The Raven That Refused To Sing (Blu-Ray)

Steven Wilson's solo career apart from Porcupine Tree, is for this listener, far more interesting.  Whereas PTree currently skirts the line between rock and metal, his solo work fits squarely in the progressive rock arena.  The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) is easily his magnum opus.  The musicianship is stellar - he recorded with his touring band: Nick Beggs (Stick), Guthrie Govan (guitar), Adam Holzman (keys), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Theo Travis (flute, sax).  Mr. Wilson has also dug two things out of mothballs - King Crimson's Mellotron and Alan Parsons.  It was Steven Wilson's wish to one day work with Alan Parsons, who came on board as engineer.  I can't tell you who is responsibile for what but I can tell you that the production is impeccable.  The opening epic "Luminol" drips with the holy 'tron sounding like a cross-generation blend of King Crimson eras.  And so it goes through out the album.  Some utterly fierce playing on this album.  From beginning to end a stunning effort.  BUY OR DIE!

This is the Blu-ray edition.  In addition to the surround and hi-res stereo mix you get a 23 minute documentary and a bonus track.

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  • "Refreshing, powerful, and extremely melodic – the adjectives I’d use at a push to describe Teramaze‘s 5th album. I have to admit I pretty much consider this their sophomore release as I was not party to their releases throughout the 90′s, with my first introduction to the band with their 2012 powerhouse ‘Anhedonia’ which quite ironically generated feels of anything but anhedonia. There has been an undeniable buzz around this release and I have found it virtually impossible to escape the widespread word and hype around this album anywhere I look online; generally I wouldn’t necessarily see this as categorically positive as it can taint your expectations unintentionally. Thankfully for the most part, my expectations and hopes with this album have been realised to the point that I welcome any melodic, thrash, progressive or otherwise metallically inclined music fan to check this 79-ish minute thematic conceptual monster.The initial impressions I have when comparing this with ‘Anhedonia’ is a development away from the slightly more thrash-oriented direction that I suspected was the impact of the members growing up in the era where that particular sub-genre beared its greatest fruits. I use the term development as I believe it has very much naturally progressed as compared to what I would consider a departure. The addition of more progressive structures and more varied layering works exceptionally well in Teramaze‘s favour to create a soundscape of in your face riffs, contemplative and brooding moods, earworm choruses, and timeless unity across the entire album.Without doubt one of the things that will grab listeners’ attention is the astonishing fretboard wizardry of band leader and Dean Well’s who treats us to undeniably wondrous smorgasbord of head nodding animosity (special mention to the riff at 2:02 in ‘Line of Symmetry’ – that will get you nodding with the mania of Jack Black), and emotive, creative, delicious lead playing that is akin to guitar heroes aplenty (Petrucci, Sfogli, Skolnick – just to name a few). The balance of great lead playing and rhythm work is a pleasure with nothing inappropriately overstated like one can sometimes expect of the genre. As a special addition, the tones are simply incredible on this album and it is glued perfectly with the bass and bonded by the fairydust keyboards that emerge to keep the sonic palette interesting (courtesy of Circadian Pulse keyboardist Dave Holley).The production is another point of veritable quality with all the instruments presented in a crystal clear state whilst maintaining vibe and not losing out to sterility which is a sad by-product of the self-produced musical climate of 2014. The only complaint I really have is that the mastering is a little hot which is noticeable after the first track (which was mastered in my ideal sweet spot). It sits at DR6 across the whole album on average which is nothing out of the ordinary for this day and age but it occasionally gets fatiguing especially over such a long record. Thankfully moment of distortion are kept to a minimum, however there are some trace elements of weakened transients and the occasional buried vocal that loses intelligibility.Vocalist Brett Rerekura is a joy to listen to and I am appreciative of the fact although his voice pushes the aggressive edge to fit the setting of the music, it is rich in melody and characteristic timbre and is not sabotaged with growls. Long live the singer in a metal band, I say! I detect glimmers of Layne Staley, Sebastian Bach and the rhythmic phrasing of James Hetfield. My only beef is the occasional “Aussieisms” I hear in some inflections which I am hyper-sensitive too (even though I’m Australian myself), however this doesn’t detract too much from what is a splendid vocal performance across the board. There are moments of supreme delicacy especially in ‘Bodies of Betrayal’ which I would have liked to have heard more of as well as a bit more of that delicate side to the band overall to give this album the dynamic curve it deserved. This is of course only a minor criticism.The album’s concept, while not narrative based centres around the experiential nature of deception; especially by that of governing bodies and the powers that be. I think the title of ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ is perfectly apt as this is not the viewpoint or mindset of everyone and best kept