Sofia

Sofia

BY Arkan

(Customer Reviews)
$12.00
SKU: SOM330D
Label:
Season Of Mist
Category:
Gothic Metal
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Wholly appealing because of their oriental workaround on the female-fronted metal sound, France’s Arkan don’t quite have the panache of the buxom-beauty bands, but their songs are better. Definitely better. A tad on the difficult side to pin down when making sonic comparisons, the band has their feet somewhere near the present exotic-slanted territory of Tristania, and on the extreme metal side of the spectrum, the forceful moods of late-90s Septicflesh…back when they were called Septic Flesh. Regardless of where they’re getting their influences from, Sofia (the band’s third album) is very much a winner in the stacked deck that is chick metal.

Per the subgenre norm, the focus falls upon singer Sarah Layssac, who is in possession of a luscious, well-toned voice. Her humming chorus choices on opener “Hayati” set the tone for the rest of the album, where upon she keeps the songs largely in check with either a daunting chorus, or lush harmony idea. Just go down the line – “March of Sorrow,” “Deafening Silence,” and “Wireless Angels,” each punctuate Layssac’s emotive, soul-bearing vocals, which are made all the more interesting thanks to the oriental flavor.

Primarily because Sofia never goes overboard on the oriental instrumentation side, there’s a lot to gobble up here, particularly when the band peddles choice instrumental breaks (see: “My Reverence”) or blends gentle acoustic guitar touches with streamlined melodies (“Endless Way”). So point being, Sofia offers a lot of everything in the female-fronted, exotic metal field, none of which feels dumbed-down or forced. In fact, so advanced and interesting these compositions are, that Arkan makes more image-friendly bands seem quite useless at the moment. Highly recommended." - Dead Rhetoric

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  • Latest studio album from this lethal German band.  SBE was formed by guitarist Christian Peters in 2007.  The quartet (twin guitar, bass, and drums) will deeply satisfy the musicial appetite of any fans of 70s psychedelia, space rock, and doom metal.  They may well be the ultimate stoner rock band.Revelation & Mystery finds the compositions a bit tighter than previous efforts but that's a relative term when the title track runs past the 12 minute mark. Vocals don't interfere too heavily with the acid laced space trippin' guitar work.  Peters sings a bit and then they get down to serious business jamming their way into the cosmos.  If you are fan of early Guru Guru, Hawkwind, and Black Sabbath, or even Deep Purple you need to hear this band.  I got high just looking at the cover art.  This album is a total lease breaker to boot.  BUY OR DIE!  "The second album from Samsara Blues Experiment in as many years, Revelation and Mystery (World in Sound) takes a surprising turn in approach from their Long-Distance Trip debut, distilling the jams of the first record into more structured, song-based material. The tracks of Revelation and Mystery almost exclusively follow verse-chorus-verse patterns, and while part of the joy of listening to a song like “Singata Mystic Queen” from the prior collection was meandering along with it, Samsara Blues Experiment don’t completely lose sight of the journey in favor of the straightforward. Right from its start, Revelation and Mystery sees the four-piece layering guitar effects and infusing their parts with swirls and a spaced-out feel. It’s not that they’ve completely changed their methodology so much as they’ve shifted the balance within their sound. These structural elements were certainly present on Long-Distance Trip, but a cut like the semi-acoustic “Thirsty Moon” shows that Samasara Blues Experiment are able to work within these parameters to grow their songwriting. One gets the sense in listening to opener “Flipside Apocalypse” (which follows a 17-second nameless intro track) that this process is just beginning and that the band are still finding out what they want their sound to be, but that only makes Revelation and Mystery a more immediate, direct experience; the linearity of the album unfolding gradually as the songs move from the straightforward into the more sublimely jammed.Fast-paced rumbling from the bass of Richard Behrens in the surprisingly punkish beginning of “Flipside Apocalypse” is an immediate clue to the changes the last year have brought about in Samsara Blues Experiment. The mood is more active, less calming and chilled out than last time around, and the guitars of Hans Eiselt and Christian Peters – who also handles vocals – seem to be more concerned with riffing out than stacking layers upon layers, though there’s some of that too, even as later in the song a riff straight out of the biker rock milieu shows up and carries the song through to its end. I don’t know if it’s the result in some change in the band’s songwriting process or just how things happened to come out this time, but the change continues through “Hangin’ on the Wire,” which is genuinely hooky and thoroughly in the realm of heavy rock. A crisp production during the solo section brings to mind some of Queens of the Stone Age’s finer moments, and drummer Thomas Vedder locks in with Behrens’ own excellent fills with a few of his own. Peters, though, emerges at the head of the song. His vocals confident and effected in equal measure, he works quickly to establish the verse and chorus patterns, both worthy of sing-alongs, so that by the end, “Hangin’ on the Wire” feels like its earned its handclaps, and though “Into the Black” starts out more ethereal, with extended solo sections and a long instrumental introduction, the shuffle soon takes hold and it proves to be more boogie than nod.But perhaps “Into the Black” is where the band begins their subtle shift into more esoteric sonics, because as the soft strums and plucks and interplay of electric and acoustic guitars take hold on “Thirsty Moon,” the song feels neither out of place nor especially unexpected, which it very well might have if placed earlier on Revelation and Mystery. Peters’ vocal line feels a little rushed during the verse – it’s almost as though there were too many syllables to fit