All Rights Removed (2LP Vinyl)

SKU: KAR066LP
Label:
Karisma Records
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Second album from this Norwegian band finds them climbing the ladder of melancholy prog bands. Short on complexity but long on atmosphere and melody, Airbag's new one packs an emotional wallop. The album has just enough spacey keyboards to draw comparisons to Pink Floyd and older Porcupine Tree. The album builds up to the 17 minute "Homesick I - III" which has enough references to Wish You Were Here that you'll be plowing through your Floyd collection afterwards. Lethal atmospheric prog that will annihilate the minds of any Anathema or Riverside fan. Highly recommended.  180 gram double LP vinyl set cut form the analogue masters specifically for vinyl.

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  • "Female fronted doom bands are all the rage these days, and for good reason. The juxtaposition of down-tuned lurching metal with soaring female vocals is usually quite successful. Avatarium's take on this metal movement answers a question you didn't know you had: What would Black Sabbath's 13 sound like if Adele fronted the band?The answer to that question is, "awesome!"I dug the band right away, so I was surprised to learn this band is a supergroup because the band has its own clear identity. The lineup is lead by Leif Edling (Candlemass) on bass with Marcus Jidell (Evergrey) on guitar, Lars Sköld (Tiamat) on drums, and Carl Westholm (Jupiter Society) on keyboards. Sure, that's already a phenomenal lineup, but the true star of the band is the relatively unknown Jennie-Ann Smith.It would be easy to compare her performance to Mlny Parsonz from Royal Thunder, but Smith's approach reminds more of the beloved British singer Adele, particularly on the album's oping track "Moonhorse." The music on this record is slow, heavy, and driven by memorable riffs. It seems to be heavily influenced by early Sabbath, Edling's main band Candlemass, and recent Tony Iommi work like Heaven & Hell. I forgot just how great Jidell is on guitar. When he isn't crushing the listener with lurching guitar, he's shredding like a beast.The record is thankfully not JUST doom. There is the melodic vocal driven "Lady In The Lamp" which starts off haunting and gorgeous then builds to the perfect crescendo for the album. Also, "Boneflower" is a great mid-tempo number that brings some upbeat vibes to the dark record.I'd love to hear more from this band than just this stellar debut." - Metal Injection
    $9.00
  • "It’s been five years since their last album, Buried Alone: Tales Of Crushing Defeat, but in that time, the lord of Knifeworld, Kavus Torabi, has been very busy indeed. He’s been part of Gong and various other bands, hosted a prog radio show with snooker legend Steve Davis (who is in fact, more interesting than people might have ever suspected) and of course spent his time working on more Knifeworld material.Since his days with Monsoon Bassoon, Torabi has always been someone who writes dense yet strangely hookladen songs. With Knifeworld things are no different, if anything this album is about as ambitious as anything in Torabi’s long and extensive career to date. The Unravelling is an eight song cycle, is performed as an octet, and is nothing if not grandiose in its intensions. The idea of a song cycle might well sound pretentious, and perhaps it is, but what keeps The Unravelling from unravelling into a unwieldy mess is Torabi’s deft songwriting nous and keen ear for a hook. These songs might well form a cycle, but they are all quite capable of operating independently too.Opening track I Can Teach You How To Lose A Fight starts in muted fashion with delicate keyboards and strummed acoustic guitars complimenting Mel Woods’ beautiful but understated vocals. The whirring of clock parts and machinery in the background give a wonky Victorian feel, but also suggest that the cogs that drive the album are slowly clunking into life. Before long the full band has launched into a freakish prog-hymn, like a kind of feral Rick Wakeman freakout. “Why’d you grow those teeth in your heart?” asks Torabi sounding as if his has been chewed up and spat out by an evil Queen. It’s essentially the dialogue of a relationship winding down, but with its