A Sunday Night Above The Rain (2CD)

"A Sunday Night Above the Rain is a two-disc live set recorded by modern pro giants Marillion last year in March at Center Parcs in Port Zelande, the Netherlands.

Disc 1 opens with “Gaza” from the album of the same name. It’s typical Marillion high drama informed by a good chunky beat, spiky middle eastern-sounding synth lines and lilting choruses. Right from the beginning, the crowd comprised of thousands come from over 44 countries this night, is clapping along hot and heavy before Steve Rothery’s wailing guitar solo (one of the most underrated guitar players in rock and roll) and singing along as Steve Hogarth (lead vocalist) will welcome from them often here on the balled “Waiting To Happen,” where, sorry to say, not much really does happen.

We get lots of Mark Kelly’s beautiful piano on “This Strange Engine,” though I’m not thrilled by Hogarth’s swallowing words in an over-affected vocal. The tune rocks in its last minutes though as the band and Hogarth rise to an anthem-like ending!

The highlight of this first disc though is “Neverland” where Kelly, bassist Peter Trewavas and Hogarth are especially inspired, but again what Steve Rothery slips in are truly spine-chilling moments. What he seemingly just throws away in flips during the vocal are full feasts, his leads perfect from wailing moments to sweet and clean ones, not mere seconds from one another. Not since David Gilmour have I felt a guitarist say so much doing so little.

Lots of Disc 2 are from the Gaza album. “Montreal,” with its mid-song Floydian moments, is more a Mark Kelly song really, with especially effective tom work from drummer Ian Mosley behind him and Peter Trewavas poppin’ on the “Power” (good lyric here especially). Mosely and Trewavas are kicking on the opening of what becomes a plinky “The King of Sunset Town,” a tune that showcases a solid Hogarth vocal. A truly beautiful once again piano-led tune, “The Sky Above the Rain” like “Neverland” on the first is the linchpin of this second disc. Hogarth is very good here as are the subtleties of the drum and bass duo once again.

The band does give one quick nod to its past (when they were fronted by lead singer/enigmatic frontman Fish) ending with “Garden Party.” Hogarth doesn’t especially sell this tune, but he doesn’t have to as pretty much the audience sings the song for him.

If you want to know what modern-day Marillion are all about, grab it." - Short And Sweet NYC

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  • 1975's Warrior On The Edge Of Time finally sees a reissue courtesy of Esoteric Recordings.  This iconic album features the classic lineup of Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Lemmy, Simon House, Simon King, and Alan Powell.  The album was reissued on CD years ago and has been out of print for a couple of decades.  The band or their management never gave clear explanation at to why the album remained out of print.  One assumes a rights issue that remained unresolved.  This newly remastered version is transferred from the original analogue master tapes and features one bonus track - the b side "Motorhead".
    $17.00
  • Two CD pressing. 2013 live release from the Canadian Prog Rock band. Spin It Again - Live in Munich captures the final night of the Saga's wildly successful 2012 tour in Germany. Saga's historical singer Michael Sadler surprised everybody by rejoining the band back just a few days before the recording of their most recent album 20/20. That studio effort charted in the German top 10 and the band sold out nearly 20 concerts in Germany and brought its music in cities and countries where they had never been before. Spin it Again, recorded and filmed in Munich, historically a second home for the Canadian prog rockers, features recent songs and all the Saga classics. Two hours of prog and melodic hard rock at its best.Disc 11.Anywhere You Wanna Go2.Mouse In A Maze3.Careful Where You Step4.The Perfectionist5.You're Not Alone6.Spin It Again7.Corkentellis8.The Flyer9.Fish Beat10. Six Feet UnderDisc 211.The Cross12.Time's Up13.Scratching The Surface14.Tired World (Chapter 6)15.Humble Stance16.On the Loose17.Wind Him Up18.Framed19.Don't Be Late (Chapter 2)
    $14.00
  • "Are we being manipulated? Who would benefit from us, to follow pre-established rules? Careless. As sheeps. Political parties? Religious organisations? Commercial companies? TV networks? Beware of everything, even NEMO...NEMO is one of the leading Prog Rock bands in France, and after 13 years of existence they conquered the world community of Prog lovers with their previous albums (Si, Barbares, R€volu$ion…). Their 8th studio album is about every kind of manipulation. On 2 CDs, 12 songs, they warn you about everyone, even them! Musically you will hear a varied and strong blend of what Nemo is all about, featuring a big dose of experimentation and new exploration. Beware of this album, you will succumb to its charms! "CD1:01. Stipant Luporum 2.0102. Trojan (Le ver dans le fruit) 8.5303. Milgram, 1960 5.5904. Verset XV 7.5505. Un pied dans la tombe 7.1106. Neuro-Market 6.3407. Le fruit de la peur 9.43CD2:01. A la une 5.0802. Triste fable 7.4603. Allah Deus 5.0804. Opium 9.1005. Arma Diania 17.19
