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  • Special edition comes with two bonus tracks."German Power Metal titans' "Straight Out Of Hell" was indeed one of my most anticipated albums of 2013, and expectedly from a band like HELLOWEEN, it did not disappoint me. This album, contrarily to what its title suggests, is actually more optimistic than the previous ones. The opening track "Nabatea", a relatively long one, is an amazing Speed Metal masterpiece with a quite different lyrical theme than the rest of the tracks. "World of War" is another fast-paced song with a more serious undertone that reminded me of the classic “Eagles Fly Free" for some reason. It is one of the best tracks, in my opinion."Live Now" a relatively weak track and my least favorite, is followed by the bombastic "Far From The Stars", one of the most powerful and thrilling tracks. "Burning Sun" is actually my personal favorite. Michael Weikath got the idea of this one in the shower, and it turned out to be such a masterpiece, embellished by breathtakingly symphonic interludes, and of course, amazing vocal performance by Mr. Andi Deris. When I first heard "Waiting For The Thunder", nothing except "If I Could Fly" crossed my mind. "Hold Me In Your Arms" is a soft romantic ballad, totally expected at this point, right in the middle of the album."Wanna Be God" comes right after and it's in a way, HELLOWEEN's "We Will Rock You". I definitely loved it, and you'll find yourself singing along, right away, at the first time you listen to it. The title track is a very catchy one, but there’s nothing special about it. Still, you'll have the "Straight Out of Hell" line sung in chorus stuck in your head for a while. The biggest surprise was "Asshole" though. The track is surprisingly not as heavy as its title implies, not even aggressive. It is, however, another cheerful sing-along track. It's another powerful and highly ranked track for me. The symphonic elements in "Years" are just enchantingly well done. "Make Fire Catch The Flame" has a sort of cinematic intro and a perfect chorus with an awesome bombastic sound and a great velocity as in "Nabatea". "Churches Break Down" is no weaker than the previous tracks, with additional elements such as a brief use of organ and female vocals.The limited edition of album contains two additional bonus tracks: one is "Another Shot of Life" and it's not bad at all for a bonus track. The second is the Hammond version of "Burning Sun", a tribute to the late Jon Lord. The bottom line: "Straight Out of Hell" is a decent follow-up to the thirteen preceding great albums that made HELLOWEEN the pioneers of their genre. It put a smile on my face for days." - Metal Temple
    $14.00
  • "I have often likened being an author for an online music webzine as similar to being a treasure hunter, we sift through hours of detritus trying to find that gem of music composition that strikes a chord and has meaning, unlike the bubblegum pop of the mainstream world where it is all about money and marketing. True, the music that we champion and review may have little commercial success but, for the artist, this is the culmination of many hours of soul searching and downright hard work.These little gems of music are what I live for as a reviewer and, when you get a surprise release from out of the blue that simply knocks your socks clean off then, it makes it all worthwhile and puts a huge smile on my face.  That sensation of the hairs standing on the nape of my neck started again when I first heard Anton Roolaart’s new release ‘The Plight of Lady Oona’. This time, it wasn’t my discovery, this record was sent my way by Lady Obscure herself and, upon seeing the album cover, I was immediately hooked, as you should know by now, I’m always a sucker for an impressive album sleeve (showing my age there). As I worked my way through multiple listens, it wasn’t just the cover that impressed me.Anton Roolaart is a Dutch artist who lives in America, he has one previous album release, ‘Dreamer’ in 2007. Anton’s music is said to portray the quintessence of melodic progressive rock accompanied with lush orchestration, and this new release is certain to capture the listener’s attention once again. He does this with the help of some talented friends and musicians including Vinnie Puryear, Kendall Scott, Pieter van Hoorn, Rave Tesar and Michael Frasche. Renaissance’s Annie Haslam provides additional vocals on the title track. All songs were composed and produced by Anton with the help of co-producer Rave.You are immediately drawn into Anton’s lush cinemascapes and soundscapes with the brilliant Gravity, gentle, lush instrumentation accompanied by a plaintive vocal infuses the music with a sci-fi feeling, future music if you like. The relaxed yet uplifting tempo is central to the pathos of the track, it is atmospheric with the textured keyboards central to everything. There are hints of 70’s progressive rock in the slow, measured moog solo but, to these ears, it is a song that is set in the stars and the emptiness of space.Stars Fall Down is introduced by a lilting piano and breaking vocal, when the keyboards and laid back drums