Specter, Fate & Fable

SKU: MP-02CD
Label:
Private Release
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Second album from this New York based prog trio.  The band is heavily influenced by early period Rush but elements of Yes and Kansas pop up as well.  The album highlight is the near 18 minute epic "The Eternal Spring".

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  • Recorded on the 2009-2010 tour, with Rob Moratti on vocals.  A complete live run through of the Heads Or Tales album.
    $11.00
  • Third album from this German retro-prog outfit.  A few seconds into the lead off 21 minute title track and you know you are taking a trip down memory lane.  The album is filled with enough old school keyboard sounds to embarass Tony Banks.  The main cog in the Argos wheel is keyboardist Thomas Klarmann, who also handles fute, bass, lead vocals.  He plays a mean Hammond organ and knows how to squeeze the right sounds out of a Mellotron as well.Genesis is one of the touchstone influences but you will also hear nods to Canterbury, Gentle Giant, VDGG, and hosts more (if you can think of 'em they are here).  These guys aren't going to win any originality contests but it sure is great ear candy.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • "It has been an eventful year or so in the world of Haken. In September 2013, the sextet released what can only be described as a masterpiece of progressive music in the form of their third album, the magnificent ‘The Mountain’. This album received almost universal critical acclaim upon its release and even led to interest from the likes of Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Transatlantic) and Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess. In the case of the former, it led to an invitation to play the inaugural ‘Progressive Nation At Sea’, but thanks to both ringing endorsements, the door to the American market has opened more widely of late. And if that wasn’t enough, Haken recently received no less than three nominations in the Progressive Music Awards, quite an achievement for a band so relatively young.However, with the smooth, also comes the rough and almost immediately following the release of this ‘breakthrough’ album, bassist Tom MacLean announced his departure from Haken. An apparently amicable split, it was nevertheless a hurdle that had to be overcome at a point when the largest wave of the band’s career was about to be crested. An international audition invitation was extended and, following an extensive search, a young American by the name of Conner Green was assimilated into the Haken collective. Welcome sir!In many ways, ‘Restoration’ a three-track EP is as much a bedding-in of their new colleague as it is an opportunity to maintain the momentum created by ‘The Mountain’ whilst a new full-length album is brought to life. That said, to consider ‘Restoration’ a stop-gap is disingenuous in the extreme. It may only contain three tracks, but when the three tracks last well over half an hour and sound this good, who cares?The three compositions that make up this EP are very loosely based on tracks from the bands 2007/08 demo days, thoroughly re-envisioned, re-worked and re-produced in order to reflect the changing personnel and the experience gained since the demos were originally written. The result is, frankly, stunning.Whilst it took me a good many spins and many hours of effort to get fully submerged into the world of ‘The Mountain’, the music on ‘Restoration’ is much more immediate to these ears. No less complex and challenging of course, but for some reason, the music has ‘clicked’ much more quickly here.The EP opens up with ‘Darkest Light’, (Official video below) an energetic track that ably demonstrates the up-tempo and powerful side of Haken well. It’s an agile composition too that alters pace and timing signatures seemingly at will and pulls in influences from everyone from Dream Theater to Meshuggah. The latter is primarily due to the impressive combination of Ray Hearne’s powerful drumming, the chunky guitar tones courtesy of Charlie Griffiths and Richard Henshall and Green’s intricate bass work. Importantly however, the song is never derivative and contains everything you now expect from a band at the height of their powers. It’s a piece of music that oozes class but also offers that touch of playful cheekiness that has become synonymous with the Haken sound.