Unification

Unification

BY Iron Savior

(Customer Reviews)
$11.00
$ 6.60
SKU: N02962UX
Label:
Noise
Category:
Power Metal
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  • "It only seems like a couple of weeks since Caravan announced in August 2013 that they were to record a new album that would be financed by money pledged by fans, and yet here it is already!What should have been a joyous time for the band and fans alike was sadly marred by the death of long-time drummer Richard Coughlan on December , however it is fitting that the digital download of the album was released to fans who had pledged on December 20, the day of Richard’s funeral!Musically this has classic Caravan stamped all over it. It is not, however, a hark back to the halcyon days of the 70′s and In the Land of Grey and Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, there are not anywhere near as many long instrumental sections in there for a start and the longest song I’ll Be There For You clocks in at a mere 6:14. What we do have here is a stripped down, and updated 2013 version of everything that Caravan fans look for. The classic songwriting is there, as is the excellent musicianship and whimsical lyrics, and let’s face it, with that instantly recognisable, trademark voice, Pye Hastings could re-record Never Mind The Bollocks and it would probably still sound like Caravan.All This Could Be Yours is a belter of an opener, and despite what I said above, this is one track that would not have been out of place on Grey and Pink or Girls Who Grow Plump! With an excellent, albeit short, viola solo from Geoffrey Richardson, and a great hook in the chorus, it skips along merrily in classic Caravan style.One of the ways of financing the album was to get people to pledge extra to go to the studio and get involved in the recording, I don’t want to pour cold water on anything but sadly I think this is where the band have shot themselves ever so slightly in the foot. Despite being a great song, I’m On My Way, has some awful, flat backing vocals in the chorus which almost ruin the song. The same applies to This Is What We Are where a slightly naff chorus comes close to ruining what is otherwise a very strong song, being slightly heavier than we are used to from Caravan including an infectious piano motif and an excellent, soaring guitar solo towards the end.The slower Dead Man Walking is the perfect pacer, leading into the very emotive Farewell My Old Friend. As an ode to the passing of a close friend, this song is made all the more poignant following the death of Richard Coughlan and brings a lump to the throat!In typical Caravan style, no-one is allowed to get too maudlin, as the next two songs Pain in the Arse with the vitriolic closing line ‘I don’t care if you sue me now, you are insane’, and Trust Me I Am A Doctor put the collective tongues firmly back in the cheek. Doctor takes an irreverent stab at a GP, who I’m quite sure, given the amount of names dropped in the song is a real person and should have no difficulty in identifying himself! But it is all done in good fun and I’m sure no umbrage will be taken!The album finishes on a mellow note with the wistful I’ll Be There For You and the title song Paradise Filter which kicks off  really slow and  melancholy with a late night jazz feel, before breaking out into a middle section that is very reminiscent of the instrumental break in The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again!Overall this is an excellent return for a band that has been absent from the recording studio for too long (it is ten years since the release of The Unauthorised Breakfast Item in 2003). Not that they have been resting on their laurels as they have still been playing live gigs, but it is nice to know that they can still cut it and write well crafted, catchy and extremely listenable songs.It also proves that the pledging route is a very viable way of financing studio time and album releases, sadly, however, I doubt very much that would work for new bands as you would have to have a name for yourself in order to create the initial interest. Maybe extensive gigging and as the old saying goes ‘paying your dues’ would help. Now there’s an idea (take note potential XFactor and The Voice contestants)!" - jonb52
    $20.00
  • PERHAPS THE BEST $5 CD YOU WILL EVER BUY. Superb new progressive metal project put together by noted fretless guitarist Tim Donahue. He decided to go right to the top and put together a collaboration with Dream Theater's James LaBrie. LaBrie brought monster drummer Mike Mangini into the fold. In addition to fretless guitar (you have to hear it to believe it), Donahue plays all bass and keyboard parts. This is classy, epic progressive metal done right. Highly recommended!
    $9.00
  • There is no denying that Nemo's JP Louveton is one hell of a guitarist. His staunch commitment to having French lyrics with Nemo's music has stiffled the band's exposure within much of the progressive rock community. Wolfspring is a new project he has put together - but with English vocals. The music isn't particularly symphonic like Nemo. Instead he goes for a contemporary guitar driven sound that rocks hard. Nemo keyboardist Guillaume Fontaine is also a member of the band but he definitely takes a supporting role. Louveton's guitar takes center spotlight through out.
    $3.00
  • French female fronted band with an extreme metalcore sound similar to compatriots Kells. Vocalist Candice Clots mixes up the clean and harsh vocals with the former dominating. Produced by Fredrik Nordstrom (Arch Enemy, In Flames). This is the international English vocal version.
    $15.00
  • New edition of the band's album from 1991. Contains the bonus track "Sister Bluebird".
