USA (CD/DVD)

SKU: KCSP12
Label:
DGM
Category:
Progressive Rock
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This is the new 40th anniversary edition.  The CD features the expanded set and given a new mix courtesy of Robert Fripp, Tony Arnold, and David Singleton.  The DVD-A features a hi-rez (24/96) stereo mix and hi-rez (24/48) versions of the 2005 mix as well as the 30th anniversary remaster.  You also get a 24/96 vinyl transfer.  I think Robert has definitely beaten this one to death.  Once you have this version there isn't anything left.

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  • "To avoid any lingering confusion right from the outset,  you may already be aware of this band because AudioPlastik began life under a different name or names to be more precise. Both Alpha Flood and Brave New Sky were trialled before the trio settled on the name AudioPlastik. Whatever the name though, it’s a musical collaboration which will more than prick the ears of fans of progressive rock or metal music. The trio is fronted none other than Dec Burke, the vocalist for Darwin’s Radio and Frost* as well as being a well thought of solo artist in his own right. Dec also plays the guitar and is joined by the impressive duo of Simon Andersson (Darkwater, ex-Pain Of Salvation) and Threshold’s keyboardist Richard West. Being a fan of all of the names mentioned in the preceding sentences, I have naturally been very excited to hear the final product ever since a debut album was announced to see the light of day early this year.The album is due out in the very near future and goes by the title of ‘In The Head Of A Maniac’. With a title like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the content of this record might be a bizarre, challenging or even a wild schizophrenic beast. However, you’d be wrong, at least to a certain extent anyway. This is progressive music and as such, it does blend many ideas into its collective whole. But it is far from being impenetrable or a difficult listen.To be honest, the most difficult thing is to accurately describe the musical direction on ‘In The Head of a Maniac’. In itself it’s an absorbing listen full of wondrous aspects, one that is instantly likeable but ever more addictive as the number of spins increases. But to be more exact in order to offer a worthwhile review? Ok…If I was to try and sum this album up in a few words, I’d say it’s an absorbing blend of melodic progressive rock, metal and pop with rich cinematic overtones.Dealing with the latter aspect first, the cinematic, symphonic flavour can be heard right from the outset via the relatively brief instrumental opening. This is Richard West at his best, creating a piece of music which is subtly dramatic, emotive and pure film soundtrack fodder. In fact, much the same can be said of the even more dramatic ‘Traveller’ which is equally as enthralling and which could easily fit a suspense or action thriller.That said, West’s stamp is all over each of the thirteen compositions, bringing a rich elegance to proceedings just like he does with Threshold. Whether it’s via more subtle layers of atmospheric synths or more in-your-face modern-sounding embellishments, of which there are several (‘John Doe’) it always fits the song perfectly, providing a foundation of real depth and richness upon which all else is built.Next there’s the guitar playing of Burke and Andersson which is actually surprisingly heavy. Occasionally it is reminiscent in tone of numerous djent artists, particularly when the riffs chug in step with a rumbling bass (also courtesy of Andersson) and powerful drumming. ‘It Matters So Much’ illustrates this perfectly and is also a track that also greatly benefits from a rare and decadent lead guitar solo. This being prog, naturally many of the riffs play around with interesting, complicated tempos and time signatures but they are never complex for the sake of it and never detract from the essence of the songs. A prime example being ‘The Sound Of Isolation’ which contains a riff which befuddles my brain but which works in and around the simpler aspects of the song.One of the biggest strengths on this record however is its melodic sensibility. I mentioned earlier about the pop influences and its in the choruses that this is most noticeable. Just about every song has a hook or a melody that’s memorable. Some are immediate and others take a bit longer to work into the psyche. Regardless, they are there and many of them, alongside those modern programmed flourishes, lend the music that more mainstream feel. ‘Leave Me Here’ and the beautiful ‘Now’ for example, might not be out of place on mainstream popular radio. Elsewhere, ‘Bulletproof’ offers one of the most gorgeous choruses I’ve heard in recent times, ironic given that it’s also one of the heavier, busier tracks that packs a lot of light and shade as well as apparently disparate elements into its relatively short length. Oh and then there’s the stunning closer, ‘Distant Skies’ which pushes ‘Bulletproof’ very close, almost beating it depending on my mood when I listen.Then, to top things off, you’ve got the vocals of Burke. Those familiar with his other work with Frost* or Darwin’s Radio will know exactly what to expect and he doesn’t disappoint. Burke has a tone that’s very melodic and almost soothing but which also has a slightly rough, gritty edge to it that I really like. It means that the vocal delivery can fit both the softer, more introspective parts but which can also do justice to the heavier moments that require something a bit edgier vocally.As you can probably tell, I’m completely enamoured by this album. Almost imperceptibly, it has burrowed into my head and my heart and it refuses to let go. If your tastes dictate that you enjoy music that is rich and varied, deep and thoughtful, beautiful and genuinely unique, look no further than ‘In The Mind Of A Maniac’ by AudioPlastic. You won’t be disappointed." - Man Of Much Metal  
