Black Symphony (Blu-Ray/DVD)

SKU: 886973427095
Label:
GUN/Sony BMG
Format:
BLU-RAY
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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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.

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  • Originally released in 2012 on vinyl (and apparently cassette), the second album from this Scottish based space quartet finally gets a CD release...but its a limited edition of 500 copies so you might want to be snappy.The Cosmic Dead wear their influences on their sleeves.  The music is heavily invested in the sounds of Ash Ra Tempel, Can, and even a touch of early Hawkwind.  Loooooong jams that take you further and further into deep space.  A non-stop assault of burbling synths, echoplexed guitar leads, and a rhythm section that is playing off in another galaxy.  Pure unadulterated psychedelic space rock.  These guys played the Roadburn Festival and I'm sure they must have gone down a storm.  If the numbers 7 - 1 - 4 mean anything to you then I think this should be filed away in your collection.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • I can't remember a buzz on a band's debut since Circus Maximus.  Perhaps due to the album being released in Japan a year ago and its unavailability elsewhere, maybe because they are lined up to play ProgPowerUSA.  Whatever the reason the album finally gets a wide debut and it was worth the wait.  Damnation Angels is a British symphonic metal band fronted by a Norwegian singer.  He goes by the name PelleK and was a contestant on Norway's version of X Factor.  The band's stock in trade is epic sounding metal that pays a huge debt to Kamelot.  The instrumental passages take on the grandeur and scope of Nightwish.  PelleK does a sold job out front - he's obviously listened to a Khan quite a bit.  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • New 3 CD edition of the long out of print album from Glass Hammer.  Arguably their best effort, the band was never fully satisfied with the mix so they decided to remix and resequence the album.  Bob Katz handled the mastering to give the album the sound it ultimately deserved.PRODUCTION NOTES - FRED SCHENDELNotes On The Inconsolable Secret “Remixed” CollectionThe project that was ultimately known as The Inconsolable Secret was conceived as a grandiose undertaking from the outset. We knew we wanted to do a themed album and we had the idea to try and incorporate orchestral elements, but hopefully in a way that bands often didn't; that is, written and orchestrated by ourselves as just another palette in the band and not as something grafted onto the music by an outside arranger.But as the project wore on we soon realized that it was going to be even more daunting than we had envisioned.Finally, the double cd was released and went on to a warm reception from fans.As time went by and Steve and I realized a new perspective on The Inconsolable Secret, we were forced to admit that maybe the album didn't truly reflect what we had envisioned as we worked on it. One conscious decision we had made (largely at my insistence, if I recall) was to mix the album in a very raw, unprocessed way. I felt that approach would help give the album a classic vibe. Also, we carefully avoided a lot of overdubbing, especially of keyboards, in an attempt to give the album a live feel, and looked to the orchestration to add the extra fullness and color. That was fine as far as it went but again, in hindsight, we clearly realized that was not the only approach to the material and there might be considerable merit in pursuing a more typical approach - that is, to make the production as big as the concept.It was probably as early as 2008 I first began to tinker with remixing parts of the album. It started with the drums. Our approach to the mix originally was basically to push the faders up and, there you go! Natural. When I revisited the drum tracks, there was frankly only so much that could be done due to the way we had mic'd them in the first place. But I did what I could to punch them up in the manner we would for a more "modern" sounding recording.Phase two of the revisit was overdubs, whatever and however many we felt would sweeten the overall sound to our liking. I started with guitar. I had played guitar initially on A Maker Of Crowns and basically ran out of steam after that. I had my hands full at the time and felt the last thing I needed to do (on what we hoped to be our ultimate recorded statement) was to fumble around in the studio trying to be a guitar player. Walter Moore's time was limited and better utilized as a singer. So we didn't get any guitar from