Tales From The Soul

SKU: SR3025
Label:
Sensory Records
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Although together for only a brief time, Dutch progressive metal newcomers NovAct have begun to make a name for themselves in the metal world. On the basis of a strong four song demo the band was invited to perform at both the Headway Festival and ProgPower Europe in 2004. With their debut set for release on Sensory, NovAct is poised to continue their rise to prominence.

NovAct have found the perfect blend of melody and complexity echoing bands such as Dream Theater, Rush, Pain Of Salvation and Vanden Plas. Vocals are an important part of their sound and in that respect the band has one of metal's great new voices Eddy Borremans. Quite siimply Eddy doesn't sound like any one else! He has an uncanny ability to convey his emotions in every song in a way that brings warmth to a genre often categorizes as cold and emotionless. "Tales from the Soul" is thinking man's metal that aims for the heart as well as the head.

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  • First album for this Finnish band, recorded for the Christian based metal label Rivel Records. OK...so is it any good? Well if you are fan of Stratovarius I would think you would go insane for this band. It's melodic power metal with just the right amount of crunch. Not original by any stretch of the imagination but it fits neatly into that niche of melodic but slightly speed filled bands like their Finnish brethren.
    $14.00
  • "Transformation is a very apt title for Canadian Prog veterans FM, for not only has their music transformed numerous times over the years, so has their line-up. Joining bassist/keyboard player Cameron Hawkins this time round is drummer Paul DeLong (Roger Hodgson/Kim Mitchell), violinist/mandolin player Edward Bernard, who has performed with Druckfarben and violinist (yes, there are two violinists here) Aaron Solomon. The recording group being completed by legendary Rush, Dream Theater, Fates Warning producer/engineer Terry Brown, who does an excellent job.So you'll gather then that the first proper FM album since 1987's Tonight still follows in its predecessors footsteps of placing violin front and centre. Yet while that may sound risky in today's often sanitised Prog world, Transformation sounds remarkably contemporary and, at the same time, true to this band's 70s roots. More beautiful than punchy, in places the songs on this album feel like Yes with copious amounts of violin strung over it, the air being light, melodic and captivating. DeLong is stunning throughout, his rare ability to be ridiculously busy and intricate, underpinned by a solidity which fixes everything in place. Nary a second goes by where the percussionist isn't whispering a ghost beat, paradiddling the toms to within an inch of their lives, or alternating between snare, hi-hat and cymbals at break neck speed. However, amazingly, he never interrupts the beautiful flow of the vocals provided by Hawkins, Solomon and Bernard; the trio causing another reason for celebration in the process. However no album was built on drums and voice alone, so the stunning, varied violin, viola and mandolin work which weaves and dances across Hawkins deep resonant bass and darting, lilting, pointed synth contributions, are as impressive as they are vital to the unbridled success of this album.There's a real depth of sound and arrangement across the nine tracks on show, the likes of "Tour Of Duty" a journey from fragile art through fractured beauty, into controlled frenzy. "The Love Bomb (Universal Love)" and "Brave New Worlds" contrast this approach excellently, a sparse framework thriving on roaming bass, while gentle string stabs allow the vocals to express the emotions of melancholic introspection, but overriding hope and belief displayed in every one of the songs on this album. And it's that uplifting feeling which really infuses Transformation with the power to captivate and control your attention from start to finish, whether through the harsher attack of the bristling "Re-Boot, Reawaken", unsettling pulse of "Children Of Eve", the almost jauntily optimistic "Safe And Sound" or idyllic "Heaven On Earth".Often when a band reappears from the past, as if by magic to reclaim their past glories, the results are safe and deflating. Transformation however falls far from that trap, instead announcing itself with a triumphant confidence which never fades once as its beauties unfold, and vitally it just gets better with each and every luscious visit to the land of hope and understanding it creates." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $17.00
  • A lifetime ago The Laser's Edge reissued this fine offshoot from Circus.  Its been out of print for years and has now been resurrected by Belle Antique.Blue Motion consisted of Fritz Hauser (drums/percussion), Stephan Greider (keys), and Stephan Ammann (keys).  This was one of the first (if not the first) digital recordings made in Switzerland.  With little to no overdubs, the recording has a live, spacious feel.  The two keyboardists play off of one another in dizzying fashion - it can become hypnotic at times.  Bosendorfer Imperial grand piano, ARP Quadra, Hammond C3, Fender Rhodes, and Hohner Clavinet was their arsenal and they played the hell out of them.  Hauser is an exemplary percussionist and he never gets lost in the fray.  Parts of this may actually remind you of ELP a little bit...but just a little bit.  Highly recommended.