winding musical motifs, joyful honking sax parts mixing with solemn vocals and dramatic guitar stabs, the introduction to the album feels like a kind of synopsis of what’s to follow or an overture of sorts. There’s joy, threat, love, anger, fun and a fair bit of magic too.Send Him Seaworthy starts life as a kind of lurching boy’s own adventure, with nautical themes and a sense of wonder seeping into the orchestration, but come the telling conclusion it becomes tale of paranoid love. Don’t Land On Me meanwhile meanders along in a faintly jazzy way until a sharp stabbing rock riff cuts across its bows. Suddenly, it becomes a curious mix of swing, The Osmonds‘ Crazy Horses and Kenny Rogers‘ version of Condition. The Skulls We Buried Have Regrown Their Eyes meanwhile is a woozy old-school nursery rhyme that contains a requisite amount of grotesque imagery.Destroy The World We Love is the pop nugget around which the album truly revolves. It possesses a laid back lollop, a very deliberate hook with the line “secret in your hands” digging deep into the ears early on, but it quickly reveals itself to be an expansive and exquisite journey. Fans of Genesis (and naturally Cardiacs) will find plenty to appreciate here but as usual Knifeworld stop short of being self-indulgent and ensure that the song never disappears up its own firmament.If The Skulls We Buried hinted at something a little unsettling, then This Empty Room Was Once Alive confirms that there is something genuinely creepy lurking under the surface of this album and it just so happens to be in the form of a Victorian ghost story. Fortunately I’m Hiding Behind My Eyes quickly takes over and steers back towards folk inflected prog before things get to terrifying. Once again, the Octet are in fine form creating a bucolic world for the band to inhabit and explore.The key to this album is in its title. It is well written, and beautifully performed, but in order to get the most out of it, a certain amount of unravelling needs to be done. The five year wait has been worthwhile, and Torabi’s Knifeworld seems ready to begin creating its own universe. As strange and creepy as it seems at first, it is fun to spend time exploring." - MusicOMH 
    $15.00
  • OK now this is over the top indulgent and incredibly limited.  I doubt we will be able to restock it as a limited amount has been made available for North America.  This is an oversized hardbound slipcased book with a 44 page booklet.  It also comes with a CD plus a DVD with the album in 5.1 surround and 24 bit hi-res stereo mixes.  Finally there is a second DVD with a "making of" documentary.  Certain to be a collector's item in years to come."It’s been quite a past few years for the incredible Anathema. Honors have been bestowed upon them, they’ve released an instant classic album in “Weather Systems”, and last year they released one of the best live concert films I’ve ever seen, “Universal”. Anathema is on top of the world, and they are only getting bigger. With all of this on their shoulders, they approach the world once again with their new album, “Distant Satellites”, a fitting name for a massive album. Again, with all of their recent success creating huge expectations, can this band meet such critical reception? Needless to say, Vincent Cavanagh on vocals, Danny Cavanagh on guitar, Jamie Cavanagh on bass, John Douglas on percussion, Daniel Cardoso on drums, and Lee Douglas with her wonderful vocals were all up to the challenge.“Distant Satellites” is a very different album from “Weather Systems”, or anything else they’ve done, for that matter. It is different, yet somehow instantly familiar. It includes everything that makes them Anathema, but adds new and exciting elements to their already excellent formula. If you’ve never heard Anathema, their formula (in their last few albums, anyways) includes soaring guitars, amazingly catchy melodies, spiritual lyrics, and emotional flow both vocally and structurally. They are the masters of melody, and they remain complex and progressive even while being simple and accessible. They are truly masters of their craft.This new album, then, is no different in those terms. The melodies return in force, such as the serene beauty of “The Lost Song” parts 1-3. And, yet, there is something different