in the line – but the interaction of his and Eiselt’s guitars in the instrumental break and the balance between the guitar and Vedder’s drumming in the mix makes up for any such hiccups. Another chorus feels delivered more appropriately, and the progression cycles through again; solo section into chorus, solo section into chorus. And it’s not until Behrens’ highlight bass line begins “Outside Insight Blues” that it’s apparent just how much Samsara Blues Experiment put into the album’s flow. Added keys allow the guitars to go farther out into sporadic notes without sacrificing fullness of sound, but after about two and a half minutes, there’s a turn into riffier material that carries the groove through the next six. There are a few part changes, but things don’t really feel jammed out until the classic ‘70s boogie meets psychedelia of the last 90 seconds or so, blues harp and all. It’s a shift worthy of Siena Root, and the two-minute interlude “Zwei Schatten im Schatten” (in English, “Two Shadows in the Shadow”) follows suit with an appropriate marriage of Eastern and Western musical traditions with sitar and acoustic six-string. There’s something sweet and solemn in the intertwining melody, and it’s a passing thing on the way to the 12-minute closer, but worth paying attention to in a way that many interludes aren’t.Then, at last, comes the ending title cut. Worthy of its name, “Revelation and Mystery” caps the album with a sense of psychedelic majesty through which Samsara Blues Experiment show their ability to keep hold of a song no matter how deep into space they might also want to push it. The song winds. Its progression is at once driving and subdued, and of all the songs on Revelation and Mystery, it’s probably the best blend of all sides of what’s shown itself to be the band’s current sound. Of course, at 12 minutes, one could easily argue it has time to do and be all these things – with room left over for a bit of that sitar to show up as well among the guitar leads – but still, it’s another display of the maturity Samsara Blues Experiment have been able to take on in a relatively short amount of time (their demo gave first notice in 2008). Some bands need three years to learn and foster growth between their albums, and some bands need to play. If the jump between their first and second records is anything to go by, Samsara Blues Experiment would seem to be the latter. Wherever this stylistic form takes them, I don’t imagine it’ll be too long before we find out, but until then, the 47 minutes of Revelation and Mystery provide a varied and exciting listen worthy of repeat visits. Samsara Blues Experiment continue to progress, continue to impress." - The Obelisk
    $12.00
  • I think its pretty much agreed that Echo Street was a bit of a mistep for the band.  It seems like they've gotten the message.  Mystoria finds the band returning to their space rock Pink Floyd meets Black Sabbath meets XTC sound.  The band is a quirky bunch - you will find the songs are filled with hooks and heavy riffs that will stick with you but also there is always a bit of a cosmic vibe."Following the release of Amplifier's sprawling grand opus, The Octopus, in 2011, the band have most definitely had their ups and downs. After the departure of long-time bassist Neil Mahony, the band were forced to regroup and rethink their approach: the lengthy process of writing and recording The Octopus had been a trying experience for all the praise the record subsequently received. Looking backwards to look forwards, Sel Balamir and his band re-visited previously demoed material and used it as the basis for the subsequent Echo Street, a more streamlined and concise record that reassured everyone, not least the band themselves, that their quest for sonic adventure remained undimmed in the face of all that life had chosen to throw at them.It's immediately apparent that Mystoria is a very different album to Echo Street in terms of sound, although in terms of ethos the two albums are probably closer related than any of the other records Amplifier have made. Mystoria eschews the gentler, more stripped-back feel of Echo Street and glories in its chunky twin-guitar riffing and thunderous rhythm section, much as the band did when they put together Insider and The Octopus. At the same time, the tendency of the band to indulge themselves in sprawling psychedelic space rock jams has been reined in. Mystoria is subject to the same intense focus on trimming the fat that Echo Street was subject to - indeed, the band have emphasised that they spent some time honing the songs and finalising their arrangements before they started recording, something they haven't tried before. On the basis of Mystoria, this approach certainly seems to suit them.This new sense of focus, allied to their delight in generating planet-sized riffs, is immediately apparent in the one-two punch of the opening tracks, 'Magic Carpet' and 'Black Rainbow'. The opener is a delightfully psychedelic instrumental built around a sturdy riff that might have lasted eight or nine minutes on previous albums. Here it arrives, says what it needs to say and is done in under four minutes, without sacrificing its loose, jammed-out feel. 'Black Rainbow' makes for a striking contrast, a gargantuan doomy riff powering along a muscular rocker that possesses energy to spare. "And I’m going to sing my song", bellows Balamir, "Been stuck in a throat far too long / And I’m going to get me gone / Going to get me some!" As the song crunches to a halt, Balamir opines "Well, we did it again", as if anyone was in any doubt by this point. And so the scene is set for a really crowd-pleasing album, one that will delight existing fans and appeal to those new to Amplifier's swirling psych-influenced rock.The album has been described as a "party record", with Balamir stating that "It’s a summer time rock record to hopefully make people feel good when they listen to it. That’s the only intent.” In many respects that is absolutely the case. Jammed full of catchy hooks, sing-along choruses and Balamir's trademark guitar, this is an album that impresses immediately, sticks in your mind like velcro, yet has the variety and substance to withstand repeated plays without losing its appeal. Some of the songs here are so