The Twenty Seven Club (CD/DVD)

Magenta's latest finds them returning to an overtly progressive rock sound and the music is all the better for it.  The Twenty Seven Club is a concept album based around famous rock stars that died at the age of 27 (Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hedrix, Kurt Cobain, ao).  The core lineup is Rob Reed, Christina Booth, and Chris Fry.  For this album the band is rounded out by guest drummer Andy Edwards of IQ.  Reed's keyboard work is back in the fore and Fry's Howe-isms on guitar always bring a polish to the music (and grin on the face).  Christina Booth's voice is a real gift and she shines as always.  Overall the music makes some overt references to Yes and Genesis so you get that old school flavor that the band hasn't offered in many years.  The album arrives in a special edition with a bonus DVD.  You get the complete album in a 5.1 mix, documentary footage and a promo video for one of the tunes.  Highly recommended.

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  • The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there.  Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan.  One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice.  It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji.  The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics.  The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time).  Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz.  Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics.  There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing.  The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element.  Very little of it would be hardly be called fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present.  This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music.  Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label.  They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process.  We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.  More will follow in the near future.I don't know what the back story is on this album but it has to be a funny one.  Easily by far the most out of place release to have come out on Three Blind Mice.  As far as I can tell its the only progressive rock album to have been released by the label.  The cover art would make you think of some weird Japanese pop band but it couldn't be further from that.  Jimmy, Yoko & Shin consists of Jimmy Shironaga (acoustic guitar, electric bass, and vocal), Yoko Sumiya (electric keyboards), and Shin Okabe (drums/percussion).  Apparently they won first prize in the Japanese Jazz Grand Prix.  Perhaps the prize was a record deal with TBM?The album consists of three tracks - one of which is only 3 minutes long.  Large parts of the album sound like outtakes from the first Emerson Lake & Palmer album with an injection of Canterbury.  Interspersed vocals are in Japanese and are based on 1000 year old Japanese literature (as if we would know the difference!).  The whole craziness is sewn together with the wonderful audiophile production that we expect from Three Blind Mice.  Highly recommended.
    $29.00
  • Deluxe digipak version comes with a bonus NTSC DVD featuring "The Making Of Trust".
    $15.00
  • "The return of Iron Maiden's "classic" Dickinson/Harris/Murray/Smith/McBrain lineup (plus third guitarist Janick Gers) in 1999 led to an incredibly successful world tour that saw the New Wave of British Heavy Metal legends commanding stages with the same unmitigated power and authority as they had during their mid-'80s heyday. But the question remained as to whether the reconstituted group would be able to carry this momentum into a studio setting and recapture the songwriting chops of its glory years. This question made Brave New World one of the most highly anticipated metal releases of 2000, and thankfully, the eventual answer to that question was a resounding "YES!" In fact, the album pretty much picked up right where the "classic" lineup had left off on 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son: with a faithful rediscovery of Iron Maiden's best-loved sonic aesthetic and compositional quirks, updated only insofar as was necessary to measure up to new-millennium recording standards. In every other respect (and much like Seventh Son of a Seventh Son), Brave New World's meticulously orchestrated three-guitar attack still allowed for a greater sense of space than early Maiden albums (as well as the use of subtle keyboard textures in a supporting role), while boasting a beefier, in-your-face mix à la Piece of Mind or Powerslave. The remarkable pipes of singer Bruce Dickinson actually seemed to have benefited from a less grueling touring schedule over the previous decade, and his renewed songwriting partnership with bassist Steve Harris (and other assorted bandmembers) yielded several new Maiden live standards such as punchy first single, "The Wicker Man," and the positively anthemic title track. Also worthy of special mention were Harris' emotional solo copyright, "Blood Brothers," Adrian Smith's distinctive solo licks throughout "The Fallen Angel," and six-string stalwart Dave Murray's Arabian-flavored contributions to "The Nomad." These highlights notwithstanding, a more lucid appraisal revealed that Brave New World was no Number of the Beast, once the initial euphoria died down. But as comeback albums go, its excellence was undeniable, and announced not only Iron Maiden's triumphant return, but an important turning point in heavy metal's long, arduous climb back to respectability after years of critical abuse." - Allmusic
    $13.00
  • "AVIAN “Ashes and Madness” is the amazing sophomore effort of vocalist/ producer Lance King best known for his many albums with (Balance of Power / Pyramaze /Gemini ) and guitarist /composer Yan Leviathan. The bands Debut album Featured known Megadeth bassist David Ellefson. This new offering the band has added BILL HUDSON of Cellador guitar fame. Lance King’s vocals are extremely memorable and intoxicating, these songs well written, memorable and while being very heavy are still very accessible and radio friendly. These songs are sure to grab the listener on their first listen."
