Pt 1: Noah (2CD $3 Special)

"Unwritten Pages’ Noah is an album born out of a passion for progressive, driving music, concept albums and 80’s science-fiction film. It combines the broad musical taste of its creator Frederic Epe and the stylistic and unique musical backgrounds of each project member, reaching from rock and metal to Latin influences and more classical/score-oriented arrangements.

The album features soaring guitars, fat organs and bone-breaking drums, as well as a healthy dose of retro. But most of all, it never loses its focus on unique and melody-driven song-writing. And it comes in the form of an ambitious story, told through the eyes of the vocalists and musicians.

Noah tells the story of a boy born in the ruins of the futuristic Utopia City, and Maria, the daughter of a ruthless politician who has – literally – split Utopia City in half and driven the poor to a district known as LS01X. As the political climate escalates, a few hundred people from both sides of the city are forced to leave their home world and start a new life on Mars. Here, both Maria and the boy grow up in the middle of a rising conflict between two factions that are unwilling to ignore their grudge-ridden past. Noah features the talents of Damian Wilson (Threshold, Ayreon, Les Misérables), Karl Groom (Threshold, Shadowland), Davy Mickers (Stream of Passion, Ayreon), Alejandro Millán (Hello Madness, Stream of Passion) and many others."

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  • Their first real prog effort. Killer keyboard excursions in an ELP vein.
    $12.00
  • New edition of the band's second album features a remix by Rob Reed and remastered sound courtesy of Bob Katz (who called me to proclaim this "reference recording material"). There is a bonus DVD (NTSC - region 0) which features a 5.1 remix and video footage of Rob and Steve Reed in the studio as well as some Magenta official bootleg clips of Seven material. Wonderful followup to their 2001 debut. "Seven" is a concept album based on the 7 deadly sins. So you get 7 tracks crammed into a 76 minute disc filled with stunning female vocals and a musical melange that recalls the salad days of prog bands. Genesis fans will trip out on this one! Highly recommended.
    $19.00
  • "Danish legends PRETTY MAIDS never achieved the success they rightfully deserve. They have been releasing amazing material since their inception in 1981. Their catalog is incredibly consistent and jaw dropping. Their records “Red Hot and Heavy”, “Future World” and 2010s “Pandemonium” ranks up there with some of the best material of the last 30 years in Rock and Metal. Their latest record “Motherland”, released through Italy’s Frontiers Records is another heavy melodic masterpiece.2010s release “Pandemonium” was such an amazing record that the thought of following it up was a concern not only for the band but fans and critics alike. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief as they have done it again as “Motherland” captures PRETTY MAIDS at their best. Like all PRETTY MAIDS releases the songwriting is outstanding and every song is remarkably strong.Ronnie Atkins is an amazing soulful singer who seems to get better with age. His unique blend of melody and raspiness is unmatched and his voice is one of a kind. Founding guitarist Ken Hammer blends acrobatic guitar playing with a sense of melody that fits his songs brilliantly and is another unsung hero that can play with precision and emotion.Jacob Hansen’s production is crisp and jumps off the speakers. Returning to work with the band after the success of 2010s “Pandemonium” shows the partnership still is the perfect pairing. The mix is layered, separated and Hansen is quickly becoming the go to producer in Rock and Metal.First single “Mother of All Lies”, “Why So Serious?” and the title track show the band perfecting their heavier side. The title track is an up-tempo pounder that grooves, crushes and the chorus is pure perfection. The keyboards incorporate a subtle arpeggio sequence that backs Atkins as he sings a melody that is infectious. “Why So Serious?” is a haunting captivating chugger that blends melody with syncopated riffing, the biggest headbanger on the record.While “Sad to See You Suffer”, “Bullet For You” and the excellent “Wasted” is the perfect counterbalance and shows off their melodic essence. “Bullet For You” showcases a tender Atkins at his best. The harmonies are luscious and fill out the vocals beautifully. “Wasted” closes the record and does an excellent job of blending Morten Sandager’s keyboard playing into the songwriting. Again, the melodies dominate and paint the perfect landscape. All of these songs have amazing choruses that will stick in your head long after the record is over. Ever since their cover of John Sykes “Please Don’t Leave Me”; Pretty Maids are destined to play the rock ballad. They nail it.30 years into their career, “Motherland” finds PRETTY MAIDS unbelievably at their creative peak. Not too many bands are writing some of their strongest material thirteen albums into their career. Surprisingly on par with the fantastic “Pandemonium”, it is time for PRETTY MAIDS to be catapulted into the spotlight and be rewarded for their remarkable career. Let's hope that they have another thirteen albums left in them to compose because they have found their creative groove. “Motherland” contains all of the attributes that make PRETTY MAIDS outstanding. I can only hope that now is the time for them to launch a proper North American tour." - Metal Temple
