Room V

SKU: 40952
Label:
Inside Out
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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This was a pleasant surprise and frankly a return to form. "Room V" is actually a sequel to 1998's "Tyranny" and in many ways betters it. I find the album to be a bit laid back - by Shadow Gallery standards. I would say that this leans more towards the prog rock side rather than metal reminding me of a heavier version of Glass Hammer although lots of similarities to Dream Theater are evident. The album is filled with warmth, perhaps due to the emphasis at times on keyboards. So this one straddles the line between symphonic rock and progressive metal doing both with panache - this one is easily recommended.

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  • Fourth studio album from Leprous reinforces the fact that they are one of the most innovative and cutting edge bands working in the prog metal idiom.  The music of Coal has already kicked up a bit of controversy from the early listeners.  The music isn't quite as angular and frenetic as Bilateral.  Atmospheric passages similar to Tall Poppy Syndrome are perhaps a bit more prevalant as well.  All in all it's clearly identifiable as Leprous.  Ihsahn guests on one of the tracks - don't forget Leprous is his backing band.  Nice guys - great band.  Highly recommended."Considering Leprous‘s previous album Bilateral is considered by many to be a masterpiece of progressive metal; Norway’s Leprous had a tall order in front of themselves. Coming up with a followup to such a critically acclaimed and beloved album is no doubt a daunting task. Despite that, after two long years of waiting, Leprous have conjured the successor to Bilateral, and it’s called Coal. Usually, when bands release an album after their magnum opus, the result is either a “version 2.0″ of the previous album, or it’s a return back to the normal style of the band. Leprous have taken a bold turn instead, and they have reinvented themselves. Coal is clearly a Leprous album, carrying all their trademark touches, but it’s also very fresh and unique.With Bilateral, the band were clearly rooted in a sound that has been defined by the big names of progressive metal. By applying their characteristic syncopation, moody riffs and singer Einar Solberg’s haunting and powerful vocals, they were able to perfect an already existing sound. With Coal, the band have taken a different direction. The album is very dense, emotional, and quite avant-garde at times. While there are some more traditional songs similar to Bilateral, there’s also an air of neo-80s on some songs, while others carry some characteristics of modern Scandinavian indie bands. Longtime fans of Leprous will definitely see the direction that has been present since the band’s inception, but listeners who know of them only via Bilateral might be slightly confused. In the end, Leprous have always been about mood, and Coal is oozing with it.In terms of structure, Coal is more similar to Tall Poppy Syndrome than Bilateral (but not too similar to either in the end). The songs are slow burners, setting up a mood, then deliberately building on it until overwhelming the listener with the climax. Everything is very subtle, the production making every hit of every instrument matter. Each song is an exercise in building an atmosphere by slowly adding layers to form a very powerful sound. Einar Solberg is at his best here, he has taken his voice to the next level. He was already an amazing vocalist, but Coal sees him becoming a master of expression. There are many progressive metal bands nowadays with clean singers who can hit insanely high notes and execute amazing melodies. But what is often lost is the soft touch, the control over timbre that makes one’s voice special. Einar is a master of timbre, and he uses his abilities to their full extent in Coal. While this is an album about the big picture and constructing an ambiance with the convergence of all instruments, his unparalleled vocal skills definitely deserve a special mention, because he is what hammers down the emotions and makes this album so special.As mentioned before, Coal is a deliberate album, where attention is paid to every instrument. And the production, by Ihsahn (who also has a stellar guest appearance on the closing track), is perfect for this. Especially of note are the drums, they sound very real and quaint. The intimate feeling of some of the songs can directly be attributed to the unconventional drum sound. The drumming has also taken a turn for the more subtle, with small flourishes and cymbal runs building tension in the more atmospheric sections of some songs. The bass is also clearly audible and adds to the sound. The guitar work isn’t as flashy as Bilateral for the most part, but it also has more character because of that. It should come as no surprise to longtime followers of the band, but Leprous are masters of doing more with less, and all of the instruments reflect this. Another production detail worth noting is the presence of keyboards. The keyboard work is more prominent now. In Bilateral it was used mostly to add some extra layers to parts driven by the guitars, but here the keyboards form the building blocks of the sound. This is perhaps what sets the album apart from Leprous’s previous work, the heavier focus on atmosphere and a dense aural landscape. This might be disappointing to some who preferred the more direct approach of Bilateral, as Coal is less “metal”, but the more developed sound suits the band.In terms of songs, Coal is a very diverse album. The first three songs and the closer can be interpreted as a direct evolution of the band’s sound from their previous work, then there is the extremely moody and emotional masterpiece “The Cloak”. This is where the album takes a turn for the introspective, as the rest of the songs are quite experimental and ethereal. Overall, the album has a very clear journey with a defined start and end, and it works quite well. Some of the later songs can feel like they last half a minute too long, but the deliberate pacing of the album makes more sense as is.In the end, it’s hard to deny that Coal is yet another masterpiece by Leprous. The songs ooze character and deliberation. Coal is expressive, emotional and brave. It might not be what everyone expected after Bilateral, but Leprous have defied expectations and raised the bar again." - Heavy Blog Is Heavy
    $9.00
  • Xandria have been around for quite some time and for whatever reason they seem to churn through vocalists - perhaps each one better than the previous.  Their new vocalist is Dianne van Giersbergen, formerly with the Dutch band Ex Libris.  She's a great one for sure.  Luckily the overall band sound hasn't changed very much.  This is pure bombastic symphonic metal that follows the Tarja-era Nightwish template very closely.  You may have to play this one in secret or the originality police may come after you but if you do play it loud!This is the deluxe mediabook edition.  It comes with a bonus CD that features an exclusive studio track as well as an instrumental mix of the album so you can karaoke to your hearts content.  