    $22.00
  • "Chapter 1, the debut album from Level 10 is the first collaboration between vocal powerhouse Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob) and bassist/producer/writer Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle) Frontiers President, Serafino Perugino initiated the duo to team up for the creation of a new Metal project which could melt the more contemporary sound of Adrenaline Mob with the more traditional European Power Metal melody and aggression.Sinner enlisted his Primal Fear/Voodoo Circle bandmates Randy Black (on drums) and Alex Beyrodt (on guitar) and Roland Grapow (ex Helloween, MasterPlan, Serious Black) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Voodoo Circle) to complete the lineup on lead guitar and keyboards respectively. On the songwriting side – besides the band members – the album features the songwriting talents of Magnus Karlsson, Carsten Schulz, Ralf Scheepers, Johann Fiegl, Sander Gommans and Amanda Somerville.For those fans of Russell Allen who were expecting Symphony X, you will be slightly disappointed, aside from Allen’s trademark pipes, there is not much here resemble Symphony X’s brand of neo-classical prog metal. By the same token, those fans of Allen who fear the agro-vocals and Godsmack-esque brand of “modern heavy rock”, can breathe easy, as the music on Chapter One leans closer to Euro power metal than mainstream hard rock.The album opener, Cry No More kicks off with a vengeance, with a guitar riff that would sound at home on one of Voodoo Circle albums. Allen’s vocals are powerful during the verses and soar on the multi-harmony chorus. Del Vecchio adds a 70’s moog synth sound on the keys and Black pounds the drums mercilessly. There is a crunchy, heavy groove on the mid-tempo Soul of the Warrior, featuring stellar vocal work on the chorus and a catchy as hell chorus. The tempo picks up with an 80’s sounding rocker with a driving beat, heavy chugging guitar rhythms, and Allen sounding aggressive while still maintaining his trademark melodic voice. The chorus features another killer multi-harmony vocal and Beyrodt and Grapow get to flex their muscles during the harmony guitar solo.The album takes a more AOR tone on the heavy rock anthem One Way Street, which has a 70’s Bad Company meets Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood feel to it. Randy Black’s percussion skills are on center stage, showing why Black is one of the most versatile drummers in power metal today. The albums first single titled Blasphemy has the symphonic bombast of European power metal and Allen’s voice is at it’s most evil sounding during the vocals and shows off his upper register during the chorus.Last Man On Earth is another hard rock song with a great hook and sing-a-long chorus, which does get a little repetitive after a few listens but I guess that’s what why they call it a hook! Scream And Shout is another old school power mental anthem straight out of the 80’s with it’s, for lack of a better word, *shout* a-long chorus. The guitar harmonies and shredding solo section blend in perfectly and Black’s double bass drumming drives the song once again.Allen flexes his vocal muscles on the mid-tempo rock of Into The Wilderness, using his upper register as only he can. The song itself isn’t as memorable as some of the other material on the album save for the chorus, which has some fine harmony vocal work. The requisite piano power ballad All Is Gone is a fitting showcase for Russell Allen’s amazing vocal prowess, even though the song itself sounds like a combination of Symphony X’s When All Hope Is Lost and something off of one of the Allen/Lande albums, which is not surprising since Magnus Karlsson is one of the credited songwriters here.The crushing riff of Demonized brings the heavy power metal with Russell at his most sinister sounding. For those fans wanting to hear something heavy, this one is for you. Chugging guitar rhythms, aggressive vocals, pounding drums, and shredding solos, this one has it all, a headbangers delight! The groove-heavy Soul Is Enternal has a mid-tempo fist pumping rhythm with Allen using a more soulful vocal approach during the verses and letting loose during the chorus.The album closer Forevermore is a power metal classic filled with melody, a HUGE multi-vocal harmony chorus and superb vocals from Allen and guest Ralf Scheepers vocals are quite noticeable in the mix. This song is probably the closest to the sound of Primal Fear and tied with Cry No More for my favorite song on the album. In an age where so-called supergroups are becoming more prevalent, Level 10’s debut album finds itself in the upper echelon, even if its destiny is to be a one off studio project, only time will tell." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • 30th Anniversary remastered edition.