here. The melodic lines are somewhat more complex, less in-your-face, and more organic. This especially shows in the song lengths, most of them being over five minutes. This allows for more growth and more progression. Indeed, then, the melodies on “Distant Satellites”, while not being as instantly lovable or recognizable, are certainly more difficult and possibly will have a longer “shelf life” in my mind. Yes, the orchestrations seem to be lower key, as well, allowing the vocalists to express themselves more personally then ever.There are other improvements, too. I feel that the musicianship is more fervent and on a higher plateau of difficulty than Anathema has tried. Drummer John Douglas, especially, plays amazingly well from start to finish, accenting the music with awesome pounding and fills. The rest of the band are at their peak, too, with Vincent and Lee being especially great with emotional and meaningful vocal performances.“Distant Satellites” is different in more meaningful ways, too. Utilizing post-rock/metal structures is nothing new for Anathema, but they really do perfect them here, as on “Dusk”, a dark, climactic song. Yet, there is a sense of continuity between tracks, too. This is obviously the case between the three parts of “The Lost Song”, but it’s also apparent throughout the album, as if Anathema is telling us a story, convincing us of our true selves and our connection with the universe and with each other.This album is wonderful in the first half, but my excitement reached new heights in the second half. Anathema has taken it upon themselves to change things up a bit. They wanted to progress their sound, but make it all seem so natural. So, in the second half, the album climaxes with one of the best songs, simply called “Anathema”. But then, we are thrown for a loop somewhat, as “You’re Not Alone” features a hefty portion of electronic vibe. It’s great, but the best is still to come.Next, “Firelight”, a darkly ethereal instrumental track that is completely electronic, is thrust upon us, and is followed up by what may possibly be the best song Anathema has ever produced, “Distant Satellites”. This track combines everything that has ever made Anathema great: soaring melodies, climactic structure, gentle spirituality, amazing vocals, and now an electronic beat that is both complex and catchy. Vibrant, mesmerizing, and pure, this track elates me every time I hear it. It takes this album, and my heart, to new heights. The album finishes with a gentle ballad that just seems so fitting, yet it still has the strong electronic influence.So, is “Distant Satellites” a winner? In every way! Is it their best album? I don’t know; it has the potential, but it might take time, just like “Weather Systems” did. What I can tell you is that this new album is more mature, more progressive, more interesting and eclectic, and less formulaic then anything Anathema has crafted yet. It does sacrifice some accessibility and some instant likability for these things, but I respect their decision massively, and I fully expect to see “Distant Satellites” at the tops of many lists at the end of 2014." - Progulator
    $70.00
  • "Rafał Paluszek, band’s keyboardist comments: “Our new album, just like it was with Particles (2013), is not a concept album. We abandoned that as a creative method. And when we came up with the title ‘The After-Effect’, it was partly as a joke. An after-effect is a consequence, the result of all that's going on in our lives. Every album sums up a certain episode in your life. It crowns a certain creative process, which is, after all, brought about by something, and which is a lasting phenomenon. We experience certain things, every event has some influence on what we do. Why shouldn't that apply to the music we create? In a relatively short period of time, 2/5 of Osada Vida's lineup has changed. Such changes are like a tsunami - there are losses, but there's also a reason to build something new, something we wouldn't dare to build back in the untroubled days. We don't know what effects today's events will have. Looking at it from a mathematical perspective, there's an infinite number of paths, each branching out into an infinite number of paths as well, and so on. That's what The After-Effect (2014) is.”"
