Reflections From The Firepool

Reissue of their first album. A total corker!

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Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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This album got me into DK in a big way. Excellent instrumental progressive rock/fusion/acid trip from these California boys. This one and "Burning The Hard City" cook from start to finish. If you're expecting to hear anything accessible on a DK disc, think again. Leyth
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Product Review

Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
This album got me into DK in a big way. Excellent instrumental progressive rock/fusion/acid trip from these California boys. This one and "Burning The Hard City" cook from start to finish. If you're expecting to hear anything accessible on a DK disc, think again. Leyth
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  • Second album from this Italian band that actually goes back to the 70s although they didn't record until recently.The roots of the band's sound is quite obvious.  Il Cerchio D'Oro are proponents of "Rock Progressive Italiano".  With the necessary Italian vocals in place, the music has a nice balance of keys and guitar but there are plenty of guests introducing flute, sax, mandolin.  It should be noted that these guests are sourced from classic bands The Trip, PFM, and Delirium.  Dig the 'tron?  Its here!  The synth work in particular is going to remind you of Flavio Premoli.  
    $16.00
  • Originally released in 2012 on vinyl (and apparently cassette), the second album from this Scottish based space quartet finally gets a CD release...but its a limited edition of 500 copies so you might want to be snappy.The Cosmic Dead wear their influences on their sleeves.  The music is heavily invested in the sounds of Ash Ra Tempel, Can, and even a touch of early Hawkwind.  Loooooong jams that take you further and further into deep space.  A non-stop assault of burbling synths, echoplexed guitar leads, and a rhythm section that is playing off in another galaxy.  Pure unadulterated psychedelic space rock.  These guys played the Roadburn Festival and I'm sure they must have gone down a storm.  If the numbers 7 - 1 - 4 mean anything to you then I think this should be filed away in your collection.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • "When the 'Big Four,' Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax shared a stage together on June 22nd, 2010, in Sofia, Bulgaria, it was the moment their fans had waited decades for. That monumental show was beamed live into over 1000 theaters worldwide via satellite in a special HD cinematic event.On November 2nd, 2010, this legendary concert will be available on DVD and Blu-ray through Warner Bros. Records. 'The Big Four Live From Sofia' includes full shows from all four bands on a two-disc set as well as behind the scenes and interview footage.In addition to the two DVD set and the corresponding Blu-ray, there will be a limited edition 'Super Deluxe' Box Set including the 2 DVD set, five CD's with ALL 5 HOURS of music, a 24 page booklet, a two-sided poster, photos of each band, and a collectable Big 4 guitar pick.These four acts broke out of the underground thrash movement in the 1980's to dominate the metal world, selling millions of records and packing arenas across the globe. Despite huge demand, these musical giants had never shared the same stage. The legendary June 22nd, 2010, concert from the tour's stop of the Sonisphere Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria aired the same day in 79 movie theaters in the U.K, over 450 theaters in over 140 markets in the US, as well as being beamed intotheaters in Europe, Canada, Latin America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.In December 2009, the bands announced that they would be joining forces to take part in the traveling Sonisphere Festival for only 7 shows across Europe. This one-time only event, from the Sofia show, made it possible for fans far and wide to participate in what otherwise was a very limited run of dates.Lars Ulrich of Metallica says of this historic show, 'Who would have thought that more than 25 years after its inception, thrash metal's Big Four would not only still be around, be more popular than ever, playing shows together at stadiums all over Europe, and on top of that, coming to a movie theater near you in High Definition (for better or worse??!!). Bring it on!'Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian says, 'Damn, as if this Big 4 tour wasn't exciting enough, now we get to be on the big screen worldwide! Metal at the movies, two big horns up! It is unbelievably gratifying that this means so much to the metal community around the globe. Get your tix, grab some popcorn and get ready to bang your head!'Declares Slayer's Kerry King, 'I can't believe someone didn't make this happen 15 years ago! The fans finally get what they want. I think it's awesome!'Says Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, 'The magnitude of this event hasn't really sunk in yet, and I am thrilled to know that people around the planet will be able to walk into a movie theatre and experience the greatest line up of Heavy Metal in the history of the world!'"