    $34.00
  • "When I say that they are near the gate of perfection and give it a 98% score would be considered this is a work of art. Well, putting it in simple words I’d have to be really picky to find what is wrong with this album. There are only little details that I could take into consideration for this album not being perfect, but it certainly is a truly grandiose masterpiece. Finally my friends, Skylark is on the way to the heaven church where the warriors are honored and upgraded to masters of the genre. It does not matter if they are not known worldwide or if they don’t have video clips to promote the songs. That is what makes them so great, because with pure musical skills they have truly achieved greatness.Currently, this is by far one of my favorite metal albums. For those purists who think metal is not supposed to be what this album offers they are pretty misguided. This is power metal, symphonic whatsoever, with a light atmosphere although heavier in my opinion than ‘Gate to Heaven’, no matter what elements they have thrown in they did it magnificent. All the ingredients for a good album are here: awesome vocals by Kiara, outstanding guitar solos, epic songs, speedy songs, mid tempo songs, good instrumentals, good background vocals, good riffs, good drumming, etc. I mean, what else do you need?Let’s begin with the obvious. I think this album is by far better in some aspects than the 2 Divine Gates albums. 1. Now the production and the now decent sound help a lot because the bass lines now are hearable. 2. The fact that there are more mid tempo songs helps because this way they avoid overwhelming speed that in long term will get you bored of. Actually, fast songs there are only: ‘The Scream’ and ‘Soul of the Warrior’ and the instrumental ‘Hurricane’ 3. Fabio Dozzo is no longer in the band and unfortunately for me since I like his singing style with the constant high pitched screams. I must recognize that very often he used to screw up because of the getting-out-of-range vocally but the good thing about the new backup singer is that they added some eco (like Edenbridge do with Sabine’s vocals) so it sounds amazing. 4. The bass lines have taken predominance and you can now hear them very well and man, this time they got it right. They are not only following rhythms but taking ownership of some of the songs. 5. There are no epic songs in here, at least not in the way they used to so the song writing has been simplified. This is neither good nor bad but just different. In my case, I like the old epic-lengthy style of songs but here this just rocks out. 6. Last but not least, the angelic vocal of Kiara, man, is she lovely! I will detail on her abilities later but the fact that she uses middle ranges makes her fit perfectly with the music without overbearing with high pitched screams.Alright, now that the improvements have been appointed, let me tell you why I think this is fucking great and just a step away of pure perfection. Kiara is by far the best choice they could’ve chosen. Her high notes are amazingly sweet and yet powerful. They are very similar to those of Saeko, but Kiara is sweeter and more pitched. Throughout the entire album she sings mostly in her middle range but when she screams man I get chills and orgasms just listening to her. Next is the choice of a backup vocalist who actually controls his vocal range. The fact that he is only accompanying Kiara makes the dynamics even more interesting and he sings in a more or less high range but avoiding veing Ralf Scheepers or Kiske. The juxtaposition of both singers creates a cool atmosphere and sung dialogs.On to the songs you get a little bit of everything but not ultra fast songs like Belzebu or the Triump. Actually, I’d say the instrumental ‘Hurricane’ is the fastest track. The rest are basically mid speed ‘The scream’ and ‘Soul of the warrior’. They are a little faster than the average mid tempo but are not that fast as the ones mentioned below. There are some progressive tempo changes here and there like ‘Soul of the Warrior’ where the changes of pace take you completely off your feet and I love them. This is the kind of things that make the songs interesting instead of just relentless speed. There is only one ballad in ‘Believe in Love’ and now we are talking. Previous ballads were good, not cheesy, which is one of the problems of power metal but this with Kiara singing really soft and subtle giving textures to her voice plus the guitars in the upfront and the keyboards back grounded leave me hyperventilated. The guitar solo, by the way, is very 80’s very Poison, Cinderella, Bon Jovi alike. In here the bass lines are thick and the vocals are just flawlessly performed. The bass lines are more diverse this time such as ‘Time’ where the entire song is bass driven and I must say they just added a very nice melody to it. It is my favorite song here because of the exquisite bass lines and low male vocals making the perfect contrast with Kiara’s falsetto and then her high pitched screams give me goose bumps.The keyboards