as the worldview of a particular minority of people. I think for some the lyrical approach could border on conspiracy but I like the exploratory nature of them and what is truly the harm in questioning some of the taken-for-granted “truths” we hold in this ever-changing world. Kudos to Teramaze for honestly and whole-heartedly fusing their beliefs with such hard-hitting music in a way that I see as completely lacking pretence.For me the standout tracks are ‘Bodies of Betrayal’, ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ (6:53 in this gives me goosebumps), and ‘viii In Vitro’ as I believe they hold the most profound emotional connection with me due to the individual moods they build. I have to admit the only track that I am not particularly keen on is the one with the guest vocals as I feel as though it breaks the flow of the album in a way that was superfluous to requirements. It came across as guests for guests sake which is probably my most direct criticism of the record.This is an exceptional release that stands up to my extremely critical ear and was only let down by perhaps a slight lack of expression with regards to dynamics (mastering and songwriting) across such a long album. Its length to some may indeed be a bit hard to swallow in single listens, however this is par for the course for me as a fan of long form writing. For fans of Metallica, Dream Theater, Alice in Chains and anyone who wishes to have a boot up the bum and an electrode to the brain from an ambitious and highly satiating album." - Metal Obsession
    $12.00
  • No sophomore slump for this Austrian band. Stylistically it's still a bit of a balancing act between the power and prog side of metal with a definite leaning towards power. The symphonic element seems to have been amped up a bit lending comparisons to Kamelot and Sonata Arctica. Once again Georg Neuhauser's vocals are a standout (at least for my taste). He has a great way of communicating emotions elevating the music beyond the standard prog/power fare.
    $12.00
  • Victor Peraino once again collaborates with Arthur Brown and the results are shockingly good.  The disc adheres to the old sound - Peraino is playing a variet of analogue keys - plenty of VCS 3, Hammond organd, Mellotron, Moog, etc. The music features a combination of original tunes, reworkings of some of their old stuff, plus a cover of "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'.  The bonus DVD was filmed in Detroit in recent times."In the 70's Victor Peraino recorded on Polydor Records in England with the father of theatrical rock Arthur Brown, know for his million sell hit "Fire" Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come “Journey” was critically acclaimed as a landmark, in the music industry the first recording to feature a drum machine. Victor played keyboards. mellotron. moog synthesizer. vcs3, theremin & vocals on this ground-breaking album. After Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come disintegrated following the release of the wonderful “Journey”, US keyboard player Victor Peraino somehow retained the name, releasing No Man's Land in '75 under the name Victor Peraino's Kingdom Come, reissued by Black Widow in 2010. After about 40 years, Victor and Arthur decide to collaborate again, resurrecting the project Kingdom Come: in this new musical adventure, reproduce in a new guise some of the best songs included in "No Man's Land" (Demon of Love, Sun Sets Sail, Empires of Steel), take up the theme of the wonderful "Time Captives" from "Journey" turning it into a cross-section sidereal enriched by the magnificence of space keyboards, revitalize ina progressive key two old classics like "Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "I Put a Spell On You "... but they also offer some brand new compositions (We Only Come to Help You, Future, the title track, Walk with Angels) deploying an odyssey of lovely sounds, underpinned by the omnipresent as ever presence of Mellotron, Moog, VCS3, in an uninterrupted flow of emotions."
    $21.00
  • Digibook edition that is identical in content to the US jewel box edition. Some people like to collect these things... New double album is a continuation of Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth (much of the material was composed during those sessions). The first album also contains a couple of tracks that indicate Steve Howe and Jonathan Mover among the co-writers so I assume this is refurbished and unreleased GTR material. Chris Squire and Simon Phillips also play on the album so its probably taken from the still to be released Squackett album. The bonus disc contains 9 tracks that were recorded at previous sessions. So what's the story with the music? Well...it's pretty great. Mr. Hackett is still writing progressive rock. His playing is always inspired - whether acoustic or electric. Some of the tracks have a slow burn quality and others just blaze away. Whenever I hear his acoustic work I wish he would record a duet with Gordon Giltrap - that would be something to hear. I don't know if its studio wizardry or he's just gotten better but his vocals (which were previously a bit of a distraction) are totally fine. This one really hits the spot in the right way. Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • Second (or first - they are interchangeable) half of the simultaneous release from this Argentinian prog rock band.  "The Facts" might differentiate itself slightly from "The Tales" in that there seems to be a bit more of a crunch factor in the guitarwork but overall this is still symphonic rock.  Pretty damn good too!  Guesting on this album is the great Damian Wilson on vocals.
