Soul Temptation

SKU: 144372
Label:
Metal Blade
Category:
Power Metal
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Fine new release from this German power metal band featuring Andy Franck on vocals. The music is heavy but extremely melodic. This is real power metal but not in a slick Euro-way....it has an US power metal feel. So I guess the way to differentiate between Andy's two bands are this - Brainstorm heavy as hell, Symphorce melodic as hell.

Metal Blade is trying something new, pricing this full length release at a mid-price point.

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  • "I have often likened being an author for an online music webzine as similar to being a treasure hunter, we sift through hours of detritus trying to find that gem of music composition that strikes a chord and has meaning, unlike the bubblegum pop of the mainstream world where it is all about money and marketing. True, the music that we champion and review may have little commercial success but, for the artist, this is the culmination of many hours of soul searching and downright hard work.These little gems of music are what I live for as a reviewer and, when you get a surprise release from out of the blue that simply knocks your socks clean off then, it makes it all worthwhile and puts a huge smile on my face.  That sensation of the hairs standing on the nape of my neck started again when I first heard Anton Roolaart’s new release ‘The Plight of Lady Oona’. This time, it wasn’t my discovery, this record was sent my way by Lady Obscure herself and, upon seeing the album cover, I was immediately hooked, as you should know by now, I’m always a sucker for an impressive album sleeve (showing my age there). As I worked my way through multiple listens, it wasn’t just the cover that impressed me.Anton Roolaart is a Dutch artist who lives in America, he has one previous album release, ‘Dreamer’ in 2007. Anton’s music is said to portray the quintessence of melodic progressive rock accompanied with lush orchestration, and this new release is certain to capture the listener’s attention once again. He does this with the help of some talented friends and musicians including Vinnie Puryear, Kendall Scott, Pieter van Hoorn, Rave Tesar and Michael Frasche. Renaissance’s Annie Haslam provides additional vocals on the title track. All songs were composed and produced by Anton with the help of co-producer Rave.You are immediately drawn into Anton’s lush cinemascapes and soundscapes with the brilliant Gravity, gentle, lush instrumentation accompanied by a plaintive vocal infuses the music with a sci-fi feeling, future music if you like. The relaxed yet uplifting tempo is central to the pathos of the track, it is atmospheric with the textured keyboards central to everything. There are hints of 70’s progressive rock in the slow, measured moog solo but, to these ears, it is a song that is set in the stars and the emptiness of space.Stars Fall Down is introduced by a lilting piano and breaking vocal, when the keyboards and laid back drums slip into place it has a real synth pop ethos. That 80’s feel is emphasised by the organ and catching vocal that increases in power as the track runs on. Another song that is food for a healthy intellect, another nice touch is the pared back, distorted solo that gives a smooth, ambient haze to the proceedings. This guy has more than one string to his impressive bow.If you are after an atmospheric, multi-faceted prog epic full of wonderful melodies, plot turns and structures then, look no further than title track The Plight of Lady Oona. Flute and acoustic guitar drift in with the mist at the beginning of the song, a folk influenced vocal and piano carry on the ambience as the tale begins. There are multiple influences at play here that Anton moulds into his own unique sound around which, the addition of Annie Haslam’s dulcet tones is a clever touch. The mood take son a definitive 70’s Yes edge with the catchy guitar and expressive bass underscoring an urgent keyboard that ramps up the pace, a spiralling, complex guitar adds another layer of sophistication along with a fulsome organ and minstrel-like guitar. The interlude that follows, full of mystery and opaqueness, is leading the way for Annie’s refined and exquisite vocal. This part of the song is poignant and full of feeling as, eventually, Annie and Anton join forces to deliver an uplifting vocal experience followed by some delightful piano and exquisite guitar work which blossoms into an impressive instrumental section where church organ, soaring keyboards and chiming guitar all contribute to a smorgasbord of musical delight. That mediaeval minstrel effect returns at the end of the song with a short vocal and extended acoustic guitar section that John Williams would be proud of, this is a precise and complicated track that is delivered with verve and aplomb, sublime.There is a darker intensity to Standing in the Rain, it is ominous, evoking a dystopian