are very good balanced with the guitars and they are not overshadowed as such can be heard on ‘The Scream’ where they are perfectly mixed to listen to them clearly. What I find interesting the most is the awesome melodies since nowadays is very hard to come up with memorable melodies (let’s say ala Stratovarius) so I find this very good done.The guitar solos are very similar to those from D.G.II. The follow the same pattern and melodic sense but since the songs are better they sound better here. The riffing style has now been improved. The progression of the power chords are far more interesting and a little more ‘complex’ than those from the first D.G albums although they are yet rather simplistic, as normally in power metal.The re-arrangement made on ‘Heaven Church’ is obviously vocal driven to show off Kiara’s skills. Although the rhythm parts last for around two minutes and this one cannot be compared to the masterpiece the original is, it is still a good track and very enjoyable. But again, I only take 1 point for re-arranging a song that is perfect in its original form because it lost its crunch (ok, light atmosphere from the original but still heavier than this new version).Finally, Skylark is basically known for two things which they have succeeded at: 1. Atmosphere. 2. Epic sense. In this case they have sacrificed the traditional epic sense but the atmosphere is taking predominance which is ok for me since they are doing it perfectly, enhancing a good and positive vibe throughout the listening experience.Now I face a problem. I am well aware that Divine Gates I and II are NOT perfect, but since they are for sure two of my favorite all time albums and this one beat them, what score should I give to those on my reviews since I always thought they were almost perfect? What a predicament huh? Anyhow, I’ll have to listen to them over and over to try to come up with the most objective review I could to give them a fair opinion. Kiara, this is your fault because of this masterpiece of an album but I love you because you have become my princess!" - Metal Archives
    $10.00
  • Fourth studio album from the prog "supergroup" of Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard), and Pete Trewavas (Marillion).  Like the previous albums expect marathon length pure prog rock that reflects back onto the golden age.  The title track is 32 minutes long!This is the 2CD/DVD Deluxe edition.Track List:Main Disc:1    Into the Blue                                          25:112    Shine                                                       7:263    Black as the Sky                                       6:434    Beyond the Sun                                        4:29 5    Kaleidoscope                                          31:53TOTAL TIME: 75:43      Bonus Disc:1    And You and I                                         10:432    I Can't Get It Out of My Head                   4:433    Conquistador                                            4:104    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road                      3:165    Tin Soldier                                               3:216    Sylvia                                                      3:497    Indiscipline                                              4:438    Nights In White Satin                                6:12TOTAL TIME: 40:59Making of Kaleidoscope DVD – Full length DVD behind the scenes of the writing and recording of this amazing album. Running time 1 hour and 26 minutes. Edited by Randy George. NTSC Region Free
    $28.00
  • "A concept album following the life cycle of a human being, childhood to citizen adult, the lyrics (and music) are replete with references to all of the odd destructive and self-destructive patterns our 'civilized' race has attached itself to. Brainchild of Athenian Nikitas Kissonas, Methexis' music is never predictable and always unexpected. Begin with The Enid's Joe Payne's amazing and enigmatic voice. (Please excuse my previous error in that I mistakenly thought it was Nikitas singing.) It seems that Joe can sound like anyone he chooses. Then focus on Nikitas' eclectic and stunningly diverse guitar soundings and stylings. Then try to pinpoint his influences, the styles he is drawing from in order to make his eminently creative and original songs. It is nearly impossible. This is music that draws from so many diverse and unusual styles and ideas. This is music that tests the capabilities, the combinations and permutations, that are possible within the realms of human expression using sound and music.1. "Chapter IV - Ruins" (4:49) starts the album with 'the end'! The fourth and final suite in the album's song-cycle, entitled "ruins," is what Nikitas chooses to begin his album with. I love it! It is an atmospheric 'post-apocalyptic' song much in the vein of Mariuz Duda's LUNATIC SOUL or even Norway's ULVER.2. "Chapter 1 - Exterior - Remember, Fear's a Relic" (6:11) opens with the energetic force of a great blues-based jazz-rock song--complete with Hammond organ, sassy horn section, and