    $13.00
  • This is the original US CD pressing on MCA Records.  
    $5.00
  • "In 2010 Pain of Salvation, best known for their progressive stylings and vocalist who wishes he could talk rhythmically like Mike Patton, released a record that blew me away and shook their fanbase: Road Salt One.  It was shocking mainly because it was a largely not tech-geek-progressive and it was very 70s rock influenced. This left some long-time fans peeved, at best. They wanted something different. Well, Road Salt Two is definitely not that something different. It is stubbornly more of the same and it may have lost a bit of its luster with a year to sit on it.Road Salt Two is yet again a dirty 70s rock influenced record without a metal riff to show for the 51 minutes of music that are contained within. It starts out with the “Road Salt Theme” (which, actually, doesn’t appear to be thematically in context with the first disc) and drops right into blues-based rock riffing in “Softly She Cries.” While a tad banal at first, it gently transfers back into the “Road Salt Theme” so smoothly that the inattentive may straight up miss the development. This exemplifies the writing on this album, actually. As I pointed out in reference to Road Salt One, Gildenl takes the most hackneyed, cliched and overdone genre in the entire world (blues rock) and adds a personal twist to it that makes it not only enjoyable but deep and fascinating. “Conditioned” works like this as well. It starts out like a fucking Lenny Kravitz song and then morphs into something sinister and/or melancholy.The record also has its more “downy frowny” parts like third track “Healing Now” or “1979,” which borders on nostalgic crap but has its own naive charm. “Through the Distance” is reminiscent of “Sisters” in tone and vocal performance, but it doesn’t have the same emotional poignancy. These tracks work to build the valleys in the grittier, more progressive landscape that is this second Road Salt installment and they work well in that. The peaks, then, are “Eleven,” “The Deeper Cut,” “Mortar Grind” and the 8 minute and 43 second “The Physics of Gridlock” which is a particularly excellent song. These show off a more progressive Pain of Salvation than we saw on Road Salt One. On these tracks the rhythm section performs admirably and really convincingly, making for some fantastic, driving and yet subtle music.What finally makes this album a great record is that the songwriting is top-notch and the feel is spot on. Gildenl’s vocals steal the show again, but unfortunately the entire album doesn’t live up to what I see as the best track “To the Shoreline,” which should be the marquee track from this album (and should be their 2011 Melodifestivalen entry). It’s a faster track with a flute part that sounds like something that comes straight off of Camel‘s Snow Goose. The track is only 3 minutes long, but it’s just a tremendous piece of writing that I have listened to probably 300 times since I got the record. Unfortunately, that means that the rest of the record pales in comparison, and that kind of sets it back.The other major critique that I had of this record was that the “characters” if you will, sound like case studies from someone’s book on personality disorders. Really? She feels empty inside? Like a black hole? Has she been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, by any chance? Her unpredictable mood swings definitely seem like they fit the criteria. And the main dude sounds like he has a hell of a Jesus complex, out saving the ladies left and right. While this was definitely there on the last record, it didn’t feel as hackneyed. On 2 we’re forced to sit through three songs where Daniel rhymes “cry,” “die” and “why” in a number of different constellations and it comes off as a bit uninspired at best.Even if it’s a lyrical bust, musically Road Salt Two is a smashing success, even with all the caveats. I understand that it can’t be easy to do a project like this and I think others who have tried to do similar things have also probably looked back on them and felt like they didn’t come off as well as they could have (Opeth, and Guns ‘N’ Roses both come to mind). And really, it’s tough for me to listen to both records all the way through in a single sitting. But on its own, Road Salt Two is an enjoyable disc from a talented group who has now definitely lured me in. I’ll be checking out whatever they do next and hoping it will be as great as this is." - Angry Metal Guy
    $15.00
  • Gatefold black vinyl edition features one bonus track as well as a CD of the album.Riverside's latest takes a bit of a swerve from their traditional sound.  Parts of the album bears the imprint of Mariusz Duda's solo work - its more laid back, more refined.  Other aspects of the album carry on with the sound that Riverside has developed over recent albums - chunky organ, trippy keyboard soloing and interstellar guitarwork.  This one is a grower.  At first listen it might not hit you but the more you scrape away at it the more you realize its dug deeper under your skin."For the past decade or so, Polish progressive rock/metal quartet Riverside set itself apart from their stylstiic brethren by offering distinguishing tones, mesmerizing atmospheres, and most importantly, remarkable songwriting. Sure, the band also infuses much of its music with the intricacy genre enthusiasts expect, but their melancholic, yet beautiful and earnest melodies and lyrics (credited mostly to singer/songwriter/bassist Mariusz Duda) have always come first. Perhaps nowhere in its discography is this more apparent than on their newest opus, Love, Fear and the Time Machine.Although it features a few complex arrangements, the record is by far Riverside’s most straightforward and accessible collection to date, showcasing a proclivity for upfront compositions like never before. While this may disappoint fans who adore the group’s more tangential, frantic instrumentation, rest assured that the album’s stunning emotionality and breathtaking arrangements more than make up for it. Without a doubt, Love, Fear and the Time Machine features