    $15.00
  • "For those of you who don't know who this band is, let's make a brief recapitulation: the genre or better strain of Metal which is one of the most unique and interesting to understate it a little bit, is the hybrid between Doom and Death Metal. You have a handful of bands that emerged in the late 80s and early 90s that pioneered this sort of experiment to various degrees of mixing the two genres. You have i.e. ASPHYX, that are more on the Death side than Doom, or bands such as MY DYING BRIDE and PARADISE LOST who clearly take more influence from classic Doom acts such as BLACK SABBATH or PENTAGRAM. ANATHEMA is also one of those Doom/Death hybrids, which took this approach and developed it quite nicely and brought some new fresh sound into the Heavy Metal subculture before evolving into a Prog Rock/Avantgarde/whatever band. If you like the new stuff from ANATHEMA, the old stuff will not necessarily be something for you. Let's take a look at 1993's “Serenades”, which is one of the leading albums in the genre and sadly, there has never been another album that takes the cake when it comes to this sort of music.Up to now many albums of this genre, such as the first two MY DYING BRIDE albums are not ageing quite well with most of the fans, why? Maybe because a lot of this stuff is so inaccessible that most people will give them up to listen to SWALLOW THE SUN's newest shite; at least that's the case with a lot of people I know who have an interest to this sort of thing.I have to admit, that it took me a little while and a lot of listens to really get into this album, ANATHEMA's "Serenades", and it pains me because I didn't know how to appreciate their music here. The album starts out pretty rough with "Lovelorn Rhapsody", which is one of those not-so-good openers. It mainly has no climax and pretty such slugs itself throughout the 6:24 of its length. This is maybe one of the reasons why people would immediately put this album down once hearing the song. While being one of the weaker songs here, it still has a very heavy and pounding guitar tune to it, with synths or keyboards that are rather in the background, simply overshadowing the rest of the song's composition. The song itself progresses in a very slow manner (what a surprise) and simply induces a very romantic or dreamy-like state, a state of longing, a theme often used by ANATHEMA, if you will. Its slow tempo stays through the whole thing and in my humble opinion, not the best opener, as stated before. The vocals on this track are simply a rugged and slow grunt, which only gets a little faster at the end, where we get a fluent transition from very slow to mid tempo and some riffs that resemble a faint Death Metal offering.“Sweet Tears”, the immediate follow-up, is a wholly different approach to music than its predecessor; the early-BLACK SABBATH influence on song structure and riffs is clearly audible, with very dark and melodic parts and epic and exalted sounding bridges, only you get a fuller guitar sound and gloomier atmosphere in general, that is mostly induced by the horrifying grunts that Darren J. White. At the end of the song you get a similar approach like heard on KATATONIA's "Dance Of December Souls", which was recorded the same year; atmospheric keyboards and haunting clean vocals make it sound very dark and gloomy. So by now everybody's thinking: "Yeah, well this is the basic approach of this band and this is this album's artistic offering".By the time "J'ai Fait Une Promesse" kicks in, everybody's stunned at to what extremes this album stretches out. This track is a very melancholic acoustic offering, with female vocals and French lyrics, no drums, no extreme sonic assault, nothing, just pure and great. Following this absolute stand-out, is the epic "They Will Always Die" that returns to the style of the first track, only with a proper climax and overall more direction and more focused. This is where the Death Metal magic happens, but much slower and with a lot of well placed pauses, that are filled with really dark and melodic overlayed guitar tracks that drag you through the rest of the song. The most accessible song here is with no doubt "Sleepless" that is also one of the band's big "hits". This song could have easily been on some alternative band's debut or wherever, since it features (again) a change of sound, yet still manages to sound intensely rough, yet you can clearly hear some of the later ANATHEMA stuff overshadowing the debut in this one. Later they will go and water the song