slip into place it has a real synth pop ethos. That 80’s feel is emphasised by the organ and catching vocal that increases in power as the track runs on. Another song that is food for a healthy intellect, another nice touch is the pared back, distorted solo that gives a smooth, ambient haze to the proceedings. This guy has more than one string to his impressive bow.If you are after an atmospheric, multi-faceted prog epic full of wonderful melodies, plot turns and structures then, look no further than title track The Plight of Lady Oona. Flute and acoustic guitar drift in with the mist at the beginning of the song, a folk influenced vocal and piano carry on the ambience as the tale begins. There are multiple influences at play here that Anton moulds into his own unique sound around which, the addition of Annie Haslam’s dulcet tones is a clever touch. The mood take son a definitive 70’s Yes edge with the catchy guitar and expressive bass underscoring an urgent keyboard that ramps up the pace, a spiralling, complex guitar adds another layer of sophistication along with a fulsome organ and minstrel-like guitar. The interlude that follows, full of mystery and opaqueness, is leading the way for Annie’s refined and exquisite vocal. This part of the song is poignant and full of feeling as, eventually, Annie and Anton join forces to deliver an uplifting vocal experience followed by some delightful piano and exquisite guitar work which blossoms into an impressive instrumental section where church organ, soaring keyboards and chiming guitar all contribute to a smorgasbord of musical delight. That mediaeval minstrel effect returns at the end of the song with a short vocal and extended acoustic guitar section that John Williams would be proud of, this is a precise and complicated track that is delivered with verve and aplomb, sublime.There is a darker intensity to Standing in the Rain, it is ominous, evoking a dystopian spirit. The vocal delivery is heightened and impassioned, the guitar riffs are momentous and deep lying and the percussion is moody and profound. The violin touches are vivid and the song cuts through you like a knife, holding you in its hypnotic stare, unable to break free as the mesmerising guitar solo slowly works its way into your psyche.After the potent tension of the previous track, instrumental Memoires is a musical breath of fresh air, dainty and enchanting. The acoustic guitar dances around your mind before a luscious piano makes your heart sing. The heavenly keyboards and ululating guitar join forces to bring a lustre of hope to all around, a real ‘feel good track’ to my ears.This piquant treat for aural receptors comes to a close with The Revealing Light and, at the beginning it is rather enigmatic and secretive and a very slow burner. The flute sound signals the start of something as the cryptic vocals begin, ardent and fervid, backed by a distorted, acid guitar. Lush, electronic keyboard notes envelop you in their embrace as the song takes a psychedelic turn, all Sgt Pepper in its tone. Things change with a twisting, coruscating note delivered by a melancholic guitar  and the solemn drum beat giving a sober feel to the track as a sombre voice over closes out the album with just about the right feel.‘The Plight of Lady Oona’ is an album that gives up its delights bit by bit, there is no instant gratification on offer here, if you are prepared to invest time in the music it will deliver a cornucopia of musical delights. Anton Roolaart is a name to look out for, my first introduction to his music has been an intensive and incredibly impressive one and, it won’t be my last." - Lady Obscure
    $12.00
  • "Pantera's back, and all is as wrong with the world as it ever was. They're going to make sure you know it, too. Despite the four-year absence from the studio between Great Southern Trendkill and Reinventing the Steel, Pantera's unflagging aggression is confirmed by the full-throttle rhythms, throat-ripping vocals, and crunchy guitars. Call it their Metallica legacy, except that Pantera are more Metallica than Metallica these days. Heavy metal of this breed may be past its heyday, but Pantera's not going away quietly. In fact, evidence suggests that they're not going away at all--no matter how low you keep the volume knob, Reinventing the Steel is loud, loud, loud!" --Genevieve Williams
    $9.00
  • "Nik Turner, the founding member of pioneering space-rock band HAWKWIND, returns to his intergalactic roots with his mind-blowing new CD titled "Space Gypsy". Featuring all-new material, "Space Gypsy" boasts guest appearances by fellow HAWKWIND alumnus drummer Simon House, and GONG guitar legend Steve Hillage, along with Nicky Garratt of the UK SUBS, Jurgen Engler of German industrial band DIE KRUPPS, and Jeff Piccinini of '70s punk icons CHELSEA. Making the CD release even more exciting, Nik Turner has filmed a dark, hypnotic new video called "Time Crypt featuring Simon House". This is the second video Nik has released in support of "Space Gypsy", the first being "Fallen Angel STS-51-L"; from the album's first single about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster." 