    $15.00
  • Live recording from 2012 at the Rites of Spring Festival in Gettysburg PA USATracklist CD1:When the world is caving inWhere earth meets the skyTurn it upDo U tango?1969EternallyCD2:Send a message from the heartUndertow/When the world is caving in repriseJonas Reingold: BassguitarMorgan Ågren: DrumsGöran Edman: VocalsNils Erikson: Keys and VocalsLalle Larsson: KeysKrister Jonsson: Guitars 
    $15.00
  • "Periphery have been an omnipresent force in the prog metalcore realm since their first album released in 2010 – band founder Misha Mansoor has served as producer on several of the genre’s albums, and the other members are all famous in their own right, whether it’s simply for their craft (Matt Halpern), their involvement in other projects (Spencer Sotelo, Mark Holcomb, Nolly Getgood), or just simply being the nephew of someone exceedingly famous (Jake Bowen). This makes whatever they decide to do extremely important, and the band’s decision to release a concept double album has created hype of hugelargic proportions. In my humble opinion, the band has delivered on all fronts, but not without some disappointments in the “could’ve been” area.Since their inception, Periphery have changed from a chugga-chug ambidjent project posting demos on the internet in the late 2000s to a full-fledged prog metal band with heavy elements of metalcore, post-hardcore, and pop music in general. If you weren’t onboard for “Periphery II”, “Juggernaut” likely won’t change your mind (unless your issues were relatively small), as it’s more of the same poppy atmosphere and less of the techy downtuned riffs, though god knows THOSE are still around. But there’s also a lot of style experimentation – jazz fusion, death metal, and various forms of electronica are all utilized on a semi-normal basis, and range from being seamlessly integrated into the music to being tacked on to the ends of songs like gluing a top-rate dildo onto an already particularly throbby penis. If this all sounds a bit schizophrenic, rest assured that the songcraft is, for the most part, tighter than it’s ever been. Singles from Alpha like “22 Faces” and “Alpha” itself show off Periphery’s pop prowess with choruses and hooks that refuse to leave your head, and complex riffs that are somehow just as ‘wormy as the vocals. And the songs on Omega are longer, more complex, and still manage to be as infectious as the most annoying of STDs – even the twelve minute sprawling title track that has more in common with the bombastic riffs of Periphery I has a shapely middle section that rivals even the hottest of…ugh, fuck it, done with the metaphors. It’s just insane. I cried when I heard it.And now onto what I don’t care for; first off, the decision to split the album into two parts was definitely well-informed from a marketing standpoint. Most people don’t go around listening to 80 minute records all day, myself included, and the supposedly delicate structure of a concept album also means that listening to Juggernaut by skipping to different songs would devalue the experience. So the band broke it into two records to make it seem more manageable to listen to in daily life. Another stated reason was so that newcomers to the band would be able to buy Alpha at a discounted price, decide if they liked it, and then purchase Omega if they were so inclined (music previewing doesn’t work like that anymore, but hey you can’t fault the band for trying to turn that into tangible record sales). The problem I have is that Omega isn’t really paced to be its own album, which makes releasing it on its own instead as simply as the second disc in a package a little pointless. It’s not like the excellent “The Afterman” double albums from Coheed and Cambria, which were each albums that worked in their own right. I realize that this is really just semantics, but I think calling Juggernaut both the third and fourth album from Periphery, while technically correct, is just disingenuous, and judging them fairly on their own as separate albums is impossible (which is why all reviews being published are including them together).Periphery has always had a unique way of pacing their albums, regularly including playful, sometimes relatively lengthy interludes between tracks. Juggernaut is no different, and these interludes are now occasionally used to seed songs that will appear later on the album, or provide callbacks to tracks already present. The transitions aren’t always elegant however, and can range from grin-inducing to head-scratching to just plain grating. Thankfully, the band isn’t going for the illusion that each song flows seamlessly into the next, at least no more than they were going for it on any of their previous albums, and it’s easy to get used to everything given multiple listens.Overall, Juggernaut is a dense album that’s going to take a myriad of listens to fully sink in, just like most of the band’s prior releases (I don’t think anyone is gonna argue that “Clear” has any depth that you would find after about the fifth listen or so, but hey hey that’s ok kay). But it’s also accessible on the surface with deceptively simple rhythms and poppy choruses, which draw you in to appreciate the deeper cuts. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes unique and thoughtful music in the post-hardcore, metalcore, and progressive metal genres, but I’d also recommend it to anyone ever, because this is my absolute favorite band and I think they’ve created a masterpiece. So take from that what you will, and then get the fuck out of here. The play button is calling my name." - iprobablyhateyourband.com