spirit. The vocal delivery is heightened and impassioned, the guitar riffs are momentous and deep lying and the percussion is moody and profound. The violin touches are vivid and the song cuts through you like a knife, holding you in its hypnotic stare, unable to break free as the mesmerising guitar solo slowly works its way into your psyche.After the potent tension of the previous track, instrumental Memoires is a musical breath of fresh air, dainty and enchanting. The acoustic guitar dances around your mind before a luscious piano makes your heart sing. The heavenly keyboards and ululating guitar join forces to bring a lustre of hope to all around, a real ‘feel good track’ to my ears.This piquant treat for aural receptors comes to a close with The Revealing Light and, at the beginning it is rather enigmatic and secretive and a very slow burner. The flute sound signals the start of something as the cryptic vocals begin, ardent and fervid, backed by a distorted, acid guitar. Lush, electronic keyboard notes envelop you in their embrace as the song takes a psychedelic turn, all Sgt Pepper in its tone. Things change with a twisting, coruscating note delivered by a melancholic guitar  and the solemn drum beat giving a sober feel to the track as a sombre voice over closes out the album with just about the right feel.‘The Plight of Lady Oona’ is an album that gives up its delights bit by bit, there is no instant gratification on offer here, if you are prepared to invest time in the music it will deliver a cornucopia of musical delights. Anton Roolaart is a name to look out for, my first introduction to his music has been an intensive and incredibly impressive one and, it won’t be my last." - Lady Obscure
    $12.00
  • "Finnish power metallers BURNING POINT are an active part of the European Metal scene since the late 90's. Led by mastermind Pete Ahonen, the band has released five studio albums since then, all to critical acclaim. In 2014, Ahonen (who was responsible for vocals and guitars) asked former Battle Beast singer Nitte Valo to join the band as new vocalist. Now the first album with Nitte has been recorded: simply titled 'Burning Point', the CD includes five brand new songs and six BURNING POINT classics in re-recorded versions. It's inevitable to realize that Nitte's presence and unmistakable voice adds the special something to the already established band. BURNING POINT are now bursting of power and motivation. Also, sonically 'Burning Point' is the best sounding album the band has released so far. And seeing this promising new constellation, it is just the beginning with much more to come…"
    $15.00
  • "Progressive Power Metal was a genre popularized by titans such as ICED EARTH and NEVERMORE, combining the technicality, speed and fantastical lyrics of power, and the complexity and maturity of Prog. TRAGODIA, a Progressive Power Metal band from Italy, have proved once again why the genre is in such a strong position in the metal world, and why it is nigh-faultless. Writing music that exudes heavy influence from the aforementioned bands, TRAGODIA add their own brand of catchiness and groove to make it their own. After all, the whole point of a progressive band is to be progressive and push genre boundaries.Their new album, "Mythmaker", contains almost all of the great qualities of such an album: it's heavy, it's melodic, it's progressive, it's catchy, it's heavy, it's groovy, it's…  Heavy. It is by no means calm and jazzy, such as some of the work from the penultimate DREAM THEATER. In the mixing, the heavily over-driven guitars, and the drums, are at the forefront, adding vertebrae to the heavyweight backbone that drives this album. "A Cry Among the Stars", the opening, and one of my favorite song on the album, begins with an epic buildup reminiscent of SERENITY, cuts in with riffage worthy of neck snapping headbanging which paves the way for verses that contain an obvious DREAM THEATER note of trippy syncopation. Lucas Meloni, proves to have some vocal versatility, often switching between majestic, powerful notes, and Thrash-like yells. The twin guitarists have already proven, in the song's solo, that they are capable of an incredible dual-axe attack. "The Oracle" is one of the heaviest tracks on the album with crushing riffage all around, supplemented by guitar harmony that is on a Scandinavian level; best solo on the album, and there are many to choose from. "A Temple in Time" is a relatively chilled-out track in comparison, with an incredibly catchy guitar / keyboard harmony. I am hearing a lot of old FIREWIND in this track. The next track, "Wisdom in the Meadows of Sorrow" comes across as a highly versatile track, combining riffage reminiscent of AMON AMARTH, and the wails of JUDAS PRIEST; overall, this creates an incredibly driving track. "Tidal Waves of Greatness" is exactly that; smooth, yet anxious transitions between acoustic passages and grandiose and dramatic choruses. "Once In Arcadia" is another