    $16.00
  • "SILENT VOICES is a relatively unknown band hailing from Finland, nevertheless they had already published many recommended albums such as their debut in 2002 “Chapters Of Tragedy” or 2006’s “Building Up The Apathy” or the great “Infernal” (2004), the line-up team is also composed by ex-members of REQUIEM and also share some musicians with SONATA ARCTICA like Henrik Klingenberg as keyboardist and bass player Pasi Kauppinen (WINTERBORN / KLINGENBERG SYNDROME). It’s been a while since the last SILENT VOICES album was out in the streets, it had occurred a lot of things in their lives, lots of turmoils, hassles -you name it-, the band was on deep winter sleep and they lost their vocalist, the great but rather inconstant Michael Henneken (SENTIMENT / ADAMANTRA) was gone for good.While they were in quest of searching for a new perfect singer they opted for the trick that consist to have different famous vocalists at the same time in order to increase their creativity and the band’s polyvalence, it’s also a good marketing move but the risk is to weakened the impact, to have a dilution of the personality of the music with each guest singer's specificity but finally the idea works pretty well, I believe.Now the new permanent singer for SILENT VOICES is known as Teemu Koskela from WINTERBORN’s fame (their 2008’s release “Farewell To Saints” is warmly recommended). But the album contains, beside the impressive vocals of Mr. Koskela in the very first song (which is a killer), nothing more than four guest vocalists such as:Mats Leven (ex-TREAT / ex-SWEDISH EROTICA / ex-ABSTRACT ALGEBRA / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-SOUTHPAW / ex-THERION / ex-ADAGIO / ex-AT VANCE / ex-FATAL FORCE / ex-SABBTAIL / DOGFACE), Michael Vescera (ex-LOUDNESS / OBSESSION / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-FATAL FORCE / ex-DR SIN / ex-REIGN OF TERROR / ex-KILLING MACHINE / WARRION / ANIMETAL USA / SAFE HEAVEN / MVP), Tony Kakko (SONATA ARCTICA / ex-NOTHERN KINGS) and Mike DiMeo (PHENOMENA / THE LIZARDS / ex-RIOT / ex-ILLIUM / ex-MASTERPLAN).Swedish citizen Mats Leven is absolutely stunning within the songs “No Turning Back” & with “Burning Shine”, his vivid interpretations, his deep implication and his voice leaves no hope for another contender, his signature vocalizing are clearly unbeatable, he is the king. Those songs are very well composed , maybe a little more direct than before but with still some intriguing arrangements and great orchestrations plus as always some acrobatic playing.Mike Vescera from USA delivers also a very solid performance, within the third track that is quite reminiscent of the SILENT VOICES old style, with an amazing display of virtuosity in the solo section, that’s funny that they opted for the titled “Reign Of Terror” with Vescera singing on it. Tony Kakko is the weakest of all the hired vocalist, the track is quite good but don’t fit with the thin voice of the SONATA ARCTICA’s mastermind, I believe that Teemu Koskela could do a better job with that particular one.“Black Water” is an instrumental number that allows to each member to shine a little more, a fine demonstration of agility. New York City very own Mike DiMeo is doing a fine rendition of this song called “Through My Prison Walls” but I still think that Teemu is able to sing even better, the long epic cut itself  is a good mix of past and fresh Prog Metal , with some amazing musical parts and many twists and turns.Only little disappointment is the length of the disc itself, after seven years in the making I had wished for one more song with Teemu, a remake of an old song could have been a good ide. Maybe this is their best album, I don’t know only time will tell, but it surely can compete with their great back-catalogue, easily. " - Metal Temple
    $14.00
  • "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
  • Gorgeous reissue of the band's third album and first for Atlantic. This remastered edition comes with 2 live bonus tracks from 1990, detailed liner notes, original artwork and previously unseen photos.
    $15.00
  • Latest album from this Michigan band - once again produced by Terry Brown. The album kicks off with the 17 minute title track - perhaps this is their 2112? Still plenty of Rush-isms but it sounds like the band is trying to take more chances and stretch out a bit more. After this track the album reverts to more concise material that does bring back the Rush comparisons. Some interesting guests pop in for a visit, most notably legendary Canadian AOR guitarist Kim Mitchell and ex-Discipline leader Matthew Parmenter on violin.This the limited edition version that comes with a bonus CD - a live "bootleg" taken from their support tour with Dream Theater.