some of the most gorgeous, tragic, and ultimately inspiring pieces Riverside have ever recorded, making it another exceptional entry in an invaluable catalog.According to Duda, the effort is a return to the softer, more ambient nature of Riverside’s debut, 2004’s Out of Myself. In fact, the foursome intentionally composed it “to combine the ‘70s and the ‘80s…[the songs] have never been so concise and to the point before.” Because of this new approach, the disc actually evokes Duda’s other project, Lunatic Soul, in subtle but substantial ways at times. Like almost all of Riverside’s previous works, Love, Fear and the Time Machine is also a conceptual record; specifically, it “talk[s] about transformation. About making an important, perhaps life-changing decision everyone has to make at some point in their lives…on the one hand, we’re excited by the change…[but] on the other, we fear the unknown.” Ultimately, the lesson to be learned from it is that “if we sometimes get lost in life, it is to go through something and be found again on the other side, to be reborn as someone better and more valuable.”Fittingly, then, the sequence starts with “Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened by a Hat?)”, which is arguably its best track. Duda begins by reciting a philosophical recollection over a delicate ether of keyboards and bass and guitar notes. Afterward, he launches into a catchy and charming chorus: “Come follow me / We’ll go down / Where the river flows / One day / Just you and I will find a bridge / To another land”. Duda layers his voices too, making it even more gripping, and in-between his passages, guitarist Piotr Grudziński issues his signature soaring accompaniment as the composition evolves. Drummer Piotr Kozieradzki keeps things steady throughout, while keyboardist Michał Łapaj gets the spotlight during the final seconds. Ultimately, “Lost” exemplifies the magnificent succinctness that makes Love, Fear and the Time Machine distinctive in the Riverside canon.Later on, “#Addicted” truly feels like a progressive rock take on the Cure in several ways, such as its dominant bass lines, starry guitar lines, and wistful singing which finds Duda channeling a silky falsetto he’s never really attempted before. There’s also a brief acoustic guitar arpeggio at the end that’s very enjoyable. Lyrically, it serves as a commentary on how social media can transform people into egocentric users who base their self-worth on their digital populiarty. In this way, both its lyrics and music find Riverside stretching slightly beyond its comfort zone, but the result is undeniably, well, addictive.“Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire” feels more traditional, with Duda’s sorrowful confessions and counterpoints perfectly complemented by sharp guitar riffs, aching solos, enveloping percussion, and a moving layer of synthesized splendor. Honestly, it’s like a heartbreaking and somewhat more colorful missing track from Shine of New Generation Slaves, whereas “Saturate Me” contains the sleek yet eccentric tones and virtuosic yet blunt balance that made up the best moments on Rapid Eye Movement. Of course, its sad ponderings, such as “Am I Invisible? / Or alive? / I don’t want to feel like I’m no one anymore”, are archetypal Riverside sentiments, and the interlocking musical patterns (especially near the end) are equally touching.The most commercial segment on Love, Fear and the Time Machine is surely “Discard Your Fear”; however, despite that typically negative connotation, the song’s approachability doesn’t get in the way of its worth. Rather, it’s uplifting message and relatively simple and familiar construction could earn Riverside an entirely new camp of fans. It’s actually quite cathartic, as is the dreamy and tasteful “Toward the Blue Horizon”, which begins and ends as a luscious ode (with lovely piano chords) while transforming into a progressive metal workout in the middle.Both of the record’s final two pieces—“Time Travellers” and “Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)”—are wonderful. The former is an exquisite acoustic ballad about past possibilities and the unforeseen future. Its winding melodies and spaciousness are the standout features, as the rest of the band lets Duda’s voice lead the way, resulting in a simple but commanding experience. In contrast, the latter is more elaborate, impactful, and conclusive, with a strong sense of closure and acceptance, as the speaker realizes the importance of his or her experiences, uncertainties, and decisions. The music builds with great pacing, adding more beautiful layers as the chorus (“It’s a lovely life / You have gone so far / Don’t give it up / Oh, it’s a lovely life / Gotta go with what you think is right”) repeats with sleek harmonies. By the end, listeners are left in awe, reevaluating their own sense of purpose and optimism.Love, Fear and the Time Machine is likely the most polarizing record Riverside has made, as it could be considered both the band’s strongest and weakest full-length effort. Fans hoping for virtuosic jams and unexpected sounds won’t really find them here, while fans looking for more of Riverside’s token elegant instrumentation, affective melodies, and poetic, rich singing will be satisfied beyond measure. Either way, Love, Fear and the Time Machine definitely finds its creators reaching for new, if marginally different, heights, which is commendable in and of itself. Roughly ten years on, Riverside remains as special as ever, and Love, Fear and the Time Machine is, in several ways, its truest work of art." - Pop Matters
    $22.00
  • Here's one I never thought I would see... "The Battle" is marketed under the name Allen/Lande...those being Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (Ark, Masterplan). In actuality, the mastermind behind the project is Magnus Karlsson, the guitarist of Last Tribe and Starbreaker. He uses the singers individually and combined to interesting effect. Essentially an album of melodic metal it occassionally strays into the upper echelons due to the participation of these magnificent frontmen.