    $16.00
  • "In 2010 Pain of Salvation, best known for their progressive stylings and vocalist who wishes he could talk rhythmically like Mike Patton, released a record that blew me away and shook their fanbase: Road Salt One.  It was shocking mainly because it was a largely not tech-geek-progressive and it was very 70s rock influenced. This left some long-time fans peeved, at best. They wanted something different. Well, Road Salt Two is definitely not that something different. It is stubbornly more of the same and it may have lost a bit of its luster with a year to sit on it.Road Salt Two is yet again a dirty 70s rock influenced record without a metal riff to show for the 51 minutes of music that are contained within. It starts out with the “Road Salt Theme” (which, actually, doesn’t appear to be thematically in context with the first disc) and drops right into blues-based rock riffing in “Softly She Cries.” While a tad banal at first, it gently transfers back into the “Road Salt Theme” so smoothly that the inattentive may straight up miss the development. This exemplifies the writing on this album, actually. As I pointed out in reference to Road Salt One, Gildenl takes the most hackneyed, cliched and overdone genre in the entire world (blues rock) and adds a personal twist to it that makes it not only enjoyable but deep and fascinating. “Conditioned” works like this as well. It starts out like a fucking Lenny Kravitz song and then morphs into something sinister and/or melancholy.The record also has its more “downy frowny” parts like third track “Healing Now” or “1979,” which borders on nostalgic crap but has its own naive charm. “Through the Distance” is reminiscent of “Sisters” in tone and vocal performance, but it doesn’t have the same emotional poignancy. These tracks work to build the valleys in the grittier, more progressive landscape that is this second Road Salt installment and they work well in that. The peaks, then, are “Eleven,” “The Deeper Cut,” “Mortar Grind” and the 8 minute and 43 second “The Physics of Gridlock” which is a particularly excellent song. These show off a more progressive Pain of Salvation than we saw on Road Salt One. On these tracks the rhythm section performs admirably and really convincingly, making for some fantastic, driving and yet subtle music.What finally makes this album a great record is that the songwriting is top-notch and the feel is spot on. Gildenl’s vocals steal the show again, but unfortunately the entire album doesn’t live up to what I see as the best track “To the Shoreline,” which should be the marquee track from this album (and should be their 2011 Melodifestivalen entry). It’s a faster track with a flute part that sounds like something that comes straight off of Camel‘s Snow Goose. The track is only 3 minutes long, but it’s just a tremendous piece of writing that I have listened to probably 300 times since I got the record. Unfortunately, that means that the rest of the record pales in comparison, and that kind of sets it back.The other major critique that I had of this record was that the “characters” if you will, sound like case studies from someone’s book on personality disorders. Really? She feels empty inside? Like a black hole? Has she been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, by any chance? Her unpredictable mood swings definitely seem like they fit the criteria. And the main dude sounds like he has a hell of a Jesus complex, out saving the ladies left and right. While this was definitely there on the last record, it didn’t feel as hackneyed. On 2 we’re forced to sit through three songs where Daniel rhymes “cry,” “die” and “why” in a number of different constellations and it comes off as a bit uninspired at best.Even if it’s a lyrical bust, musically Road Salt Two is a smashing success, even with all the caveats. I understand that it can’t be easy to do a project like this and I think others who have tried to do similar things have also probably looked back on them and felt like they didn’t come off as well as they could have (Opeth, and Guns ‘N’ Roses both come to mind). And really, it’s tough for me to listen to both records all the way through in a single sitting. But on its own, Road Salt Two is an enjoyable disc from a talented group who has now definitely lured me in. I’ll be checking out whatever they do next and hoping it will be as great as this is." - Angry Metal Guy
    $15.00
  • "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
  • Third album from this excellent Norwegian band.  Arabs In Aspic is yet another prog band influenced by the sounds of the 70s.  Lots of similarities to Black Bonzo.  Vintage keyboard sounds and nice heavy-ish guitar leads.  Vocalist Rune Sundby of the 70s Norwegian band Ruphus guests.  That band would be a pretty good comparison but you can definitely hear undercurrents of Uriah Heep and Deep Purple but there is more going on here. On the longer, jammier tracks the music takes on the psychedelic feel of Echoes period Pink Floyd.  Beautifully done.  Highly recommended.