him on the project. We asked David Carter add his talents to the project. He did manage to record guitar on Long and Long Ago, then left abruptly to play golf! Fortunately, Steve and I decided we were liking the idea of a power trio; keys, bass and drums enhanced with orchestra. So, The Inconsolable Secret inevitably had very little guitar. I have since added acoustic guitar to almost every song. As the remake stretched out over the years we ultimately had several guitarists add electric here and there and they all did a stellar job.Next, I added all the little keyboard pads and subtle embellishments we had eschewed originally.We then turned our attention to the vocals. While most of the vocal tracks fit well with the music, we couldn't say that they all did. A couple pieces in particular had always been envisioned, in a perfect world, to feature more of an archetypal high clear tenor, shall we say. At this point we saw no reason to reign back our ambitions in any way, so we searched the Internet for someone who might fit the bill and subsequently contacted a very nice young man from California to see if he'd like to try. He did, and susequently sang three albums for us and joined Yes as well.The last few odds and ends involved unfinished business in the orchestral department. There were some solos intended for real instruments that we just never got a chance to do, most important among them being the solo flute in Having Caught A Glimpse. There were attempts originally to beef up the orchestral sound to what some call a "Hollywood" or "film score" style in terms of its size; using samples and keyboards that I thought I could address and improve. We also re-recorded some choral parts to reflect new arrangements that we had been performing live.In the meantime, The Inconsolable Secret had become the only album of ours ever to become unavailable, simply due to the huge cost of keeping it in print. This had the unintended consequence of raising its status to near-mythic in some quarters and we knew we had a great opportunity to reintroduce it with our new embellishments in an (ironically) even bigger and more expensive version.Any time an artist revisits a work there will be controversy, especially when that work was generally highly regarded in the first place. We are well aware that the new versions will be regarded as heresy in some circles and it was always our intention to make sure the album was included in its original form. We warrant that the two discs representing the original album here are identical to the old release in every regard, save for the deletion of the multimedia files that had been on Disc One. Nor is it our intent to present the new mixes as definitive, or necessarily the “correct” ones. They do however represent a move toward the album as we originally had conceived it in our minds from a sonic standpoint. Obviously, since not all the material is represented, to experience the album as a conceptual whole you must refer back to the original (although we welcome you to assemble your own version from the two provided if you are so inclined). We realize that with the changes come some losses - the openness and simplicity of the original sound has been traded for a denser, fuller feel and we respect those who consider that a bad tradeoff. As for us though, we feel the effort to revisit this material was well worth it, and invite you all to enjoy both what was, and what is. In the end we hope that the music itself wins out over all the technical considerations.
    $25.00
  • Latest studio album from this lethal German band.  SBE was formed by guitarist Christian Peters in 2007.  The quartet (twin guitar, bass, and drums) will deeply satisfy the musicial appetite of any fans of 70s psychedelia, space rock, and doom metal.  They may well be the ultimate stoner rock band.Revelation & Mystery finds the compositions a bit tighter than previous efforts but that's a relative term when the title track runs past the 12 minute mark. Vocals don't interfere too heavily with the acid laced space trippin' guitar work.  Peters sings a bit and then they get down to serious business jamming their way into the cosmos.  If you are fan of early Guru Guru, Hawkwind, and Black Sabbath, or even Deep Purple you need to hear this band.  I got high just looking at the cover art.  This album is a total lease breaker to boot.  BUY OR DIE!  "The second album from Samsara Blues Experiment in as many years, Revelation and Mystery (World in Sound) takes a surprising turn in approach from their Long-Distance Trip debut, distilling the jams of the first record into more structured, song-based material. The tracks of Revelation and Mystery almost exclusively follow verse-chorus-verse patterns, and while part of the joy of listening to a song like “Singata Mystic Queen” from the prior collection was meandering along with it, Samsara Blues Experiment don’t completely lose sight of the journey in favor of the straightforward. Right from its start, Revelation and Mystery sees the four-piece layering guitar effects and infusing their parts with swirls and a spaced-out feel. It’s not that they’ve completely changed their methodology so much as they’ve shifted the balance within their sound. These structural elements were certainly present on Long-Distance Trip, but a cut like the semi-acoustic “Thirsty Moon” shows that Samasara Blues Experiment are able to work within these parameters to grow their songwriting. One gets the sense in listening to opener “Flipside Apocalypse” (which follows a 17-second nameless intro track) that this process is just beginning and that the band are still finding out what they want their sound to be, but that only makes Revelation and Mystery a more immediate, direct experience; the linearity of the album unfolding gradually as the songs move from the straightforward into the more sublimely jammed.Fast-paced rumbling from the bass of Richard Behrens in the surprisingly punkish beginning of “Flipside Apocalypse” is an immediate clue to the changes the last year have brought about in Samsara Blues Experiment. The mood is more active, less calming and chilled out than last time around, and the guitars of Hans Eiselt and Christian Peters – who also handles vocals – seem to be more concerned with riffing out than stacking layers upon layers, though there’s some of that too, even as later in the song a riff straight out of the biker rock milieu shows up and carries the song through to its end. I don’t know if it’s the result in some change in the band’s songwriting process or just how things happened to come out this time, but the change continues through “Hangin’ on the Wire,” which is genuinely hooky and thoroughly in the realm of heavy rock. A crisp production during the solo section brings to mind some of Queens of the Stone Age’s finer moments, and drummer Thomas Vedder locks in with Behrens’ own excellent fills with a few of his own. Peters, though, emerges at the head of the song. His vocals confident and effected in equal measure, he works quickly to establish the verse and chorus patterns, both worthy of sing-alongs, so that by the end, “Hangin’ on the Wire” feels like its earned its handclaps, and though “Into the Black” starts out more ethereal, with extended solo sections and a long instrumental introduction, the shuffle soon takes hold and it proves to be more boogie than nod.But perhaps “Into the Black” is where the band begins their subtle shift into more esoteric sonics, because as the soft strums and plucks and interplay of electric and acoustic guitars take hold on “Thirsty Moon,” the song feels neither out of place nor especially unexpected, which it very well might have if placed earlier on Revelation and Mystery. Peters’ vocal line feels a little rushed during the verse – it’s almost as though there were too many syllables to fit in the line – but the interaction of his and Eiselt’s guitars in the instrumental break and the balance between the guitar and Vedder’s drumming in the mix makes up for any such hiccups. Another chorus feels delivered more appropriately, and the progression cycles through again; solo section into chorus, solo section into chorus. And it’s not until Behrens’ highlight bass line begins “Outside Insight Blues” that it’s apparent just how much Samsara Blues Experiment put into the album’s flow. Added keys allow the guitars to go farther out into sporadic notes without sacrificing fullness of sound, but after about two and a half minutes, there’s a turn into riffier material that carries the groove through the next six. There are a few part changes, but things don’t really feel jammed out until the classic ‘70s boogie meets psychedelia of the last 90 seconds or so, blues harp and all. It’s a shift worthy of Siena Root, and the two-minute interlude “Zwei Schatten im Schatten” (in English, “Two Shadows in the Shadow”) follows suit with an appropriate marriage of Eastern and Western musical traditions with sitar and acoustic six-string. There’s something sweet and solemn in the intertwining melody, and it’s a passing thing on the way to the 12-minute closer, but worth paying attention to in a way that many interludes aren’t.Then, at last, comes the ending title cut. Worthy of its name, “Revelation and Mystery” caps the album with a sense of psychedelic majesty through which Samsara Blues Experiment