    $15.00
  • Four mammoth length drugged out tracks that will blast you off to the deepest part of the cosmos."The fifth instalment of the Cosmic odyssey on Paradigms. As as you will surely now expect, it's a potent kraut mammoth of the highest order. Four towering psych beasts inhabit this album, commanding 74 blissful minutes. You can hear one of them below.Only previously available on cassette, 'The Inner Sanctum' is now available as a luscious, limited digi-pak album, laden with glorious artwork and some of the band's hardest cuts. Only 500 of these wonders are available. THE COSMIC DEAD on top of their freak-out game, right here.."
    $16.00
  • "When they first emerged in 1994, San Francisco metalheads Machine Head appeared poised (along with the then-unstoppable Pantera) to lead the cause of American metal, proudly and purposefully, through the second half of that grim, grim, alternative rock-dominated decade. But, much to their fans' dismay, the band's masterful debut would soon give way to undercooked repetition on their sophomore effort and then, horror of horrors, a grueling descent into nu-metal sellout with their third, before finally crash landing to an uninspired nadir with their fourth. Within the span of seven short years, Machine Head's proverbial cup had gone from brimming to empty, their few remaining believers understandably holding out little hope for any sort of redemption. But against all odds, just when the jig seemed to be most certainly up, all of these missteps were summarily erased by the group's stunning fifth album, Through the Ashes of Empires, which saw them rediscovering their roots while reuniting bandleader Robb Flynn with his original Vio-Lence six-string partner in crime, Phil Demmel. Coincidentally or not, the results marked a return to form in no uncertain terms, with colossal first track "Imperium" single-handedly eclipsing the previous two and a half albums, while simultaneously recapturing the dark majesty and crushing authority of early Machine Head triumphs like "Davidian" and "Ten Ton Hammer." The same was true, to a slightly lesser extent, about ensuing headbangers "Bite the Bullet," "Left Unfinished," and the epic "In the Presence of My Enemies," which collectively showed what could happen when a great band actually follows its instincts instead of half-heartedly following trends. Not that Machine Head came back from their "lost weekend" completely empty-handed, as incrementally melodic and emotive material such as "Elegy" and "Days Turn Blue to Gray" successfully reenvisioned (and authenticated) a few elements of those failed experiments through the prism of the band's own sensibilities -- not Korn's or Limp Bizkit's. (In fact, only the rhythmically chugging "All Falls Down" was guilty of a complete and sorry relapse into nu-metal's intolerable whining.) And with the rousing final number, "Descend the Shades of Night," Machine Head delivered yet another monolithic highlight, as steeped in their glorious past as it was promising of the future." - Allmusic Guide
    $9.00
  • German import arrives in a mediabook with a patch."Our anticipation levels had maxed, as four years passed by since Sanctuary announced that they were releasing a new record. It is easy to imagine that the only going through their fans' minds was whether their new material will resemble the work they did 25 years ago. I was rather reluctant and ultimately, I was right.First things first, let's get some things straight. Is "The Year The Sun Died" close to the feel of their two emblematic records? Nope. Does it sound like Nevermore? Yeah, as Dane's vocals are closer to that type of delivery, without that being a bad thing. He wouldn't risk going back to his old type of delivery, even if he could achieve such levels with pro tools magic. Modern production trends have also played a significant role to the final cut of this album. On the other hand, the composition approach is quite different to that witnessed on Nevermore albums, as musical themes are much more approachable. On the other hand, even though we don't have the outbursts we were used to, there are a number of theme and tempo changes in many of the tracks which