The Point Of You

SKU: SR3068
Label:
Sensory Records
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Withem is an up and coming Norwegian progressive metal band, inspired by the likes of Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind, Dream Theater and Circus Maximus.

The band started to take shape in 2011 when Øyvind Voldmo Larsen (guitars) and Ketil Ronold (keyboards) met the gifted drummer Frank Nordeng Røe. Soon they were joined by the vocal talents of Ole Aleksander Wagenius and bass duties were taken care of by the special guest Andreas Blomqvist from Seventh Wonder.

Withem’s debut offers varied sonic landscapes for the listener to explore, ranging from guilty-pleasure choruses permeated with memorable vocal hooks, to symphonic epic themes.  The unique vocal range of Ole Aleksander Wagenius gives the band a distinctive touch to tackle the overcrowded progressive metal scene.

The passion and dedication put into the album is emphasized by the countless hours spent in studio perfecting each individual performance and making sure that the end result is a world class blend of progressive, symphonic and power metal.

The Point Of You was mastered by Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Saga, Spock's Beard)

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  • Quite simply one of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time. This album is very dear to me and many of you will remember that some years ago we released the 3 SFF albums on a 2CD set. Its been out of print for many years and through the efforts of Esoteric Recordings they are back in print, as individual releases.Symphonic Pictures was recorded in 1975. The trio of Eduard Schicke (drums), Gerd Fuhrs (keyboards), and Heinz Frohling (bass/guitar) was formed from the remnants of Spektakel (another one of our out of print releases). The band was signed to Brain Records. Originally Frank Zappa was going to produce their debut but because of scheduling commitments he had to back out. Instead the band worked with Dieter Dierks who was the rising star producer at the time. The album is all instrumental. It consists of the four shorter tracks and then culminates in the side long epic "Pictures". This is one of the great Mellotron albums...ever. One can easily hear how deeply Anglagard was influenced by this album. Three virtuoso musicians creating amazing symphonic rock. It just doesn't get better than this one...or does it? Esoteric has included a bonus disc containing parts of an archival live recording from Papenburg, Germany in 1975. This features two tracks that are not on the album and clearly demonstrates that SFF could pull it off live as well. Perhaps I'm too close to this album but from my perspective its BUY OR DIE! Highest recommendation possible.
    $15.00
  • "I have the deepest respect for axeman Pier Gonella (NECRODEATH / ODYSSEA / ATHLANTIS / ex LABYRINTH) & bassist Steve Vawamas (ex SHADOWS OF STEEL / ATHLANTIS ), two reputed veterans from the Italian Power Metal scene, those guys are talented but they are owners of a true fighting spirit, not only they are very skilled but they hold a real honesty and above all a true constancy even a certain stubbornness, working hard in their own way in order to share their vision and live their dreams!For their fifth opus, they once again offer their trademark sound, a guitar driven Melodic Power Metal “Naked” with a strong Neo-Classical flavor in the shredding solos (the most obviously in the closing instrumental “Coming Bach”, a new found emphasis on epic melodies without being too pompous, a prestigious guest on keyboards is Mister Andrea De Paoli LABYRINTH / ex VISION DIVINE, a great addition to the recording line-up, as he added some great textures layers and a whole new ambient vibe "Straight To The Bone".I always had some reservations concerning the vocals delivery of Miss Giorgia Gueglio, I always felt it could have been more powerful and I really miss an edge or a more aggressive temperament and this time particularly as the music seems in an Heaviest stage, I had really hope for a more biting result, it reveals a gap between the dynamic method of the razor sharp guitars and the much too angelic voice, maybe it's a conscious contrast, this aspect is my only reproach !The lyrical side is inspired by a story about the control of the subversives minds, rebel idea and the different meanings and historic views of the censorship, clearly a demanding concept. After four critically acclaimed albums published under the L. Mattsson’s Lion Records brand, the band was picked up by Italian leading label Scarlet Records, the sound of this new album is worthy the band reputation giving a run for their money to the band detractors." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "The partnership between Magnum guitarist and songwriter Tony Clarkin and vocalist Bob Catley is now well into its fourth decade and yet like a fine vintage wine it grows ever more appealing with age. More than thirty years since their debut Kingdom of Madness was given a rave review by Sounds Geoff Barton who compared them at the time to Starcastle, Yes, Kansas and Queen, Magnum remain a band to be cherished. Whilst those comparisons were justified in the beginning, across albums such as The Eleventh Hour, On A Storytellers Night and Wings of Heaven Magnum developed a style that was uniquely their own as they became one of the UK's most enduring bands with stirring anthems, melodic rockers and power ballads in abundance. After a hiatus during the latter half of the 90's that saw Clarkin and Catley diversify with Hard Rain (or Magnum-lite as it could have been described) the pair brought Magnum out of hibernation with the uncertain Breath of Life in 2002 that was followed by the much improved Brand New Morning two years later. But even this paled when compared with the majestic return that was 2007's Princess Alice and The Broken Arrow and this rich vein of form is carried through into this relatively brisk follow-up, the wonderfully titled Into The Valley Of The Moonking. Ever since the Jeff Glixman - produced Chase The Dragon in 1982 Magnum's artwork has been an important element of the overall package and Moonking is no exception, once again provided by the exquisite touch of fantasy artist Rodney Matthews who has been so effective over the years in bringing Clarkin's initial ideas to life. With Matthews involvement it simply feels like a Magnum album before you have even taken the CD out of the box.The opening 'Intro' is precisely that; Mark Stanway's keyboards conjuring up a windswept landscape that sets the scene for what is to come and segues into the mid tempo 'Cry To Yourself' and whilst it lacks the immediate impact of some of the later tracks it proves to be a solid enough opener. Tony Clarkin's songwriting is nothing short of amazing as he once again delivers lyrics that are truly inspirational, the careworn ballad 'A Face In The Crowd' being a perfect example. Clarkin's lyrics have often dealt with self-belief and perseverance in the face of struggle and adversity ('The Spirit', 'When The World Comes Down', 'Desperate Times') and 'A Face In The Crowd' is another worthy addition to the list. Another theme often revisited has been the futility of conflict and the dramatic 'No-one Knows His Name' joins a canon that includes 'Les Morts Dansent', 'Don't Wake The Lion' and 'The Flood' in remembering those who have been lost on the battlefield. Catley's voice aches with emotion on the stirring 'If I Ever Lose My Mind' although this is hardly a surprise as he never sounds anything less than immaculate.Away from the anthems, 'Take Me To The Edge' and the urgent 'Feels Like Treason' find the band cranking it up a gear and varying the pace with two quality hard rockers. The (near) title track is where Clarkin brings out his blues guitar and combines it with Magnum's grandiose style to blow away the cobwebs whilst the fantasy imagery of the lyric perfectly complements the cover art. Magnum's albums have often closed with sweeping epics and this proves no exception with 'Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns' starting like a gritty, up-tempo rocker (with some delicate piano embellishments from Stanway) before taking an altogether different direction around the four minute mark with an instrumental passage that becomes a showcase for an evocative Clarkin solo before Stanway plays the song out. The songwriting and musicianship are exceptional throughout and I don't expect to hear a better album this year so a five star rating is more than justified.Out of the valley of the Moonking Magnum have emerged triumphant. Long may they continue." - Sea Of TranquilityThis is the deluxe edition that comes with a bonus DVD featuring an interview as well as live footage of performances from '92 and '85.
    $18.00
  • Reissue of the 1997 release from this melodic metal/AOR band that has been around for an eternity. Vocalist David Readman is one of the best singers out there (check out the first two Adagio albums). This is a new mid-line edition that comes with three bonus tracks, photos and new liner notes from guitarist Dennis Ward.