show their ability to keep hold of a song no matter how deep into space they might also want to push it. The song winds. Its progression is at once driving and subdued, and of all the songs on Revelation and Mystery, it’s probably the best blend of all sides of what’s shown itself to be the band’s current sound. Of course, at 12 minutes, one could easily argue it has time to do and be all these things – with room left over for a bit of that sitar to show up as well among the guitar leads – but still, it’s another display of the maturity Samsara Blues Experiment have been able to take on in a relatively short amount of time (their demo gave first notice in 2008). Some bands need three years to learn and foster growth between their albums, and some bands need to play. If the jump between their first and second records is anything to go by, Samsara Blues Experiment would seem to be the latter. Wherever this stylistic form takes them, I don’t imagine it’ll be too long before we find out, but until then, the 47 minutes of Revelation and Mystery provide a varied and exciting listen worthy of repeat visits. Samsara Blues Experiment continue to progress, continue to impress." - The Obelisk
    $12.00
  • "By 1977 Journey had reached a creative crossroads, with three underwhelming studio albums under their belt and little to show in the way of commercial success. At the prodding of manager Herbie Herbert, who felt a major shakeup was needed in order to reignite their spark, the band was convinced to audition and eventually recruit the services of former Alien Project vocalist Steve Perry. Sure enough, adding him to the band just prior to the sessions for Infinity proved to be a stroke of genius, and a move that undeniably altered the course of history for the fledging Bay Area act. Released in January of 1978, Infinity easily proved to be the band's most cohesive work to date. Dead and buried were the jazz fusion overtones of previous offerings, and with the new songwriting combo of Perry/Neal Schon leading the march, the band set out to completely redefine their sound. Traditional pop arrangements were now adopted, cutting out the unnecessary musical fat, and allowing each bandmember to play to his strength: Perry's soaring, whale of a voice, Schon's scorching fret work, and Gregg Rolie's subtle keyboard arrangements. Enlisting eccentric producer Roy Thomas Baker (already famous for guiding the likes of Queen and Nazareth to giant commercial triumphs of their own) also proved to be a rewarding move for the boys. With newfound confidence, Journey crafted a record that could finally land them on the radio. Loaded with future FM staples like "Wheel in the Sky" (which hit the Top 50 in April of 1978), "Lights" (which quietly peaked at number 68 that August), and "Anytime" (pretty much a flop, crawling to number 83 in July), Infinity introduced Journey to an entirely new audience. Even non-singles like "Patiently (the first tune Perry ever wrote with Schon) and "Somethin' to Hide" were leaps and bounds beyond the band's previous accomplishments. And, ultimately, though Infinity merely introduced the band to mainstream radio (it was the never-ending tour on which the band embarked on to support it that drove the disc past the platinum plateau), it effectively cemented their rep as one of America's most beloved (and sometimes hated) commercial rock/pop bands. With over 170 shows under their belts, Journey had just begin to hit their stride." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • Limited edition double LP set recorded at the 2013 edition of the Roadburn Festival in Netherlands.  Five long extended jams that will take you to the outermost regions of the solar system (maybe beyond!).  The improvised session revolves around twin guitars, bass and drums with occasional keyboard (Mellotron!).  The set comes with a bonus CD of the recording so even if you are analogue challenged you have a chance to hear this lethal set.  
    $34.00
  • Stunning second solo effort from Riverside frontman Mariusz Duda. Lunatic Soul explores the quieter, introspective side of the progressive spectrum. Duda plays most of the instruments himself, but he is also helped out by Indukti's Wawrzyniec Dramowic on percussion, and flautist Maciej Szelenbaum. The music has a definite Asian influence with a wonderful melodic flow. Think in terms of Riverside's quieter moments or Opeth's Damnation. It does rock out but not HARD since (once again) there are no electric guitars. This fact doesn't make the album any less intense. Album of the year candidate? Highest recommendation.
    $14.00
  • New 2CD live set recorded in North America 1998 and Japan 1999.