    $16.00
  • "Chapters From A Vale Forlorn is Falconer's second studio album, they play mostly mid-tempo power metal with some slight Folk influences. Their vocalist, Mathias Blad strongly reminds me of a medieval bard. The bass guitar just accompanies the vocals while the guitarist basically just does as he likes, starting or ending interesting riffs and soloing in the middle of a chorus or a verse. This makes Falconer an extremely interesting band to listen to, it also gives them a quite playful edge. The drum machine just kind of trots along, sometimes a bit slower and sometimes a bit faster, but it doesn't sound as annoying as drum machines often tend to do. The keyboard is only used very seldom and when it is used it is only to contribute to the atmosphere. They also use flute, Hammond organ, piano and violin to add depth to their music on a few songs.The weak point of this album though, is the bad production; this especially shows on the beautiful ballad "Portals Of Light" of which I'm sure it would sound twice as good with the production a song like this deserves. Their lyrics are about the hardships of medieval times and the greed of the church, however a lot of the passages also remind of modern life. The lyrics are presented in the form of a few neat metaphors "If you look hard you'll see me in the sky, showing you the light that now is for sale. Don't you hesitate, but buy yourself a Grail."This is clearly one of those CD's which you can listen to over and over again. The songs are rich in variation, ranging from slow ballads, to fast and very catchy songs and tracks with very folkish passages. Despite the use of a drum machine even the drumming has quite some variation. When listening to this CD you will almost always find something new, a strange guitar note you didn't notice before, a nice flute tone in the background accompanying the singing, a change of time signature, anything. This album is so full of such things that listening to it will never get boring.All in all what we have here is a catchy power metal band with good lyrics, not at all cheesy, some folk influences and a very playful attitude. Definitely a band I would recommend not only to all fans of power metal but also to fans of folk metal or traditional metal; actually this is a band I would recommend to just about anyone." - Metal Storm
    $12.00
  • James LaBrie once again that there is life outside of Dream Theater.  His solo band features a stable lineup consisting of Matt Guillory (keyboards), Marco Sfogli (guitars), Ray Riendeau (bass), Peter Wildoer (drums, death vox).  Jens Bogren once again mixed. An interesting twist to the mix is the inclusion of Soilwork's Peter Wichers who contributes some guitarwork and also collaborated on songwriting with LaBrie.While the music is square on prog metal and all in all not too dissimilar to Dream Theater its different enough to have its own vibe.  Wildoer's coarse vocal approach offers an interesting counterbalance to LaBrie's upper midrange clean voice.  The limited digipak edition comes with two bonus tracks.  Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • Second release from this superb progressive metal band from France - and their debut release for Sensory. Everything about the sophomore effort is an improvement - from the production to the performances (and there was nothing wrong with Mental Torments). If you are fan of mega-tight ensemble work, chops from hell and real songs then you have to hear Anima. We are very proud to have SUE as part of the Sensory roster."The early beginnings of Spheric Universe Experience dates back to 1999, when guitarist Vince Benaim decided to create a progressive metal band together with his friends Sam (on drums) and John Drai (on bass). The band did some local gigs in and around the southern parts of France, going by the name of Gates of Delirium.They knew that they limited their own repertoire by not incorportating vocals and keyboards, so by 2001 keyboardist Fred Colombo entered the band together with vocalist Alex. Now going by the band name of Amnesya, the guys did lots of liveshows and one demo CD.In August 2002, the band split because of musical disagreements leaving Vince, John and Fred to continue under the name of Spheric Universe Experience.During the next 8 months their passion for composing led them to write a complete album, which they recorded at home as a demo in April 2003 with session vocalist Franck Garcia, who came in just a few days before the recordings began. The vocals were recorded in a professional studio, and although Franck didn't have much time with the band prior to recording it, the result is very convincing, which is why he joined the band fulltime.The 2003 demo, "The Burning Box", was sent to Intromental Management in Denmark, who immediately fell in love with the bands sound, and decided to offer them a management-deal.Helped by session-drummer Volodia Brice, the band began recording the debut album, “Mental Torments”, in August 2003.In summer of 2004 Spheric Universe signed a worldwide