down with a fresh new recording, that is inferior in each and every way. The rest of the album offers no further "surprises" let's say, since the rest "Sleep In Sanity" or "Under A Veil (Of Black Lace)" (the other two just being some interlude instrumental tracks) follow the doomy down-paced tradition of the other songs or demo songs.If you're into war-themed lyrics with a lot of grief and melancholy thrown in, this is the music for you. If you like slow, down-tuned heavy riffs, with interesting and beautifully executed melodies and authentic harsh vocals then this is exactly what you need in your collection. It may get some getting used to, since this album is one of the few albums in Metal history that has never been copied (at least not so well). I recommend getting it with the "Crestfallen" EP as a bonus, since that adds up to a very lengthy and magical experience. That sound too cheesy? I don't care, this album is amazing and often not recognized for the masterpiece that it truly is. Have a listen. Absorb this album. Do it." - The Metal Observer
    $12.00
  • "I have always cordially looked upon ANCIENT BARDS as Italy's female vocalist answer to their own RHAPSODY OF FIRE. Their new album, "A New Dawn Ending" conveys their modern, yet tried-and-true firestorm of epic, symphonic Power Metal, with Sara Squadrani a nice touch and a new torch for a genre which normally consists of male, high-speed and high-velocity power screamers."Across this Life" is a riff-tastic piece, beautifully mixed to the highest standard with every brick in the track's wall of sound leaking pure energy through the cracks. What originally drew me to this band were the technical and soaring arrangements, similar to ANGRA and RHAPSODY OF FIRE; Sara's vocal delivery stays away from the ear-splitting operatics of the majority of female metal vocalists, opting for a high register, heavy metal approach; look no further than the likes of UNLEASH THE ARCHERS or SYNERGY. From what I have already heard of the band, this track displays what I believe to be her best vocal performance. Tracks like "A Greater Purpose" displays the entire band's heights of virtuosic playing; abilities typical of a country known worldwide for its music; melded in are enormously thick choral and symphonic passages, taking me back to ANGRA's "Nova Era" days."Flaming Heart" is this album's special definition of the word 'epic', with mature and heavenly arrangements that rival those of EPICA and NIGHTWISH; a fine example of the band's love of forays into Symphonic Metal, with such elements heavily (literally) prevalent. "In the End" is an excellent, blistering track with a complex, technical and frantic rhythm section showing an even faster side to the band's impressive and expansive pool of arrangements. Also one of the more progressive tracks, many alterations in the track gradually shine through as previous layers are swept away, as the track continues to grow, amorphous but not shapeless.ANCIENT BARDS are an incredibly strong contender within the genre and at least in their home country of Italy, and make some of the best female-fronted metal in the world." - Metal Temple 
    $15.00
  • "A new interpretation of a classic RPI title! This is quite an undertaking, but it comes off in an outstanding way, giving new life to old friends. In contrast to so many reworkings of old pieces that I've heard in recent years, this one does not leave me only wishing to listen to the original. Rather, the new work stands well on its own, not only helping me listen to the original with new ears, but also bringing new insights and experience.In 1972, Latte e Miele released their debut, an incredibly ambitious work based on the Passion of St. Matthew, "Passio Secundum Mattheum." This is one of the seminal titles of 1970s RPI and has rightfully stood the test of time. The band would never equal this album, although the subsequent title, "Papillon", came close. After that the band broke up for a time, until drummer Alfio Vitanza reformed the band, with new members including bassist Massimo Gori. Their only album, "Aquile e Scoiattoli", has its moments but is inferior to the first two, and the band disbanded a few years later after moving toward more commercial music.In 2008 the band reformed, including all three original members (Vitanza and songwriter/keyboardist Oliviero Lacagnina, as well as guitarist Marcello Giancarlo Dellacasa) and Massimo Gori, bassist from the second generation of the band. The quartet released "Live Tasting", an