    $6.00
  • "This is a classic live album by my all-time favorite rock band. It includes many of the band's classics from their three successive classic rock albums "Infinity" (1978), "Evolution" (1979), and "Departure" (1980). Needless to say for any true Journey fan, these songs sound great live.Many of these performances go far beyond the studio versions. Take the jam that comes out of "Walks Like A Lady"--a 3-minute song that turns into 7 minutes live. Songs like "Line Of Fire", "Feeling That Way", "Anytime", and "Wheel In The Sky" absolutely rock. The inclusion of the live track "Dixie Highway" and the new (at the time of release) studio track "The Party's Over (Hopelessly In Love) are also fantastic.This is what a live album should be. The crowd is very prevalent throughout the album, and the interaction between the band and the crowd is left unedited in many spots. Clearly, this band was as special live as they were on their studio albums. (They still are, by the way, as I just saw the current lineup at "The Big E" in Massachusetts on September 29th--their last show of this year's tour.) This is a fantastic live album of some of the best classic rock of a generation. Highly recommended."
    $8.00
  • Sorry about the price but there is no US release scheduled.  This is an all region NTSC European import."Since 2002, Marillion celebrate themselves and their fans in an extraordinary way. Every two years, the band and their most dedicated fans gather together for a very special weekend in the UK, the Netherlands and Canada. On three nights, Marillion perform three different shows with different set-lists consisting of full records played from start to finish, fan favourites and rarities. Fans travel from all over the world to be part of these truly amazing nights. From March 8 to March 10, 2013 one of the weekends was held in Port Zelande, Netherlands and featured a grand premiere: for the first time, Marillion performed their most recent and widely acclaimed studio album “Sounds That Can’t Be Made” in its entirety on March 10. And what a performance it was: the venue, the 2.500 strong audience and the songs were what made the night unique. Let’s put it this way: Holland delivered the usual grandeur of the Port Zelenade gigs. Besides the eight album tracks, the band also performed a selection of fan favourites ranging from “This Strange Engine” to “Garden Party”, the most successful single from the band’s debut album from the Fish-era. Rarely or hardly ever performed by front man Steve Hogarth, the song definitely is one of the evening’s highlights. Guitarist Steve Rothery is sure that “the best audience on the planet” was attending the concert whereas his band mate Pete Trewavas adds that “it was such a good vibe that year” and that “it never ceases to amaze him staring over the crowd”. Of course, the night was also very memorable to the fans: “Just to say WOW...... What a weekend and what an experience we had!!!!” - Robert Mercieca (Malta). “What a convention!! What a vibe!! Oh my goodness!!” - PM van der Kroft (Netherlands). “All the gigs were excellent.” - Charlie Carnegie (UK) After the surprise success of the 2011 live release “Live From Cadogan Hall”, “A Sunday Night Above The Rain” is able to hold up to the quality of that release and is even able to exceed it. Released on 2CD, 2DVD and Blu-ray, “A Sunday Night Above The Rain” provides the best possible sound and glorious high defi nition vision. Simply said, it’s one of the band’s finest releases so far."
    $28.00
  • “Known/Learned’ is the third album from this thought provoking progressive band from Brisbane, Australia.  It’s a sprawling 2CD collection of themes and moments, captured between recurring characters. While never explicitly told in the traditional vein of the ‘concept album’, the imagery of Known/Learned depicts fragmented moments in the lives of a father and his daughter, their loss, their love, their journey. A bittersweet love song for life.Occupying a unique place in the Australian progressive music scene, Arcane’s transcendental live performances and 2009’s critically acclaimed, dark and enigmatic concept album 'Chronicles Of The Waking Dream' have earned them a inimitable reputation as one of Australia’s premier progressive rock bands.Sharing stages with artists as diverse as Anathema (UK), Soilwork (Swe), Queensryche (USA), Dead Letter Circus, Ne Obliviscaris and hundreds more, Arcane's live show, often accompanied by a backdrop of staggering visualizations, is a vast sensory experience.Arcane's immersive sound, and the vocals of Jim Grey quickly found favor throughout Australia, headlining the annual Progfest tour, providing touring support for Ne Obliviscaris, and performing to capacity crowds at Sonic Forge Festival in Melbourne. A crowd funding campaign in July, 2013 heralded the 2015 release of 'Known/Learned' a 16 track conceptual double album. Arcane blends the technicality of progressive metal with the atmospheric intensity of bands like Tool, Riverside and Anathema.  The world is about to discover what their Australian fan base already knows – that Arcane is a rising star in the world of progressive music.