    $24.00
  • Remastered edition with two bonus tracks."Searching for a way to retool their sound, Judas Priest attempted to accentuate their melodic side on Turbo by incorporating synthesizers and '80s pop-metal stylings ("Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days" sounds more like Poison, albeit with synths). The restrained songcraft sometimes pays dividends, especially on the synth-driven leadoff track, "Turbo Lover," easily the best song on the record and a successful reimagining of the Priest formula. But often, the band simply sounds directionless, unsure of exactly which path to accessibility it should follow; moreover, the synth-guitar backing and overly polished production give the album an oddly mechanized, processed feel. It certainly doesn't help most of the material, which is often at least competent but rarely inspired enough to make much of an impression. That's unfortunate because Turbo's best moments indicate that with a clearer focus, the album could have been a creative success; however, it's overall Judas Priest's weakest release since Rocka Rolla." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Steely Dan hadn't been a real working band since Pretzel Logic, but with Aja, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's obsession with sonic detail and fascination with composition reached new heights. A coolly textured and immaculately produced collection of sophisticated jazz-rock, Aja has none of the overt cynicism or self-consciously challenging music that distinguished previous Steely Dan records. Instead, it's a measured and textured album, filled with subtle melodies and accomplished, jazzy solos that blend easily into the lush instrumental backdrops. But Aja isn't just about texture, since Becker and Fagen's songs are their most complex and musically rich set of songs -- even the simplest song, the sunny pop of "Peg," has layers of jazzy vocal harmonies. In fact, Steely Dan ignores rock on Aja, preferring to fuse cool jazz, blues, and pop together in a seamless, seductive fashion. It's complex music delivered with ease, and although the duo's preoccupation with clean sound and self-consciously sophisticated arrangements would eventually lead to a dead end, Aja is a shining example of jazz-rock at its finest." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "n 1971-72, English vibraphonist Robert Wood was a member of French band Lard Free, the band Gilbert Artman led before Urban Sax. Wood later asked Artman to play drums on his own second LP, ‘Sonanbular’, while Artman included vibraphone on the first Lard Free official LP (1973), as well as the Clear Light Symphony LP (1975) and Urban Sax. The ‘Sonanbular’ front cover (the industrial devices pictured above) was used for Dominique Grimaud’s epochial book on French 1970s avant-rock ‘Un Certain Rock Français’ volume 1 (1977). Half of the tracks on ‘Sonabular’ are vibes+drums duos where the drums are recorded from a distance, as if from next room (tr.# 1, 4 & 5). But their dialogue is perfectly matched as the drummer adjusts to the vibe player’s bravado. On #4 especially, Wood sounds like a Cecil Taylor on vibraphones. Other tracks, especially the longest ones, arise from mutli-tracked vibraphones (tr.# 3) allowing Wood to build nuanced soundscapes from mostly soft, tiny sounds from 3 different instruments. His techniques includes stereo panning, perspective soundboard mixing and extended vibraphone technique. Woods is not afraid of ugly sounds, sometimes hitting the wooden frame or creating nasty metallic sounds with his mallets. In trying to extend the vibraphone sonic possibilities he sometimes favors the non-resonant sounds of the instrument. Unlike any other vibes player I’ve heard, Wood’s vibraphone playing is unique and owes nothing to Lionel Hampton or the Modern Jazz Quartet." - Continuo blog
    $9.00
  • Excellent new sci-fi prog metal project put together by Carptree mainman and keyboardist Carl Westholm. While Westholm is probably better known for his involvement with Carptree he has also been working in the metal field for many years in bands like Abstract Algebra, Krux, and Candlemass.Westholm has assembled an interesting cast of musicians for this larger than life Ayreon-style project. First off, Mats Leven in handling vocals. Right there that is enough for me. Leif Edling, the driving force behind Candlemass plays bass and helps with lyrics. What else do you need? Various members of Carptree and others fill out the heavily symphonic sound lending an epic scope and feel. Highly recommended.