quintessentially Amplfier that they might as well have the word 'Amplifier' written through them like a stick of rock: the two openers, the playfully off-kilter 'Bride' and 'Named After Rocky' (which contains a really crowd-pleasing moment as a clearly gimlet-eyed Balamir breaks the fourth wall to tell the listener "Dance toe to toe with the devil /And I’m gonna do you proud / I’m gonna make you proud!") are all good examples of this.However, it wouldn't be an Amplifier album if Sel and company didn't have something new and unexpected to present: here, the unexpected is provided by a surprising voyage into ska with 'Cat's Cradle' and the baleful, shoegazey 'Open Up'. The former comes across like Kula Shaker re-imagining something from the Madness back catalogue, the unmistakeable skanking ska rhythm underpinned by a wonderful turn by the rhythm section of Alex Redhead (bass) and Matt Brobin (drums), paired with a playful lyric that indulges in some social commentary ("Well, the world is like a cat's cradle / Too much tension in a cat's cradle") and a wry vocal turn from Balamir. 'Open Up', on the other hand, is the song most removed from the sunny, somewhat carefree feel of a lot of the other songs, coming across like 90s indie darlings Lush at their most metallic, a fuzzy wall of sound framed by reverb-laden icy sheets of guitar and a pleading lyric as Balamir asks a lover "Well, are you looking for a man / To try to solve / Well to open up / Won’t you open up?"he somewhat nightmarish 'OMG' continues this darker thread, a juddering riff and bleak lyric ("Did you look 'em in the eye / As life was choking you / Choking you...") meaning that these two tracks dunk the previously sun-kissed listener in freezing water, enabling them to return refreshed yet unsettled to the remainder of the album, which picks up the more carefree feel established by the earlier tracks. 'The Meaning Of If' may have a somewhat fatalistic lyric ("Well, any simple man can see / That there ain't no cure to the meaning of if / 'Least no meaning I can see") but the swirling guitar that runs through the track is pinned to the wall - as is the listener - by a titanic Sabbath-style riff that intimates that if Balamir believes that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, he'll be going out with a smile on his face, dancing like no-one's watching.The album closes with a pair of tracks that are clearly closely interrelated, as the mellow 'Crystal Mountain', with its strong 60s psychedelic pastoral feel and suitably surreal love ballad lyric gives way to a building tension that resolves itself into the wonderfully typical fuzzed guitars and lumbering riff of 'Crystal Anthem', that manages to pack in a truly jaw-dropping storm of squalling guitar before collapsing, exhausted, into a heap. The chorus of 'Crystal Anthem' seems to define both Balamir's world view and the band's approach to Mystoria as a whole, as Balamir sings "And I just want to say / That life is a kind of game / We’ve all been born to play." As with all the best games, life may be sometimes difficult: the path to victory designed by sadists and the pieces easy to lose, but ultimately games are designed to be fun. And the new-look Amplifier, not least Balamir himself, would appear to be playing this game to win.Mystoria is a resounding triumph for Amplifier. Whilst Echo Street was full of great songs and superb performances, its comparatively sedate feel did sometimes leave one wondering if the freewheeling sense of adventure that so typified the band had been tempered permanently by the problems and setbacks that they'd had to deal with. Mystoria is both a sure-footed restatement of Amplifier's intent and evidence that, like all the most positive survivors, the band have learnt a lot from the bumps in the road. The band that recorded The Octopus are back, older, bolder, wiser, and with a fire in their eyes and in their bellies. Long may it be so." - Echoes And Dust 
    $12.00
  • "These guys might be late to the party, but deserve every bit of your attention regardless. This album really took me unawares, being my first experience with this fairly new yet incredibly accomplished sounding female fronted Australian unit. Their seemingly auto-generated band name may not inspire a lot of confidence, but nonetheless, on Liberator, Divine Ascension serve up progressive power metal of the highest rank. Really any power metal fan craving something heavy and guitar driven is urged in the strongest possible terms to have a look.Vigorous and eager to prove itself at every turn, this is a very full-bodied, attacking presentation, almost bringing Outworld to mind in its all-out directness. For prog/power, Liberator is a veritable ass-stomping of ripping riffs and lead runs, and a metal album first and foremost. Think Mercenary's crunching, at times Gothenburg-flavored axework and you're close. Neck muscles aching, airguitar strings breaking; not what I typically look to this sub-genre for, but there you have it. Keyboards and symphonic elements are given no less priority, being remarkably well arranged and produced and naturally composed in harmony with the metal. Orchestral arrangements in the vein of Rhapsody and Nightwish are employed, as are more electronic strains of bands like Pagan's Mind and Edenbridge. There's a lot going on on top of the already busy guitar work, but every piece of it is complementary, making for music that is constantly epic, and constantly heavy as bricks without the need to sacrifice one for the other. Sit back and soak in the chorus of "Stronger": total Within Temptation-style bombast and grandeur ala "The Howling," but made even more intense by big, riffy guitars that chug and harmonize along with some truly serene keyboard arrangements. It's one of the most stirring, spine-chilling metal moments I've heard in years.The label "progressive" in metal is elusive and subject to debate, but these guys I think make a decent claim for it, other than through sheer genre trappings (i.e. sounding more like Symphony X than Helloween). Key and time changes abound, keyboards and guitars play off each other in creative ways, and individual riffs and whole song structures both often detour from paths conventional. The band is confident in their ability to draw in the