    $8.00
  • The Custodian is a new British post-progressive rock band formed by Richard Thomson, vocalist for cinematic death metal band Xerath.  Unlike Xerath, The Custodian is an outlet for the more melodic, rock oriented writing from Thomson.While there are moments in the album that harken back to old school bands like Genesis and Yes, the music of The Custodian is contemporary in sound.  Necessary Wasted Time is an album full of dynamics - light and dark shadings balancing acoustic vs electric, heavy vs pastoral.  While atmospherics and tension are a strong component of the album, the band demonstrates their adept musicianship offering up long instrumental passages to complement the emotion filled vocals.  When needed the band unleashes some complex electric runs.The Custodian's debut should deeply resonate with fans of Steven Wilson, Riverside, Pineapple Thief, and Anathema.Necessary Wasted Time was mixed by noted engineer Jacob Hansen and give the full audiophile mastering treatment from Bob Katz. 
    $14.00
  • "It’s been five years since their last album, Buried Alone: Tales Of Crushing Defeat, but in that time, the lord of Knifeworld, Kavus Torabi, has been very busy indeed. He’s been part of Gong and various other bands, hosted a prog radio show with snooker legend Steve Davis (who is in fact, more interesting than people might have ever suspected) and of course spent his time working on more Knifeworld material.Since his days with Monsoon Bassoon, Torabi has always been someone who writes dense yet strangely hookladen songs. With Knifeworld things are no different, if anything this album is about as ambitious as anything in Torabi’s long and extensive career to date. The Unravelling is an eight song cycle, is performed as an octet, and is nothing if not grandiose in its intensions. The idea of a song cycle might well sound pretentious, and perhaps it is, but what keeps The Unravelling from unravelling into a unwieldy mess is Torabi’s deft songwriting nous and keen ear for a hook. These songs might well form a cycle, but they are all quite capable of operating independently too.Opening track I Can Teach You How To Lose A Fight starts in muted fashion with delicate keyboards and strummed acoustic guitars complimenting Mel Woods’ beautiful but understated vocals. The whirring of clock parts and machinery in the background give a wonky Victorian feel, but also suggest that the cogs that drive the album are slowly clunking into life. Before long the full band has launched into a freakish prog-hymn, like a kind of feral Rick Wakeman freakout. “Why’d you grow those teeth in your heart?” asks Torabi sounding as if his has been chewed up and spat out by an evil Queen. It’s essentially the dialogue of a relationship winding down, but with its winding musical motifs, joyful honking sax parts mixing with solemn vocals and dramatic guitar stabs, the introduction to the album feels like a kind of synopsis of what’s to follow or an overture of sorts. There’s joy, threat, love, anger, fun and a fair bit of magic too.Send Him Seaworthy starts life as a kind of lurching boy’s own adventure, with nautical themes and a sense of wonder seeping into the orchestration, but come the telling conclusion it becomes tale of paranoid love. Don’t Land On Me meanwhile meanders along in a faintly jazzy way until a sharp stabbing rock riff cuts across its bows. Suddenly, it becomes a curious mix of swing, The Osmonds‘ Crazy Horses and Kenny Rogers‘ version of Condition. The Skulls We Buried Have Regrown Their Eyes meanwhile is a woozy old-school nursery rhyme that contains a requisite amount of grotesque imagery.Destroy The World We Love is the pop nugget around which the album truly revolves. It possesses a laid back lollop, a very deliberate hook with the line “secret in your hands” digging deep into the ears early on, but it quickly reveals itself to be an expansive and exquisite journey. Fans of Genesis (and naturally Cardiacs) will find plenty to appreciate here but as usual Knifeworld stop short of being self-indulgent and ensure that the song never disappears up its own firmament.If The Skulls We Buried hinted at something a little unsettling, then This Empty Room Was Once Alive confirms that there is something genuinely creepy lurking under the surface of this album and it just so happens to be in the form of a Victorian ghost story. Fortunately I’m Hiding Behind My Eyes quickly takes over and steers back towards folk inflected prog before things get to terrifying. Once again, the Octet are in fine form creating a bucolic world for the band to inhabit and explore.The key to this album is in its title. It is well written, and beautifully performed, but in order to get the most out of it, a certain amount of unravelling needs to be done. The five year wait has been worthwhile, and Torabi’s Knifeworld seems ready to begin creating its own universe. As strange and creepy as it seems at first, it is fun to spend time exploring." - MusicOMH 
    $15.00
  • 2007 Nick Davis remix/remaster edition. Some consider this their best album - it could be hard to argue against that notion...