make them very interesting indeed.In general, if we were to analyse its style, we would conclude that we are dealing with a rather heavy record that incorporates bulky guitars in mid-tempo layouts, without that meaning that there are no tracks with a faster pace. Lyrically, it is quite dark and a constant claustrophobic atmosphere is always present, as there is no abundance of melodic guitar themes. It's multifaceted compositions do provide a rather "proggy" feeling, but nothing more than that. Sheppard and Budbill's rhythm section is poignant and to the point, but lacks the ingenuity we were used to them providing.Opening tack "Arise And Purify" is clear evidence of the two contradicting elements that comprise this record. The intro riff is heavy and modern, whereas the chorus uses backing vocals that reminds us of their past. Solos by Rutledge and Hull are unleashed from the get go, and are as precise and technical as required. "Let The Serpent Follow Me" is on the up-tempo side of things but winds down during the chorus, followed by a wonderful, nostalgic bridge. The first slow track is "Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)", which starts off with a calm intro and follows with an awesome riff. Dane also performs really well in this track. "Question Existence Fading" follows a similar path of interchanging musical themes. It sets off with a fast, edgy and fierce riff, includes great solos, awesome vocals and thrilling drumming."I Am Low" is one of the calmer moments of the record, which slowly builds up to a rather heartfelt climax. Another highlight would be "Frozen" which again starts off strong and dials things down during the chorus whilst guitar solos are flying around left, right and centre. The weakest moment of the album would be "One Final Day (Sworn To Believe)", whilst "The World Is Wired", which at first won me over with its groovy attitude, ultimately let me down after multiple listens. The strongest moment is definitely the self-titled track (introduced by the wonderfully acoustic "Ad Vitam Aeternam") which concludes the record. Words don't really give it justice. It is slow, heavy and very memorable. Everything from the Latin chants in the beginning of the track to the despair in Warrel's vocals during the chorus and inspiring guitar work makes this song great. A truly great composition.With this release, Sanctuary did what they had to do. They evolved. Now, because it took them 25 years to do so might not go down well with many people who were expecting a second "Into The Mirror Black", which is totally understandable. Having Nevermore in the meantime might have substantially reduced the shock factor anyway. Let us not forget though that one of the reasons why we loved this band is because of their progressiveness (for lack of a better word). It would be silly to assume that they would not have changed tones even if they hadn't disbanded in 1992." - Noisefull
    $10.00
  • US version with 3 bonus tracks."The shady stretch of land that exists somewhere between the crossroads of rock, metal, prog, and alternative is one that generates discussion, but not necessarily sales. Fans of Dredg, Oceansize, Cog, and the like have watched countless inspired dissenters of the rock norm leave their mark on music boards and venue bathrooms, only to fizzle into obscurity when radio deemed their playful idiosyncrasies just a little too off-putting. There is a certain burden any group that shakes off standard typecasts faces, yet, with the Australian music scene abuzz with newly recognized talent, and the current popularity of all things delay-driven, it’s an interesting time to be a band like Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus.In a recent editorial Vince wrote about Tesseract, he echoed a sentiment I’ve long held: the current line of alternative progressive bands might just be the perfect “something for everyone” presence heavy music has needed to escape the rigid confines of the underground.It is difficult to shake the sense, in listening to Dead Letter Circus’s sophomore album, The Catalyst Fire, that the term “alternative rock” does no justice to them, and that there are a whole lot of people who could