listener by piling on cool instrumental parts, and so the songs on Liberator often take a minute or so to establish before the vocals start doing their part, without ever feeling slow in getting to the point. So much going on and so much of it good: between all instruments, most songs here carry enough good ideas to provide for two songs for other bands. This is not as restrained and subtle an affair as something like The Black Halo (although Kamelot's heavier bits are at times not a far off comparison for style), but there's nary a sense of overreaching or a "more is less"-kind of effect. The intro of "Hideaway", by Gods go jam that shit: somber yet lush ambience straight out of a movie score, then razor sharp Children of Bodom-like axe ripping ("Black Widow" is a good point of comparison for the whole intro) that twists and mutates a bit until SMASH descend the fast double bass drums interlocked with another rousing riff that just leaps from the speakers – so much is accomplished within the first minute, and hey, there's the splendid remaining 80% of the song waiting to greet you beyond that! The album as whole is truly an exhilirating but also dynamic and not at all wearying listen.Vocalist Jennifer Borg is a somewhat unconventional but expert choice, as she delivers a more restrained performance than the rest of the group. Not weak or unenthusiastic; restrained, like the best kind of actor who knows to best serve the movie or play at hand by stepping into and becoming a character without feeling the need to draw attention to oneself by "putting on a show." Big vocal acrobatics or soothing, "angelic" stylings expected of female vox in a symphonic metal band are not what she's about, and needn't be. Utilizing a lower and narrower range than usual for the style and putting aside excessive drama, Borg's vocal lines give off so much soul, power and depth with subtle elements. All in all, a mature (horribly cliché word in music critique, but I insist) and dignified effort that contributes a good deal of artistry and uniqueness to the package.Throughout the album's 64 minute filler-free runtime, it amazes me how many typical genre pitfalls the Aussie sextet manages to sidestep. Excessive and confusing technicality for the sake of being "prog" that just kills the flow? Nope. Dragging "atmospheric" sections where nothing happens just to have variation? Also not here. Aiming for "epic" but arriving at "pretentious?" Look elsewhere! At least the closing acoustic ballad is an insufferable cheesefest, right? Actually, power/prog's poignant answer to "More than Words" is more like it, what with its percussive guitar slapping bringing that one to mind. If I'm going to dock the album for SOMETHING, well, "The Final Stand" does feature a real pet peeve of mine: that gimmick where the sound mix goes from demo/wet towel on speakers at its onset, to proper studio quality at a flip of a switch (e.g. Slayer - Ghosts of War). I find it overused and generic to the point of befitting the band moniker, but it doesn't hurt the song much and I've heard it done worse.Prog/power is rarely where I look for new metal these days; the genre's heyday is long gone and that may be for the best. That's not to say I'll disregard an island of brilliance like this one though. Good art is good art and while Liberator may sound a decade old, it still exhibits an identity of its own, cool chops aplenty and little triteness. Could Australia simply be a decade behind on this brand of metal, and thus less mined for talent than Europe or South America? Oh, I do hope. For the follow-up, I'd be curious to see how DA can expand their sound from here; perhaps adding elements from more modern metal would help revitalize the genre some? Until then, this is one shining example of tried-and-true that I wouldn't want my worst enemy to miss out on." - Metal Archives
    $17.00
  • "Italian Symphonic Metallers SINHERESY have an early Christmas present for you titled “Paint The World”. With how well these six combine their talents, how tight and refined each track is, it’s not easy to believe this is their first full length LP.  I seriously had to go back and check then recheck on that. These guys and girl are so good; their sound is that of a group that’s worked together for many, many years.Alright, so SINHERESY isn’t completely new. Way back in 2010 they had a dual tracked demo. Rumor has it, they began as a NIGHTWISH cover band, though of that I am not positive. You will likely hear some NIGHTWISH undertones and influences though, The following year would see the release of their first EP named “The Spiders And The Butterfly.” Critics and fans loved these five fresh tracks, and hopes were that a full length album would be soon to follow.Fall of 2013 would finally end the long wait, and SINHERESY would reappear with “Paint The World”. Are Symphonic Metal fans in for a treat? Definitely. Taking a slightly different approach with their sound, they mix male and female vocals throughout each song. Rather than harsh male vocals and softer female vocals, such as say EPICA, theirs offers the softer cleaner vocals from both for the most part. Vocals are by Cecilia Petrini and Stefano Sain. Their voices blend and complement each other beautifully.Did I mention the music yet? It’s very tightly and expertly done. From the epic opening of “Last Fall”, you will know what I mean. Along with the heavy hitter “Last Fall”, favorites included title track “Paint The World” with its excellent guitar riffs and vocal changes. “Roses & Thorns” had some unexpected and wonderful vocal tweaks along with some lovely piano. What beautiful ballads both the latter and “Our Angel” are. “Breakpoint” is one of several catchy tunes, containing some varied vocal and musical changes that suit it perfectly. My ultimate favorite was “Elua's Gift” with a heavy dose of Arabic influence.If you are a fan of NIGHTWISH, KAMELOT, EPICA, or Symphonic Metal in general, this is an album for you. As stated in the beginning of this review, it’s almost impossible to believe this is their first full length LP. As impressive as “Paint The World” is, I already can’t wait to see how they will top this. " - Metal Temple
    $13.00