excellent live album that portended of the good to come. Their time together also produced a wonderful new album, "Marco Polo: Sogni e Viaggi" in 2009.Over the years, Lacagnina never stopped composing his masterpiece, his "Passio". Now the quartet has recorded anew their masterpiece, adding those "new" compositions into the narrative. For example, "Il Pane e il Sangue dell'Alleanza" has been inserted right after "Ultima Cena", and "Il Rinnegamento di Pietro" and "Il Prezzo del Sangue" between "Il Pianto" and "Giuda". Also, the ending has been fleshed out significantly, with four new songs, and the final song, "Come un Ruscello che..." includes the final themes previously entitled "Il Dono della Vita". Also of note, a solo organ piece entitled "Toccata per organo" is placed just before "Calvario"--this is special, as it is an original take from 1972!The instrumentation is true to the spirit of the 1972 piece, although with an updated sound. Ditto the choir, which sometimes on the 1972 version is muted and thin--here the choir parts are strong, lush, and vibrant. The majority of the pieces that were rerecorded for this edition also maintain their compositional structure, although there are a few changes inserted (notably in "I Falsi Testimoni", the new version of "I Testimoni" parts 1 and 2). There is nothing that violates that spirit of the original work, though it is impossible to duplicate its wonderful innocence.Another unique feature of this album is the presence of several prominent figures from RPI providing the spoken Evangelist parts. These include Alvaro Fella (Jumbo), Lino Vairetti (Osanna), Silvana Aliotta (Circus 2000), Paolo Carelli (Pholas Dactylus), Aldo de Scalzi (Picchio dal Pozzo), Sophya Baccini, Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio delle Clessidre), Giorgio D'Adamo (New Trolls), Max Manfredi, Simonluca, and Paolo Griguolo (Picchio dal Pazzo). It's a nice touch that really rounds out the album.The CD comes in a jewel case with a lyric booklet. I'm told that the pending Japanese version will contain a newly recorded composition as a bonus track. But don't wait for that one--go out and grab this one. You won't be disappointed. Four plus stars (Gnosis 13/15).Edit: I can't stop listening to this! Though it's not quite as good as the original, it's very close. I'm bumping it up to Gnosis 14/15, which is five stars on PA." - ProgArchives
    $16.00
  • "Having existed in some shape or form since 1990, Greece's Black Fate is another band that has been seeking consistency and stability in their career for better than twenty years. Returning to life after a five year absence, the band offers their fourth album, Between Vision & Lies. And they've made a small coup d'etat by adding fellow Greek, guitar wunderkind Gus Drax (ex Biomechanical, Paradox, et al), another musician in search of a stable band.While not necessarily novel or to say that their sound is unique, Black Fate's sound is definitely something of interest and for explanation. It's a hybrid of various metal genres. The foundation is a division between traditional power metal and classic melodic heavy metal, probably larger on the latter. There's also some slight symphonic nuances. Perhaps, the most intriguing element is the inclusion of a solid rock groove in many songs, stealing something from both traditional melodic hard rock and metal.By arrangement, then, these elements are blended in such a way that may suggest progressive metal. You certainly will find this current in many songs including The Game of Illusion, Weight of the World, or State of Conformity. But that last song, along with the following Without Saying a Word, share some of that aforementioned melodic rock accessibility, while still being metal. I would say that Without Saying a Word, an anthem, is the most soaring song here, even stirring the emotions. It's definitely a fine platform for Vasilis Georgiou's strong vocals.Alternatively, songs like Perfect Crime, Weight of the World, and Into The Night can be a thorough thrust of heaviness, borne mostly from the riffage and rhythm section. But these, also, are not without the strength of melody and groove. And no song here is without Drax's terrific guitar wizardry, a strong fusion of traditional rock, neo-classical, and metal fret work. Between the skilled musicianship and versatile arrangements, Black Fate's Between Vision & Lies offers some intriguing music, hybrid heavy metal that suggests more than one listen to enjoy both the creativity and nuances. Here's hoping the band stays stable and returns with more in the future. Recommended." - Dangerdog