conceivably enjoy the crap out of this work.Dead Letter Circus already proved that touring with significantly heavier bands (the likes of which include Animals as Leaders, Intronaut, Last Chance to Reason, and Monuments) posed no challenge to winning over fans who would normally avoid anything quite so digestible, and with the impeccable song craft and memorable hooks on display in The Catalyst Fire, I think it’s only a matter of time before the people standing on the other side of the aisle also take notice.The first things that standout on any number of these tunes are Kim Benzie’s explosive tenor vocals and the big, shimmering walls of sound his band mates house them in. Benzie has the kind of voice that is perfect for this style of music—familiar, but never readily traceable to a sum of affected influences. His range alone is impressive, but his ability to weave it into inescapably catchy melodic motifs with intelligent messaging behind them is paramount to DLC’s universal appeal.Of course vocals alone are not the full package; this is passionate, high-energy music, and the band behind Benzie just kills it. As with This is The Warning, the group’s instrumental voice consists of delay-blasted, tremolo-heavy guitar leads jousting with one of the growliest bass tones in rock music and an ever-stimulating rhythmic presence that never feels “in the way.” Luke Williams shows off more than a little of [The Mars Volta's] Jon Theodore’s influence in his nutty patterns, but by keeping them within the architecture of 4/4 time he never detracts from the immediacy of his surroundings.This package is all further elevated by Australian production ace Forrester Savell (Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect), who returns for his second project with the band. His distinctive mix style of “rhythm guitar in the background— everything else upfront” plays a pivotal role in what makes Dead Letter Circus sound so friggin’ huge and heavy without sounding like a metal band.High praise aside, it’s worth acknowledging that very little has changed in the group’s formula. The Catalyst Fire is just another batch of very tightly written and memorable songs, with all of the group’s strengths made readily apparent. Despite having two new guitarists in the band’s ranks (following the departure of founding member Rob Maric), the aforementioned stylistic elements that made This is The Warning successful remain firmly in place.There does, however, seem to be more of an effort made to vary things up on this work. Where the group’s debut, at times, felt a little too consistent in its approach, The Catalyst Fire sees Dead Letter Circus shuffling out the constant adrenaline of songs like “Stand Apart” and the single “Lodestar” for contemplative slowburners to the tune of “The Veil” and “I Am.” One could argue that the group has become a little comfortable with the harmonic framework of their choosing, but it would be difficult to imagine them conveying the same feeling in their music outside of their beloved major-flavored-minor key progressions.As a whole, The Catalyst Fire, is darker and snappier in its execution than This is The Warning, making for a subtle evolution of an already very strong base. Also, the fact that Karnivool recently made a serious deviation from their relative norm makes a more immediate and urgent sounding release from the Dead Letter folks all too welcome in 2013. I have little doubt that those in the metal and prog worlds who dug the group’s first release will have no trouble rekindling the flame with The Catalyst Fire, but with a little marketing muscle, this could be the vehicle that makes Dead Letter Circus an “anybody band,” and a damn good one at that." - Metal Sucks
    $12.00
  • Fifth album from the Polish prog band led by former Collage guitarist Mirek Gil.  The band clearly goes for a contemporary sound.  There are overt similarities to Riverside but the music has a more symphonic rock side.  I've always enjoyed Gil's guitar tone.  He plays with quite an expressive style.  In this case its nicely augmented by violin and keys.  Lots of prog coming from Poland.  Believe is one of the better bands to emerge from that scene.