record deal with French label Replica Records. An American license was also inked with Nightmare Records.Nico "Ranko" Muller joined the band in fall 2004 as their new drummer, and with him on-board the line-up was complete. The debut album, Mental Torments" was finalized by the great mix of Tommy Hansen (Jailhouse Studios, Denmark - a.o. Helloween, TNT, Pretty Maids). The cover artwork was created by famous Swedish artist Mattias Norén at ProgArt Media (www.progart.com).2005 was spent writing new material plus playing various live shows, opening for acts such as Scorpions and Uli Jon Roth in France.Now, the band has finalized their 2nd effort, “Anima”, which is a strong follow up to the debut, showcasing S.U.E. from their finest side. The album was recorded by Charles Massabo during the summer of 2006 in Coxinhell Studio Studio and Kallaghan Studio in France and was mastered at Jailhouse Studios in Denmark by Tommy Hansen, giving the music of S.U.E. the extra powerful touch that is needed in today’s music market. Artwork was this time around handled by Björn at Killustrations Media in Germany (www.killustrations.com).The music of Spheric Universe Experience is technical, melodic and possesses a top-notch progressiveness, that can be compared to bands such as Dream Theater, Pain Of Salvation and Fates Warning, but filled with an incredible intensity and an original identity of their own."
    $13.00
  • "Refreshing, powerful, and extremely melodic – the adjectives I’d use at a push to describe Teramaze‘s 5th album. I have to admit I pretty much consider this their sophomore release as I was not party to their releases throughout the 90′s, with my first introduction to the band with their 2012 powerhouse ‘Anhedonia’ which quite ironically generated feels of anything but anhedonia. There has been an undeniable buzz around this release and I have found it virtually impossible to escape the widespread word and hype around this album anywhere I look online; generally I wouldn’t necessarily see this as categorically positive as it can taint your expectations unintentionally. Thankfully for the most part, my expectations and hopes with this album have been realised to the point that I welcome any melodic, thrash, progressive or otherwise metallically inclined music fan to check this 79-ish minute thematic conceptual monster.The initial impressions I have when comparing this with ‘Anhedonia’ is a development away from the slightly more thrash-oriented direction that I suspected was the impact of the members growing up in the era where that particular sub-genre beared its greatest fruits. I use the term development as I believe it has very much naturally progressed as compared to what I would consider a departure. The addition of more progressive structures and more varied layering works exceptionally well in Teramaze‘s favour to create a soundscape of in your face riffs, contemplative and brooding moods, earworm choruses, and timeless unity across the entire album.Without doubt one of the things that will grab listeners’ attention is the astonishing fretboard wizardry of band leader and Dean Well’s who treats us to undeniably wondrous smorgasbord of head nodding animosity (special mention to the riff at 2:02 in ‘Line of Symmetry’ – that will get you nodding with the mania of Jack Black), and emotive, creative, delicious lead playing that is akin to guitar heroes aplenty (Petrucci, Sfogli, Skolnick – just to name a few). The balance of great lead playing and rhythm work is a pleasure with nothing inappropriately overstated like one can sometimes expect of the genre. As a special addition, the tones are simply incredible on this album and it is glued perfectly with the bass and bonded by the fairydust keyboards that emerge to keep the sonic palette interesting (courtesy of Circadian Pulse keyboardist Dave Holley).The production is another point of veritable quality with all the instruments presented in a crystal clear state whilst maintaining vibe and not losing out to sterility which is a sad by-product of the self-produced musical climate of 2014. The only complaint I really have is that the mastering is a little hot which is noticeable after the first track (which was mastered in my ideal sweet spot). It sits at DR6 across the whole album on average which is nothing out of the ordinary for this day and age but it occasionally gets fatiguing especially over such a long record. Thankfully moment of distortion are kept to a minimum, however there are some trace elements of weakened transients and the occasional buried vocal that loses intelligibility.Vocalist Brett Rerekura is a joy to listen to and I am appreciative of the fact although his voice pushes the aggressive edge to fit the setting of the music, it is rich in melody and characteristic timbre and is not sabotaged with growls. Long live the singer in a metal band, I say! I detect glimmers of Layne Staley, Sebastian Bach and the rhythmic phrasing of James Hetfield. My only beef is the occasional “Aussieisms” I hear in some inflections which I am