressive. The first one has such a captivating atmosphere, I can't imagine anyone being hard-pressed to say 'nah' and stop playing the album. The fourth intermission (titled XII) almost reaches song-like status in length, starting with classical violin and continuing with mesmerizing piano. The last intermission is almost transcendental in a spiritual sense.And then you have the songs and they are so, so good. All those subtle melodies and exciting instrumentation in 'Howler', the beautiful 'To Human Misery' with a very captivating main melody yet also with a lot of subtle instrumentation. I should try not to overuse the phrase 'subtle complexity', but I think that word really describes this album. Subtle complexity is what makes this album work so well: you latch on into some obvious melodies on first listen, but then all those little details won't make you lose interest. Every instrument plays melodies, sometimes simultaneously.'Romance' and '5/4' sound a bit like more intricate version of Tori Amos music. They are whimsical, enchanting yet quite complex in instrumentation. Those little details like the muted violin melodies and brief 'shredding' electric guitar that somehow sounds mellow. The '5/4' song is mostly in 6/4 actually, but when it shifts to a 5/4 meter playing a carnival-like atmosphere, it's pure genius, even if it sounds like a horrible idea at first listen. It's an odd choice for a single. I thought it would be 'The Simple Story' which is more instantly recognizable with its melodies and the great piano line near the end. 'Crowded Corridors' is possibly their most accomplished composition to date and also their longest by far at nearly 9 minutes. It begins relatively subdued with their typical instrumentation and vocalizations, if more haunting than usual. Something else going for it is the more 'epic', dramatic moments that work incredibly well. It'd be interesting if they revisit this approach to songwriting in later albums. A particular highlight, besides the obvious piano solo in the latter half, is a slow melody at minute 3 being revisited at the very end at a faster pace.By the way, most of these songs deviate from a typical song structure to help make it more impactful and dynamic. The song 'Gerda' starts very soft and delicate but later sounds very empowering and grand: it's yet another great song. 'Os Lunatum' starts as an outstanding piano + vocal duet, both at their very best, especially during the song's main hook. Guitars later become dominant on the song's instrumental section. The song concludes with a full band sound, the progression from the very beginning being very natural.'K O S' may be marginally a less enjoyable song here because of that first minute which sounds repetitive and lacks what I like about the band. The rest is an interesting experiment as they veer towards a progressive rock / alternative rock sound without fully losing their trademark vocals, pianos, and subtle way to adding melodic layers. I love the way it ends, reprising the intro in such a way that almost redeems it. The 'Reprise of Light no Light' is another lesser favorite, developing in a slow fashion that sometimes tests my patience. I do love that it, along with the last intermission, ends with peaceful, abstract noise.In the end, they have accomplished a very difficult feat, given the high standard the set themselves with their debut. This second album is very intelligent music as well as very deep, emotional music. It touches me. In the end, despite the occasional flaw, it's a masterpiece and I anticipate it being consistently among my favorite pieces of music regardless of genre alongside their debut." - ProgArchives
    $15.00