20th Anniversary (3CD/DVD)

20th Anniversary (3CD/DVD)

BY Royal Hunt

(Customer Reviews)
$21.00
$ 12.60
SKU: FRCDVD582
Label:
Frontiers Records
Category:
Melodic Metal
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To celebrate the band's 20th anniversary, Royal Hunt has put together this 3CD/DVD set.  Quite a bit of the early Royal Hunt catalog is out of print.  This set functions as a best of, culling tracks from 11 albums, a new song, and newly recorded acoustic versions of 3 songs.  The DVD compiles the band's promotional video clips.

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  • "After some high profile releases and particularly impressive ubiquity, the ex-DREAM THEATER / A7X drums God Mike Portnoy is back again with his new musical partner the magnificent Bass Maestro Billy Sheehan (NIACIN / TALAS / DAVID LEE ROTH / MR BIG / STEVE VAI / PSMS), under a power trio format, completed by none other than one of the most gifted Guitarist of his generation once Sharpnel Records alumni Richie Kotzen but this time no instrumental trickery, no instrumental knitting, because Kotzen beside his absolute skilled six strings wizardry is also indeed an hell of a fantastic soulful singer and a very underrated vocalist of the best brand. This is a  supergroup, a Dream Team hell yeah…but mostly a great band.With such a busy time schedule for both workaholics Portnoy & Sheehan, we could have feared a fast almost sloppy affair, luckily with this first album is exactly the opposite. Sheehan & Kotzen were working many years together with MR BIG and in fact the sound of THE WINERY DOGS isn’t that far from what Sheehan, Paul Gilbert , Pat Torpey and Eric Martin have magnificently achieved.The album start with groovy 70s infused blast of “Elevate” and followed by the heavy Funk flavor of “Desire” each track feature an intense rhythmic groove with short but impressive unison synchronized lead bass / lead guitar whirlwind licks of exuberant virtuosity, some unexpected harmonies that coming out of the Jazz-Rock / Rhythm N' Blues recipe book owned by Kotzen, but every song carries most of all a strong focus both on the catchy melodies and on the sing-along hooks which are everywhere boosted by rich Backing vocals (“The Other Side” or “The Dying”) really magnetic & irresistible. Those who are familiar with the prolific superb Kotzen’s discography knows that he’s an hugely skilled songwriter with a lot of style in his arsenal, so THE WINERY DOGS debut album is out of the same tradition as THE MOTHER HEAD'S FAMILLY REUNION, “Not Hopeless” contains however some over the top sharing duo between Richie & Billy, in the real MR BIG's shredding frenzy fashion, like a modern day GRAND FUNK RAILROAD with full injection of high tech dexterity.Cuts like “One More Time” or “Six Feet Deeper” seems to be outtakes from the breath taking 1990s “Fever Dream”, with furious playing and great musicality concentrated for an even more efficiency. The Japan only bonus track, “Criminal” is strangely one of the most commercial song with an almost AOR chorus, a syncopated bridge and another outstanding lead guitar solo spot in two parts with a tasty sound. The closing number “Regret” is the sole composition handled exclusively by Mr. Kotzen: it’s a soul music track with slight Hammond layers and a real harmonious balanced to finish this album in a positive way. The pristine production is powerful and crystal clear, still organic with a strong vintage feel but not muddy, in fact it sounds like how Classic Rock in its purest form should sound in 2013. Just unadulterated genuine Rock played by an exemplary bunch of extremely talented musicians and it’s an understatement.After an imposing huge list of albums and projects under his belt, Mike Portnoy with the help of another all-star lineup show to the incredulous crowd of jealous fellows, how his playing field is broad and how he can multiply in an almost monthly omnipresence the recording with the same prestige and the same success as FLYING COLORS / NEAL MORSE / PSMS / ADRENALINE MOB and the forthcoming BIGELF." - Metal Temple
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  • Darker is the long awaited second album from Swiss progressive rock band Dawn. It has been 6 years since the quartet rocked the prog world with their expert take on old school symphonic rock.Dawn formed in Montreux, Switzerland in 1996.  Since then the band has performed at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as at Swiss prog rock festivals Progsol, and Montreux Prog Nights.  The band has also opened for Kansas and Fish.  After a series of line up changes the band began to focus on their sophomore release in 2010 and perform them in concert.Dawn’s music is riddled with vintage keyboard sounds and flowing guitar solos.  Plaintive vocals ascribe a kinship to the British Canterbury prog family tree.  The album is conceived as a series of compositions dealing with Man in the 21st century: his fears, his conception of life, his reaction to technology, nuclear power, and the planet’s suffocation.  Darker was recorded in 2013 by Olivier Charmillot and mastered by noted audiophile engineer Bob Katz.