‘Earthlings’ is a completely different proposition entirely. For my money, its closest reference point would be ‘Deathless’ from ‘Visions’ in so far as it is a much more introspective track with real atmosphere and a quiet, brooding intensity that is utterly beguiling. The melodies are much more immediate, much more pronounced and the whole thing builds beautifully and stubbornly towards a fulfilling climax that pushes all the right buttons.The undisputed star of the show however, is ‘Crystallised’. At over 19 minutes, it offers a return of the Haken ‘epic’, joining the likes of ‘Visions’ and ‘Celestial Elixir’ in an already formidable armoury. If anything, ‘Crystallised’ may be even better than the aforementioned, thereby easily taking its place among the very best that Haken has ever created.First and foremost, the sheer ambition is staggering. The composition begins unassumingly enough but quickly reveals a more grandiose underbelly thanks to some lush orchestral arrangements. From then on, the gloves well and truly come off and Haken take us on a wondrous journey full of twists and turns, light and shade, lengthy and dextrous instrumental segments and gorgeous melodies that stay with you long after the music has ended.There are echoes of those Gentle Giant influences and nods towards ‘Cockroach King’ et al in some of the a capella segments as well as hints of ‘Pareidolia’ at other times, thanks to that by now familiar delivery of vocalist Ross Jennings. Never once do the extended instrumental passages, led by the flamboyant keys of Diego Tejeida feel contrived or out of place; they are full of those classic progressive overindulgences, further reinforcing the importance of the likes of Yes, early Genesis and many others, but crucially, they fit in with the core of the composition and seamlessly segue from one to another perfectly.And then, everything comes together in what I can only describe as a stunningly epic finale, the kind where the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and you find yourself grinning from ear to ear, enveloped in a musical utopia. The melodies are so uplifting and gorgeous that, coupled with the grandiose return of the orchestral embellishments, mere words find it hard to adequately express just how good it makes you feel.The bones of these songs may have been written many years ago in the band’s infancy. However, they have been brought back to life in the most brilliant way possible; taking everything that’s been good about the band in recent years and applying them to their early past to create something truly special. I only wish that ‘Restoration’ was six, seven or eight songs long. Mind you, if it were, I think I might have fainted from bliss before reaching the conclusion." - Man Of Much Metal blog
    $14.00
  • Chon are a (mostly) instrumental prog band based out of San Diego.  Their music is very intricate twin guitar, bass and drums stuff that reminds a bit of Gordian Knot, At War With Self, Scale The Summit and some of the Crimson related side projects.""On the back of three albums in two years, Chon have found themselves nestled into a curiously underpopulated pocket of instrumental prog-rock that you can relax to. Though not particularly big names yet, their debut full-length album, Grow, makes great inroads to rectify such injustice. 12 tracks clocking in at a deceptively paltry 35 minutes may discourage some, but it’s worth noting that this is from a band that think very little of suspensive introductions – what the album offers instead is an unperturbed and persistently tight medley of poetic guitar noodling.That is not to say Chon chug along obstinately with the raw, earthy power of Animals as Leaders, a band they have supported on tour. Grow instead emits an overarching sense of polished calmness, one that lays a solid foundation for an album speckled with brief moments of mischievous, virtuosic bedlam.A very brief and airy introductory track is punctured by an immediate cutting guitar solo in the opening moments of ‘Story’, before all instruments fall into a synchronised rhythm. The two guitars swap periodically between unison and polythymic riffing, something that is impressively replicated by the drums later on. These moments are peppered throughout the album and appear sporadic in nature, when in reality they’re incredibly well calculated and stand as a testament to Chon’s amazing compositional capacity.Following track ‘Fall’ exhibits much of the same, with a searching chordal structure and tonal modulation that adheres to a more progressive