hyper-sensitive too (even though I’m Australian myself), however this doesn’t detract too much from what is a splendid vocal performance across the board. There are moments of supreme delicacy especially in ‘Bodies of Betrayal’ which I would have liked to have heard more of as well as a bit more of that delicate side to the band overall to give this album the dynamic curve it deserved. This is of course only a minor criticism.The album’s concept, while not narrative based centres around the experiential nature of deception; especially by that of governing bodies and the powers that be. I think the title of ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ is perfectly apt as this is not the viewpoint or mindset of everyone and best kept as the worldview of a particular minority of people. I think for some the lyrical approach could border on conspiracy but I like the exploratory nature of them and what is truly the harm in questioning some of the taken-for-granted “truths” we hold in this ever-changing world. Kudos to Teramaze for honestly and whole-heartedly fusing their beliefs with such hard-hitting music in a way that I see as completely lacking pretence.For me the standout tracks are ‘Bodies of Betrayal’, ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ (6:53 in this gives me goosebumps), and ‘viii In Vitro’ as I believe they hold the most profound emotional connection with me due to the individual moods they build. I have to admit the only track that I am not particularly keen on is the one with the guest vocals as I feel as though it breaks the flow of the album in a way that was superfluous to requirements. It came across as guests for guests sake which is probably my most direct criticism of the record.This is an exceptional release that stands up to my extremely critical ear and was only let down by perhaps a slight lack of expression with regards to dynamics (mastering and songwriting) across such a long album. Its length to some may indeed be a bit hard to swallow in single listens, however this is par for the course for me as a fan of long form writing. For fans of Metallica, Dream Theater, Alice in Chains and anyone who wishes to have a boot up the bum and an electrode to the brain from an ambitious and highly satiating album." - Metal Obsession
    $12.00
  • New edition of this brilliant disc arrives in a hardbound digibook. For starters the album has been remastered. There is also an accompanying DVD (NTSC - Region 0) which has a 5.1 surround mix of the album as well as a live video of "Face Of Melinda" shot in 2006.
    $15.00
  • Creation's End is the vision of New York City's Rudy Albert (guitar - from Zandelle) and Dario Rodriguez (drums).Rudy and Dario, who met in school, have been playing music together since 1999. As they grew tighter in their playing, they began to focus on writing original material. The nature of the material evolved from simple metal tunes in the early years, to more complex and mature compositions.During the summers of 2003 through 2006, Dario and Rudy convened to write music. The focus of the sessions was simply to make great music that they both enjoyed, and each summer, Rudy and Dario wrote and recorded a new demo of original material.Rudy soon took on keyboard duties in the band Until Destiny, where he met John Macaluso (drummer of James LaBrie Band, Fool's Game, ex-Ark, ex-TNT, ex-Yngwie Malsteen). After a short period of time, Rudy and Dario decided that the time was right to revisit their old material to record and release it the right way.With a newly renovated studio and producer John Macaluso on board, Rudy and Dario set out to record 8 reworked versions of songs that appeared on their demos. They were joined by the lineup - Mike Dimeo, (ex-Masterplan, ex-Riot), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie Band), and Joey Bones (Chris Caffery, ex-Zandelle).In Summer of 2010 the band decided to have world known engineer Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Yes, Nile, Cannibal Corpse etc) mix the album.November 2010 will see the release of "A New Beginning" and marks the fruition of the album envisioned from the beginning - melodic, touches of prog, a strong sense of groove, and brutally heavy and dark. US and European tour dates are being planned, with a date at ProgPower USA in September 2011 already confirmed.
    $8.00
  • "Released on 16/11/09. CD1 – Thunder Steel. This 1988 album takes everything that was metal at the time and is a classic combining thrashing guitars and pounding percussion indicative of the underground thrash movement of the time. It has more riffs than Anthrax and undertones of the hair metal that was riding the charts at that time. It is a classic and has everything that makes metal great! CD2 – The Privilege Of Power. This 1990 album saw the band augment their state-of-the-art heavy metal sound with horns, courtesy of the Brecker Brothers and Tower Of Power. It also features guest vocals by Joe Lynn turner (rainbow). The album employs 10 complex tracks that work as a single unit."