  • Let me preface my observations of the CTTE remix by saying that I don’t put these classic albums on a pedestal.  If they can be sonically improved while remaining faithful to the original mix and maintaining musicality and the emotional content then I’m all for it.  In general I liked what Steven Wilson did with the King Crimson catalog.  I was particularly impressed by his reconstruction and resurrection of Lizard.  When I heard he was tackling the Yes catalog I was hopeful because if there was ever a band that could use some sonic wizardry its Yes.  Eddy Offord was never able to bring the magic to their mixes that he was able to give to ELP.So how did Steven Wilson do with CTTE?  I can only use one word to describe the new mix: “transformative”.  CTTE was an album cobbled together from various bits and pieces.  Its widely acknowledged to be the band’s best album (its certainly my opinion) but in terms of sonics it fell victim to the “too many cooks” syndrome.  The original mix was a bit of a mess.  Its all changed now.The one thing that is immediately apparent is the foundation provided by Chris Squire’s bass.  It reaches the pits of hell and if Mr. Wilson is going to take this approach with TFTO and Relayer he’s got my vote.  In general there is a veil of schmutz that has been wiped away.  All the instruments have more clarity and focus in the soundstage.  “I Get Up I Get Down” was chilling.  I found the soundstage consistently extended beyond the boundaries of my speakers.  The mix is warm, involving and there is a balance among the instruments that I found lacking in the original mix - primarily because of Squire’s bass being given a shot of adrenaline.  Jaw dropping stuff.  The bonus track of “America” had exceptional, dare I say audiophile sound.So the obvious question is - what sounds better - this mix or the SACD?  I dunno.  I can’t find my bloody SACD to compare…but here is my memory of the SACD.  When I got it I played it through.  It didn’t overwhelm me or disappoint me.  My thought was “its fine...it is what it is - this is the best it will ever sound in the digital domain”.  I was wrong.  BUY OR DIE!  FORMAT: 1 x CD/1 x Blu-RayCD:1  Close to the Edge2  And You And I3  Siberian KhatruBonus Tracks:4  America5  Close to the EdgeBlu-Ray:Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio– Album mixed in 5.1 Surround– New Album mix– Original Album  mix (flat transfer)– New Album mix (instrumental version)– America original, new & instrumental stereo mixes & 5.1 Surround + further audio extras some exclusive to Blu-Ray edition• Close to the Edge is the first in a series of remixed & expanded Yes Classics• The classic album has been mixed for 5.1 Surround Sound from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) & is fully approved by Yes.• CD features a completely new stereo album mix by Steven Wilson• CD also features a new mix of America• CD also features an early mix/assembly of Close to the Edge• Blu-Ray features 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround (24bit/96khz) mixed from the original multi-channel recordings.• Blu-Ray features the new stereo album mix in DTS-HD Master Audio (24bit/96khz).• Blu-Ray also features the original album mix & America in a DTS-HD Master Audio flat transfers from the original master tape source. (24bit/192khz)• Blu-Ray exclusively features instrumental versions of all new mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz).• Blu-Ray also exclusively features a needle-drop of an original UK vinyl A1/B1 pressing transferred in 24bit/96khz audio.• Numerous audio extras appear in high-resolution stereo including single edits & studio run throughs of album tracks• Original artwork by Roger Dean who has also overseen the artwork for this new edition• Presented as a mini vinyl replica gatefold card sleeve with booklet containing new sleeve notes, rare photos & archive material.“Close to the Edge” is the first in a series of expanded Yes editions including 5.1 Surround mixes, new stereo mixes & High-Resolution stereo mixes of the original music along with a wealth of extra material. Acclaimed musician/producer Steven Wilson has produced the new mixes with the approval of the band, while Roger Dean reprises his role as art director/designer of the newly issued edition, making this the definitive edition of the album.When Yes entered the studio with Eddie Offord to record the band’s fifth studio album in mid-1972, their second with this line-up, the band was on something of a roll. “Fragile”, the band’s previous album, had taken Yes to a new level of international popularity with Top Ten chart placement on both sides of the Atlantic & yielding a hit single in the USA with ‘Roundabout’. The band was now established in the major music markets to an extent that was, perhaps, unexpected given the complexity of the music Yes performed. But with that popularity came a confidence that the expansive material of the two previous albums could be taken a stage further with the new recording. Rather than consolidating, Yes chose to innovate.Recorded during lengthy sessions at London’s Advision Studios, “Close to the Edge” is that rarity in recorded music, the sound of a band & its individual members writing, playing and recording at the peak of their collective abilities. The album was issued in Autumn 1972 reaching chart highs & platinum sales status of  4 in the UK, 3 in the USA & 1 in Holland, though such statistics only hint at the worldwide popularity of the album over a period of more than four decades. The three pieces of music, the title track which spanned the entire first side of the vinyl album with ‘And You And I’ & ‘Siberian Khatru’ on side two, have remained concert favourites since release, with the 2013 Yes line-up currently in the middle of a world tour stretching into the middle of next year that sees the album performed in its entirety.The album remains the favourite among many of the band’s legion of fans, a defining recording both for the band & for the progressive rock movement. It is also one of the most successful British rock albums ever released.Since this release of “Close to the Edge” was confirmed, the various websites dedicated to Yes, Progressive rock & high-resolution audio have been very active with discussions among fans keen to hear the new mixes & the existing material in its purest audio presentation. 