jazz context, the kind peddled by bands such as Phronesis. This, ‘Book’ and ‘Splash’ display a distinct melodic prowess that is hammered home with constant repetition, underpinned by Nathan Camarena’s unfathomable dexterity on the drums.Drew Pelisek comes into his own in ‘Can’t Wait’ and ‘Echo’, both of which employ his vocals with such grounding assurance that it’s a wonder why only one sixth of the album features them. These tracks, along with ‘Suda’ and ‘But’, are reminiscent of Scale the Summit and Vasudeva during their most contemplative passages. ‘Knot’ and ‘Perfect Pillow’ offer the exact opposite, a distortion-laden procession, reminiscent of those bands in full flow.Most tracks in Grow follow a similar pattern and personal preference eventuates as the tune that sticks most potently in your head. But from an album that offers a plethora under the direction of a truly competent band, they’re likely to stick for a while." - Counteract
    $12.00
  • "After 4 studio albums, Papir unleash their first live album. It’s surprising it took so long, since the band’s shows have long been revered amongst fans.The music-biz has also noticed Papir’s stellar live performances: like when Mojo Magazine singled them out from the hoards of bands at danish music-showcase Spot 2012 as THE show of the entire festival - as well as the holy rite of passage for any cosmic Stoner Rock band: The Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands, where Papir was asked not to perform no less than 3 times during the festival in 2014! It’s the first and finest of these shows in full that Papir havde chosen for this release, and it’s all here: Christoffer Brøchmann’s jaw-dropping drum chops, easing from delicate jazzy drumrolls one second into deranged math-psych explosions the next - creating a diving board for Nicklas Sørensen’s vast array of guitar-styles, blending post-rock drones with majestic wah-drenched soloing. With Christian Becher keeping it all together with his bouncing and booming bass lines, as well as utilizing his groovemaker to make blistering ethereal soundscapes.While Papirs albums have always been based on live performances during intense studio sessions, there’s still a different element present at Live at Roadburn - maybe due to the drunken barks from the ecstatic crowd, or the fact that the band is not just playing for the tape machines. There’s an extra layer of adrenaline present - the added aggressive tone of fluttering fuzz and sizzling cymbals, an extra punch and and grit of their build ups. From the first note, Papir show just how far they’ve travelled over the span of a few years, catapulting a motoric track off their self produced DIY debut release into new soaring heights. The show also reworks “Monday” and “Sunday #2” from Stundum - their first El Paraiso-release, as well as drop a highlight from last year’s “IIII” into the equation. As if this wasn’t enough, they premiere two brand new tracks with the same stamina, making sure that Live at Roadburn is not just a roadmap of where they’ve been, but very much an up to date snapshot of one of Europe’s hardest working instrumental outfits.The album was mixed and mastered by Causa Sui’s Jonas Munk from a 24bit multitrack recording."
    $18.00
  • Argia is the third album from this female fronted band from the Basque region of Spain.  The band has been reconstituted with only founding members Zuberoa Aznárez and Gorka Elso returning.  There aren't a lot of "beauty and the beast" metal bands around any more with most of them either breaking up or moving on to all clean vocals.  DiM still do it and do it well.  This album sounds absolutely massive, reminding of the glory days of After Forever.  Monolithic keyboards, layers of choir-like vocals, and crushing riffs are the order of the day.  Occasionally a wicked keyboard solo will pop in for good measure.  Complementing the great vocals of Zuberoa are two guest appearances - Thomas Vickstrom (Therion) and Ailyn Gimenez (Sirenia).  If you like the style this one is highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • The original version of Rïah Sahïltaahk that was recorded in 1971 is featured on the album 1001° Centigrade (vol. 2). But at the time, its composer, Christian Vander, was unhappy with the arrangement written by the group. This radically new version, adapted to suit the group’s current line-up, is more faithful to the spirit of Magma’s music and its uniquely weird and wonderful prog-rock style."
