Wolfpakk

SKU: AFM372-2
Label:
AFM Records
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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"WOLPAKK is a project band formed by Michael Voss and Mark Sweeney. They have enlisted as many guest members as possible. Michael Voss used his experience and clout as a producer and previous history in successful bands to help him in his quest to get all these well known and famous musicians to appear on his album. As you can see from the list of guest musicians they are going to have one hell of a time touring! I think some of those guys might be busy. I would guess at least 20 of them will be. That was a lame attempt of a joke. As impressive as the guest list is, the results are not guaranteed to be equally as impressive. I don’t think that simply by recruiting a small army to play on your album means it’s going to be a masterpiece. If the material isn’t there, it doesn’t matter who is on the album. Be that as it may, they have managed to keep it together as you can hear for yourself. The vast experience of all the musicians involved has produced something truly unique. The album contains many elements of the classic Heavy Metal sound with the main emphasis being on melodic Metal.



I like the song “Lost” were a lot of the guests vocalists get in on the act. Michaela Schober is a primary vocalist on the song as she is the only female vocalist on the album it is easy to tell that it’s her. She is very good and the song is has some nice tempo changes. I like the up tempo part with the guitars making the chugging sound we are all so familiar with. I liken it to the dampening (Palm muting) done on all the ICED EARTH albums, but with a slightly lesser heaviness. I find it odd that primary lead vocalist is almost always Voss or >Sweeney. I would have made the most out my guest list if I sounded like Kai because as much as I love his music, the guy is not that great of a singer. He never should have let Ralf Scheepers go and done the GAMMA RAY vocals duties on his own as Ralf is light years ahead of him. “Let Me Die” also has an epic chorus and is a very catchy song. If I had to label the music as one genre and only one, it would have to be the much inclusive melodic Metal tag. You can encompass a wide array of sound with that as a label. The more I think of it, the more it fits.



The album simply isn’t fast enough to be Power Metal and it isn’t soft enough to be AOR. I like a good melodic Metal album as much as anyone. Another great aspect to this project is the very great guitar playing, especially the solos. With so many great players they could pick and choose the best of the best and that is exactly what they have done. This is another album that gets better on repeated spins. The diversity keeps everything fresh. If they do another album I hope they choose a better vocalist to do the majority of the songs. They certainly have the ability to do so. It’s a shame, because with the proper selection of a lead vocalist, the material would be elevated dramatically. The last song on the album is an epic tune weighing in at the ten minute mark, and they use all the talent at their disposal the most out of the entire album on this one long song.



There have been hundreds of project bands over the years and they range in quality all over the board just as does any release in whatever aspect. I applaud their efforts with this band I can say truthfully that it is a success and will sell a few copies from the pedigree alone. I know that is done purposefully in most instances. “Wolfony” starts off slow, then blasts off and, then slows down again as so many ten minute plus long epics tend to do. It provides a great ending to the album. If you are a fan of all star bands, then WOLFPAKK is for you. You know they put a lot of money and effort into this release." - Seattle Pi

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    $17.00