dominating heavyweight with riffage that is not only devastating, but also extremely catchy; very reminiscent of IN FLAMES; another standout track for me. "The Stone and the Idol" is the longest track on the record, though only capping out at 6:21. It starts with an allusion to yet even more epicenes with a tasteful symphonic intro, and leads into extremely groovy riffage, and ends with the best outro riff on the entire record."Born Under Niobe" may be constituted as the heaviest track, which is definitely saying something. The song begins with a downright battery and harsh, thrashy vocals, and riffage so heavy that leaves your brain pulsing with the force of the kicks. The chorus' vocal melody is extremely catchy, and Meloni proves his excellent vocal capabilities. It leaves you completely unprepared for a repeat of the previous bombard, and soon we hear a classic gallop passage that leaves one with the urge to windmill the beards off that the song has just made us grow. "Mythmaker" is an interesting track, opening with an unexpected tapping bass solo that paves the way for some pounding, driving groove riffage that constitutes the majority of the song, and leads seamlessly into the fantastic instrumental, "The Weeping Rock Of Seriphus". Arguably, this song doubles as both an outro and an extension of "Mythmaker", concluding the album in a dramatic, lengthy fashion. Finally, the bonus track, "Downfall Of The Ancients"; I struggle to see why this song was left out as a bonus track, for it most definitely deserves to be on the record. The atmospheric keyboard tracking is absolutely gorgeous, and complements the song very fittingly; with the rugged vocal work, combines to make a highly engaging track.To sum up this work of metal mastery, TRAGODIA are simply one of the reasons Progressive and Power Metal are my two favorite genres of Metal, and do their home country of Italy proud; absolutely deserving of more publicity, and I believe would make an unforgettable live performance." - Metal Temple
    $14.00
  • "This 1970 release "climbed" to #17 with the classics Mississippi Queen and Theme from an Imaginary Western . Also includes an unreleased live version of the Woodstock ode For Yasgur's Farm !"
    $8.00
  • Redemption is one of the leading progressive metal bands in the world today.  Formed in Los Angeles, California in 2000 by guitarist / keyboardist / songwriter Nicolas van Dyk, the band features legendary progressive metal vocalist Ray Alder of Fates Warning, as well as guitarist Bernie Versailles (Agent Steel), and the phenomenal rhythm section of Chris Quirarte (drums) and Sean Andrews (bass).Redemption’s combination of heaviness not usually found in progressive metal, irresistible melodies and emotional urgency has created a unique and resonant voice for this band that sets them apart from the many clones in the genre, and which has gained them the attention of fans, critics and musicians.Through the band’s first three studios CDs (2002s self-titled first release, 2005’s The Fullness of Time, and 2007’s The Origins of Ruin), Redemption gained a loyal fanbase and garnered rave reviews worldwide from critics, who describe Redemption’s music as“one of the best progressive metal acts to emerge in the past decade” – DPRP“magical aura and incredible songwriting” – BLABBERMOUTH“it's powerful, catchy, enslaving, technical; it's the whole bunch” – LORDS OF METAL“the new star on the US prog-metal sky” – SQUEALER ROCKSAfter touring in support of Dream Theater and documenting at headlining show at tour’s end entitled Frozen in the Moment, the band returned to the studio to release 2009’s Snowfall on Judgment Day and 2011’s This Mortal Coil.Performing in support of that record, in 2012 Redemption co-headlined the world-famous ProgPower Festival in Atlanta, where the band recorded a unique show featuring nearly 80 minutes of material and staged with complementary visuals that drive home the compelling emotional impact of this band.   That performance is now being released as a CD/DVD set with additional bonus material through Sensory Records, the band’s original label.  From fan favorites such as the never-before-performed Parker’s Eyes to the crushing emotional weight of Stronger than Death, Redemption’s performance captured the special ability of its music to deeply connect with fans.  In the words of one concert-goer, Redemption’s show “was definitely the most exhausting, personal and emotional musical experience I’ve ever had.” 
    $17.00
  • Latest from this Greek/German power metal band. Mystic Prophecy are heavier than most in the genre but are surprisingly melodic. The music takes on a thrash feel in spots but the excellent vocals of R.D. Liapakis always steers everything back to the melodic side. I'm a prog guy but even I was really impressed by this. Apparently they are getting more and more popular so I am apparently not alone. This special edition digipak comes with a bonus disc with studio and live tracks.