    $12.00
  • Second album from Otyg's leader. Melodic Viking folk metal. SKOL!
    $9.00
  • Follow up to 2011's Disobey once again finds this Scottish band clinging to the British neoprog sound that helped define the genre.  To their credit there is a bit more playing than most of their brethren.  I particularly like the ornate keyboard work.  Nothing wrong with some old school prog sounds to remind us how it should be done.
    $13.00
  • "Female fronted Symphonic Power Metal band AMBERIAN DAWN return with their new album “Magic Forest” on Napalm Records. Female fronted bands have always been a target for hate in the Metal community, but it’s nice to hear this powerful and lovely voice!The only way I can think to describe this band is imagine Children of Bodom, put a girl in front and make it Power Metal instead of Death Metal. Capri’s vocals are both beautiful and chilling throughout the entire album. These are over some strong instrumentals with a bunch of incredible guitar and keyboard solos, AMBERIAN DAWN bring Power Metal to a whole new galaxy!As much as I’d like to talk about and praise each and every song on this album for you, there is one main song that sticks out the most. “I’m Still Here” is the perfect song to show what AMBERIAN DAWN bring, catchy vocals, insane but not over the top instrumentals and a wicked keyboard to guitar solo. If there is any song to look up to decide if you are going to like this band or album this is it right here.“Magic Forest” is absolutely killer, if you’re not one of those people who hates female fronted bands without rhyme or reason. Symphonic Power Metal is a rare treat and it gets even better when you find an astounding band that does it right!" - Metal Temple 
    $13.00
  • Beautiful second CD from this Greek band formerly known as Will-o The Wisp.  The band continues their with their retro hard rock sound.  Heavy organ and guitar runs with a sombre, doomy vibe lends some comparisons to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.  The band still makes a prog move here and there for good measure.  Highly recommended.Manticore's Breath continue to torture retailers worldwide with their packaging.  The CD packaging is a rather fragile affair and quite gorgeous.  Its an embossed textured cover with beautiful artwork by Harry Clarke that will remind you a bit of Arthur Rackham.  Oh yeah - a limited number edition of 400 tops it all off. 
    $23.00
  • This is confusing and perhaps some Italian customer can provide an explanation.  Some years ago New Trolls splintered (well more than once actually) and lawsuits ensued.  Over the years various members of the band have reunited in different lineups presenting their iteration of New Trolls.  Surprisingly most of these releases are actually pretty good.  At the present I believe there are (or were) 4 different versions of New Trolls and the lawsuits continue to fly.  This is a release by four of the members: Gianni Belleno, Giorgio D'Adamo, Vittorio De Scalzi, and Nico Di Paolo. They are recording under the name La Leggenda New Trolls.  This is a continuation of the Concerto Grosso series and as such the music was composed by Luis Bacalov.  The band is augmented by Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice of Genova.  Its an immaculate recording and stays faithful to the sound of the first two albums with the exception that half of the vocals are presented in English.The kicker (as I understand it) is that this is actually a posthumous release.  De Scalzi and Di Paolo lost a lawsuit which prohibits them from using the New Trolls name.  If I've gotten the story wrong I'd love to be set straight.  I find it all very odd but at the same time they all seem to turn out quality albums.