bluesy GINO VANELLI-like vocal. A surprise as this was quite unexpected but I have to admit: it is quite refreshing and enjoyable. The falsetto chorus is also quite unusual, but then, everything Nikitas creates is quite unusual and unexpected. Quite fun. (9/10)3. "Chapter 1 - Exterior - The Windows' Cracking Sound" (1:46) (9/10) is another unusual song for its surprising mix/engineering: the entire time a heavily treated electric guitar is slowly strumming the accompaniment to Joe Paynes' delicate, untreated voice, a drummer is jamming away at a very fast pace in the background. Once, at the end, the drums are brought up to front and center before being faded back to deep background for the horn opening of the next song, 4. "Chapter I - Exterior - Who Can It Be" (6:34) is a song performed by a horn ensemble with occasional whispered vocal and mid-song classical guitar interlude (including a brief slightly angular/diminished replication of Beethoven's "Ode to joy"). The post-guitar interlude shifts into PETER HAMMILL territory with some odd jazz instrumentation for accompaniment and the PH vocal. When thing amp back up--first via return of the horns and then full TOBY DRIVER-like band to spacey end. So odd! So outstanding! (10/10)5. "Chapter I - Exterior - The Origin of Blame" (3:27) starts out as a piano-accompanied cabaret-like vocal much in the MATTHEW PARMENTER style. The cacophonous 'chorus' is equally 'out there'--but so creative and idiosyncratic! This is such an amazing mind that can successfully weave such odd and unusual sounds and styles into the flow of this, a concept album. I call it genius! (10/10)6. "Chapter I - Exterior - Prey's Prayer" (6:07) is an instrumental support/setup for an amazing guitar solo. The guitar play reminds me of JEFF BECK, ROY BUCHANAN, HIRAM BULLOCK, or RAY GOMEZ! Great horn support. This is not a song to be missed! Guitar this sublime is too seldom recorded! (10/10)7. "Chapter II - Interior - Sunlight" (8:20) opens with some more adventurous guitar sounds before shifting into a sensitive acoustic guitar supported ballad--not unlike the recent work of JOHANNES LULEY including the voice (though on this song Joe's voice is more similar to that of RITUAL lead vocalist, Patrik Lundström). Quite unusual song structure and sound combinations. So like our enigmatic chameleon Nikiitas! Excellent song. The final section sounds like recent ECHOLYN before the solo voice closes in Peter Hammill fashion! (10/10)8. "Chapter II - Interior - The Relic" (8:28) opens with a minute of purposefully picked chords on acoustic guitar which are eventually joined by Joe Payne's equally composed yet emotional vocal. By the end of the second minute piano and then full band have joined in to support a multi-voiced chorus. In the instrumental fifth minute the music builds in layers and intensity before crescendoing and crashing into silence with a brilliantly placed audible sigh to restore the gentle yet plaintive sounds and structures of the opening. Piano and violin--and later cello--perform some nice soli to accompany the synth orchestral sounds. Nice Post Rock song. (9/10)9. "Chapter - Suiciety" (6:40) opens with a fast-paced, hard-driving PORCUPINE TREE-like sound of drums, odd spacey synth sounds and ominous keyboard bass chords until 1:37 when the drumming cuts the pace in half while the pile of ominous incidentals and washes mounts higher and higher. Then at 2:20 everything drops away to leave the slowly picked notes of a solo classical guitar. Cymbol play accompanies the addition of orchestral participation (I especially like the horns sections' contributions). This is then followed by a creative section in which the drummer creatively fills orchestra-supported 'space' with his cymbol and kit play. A return to full force in the ominous chord progressions crescendoes and decays while Joe Payne's treated voice alone fills the album's sad finale. (9/10)This is an awesome album of eclectic music! Being a concept album with songs integrated to express this elevates it a notch above Methexis' previous 2011 effort, The Fall of Bliss (which I also love). A brilliant masterpiece of modern progressive rock music--one that gets me so excited to come back to it and hear it again. Special shout out to Linus KÃ¥se and Nikos Zades, the keyboard player and sound design/D&B programmer, respectively. Amazing contributions! And Walle! Awesome play on the batterie! Check this one out, people!5 stars, definitely essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • "Really superb debut album from this contemporary instrumental progressive rock band who sound completely contemporary but manage to do so while not using the metallic/crunchy overtones that so many contemporary progressive bands use. There's a certain dark, mysterious quality which is probably due to the strings, but it's not particularly avant-garde. It doesn't sound like anyone else and it doesn't sound old. Highly recommended." - Wayside Music Makajodama is the unusual name for this young instrumental quartet from Sweden. The