    $17.00
  • Nice stop gap release until their third album comes out. This features 3 tracks that were previously exclusive to Japan, 1 track from the upcoming album as well as an unreleased tune. There is also a video for "Time To Rock".
    $8.00
  • Now here is a beautiful slice of contemporary progressive rock.  Anubis is an underrated band from Australia - bands down under don't seem to get the attention they deserve.  Hitchhiking is their third full length album.  2011's A Tower Of Silence was a big hit around here and frankly when it arrived it came as a huge surprise.  This long awaited follow up reinforces that the prog rock world needs to take notice.  The music has a cinematic Floyd-like feel.  Vocals from Robert James Moulding are emotion driven and have plenty of impact.  This is not a band who's music is filled with tons of soloing but what's here is solid.  In other words this is not old school prog - its very forward thinking but with a modern sound.  Highly recommended."I have long dreamt of an Australian progressive rock album that would inspire me to click the repeat button, in order to drift through its world all over again, and I am happy to declare that Hitchhiking to Byzantium has been on constant rotation for weeks at this point. Bringing an enchanting blend of Floydian melancholy and the energy of Rush to the table, Anubis have come to stake their claim as heavyweights in the Oz scene with their third opus.Whilst being equally impressed with their 2011 album A Tower of Silence (which I have only just heard recently also), I have found myself returning to Byzantium more to explore the subtle nuances contained within the album’s ten tracks. ‘Fadeout’ as an opening diddy is like riding a gentle breeze for just a short while before being swept up in all the drama and opulence of ‘A King with No Crown’, a reference quality track on every level, cinematic in scope and full of drama and tension and certainly an inspired choice as opening single for the album. ‘Dead Trees’ is a classic prog cut with all the bells and whistles sporting a vocal performance that harkens to a young James Labrie and a chorus that will have you by the balls from the first time you hear it.I mentioned a notable influence from Floyd and Rush earlier, but if I was to be honest, I would love to ask them if they are fans of American prog band Tiles and those wonderful Brits Anathema, because both bands are called to mind on this album amongst others like Sweden’s Anekdoten. The title track is a sublime centrepiece and features a plaintive aura that is sent soaring when spine-tingling female backing vocals lace the chorus. It’s so hard to choose a favourite song when they are all so filled with creamy goodness, but any of these three  - ‘Blood is Thicker than Common Sense’ (a seductive groover), ‘Tightening of the Screws’ (a majestic slice of melancholia reminiscent of early The Pineapple Thief) or ‘Partitionists’ (a lyrical and musical marvel) - could easily take the title for this humble listener.The final triptych features dark drama in ‘Crimson Stained Romance’, a song that reminded me most of a classic Floyd epic, the 15+ minute ‘A Room with a View’, which is nothing short of a sweeping symphony of moods and tones and the closing ‘Silent Wandering Ghosts’ sounds exactly like its title would suggest, haunting and transcendent with an outro to die for.These seven talented lads are a gifted lot, with every performance of outstanding quality, enhanced by a jaw-dropping production that let’s every instrument tell its own little story and play its part in this emotionally resonant work that as the band state themselves: "I feel that there's more of us in there - the hurdles that life throws at us and the only way to feel true inner peace - by examining the love around you. It's certainly an introspective record - but it's real life. It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us. Hitchhiking to Byzantium. That journey is life."And somehow I believe them." - Loud Mag
    $15.00
  • Third album from this orchestral prog band, recorded in 1971. This remastered edition comes with six bonus tracks and new liner notes.
    $11.00
  • Second solo album from the legendary RTF bassist, originally released in 1974. Its a burning set featuring Jan Hammer and Tony Williams. Oh yeah...a guy name Bill Connors is playing guitar and going off his nut.