    $14.00
  • A new release from Causa Sui is like money in the bank.  The new Live At Freak Valley is no exception.  The live milieu is where the band really shines.  If you are unfamilar with the band you should know that the band's origins date back to the stoner scene but they evolved into something different - something more psychedelic - more organic.  The quartet features Jakob Skott (drums), Jonas Munk (guitar), Jess Kahr (bass), and Rasmus Rasmussen (keyboards).  The band goes off on looooong instrumental jams.  Munk's guitarwork has a beautiful fluidity that plays off of Rasmussen's keyboards which tend to surge to the forefront like waves on the ocean - or sit back and become a nice supporting backdrop for Munk's lead work.  I love when Munk burst out with a chunk of heavy riffage that recalls their stoner days.  Reminds me of vintage Zeppelin!  Highly recommended.
    $35.00
  • "Veterans in the Power/Progressive Metal scene, Brazil’s ANGRA set the world on fire right out of the gate on their debut album “Angel’s Cry” – at the time in 1992 a throwback to the classic Kiske-led HELLOWEEN era with its “Keepers of the Seven Keys” uplifting melodies and speed/ guitar harmony attack. Since that time they’ve blazed their own trail, surviving key member changes in the vocal and drummer departments as well as expanding their musical template into more of an original, Progressive Metal sound. Their eighth studio album “Secret Garden” will be another barometer test for their fans, as RHAPSODY OF FIRE vocalist Fabio Lione steps in the singer slot – and drummer Bruno Valverde slides into the percussion position. What does this mean overall for ANGRA? Will it be a step into the past- or a move into the future?After a solid 20 playbacks, this will probably be one of the favorite ANGRA records in their discography due to the quality and dynamic diversity for these 10 tracks. Those who expect Fabio to soar to high heavens solely on this record, well expand your minds because he truly delivers one of the best performances of his career – stretching out his lower and middle registers more so on this record than ever before. Check out opener “Newborn Me” and the serene ballad “Silent Call” for new facets to his range – emotionally connecting like never before. Musically you can hear a lot of the South American nuances plunging head first into more New Age/ jazz-like Progressive textures on highlight “Upper Levels”, something I would appreciate more from DREAM THEATER and helps ANGRA achieve that surprise element necessary beyond their obvious instrumental talent level.Those who desire the fast paced, double bass, scream to the sky Power anthem material, well “Black Hearted Soul” or “Perfect Symmetry” should give you the fist-pumping adrenaline workout you crave. Special guests include EPICA’s Simone Simons on the dramatic, Symphonic-laden title cut ballad and early Metal icon Doro Pesch who does a vocal duet with Guitarist Rafael Bettencourt on the heavier, bouncier “Crushing Room”. Add in a conceptual storyline that features a fictional account of a scientist seeking happiness after dealing with the tragic loss of his wife in an accident and stunning production values where all parts shine (including the bass heroics of Felipe Andreoli) and I’m sure this 49 minute record will receive consistent airplay for not just 2015, but an eternity as the best albums should.“Secret Garden” could be ANGRA’s best album to date: rich in Progressive Metal highlights but also remembering the right balance in terms of individual songwriting and melodic/hook aspects, this should be a benchmark for other bands to study and up their creative game. A great start to 2015 for sure." - Metal Temple
    $11.00