  • "When people think of Melodic Power Metal from Finland, obviously two of the biggest acts that come to mind are STRATOVARIUS and SONATA ARCTICA. ASTRALION are another quintet pumping out that addictive, uplifting Euro Power Metal sound on their debut, self-titled album. Forming in 2011 and containing two ex-OLYMPOS MONS members in vocalist Ian Highhill and bassist Dr. K. Lundell, they also have two musicians from the Thrash band THE ADDICATION in their ranks with drummer Arnold Hackman and guitarist Hank Newman. Keyboardist Thomas Henry rounds out the lineup, so the experience in terms of players and musicianship makes this 11 song record much easier to ingest than the average ‘newer’ act attempting to breakthrough on this very active scene.The foundation of ASTRALION’s style cements itself in the early to mid-90’s Power Metal movement: chord structures that have a touch of that mead hall/ cultural thematic feel, as well as those larger than life choruses that BLIND GUARDIAN, GAMMA RAY, and HELLOWEEN made a staple of their sound. The keyboards certainly have that Finnish meets FREEDOM CALL happy tone – the opening strains of “At the Edge of the World” reminding me at times of “Hunting High and Low” from STRATOVARIUS. Of course you’ll get the prototypical speed numbers featuring guitar/keyboard synchronized arpeggio-like runs as the double bass cruises and the vocals hit ultimate bird call highs – “When Death Comes Knocking” and “Five Fallen Angels” textbook Power Metal 101 arrangements that should go down a storm.Beyond the mid-tempo ‘ode to what we love about the genre at hand number “We All Made Metal;” I also enjoyed the theatrical/ semi-Symphonic nature of the dramatic “Computerized Love” as well as the 13 minute epic closer “Last Man on Deck” that opens in ballad form before picking up the Neo-Classical pace and giving Hank and Thomas ample solo break / ‘can you top this’ moments. Ian may not tickle all the right notes vocally at times, but his passion and personality makes up for any small deficiencies. I come away every time singing the chorus to “Mysterious & Victorious”, and isn’t that half the battle in winning over consumers in this style?ASTRALION are off to a high quality start, so those who miss the 1990’s style of Power Metal would be wise to scoop this up." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "There is plenty of excellent melodic Metal to come out of Italy; RHAPSODY OF FIRE, TRAGODIA and ELVENKING, but upon closer inspection of the more progressive side of the scene, we have a band like CHRONOS ZERO. An ambitious project with grand lyrical and musical aspirations, they have finished their debut piece, “A Prelude to Emptiness”, and it is by no means empty. The thing I love about brand new modern bands is how I'm always surprised at the sheer quality of the debut release, and this band is no exception. They adapt Progressive Metal from the masters such as SYMPHONY X and NEVERMORE, add the melodic flourishes of KAMELOT and an aggressive, yet melodic singer such as Gustavo of ADAGIO.The album has one monster of an opening track in “Spires”, which is completely instrumental, but is unrelenting in progressive riff artillery, not so dissimilar to MESHUGGAH in heaviness. Woven under this neck-snapping guitar playing is innovative, high-end bass playing and foreboding keyboard atmospherics. The MESHUGGAH vibe is noticeably carried on in “Breath of Chaos”, where the mixing of the extremely down-tuned bass adds a much deeper dimension to the album's already crunchy guitar work. The particular riff that characterises most of this song instantly made it one of my favourite tracks on the record. Here we also first hear a taste of the vocals, and it appears to take great skill to pull off a convincing combination of aggressive raucousness and grasp of melody, and the hitting of high notes, which Gianbattista does unquestionably. In addition, there are also featured seductive female vocals, which add a further, interesting dimension to the already-deep music.Parts I and II of “Lost Hope, New Hope” are exemplary of true progression in heavy metal music; two parts to a story, they are both very different, but intelligently interwoven tracks. Part 1 is very much so up-tempo and more aggressive, thrashing about that glorious riff sound I have come to love from this band, and experiences sudden mood swings to jazzier, quieter sections; here, the neo-classical influences are shining throw, as does a blistering guitar solo. Part II contains no vocals, but leans much more to the atmospheric side, but contains even more complex riff mastery, the sheer heaviness and stunted rhythm of which is brain-addling.  “Sigh of Damnation” marks a subtle change to a more melodic sound, dominated by a greater presence of interwoven male and guest female vocals, and the range of the main vocalist is fully explored here, proving that he is most capable of tender pieces in addition to his powerful bellows. The final track, “Sorrowful Fate”, begins with an effective minor scale acoustic trill, and features almost solely female vocals by Claudia; it is about time she and her beautiful voice had almost a whole song to itself. Expectedly, yet unexpectedly, it features a drastic change from a settled, yet foreboding sound, to an explosive and punching beat down, characterised by a further, small performance from Gianbattista, perhaps hitting his most powerful notes yet.I found this an extremely enjoyable album to listen to. An issue that sometimes brings down some Prog albums is the overuse of instrumentals, but I found this to not be the case, because of the sheer musicianship purveyed here. This is exactly what I look for in Progressive Metal." - Metal Temple
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  • "The successor to "Obsessions" (2011) was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen at Hansen studio in Denmark (Volbeat, Pretty Maids, Amaranthe a.m.m.)Beside band leader Samuel Arkan, the following vocalists and musicians contribute to"Fantasmagoria": Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) Henning Basse (ex-Metalium, ex-Sons Of Seasons, Mayan) Ida Haukland (Triosphere) Matt Marinelli (Borealis) Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence) Mike LePond (Symphony X) Léo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation) Julien Spreutels (Ethernity) Simone Mularoni (DGM)The quite unusual thing is that all these guests came to the Noise Factory studio (Belgium) to track down their parts. Nobody recorded his/her parts at home, like with some many other projects."I wanted the whole thing to get a real "band" feeling", Arkan says. "Therefore having all vocalists and musicians here was very important to me. We got to know each other better and better while spending time together. The new material sounds very fresh, dark, heavy, modern and "true" with "straight in the face" guitar riffs, intense voices and melodies, massive work on progressive atmospheres and orchestral parts. All the artists who participated in this album gave their soul to it, gave their best, they travelled deeper into sensitivity and sincerity. That's probably the best words which define this next album... sincerity & spontaneity! This album comes from the heart of each musician and vocalist who worked on it, and you can feel it when you listen to this new EPYSODE album."Compared to the debut "Obessions" the new material is a step forward in every way, with even better songwriting, a massive sound, powerful production and an intensity you rarely find these days.With the top notch vocalists that are gathered here (a.o. Evergrey’s Tom S. Englund, who is contributing to 5 songs) the "Fantasmagoria" concept story comes to life in a very intense and thrilling way, with lots of facets, expressive singing, deep & dark emotions. Englund’s duet with Ida Haukland (Triosphere) on the album’s title track especially gives goosebumps to the listener. There is also a plot to the "Obsessions" album and many fans of concepts will have their pure delight in discovering the story behind the story.The "Fantasmagoria" recordings took place from December 2012 to end of April 2013. Responsible for all keyboards, piano, arrangements was again Julien Spreutels, "my brother in crime, without him Epysode would not be as it is", Samuel says. "He did one more time an outstanding job and gives magic to Epysode, It's always a pleasure and very inspiring to work with him". "