    $12.00
  • Long promised second album from this stellar Norwegian symphonic band is now with us. Before the release of Hinterland, the band had made available (through their website) two lengthy demo tracks that garnered a lot of buzz. These tracks "Imperial Winter White Dwarf" and "Leprechan Behind The Door" appear here is re-recorded versions. The rest of the disc consists of material drawn from the band's past as well as one of the tracks from the Hinterland sessions that never got finished. Its not a long disc but its definitely a matter of quality over quantity. If you like Mellotrons, Hammond organds, flutes, retro sounding guitars....look no further. Essential listening for any symphonic rock fan.
    $16.00
  • "Like any respected underground band staging a comeback, Gorguts have a lot to live up to. In order to understand why expectations are unusually high for Colored Sands-- the first new LP since 2001 from this Quebec death-metal institution-- you have to look back to 1998'sObscura, one of the most pungently progressive albums ever made, in or out of metal.Obscura didn't just register as technical; it sounded downright excruciating, as if its shuddering blastbeats, doleful bellows, and deliriously inventive guitarwork were being torn straight from the chests of its makers.But as brilliant as Obscura was, and as wide as its influence has spread-- it holds a hallowed place not just among discerning death-metalheads, but in open-eared jazz circles as well-- it wasn't exactly a definitive Gorguts release. The band made their name playing in a very different style. Their first two LPs, 1991's Considered Dead and 1993's The Erosion of Sanity, demonstrated impressive tightness and a flair for involved composition, but they were very much of their time-- unrelentingly intense dispatches descended from the bulging-vein aggression of 80s thrash. Conceived as early as 93, but not issued until 98, Obscura shocked longtime listeners, who couldn't believe the madness the band's lengthy gestation had birthed.That chapter of Gorguts was short-lived, though, as guitarist/vocalist Steeve Hurdle-- a key co-architect of Obscura, who died tragically last year at age 41-- left the band in 1999. On the next Gorguts LP, 2001's sorely underrated From Wisdom to Hate, founder and sole constant member Luc Lemay streamlined Obscura's demented sprawl, yielding a less outlandish yet equally distinguished statement. This was a wise move; there would've been no way to out-weird Obscura.Fans have known for a while that the next Gorguts record was shaping up to be another fresh start. When Lemay revived the group in 2009, after a suggestion from Hurdle that he commemorate Gorguts' 20th anniversary, he took a new approach to bandbuilding. Gorguts had always been a locally sourced project, staffed by musicians from Lemay's Quebec home base-- including Hurdle, bassist Steve Cloutier and current Voivod guitarist Daniel Mongrain-- but this time, he set about assembling a North American progressive-metal all-star team. This band, which appears on Colored Sands, includes two NYC luminaries: bassist Colin Marston, of Krallice and Behold… the Arctopus, and guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, Marston's bandmate in Dysrhythmia. The drummer is John Longstreth, best known for his work in Kansas's hypertechnical Origin. It would be reductive to peg any of these players as members of a post-Gorguts generation, but their work during the past decade embodies the same spirit that drove Obscura: a conception of metal as art music, not in the Sunn O))) sense-- where the genre commingles with drone, noise and other abstracted forms-- but in the sense of a creatively restless pursuit, a union of unfettered imagination and rigorous virtuosity. Like Luc Lemay, Marston, Hufnagel, and Longstreth have each established themselves as master players driven to expand their idiom without assailing its core tenets.The highest compliment you could pay Colored Sands would be a simple description of what it is: a fully formed outing from an outstandingly pedigreed new incarnation of an already legendary band. Thanks to Lemay's trademark anguished roar and dark-prog riff savvy,Colored Sands feels unmistakably like a Gorguts record, but the compositions-- most by Lemay, with Marston and Hufnagel each contributing a single song-- don't mimic any particular chapter of the band's past. The record's greatest strength is its vast dynamic range. On one hand, it contains some of the thorniest, most aggressive death metal ever issued under the Gorguts name; on the other, it includes moments of stunning textural beauty. That duality is a perfect fit for the album's surprisingly specific lyrical theme: the way Tibetan culture encompasses both ancient majesty and modern despair.It seems odd to praise a Gorguts record for its prettiness, but some of the most memorable passages on Colored Sands are also the subtlest-- transitional sections that punctuate the band's signature gritted-teeth shred. Opening track "Le Toit du Monde" orbits a hypnotic, clean-toned motif-- a waltz-time riff marked by chiming harmonics-- and Hufnagel seasons his extraordinary "Absconders" with a dreamy interlude, an oasis of eerie calm in the middle of a churning epic. Other pieces thrive on adrenaline. Marston's "Forgotten Arrows" features a thrillingly complex central theme, which seems descended both from Dysrhythmia's intricate chiaroscuro riffs and the blastbeat-driven turbo-prog of Behold… the Arctopus. On the other hand, Lemay's title track-- a doomy plod that trades math-metal daredevilry for hard-grooving 4/4-- is one of the most straightforwardly headbangable tracks in the Gorguts discography.Diverse approaches aside, all the songs