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  • When the vinyl came in I proclaimed this as one of the frontrunners for album of the year and nothing has changed since.  Stunning album.Agusa is an instrumental quartet from Sweden.  The band is derived from members of Sveriges Kommuner & Landsting, Kama Loka and Hoofoot.  This is a VERY retro sounding album that will appeal to fans of Kebnekajse, Pink Floyd, and perhaps even Anglagard.  No symphonic elements - just straight up organ, guitar, bass, and drums ripping it up over four long tracks.  Very dynamic sounds going on - shimmering echoey guitar leads that will remind you of Kenny Håkanson or Achim Reichel battling it out with undercurrents of organ that erupt into solos.  Overarching the music is a mystical psychedelic vibe - like this whole thing was cooked up in an Arab hashish den.  BUY OR DIE!!
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  • After a 10 year absence Enchant are back.  The band started in 1993 making them one of the earliest prog metal band.  Actually they are sort of an interesting band in that they seem to exist in both the prog rock and prog metal realms.  Some metal fans think of them as a bit lightweight and some prog rock fans think they are too heavy!  One thing is for sure they are wildly successful.  This is definitely prog but it never loses sight of the melody.  Fronted by the great Ted Leonard (who is now doing double duty with Spock's Beard) this one is a no-brainer - whether you are metal or prog head.  "irst impressions are the similarities to Spock’s Beard. Hardly surprising since Ted Leonard has been singing with them since 2011. He’s been with Enchant longer; their first CD came out in 1993. And familiarity doesn’t breed contempt here, fortunately.Bay area progressive rockers, they steer a straight course composing guitar-structured songs that they extemporise over. Guitarist Douglas A Ott is also the band’s main producer, with The Great Divide having been recorded at his own studio, but if in the past the band’s followed his direction they’re now more involved after a ten year gap working on other projects. Also, while integral, Ott doesn’t dominate Enchant’s sound but flows in and out adding a hard rock bias to their generic musical flavouring. Drummer/percussionist Sean Flanegan and bassist Ed Platt have the solidity of early Kansas and musically there are some pretty snazzy and often too brief keyboard solos from Bill Jenkins.A rolling cyclical bass line forms the basis of opening number ‘Circles’ with Leonard pondering life going round well, like a circle – while the lyrics aren’t profound they feel right and though this isn’t a concept album, despite the band stating otherwise, there are common themes concerning the human condition in a loosely existential manner. Mainly straight verse and choruses ‘Circles’ breaks out into more complicated time signatures before an acoustic comes to the fore, vocals return, an electric guitar take over and it concludes with a nicely warm keyboard solo. ‘Within An Inch’ follows with a steady rock backbeat over which Ott’s playing echoes Camel’s Andy Latimer interrupted briefly by some John Ellis punk-styled sirening. ‘The Great Divide’ follows suit in a more epic manner, the arrangement akin to Genesis in their golden period.Enchant don’t play with the fairies, despite what their name suggests. If anything they’re two steps removed from an AOR sound leaning in towards early Asia with some latter day Beatles thrown in, and a less grandiose take on Spock’s Beard. One might refer to them as technically proficient rather than emotionally overwrought, meaning there is a heartfelt flavour to their songs, and they tend to grow on you.The subdued opening to ‘Life In A Shadow’ throws a brief curveball echoing the Canterbury sound of Hatfield & The North before a heavy chorded chorus takes this into a rocking tune with soulful harmonies. ‘Deserve To Feel’ pours on the technical drumming and dribbling triplet bass figures with some flashy pyrotechnics predominantly on guitar but with keen keyboard flourishes, moving into a more intricate musical score as Jenkins and Ott trade inspired lines towards its conclusion. Likewise, ‘Here And Now’ builds reflectively moving towards emotional drama.Finely composed, played well, Enchant’s The Great Divide might not have you falling under its spell, but you may well be surprised how you find yourself being drawn to playing it." - The Midland Rocks