    $15.00
  • Ambient/prog reworking of Dead End Kings arrives in a limited edition 2 disc digibook.  You get the CD version as well as a DVD featuring a 5.1 and 24 bit hi-resolution stereo mix."After last year’s successful release of their 9th full-length Dead End Kings, Katatonia have returned with a special release entitled Dethroned and Uncrowned. This album is special for two reasons. Firstly, it was brought to life with the help of the so-called ‘Katatoniacs’; that is, the fans were the ones who financed this project through a pledge campaign the band had set up where fans could pledge for various album formats and other items such as drumsticks, lyric sheets, posters, backdrops and even one of Anders’s old guitars. Needless to say, the pledge campaign was highly successful and reached its goal in four days. Secondly, the album is special music-wise, as it contains the same tracks that were found on Dead End Kings, but all of them have undergone a major makeover. As Katatonia wrote on their website: ‘the drums will be dethroned and the distorted rhythm guitars will be uncrowned’. What they have basically done is that they have kept the vocal lines intact but have experimented with the rest of the music, creating stripped-down, semi-acoustic versions of the songs with the focus on ambience and atmosphere, showcasing the band’s progressive song-writing talent. Katatonia have masterfully and rather elegantly transformed the songs into totally different entities and have given themselves as well as the listeners the opportunity to discover different aspects of each track, by adding little interesting details or emphasizing some parts that were not as noticeable as in the previous version, like the Jan Johansson-esque piano touches in ‘Leech’, or the 70s prog vibe in ‘Dead Letters’. All in all, Katatonia have managed yet again to create a beautiful, melancholic and touching piece of work that will certainly fulfill the expectations of the majority of their fans. Those who were not very keen on Dead End Kings (if such people exist), might enjoy some of the songs in their new versions, and, who knows, they might even appreciate that album a bit more after listening to this." - Metal Recusants
    $9.00
  • Limited edition embossed digipak with one bonus track."It was the friendly split heard round the world: two bands – same logo, same history….huh? Two Rhapsody’s? Would they sound the same? What does Rhapsody even sound like without Luca? All those questions are now about to be answered as Rhapsody of Fire (RoF) will finally present the response album to the overwhelmingly cinematic masterpiece spewed by Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody (LTR) in 2012. In the interim, there is a new record company (AFM), the first North American Tour and a Hess in….a Hess out. The split with the former HolyHell guitarist has left Roberto De Micheli as the lone guitarist, which turns out to be the best move of all. Meanwhile, Fabio Lione has been the busiest and a singer for hire – guest starring on a multitude of releases, including a long stint with Brazil giants Angra – and permanently joining Hollow Haze on top of Vision Divine. Fans wondered, when would that long awaited response album from Alex Staropoli be heard? The time is now and “Dark Wings of Eternity” is upon us. Right, right….you want the verdict! Well this album will definitely distinguish the band from LTR, but at the same time all of the key RoF qualities remain.Is it a win? Absolutely! Alex Staropoli takes RoF in a more organic and metallic direction, which on the first listen may come across sounding “under produced” when compared to the grandiose “overly produced” previous albums. Successive listens unveil the beauty of “Dark Wings of Steel,” an album that favors drama over theatric, proving there really is room for two Rhapsodys without picking sides.Luca’s vision of Rhapsody is the cinematic grandiose direction – a grand production of sight and sound, dazzling and spectacular. Alex Staropoli has side stepped and stripped down Rhapsody of Fire just a bit towards a purer “heavy metal” direction. Fans might take that statement as a step backward, but keep in mind, having two bands that are exactly the same would be silly and certainly wouldn’t help either. The guitar sound is more prominent, darker, and little less speedy as in the past (save for two of the album’s tracks). The choirs and choruses that fans have come to expect remain intact, as well as those building and sweeping melodies, written to perfectly balance the strengths of Fabio’s voice. Clearly, this is Staropoli’s band and he makes his presence known in a huge way (more on that later), and Roberto’s work is absolutely brilliant and cannot go unnoticed! His riffs are engaging and his solos are masterful, in many ways exceeding Luca’s own (which Turilli would freely admit). Many people do not realize that Roberto was actually in Thundercross in 1993, the band that would change its name to the famous Rhapsody in 1995 (though he did not play