    $16.00
  • Shockingly good reunion album from 1978 that gave us the athemic title track which now has classic status."Deep Purple's definitive Mark II lineup reunited for 1984's Perfect Strangers. It is one of the better examples of a reunion album, although the band's uneasy camaraderie only lasted a few more years. "Knocking at Your Back Door" opens the album with a roar. Ian Gillan's lyrics don't make much sense, but Ritchie Blackmore's guitar riffs and Ian Paice's thunderous drumming carry this song as well as the rest of the album. The robotic rhythm of the title cut relies on Jon Lord's organ work. The 1999 remastered reissue features the bonus track "Son of Alerik." This fascinating, mid-tempo, ten-minute instrumental was the B-side of the "Perfect Strangers" 12" single in the U.K." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Germany's Mob Rules hit an absolute home run in 2010 with their album Radical Peace, and the band is back with the equally stellar Cannibal Nation. Don't let the title fool you into thinking that the veteran power/prog metal act has gone all horror on us, as Cannibal Nation is another sizzling collection of melodic, heavy, power & progressive metal songs. With a singer as good as Klaus Dirks, Mob Rules already has a step up on the competition, and he once again delivers a stunning performance here. "Tele Box Fool", "Lost", and the brilliant opener "Close My Eyes" all feature his confident, powerful vocals amidst plenty of catchy melodies and challenging metal arrangements. "Ice and Fire" has been picked as the first single from the CD, and it's a hook laden slice of melodic power metal with Dirks' soaring vocals over tasty guitar riffs & solos from Matthias Mineur & Sven Lüdke with just the right amount of keyboards courtesy of Jan Christian Halfbrodt. The CD has its share of heavy thumpers too, like the headbanging "Soldiers of Fortune" and the crunchy, harmony guitar laden title track. For those that like the more proggy side of Mob Rules, there's the atmospheric "Scream for the Sun (May 29th 1953)" and the textured "Sunrise", both heavily melodic and dripping with emotion.Cannibal Nation is another fine, classy release from Mob Rules, a band that consistently delivers one winner after another without relying on traditional European power metal or progressive metal characteristics." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00
  • Superb return to form from these German masters of melodic progressive metal. Beyond Daylight exhibits many similarities to The God Thing and may well prove out to be their best effort yet.
    $15.00
  • San Francisco's Orchid has been kicking around a bit, jumping around a bunch of small labels.  A buzz has been developing around the band so it was only a matter of time before they stepped up to the big time - they got snatched up by Nuclear Blast.  I would say that NB scored a major coup here.  Orchid's reputation has been built upon a doom metal sound that draws heavily from the early Black Sabbath canon.  Plain and simple.  These guys have the retro sound down pat and the look as well.  If you are into doom its not going to come any better than this.  Highly recommended. 
    $13.00
  • "I am somewhat torn doing this review as it is one of my favorite Metal cd's, which in itself is a very brash statement and also it is Rob Halford "without" one of the greatest Metal bands in the world..... Judas Priest.During those few very sad years back in the early 90's when Halford left Priest,he formed a band called "Fight" which I think surprised everyone(including your's truly) with it's raw power and brutal almost Thrash-like Metal riffs.This was definatley not some some lame Priest cover band but it was a new way for Rob to showcase that incredible voice of his.The cd opens up with what was a staple of Mtv's Headbanger's Ball back then with the song "Into the Pit" which was a fast and furious tribute to the "Mosh Pit".The music continues to grab you by the throat and choke the life out of you and never let's you come up for air.Some of my other favorites are "Nailed to the Gun", "Life in Black" the title track "War of Words" and two absolute Thrash classics, "Contortion" and "Kill it".There is also the (Dare I say hit single..."Little Crazy").Sadly, Fight put out only one other cd but it did not even come close to the power of it's predecessor and shortly after that the band called it quits. Over the next few years Halford tried a few other projects but none of them had the "Balls" of "War of words".A few years laterHalford and Priest resolved their differences and Priest was reborn,Badder than ever.I strongly recommend this cd to any "real" Metal fan,especially the younger one's which may not have known that Rob Halford was ever in another band besides Judas Priest.Without a doubt this cd "War of Words" scores a very HEAVY....10." - The Metal Pit
    $5.00