    $18.00
  • Obsidian Kingdom is a fascinating band from Barcelona that released Mantiis in 2012 in a limited run of 500 copies.  It's now picked up for worldwide distribution via Season of Mist.  This is definitely progressive metal - real boundary pushing stuff.  The band is categorized as post-metal and that is just one of the guideposts they touch on.  I hear more of a musical connection to Leprous and Arcturus.  If you are inclined towards the more avant garde side of metal you need to hear this band.  With the right push they could become massive.  Highly recommended."Cutting right to the chase, Obsidian Kingdom‘s latest release, ‘Mantiis‘ could very well be the most equivocal album I have reviewed to date. What this five piece post-metal band from Barcelona has put together with their latest genre-crossing, boundary pushing release is something few other bands can lay claim to accomplishing. I can’t even began to describe the number of different genres represented throughout this 47 minute monstrosity of an album.“Not Yet Five” is the album’s opener and starts things off with looming bass, light distortion, piano work and sporadic beeps and buzzes that all blend together to create an eerie ambiance that sets the mood for things to come. From here the album progresses forward with “Oncoming Dark” and “Through the Glass” which start off which crisp clean vocals and electric-accoustic guitar work before evolving into a wanderlust of heaviness that borders between post-metal and progressive death metal. Keyboards play on in an evil manner and when combined with chugging guitars and persistent drumming a doomsday like atmosphere forms. As the album moves forward through the short tracks, it gains in intensity through it’s evolving layers. By the time the album reaches its fourth track, “Cinnamon Balls” it has already spiraled into a dark, twisted place filled with harsh demonic vocals and djent style guitar work.A short piano interlude leads into “Answering Revealing” which brings the album full circle as clean vocals emerge as does a short but sweet return to Obsidian Kindgom‘s softer side. “Last of the Light” is where the album completely goes off of the tracks. While the beginning and end of the track are highlighted by violent vocals and double bass action, bookended between it is a several minute long section that features a classical guitar and with a very bluesy saxophone solo. You heard me right. This is without question one of if not the most unique song I have heard in years and definitely one of the most unusual combinations of instruments. From here ‘Mantiis‘ takes a stark transition to “Genteel to Mention”, a short track that opens with piano and clean vocals  that only last for a short while before the album returns right back to its doom and gloom heavier ways with the intro to “Awake Until Dawn”. The track does come to a crawl as it progresses when piano work mixed with synths present yet another unheard element to the album.‘Mantiis‘ moves forward with “Haunts of the Underworld” showcasing the best guitar work to be found on the album  and “Endless Wall”, which feels like the closest thing to a post-metal track found on the album despite the hints of more djent guitar work. Clean vocals amidst swirly ambiance make up “Fingers in Anguish” and demonic vocals and downtuned guitars return in “Ball-room”, both short tracks that barely cross over the five-minute mark combined. “Ball-Room” does a fantastic job setting the table for the closing track “And Then It Was”. Stark, aggressive drumming leads the way as everything the album has built itself up for comes to a head in this epic finale.One album I do think that compares particularly well to ‘Mantiis‘ is Crippled Black Phoenix‘s ‘Mankind, The Crafty Ape’. The two albums share many similarities in how they flow, how they use music as a journey to tell an album spanning story and also how they infuse many different genres into their sound while never delving down too far into a particular one. While CBF opted for a more psychedelic, bluesy infusion, Obsidian Kingdom chose a much darker, louder progressive death metal meets doom metal approach.While fantastic in its storytelling, the album isn’t without its shortcomings. I found myself wishing the album flowed a little bit better as some of the transitions seemed a bit awkward. There are also times where I wished the clean vocals would have had a stronger presence throughout the album as the band’s softer material is among their strongest work. Still, I can overlook these minor nuances as I continually find myself coming back to this album time and time again. ‘Mantiis‘ is one of the more captivating albums I’ve heard all year and is without question a breath of fresh air. " - PostRock Star 
    $12.00
  • The definitive version of the Black Symphony performance. This is a region free European Blu-Ray (no US release scheduled) so it will play in any Blu-Ray machine, drive or PS3. It was shot in HD and looks amazing. The audio is DTS 96/24 surround. The bonus DVD is identical to the one including with the various DVD sets available - in other words a bonus concert, music videos, "making of" feature, etc, etc. Note that this bonus DVD is PAL region 0. If you have a Blu-Ray player or a PS3 this is the only way to travel. Please note that Blu-Ray discs will only play in Blu-Ray players or drives. They will not play in a DVD player. We will not accept returns because you didn't understand what you are buying - please make sure you can play it.