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  • "Retribution” is the new album from Sweden’s Nightingale, the intended one-off project that refuses to die. Established by musical multi-talent Dan Swanö almost 20 years ago, the band is proof that good music can take on a life of its own, often when the artist least expects it.Known for his work both as a producer/engineer and with metal acts Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath, Pan-Thy-Monium and most recently Witherscape, Swanö began his unplanned Nightingale journey in 1995 with “The Breathing Shadow”. It was a one-off goth-flavoured solo album heavily reminiscent of The Sisters Of Mercy, meant to satisfy his interest in the genre and then be put quietly to bed as Swanö moved on to other projects. The album was successful enough to warrant a follow-up according to his label at the time (Black Mark), but Swanö was, as he puts it "so over the goth thing.""I thought that if I was going to make a second record it had to reflect what I was listening to at the moment. I was going through a big revival of Gamma, Foreigner, Journey and all that super melodic AOR pomp rock stuff. It was a weird turn from the first record, so I decided to make Nightingale a home for music that I write in the moment, no matter what it is."Nightingale released five more albums between '96 and '07, slowly establishing a band line-up that began with Swanö's guitarist/keyboardist brother Dag in 1996 acting as a co-producer and session player on “The Closing Chronicles”. He officially came aboard in 1998 under his Tom Nouga moniker. The band was fleshed out by bassist Erik Oskarsson and drummer Tom Björn, who had their first rehearsal with the Swanö brothers on Christmas Day 2000. “White Darkness” from 2007 could well have been the last Nightingale album, as it featured very little songwriting input from Swanö due to severe writer's block. He decided to focus on his career as an engineer and chose to make music as a hobby. His creative side won eventually, however, as the urge to write and play again became irresistible."I bought a few instruments that would inspire me, and eventually the riffs started piling up," Swanö recalls. "I was collecting them for some kind of death metal release, and the other stuff that came out ended up being what could be used for a future Nightingale record."Originally titled “Bravado” in the working stages, “Retribution” offers up 10 songs steeped in uncomplicated '70s and early '80s-flavoured rock. Tracks such as 'Chasing The Storm Away', 'Forevermore' and 'The Maze' could have easily found a home on commercial rock radio 30 years ago, yet the album is completely relevant in 2014. Fans of Swanö's heavier works that are unfamiliar with Nightingale may be surprised the simplicity of the music and the band's non-aggressive approach."It's not easy to write simple stuff that's good," Swanö points out, suggesting people take a good long listen to “Retribution” rather than dismissing it.In Swanö's estimation “Retribution” succeeds because the songs "just kind of happened." He never set out to write any specific parts; the music is in fact a result of spontaneous moments, whether it was an accidental combination of notes on a keyboard that became an opening riff ('On Stolen Wings') or an odd guitar tuning ('Warriors Of The Dawn'). On top of that, the songs were hashed out in the rehearsal room before the band went into the studio, resulting in major changes to some of the music as it developed."When I listen to the record I don't want to have any regrets," explains Swanö. "There's no point in releasing a new Nightingale record if I don't think it's the best we ever did. That a pretty high standard to have, but if I don't feel that way when I listen to it the moment it's ready, it's got nothing to do with our back catalogue. That's the way I've felt with every record."Asked to sum up what “Retribution” means to him with regards to Nightingale's legacy, Swanö offers the following: "Classic rock with that pomp attitude really inspired me. I just wanted a good production that could hold up well against a band like Alter Bridge but still have a bit of the sonic charisma of the records from '79, which was a great year for music. The target was to make a timeless record with good, classy songs that the four of us can agree are really cool."Nightingale’s “Retribution” comes packaged in beautiful artwork courtesy of Travis Smith (Opeth, Nevermore, Katatonia, etc.) and should equally appeal to open-minded atmospheric metal and also to melodic prog rock supporters into bands like Rush, Marillion, Styx, Kansas, The Mission, Queensryche, Enchant, Threshold, Arena oreven Opeth and Katatonia."
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    $13.00
  • Hey - don't be a chump! This cheap version from Asia comes with a bonus cut.