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  • "In case you’re actually a dog and I don’t know about it, I’m going to begin this endeavor with an explanation of why Leprous is so important. Leprous are a progressive metal band; they are extremely good and their last two albums (Bilateral and Coal) are among this decade’s best prog/avant garde releases. While Bilateral lead us into strange, trumpet-infested Mars Volta territory, Coal took a completely different approach, pairing exceptionally strong melodies with endless drones and subtle drumming that provided counterpoint for Einar Solberg’s unparalleled voice. Coal also bequeathed to the world the best song ever written, “The Cloak.” So The Congregation has some pretty grand expectations around these parts. Thus, contrary to his finite but arbitrarily large wisdom, and as a direct result of his finite but arbitrarily small amounts of spare time, Angry Metal Guy has deigned that I inform you of what you don’t already know, unless you have lived within a few blocks of me in the past few months, which is that The Congregation is pretty damn good.“The Price” introduces a post-Coal Leprous with an even stronger sense of melody but retaining a minimalist core. While Einar’s choruses are impossible not to fruitlessly pantomime, the song retains the measured drama and reductionist sensibilities that made “The Valley” the nine-minute epic that it is. “The Third Law” and “Rewind” retain these traits but are the album’s weakest tracks by far. They’re not boring, but come off as a bit superfluous, especially in an album that’s over an hour long. Luckily, “The Flood” turns things around, preluding a phenomenal mid- and late-album stretch. The song’s extreme repetition of a two-note anti-swing rhythm builds a prog metal lullaby over which measured crooning and burst of exuberant motion play out a complex game of tic-tac-toe.Of course, just like Coal, the centerpiece of The Congregation is its shortest and strongest song. “Within My Fence” gets better and better as it goes along riffing on its syncopated opening bars. Einar’s vocal performance is wincredible here as well, and even more enjoyable because of how perfectly it slides into the synth-heavy, mechanical march of the song. Also of note is Baard Kolstad’s contribution to the album; his drumming, though not quite as distinctive as Tobias Ørnes Andersen’s on Coal, continues in the less-is-more vein that the last album established and is incredibly tight.After “Within My Fence,” the album cools off, but doesn’t perceptibly decrease in quality. It’s still infectious and emotional and cements Einar Solberg’s place as prog’s best vocalist – a well-deserved but easy win, given that Darroh Sudderth doesn’t seem to be active at the moment. My main issue with The Congregation is, unsurprisingly, its length. “Third Law,” “Rewind,” and “Triumphant” could have easily been cut from the album and it would be much better. The songs aren’t bad, but Leprous has a lot more to show off than these lukewarm affairs.While part of me is disappointed with Leprous‘s lack of editing here, the part of me that has listened to the album dozens of times has more sway over my decisions. The Congregation will give you just the scratch behind the ears you need after disappointing half-year of metal, and while it’s certainly not the equal of its predecessors, it wont tarnish the band’s growing legacy. Go fetch it." - Angry Metal Guy
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  • "For composer and keyboard player Carl Westholm humanity's future is bleak, and ends in death. The apocalypse is at hand, and Westholm's Jupiter Society tells its inevitable and fateful story in the third effort From Endangered to Extinction. Again Westholm is helped by members of several Scandi bands including Carptree, Krux, Candlemass, Soilwork, Opeth, and Evergrey.Needless to say, with the bleak concept, this is a dark and despairing album, from lyrics to music, with Westholm's ominous synth layers establishing the foundation. Lyrically, the story revolves more around the invaders and destroyers of the earth, led by the Queen of Armageddon, possibly aided by some satanic element, mentioned in the song Invasion, rather than the people of earth.The latter, the people of earth, get some reference in the last three songs, but with little hope. The song Fight back is crushed in the vice of No Survivors and Defeat. It's not good day on Planet Earth. And this is where Westholm's song composition comes to the fore. The music intentionally propels the frustration, devastation, and defeat of humanity in both tone and power. In other words, this dark and bleak story gets played out in a proper musical context and, therefore, makes From Endangered to Extinction creative and engaging. But considering the subject matter, again, entertaining may become a highly contested moot point. Recommended." - Dangerdog.comThird album in the futuristic prog metal series from Carl Westholm.  You may know him from his involvement from Carptree, Krux, and Candlemass.  Westholm always puts together an interesting cast of musicians for these projects.  This time he draws from bands like Krux, Carptree, Candlemass, Soilwork, and Evergrey.  Most notable are the great Mats Leven (as one of a few lead vocalists) and Leif Edling of Candlemass.  Intense apocalyptic stuff with a cyber metal angle to it.  Highly recommended. 