    $39.00
  • Cynthesis is a new band that reunites three of the original members of Zero Hour (Jasun and Troy Tipton, and Erik Rosvold) along with Enchant drummer Sean Flanagan.ReEvolution is the middle part of a dystopian trilogy begun with 2011’s DeEvolution. The central character, a shaman, is sent out to gather more slaves. He comes across a tribe and senses a light within them that triggers a distant memory of his past.  He realizes this is the original tribe he was taken from.  He brings them back to the city and encounters what was done to the population and sets them free.While Cynthesis maintains much of the Zero Hour tech metal influence, it also demonstrates the more melodic and atmospheric side of Jasun Tipton’s songwriting.  ReEvolution will appeal to fans of both progressive rock and metal.
    $13.00
  • This new EP is a stop gap until the new full length release from the German symphonic metal band but its an interesting one.  Xandria present 3 new studio tracks, re-recordings of two vintage Xandria tunes, and covers of tracks by Sonata Arctica and Meatloaf (!)."Three brand new songs will be featured on the EP: "Voyage Of The Fallen", "Unembraced" and "In Remembrance". In addition, XANDRIA has re-recorded two all-time favorites of the band's fans, "Ravenheart" (originally recorded for the album "Ravenheart" in 2004) and "Now & Forever" ("India", 2005). Cover versions of SONATA ARCTICA's "Don't Say A Word" and Meat Loaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" will also be included on the effort.Regarding the decision to cover "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", XANDRIA said: "During the photo shoot for the 'Sacrificium' record, we were digging through our music libraries to find something appropriate for getting us in the right mood. At some point we got stuck with an artist every one of us had a crush on someone with and a story to tell about back then from our teenager days in the earlier '90s. We straight away started joking about doing a XANDRIA version of this particular song, but really forgot about it until the discussion of doing some remake for an EP came up again. With the biggest respect we started this operation of transforming one of our all-time faves, a real classic, into a XANDRIA hymn. Well, we think we quite did an 'okay' job and on July the 31st, it's your turn to decide whether you've got a favorite song or not.""
    $9.00
  • "You know how it is. You’re the Daughter of Satan, you fall in love, your lover dies, you kill some nuns, and then you destroy the world.All in a day’s work for Demon Lung, whose new album ‘A Dracula’ is the gleeful retelling of a gruesome story inspired by the 1977 horror film Alucarda.‘A Dracula’ is bigger, faster and more spectacular than its predecessor, the band’s excellent debut ‘The Hundredth Name’, and while it may not be a huge creative gamble for the Las Vegas quintet, it’s a step up in every department.Clad in white gown and sorrowful expression, singer Shanda Frederick in undoubtedly the band’s focal point. She particularly enjoyed writing the lyrics for this album, and that relish oozes through in her performance.Frederick’s voice sways and lilts with a delicately-controlled strength. It is at once tragic and snarling, dreamy and yet decisive. For all her gloomy power and vampiric passion, it would be great to hear even more variety from Frederick’s distinctive voice. She persists with a trademark slide at the end of almost every line, which becomes distracting.On the song ‘Raped By The Serpent’, she demonstrates that when her vocals are more positive and invigorated, then the song can really come to life. Other standout tracks include ‘I Am Haunted’, which is a slow and patient triumph, and the gloriously understated epic ‘Gypsy Curse’.Big, metallic riffs pummel and crash as the narrative proceeds to its striking conclusion, the guitars working in perfect partnership with Frederick’s Medusa-like charms.Demon Lung draw upon a sludgy heaviness and apocalyptic drumming to create a thunderous, stirring sound. And yet some songs stubbornly refuse to burst into life, as was the case on the band’s previous album. These Nevada wizards prefer to downplay their own epicness in order to maintain a relentless state of tension.‘A Dracula’ is consistently engaging and mesmerising work of creative misery from these stylish Las Vegas doomsayers." - Doom Metal Heaven
    $14.00