    $13.00
  • "Tellus Requiem was formed back in 2007 by guitarist Stig Nergård. In 2010 Tellus Requiem released a self-titled debut album digitally. This album opened up some doors for the band, and resulted in some live concert supporting acts like Keep of Kalessin, Edenbridge, and Pagan's Mind. “Invictus” was mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen (Jailhouse Studios, Jorn, TNT, Helloween) with the cover art done by Thomas Ewerhard (Symphony X, Theater).According to the band’s biography, the main theme of the band’s writing is about worlds shattering to pieces. This can either be global or personal experience, fictional or literary. Tellus Requiem means; the earths death mass. Tellus being Latin for The Earth, Requiem being the last composition a composer writes before they die. Listening to the ten tracks featured on “Invictus”, it’s obvious that the band is comprised of five very talented musicians with a love for melodic progressive metal in the style of Symphony X and Dream Theater with flourishes of Eastern Folk and the big sound of a motion picture film score (as is evident on the opening instrumental song “Ab Aeterno”). “Red Horizon” kicks in with a vengeance and is highlighted by very Symphony x-like keyboard work by Anders Sundbø (whose frenzied playing style steals the show on this song) and heavy guitar crunch by Nergård.  Vocalist Ben Rodgers has a unique and impressive style and range without resorting to sounding like peers such as James Labrie or Russell Allen.Drummer Vidar Lehmann shows off his considerable chops and fast feet on the middle-eastern tinged “Eden Burns”. A beautiful acoustic guitar passage introduces “Reflection Remains” which leads into a melodic and majestic vocal performance by Rodgers accented by soaring harmonies and a soulful yet blistering guitar solo by Nergård.  The heavy melodic prog metal of “Twilight Hour” has plenty of melody, groove, instrumental chops, and odd time signatures to satisfy the most jaded prog metal fan.  “Sands of Gold” is a complex and chaotic attack of progressive drum patterns, middle-eastern melodies, heavy guitar and keyboard wizardry with Rodgers voice providing the melodic anchor holding it all together. The appropriately titled “Tranquility” is a slower, peaceful and introspective song with Rodgers showing his emotional side as well as his considerable range to great effect. “Redemption” starts off with an impressive Spanish style guitar playing and kicks into a heavy guitar rhythm and aggressive lead vocals and beautiful harmony vocals courtesy of a vocal choir. The heavy prog of “Invictus” is a fast paced and the vocals and musicianship are razor sharp here.  The final song is “Dies Irae” which is the “day of wrath” and was an old Medieval poem sung during the Mass of the Dead ceremony, is a short and sweet outro track and a fine way to end this musical journey. For such a young band, Tellus Requiem has created a stunning and impressive progressive metal feast that fans of Symphony X and Dream Theater will find quite enjoyable. " - The Metal Pit
    $12.00
  • We don't typically stock CDs by individual artists unless they are extremely well known.  Brian Ellis is of interest to us because he happens to be the guitarist for Astra, a band very important around these parts.  It also happens that this is one slammin' disc.  Ellis is obviously a talented multi-instrumentalist.  Compositionally its a bit of a jumble but in this case in a very good way.  He wears his influences on his sleeve and replicates the sounds of the 70s: kosmigroov Miles Davis, blistering Mahavishnu fusion, and topped off with a visit to Kobia.  Quite a clever achievement and highly recommended."Brian Ellis is an multi-instrumentalist from San Diego, California. He has released several albums in the last few years under multiple monikers and is perhaps better known as lead guitarist for the progressive rock group, ASTRA.By playing guitar, bass, drums, various synthesizers and keyboards, saxophone, trumpet, sitar, xylophone, kalimba, etc., Brian creates the illusion of a large live band jamming all together. After releasing 2 albums in 2007 for the now defunct Scottish electronic label, Benbecula Records, Brian found himself straying away from the programmed/sequenced elements and wanted to make an album where all the instruments were played live. The album was completed in early 2008 and was set to be the follow up to "The Silver Creature". Unfortunately, Benbecula decided to close it's doors at this time and the album was shelved."Quipu" takes Brian Ellis' jazz/fusion/funk sound from his previous solo works to the next level. The opening track "Birth" sets a deep atmosphere of delayed trumpets and saxophones with a slow beat and funky bass before exploding into an odd-timing heavy fusion workout harkening back to the days of Mahavishnu Orchestra. Whereas later tracks like "Psaw" (featuring David Hurley of Astra on drums) take on much more of a free jazz sound similar to Miles Davis "Bitches Brew" era, full of dissonance and surprising elements. The final track "Walomendem" is a 14 minute progressive rock epic hailing as a tribute to the great french band Magma."