    $21.00
  • "Synth supergroup Node return with their first new release since 1995! “Node 2” features three of the original members, maverick producer and sonic legend Flood, renowned producer and composer Ed Buller and classically trained Doctor of music Dave Bessell. The band are joined by new member, Hollywood composer Mel Wesson, who has most recently provided the soundscapes for Hans Zimmer’s run of blockbuster films. This extraordinary collective take time out from their high flying day jobs to indulge their secret passion for all things analogue. The result, “Node 2”, is the culmination of two recording sessions that took place over the last year and a half at Battery studios in London.Featuring what is quite possibly the largest collection of vintage analogue equipment that has been assembled in a studio in recent times, this quartet drag their favoured analogue tools, crackling and bleeping into the 21st century. Staying true to their roots the band improvised everything live and recorded straight to two track. The final result is edited down from the mass of material that was recorded but is otherwise presented as it was played, without the computer tidying up or overdubbing that has become part & parcel of most contemporary recordings.The resulting nine tracks range from the classic Berlin sequencing of Shinkansen East and West to the moody introspection of Dark Beneath The Earth. Along the way we are served up such unclassifiable treats as March Méchanique, which mixes martial rhythms with Arabic flavours and subtle sequencing, or the extraordinary No Signal which pushes sonic boundaries, mixing custom written physical modelling software with analogue microtones.Don’t miss this increasingly rare chance to hear what these legendary machines can do in the hands of experts. Presented with an extensive accompanying booklet that contains fascinating insights into the recording sessions and working methods “Node 2” is another must have release on the DiN label.""Saving the thought and history of the past yet with a reluctance to give up on the future Node produces music with incomparable penetration. The insistent force and haunting exploration of Node 2 (73'31") simply dazzles with its sonic power. Their second full-length release Node 2 is an album so ingenious, beautiful and complex the listener will marvel at the ceaseless musical invention of members Dave Bessell, Ed Buller, Mark Ellis (Flood) and Mel Wesson. The nine tracks deal with movement and instantaneity and may test the attention of the pedestrian listener amid such wandering forms - but for its power this music takes possession of us, much more than we may possess it. Node's arsenal of vintage gear, objects now of cult and mystic contemplation, offers vivid synthesized sonorities - the appeal lying not in Node's minimalist simplicity but in their ability to create intimate and cinematic listening experiences. Far from barren soundscapes their compositions should cause significant disturbances within the beaming Spacemusic enthusiast. Commanding sequencer patterns surge alongside sweeping chords and filtered electric guitar melodies - the mechanical rigidity somehow softened as it pumps up against tuneful leads. Disarmingly quiet passages reduce the level of density and energy with insinuating modulations and vaporous aural forces. The album pushes and pulls itself, expands and contracts, creating an interesting contour through various scenarios and scenes - to attain a rare unity. Node offers the audience an experience beyond information about the moment in which we live. Their work is more a metaphor for consciousness than it is a comment on our most immediate reality. This frontier will never be closed, so long as groups such as Node are out there exploring." - Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END  
    $9.00
  • "An intriguing Symphonic Metal mix here, Germany’s NEOPERA began under the foundation of DARK AGE guitarist Jörn Schubert in 2010, slowly assembling all the right components to see his ideas come to life. Many of you will know Dirk Schlächter from his work in GAMMA RAY, as well as drummer André Schumann as he also is a member of DARK AGE. The inclusion of three distinct voices- one male who handles the heavier/ shouting elements, while the opera parts get divided between a male baritone and a female soprano – makes these 12 tracks more than a mere NIGHTWISH knockoff, and more in line with what you would expect on a KAMELOT or THERION release.The opener “The Marvel of Chimera” has an interesting country fiddle lick that transforms into this heavier electric burst, very much in line with latter day KAMELOT – as all three vocalists get a chance to trade off in voice and verses, quite a potent starter to easily gain the listeners attention. Keyboards do take center stage at times in terms of the musical hook department – check out “Remote” as the guitars circle and swarm against the multi-level melodies and shouting vocals, another stunner in the sense that musically the back and forth Power parts swirl against the building and falling Symphonic elements. It wouldn’t be a Symphonic album of course without some tender Ballad action – so expect “Falling Water” and “Last Pantomime” to give you the slower, emotional moments, the latter working better to my ears as a true ‘power ballad’, and some great melody action from Thorsten in his comfortable lower register.What makes NEOPERA very appealing is their bursts of heaviness, straddling the lines of Power and Melodic Death on a shorter song like “Song of Revenge” – and then being musically exhilarating on a straightforward arrangement such as the title cut, where you will hear a lead break that is brilliant and shred worthy all the same. At 12 tracks and 52 minutes, “Destined Ways” has just enough versatility to gain credibility through multiple genres of metal – yet never wear out its welcome.Let’s hope this is not a one-off project and could transform into a multiple album/ live act, as these Germans have the goods to go places." - Metal Temple
    $11.00
  • 2 CD of the band's final gig. Essentially the soundtrack to the CD.