here share a rare coherence: they're as info-packed as the pieces on Obscura or From Wisdom to Hate, but their construction feels especially logical. While not the most extreme compositions Gorguts have issued, they might be the richest and most memorable; the patiently unfolding arrangements-- complemented by a spacious, full-bodied production job that contrasts sharply with the harsh, brittle sound of Obscura andFrom Wisdom-- give each idea room to really sink in.There's also a strong band unity at work here, honed onstage over the past several years. No Gorguts album has grooved harder than Colored Sands, a fact that has a lot to with John Longstreth, who excels at making dauntingly proggy riffs feel sprightly and pliable. His rapid-fire snare/hi-hat stutter on the verse sections of "Ember's Voice" and the chopsy yet remarkably relaxed post-fusion fills he busts out during the "Absconders" outro exemplify how technical flourishes can enhance a song's momentum rather than hinder it. During moments when the full quartet digs into a meaty pattern-- the sci-fi thrash episode in the middle of "Forgotten Arrows," the lurching slam breakdown in "Enemies of Compassion"-- you're hearing four expert players uniting with Voltron-like purpose: not just a provisional assemblage but a real band at work.At the same time, Colored Sands is, like each of the four Gorguts albums that precedes it, a personal statement from Luc Lemay. For those inclined to read liner notes and follow a lyric sheet, there's a hefty amount of thematic data in the margins of this record that gives it a very different feel than any of the band's prior efforts. The first two Gorguts albums dealt with standard-issue death-metal topics (disease, corruption, madness); Obscura turned inward, tackling depression and spiritual crisis; From Wisdom to Hate was a topical grab-bag, covering religious delusion, political megalomania, and the fascination of antiquity. Here, simply put, Lemay has Tibet on the brain. An admitted outsider to the culture, he nevertheless taps into some profound emotions, touching on the deep spirituality of Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as well as the region's purgatorial struggle with Chinese rule.The idea of a death-metal vocalist howling about sand mandalas and snow lions might look iffy on paper, but the concept sticks, thanks to the dynamism of the music and the conviction Lemay brings to every line. The frontman isn't holding Tibetan culture at arm's length; his seething bellows on tracks such as "Reduced to Silence" come off as a kind of rigorous method acting, as though he were revisiting personal trauma in an effort to comprehend the Sisyphean ordeal of the culture he's depicting. It's admirable that just as Lemay has regularly renovated the Gorguts sound, moving ever further from death-metal orthodoxy, he's also worked to find fresh thematic approaches like the one that unifies Colored Sands.Lemay also shows off his creative breadth on "The Battle of Chamdo", an instrumental piece for string ensemble. Previous Gorguts albums have featured classical-style intros and interludes, cluing fans in to Lemay's training as a violinist and composer, but "Chamdo" is the first full-length stand-alone track of this type issued under the band's name. The composition's strident, martial rhythms and mournful melodies give it a distinct soundtracky quality, as though Lemay were narrating rather than simply evoking China's 1950 invasion of Tibet. "Chamdo" appears at the album's midpoint, and while the piece isn't as arresting as the metal-oriented material that surrounds it, it serves as a smart palate cleanser.Obscura found Gorguts reemerging in bizarrely mutated form; Colored Sands represents a subtler yet similarly striking evolution. Just as he did on Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate, Luc Lemay has chosen expert collaborators here and given them the freedom to leave their mark on the band's legacy. With Colored Sands-- an album of breathtaking detail and scope-- he, Marston, Hufnagel and Longstreth pay fitting tribute to Gorguts' remarkable history. Instead of reclaiming the past, they've pooled their resources to create a new present." - Pitchfork
    $12.00
  • "The album is produced by Brett Kull (Echolyn) and Fractal Mirror, mixed by Brett Kull and mastered by Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel/Synergy). The album contains 11 new songs featuring beautiful background vocals and guitars by Brett Kull and guest appearances by Larry Fast, Don Fast, Jacque Varsalona and the Stephanus Choir from Amsterdam. We feel that Garden of Ghosts is a major leap forward for us.A Brief History:The origins of Fractal Mirror can be traced back to the mid-eighties when three friends from Amsterdam started to make music together influenced by bands from the famous 4AD label and artists like David Sylvian and Japan. At the same time a new wave of progressive rock was expanding ist listening audience with bands like IQ, Pendragon, Twelfth Night, Marillion and Pallas but especially the virtually unknown Canadian band Terraced Garden having an influence on their writing. Ed and Leo continued making music together into the 21st century, focusing on the Alternative or Progressive audience. They met their drummer and lyricist via the Big Big Train site and met the challenge of transatlantic recording and communications with the release of Strange Attractors to very positive reviews. Their music is song based and there are no long instrumental passages or difficult time signatures. The music has a dark, raw edge yet they often uses the Mellotron. In March 2014 Fractal Mirror signed with Third Contact, a record label owned by Larry Fast (Synergy/Peter Gabriel)."