    $7.00
  • "Don’t let the Appearance Of Nothing distract you from hearing A New Beginning, because, despite such deception, there’s a lot to be enjoyed from one of Switzerland’s few progressive metal bands. I’ve decided to adopt a policy of responding to stupid band names with stupid puns, and I won’t stop until they do. Appearance Of Nothing plays straightforward melodic progressive metal that’s heavy on the melodic. The band has been around for about ten years, and this is their third album. For fans of their first two albums, as well as fans of the more accessible forms of progressive metal, this is a very strong release.Expect synth and guitar heavy music. Every song is carried by crunchy rhythm guitars, and I’m happy to report that the recording and production is spot on to allow them to really shine. As far as distinct strengths of the album: look no further the choruses. Every single one, particularly on the daunting 14 minute title track, is remarkably catchy. This memorability, along with the consistently driving pace of the album, makes it a very easy and enjoyable listen. The lead vocal performance is also pretty great, and the songwriting even manages to accommodate interspersed harsh vocals. Usually throwing harsh vocals into melodic prog is a quick turn-off for me, but I applaud Appearance Of Nothing for pulling it off.Where drawbacks are concerned, I can’t point to any specific “problems”, but there are a few minor disappointments. For a pretty heavy synth presence, strong vocals, and ample songwriting diversity, I was disappointed with the overall atmosphere of the album. While the songs were certainly strong, they lacked a unique identity. This isn’t so much a drawback as it is lost potential for a band that’s got everything else they need to be really, really good.Certainly check out the single “Chains Of History”, as well as the title track. As common to great progressive music, it’s often that the longest song ought to be the best, and that’s certainly true here with the title track. I again applaud solid work from the studio to draw out a powerful performance so that it actually sounds powerful. Where technically proficient progressive metal meets great melodies and an excellent performance, you can’t go wrong." - Black Wind Metal
    $15.00
  • Remastered from the original tapes. Gentle flowing music with lysergic underpinnings. A cult classic. New edition from the original master tapes with eight bonus tracks.
    $17.00
  • A jaw dropping jazz rock monolith from an unlikely source - Southern Lord Records.  Fontanelle was formed years ago from the ashes of the space rock outfit Jessamine.  Led by guitarist Rex Ritter and keyboardist Andy Brown, the Fontanelle ensemble set out to recreate the sound of early 70s fusion icons Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.  Vitamin F genuinely sounds like a mash up of Davis' Bitches Brew and Hancock's Mwandishi.  No other way to describe it.  The band is augmented with horns and lots of guests.  You would never imagine that these guys were connected with Sun O))).  Not only highly recommended but possibly 2012's best release.  "When Southern Lord Records – home of Eagle Twin, Sunn O))), Black Breath and Earth – releases an album by a jazz fusion collective, you know that things are not going to be entirely as you might expect. At the very least your expectations will be challenged, and it’s possible that you might be very surprised indeed. That being the case, then, what is this Portland, Oregon band all about?Well, the good news is that the music is challenging, engaging and intelligent; it takes its cues from jazz, fusion, post rock, avant-garde, ambient and even some forms of metal (doom, for example). Most obvious is the debt it owes to Bitches Brew (but then, what modern jazz doesn’t?), but there’s also Head Hunters-era Herbie Hancock and indeed something of Can in the mix.Metal it is not, but the boundaries of what musicians – and, for that matter, fans – will allow themselves to get involved with are more fluid than ever (think Alex Skolnick Trio and Steve DiGiorgio’s Dark Hall as two obvious examples). Add to that the phenomenon that is post rock with its penchant for extended, sometimes improvised pieces, and there is absolutely no reason why this album shouldn’t cross over successfully. Those with long memories or suitably expansive record collections can cast their minds back to the exciting, innovative movement that was ‘70s jazz fusion, with its links to the heavier side of music – John McLaughlin’s machine gun guitar, The Brecker Brothers’ Heavy Metal Be Bop and Jeff Beck’s Wired.So the influences are many, the lineage can be traced back to some of the key works in the pantheon and the album provides an eclectic mix of songs. It’s part acoustic, part electric: Fontanelle don’t tie themselves down to a particular style, or burden themselves with a musical template that must be used at all times. They are so much more than that. While there are moments of quiet, acoustic sound, there are also passages of fuzzed up keyboards, guitar and space rock-like electronica.Opener ‘Watermelon Hands’ needs no expansion of its influences – they’re hidden in plain sight – although the sound is in many ways just as close to an album like Future 2 Future as it is to Head Hunters. It has a steady tempo that introduces the album very well and features a host of sounds and instruments within its five minute duration. ‘The Adjacent Possible’ continues in a similar stylistic vein, although I like to think I can hear something of Ray Manzarek in there too. And understand that these comparisons are used purely to provide some context: the music is very much Fontanelle’s own sound and not something that is just derivative. It would do the band a huge disservice to fail to acknowledge the level of originality on display throughout Vitamin F. The band plays with sounds on ‘When The Fire Hits The Forest’ as effects-laden guitar and keyboard add a cosmic element to the song, its hypnotic rhythm the backbone upon which is hung the complexities of the composition. This is jazz for the new millennium, in spite of any ‘70s influences, the band really letting loose with wave after wave of musical themes and ideas.