    $13.00
  • Dream Theater began their mammoth A Dramatic Tour Of Events world trek in July 2011 with the final leg in South America taking place in August 2012. It was here at the Luna Park arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina that they decided to film the two nights that go to make up this DVD release. It was Dream Theater's first tour with new drummer Mike Mangini and all the tracks from their first album together A Dramatic Turn Of Events are included in either the main show or the bonus performances. Dream Theater are rock s supreme virtuosos with many awards to their name and here in concert they bring all the power and drama of their music to life with breathtaking performances of classic tracks from across their career.Features many of their classic tracks including: Metropolis Pt. 1 , The Silent Man , Pull Me Under , The Root Of All Evil , The Test That Stumped Them All , The Spirit Carries On and the recent On The Backs Of Angels .Bonus FeaturesDocumentary / Trailer / Behind The Scenes / Cartoon IntroTrack ListingDVDDisc One Main Show1) Bridges In The Sky 2) 6:00 3) The Dark Eternal Night 4) This Is The Life 5) The Root Of All Evil 6) Lost Not Forgotten 7) Drum Solo 8) A Fortune In Lies 9) The Silent Man 10) Beneath The Surface 11) Outcry 12) Piano Solo 13) Surrounded 14) On The Backs Of Angels 15) War Inside My Head 16) The Test That Stumped Them All 17) Guitar Solo 18) The Spirit Carries On 19) Breaking All Illusions 20) Metropolis Pt. 1Disc Two Bonus Tracks1) These Walls 2) Build Me Up, Break Me Down 3) Caught In A Web 4) Wait For Sleep 5) Far From Heaven 6) Pull Me Under
    $14.00
  • "Luciferean Light Orchestra is the eponymous troupe of musicians and debut album led by Therion’s mainman Christopher Johnsson that was recently announced and released via the band’s own site, to little fanfare. According to him, this is a compilation of material that he had in reserve and that he sort of amassed through the years, when he came up with ideas which were too “vintage” or somewhat more left-field that your average Therion song would be...It differs quite a bit from Therion in that it barely has any similarities to most of them tunes included here, other than the use of rather tame but pretty hypnotizing and almost hedonistic female vocals, some of which are done by Mina Karadzic, who, if I am not mistaken, is one of the ladies who starred in one of a series of highly artistic and sometimes slightly enigmatic videos that Therion released in the past couple of years and a few simple choirs that sound quite oratorial. Mina is the only other person than Johnsson that is being identified as a contributor. Everything alludes to 70s prog rock, with a somewhat ritualistic approach and dark gloomy riffs, that border on heavy proto-metal, which I suppose is pretty nice.Johnsson, probably must have done most if not all of the composing and is credited for the guitar as well as some keyboards and hammond, which pops up quite regularly and did provide some backing vocals, but was aided by a couple of drummers, a bass player, no less than 5 guitarists, 2 keyboard players and 3 hammond organists as well as 9 singers. Quite a lineup there. The album was mixed by Lennart Östlund (a guy who has worked with Abba and Led Zeppelin) at polar studios this sounds quite old school in its aesthetics, which might come as a bit of a shock to a few people, but all in all, if you don’t approach this album with prejudice, it might be quite an interesting listen. Remember this is not “Therion” after all, but another project, that may feature some current and former members in its ranks, as well as other “known guests” but they have so far, remained anonymous for whatever reasons.Opener “Dr. Faust on Capri” sweetly and seductively unfurls its charms manifested via a quirky little riff, and some pleasant female vocals that will remind you of all those 60s/70s soft rock, psych bands. The whole melody changes somewhat and the song gets a little heavier towards its conclusion which has a rather imposing, simple male choir, that makes it sound a little like vintage “T” too...“Church of Carmel” is very soothing and sweet and seems to somewhat borrow from the aesthetics and sound of “Beauty in Black” but all through a 70s prism and a bizarre haze of sounds and colors.