    $12.00
  • "Houston, Texas is the place that the group who go by the name of Six Minute Century call home. Six Minute Century have a new album Wasting Time and it's one that comes with some serious hooks courtesy of guitarist Don LaFon. This melodic power/progressive group's well received debut Time Capsule introduced us to Six Minute Century in 2008 so it has been quite a long period between albums for fans of that release, but now the wait for their sophomore release is over.The first thing that I noticed about this group was the soaring vocals of Chuck Williams that is in a John Arch kind of way and fans of the heavier side of Fates Warning should give Six Minute Century a go. His approach totally suits the intriguing metal of Wasting Time, Six Minute Century is also group with very competent musicians the bass and drums really give Six Minute Century a hard driving sound not to mention some dynamic performances of their own along the way.Six Minute Century aren't afraid to put their bass player Michael "Dr. Froth" Millsap in the spotlight like on the instrumental "Czardas" and you can soon tell why as this guy is impressive, he also puts in a very nice introduction to "Last Days in Paradise". Two mid tempo songs that easily won me over thanks in a large part to guitarist Don LaFon are "Just Remains" and "The Killing Fields" these aren't the only memorable songs Six Minute Century have on Wasting Time but they certainly do reel you in promptly. Six Minute Century have a real knack at writing songs that entice you back again and again.Six Minute Century are onto something very agreeable here, and yes while their debut Time Capsule was quite good this new album Wasting Time shows a band that have lifted their game and the results are much more impressive." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • English vocal version of the third album from this fine Hungarian progressive metal band. Age Of Nemesis (formerly just known as Nemesis) are heavily influenced by Dream Theater, Rush and 70s old school progressive rock. Zoltan Fabian's guitarwork has a wonderful fluid quality that really soars but he adds a good bit of crunch that recals John Petrucci. Vocalist Zoltan Kiss has a great voice that complements the band well. Curiously he displays a more prominent accent than on past efforts but it's not really a distraction. Anyone familiar with their past releases will be extremely satisfied with Terra Incognita as it fits comfortably within the canon. So don't expect any surprises - just some great melodic progressive metal with an emphasis on the progressive side. Highly recommended.
    $8.00
  • "Having morphed--some would argue devolved--into a predictable ballad machine by the '80s, it's good to be reminded of Chicago's original artistic ethos and vibrant promise. And what better place to start than their spectacular 1969 debut? This digitally remastered edition compiles the double album on a single disc that retains the original LP artwork and features a 16-page booklet with a retrospective essay (based on new band member interviews) by David Wild. Chicago weren't yet the '70s hit-singles factory they would shortly become, and CTA showcases a band whose muscular musicianship and creative restlessness fostered two LPs worth of music that was as aggressive and far-ranging as its singles were friendly and inviting. Tellingly, the hits showcased here--"Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?" "Beginnings," "Questions 67 and 68," and their rhythmically pumped cover of the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man"--were often edited down from the original collection's suite-heavy structure. But those familiar cuts belie the downright progressive and angular nature of much of the rest, which fuses Terry Kath's neo-psychedelic guitar (which careens to noisy, feedback-laden Hendrixesque extremes on "Free Form Guitar") to one of rock's pioneering horn sections with enough experimentalism ("Poem 58") that it frequently overwhelms their undeniable genius with a pop song. Chicago would seldom sound so adventurous after this, one of rock's greatest debut albums." --Jerry McCulley
    $6.00