on the “Land of Immortals” demo of 1994).For any true fan of the band, approaching “Dark Wings” brings a certain level of both excitement and concern, especially considering Luca’s absence, the band’s back catalog and history, and LTR's post-split opening salvo that only raised the bar. It is nearly impossible for any fan of these bands to simply turn off the past and not instantly begin with comparisons. By giving “Dark Wings of Eternity” room to fly and breathe, I guarantee with each successive spin any concerns will quickly fade. In the end, you will find that RoF really isn’t all that far from where it already was! As soon as "Vis Divina" (intro) and opening track “Rising From Tragic Flames” begin you will notice the hallmarks – choirs, speedy riffs, Fabio – are all there, but the sound, especially the drums, is more natural. Staropoli’s keyboard play is much more modern and flamboyant juxtaposed to De Micheli’s neoclassical style. When that choir bridges you to Fabio’s first verse, you quickly realize this is classic RoF.For purposes of keeping this review from becoming more like a novel, lets group the tracks into “quicker” and “slower.” History has proven that Rhapsody of Fire is more often than not associated with quicker tunes, which are the ones that tend to be prominent among the fans. “Rising From Tragic Flames” is akin to classics like “Unholy Warcry” as the choir and speed is strikingly similar. “Silver Lake of Tears” presents a fierce and angry Fabio on the verses, which will be just what many fans have been hoping for (and no…we aren’t talking “Reign of Terror” angry). The title track is slightly more mid-paced with a De Micheli riff that is just as lethal as the speed. The song has one of the coolest guitar vs. keyboard solo battles, something that happens in multiple tracks on the album. “A Tale Of Magic” is an up-tempo half-speed with one of the most memorable choruses on the release. It’s a challenge to pick and outright favorite, but for now the pendulum swings in favor of “Tears of Pain,” with its simple, though highly fetching, riff that just draws more anger from Fabio’s voice.As for the “slower” side, which encompasses ballads and mid-paced tracks, the crop includes the building layers of “Fly to Crystal Skies” - galloping into the chorus along the bass pedals of Alex Holzwarth and the stunning ballad “Custode Di Pace”- a song like so many other greats from RoF and another pedestal for Fabio. “Angel of Light” showcases Fabio’s current strengths - the upper mid vibrato – matched in perfection only by Alessandro Conti. The song sports another one of the best choruses, as well as a slow Manowar type gallop as the song progresses. One of the real standouts in this category is “My Sacrifice,” which rises like a mountain, each level progressively heavier, ranging from near ballad from the onset, to mid-paced bass centric while pausing on the bridge with a uniquely Italian acoustic flair before cascading into the chorus.As mentioned earlier, a word about Alex Staropoli. For starters, I’ll admit that I had my concerns about his “flying solo” as a writer and those concerns were dispelled by “Dark Wings.” His play is much more flamboyant and modern than on previous releases, including a number of keyboard solos that battle back and forth with Roberto’s guitar. It’s an exciting element that really enhances the album. If I had one stylistic gripe, it would be that the keyboards are so prominent in the mix that they suffocate the guitar riffs at times (examples include the opening riff to the title track and “A Tale Of Magic.”). In those heavier tunes, the riffs could easily drive the melody alone.In summary, “Dark Wings of Steel” is a well written and fantastic effort. It demands attentive and successive listens before its true beauty is revealed. Changes are both bold and subtle, especially the more organic sound. The mix meter tilts with Staropoli, which throttles the riffs at times, but the quality of play is superb. The song writing is top notch, leaning more dramatic and less theatrical to distinguish the band from LTR, and Fabio shines not only with his voice, but also in his role as lyric writer. Enough cannot be said about Roberto, who has taken over and stepped up in the absence of Luca. For me, this album is a testament to his play. “Dark Wings of Steel” will not replace the classics, but it will find its place among them. The future is bright for one of heavy metal’s veteran acts." - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • New remixed, remastered edition with a bonus track and additional vocal and keyboard passages."My fellow BW&BK scribe (and boss) Chris Bruni described this album as "a masterpiece for the ages." Whether or not this description sounds hyperbolic even by metal scribe standards, well, that's a decision to be reached by the ages, I suppose. The specifity of this masterpiece (and it is) deserves clear focus. The Swedish doom metal outfit has passed beyond the promise of their debut to crystalize into one of two great bands