    $14.00
  • "After what has been a rather public and unseemly split from Nightwish (déjà vu anyone...?), onetime Alyson Avenue front-lady Anette Olzon returns with her first solo album, Shine. For anyone expecting something akin to the Nightwish bombast and bluster, it is an album set to surprise, possibly shock and ultimately disappoint. However, for those willing to simply take this album at face value, the surprise will be of an altogether different variety; a classy mix of Pop hooks, grandiose arrangements, intimacy and a sprinkling of the eccentricity which marked Kate Bush out, creating a quite beautiful, confident record that really does indeed shine very brightly indeed. What Shine also allows Olzon to do, is to illustrate a voice that soars, whispers, commands and seduces, revealing far greater facets and variety than her previous musical situation could ever have allowed. Put simply, like the music here, or not, there's absolutely no denying that Anette Olzon is mightily impressive.Thankfully, it is also extremely easy to give in to the music's charms, Olzon surrounding herself with a crack team (Stefan Orn, Johan Glossner, Johan Kronlund) of songwriters, producers and mixer-masterers, to craft a set of songs that are reasonably simple, memorable and thoroughly captivating. The likes of "Lies" hits like a shimmering Evanescence, "Invincible" is a string and voice (and plaintive guitar as the song builds) masterclass of stark melancholia, "Moving Away" a Scandi-folk tinged piece of adult Pop which works tremendously well. Add to that opener, "Like A Show", which fuses strings to slow electro-beats and a fragile vocal; "Falling", which I could imagine a stripped back Scorpions attempting, and the wonderful, soaring, is it Pop, is it Rock of the album's title track and not only do each and every one of the songs hit their mark, but they do so with enough eclecticism to stand up to repeat listens. And I haven't even mentioned the Kate Bush "Army Dreamers" clone "Floating", which while landing possibly too close to this particular Bush, is still a highlight. Factor in the commercial nous of Abba in places, and Shine really becomes a rare beast. An intelligent, yet utterly accessible and singalongable Pop come Rock album.Some may have thought that Anette Olzon's departure from Nightwish signalled the beginning of the end of her career in the limelight. On the strength of Shine, it is only just the beginning." - Sea of Tranquility
    $8.00
  • "Following their independent leap from the music industry in 1980, the band's audience continued to grow with the release of 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' which far outsold it's predecessors. For the first time in Enid history some of the tracks are vocal lead, producing anthems still chanted by fans today."
    $16.00
  • Second album from this Sieges Even offshoot/rebranding. Touchstones is a bit heavier than the debut as Markus Steffens struts his stuff again. Mid-80s Yes is an obvious influence on the band's direction. On some of the material vocalist Arno Menses sounds like a dead ringer for Jon Anderson. The music sits on the fence between the prog rock and metal realms. If you like the post-reformation Sieges Even albums you'll find much to sink your teeth into. Further - if you found the first Subsignal a bit on the light side you'll find this one has a bit more heft and frankly its better for it. Highly recommended.
    $19.00
  • "This album was recorded soon after the band's legendary concert on the steps of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1980 and includes the emotive 'In Memory Of The Martyrs' and the hit 'Life Is For Living'.This reissue has been newly remastered from the original master tapes, includes two bonus tracks and features a booklet that fully restores all original album artwork with a new essay by BJH experts Keith and Monika Domone."
    $17.00
  • Gorgeous reissue, housed in a mini-lp sleeve, of the legendary first album from Jacqueline Thibault aka Laurence Vanay.  Original copies of Galaxies sells for astronomical money.  Until recently not much was known about "Laurence Vanay".  As you may have figured out, Ms. Thibault was the wife of famous French producer Laurent Thibault, who you French prog buffs should be familiar with.  This was released under a pseudonym by a small label in 1974.  The music is beautiful ethereal spacey prog.  Ms. Thibault mostly provides wordless vocals over organ, flute, guitar, bass and drums.  On some of the quieter, folky tracks she does sing actual lyrics.  You might even hear a touch of Zeuhl here and there but overall think in terms of early 70s Pink Floyd.  Transferred from the original master tapes, this set arrives with a ton of bonus tracks and a detailed biographical booklet.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00