    $11.00
  • "7 long years it has been since PYRAMAZE’s last album, “Immortal”, with the famed Matt Barlow at the vocal helm. Come 2015, the band has seen half of the original lineup revamped; still remains Jonah Weingarten on keyboards, Morten Gade Sørensen on drums and Toke Skjønnemand on guitars, but have welcomed about longtime-friend and producer Jacob Hansen on guitars and Terje Harøy on vocals. “Disciples Of The Sun” assuredly marks the beginning of a new era for the band, adopting a new and fresh musical trajectory.Who would replace the former members were always at the forefront of the minds of their fanbase. A Danish band, with the exception of American Jonah, Jacob Hansen is well-known in the metal echelons of his home-country and abroad for working with and producing many of Metal’s greatest bands; DELAIN, ABORTED, ANUBIS GATE and EPICA among them. Already the band’s producer, the transition to guitar simply made sense. As for vocals, many considered Matt irreplaceable; such cynicism does not have a place in the metal world, for the band pulled in Terje from Prog/Heavy band CROSSNAIL (formerly TEODOR TUFF).On one hand, the decision to pick a relatively-unknown singer to take the vacant vocal position could be considered risky, but it was the best-possible decision the band could have made, because “Disciples Of The Sun” is chock-full of uplifting and powerful heavy-hitters, to which his voice is perfectly-suited. The introduction of epic proportions sets a spanning, cinematic scene for chugger “The Battle Of Paridas”. One of the album’s heaviest moments right off the bat, the track soon gets into the lyrics, where Terje’s power is obvious right away. Come the chorus (in fact, any chorus on the album, especially that of “Fearless” or “Hope Springs Eternal), the man’s voice lets loose with raw, unrestrained energy. Not losing their trademark, soaring atmospherics either, which are incredibly present in this track, as well as in the infectiously-catchy “Back For More”, PYRAMAZE proves that they have successfully moved forward without losing any trace of their identity.In hearing the wonderful lyrics for the album, written with absolute poetic flair in “Genetic Process” and “Hope Springs Eternal”, I learned that ANUBIS GATE’s very own bassist/vocalist/lyricist Henrik Fevre was asked to write the new album’s lyrics, given that Michael Kammeyer, the previous writer, had left. And they fit the music PYRAMAZE has lovingly-crafted ever so perfectly; uplifting crescendos and dramatic cascades the ideal vehicle. Heavy-hitting, Progressive Power Metal the band’s tried-and-true engine, not one track on the album hints to any monotony; each piece has its own vibe, and is a story all in its own. For one, “Perfectly Imperfect” booms with a series of Stoner-like opening riffs, before transitioning into soaring and gloriously-melodic choruses. The track to follow, “Unveil”, however, provides some of the more ‘Proggy’ moments on the record; the key-change in the last chorus leaving me light-headed, and probably best display’s Terje’s impressive range. As for the most balls-to-the-castle-wall Metal track on the album, “Hope Springs Eternal” is the package, containing the album’s fastest, most aggressive, most blistering riffs; but in a gracefulness only Scandinavian metallers have perfected, transitions to long-lasting, memorable and melodic choruses.For my own personal pleasure, the band picked the right year to release “Disciples Of The Sun”, being able to look forward to new NIGHTWISH and new KAMELOT albums as well, for if Metal were a competition, the genre heavy-weights would have serious competition. PYRAMAZE is, quite frankly, the come-back I’ve been waiting for." - Metal Temple
    $14.00
  • "Christianity and Heavy Metal have never really been the most obvious of bedfellows. Ever since the formation of the genre at the end of the 1960's, the relationship between Heavy Metal, in particular the more extreme variations of it, and the established Church, have been, for the most part, frosty. This doesn't mean that the two cannot come together though; There are countless great bands that have been playing great music that pays homage, rather than expressing outright hatred, to Christianity; TROUBLE, MORTIFICATION, HORDE, CRIMSON MOONLIGHT and DIVINEFIRE are the first bands that spring to mind for me every time I hear some closed minded moron quote that old, cringe-worthy and wholly incorrect adage about the Devil having the best tunes. Slovakian Power Metallers, SIGNUM REGIS, are one such band that are not only proving this phrase wrong, but are also using their knowledge of their faith to create great themes and concepts for their albums. Their last full length, for example, was based around Moses' liberation of the Israelites and their trials in the desert. This latest EP is full of the sort of classic Power Metal that many have grown to love, and it sounds amazing.This EP opens with a very solid, powerful opener, "Living Well". This is a great piece of Power Metal, with all the hallmarks of the genre; with a few harder aspects peppering the classic sound, which