  • Digipak edition with one bonus track"Fans of gothic metal, rejoice! Tristania, one of the genre’s true pioneering bands, has just released their seventh studio album entitled Darkest White. The Norwegian powerhouse act has a storied fourteen year history stretching back to their 1998 debut – and they haven’t lost a step thanks to some much needed lineup stability. Darkest White contains all the near-theatrical arrangements, darker moods, and diverse tones that fans of the band would expect – delivered with a solid three-singer attack and technically tight musicianship. After numerous line-up shuffles, the now stable group has really hit their stride again, producing an album that clearly outshines their previous effort (2010’s middling Rubicon).Tristania has always focused on delivering solid vocal performances, and continue on with the duet of the angelic Mariangela Demurtas and the theatrical Kjetil Nordhus. Demurtas has a silky, clear voice and she remains her own singer rather than pushing towards the operatic stylings of other Gothic bands. Nordhus delivers with great emotion and depth, whether singing softly and clearly or doing some Broadway-style emoting. Guitarist Anders Høyvik Hidle now contributes a good amount of growled / death metal vocals, giving the band a bit of “beauty and the beast” sound at times. Overall, Tristania continues to deliver the clear and precise metal that has won them a worldwide following. Excellent musicianship backs up the great vocal harmonies, delivered by guitarists Hidle and Gyri Losnegaard, keyboard player Einar Moen, and bottom end Ole Vistnes (bass / backing vocals) and Tarald Lie (drums).“Number” opens the release with growled vocals and a kicky drum line, intense bass and great guitar hooks. Demurtas and Nordhus also contribute well done duet vocals making this track the quintessential example of the rebuilt Tristania. The heavy and intense “Darkest White” showcases the male vocalists. This track has a more conventional heavy metal feel to it, with strong contributions from guitars, bass and drums. “Himmelfall” is a slower, darker rock tune with hooky guitars and a great rolling rhythm line, and theatrical vocals by all. “Requiem” is a sweeping, epic soft track – very different from the previous songs. Demurtas’ voice is at its best here, and the softer keys and guitars combined with multi-layered vocal harmonies make it arguably the best track on the album. The languorous vocal lines of “Diagnosis” contrast nicely with the high speed rhythm lines, and both carry emotional intensity.“Scarling” starts off as almost an old school rocker, but becomes a moody progressive / Gothic track driven by vocals and drums. The vocal chorus, and interplay amongst the three leads is quite impressive. “Night on Earth” features great growl vocals over a simple but effective guitar riff and a real head banging rhythm line. The haunting “Lavender” is a major contrast, filled with soft guitars and mellow, soft vocals – the epitome of dramatic rock. “Cypher” is a somewhat gloomy sounding rocker with very well done male vocals and a brooding rhythm line. “Arteries” wraps up the CD, and features great back and forth between growl and clean voices along with top notch drum and bass.Darkest White is a very good release from a veteran band. The returning lineup now has a good deal more experience working as a team and has gelled into something special. Although the band’s technical abilities were never in doubt, they have addressed the weaknesses apparent in their last album – the song structure is better, the lyrics and themes more consistent, and the members of Tristania now seem more comfortable working together. They are tight and confident, once again pushing musical boundaries. Diversity in song style, tempo, and tone highlight the band’s superb use of multiple singers, and keeps the album interesting throughout. The excellent production values and strong engineering allow the many subtleties and great depths of the music to flow without seeming forced or unnatural.Highly recommended for fans of the genre." - Hard Rock Haven
    $13.00
  • The split between Geoff Tate and the rest of Queensryche took an ugly turn awhile back and now we are seeing the first fruits of the fallout.  He finds himself on Cleopatra Records - the perfect marriage of exploitation partners.  I'm not sure why anyone would want to actually own this album but I guess if you are an uber-Tate fan you have to have it.  Tate's version of the band features Kelly Gray, Rudy and Robert Sarzo, Simon Wright, and Randy Gane.  The music sounds a lot like all the crap Queensryche was putting out over the past 10-15 years but maybe even less inspired.  Tate took it upon himself to cover 4 classic Queensryche songs as a bonus (oh joy).  Special guests on the album include KK Downing, Chris Poland, Ty Tabor, Paul Bostaph, Lita Ford, Brad Gillis, Dave Meniketti, and Craig Locicero.  If Jimi Hendrix was on this album it couldn't ressurect this swill.  There is one good thing about the album - the cover.  Its a pretty clever jab at his old bandmates.  I'll give him that and not much else.  Fanatics only please.