    $3.00
  • "When multiple members of a sextet juggle recording and touring responsibilities for known entities such as Kreator, Turisas, and Moonsorrow, rest assured that new studio product isn’t going to hit the streets for a little while. Finnish progressive melodic doom/death metal act Barren Earth face their biggest challenge though to date beyond scheduling issues since their beginnings in 2007, as their third full-length album On Lonely Towers represents the vocal debut of Faroese native Jón Aldará – for Swallow The Sun requires Mikko Kotamäki’s full attention at this point in time.To those unfamiliar to this band’s approach, these musicians offer up a heavy slice of Scandinavian death/doom, while also injecting a love of 70’s progressive rock in a lot of their piano/organ passages, spirited instrumental sections, and outside the box epic arrangements or left-field saxophone use. Early on they may have been considered sons of Opeth meets Amorphis, but not anymore. When they choose to be straight ahead doom in the closing sections of “A Shapeless Derelict”, the mid-range operatic bellows and evil heavy riff combination are classic Candlemass trademarks. Sami Yli-Sirniö and Janne Perttilä excel at layering guitars plus emotive, meaningful lead sections as the supplementary keyboards, bass and drums move in an alluring cadence that you can’t help but be swept into its melancholic majestic splendor – even at a close to 12 minute timeframe as in the title track.Jón can gurgle from the swampiest lands (check out his Christian Älvestam register on the culturally adventurous “Set Alight”) but deliver these chill bump clean textures that recall the best work of Dan Swanö on “Howl”. And take a microscopic aural approach to the saxophone passages during “Sirens of Oblivion” – exotic, jazzy and occasionally syncopating to the churning guitars (2:36-2:51) but then free flowing in a lighter, progressive context during the subsequent instrumental section.Barren Earth stands head and shoulders above a lot of the progressive doom/death pack because of their solid songwriting chemistry and ability to never push technicality over the limit to lose the human feel that makes On Lonely Towers special. Given North America’s proclivity to applaud foreign metal over much of the domestic product these days, you would be wise to add these 9 cuts to your playlist immediately." - Dead Rhetoric
    $12.00
  • Limited edition boxed set, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic King Crimson album Larks' Tongues in Aspic: 13CDs, 1DVD-A, 1Blu-Ray in 12” box with booklet and memorabilia. DVD-A featuring 5.1 new surround mix, original and new stereo mixes in hi-res stereo, a full album of alt mixes by Steven Wilson and more than 30 minutes of unseen footage of the band live in the studio. Blu-Ray content as per DVD-A with further hi-res stereo material – all presented in DTS Master audio, 4CDs of studio content including CD of session reels featuring the first recorded takes of all pieces on the album, 1CD live in the studio, 8CDs of live audio restored bootlegs and soundboard recordings plus a 36 page booklet with an extensive new interview with Robert Fripp, notes by King Crimson biographer Sid Smith, album sleeve print, concert ticket replica (with code for further concert download) and band photo postcards.
    $149.00
  • 2LP orange vinyl edition in a gatefold sleeve and one bonus live track.You know this band is like money in the bank. They don't get a lot of hype but they've never made a bad album. They change singers from time to time but they always come up with a great one. They tinker with the formula from time to time just to keep it fresh but you can always expect great harmonies, blistering leads of guitar and keys and melodies that stick in your head for days on end. Wounded Land was one of the first progressive metal albums I ever heard and really drew me into the genre. Critical Mass doesn't disappoint at all.
    $30.00
  • "Cover Version was a project of Wilson's that spanned six "2 song" singles. On every release, there was always one original song of Wilson's, and one cover song that involved new interpretations of other artist's songs in ways much different from their original versions. The only exception to this format is in Cover Version IV, "The Unquiet Grave" is actually an old English folk song, and not an original song written by Wilson. All six Cover Versions were later compiled into single album and released on vinyl and CD in 2014"
    $29.00