“Taste the Blood of the Altar Wine” is much much darker, led by a simple riff that’s thickened up with some key magik, while the vocals sound completely bewitching...Which sets quite the tone for “A Black Mass in Paris”, which begins quite a bit like “Nightside of Eden” but veers off into a lot softer and prog territory, before it begins to interject some really dark parts which work a bit like a chorus, since you can’t really say it has one, per ce.“Eater of Souls” has this eastern flavored riff and mixes threatening male and rather tame but at the same time unsettling female ones, which do get softer gradually. It’s not bad at all, just a bit weird. Some of these songs feel like they must have been conceived between “Ho Drakon…” and “A’Arab Zaraq...”“Sex With Demons” (what? Sex with Satan, anyone? lol) is completely bonkers and sort of nightmarish, describing lucid dreaming copulation with horny ones, Incubus and Succubus… with the whole thing sounding like the soundtrack to a bizarre 70s porno gone avant garde!“Venus in Flames” begins with this kinda Hendrix-y riff and some licks around it until another on plays a few times and the hypnotic female vocals make you visualize the vision of “Venus” in flames… diabolically pleasurable… I must say and if they ever re-make “Rosemary’s Baby” hey, the whole chanted chorus of this might work just fine.“Moloch” is downright spiteful and malicious both an invocation and a hymn to the ancient Ammonite god. It’s by far the heaviest and darkest song here.“Dante and Diabaulus” also feels like a “feverish” vision set to music, as it is a bit of an interpretation of Dante’s Inferno, but with a quite sinister take…Last but not least is an untitled bonus track, about “Three Demons”… which is also dark, slow, sinister, almost funeral in its approach and has a sudden outburst of cursing screaming female oclasms, as if a hymn to nyx, heacate and the underworld… it’s quite unsettling, disturbing and majestic in its ritualistic simplicity. This song is only included in the physical release which actually is one of the most lavish digibooks I have ever seen, with gold foil embossed markings and superb overall artistic direction.Overall Luciferian Light Orchestra is quite representative of what its name implies, it’s 70s inspired ritualistic psych hard rock and more with a dark atmosphere and occult themes. It might be not to everyone’s liking, but fans of Therion during their “transitional” phase, before the orchestrations somewhat took over the helm or of bands like Black Widow (sans the flute) etc., might like this quite a bit. Artistically it’s quite accomplished and does well what it’s set out to do. So allow yourself to be enchanted by the bewitching sounds of this side project… while we wait for Therion to come back with their “Classical/Opera” project…" - Grande Rock
    $13.00
  • Caamora is a new musical collaboration between Pendragon/Arena keyboardist Clive Nolan and Polish vocalist Agnieszka Swita. The results have been manifested in an all-star neo-progressive rock opera based on the H. Rider Haggard adventure novel "She". This is a 2 CD set featuring Clive Noland and Agnieszaka Swita on vocals as well as Alan Reed (Pallas) and Christina Booth (Magenta). Musicians on the album include Hugh McDowell (ELO), Clive Nolan, Mark Westwood (Martin Orford Band), John Jowitt (IQ), ao. This is the limited edition digipak with one bonus track.
    $20.00
  • Excellent remaster of one of the greatest mellotron albums of all time! Not even sure where to begin as this album is loaded with masterpiece after masterpiece. Comes with an unreleased track as a bonus cut.
    $17.00
  • Latest entrants in the German power metal gods sweepstakes features the wonderful Andy Franck (Ivanhoe, Symphorce) on vocals. Mixed by Sascha Paeth so you know it's gonna sound just right.
    $12.00
  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a remastered edition of the 1979 album by the Canadian Progressive Rock group FM, Surveillance . The band began life in 1976 with CAMERON HAWKINS (Synthesisers, Bass, Vocals) and NASH THE SLASH (Jeff Plewman) (Electric Violin, Mandolin, Vocals) coming together as a duo, making an appearance on national TV in Canada in the Summer of 1976. By March 1977 FM became a trio with the addition of MARTIN DELLAR on Drums. The band s debut album followed. By the end of the year Nash the Slash had been replaced by BEN MINK on Electric Violin and Mandolin. Surveillance was the third album by the band, released in 1979, and was a hit of the Progressive Rock genre in the USA and Canada. This Esoteric Recordings release is the first time Surveillance has been issued in Europe and has been newly remastered and includes an illustrated booklet and a new essay."