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  • Lots of changes in the Mangala Vallis camp with this new release.  Bernardo Lanzetti is out, replaced by the great Rob Tiranti aka Rob Tyrant.  Many of you know Rob from his work in the metal world with Labyrinth but he has alway worked with New Trolls so he knows how to dial it back.  Great, great set of pipes.  The music has changed a bit too.  Its not as overtly retro although at times the keyboard sounds harken back to the 70s.  Definitely more of a contemporary neo feel.  Its a concept album about a hacker who infects the world with a virus that will destroy all the digital files on the planet.  Good times!
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  • Chicago based Oceanborn are a very interesting new progressive metal band.  They draw influences from a variety of styles.  You can hear Avenged Sevenfold, Muse, Katatonia, and Dream Theater in their musicial DNA.  Vocals are all clean and most definitely angst driven.  Entwined with the progressive elements is a melodic, almost pop quality that creeps into the fray only to be beaten down by crushing riffs.  Somewhat of a tough album to describe but something really cool going on here.  Highly recommended.
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  • "Superb debut from ”young veterans” of the Norwegian heavy and progressive scenes, fronted by singer, guitarist, writer and producer Ole Petter Andreassen. This is classic, heavy, guitardriven and melodic progressive rock in the region of Deep Purple, Rush, Opeth and Mastodon. The playing and production is top notch with a perfect mix of solid riffs, intricate instrumental passages and great hooks. The core of the band, apart from Andreassen, is Hedvig Mollestad on guitar and Hammond organ and brothers Brynjar and Haavard Takle Ohr from El Cuero on lead guitar and drums respectively. Guests are Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen from Elephant9 on bass, Ståle Storløkken from Elephant9 and Supersilent on Hammond, Mikael Lindquist on Hammond and Mellotron and veteran Jon Eberson on guitar."
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  • By now everyone knows that Cherry Five was the precursor to Goblin before they signed with Cinevox.  Original drummer Carlo Bordini (of Rustichelli - Bordini fame) and vocalist Tony Tartarini have formed a new version of the band.  Bordini and Tartarini have enlisted Taproban keyboardist Gianluca De Rossi and rounded out the lineup with Ludovico Piccinini (guitar) and Pino Sallusti (bass).So the obvious question is - how is it?  Its a two part answer.  First off its 40 years since the first Cherry Red album was recorded.  This sounds nothing at all like Cherry Red or Goblin.  Tartarini sings in Italian and the music doesn't have the Yes vibe that the original lineup had.  But the second part is actually good news.  The music is a three part conceptual work with epic length tracks.  This fits right into the RPI ("Rock Progressivo Italiano" for those that don't know) vein.  Like his work with the terribly underrated Taproban, De Rossi is the focal point of the band's sound.  Piccinini's guitar tone is a bit modern sounding for the vibe they are trying for but its got a dark energy that fits in well with the keys.  This one's going to be a grower and an easy recommendation.
    $16.00
  • Here's a prog rock band from New Jersey that frankly was completely unknown to me until I stumbled on them recently.  Good thing too!No More Pain is a quartet that blends contemporary sounds with classic old school prog.  My initial thoughts when I first heard the band was going to lead me to comparisons to Spock's Beard and Echolyn but the deeper I dug into it the whole thing clicked - BEARDFISH!  Lots of similarities to that great Swedish band in the way they take elements of the 70s and wipe the schmutz off it and make it sound fresh and new.  Some nice flashy keyboard solos will make you flashback to 1973 Tony Banks.  Scrub the comparisons you might read referencing Dream Theater - none of that is going on here.  This is pure prog rock.  If you are looking for metal move on - you'll be disappointed.  Lots of music packed into this disc, capping off with the 17 minute epic "The Network".  These guys need a publicist and maybe get out and play some festivals.  Highly recommended.
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