    $15.00
  • The DVD features the new video for lead track ‘Drive Home’ along with the video for ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’, both directed by Jess Cope. It also includes four tracks recorded live in Frankfurt during the recent tour.  In addition, the DVD features audio recordings of two previously unreleased tracks, ‘The Birthday Party’ and an orchestral version of ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’.‘The Birthday Party’ was recorded in the LA at the same sessions as the tracks that made up the album while the version of ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’ is a new mix that strips the track back to just the orchestra and vocals. These tracks are also featured on the CD, along with the audio from the live tracks and an edit of ‘Drive Home’. The set is packaged in a ‘mini-LP’ sleeve pac.
    $16.00
  • "The '70s gave us a slew of classic hard rock albums -- the likes of which may never be equaled -- and though it hasn't had the lasting influence of, say, Boston's or Ted Nugent's first albums, Montrose's eponymous debut proved equally influential and important in its day. Released in 1973, the record also introduced a young Sammy Hagar to the world, but the explosive aggression of Ronnie Montrose's biting guitar left no doubt as to why it was his name gracing the cover. A rock-solid rhythm section featuring drummer Denny Carmassi and bassist Bill Church certainly didn't hurt, either, and unstoppable anthems such as "Rock the Nation" and "Good Rockin' Tonight" would lay the ground rules for an entire generation of late-'70s California bands, most notably Van Halen. Admittedly, tracks like "Make It Last" and "I Don't Want It" sound rather dated by today's sonic standards (no thanks to their ultra-silly lyrics), but no amount of time can dim the sheer euphoria of "Bad Motor Scooter," the adolescent nastiness of "Rock Candy," and the simply gargantuan main riff of the phenomenal "Space Station #5." A welcome addition to any respectable '70s hard rock collection." - Allmusic
    $9.00
  • "This Berlin based quartet consisting of singer/ guitarist Tobias Feltes, guitarist Tim Hoppe, bassist/ backing singer Jens Rosenkranz, and drummer/ backing singer Jascha Kreft was started in 2011, and now bring us  their debut album, which displays music ranging from Kraut Rock influenced songs to dreamy fluttering ballads, and vast meditative mantric tunes (“Asato Maa” being the perfect example for that). In essence, the word “psychedelic” is the centerpiece here!It's no surprise that they knew to attract the attention of German label Electric Magic Records (who have been supporting the underground scene there since 2006, first starting with a magazine named Generated X, which had to be stopped in early 2011 due to lack of time, and then by putting out vinyl and CDs of only high-quality bands, these including re-releases of older material by Samsara Blues Experiment, House Of Aquarius, Terraplane...and albums of new material by Heat, This Is Ghost County, Soulitude, and now Suns Of Thyme), being interested mainly in the goings-on of bands in the Psychedelic/ Retro/ Stoner/ Fuzz/ Heavy and Doom Rock. I'm not sure however, whether the release of a first single (the track “Soma (God For Gods)”) came before or after the label's interest. One thing's for sure: théy did not release it!As an indicator as to whom might like the music of SoT, the label mentions people who're already fans of the likes of The Black Angels, Tame Impala, and The Verve, but personally I would go far beyond that somewhat limited range...as I feel this is music which àny fan of either góód music and/or Psychedlia might like very much indeed! Still, being into a band's music can be a very personal matter, so in order to find out whether you actually like SoT, the band made it possible for us all to listen to àll 10 songs on Bandcamp (find link via the band's own website (www.) sunsofthyme.de – actually, there's a possibility to listen to some audio in the “Music” section there, but you need an updated PC in order to be able to do that).Oh crap...I almost forgot to mention, that the foursome was helped out on the album by Medusas Eco tambourine, keyboards), Owen Roberts (clarinet), and Lisa Maul (some backing vocals)." - Concrete Web
    $22.00