    $17.00
  • A tremendous album where they mix the avant-garde stuff in a bit with the tunes and it really works! Don't let this description drive you off. This is a powerful fusion band. Just one with a fervent imagination. I know several people that hate that squeaky stuff but love the tune Evaporazione from this disc. Fusion with accessible avant-guarde moments.-Rick Eddy
    $15.00
  • "New twists on the new album with the groundbreaking Swedish folk rock band. Cult ban d Kebnekaise - known for their electrified folk music - refuse to play on nostalgia. On the new album ‘pieces to their musical mosaic. Nine new songs that build on the passion and joy of folk music, from the airy happiness and steady rhythm to the melodic melancholy, conjured by psychedelic folk rock. Aventure is Kebnekajses ninth album since their debut in 1971 and the third since returning in 2001. The last album 'Idioten/The Idiot' was nominated for a Swedish Grammy in 2012 in the category 'Best Rock'. - We live on as if we never had taken a brake. For us, music is not a museum piece that sounds the same every day. Our music stands for something that doesn’t stop, but continue to evolve. Says Kenny Håkansson the bands illustrious psychedelic guitar wizard with a history in such legendary Swedish bands as T-Boones, Baby Grandmothers, Mecki Mark Men and Dag Vag. The new album 'Aventure' was recorded in the legendary Silence studios in Värmland, Koppom with non other than Anders Lind behind the controls, at the beginning of the summer. The album contains five new discoveries from the Swedish folk music treasure and four new self-written. Kebnekajses distinctive and pioneering folk rock sound is as secure as the mountain itself. As in the initial Snickar-Anders (Carpenter-Anders)  where heavy drums, percussion and double basses proud and challenging urge on distorted guitars and violin to purposefully play tag with an elusive Swedish folk melody. But the music is also allowed to take new and unexpected twists. A mandolin gives oriental pensive tone to Vallåt efter Britta Jansson (Grazing-ground Song after Britta Jansson). A Wild West guitar is accompanied by the now hilarious mandolin in Svartbergstrollen (Black Mountain Trolls), who effortlessly bounces between major and minor. The dreamy Vallåt efter  Måns Olsson (Grazing-ground Song After Måns Olsson) where the guitar folk loops hovers over a distinct African thumb piano. ‘Aventure’ offers more African elements - and three songs with vocals. On the title track Aventure Hassan Bah tells the tale of how he as a 15 years old left his home country of Guinea and eventually more or less accidentally arrived in Sweden ("... now I'm sitting on top of the mountain and looking out over Sweden"). And in concluding Battery where Hassan comments on his recent trip to Africa, in the Zuzu-language and over a high powered psychedelic afrobeat. With ‘Aventure’ Kebnekajse  add new pieces to their musical mosaic - Swedish folk rock with psychedelic overtones - now with more African undertones."
    $16.00
  • Swedish melodic prog metal band Cullooden is the latest band to emerge from the Roastinghouse management stable.  Their debut, Silent Scream, sits nicely besides bands like Circus Maximus, Withem, and Seventh Wonder.  Strong anthem-like vocal harmonies permeate the album.  Plenty of nice soloing throughout the album.  Keys are featured but the real star of the show is the guitar work.  Highly recommended."If I have to put on a specific metal sticker on this debut album, it has to be something like this: Modern, melodic metal with big jagged shards of prog metal/rock. This Swedish trio in Cullooden is giving us a disc, which is very technical and at the same time it's a very melodic album. 'Silent Scream' is a metallic gold bar. It contains adult, progressive metal tracks played with ultra strong harmonies and Cullooden is fronted by one of the strongest and widest new rock voices I've heard in a long time.Fredrik Joakimsson owns the talented voice, and he handles the highest tones just as perfect as in the harsher and darker tunes. I hear musical influences that reminds me of Dream Theather or maybe even more from their compatriots in the magnificent progressive metal band Seventh Wonder and the Norwegians in Circus Maximus.Cullooden is not another beginner's project, which has released a 'quick shot' album, nope they knew what they were going to record on 'Silent Scream' and the songs are so overwhelmingly worked through both musically and lyrically. The album is also extremely well produced. I have to stick my neck out and say that it is perfectly produced, there is absolutely nothing to complaint about.What attracts my interest a little more than normally is the elegant flirts with the melodic hard rock, like in 'Our Only Desire' and in 'An Interesting Fact', which are some of my favorite tracks on this album. The heavy bass rhythms are pressing in the background, but it's easy listening and melodic nonetheless. The quality rhythmic metal that has been mixed with the progressive tones becomes an insanely congenial overall impression. Every track has it's own personality and I've used much of my time to sort this album in and out and my final conclusion is this: A new shining progressive metal star is appearing on the metal heaven and it's called Cullooden!'Silent Scream' will most likely be played over and over again for a long, long time to come when I want life-inspiration or just want to hear at succulent melodic metal or world-class quality prog metal. I love it!The album is recommended for most metal fans, although the melodic/progressive metal fans will most likely worship this masterful album release!" - Power Of Metal
    $16.00