band was formed by Mathias Danielsson, guitarist for the progressive rock band Gösta Berlings Saga. In the course of searching for another avenue to express his own musical ideas he met Mattias Ankarbrandt, the former drummer of The Carpet Knights. Their goal was to blend both written and improvised music. Through the walls of the cellar of Mathias' rehearsal studio, he could hear someone practice violin everyday, and since some of his new ideas included strings he decided to find out who the player was. After a month searching, they located their man Johan Klint who immediately joined Mattias and Mathias. As luck would have it Johan knew a cellist, Karin Larsdotter, who was also interested in improvisation as well and she came onboard, rounding out the quartet. The band invited Anekdoten’s guitarist, Nicklas Barker, to mix the album. Makajodama’s debut is a direct reflection of the quartet’s influences: Third Ear Band, Univers Zero, Swedish psych pioneers Älgarnas Trädgård, the kraut rock spirit of Can and Faust, and Swedish contemporary composers Karl-Birger Blomdahl and Allan Pettersson. The result is a unique collision of progressive and post rock that sounds like the musical offspring of early King Crimson and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The artwork and design of the digipak was created by noted Swedish artist Johan Björkegren. Get a taste of Makajodama here: Makajodama's MySpace Page
    $14.00
  • The Diablo Swing Orchestra dates back to 1501 in Sweden, where history tells the tale of an orchestra that played like no other, with music so seductive and divine that the ensemble overwhelmed audiences all over the country. Their performances rapidly earned a reputation of being feral and vigorous and gained the orchestra a devoted crowd of followers. Their concerts attracted more people than High Mass in church and as a result the orchestra was accused of being treacherous and in league with the devil. The members were accused of being everything from heretics to the spawn of Satan. “The Devil’s Orchestra” was the epithet used by the church in it's attempt to halt the orchestra’s success. However, this eventually became a catchphrase that spread throughout the crowd, and before long it was the popular name of the orchestra. With the accusation of heresy a bounty was put on the orchestra, and as the hostilities from the church grew stronger the orchestra finally felt the need to flee. But they decided that if they were to disappear they should go out in style, by giving one last concert. Before doing so they all signed a pact saying that their descendants were given the task of reuniting the orchestra in 500 years, and that they should continue the orchestra’s work of spreading thought-provoking music. Six envelopes were sealed and given to trustees of the orchestra to pass on to family members. The final concert was a great success. Thousands of people came to see it, and the massive sing-along of the crowd made the performance the most talked about in history. Eventually, the armed guards arrested the orchestra. They were subsequently sentenced to death by hanging. Stockholm 2003. By mere accident two of the original orchestra descendants met in a music shop and began to discuss music. It later turned out that they both had received a strange letter from some ancient relative containing instructions on how to reunite The Devil’s Orchestra. By searching through archives and records they managed to track down the other ancestors. Daniel's sensibility for words and melodies made him the main composer. Annlouice's angelic yet powerful operatic voice gave a bombastic feeling to the music. Andreas swinging and energetic drumming provided the orchestra with a deep and solid foundation. And together with Andy's powerful finger style playing and funk-oriented slapping they made sure the songs had a steady groove. Pontus electronic and experimental influences proved useful as the orchestra wanted a contemporary sound. Johannes's emotive cello-playing, theoretical knowledge and stunning technique completed the orchestra. With reference to the old catchphrase they took the name Diablo Swing Orchestra and are determined to honor the legacy of their ancestors. Since the release of their debut “The Butcher’s Ballroom” in 2006/2007 the orchestra has gained a loyal fan base of their own. People have embraced their sound with open arms and they have been perceived as a fresh breath of air in a genre getting more and more stale and formulaic. The album was also well received among critics earning many rave reviews recognizing the new ideas the band brought to the scene. DSO’s sophomore effort titled “Sing-Along Songs for the damned & Delirious” proves that they are no one hit wonder but are here to stay. The new record set to be released in September 2009 is a smörgåsbord of different levels of musical insanity building on the foundation laid down on “The Butcher’s Ballroom”. Touring will begin in September starting with Progpower USA and will continue in Europe later in the fall.