    $11.00
  • "Stagnation, formula, expectations – these words have long been banned from the lexicon of LONG DISTANCE CALLING. It is this irreverent attitude that has fueled them to record three albums, play several tours throughout Europe, garner slots on renowned festivals such as Rock am Ring, Summer Breeze, Wave-Gotik-Treffen or Roadburn and even secured them an impressive #36 in the German Media Control Charts. But if you thought these successes would convince LONG DISTANCE CALLING to settle into form with their fourth album, “The Flood Inside”, the band instead attempted an even bolder metamorphosis.Flashback: In early April 2012, LONG DISTANCE CALLING amicably parted ways with founding member and electronic wizard, Reimut von Bonn. Von Bonn’s departure however opened up new possibilities for the remaining members. The band had previously worked with guest-singers such as John Bush (Armored Saint, Anthrax) or Jonas Renkse (Katatonia) and they felt the new material was shaping up differently and gravitating away from purely instrumental rock. “We just noticed that adding a voice simply made sense. Stagnation and special formulas are not our thing, so making the step was easy.” Since all members in LONG DISTANCE CALLING have diverse tastes in music it was easy for them to decide what they were NOT looking for: no screamers or a whiny shoegazers. Instead, a timeless rocking voice in the vein of Faith No More or Soundgarden: a role perfectly suited for Martin “Marsen” Fischer (Pigeon Toe, ex-Fear My Thoughts). “We met Marsen on tours we did together. Hence, we knew each other on a personal level and we were certain that we would match perfectly when it comes to the music. The fact that he is playing keyboards is a nice add-on, as he is also in charge of them live.”Despite the changes, “The Flood Inside” remains intrinsically LONG DISTANCE CALLING. “We questioned a lot and did a whole lot of fine tuning this time. A part is as long as it needs to be, but we took our time to discuss and revise every single one of them. Many ideas make many parts, but a good song always needs a certain flow. That was the overall aim.” The plan came together and resulted in countless parts that should cause the Serotonin to flow. The band further explains: “What really characterizes our sound is the combination of cool and heavy riffs with melodies that come without any kitsch.” The band had guest vocalists before, however this time you don’t just get one track with vocals, but three with the same vocalist.“It is always exciting to see what other people can do with your songs. We as artists as well as our music can only gain from the input. It is all about adding talent and an extra level. The genre is secondary. The range of the album should speak for itself.” Indeed, “The Flood Inside” features collaborations will names as varied as Vincent Cavanagh (Anathema), blues talent Henrik Freischlader and Jahcoozi-mastermind Robot Koch (known from his work with Casper, Max Mutzke or Marteria). Additionally, there is the Norwegian singer/songwriter Petter Carlsen, Tuneverse co-founder Alex Komlew and Mario Cullmann (formerly known as DJ Coolman for Fünf Sterne Deluxe). “We have never bowed down to any rules for what you may or may not do as an instrumental band. It is only us making the rules.”In art, rules exist to be broken. Atmosphere and diversity don’t always conform to the parameters of the 3:30 song structure. Yet “The Flood Inside” [produced by Martin Meinschäfer at Megaphon Tonstudios in Arnsberg, Germany] is a lot more focused and compact than any of its predecessors. “The past 12 months were emotionally draining: charts, splitting with a member, new album and new singer… The Flood Inside is a summary of everything and all the emotions around and within us. That is the not so simple idea behind the title. It shows the entire spectrum of life: joy, grief, euphoria, anger and everything in between. How to deal with emotions is a huge part of everyday life. Nevertheless a lot of things are happening in the grey areas – and we are trying to show those in our music.” "
    $12.00
  • Archival release on Long Hair Music of a German prog duo that never recorded a proper album.  Interesting that the lineup consisted solely of organ and drums.  Gunter Kuhlwein takes a Brian Auger meets Keith Emerson approach to his playing and drummer Walter Helbig has a bit of a jazz leaning.  Kuhlwein sings a bit as well but this is mostly instrumental.  If you are fan of early ELP, The Nice, Hardin & York, or even a very obscure German band called Sixty-Nine (anyone remember Circle Of The Crayfish?) you need to check these two kats out.  They rip it up!