    $6.00
  • The North American Freak Kitchen catalog reissue program continues.  Freak Kitchen is Mattias Eklundh (guitar.vocals), Christer Ortefors (bass) and Bjorn Fryklund (drums). The band describes their album as "A corny little heavy-pop-rock-Latin-world-jazz-avant-garde-metal-blues-record straight from hell!". "Organic" is the band’s sixth album.  It features a guest appearance by Guns N Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal.  Pure guitar driven insanity with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  Essential for fans of Frank Zappa, Bumblefoot, and Steve Vai."If there was such a thing as indie metal, Freak Kitchen would define the genre perfectly. This metal band hails from Sweden and was formed back in 1992. Their outstanding musicianship and authentic musical style makes this power trio a real treat for those of us lucky enough to find their music. The bands’ distaste for big corporate labels has not prevented them from getting their music out, just not on a scale one would expect them to be considering the high level of quality music that they put out. So, as they state on one of their songs: “I’m so alternative, I am so independent, this is the way to live the independent way of life.” I guess one could say the guys walk the talk!Frontman Mathias IA Eklundh is considered a premier guitar player, having himself released several instrumental solo albums, Freak Guitar (1999) and Freak Guitar - The Road Less Traveled (2004). Also of some importance I guess is the fact that I’ve read in several live performance reviews that Eklundh will often play his guitar using foreign objects, some of which are described as vibrating dildos! Oh yeah, and he can really sing too! Eklundh is also the founder of Mattiasology, of which Steve Vai (peace prophet) and Paul Gilbert (space prophet) are listed as members of the Grand Church of Freakiness.Organic is Freak Kitchen sixth studio album, which was released in different parts of the world on April 27, 2005, just don’t expect to find it in North America yet. When you hear them for the first time, and believe me - you will eventually hear them - it’s really like nothing you’ve heard before. It’s like mixing a heavy metal guitar sound with alternative rock and adding mild progressive elements and a clearly indie rock vibe. It’s going to turn your head as it did mine. If you’re into metal you’re going to wonder “what the hell is this” and if you’re into indie rock, you’re going to wonder the exact same thing? It’s a blending of styles that requires time to soak up. But after you get over the initial impact of it all, it grows on you very quickly and I mean that in an exponentially freaky kind of way.The album opens with the single “Speak When Spoken Too,” which also features the eccentric Bumblefoot (Ron Thal - another Mattiasology prophet) on back up vocals and guitar. The Pantera style guitar riffs will have you questioning the bands musical style and the evident alternative rock vibe will probably remind you of System of a Down. There's a whole lot of humour spread out throughout the album as well.The band plays hook laden guitar driven songs full of interesting arrangements and cool little guitar antics and solos. The crystal clear production, the occasional blast beats, the crazy guitar sounds, the humorous lyrics about everyday life (infidelity, racism, the role of parenting) and the radio-friendliness of it all makes this a very memorable listening experience." - Sputnik Music
    $14.00
  • Exit one guitarist - enter one female singer resulting in a new avant garde direction. While the first album had a quiet classical side this is far more experimental. One can hear an influence from minimalist composers creeping in."Three years passed before Pierrot Lunaire recorded and released the follow-up to their debut album. They returned as a totally refurbished act, with guitarist Caporaletti out and mezzo-soprano extraordinaire Jacqueline Darby in. "Gudrun" is an album that drifts apart from the realms of bucolic melodic prog with a slight dissonant twist; now, the repertoire is design to defy structure and convention, in order to create a sonic journey led by the volatile ruling hands of surprise, radical experimentation, and free form. The link between all tracks is marked by the clicking of a photographic camera, as if each number of the repertoire was some kind of scenario immortalized by the machine and turned into a permanent reminder. If Pierrot Lunaire's previous album was some a catalogue of reflections about the inner world, now Stalteri, Chiocchio and Darby turn their eyes and look at the world in its splendorous chaos and multicolored facets. The 11-minute long title