    $13.00
  • Produced by Stephen van Haestregt (Within Temptation, Ambeon). Additional production & mix by Oscar Holleman (Ayreon, Krezip, Within Temptation) at Studio RS29, Waalwijk, The Netherlands.What can you possibly do when you released the most sensational Metal debut of the year 2000? Actually it’s quite simple. You have a repeat performance of swaggering grooves on the next album as well.Decipher doesn’t politely draw your attention – it simply grabs you by the throat. Even more so than on Prison Of Desire the classical orchestra and choir and the more than impressive sound of the band itself have been forged together at superhuman temperatures. As a result the “Heavenly” elements appear to have embraced the scorching hellfire amalgamating into a fascinating alloy.For almost sixty minutes the flawless soprano of singer Floor Jansen reverberates the blaze of the ferocious nether world, which forms the breeding ground of the unconventional songs on the album. A world that abundantly proves that After Forever has grown. In every aspect.After Forever sounds as After Forever!DeLuxe 2CD Set in Digipack, Original Album & Artwork, Extensive Booklet,31 Remastered Tracks = 11 tracks Original Album + 20 Bonus Tracks,over 150 minutes of Gothic Metal!Non-Album Tracks, Unreleased Versions, Sessions & Demo’s.featuring: Mark Jansen: EPICA, Sander Gommans: HDK & Trillium and Arjen AYREON Lucassen.The original Dechiper album sold over 120.000 copies.Liner notes by Sander GommansTrack listingTMD-069 AFTER FOREVER – Decipher: The Album - The SessionsChapter 1 -  Decipher: The Album1. Ex Cathedra 2:02 -Ouverture-2. Monolith of Doubt 3:313. My Pledge of Allegiance #1 6:25 -The Sealed Fate-4. Emphasis 4:18 5. Intrinsic 6:446. Zenith 4:217. Estranged 6:55 - A Timeless Spell-8. Imperfect Tenses 4:08 - duet9. My Pledge of Allegiance #2 5:07 -The Tempted Fate-10. The Key 4:4711. Forlorn Hope 6:21Bonus Tracks12. For The Time Being 5:0413. Who wants to Live Forever 4:48 – feat Ayreon14. Imperfect Tenses 4:10 – duet with Damian Wilson15. Monolith of Doubt 3:32 – Single Version16. Imperfect Tenses 4:06 – Orchestral VersionChapter 2 – Decipher: The Sessions1. The Key 4:422. Monolith of Doubt 3:313. My Pledge of Allegiance #2 5:024. Emphasis 4:175. Estranged 6:536. My Pledge of Allegiance #1 6:207. Imperfect Tenses 4:05 (vocals Floor only)8. For the Time Being 5:029. Forlorn Hope 6:2010. Zenith 4:1811. Intrinsic 6:5612. Who wants to Live Forever 4:48 (Ayreon only)13. Monolith of Doubt 3:43 – Demo14. Emphasis 4:30 - Demo15. For The Time Being 5:09 – DemoREMASTERED IN THE 24-BIT DOMAIN FROM THE ORIGINAL MASTERS
    $20.00
  • DGM has been cranking out albums for years and with all the lineup changes they go through, somehow the music gets better and better.  Forget that Russell Allen and Jorn Viggo Lofstad guest on the album - sure that's cool.  More important are the facts that vocalist Mark Basile is rock solid and the band has come up with a perfect blend of melodicism, heaviness and proginess. (not sure that is a word).  This one makes all the right moves. File under: AWESOME!   Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • "(Mostly) UK-based symphonic/power metal band Damnation Angels is back with a new album, their second overall, titled The Valiant Fire. It’s the highly-anticipated follow-up to their breakthrough 2013 debut full-length Bringer of Light, and on it the Graney brothers and vocalist Per Fredrik “Pellek”Asly have taken just about everything to the next level.As you might expect after the grandeur of Bringer of Light, The Valiant Fire is, in a word, epic. The orchestrations in particular are massive, swirling around the guitars and drums to create a majestic atmosphere throughout the album. It’s a consistent atmosphere too, almost giving The Valiant Fire a concept album feel, even though the songs are independent of each other. The atmosphere connects them all, and makes this album that much more rewarding when taken as a whole listening experience. The melodies are a little more subtle this time around, but still play a large part in the album’s overall sound. And of course there’s the vocal performance. Pellek is one of the brightest young stars in the genre, and being in Damnation Angels seems to bring out his best performances. The power, range and emotion he conveys is what makes these songs resonate so much.Unlike Bringer of Light, which immediately drew you in with huge melodies, The Valiant Fire is going to take a few spins to really sink in. When it does though, it simply won’t let you go. That’s not to say there aren’t incredible melodies and hooks. They just seem dialed back in comparison to the debut. You’re still going to be headbanging and singing along with the catchy “This Is Who We Are” and “Everlasting.” Oddly enough, the most bombastic song on the album is the instrumental title track. It makes a statement, but you can’t help but wish Pellek was there doubling the impact of such strong melodies. The album boasts a pair of nine-minute epics – “The Frontiersman” and “Under An Ancient Sun” – that are very different from each other but equally memorable. Honestly, all nine of the songs on The Valiant Fire are sensational, and there isn’t a weak moment anywhere on the album.New releases from Nightwish and Kamelot will – deservedly – garner the lion’s share of attention from the Symphonic Metal community, but The Valiant Fire has to be considered one of the best – if not the best – entry in that genre in 2015. Even stepping away from genre tags, this is just one of the best albums you’ll hear all year if you like your metal grand, powerful and epic. If you haven’t yet experienced Damnation Angels, now is the perfect time to discover one of the most exciting bands in recent years." - Hard Rock Haven