    $14.00
  • "Swedish band, Brighteye Brison's roots date back to 2000. The band includes founding member, keyboardist, saxophonist, percussion and vocalist Linus Kåse and bassist, vocalist and fellow Stockholm Royal College of Music alum Kristofer Eng. Erik Hammarstrom provides drums. Guitarist Johan Öijen helped to complete the original band line-up. Following the release of their debut album, sound engineer, keyboardist and vocalist Per Hallman joined the band to add Hammond B3 and mellotron to the soundscape. Fioge Norling provides narration, and Daniel Kase adds marimba and tubular bells. In addition, the band's sound also includes the use of trumpet, mandolin, theremin, and xylophone to provide a rich and captivating soundscape which showcases their virtuoso talent.Brighteye Brison actually has a sound which originates more from a Flower Kings background, than any direct interpretation of Yes. Many fans of the TFK's have been yearning for a reunion and this album may provide some relief until that event culminates…if ever.I've added this band to my 'watch list'. Excellent music played by talented musicians with a sound that is full of orchestration and diverse instrumentation.1. The Rise of Brighteye Brison opens this spectacular symphonic, space, epic with full on keyboards that take me right back to a melody similar to the opening of Jethro Tull's "Black Sunday" on the "A" album. Then some cool mellotron accents coupled with drums adding to the advertised similarities to Yes' and other prog classics. A great foundation for a splendid twenty three minute epic. Harmony vocals are added to provide even more reminders of the Yes sound without sounding anything like a cover band. The vocals and keyboards are definitely the "bread and butter" for this band's sound and if you like both, this band will not disappoint. The guitar and bass work which enters later provides nuance and adds to the melody, but it's the keys that truly dazzle throughout. The drums are solid and the story and melody move along on a well-planned arc of consciousness. This twenty three minute journey of the mind is full of good lyrics and wonderful harmonies and music.The drum solo section provides a great showcase for Hammarstrom's talents. The sax solos teamed with mellotron add to the ambiance within this lush epic. The Conclusion section of the song brings back memories of the early "Phil Collins Era" of the band Genesis.Off to a fantastic start.2. The Magician's Cave opens with jazzy piano and drums accented with keyboard highlights, followed well with guitar, before lead vocals from the "Brave Knight", "Have you heard the tale of wonder? There's magic in the hills, that's why I'm going". The track then proceeds off on a "Middle Earth" – like journey, with narration, surrounded by piano that sounds inspired by some of the work on Genesis' famous "Lamb" album. The narration and musical theater which ensues is a great tip of the hat to the legendary writers of the past.The guitar solo which follows with bass support is one of the best guitar sections on the album. The addition of the percussion and sax provides mystery as this second, over twelve minute epic story weaves its tale.The choral singing and chanting surrounded by keys, mellotron, guitar and drums adds to the haunting sound that fills this track.3. Mind Fire Menace opens with keyboards, drums, bass and lead guitar before the singing begins. This is the shortest of the tracks but it is full of excellent keyboards, guitar, surrounding orchestration and drums." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $16.00
  • "The Chicago Transit Authority recorded this double-barreled follow-up to their eponymously titled 1969 debut effort. The contents of Chicago II (1970) underscore the solid foundation of complex jazz changes with heavy electric rock & roll that the band so brazenly forged on the first set. The septet also continued its ability to blend the seemingly divergent musical styles into some of the best and most effective pop music of the era. One thing that had changed was the band's name, which was shortened to simply Chicago to avoid any potential litigious situations from the city of Chicago's transportation department -- which claimed the name as proprietary property. Musically, James Pankow (trombone) was about to further cross-pollinate the band's sound with the multifaceted six-song "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon." The classically inspired suite also garnered the band two of its most beloved hits -- the upbeat pop opener "Make Me Smile" as well as the achingly poignant "Color My World" -- both of which remained at the center of the group's live sets. Chicago had certainly not abandoned its active pursuit of blending high-octane electric rockers such as "25 or 6 to 4" to the progressive jazz inflections heard in the breezy syncopation of "The Road." Adding further depth of field is the darker "Poem for the People" as well as the politically charged five-song set titled "It Better End Soon." These selections feature the band driving home its formidable musicality and uncanny ability to coalesce styles telepathically and at a moment's notice. The contributions of Terry Kath (guitar/vocals) stand out as he unleashes some of his most pungent and sinuous leads, which contrast with the tight brass and woodwind trio of Lee Loughnane (trumpet/vocals), Walter Parazaider (woodwinds/vocals), and the aforementioned Pankow. Peter Cetera (bass/vocals) also marks his songwriting debut -- on the final cut of both the suite and the album -- with "Where Do We Go from Here." It bookends both with at the very least the anticipation and projection of a positive and optimistic future. Potential consumers should note the unsurpassed sound quality and deluxe packaging of the 2002 CD remaster." - Allmusic Guide
    $9.00
  • New Italian band fronted by the zaftig beauty Sara Squadrani. The music avoids gothic trappings, instead going right for the jugular of Nightwish and Rhapsody fans. Definitely more of a power metal vibe with neoclassical overtones - more than once I was reminded of Symphony X as the members of this six piece are not afraid to show off their virtuosity. Its been a while since Rhapsody really exploded on the scene emphasizing overblown symphonic arrangements - we all take it for granted these days. Here is a band doing something similar and doing it well.