  • Import special edition comes with:Download code for studio version of “Into The Sun”40-pages picture booklet"Imagine this - you're thrust into the metal world and, as a classical singer, it's pretty alien. But you do your job, sing your songs and the money comes in. And your name gets bigger. And the band become enormous and before you know it - you're literally singing for your supper. Your ultimate passion becomes your job. But is the world of metal really a place for a classical singer? Many thought that, once ousted by Nightwish, Tarja Turunen would soon return to her classical roots. Not quite. She began producing symphonic tinged material that, dare we say it, took the same path as the band that brought her success.The cynics are always going to be around, and I admit, I had the tendency to be one of them - Tarja is clearly only sticking with the guitars because it pays the bills, right? If it was up to her, she'd be singing 'Ave Maria' until the cows came home, right? Some of you stubborn lot will never shift from that point of view, no matter how many metal albums she releases, but it has become clearer than ever whilst listening to 'Colours In The Dark', that Tarja has found the beauty of orchestral metal just as captivating as Nightwish fans and her conviction is growing ever more powerful - if you don't believe it, check out the Romanticide-styled outro of 'Never Enough'. There's plenty more headbangs left in those raven locks - know that!'Victim Of Ritual' highlights the way Tarja commands a song vocally and suits it's position as opening track. The rolling 'R' in the title refrain and the silence she will inevitably conjure during live renditions of the accapella bridge stand to prove why she is such a beloved vocalist. Musically, the track deals in 'Phantom Agony'-era Epica, orchestra-lite and guitar heavy. It also has the most addictive refrains on the album, so it's position as single is proven correct. Likewise 'Never Enough' is instantly enjoyable - the chorus still sounds as vibrant and exciting as when it premiered. The real standout, surprisingly, is the Peter Gabriel cover though. 'Darkness' is not half as pop-ready as her take on 'Poison' and much more Tarja-friendly than 'Still Of The Night' - it shows just how successfully she can transform a cover and make it into her own. The thick strings and swooping instrumental wrap around her versatile vocals as Tarja switches between sinister and emotional at the drop of a hat.It can be a little taboo to mention the language problems, but the purity in which Tarja approaches her English lyrics is both a positive and a negative. Whilst there are the odd cringe-worthy blips throughout ('A conquest of fear, lonesomeness and dislike'), there is a richness to the lyrics of songs like '500 Letters' that simply tell a story, without killing it with too many pretence-laden metaphors. Tarja's infamous pronunciation also serves in her favour on the record - as minor as it may seem, her slightly peculiar delivery brings an unfamiliar flavour to the songs and possesses the ability to coat any banal lyrics with seductive and intriguing overtones just with a twist of a syllable.The record does have plenty of moments to excite you, as I mentioned, but it's not an entirely smooth ride. Too often, the songs feel a little lengthier than they should. I noted in my review of 'Never Enough' that the closing guitar riff went on for too long and a lot of the songs have a similiar fate. None of the tracks are skippable and every single one has it's merits, but it feels as if their strengths may be washed aside by a niggling thought in the back of your head, pondering whether you can bother to venture into a seven minute song for three minutes of beauty. 'Lucid Dreamer' is one such track that would have benefited from a little chopping. 'Mystique Voyage', too, could have seen a shorter track length further highlight the triumphant classical influence on the chorus.Though I exaggerate her operatic past, Tarja has spent most of her vocalist talent and career amongst metal music and it has really shown. What is both frustrating and rewarding, though, is that she is learning as much as the fans are. The music she has produced so far has been on a huge upward curve. The saccharine tendencies of 'My Winter Storm' pale in comparison to 'What Lies Beneath' and it's fantastic manipulation of orchestra, ambiance and metal. 