  • Under the Red Cloud marks the 12th studio album from Finland’s grandfathers of extreme metal, the band’s sixth LP with Tomi Joutsen as vocalist and his 10th year in the band. The string of Tomi’s six records started with 2006’s Eclipse and had an absolutely epic beginning. Eclipse, Silent Waters and Skyforger  showed the band’s new found drive and energy, reclaiming some of their death metal heritage, while veering further into what Nuclear Blast has fittingly labeled ‘melancholy rock.’ Unfortunately, Angry Metal Guy’s Law of Diminishing Recordings™ is a fickle mistress, and The Beginning of Times and Circle were both records that were good, but lacked the urgency of that initial trilogy. These records saw the band pushing into newer territory—heavy Jethro Tull influences bled through on the former, while Circle developed some of the band’s folky elements in cool ways. Neither album gripped me. But when Amorphis releases an album, it’s hard for me not to get excited, and upon seeing the cover art for Under the Red Cloud, all that warm anticipation came back. And fortunately, they didn’t disappoint.Under the Red Cloud is a return to form for Amorphis, and the most cohesive album the band has released since 2009’s Skyforger. Clocking in at 50 minutes, it’s made of ten thematically cohesive tracks. The album isn’t a story though. Instead, the lyrics (written, as always, by Pekka Kainulainen) are conceptually foreboding; about living under a red cloud in troubled times. The music matches this feel, and while I wouldn’t say the album is necessarily so much heavier than previous records, it may have been influenced by the 20th Anniversary of Tales from the Thousand Lakes, because the band has certainly produced the most growl-heavy material of the Joutsen-era.You wouldn’t notice that on the opening title track, however. “Under the Red Cloud” starts with an atmospheric piano bolstered by throbbing bass and a clean guitar in harmonic minor before merging into prime Amorphis territory: a chunky, groovy riff with Tomi’s cleans augmenting the sound perfectly. This format—the classic hard rock song-writing—is the stamp with which the band’s newer material has largely been pressed. “Sacrifice” is similar, breaking in with a “House of Sleep” intro, and a heavy, syncopated verse before giving way to a hooky chorus and a slick guitar melody. “Bad Blood” features Tomi’s growl in the verse, but it’s heavy on the groove and light on the melody before giving way to an epic chorus and beautiful bridge.Amorphis isn’t afraid of their death metal side here. Between “The Four Wise Ones” and “Death of a King,” every single track starts with growls, and the former doesn’t feature any clean vocals from Joutsen at all—instead there’s a short bridge with a haunting, effected vocal line that evokes Elegy. “The Four Wise Ones” and “The Dark Path” both feature crescendos with a ’90s black metal feel—wet with keys and a trem-picked melodies—only undermined by Rechberger’s refusal to use blast beats and Tomi’s growls. The death-laden material works well, though moments like the verse in “Bad Blood” or “Death of a King,” which is one of the singles from Under the Red Cloud, are places where I would have chosen clean vocals rather than growls.There is a danger, however, in Amorphis‘s modern sound, in that it’s pretty easy to fall into a rut. A fairly close listen to Under the Red Cloud reveals that the songs pretty much all follow the same structure, which when the band isn’t producing their sharpest writing can become repetitive. When the album hits its stride, though, it’s an extremely well-crafted record. From “Sacrifice” to “White Night” is a stretch of pure enjoyment—each song flowing into the next, while peaking on the final two tracks. “Tree of Ages” features a folky Celtic theme that has been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it, and “White Night” is a moody track that closes the album out with a surge.Under the Red Cloud is a very good album and a return to form. The record simply sounds like Amorphis; the band has developed a sound that bridges the gap between their old material and the new—with plenty of moments on here that remind me of Elegy and Tuonela with sitar (“Death of a King”) or bong water keyboard solos (“Enemy at the Gates”). And it’s incredible how the band’s riffing can still be so idiosyncratic. “The Skull” and “Enemy at the Gate” have riffs you only hear in Amorphis and Barren Earth; and after 12 records they still pull them off without feeling like they’re ripping themselves off. Consistency is a virtue for big bands if they’re any good, but I think there are hints on UtRC that Amorphis could get more adventurous going forward, and I hope they do. Until that time, though, I’ll be sitting here enjoying these tunes under the red clouds." - Angry Metal Guy
    $15.00