    $18.00
  • After their last performance at Nearfest Apocalypse, Anglagard's lineup went through a bit of an upheaval.  Luckily it didn't materially affect the band's sound.  Anglagard is still Anglagard.  Prog Pa Svenska is a 2CD set that documents the band's three day residence at Club Citta in Tokyo, Japan back in March 2013.  Material is drawn from all three studio albums.  The recording is beautiful and the performances are stellar.  What else do you need to know?  How about this review:"May 14th of this year will see the release of a new Änglagård live album: Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you’re anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård’s small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård’s last show prior to their 1994 breakup. While the liner-notes of Buried Alive reveal a band that was not 100% satisfied, 20 years later with the release of Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan, Änglagård is back and going strong with a new live recording that is rich in dynamic and deep in maturity, a performance that I am confident that they are proud to immortalize for their fans.Prog på Svenska represents the first of three consecutive nights that the masters of dark Swedish prog delivered at Club Città in Japan alongside The Crimson ProjeKCt (featuring the legendary Adrian Belew and Tony Levin). For me personally this is a special album that transports me back to when I witnessed their unbelievable performance only three weeks later at Baja Prog. Among a plethora of canonized acts at the festival (such as Hackett, New Trolls, and Three Friends), Änglagård’s remarkable performance showed that they stand in no one’s shadow. While there’s nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I’ve ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård’s next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn’t kill anyone, I’ll start right off with the new song: ”Introvertus Fugu Part 1.” Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it’s our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that “Introvertus” shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif,  and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. Johan and Linus continue pounding in the rhythm section before the eerie central motif returns to bring “Introvertus” towards its close with the full force of Anna and Linus’ dueling woodwinds, one hanging on the melody while the other produces chaotic squeals before withering off the melody in a very unsettling (but cool) way.After kicking it off with an exciting intro the band takes us back 20 years with “Hostsejd.” The rich dynamics, especially the meticulously controlled Mellotron swells, really shine on this one while some small differences in instrumentation (such as the sax on the first main melody instead of flute) really keep the piece fresh and exciting. Although I was craving the intro on the follow up track, “Längtans Klocka,” the supreme level of interplay between all instruments that starts off the piece is fantastic. Furthermore, the guitar/Mellotron duet at about 6:30 that leads into a memorable theme is quite the highlight. Finally, the circus-y melody towards the end of the song somehow becomes even more diabolic in this slightly stripped down version as Tord’s demented waltzy riff serves as a perfect backdrop for the drunken saxes. Speaking of Tord, it certainly is nice to see him back in the band, and I must add that his guitar playing and sense of emotion is perfect for the band and has improved over the years. This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated on “Jordrök,” a quintessential song in Änglagård’s catalog. The reality of the matter is that despite the fact that the band was quite mature at the time of Hybris‘ release, their capacity to bring out all the nuances in pieces like this shows that they are musicians who have truly refined their craft over the years. “Jordrök” sounds more alive than ever; the Mellotron flute section in the middle, one of the band’s absolute trademark melodies, is to die for, and Linus’ superb use of phrasing and pacing in the piano intro certainly takes this classic piece up several notches.Moving deeper into the performance we see “Sorgmantel,” one of my personal favorites from Viljans Öga. The first thing I noticed about this particular performance is that the intro sounds much more raw due to differences in instrumentation, this version starting out with a guitar and bass call and response. While I absolutely adore the studio version, this new arrangement and performance was also wonderful and brought its own set of advantages to the table. First, the bass/guitar duet at the beginning really exposes the melody and shows you that its not just about fancy instrumentation, it’s a gorgeous melody through and through. Second, the band is not concerned in the least bit with rushing through the performance of this piece; the pacing is delicate, precise, and emotional with plenty of space for ritard and sway as the intro melody gets passed around from guitar to bass and flute and is then countered by the piano, making the fugue-nature of this piece even more evident. The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as “Sorgmantel” takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful… even breathtaking.To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with “Kung Bore” and “Sista Somrar.” Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of “Sista Somrar’s” slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.In my opinion, Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don’t want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there’s just something missing, or the band simply doesn’t offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of ‘had to have been there’ to get what’s so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård’s latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn’t a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård’s extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs." - Progulator
    $25.00
  • "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
    $13.00
  • Third album from this talented Ohio based band arrives with some twists. They have enlisted Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals (kind of a wild card pick) and there is a definite Christian slant to the lyrics. My tolerance for bible thumpin' is pretty low. Syzygy comes close to the threshold but don't cross it - I guess because the music is so strong. The linchpin of the band is guitarist Carl Baldassarre who continues to be quite tasteful. He can get crunchy and heavy but displays roots in classical guitar. Have no fear - there is plenty of instrumental symphonic rock firepower as in the past. Oh yeah lots of tuneage here - over 77 minutes.