‘Ataxia’ utilises brass melody with a heavy accompaniment, perhaps as close to rock as you can get while still maintaining a jazz demeanour; while ‘Reassimilated’ is quieter but no less interesting as it brings the album to a gentle and satisfying close.If you like jazz or jazz fusion you will like this album, of that I have no doubt. If you’re not familiar with those musical genres, then Vitamin F could be the ideal place for you to start. It’s a great album and well worth checking out. " - Ghost Cult
    $14.00
  • Before their ground breaking Sensory debut, The Towers of Avarice, Zero Hour had released an EP in the hopes of scoring a recording contract. The self-financed Metamorphosis established the group as a prog metal tour de force upon its issuance in 1998; an initial pressing of 2,000 units sold out quickly, leaving fans worldwide anxiously awaiting more Zero Hour material. The praises of the press flowed from around the globe, and the self-titled debut garnered raves from Snake Pit (Germany), Hard Roxx (UK), and many more. Michael Rensen of the premier German magazine Rock Hard proclaimed, "Zero Hour is one of the five Best Progressive Newcomers in the late '90s!"Since the release of "Towers" the band has been featured at two sold out Prog Power USA festivals, toured Europe twice and generated world-wide acclaim.Sensory is proud to reissue Metamorphosis complete with two unreleased tracks from the original studio sessions, two demo tracks and new packaging featuring the stunning artwork of Travis Smith. With this reissue now in place, the past has come full circle for Zero Hour and the future is theirs to be had. With the group now hard at work on their third release De-Evolution, the future is looking very bright indeed!
    $13.00
  • New reworked edition of the band's first album - from back when they were originally known as Witsend.  This new version features remastered, resequenced tracks, bonus tracks, new artwork and liner notes.  It might have been their first album but it was certainly one of their best!  Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • Submarine Silence is a side project from Moongarden's Cristiano Roversi.  The bands first album was released 12 years ago on Mellow Records.  It was an instrumental album that paid a huge debt to early Genesis.  This low awaited follow up album is cut from a similar cloth but it does feature vocals.  Most of the band is fleshed out with other members of Moongarden and Mangala Vallis.  Vocals are sung by Mirko Ravenoldi, who frankly I'm not familiar with.  He sings in English and truth be told he's a much better guitarist than singer.  Luckily the album features long swathes of instrumental passages - all cut from the Genesis cloth.  Roversi's keyboard arsenal is chock full of all the old favorites - Mellotron, Hammond organ, Arp and Moog synths, etc.  Lots of similarities to Tony Bank's set up and I believe that is the whole point.  Not very Italian sounding at all.  If you long for the old school sounds of Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot check this one out.
    $15.00
  • Musical sequel to their earlier masterpiece. Similar in sound to "Tides Return". Klaus Peter Matziol is back!
    $13.00
  • First time on CD - now available as a mini-lp sleeve version as well. Luna was a quartet put together by Osanna guitarist Corrado Rustici after their breakup. Released in 1981 it didn't have much success. The music has progressive overtones and Rustici offers his usual great playing but overall I would put file this one under the melodic rock category and leave it for Italian prog completists only.
    $21.00
  • "What could be a better title for your sophomore album than Next Level? It suggests progress and growth in development of a band. For Sweden's Fullforce, at the very least, it implies that they're increasing or advancing the strengths delivered on their debut One.Fullforce remains a very skilled, expert, melodic heavy metal band. They can be quite heavy and assertive, adding power metal to their arrangements, as on Whispers or Karma. Of course pure metal finds its way in Mysterious Way. Yet they also seem to up the groove in their metal on Next Level, something familiar from the previous work, now accentuated on tunes like Broken Dreams, Visions, Back to Life.Sometimes the groove really rocks as Fullforce generates what some may hear as simply melodic heavier rock as on Course of Life and Awesomeness. Then combining that solid groove with arena accessibility, Fullforce can offer anthems like Visions and A Night to Remember, which nearly borders on a metal ballad. And, unlike One, there are ballads here, two of them, in Smile at the World and Strongest Thing of All, both with some nice acoustic guitar.Fullforce's Next Level is another solid effort from the band, perhaps more an advance of their signature melodic heavy metal sound than a progression into new territory. Recommended." - Danger Dog
    $15.00