    $17.00
  • Kindly Bent To Free Us is the long awaited third album from Cynic.  It finds the core trio of Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert, and Sean Malone intact.  Just as Traced In Air was an evolution from Focus, so is Kindly Bent To Free Us a natural sounding progression from Traced In Air.  There is a common underlying sound which is clearly Cynic.  The music still maintains metallic and jazz roots but it serves as a foundation for a sound that owes more to prog rock.  If you are expecting Focus you will be disappointed.  This probably owes more to Porcupine Tree and Riverside as its not quite as technical as in the past, relying more on atmosphere.  But don't get me wrong, there is some unbelievable playing going on.  Once again Sean Malone demonstrates that he is the most underrated bassist in the world.  Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • Current UK pressing of this rather obscure one...
    $14.00
  • Of all the Yes albums that needed a remix this is the one that needed it the most!"Relayer (1974) is the third in a series of remixed and expanded Yes albums.Presented as a double digi-pack format in a slipcase with booklet featuring new sleeve notes by Sid Smith, along with rare photos and archive material, the album has been remixed into stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson and is fully approved by Yes.The DVDA also contains the original album mix in high-resolution, and a complete alternate album running order drawn from demos/studio run-throughsRestored artwork approved by Roger Dean, the release of which coincides with the 40th anniversary of the album’s original late 1974 appearance."
    $20.00
  • For reasons beyond my comprehension this German six piece band is being lumped in with Graveyard and Witchcraft.  Yes this is a retro sounding band and hard rock is one of their primary influences and yes there is an occult theme running through the album.  I hear much more of a 70s hard rock sound.  Think in terms of Uriah Heep, Lucifer's Friend and Deep Purple but also some undercurrents of bands like The Devil's Blood.  There is Iommi-type riffing that turns up so I guess that's the Sabs influence and the connection to those Swedish bands.  I'm digging the swirling organ sounds. "Orcus Chylde are a band with a sound that is very hard to categorize. Parts Doom, Pysch, Prog Rock, Proto-Metal mixed in with a delicious 70's Occult Rock feel.They are part of the new breed of Doom Rock/Metal that is starting to make waves through the rock world. They have just released their astonishing debut S/T Debut album. An 8 song and 48 minute blast of out of this world psychedelic riffs.The album is expertly produced and played by everyone involved.If your a fan of 70's Hard Rock Bands such as Led Zep, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple then your going to love this. It takes the music from that era but adds some cool modern Doom Rock riffs to truly stand out from the crowd.This album feels like a greatest hits collection of this great band rather than their debut album. All of the songs  are great especially - The Day The Seventh Angel Came, Valley Of Thorns, Over The Frozen Rivers.All showing what this great band does so well. Paying homage to great bands past and present but putting their own spin on things. Such as the sublime vocals of vocalist Tobias and the Organs. The organs add a dream like quality to their music. Some times unsettling but altogether original and fucking superb.This album is receiving a whole lot of praise all over the place. And rightly it should. As it's Orcus Chylde's callling card to the world of Hard Rock/Doom Metal that a truly important band has arrived on the scene. And that they are here to stay for a long, long time.Long May It Continue. An outstanding album by a great band from our German Brothers.If you want a truly operatic theatrical doom rock/metal album full of original ideas and riffs then I recommend you check this excellent band now. You would be mad to miss out this excellent album." - The Sludgelord Blog
    $15.00
  • Ok so here's an album I didn't think would have a ghost of a chance of me enjoying but I was pleasantly surprised. Australia's Teramaze play a style of old school thrash metal but there are strong prog elements and its quite melodic to boot. Some killer dual guitar staccato riffing and a vocalist that doesn't get too nasal or whiny. Imagine that - a thrash metal vocalist that can sing without annoying!
    $12.00