    $14.00
  • "First time ever CD release in Europe of "Canterbury" - Diamond Head's third album . Recorded and released in 1983, reached Number 32 on the UK Album Chart. Diamond Head are a British heavy metal band formed in 1976 in Stourbridge, England. Re-release includes bonus tracks: extended version of "Makin' Music", 1 live track plus an interview. New digipak edition, limited to numerated 2000 copies."
    $15.00
  • "Just under two years ago, at ProgPower USA 2012, the first single and video for the new track “Web of Lies” was premiered. Now all the blood, sweat ,and tears that Halcyon Way put into what would become the next album “Conquer” has finally come to fruition. Shortly after the release of the EP “IndoctriNation,” the seeds of “Conquer” were sown. Since that release and the last full-length album “Building the Towers,” the band went through a couple of lineup changes. However, the core remained the same and the end result is a testament to the will of guitarist Jon Bodan, vocalist Steve Braun, and drummer Ernie Topran’s unyielding desire to succeed. “Conquer” is by far the best offering from the band, incorporating a depth of influences that cross genres to the point where you can only call it “progressive.”There is much more to the concept of “Conquer” than the underlying message. Where there has always been great maturity and strength in the songwriting, the band has incorporated some of the most muscular riffs in its history, making this release by far its heaviest material recorded to date. Melody mongers need not fret, as the soulful whims of a hard rock band lurk deep inside the madness. The best way to describe the performance on “Conquer” is “armor-plated Saigon Kick with industrial tentacles.” Knowing much of the influences that each member brings into the fold, I can easily envision a death match where the old hard rock roots being pummeled and distorted by the modern meat mallets of Monster Magnet and Samael.The title track paves the way with Braun’s impassioned chanting equipped with sharpened blades. It’s a nasty little combination that leaves him open to take it in any direction. For tracks like “Conceived in Torment” and “Hatred is My Cause,” Braun ratchets up the edges aided by Bodan’s death grunts for lethal brutality. Lessor “evisceration” comes in the form of “Home” and two of the album’s most expressive tunes “Save Your Tears” and “The Poisoned Apple.” At no time does the album succumb to that programmed standard album formula: heavy, heavy, mid-paced, power ballad, heavy. It has too many moving parts that keep the sound fresh and modern.Some of the strongest offerings come in the relentless attack riffs in “World Comes Undone,” the equally destructive but faster paced “King of Ruin,” and the on par closer “Eviscerate the Morning Sun.” Personal favorites include the long released “Web of Lies” and its “you can’t hold me back” chant, and the brilliant modern metal classic “Militant,” which is the aggregate of what you will hear on the entire release. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the production and sound aspects of “Conquer” can be summed up with the same two words that have graced many a review from yours truly in 2014: Lasse Lammert. I shall not further expound upon this man’s knob turning talent any more than has been stated in the past.“Conquer” may have been the logical choice for an album title. You can point to the many themes throughout the lyrics and extract all sorts of meaningful impressions. However, the true meaning of “Conquer” is that Halcyon Way has struck a chord of near perfection with an in fallible modern metal sound, which keeps the listener off guard with the unexpected…yet ironically with the same comfort level expected from a band with the maturation, talent, and songwriting ability of 13 year veterans." - Metal Underground
    $12.00
  • "My first experience with Edge Of Paradise dates to 2011. I've listened to a lot of music since then, so my recollection is a little cloudy. That may be a good thing as I approach the band's first full-length album, Immortal Waltz, now signed to Germany's Pure Rock Records.Largely what I do recall is that the focus of Edge Of Paradise revolves around guitarist Dave Bates and vocalist Margarita Monet. He works with layers of dense sharp riffs coupled with leads that vary from neo-classical to pure rock. Monet has a nearly Olympic vocal approach. She's not one of those operatic singers. Yet she can voice the same, along with rock to something more atmospheric and ethereal. For the music EoP works from the base melodic heavy metal infused with a rock groove, and then adds the former elements for this large bombastic presentation. To be fair, four of the songs are from the Perfect Shade of Black EP released in October 2014: the title track, In A Dream, Ghost, and Break Away. But unless you have that EP, this tidbit matters little. The band also covers the Sabbath song, Children of the Sea, with some success.There's a lot to like about this album, simply because of the Bates/Monet approach to songwriting. I can honestly say I enjoyed every song here, thanks to the ease which heaviness and groove are blended together. Yet several songs stood out more than others. First, there's the pair of It's My Show and Immortal Waltz where EoP brings this feeling of theater, possibly some side show, and a little burlesque to their sound. The latter song may even suggest a waltz theme or motif to your ears. Another fine tune is In A Dream, which has this combination of riff density and soaring atmosphere thanks to the vocals.Also, a favorite was Ghost; it's not unlike In A Dream, but more ethereal at the start, only to become massive in riffage in crescendo. Finally, Rise For The Fallen, an anthem of sorts, seemed the song with most groove with Bates' riffs blasting throughout. But this song, like so many others here, displays the chink in the EoP's armor. For all her vocal calisthenics, Monet is difficult to understand. Her voice and style certainly compliment the EoP sound, but you'll want to have the lyrics handy if you want do understand anything she sings. Nevertheless, and overall, Edge Of Paradise's Immortal Waltz is interesting and entertaining melodic heavy metal that will keep you listening. Recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00