striving for a seat on metal's highest throne-- the other one, naturally, being Opeth. But more about them soon!"Ghost of the Sun" sets the quality standard that the rest of the album more than exceeds. The Beatlesque harmonies are just the beginning. And not to profane any purist ears, but if you can stand the thought of emopunks The Ataris, whose videos blanket MTV and annoying popups dominate MP3 sites -- anyway, if you can stand the thought of The Ataris being cited in the same breath as Swedish doom, well, let's just say these guys are on the same page, a page called nostalgia.Let's be blunt: if you have a heart, Katatonia will break it. Whether it's the mournfully accepting Beatles reference in "Ghost of the Sun" -- "You said hello/I said goodbye," or it's charging chief riff, like a crystal shard through hope's molecular structure, or the way Jonas Renske's voice breaks like fragile glass and coheres around a cool determination; whether it's "the way the light hits the room" in "Criminals," in which love and its denial are coded in the discourse of penalism [check out Foucault's Discipline and Punishfor more on this]; or the coda, "Inside the City of Glass," which as the 13th song at the same time completes the cycle begun on "Ghost" -- there's so many layers, and rich at that, on this album that all I can say further is, buy it and cherish it. Chris is right." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • Deluxe digibook edition comes with a bonus CD featuring an instrumental mix of the album."After an absence of three years, and several personal trials and tribulations, Austria's Edenbridge arrives with their eighth studio album, The Bonding. Edenbridge has never done anything half way or half-heartedly, sideways or otherwise. So what could the band do to turn the knobs to 11 for their grand symphonic power metal?How about recording with a full orchestra to make those symphonic parts sound even more grand than simple synthesizer twiddling? Through the support of fans and sponsors, Edenbridge was able the Klangvereinigung Orchestra of Vienna to push the band's already impressive symphonic sonics to the stratosphere and beyond.Is this to say that this substantial addition makes The Bonding great, even more spectacular than previous Edenbridge outings? Well ... yeah. There are oodles of melodic symphonic metal bands, many with female lead vocalists, producing their large bombastic sound. Putting the orchestra into the symphonic seems like a no-brainer. Edenbridge gets it right. The orchestra, the symphonic parts of the arrangements, are exactly that, a part of each arrangement. They neither lead nor smother any song, but they certainly add authenticity to Edenbridge's chosen style. The opener Mystic River is a perfect example of this balance.And you still get nice keyboards, big riffs and even bigger solos, and Sabine Edelsbacher’s voice, which sounds better than ever. She's smooth, controlled, clear, and simply powerful. Listening to her on Alight A New Tomorrow, The Invisible Force, or Death Is Not The End, by example, are impressive as they are inspiring.Perhaps we've hit the highlights of The Bonding. All these elements find their culmination, apex as it were, in the title cut which closes the album. It's better than 15 minutes of symphonic melodic power metal bliss. It also features Ms. Edelsbacher in duet with Erik Martensson (WET, Eclipse). Holy shiite! What an awesome combination. The song also displays that aforementioned balanced, more than nuanced, of the orchestra for the symphonic parts with entire arrangement. Principal composer Lanvall desires major kudos for this musical score. The Bonding is grand, engaging, and entertaining, more than a little epic, melodic symphonic power metal from a terrific band. Is it their best album yet? Could be. Strongly recommended." - Danger Dog
    $17.00
  • ""RUSH: CLOCKWORK ANGELS TOUR" was filmed and recorded last November at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, during Rush's highly successful Clockwork Angels Tour. The eleven month-marathon world tour crossed North America twice and ventured overseas to Europe in support of the band's acclaimed 2012 studio release "CLOCKWORK ANGELS."In capturing the tour's electrifying three hour set, "RUSH: CLOCKWORK ANGELS TOUR" pairs Rush classics ("Tom Sawyer," "The Spirit Of Radio," "2112"), with a nod to the 80's Rush era (The Analog Kid," "Territories," "Subdivisions") alongside newly reworked arrangements specifically for the tour featuring the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble ("Headlong Flight," "YYZ," "Red Sector A"). The string section marks the first time the trio has brought additional musicians on the road with them. To showcase their latest studio release, the epic set list also features nine tracks off "CLOCKWORK ANGELS." Other highlights include tracks rarely performed and never before recorded live ("The Body Electric," "Middletown Dreams"), in addition to three separate drum solos by the incomparable Neil Peart."
    $9.00