gives it it's own unique flavour. All this track’s elements work well together; it's really well mixed, and doesn't wander into the realms of cheesiness as some Power Metal has a tendency to, and above all, it's a great way to kick the record off. "Through the Desert, Through the Storm" treads down a much more straightforward Heavy Metal path, with razor sharp guitar lines, angelic vocals and some fairly interesting keyboard parts thrown in for good measure. The chorus is great, with some genuinely hair-raising parts that were just made for singing along to. "My Guide In The Night" is another really good piece of Power Metal with brilliant vocals and guitar work, punishing drums and some really cool keyboard sections. The fourth track, "Come and Take It", is perhaps the most straight forward Power Metal song on here, with plenty of great hooks to keep the listener interested. The penultimate track, a re-recorded version of "All Over the World", sounds even better for having been redone, and sits very well among the bands newer material.  "Vengeance Liar", which closes this EP, is perhaps the strongest song on this record apart from "Through the Desert, Through the Storm", and has a really cool, classic Power Metal sound with some genuinely inspired guitar playing and really spectacular vocals to match. It sounds awesome, and is a very good high note to end this record on.This EP is very good. Anyone who loves Power Metal will most likely enjoy this. This sounds like a band that have honed their style and perfected their image, now ready to take their music to the world at large. I'd highly recommend this EP, and indeed the rest of this bands awesome back catalogue, to anyone who loves, powerful, uplifting Metal music." - Metal Temple
    $10.00
  • Now this stuff in weird and interesting...Vulture Industries is a Norwegian metal band that has been around for almost 20 years but this is only their third album.  Apparently they were originally a black metal band.  That may be true but there are only vestiges of that in their current sound.  Vulture Industires play the weird metal card - I'd classify them as "avant garde metal", very similar to bands like Arcturus, Diablo Swing Orchestra and Devin Townsend.  Hey what the hell - toss in some Faith No More as well.  This is heavy, guitar driven music with some of that carnival atmosphere that these oddball bands some to love to throw in to keep you off kilter.  The real standout is vocalist Bjørnar Nilsen, who has a real commanding presence on this disc.  Lots of emotion and angst.  A fascinating band.  Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • "Having existed in some shape or form since 1990, Greece's Black Fate is another band that has been seeking consistency and stability in their career for better than twenty years. Returning to life after a five year absence, the band offers their fourth album, Between Vision & Lies. And they've made a small coup d'etat by adding fellow Greek, guitar wunderkind Gus Drax (ex Biomechanical, Paradox, et al), another musician in search of a stable band.While not necessarily novel or to say that their sound is unique, Black Fate's sound is definitely something of interest and for explanation. It's a hybrid of various metal genres. The foundation is a division between traditional power metal and classic melodic heavy metal, probably larger on the latter. There's also some slight symphonic nuances. Perhaps, the most intriguing element is the inclusion of a solid rock groove in many songs, stealing something from both traditional melodic hard rock and metal.By arrangement, then, these elements are blended in such a way that may suggest progressive metal. You certainly will find this current in many songs including The Game of Illusion, Weight of the World, or State of Conformity. But that last song, along with the following Without Saying a Word, share some of that aforementioned melodic rock accessibility, while still being metal. I would say that Without Saying a Word, an anthem, is the most soaring song here, even stirring the emotions. It's definitely a fine platform for Vasilis Georgiou's strong vocals.Alternatively, songs like Perfect Crime, Weight of the World, and Into The Night can be a thorough thrust of heaviness, borne mostly from the riffage and rhythm section. But these, also, are not without the strength of melody and groove. And no song here is without Drax's terrific guitar wizardry, a strong fusion of traditional rock, neo-classical, and metal fret work. Between the skilled musicianship and versatile arrangements, Black Fate's Between Vision & Lies offers some intriguing music, hybrid heavy metal that suggests more than one listen to enjoy both the creativity and nuances. Here's hoping the band stays stable and returns with more in the future. Recommended." - Dangerdog
    $15.00
  • "The second album from Yes spin-off supergroup featuring Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye of Yes!CIRCA: also features Jimmy Haun who recorded with Yes on the Union album as well as Air Supply PLUS drummer Jay Schellen of Hurricane and Asia!"
    $14.00