    $13.00
  • Second album of cosmic folk recorded for RU Kaiser's Pilz imprint. The band was really just the duo of Maik Hirschfeldt and Dolly Holmes with some input by producer Dieter Dierks. While this German/British duo's first effort was straight ahead folk and not all that interesting, Saat is a great mystical musical journey. Not purely acoustic as you would imagine it features some great electric guitar runs from Hirschfeldt as well as synth, vibes and flute. Holmes also provides keyboards including organ, Mellotron, and piano. Holmes once sang for Incredible String Band and has quite a nice voice. This one fits in nicely with the label - you can hear Kaiser's stamp on the music. I'm sure there was a mountain of herb superb consumed. Its the only thing that could explain these epic length tracks. Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • "SULA BASSANA is on the way again in 2009 - this time with a vintage space rock styled album. Multi-instrumentalist Sula is a music aficionado as no other when simultanously collaborating with several bands/projects, organizing festivals in Austria as well as his own SULATRON record label and mail-order business. In spite of that he's even able to spare time enough to record complete albums on his own. This means 'The Night' was produced at his homestudio where he manages all the instruments by himself. Cover art (painting by Frank Leweke) and track titles are obviously referring to cosmic themes.Here we have five playful songs mastered by Eroc (ex-Grobschnitt) - sounding relaxed and busy at once. This is trippy basically, except some rare heavy rocking elements. Probably this album is concipated as a time travel (didn't ask for clarification though) ... anyhow, the opener In Space appears in really retro clothes - mysterious - maybe even a little bit nightmarish. This is immediately reminding me of a sound track seemingly composed for a sci-fi series like the German 'Raumpatrouille Orion' for example which started in 1966. As for that the song even reflects a pop appeal in my humble opinion especially caused by this special beat and the synthesizer contributions.Later then we are Lost In Space - this song might refer to the early 70s - krautrock tinged with hypnotic rhythm elements where Sula's keyboard work is very very attractive. With the epic title song the album gets going at the latest. Divided in four parts it undoubtely makes out a highlight of the production. Partially grooving but also trippy floating this song is ultimately dedicated to the psychedelic guitar! A wonderful melodic piece of work where you will detect the sole external contribution by Stefan Koglek from the band COLOURHAZE. He provides lyrics and vocals for the second part and this fits closely to the mellow mood.Now hereafter we are up to enjoy contemporary space rock at its best I would say. Meteorritt - the song title shows a nice pun at first colloquially meaning 'ride on a meteorite'. A fine straightforward grooving ride indeed with many repetitve elements plus echoing and swirling guitars all over. Stylistically on nearly the same line Kosmokrator as the last (and longest) tune follows - much more diversified though containing also culminating heavy rocking impressions, some typical vocals - rather more sprechgesang and ambient gliding parts.'The Night' is offered with a charming appeal but guarantees tension too - you can smell Sula's longtime experiences composing music. An excellent cosmic journey which will please krautrock as well as psych/space fans." - ProgArchives
    $17.00
  • Yet another brilliant work from this Norwegian prog band.  The Greatest Show On Earth is the band's third effort.  While the first album Identity delved into alternative/prog realms bearing similarity to Radiohead, their second album All Rights Removed was full on Pink Floyd worship.  This latest effort carries on in similar fashion.  There are parts of the album that were written with tracing paper.  It evokes the mood and feel of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and maybe even a bit of The Wall.  This isn't to say the band doesn't inject any personality of their own - they do.  There are contemporary elements, its just that when they go into full on Pink Floyd mode its so apparent and so well executed that it blinds you to everything else that is going on.  What Bi Kyon Ran is to King Crimson or The Watch is to Genesis, Airbag is to Pink Floyd.  Original?  Truth be told not really.  It doesn't matter, its so well executed that you will just immerse yourself in the listening experience.  Highly recommended.
    $17.00