    $9.00
  • Debut release from this Norwegian progressive ensemble immersed in the 70s sound.  Tusmorke began life as Les Fleurs Du Mal and featured Wobbler vocalist Andreas Prestmo.  They have since gone through changes of lineup and nae.  The band is heavily influenced by Jethro Tull, White Willow and Incredible String Band.  Its flute driven prog with a quirky psychedelic folk element.  The album was produced by Wobbler keyboardist Lars Fredrik Frøislie who contributes his arsenal to the album enhancing the prog vibe.  Mellotron freaks - its all here!  In addition to the album you get 3 bonus tracks of previously unreleased material from Les Fleurs Du Mal.  Highly recommended.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"9132","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"283","width":"400"}}]] 
    $18.00
  • Second part of the English Electric concept dealing with life across the UK landscape.  What a beautiful album.  First off lets make it clear - Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford made a huge mistake.  Vocalist David Longdon should have been Phil Collins replacement in Genesis.  He would have fit like hand in glove.  The album features the band augmented by a variety of guest musicians including Andy Tillison of The Tangent who contributes organ, Moog, and Mellotron parts.  Its all very British sounding and once again a wonderful mix of old school prog and a more contemporary neoprog sound.  Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • EMI is breaking up the Genesis remix/remaster boxes and making the individual albums available. This features the Nick Davis remixed version of Nursery Cryme .
    $10.00
  • Album number 14 from the premier American symphonic rock band.  Steve Babb and Fred Shendel mix up the deck a bit with different cast of characters but the core sound remains intact.  If you are unfamiliar with Glass Hammer what you need to know is that Steve and Fred have assimilated the best elements of 70s US and Euro prog and melded it into something fresh.  Vocalist Jon Davison sounds so much like Jon Anderson that he was actually poached by Yes!  This is lush symphonic rock with killer keys.  Think in terms of Yes, Kansas, ELP, and Gentle Giant and toss 'em in a blender.  That's the Glass Hammer sound.  Lots of interesting guests this time around.  Old GH alumni Walter Moore and Michelle Young make and appearance.  Higher profile guests include Randy Jackson (Zebra - not American Idol!), David Ragsdale (Kansas), and Rob Reed (Magenta).  Another triumph from the good old southern boys of prog.  Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • Limited edition reissue of 500 copies.  This is the debut release from the Scottish space rock ensemble.  This one will take you to the furthest realms of the cosmos."This album is a total revelation of sonic imagery. Across eighty minutes the listener is taken on an astronomic road trip that never once wavers in imagination or immensity." - Shindig! (Happening!)"It's Can locked in an eternal psychedelic battle with the cosmos itself, a feast of tripped-out riffage, swelling, swirling bass and juddering sonic explorations that come to a hypnogogic climax with the 40 minute sonic quicksand of Father Sky, Mother Earth." - Rock-A-Rolla"Spacial exploration rather than the psychiatric breakdown. cologne rather than altamont. There’s no hipster arched eyebrow here, no faux-intellectual exploration of unfashionable musical tropes. this is just one monstrous monged jam after another monstrous monged jam." - Cows Are Just Food
    $16.00