    $15.00
  • "Machine Men is a group of young Finnish men (all in their early 20’s) playing traditional melodic heavy metal. The band formed in 1998, and after some demo activity, finally recorded their debut album, Scars & Wounds in 2002 on Dynamic Arts Records in Finland. Earlier this year, Machine Men signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records. That brings us to the present, which sees Machine Men released their sophomore album, Elegies.Although they are from Finland, Machine Men have not followed the easy path of becoming another Stratovarius / Sonata Arctica clone. Instead, the band has chosen a more traditional metal flavor for its sound. A very obvious Iron Maiden influence flows through the entire album, yet the production gives the album a feeling more similar to Bruce Dickinson’s recent solo albums. Anthony, Machine Men’s lead vocalist sounds like Dickinson’s twin brother more than just a few times on this album. He doesn’t possess quite the range or power as the “Air-Raid Siren” himself, but Anthony is certainly an excellent vocalist that is perfect for this band. Just to make the Iron Maiden / Bruce Dickinson comparison more complete, I’ll point out that Machine Men (the band’s name) is also a song title from Dickinson’s Chemical Wedding album. That’s not all, check out the last track of Elegies. Yes, that version of Freak is a cover of the opening track of Accident of Birth!Well, after what you’ve read up to this point, you can surely guess that this album is not exactly original or groundbreaking. True. However, Elegies is an excellent album, proving that the band is great at what they do, and able to create songs that have a definite lasting value. Aside from the outstanding Dickinson vocal performance, strong guitar work is a key ingredient to the band’s music. Of course, the band loves to employ lots of dual leads and classy guitar solos. The rhythms forge ahead with a force and heaviness very similar to the heavier side of Accident of Birth. However, songs such as October and From Sunrise to Sunset see the band delve into slow and mid tempo territory, and they pull it off quite well. The guitar work is still crunchy and authoritative in both instances, which gives the songs a sense of urgency despite their slower approach. All around, the guitar sound is heavy, not sounding at all like a retro tribute to Iron Maiden. As I said earlier, the guitar sound is has a tone similar to Bruce Dickinson’s solo about, but technically executed in a way very similar to classic Iron Maiden. Having said that, Machine Men make no secret to hide their chief influences, yet they are able to add their own touch, and thus create an inspired and personal sounding album. Before I know it, 45 minutes is up, and the album comes to a close. That can only be considered a good thing, I suppose. Each of the songs is a keeper, no filler on this album at all. The guys add a nice, but not overpowering melodic quality to their music. A very nice balance is struck between heaviness, vocal prowess, and catchy, melodic parts. This all adds up to produce an album with lasting power that is sure to please. Although the Iron Maiden / Bruce Dickinson influence is inescapable, Machine Men are able to add just enough of their own touch to the music. Furthermore, the guys are just great songwriters.I hadn’t heard of this band before, but Elegies is enough for me to become a fan of Machine Men. This is the type of album that can easily stay in your listening rotation for weeks at a time and not get old. Obviously, fans of Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson’s solo work should check this album out. These guys certainly provide another dimension to the Finnish metal scene. As long as the guys keep coming up with quality songs and consistent albums such as Elegies, there’s no reason not to expect them to have a successful career." - Metal Reviews
    $4.00
  • "Are we being manipulated? Who would benefit from us, to follow pre-established rules? Careless. As sheeps. Political parties? Religious organisations? Commercial companies? TV networks? Beware of everything, even NEMO...NEMO is one of the leading Prog Rock bands in France, and after 13 years of existence they conquered the world community of Prog lovers with their previous albums (Si, Barbares, R€volu$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