track kicks off the album with a great deal of synth layers and sequenced ornaments, over which Darby's singing, piano lines, stormy guitar leads, and some other occasional stuff lays its print in a daring amalgam. If you can mentally picture a mixture of Klaus Schulze, drumless RIO and Brecht's operettas, then you may have an idea about what I'm trying to describe here (perhaps not too successfully). In sharp contrast, now comes a subtle piano nocturne titled 'Dietro il Silenzio', which sounds quite Satie-inspired to me: a really beautiful piece where the silent voids are as important as the actual piano sounds. The following number is a two part chanting displayed upon disturbing guitar and synth soundscapes: in the middle, a piano and conga drums revisit Darby's line with an air of simplicity that seems to portray some sort of high-spirited joy. 'Gallia' is a Darby-penned number, mostly a showcase for her well crafted dissonant operatic stuff, while her fellow men once again indulge themselves in a background of random dissonances on electric guitar and synthesizer. 'Giovane Madre' is the most symphonic (or should I say the least anti-symphonic) number. It basically consists of a recurring attractive motif on organ and synth, solidly founded on a 6/8 pattern laid by Chiocchio's bass and guest drummer Massimo Buzzi; somewhere in the middle, a gentle, joyful Renaissance-like motif enters abruptly, creating a weird tension that directly defies its own delicate beauty. Simultaneously, you can hear Darby whispering or laughing in some places. Many times I've found myself listening to this particular track three or four times in a row only to take pleasure in the challenging effect that the structure of this track causes in me as a listener. The weirdness never ends. 'Sonde in Profonditá' starts with the sound of an old radio speech, accompanied by a tenuous, evocative organ theme, with sitar, synth and acoustic guitar providing some additional colours until it all disappears under crashing waves. 'Morellia' begins with a Baroque-inspired piano solo, alternating with a Renaissance-like zither melodic line: then comes Darby, together with the piano, string synth, bass and drums (once again, guest Buzzi makes an appearance), delivering the most moving passage in the album. This same structure is reiterated, until a Cabaret-piano motif accompanies Darby's dramatic laughter. This piece is inscrutable, yet it manages to move the listener's heart in a way that they can't fully understand. Finally, 'Mein Armer Italiener' closes down the album with a successive combination of parody military march, psychedelic rock, pastoral stuff, slogan chanting - all comprised in an ambience of radical dadaist humour that may somehow remind us of Zappa's most theatrical pieces. An excellent but not recommendable prog recording due to its massively cryptic nature: anyway, "Gudrun" deserves to be regarded as a classic of the most experimental side of 70s progressive rock." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • "As of late, at least with their previous album, and the current Pariah's Child, Finland's Sonata Arctica has been throwing their faithful some musical curve balls. Putting them in the category of traditional Scandi power metal is no longer fitting, although they do play the same and often.No, their sound is much more diverse, enterprising, these days. A good example is the song Half A Marathon Man. It's opening strokes of guitar, keyboards, then drums could lead to most any sound. But it delivers this huge rock grooved melodic metal monster, with hooks galore, from vocals to lyrics to riffs. Then there's the power metal romp of X Marks the Spot, disguised as a rock tune, and wrapped in the motif a religious revival. It's familiar, but strange; clever and a whole lot of fun. Also of note is What Did You Do In the War, Daddy which merges the feel of classic heavy metal anthem with the bluster of power metal in places.Yet something more familiar comes with the longest number, Larger Than Life, which sounds like old school Sonata Arctica, where they draw upon their symphonic progressive power metal roots. Perhaps still more straight forward Sonata Arctica is the first half of the album. Notably The Wolves Die Young or Take One Breath are classic Scandi melodic power metal tunes, straying little from the foundation from which the band was built. Yet, fans should know that it is no less interesting than the aforementioned more crafty pieces. Once more I think Pariah's Child represents Sonata Arctica as a band being carefully faithful to their roots, yet always moving forward in their creativity. Easily recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $14.00