'Colours In The Dark' comes as the next step up - slightly better than it's predecessor but, and this is where the frustration might set in, not quite as brilliant as you predict the next release will be. Editing the tracks a little more and emphasizing the true moments of beauty that linger within the songs is the next mission for team Tarja to take on.Watching an artist grow into the music that gave her the career she has  is not something you see everyday and Tarja is truly and deeply passionate, something many musicians don't retain after many years of the same old record-and-touring routine. She has eager ears and versatile lungs that want to explore. They want to learn and they want to become better. Listen to that aforementioned discography and you'll see how much Tarja has grown and become a force to be reckoned with in metal. 'Colours In The Dark' is nowhere near perfect but it's another chapter in the increasingly refined career of a woman that is, quite rightly, sticking her middle finger up at those who have written her off much too soon." - The Sonic Reverie
    $21.00
  • "Panic Room had something of a troubled 2013. Several years hard work paid off with a growing reputation and audience for their powerful and sophisticated mix of rock, folk, jazz and metal. Then their year began with the departure of the lead guitarist, founder member Paul Davies. While Morpheus Rising’s Pete Harwood did a sterling job standing in on their already-booked tour, his commitments to his own band ruled out any longer-term involvement. So they initially announced that they’d be writing their fourth album as a four-piece. Then around the time the band were ready to enter the studio they announced the recruitment of Adam O’Sullivan, bringing the band back up to full strength.In a rock band the lead guitarist can often be as important as the singer, so how would the new-look Panic Room sound?Hard rocking opener “Velocity” with its spiralling guitar riff is close to the feel of their last album, but with the next few numbers a rather different sound emerges. It’s a step away from the rich wall of sound that characterised the last couple of Panic Room albums, with a lighter, more pared-back feel that has as much in common with Panic Room’s acoustic side-project Luna Rossa than it does with 2012′s “Skin”. In places there are echoes of the début “Visionary Position” and the singer-songwriter feel of Anne-Marie Helder’s 2006 solo record “The Contact”, and it’s notable that Anne-Marie has sole songwriting credit for half of the ten songs.There are plenty of moments where the space in the mix gives individual members the chance to shine. There’s some inventive drumming from Gavin Griffiths, and some great understated Fender Rhodes from Jon Edwards across much of the album. Adam O’Sullivan’s guitar isn’t always prominent, though he does have his spotlight moments. Much of his playing has a strong jazz flavour, with some great bluesy rippling flourishes. A good example is on “Nothing New” where his guitar work duels with some equally jazzy piano runs from Jon Edwards. The one moment towards the end of the album where he cuts loose with a rock-style solo, it’s superb. Yet again Anne-Marie’s vocals are everything you’d expect from someone voted Best Female Singer by readers of Prog magazine, hitting the sweet spot between melody and expressiveness.Much of the strongest material comes in the second half of the album. The atmospheric “Into Temptation” with its eastern-sounding vibe is reminiscent of parts of “Endgame” from the band’s début. The following three numbers “All The We Are”, “Searching”, and the soaring “Close The Door” all demonstrate Anne-Marie’s talents as a singer-songwriter.The album closes with the dark and brooding “Dust”, an ambitiously progressive piece sounding like Massive Attack crossed with late-period Led Zeppelin, building on a repeated motif keeps going round and round in your head even after the album has finished playing.At this stage in their career, Panic Room could easily have attempted a retread of the well-regarded “Skin”. But that would have been a mistake, and they should be applauded for not simply repeating a successful formula. It’s not quite perfect; the album might have benefited from one or two out-and-out rockers in the vein of Skin’s “Hiding the World” or Satellite’s “Dark Star” to add variety and raise the energy level. But it does feel like the beginning of a new chapter for the band. This is album by a band not afraid to try something slightly different, and there is much to like about it, especially after repeated listens. It’s still unmistakably Panic Room, but with their sophisticated sound it’s a record with a wider crossover potential too." - Where Worlds Collide
    $18.00