    $5.00
  • This is the limited special edition that is not being released in North America.  It features two bonus tracks and is housed in a gatefold CD wallet.AMARANTHE, the fast-rising modern metal sextet, will release their sophomore album, 'The Nexus', on March 26th via Spinefarm Records.Produced by Jacob Hansen (whose credits include Volbeat, Dreamshade & Ginger Wildheart, and who worked on Amaranthe's 2011 self-titled debut), 'The Nexus' sees the Swedish/Danish outfit further honing a musical style that blends cutting-edge melodic metal with soaring pop melodies, the whole thing topped off by a unique three-vocal attack.Says guitarist and band co-founder Olof Morck: "The moment has come to let loose 'The Nexus' on an unsuspecting world! This time we went all the way with our futuristic dream-nightmare - a no-compromise vision steeped in deep contrast between the mechanically ultra-heavy and shimmering serene melody. 'The Nexus' is everything we dreamed about doing with our debut album; we laboured to make this offering as diverse as it is direct and catchy. and remember, no-one can be told what 'The Nexus' is - you have to hear it for yourself!"
    $13.00
  • Limited ediiton with O-card slipcase.  Comes with multitrack versions of 3 songs that you can remix on your own."I have an odd history with this band, first being introduced to them through their debut album Sanctus Ignis, which was described to me as Symphony X, only not quite as good. I agree with that statement, but the next material I heard from this band was this, Archangels In Black, which is so dramatically different from their debut album that I was wondering what the hell happened to them. So I went on a journey through the rest of their discography in order to discover what had happened. The style in this album is very heavy. Much heavier than their first two albums, and maybe just a bit more so than their previous recording, Dominate. It has more death metal growling and dark, crunchy riffs, whereas their first two albums were very neo-classical, symphonic, and progressive with lots of piano usage and more progressive elements. Previously, it may have sounded like Symphony X, but now they have turned in a whole new direction, towards what I would consider to be progressive/power metal with melodic death elements thrown in for effect.What really entrances me about this album – and make no mistake, it’s a great album – is how the softer bits and orchestral parts are woven so tightly around the raw power of the rest of it. The atmosphere of this album is really dark, gothic, and creepy; the orchestral arrangements really enhance that atmosphere and provide an excellent balance between heavy and light while still maintaining that atmosphere. This, my friends, is some top-notch song writing. I’ve heard a lot of people knocking this album, saying it should have been better, but I really don’t agree with that. It’s a great improvement over Dominate, though I suppose it could be longer.Of course, albums are judged by their songs rather than their overall sound. “Vamphyri” is the explosive opener as well as the chosen single for this particular album which you’ll understand the moment you hear this song; it begins with a very heavy riff building up into a scream/growl from Christian Palin (whom incidently is my favorite Adagio singer so far) that immediately tells you this is some seriously heavy metal and not for the faint of heart. Vamphyri is definitely one of the better songs from this with a great melody and chorus that is sooo much fun to sing; this song should be very pleasing to power metal fans.“Fear Circus” is another noteworthy track, as it is the only music video from this album. It’s got a very cool groove that makes it easy to fall in love with. Actually the part of this song that captivated me the most was the middle section when the metal backs off and the orchestra comes in with a rather haunting melody that leads into a fantastic keyboard/guitar solo. “Undead” is also a great song, with a very well done piano solo introduction which is actually kind of misleading, because when the metal part kicks in it does so with an immediate and not even remotely subtle bang. The melo-death growls are very prevalent in this song, more so than most of the other songs; while I’m not a huge fan of melodic death metal, I don’t mind it as much when they are used sparingly in collaboration with normal vocals mostly for effect; Adagio has really managed to find a good balance in this album. “Codex Oscura” is the epic here, and it’s quite good, combining an orchestral opening with creepy atmospheric effects, memorable melodies, and exciting dynamic changes.For the most part, all but one song is great: “Twilight at Dawn”. It starts off well enough, but around the two minute mark it introduces the chorus, which is the least melodic chorus and the least enjoyable of the album. It’s not bad, but it repeats over and over again more than any chorus really should. With all the repetition of death grunting, it just gets old (though I think a melo – death metal fan would be able to appreciate it more).Overall, Archangels In Black is a great album, and the band’s finest to date. Adagio has managed to create a unique sound and make it their own. The orchestrations they use are some of the best I have heard on any metal album (Blind Guardian’s At The Edge Of Time might have a slight edge), and with it, they’ve managed to produce something special. Honestly, with the constant vocal lineup changes (three singers in four albums), I’m amazed they have managed to stay as consistent as they have. This is one incredibly talented group of Frenchmen, and I can’t wait to see what they bring out next." - Black Wind Metal
    $12.00