3 Original Album Classics (3CD)

SKU: 886976182724
Label:
Sony Music
Category:
AOR
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3 album slipcase set includes: Departure, Escape, and Frontiers.

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  • The band's seventh album is considered their "proggiest". This is the enhanced remastered version released by EMI a few years ago. it features four videos as a bonus.
    $13.00
  • Hackett's last stand... Phenomenal double live set culled from the A Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering tours. Essential.
    $21.00
  • The Custodian is a new British post-progressive rock band formed by Richard Thomson, vocalist for cinematic death metal band Xerath.  Unlike Xerath, The Custodian is an outlet for the more melodic, rock oriented writing from Thomson.While there are moments in the album that harken back to old school bands like Genesis and Yes, the music of The Custodian is contemporary in sound.  Necessary Wasted Time is an album full of dynamics - light and dark shadings balancing acoustic vs electric, heavy vs pastoral.  While atmospherics and tension are a strong component of the album, the band demonstrates their adept musicianship offering up long instrumental passages to complement the emotion filled vocals.  When needed the band unleashes some complex electric runs.The Custodian's debut should deeply resonate with fans of Steven Wilson, Riverside, Pineapple Thief, and Anathema.Necessary Wasted Time was mixed by noted engineer Jacob Hansen and give the full audiophile mastering treatment from Bob Katz. 
    $14.00
  • "To avoid any lingering confusion right from the outset,  you may already be aware of this band because AudioPlastik began life under a different name or names to be more precise. Both Alpha Flood and Brave New Sky were trialled before the trio settled on the name AudioPlastik. Whatever the name though, it’s a musical collaboration which will more than prick the ears of fans of progressive rock or metal music. The trio is fronted none other than Dec Burke, the vocalist for Darwin’s Radio and Frost* as well as being a well thought of solo artist in his own right. Dec also plays the guitar and is joined by the impressive duo of Simon Andersson (Darkwater, ex-Pain Of Salvation) and Threshold’s keyboardist Richard West. Being a fan of all of the names mentioned in the preceding sentences, I have naturally been very excited to hear the final product ever since a debut album was announced to see the light of day early this year.The album is due out in the very near future and goes by the title of ‘In The Head Of A Maniac’. With a title like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the content of this record might be a bizarre, challenging or even a wild schizophrenic beast. However, you’d be wrong, at least to a certain extent anyway. This is progressive music and as such, it does blend many ideas into its collective whole. But it is far from being impenetrable or a difficult listen.To be honest, the most difficult thing is to accurately describe the musical direction on ‘In The Head of a Maniac’. In itself it’s an absorbing listen full of wondrous aspects, one that is instantly likeable but ever more addictive as the number of spins increases. But to be more exact in order to offer a worthwhile review? Ok…If I was to try and sum this album up in a few words, I’d say it’s an absorbing blend of melodic progressive rock, metal and pop with rich cinematic overtones.Dealing with the latter aspect first, the cinematic, symphonic flavour can be heard right from the outset via the relatively brief instrumental opening. This is Richard West at his best, creating a piece of music which is subtly dramatic, emotive and pure film soundtrack fodder. In fact, much the same can be said of the even more dramatic ‘Traveller’ which is equally as enthralling and which could easily fit a suspense or action thriller.That said, West’s stamp is all over each of the thirteen compositions, bringing a rich elegance to proceedings just like he does with Threshold. Whether it’s via more subtle layers of atmospheric synths or more in-your-face modern-sounding embellishments, of which there are several (‘John Doe’) it always fits the song perfectly, providing a foundation of real depth and richness upon which all else is built.Next there’s the guitar playing of Burke and Andersson which is actually surprisingly heavy. Occasionally it is reminiscent in tone of numerous djent artists, particularly when the riffs chug in step with a rumbling bass (also courtesy of Andersson) and powerful drumming. ‘It Matters So Much’ illustrates this perfectly and is also a track that also greatly benefits from a rare and decadent lead guitar solo. This being prog, naturally many of the riffs play around with interesting, complicated tempos and time signatures but they are never complex for the sake of it and never detract from the essence of the songs. A prime example being ‘The Sound Of Isolation’ which contains a riff which befuddles my brain but which works in and around the simpler aspects of the song.One of the biggest strengths on this record however is its melodic sensibility. I mentioned earlier about the pop influences and its in the choruses that this is most noticeable. Just about every song has a hook or a melody that’s memorable. Some are immediate and others take a bit longer to work into the psyche. Regardless, they are there and many of them, alongside those modern programmed flourishes, lend the music that more mainstream feel. ‘Leave Me Here’ and the beautiful ‘Now’ for example, might not be out of place on mainstream popular radio. Elsewhere, ‘Bulletproof’ offers one of the most gorgeous choruses I’ve heard in recent times, ironic given that it’s also one of the heavier, busier tracks that packs a lot of light and shade as well as apparently disparate elements into its relatively short length. Oh and then there’s the stunning closer, ‘Distant Skies’ which pushes ‘Bulletproof’ very close, almost beating it depending on my mood when I listen.Then, to top things off, you’ve got the vocals of Burke. Those familiar with his other work with Frost* or Darwin’s Radio will know exactly what to expect and he doesn’t disappoint. Burke has a tone that’s very melodic and almost soothing but which also has a slightly rough, gritty edge to it that I really like. It means that the vocal delivery can fit both the softer, more introspective parts but which can also do justice to the heavier moments that require something a bit edgier vocally.As you can probably tell, I’m completely enamoured by this album. Almost imperceptibly, it has burrowed into my head and my heart and it refuses to let go. If your tastes dictate that you enjoy music that is rich and varied, deep and thoughtful, beautiful and genuinely unique, look no further than ‘In The Mind Of A Maniac’ by AudioPlastic. You won’t be disappointed." - Man Of Much Metal  
    $16.00
  • "When one thinks of countries that are a hotbed of prog metal bands, places such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland come to mind. However the Land Down Undah’ otherwise known as Australia has been churning out amazing prog metal bands for the past decade. Bands such as Hemina, Voyager, Lord, Carnivool, Caligula’s Horse, Teramaze and Melbourne’s Vanishing Point have been wowing the prog metal scene for the past decade. It’s been seven long years since the release of Vanishing Point’s The Fourth Season, but the melodic metal quintet consisting of Silvio Massaro (Vocals), Chris Porcianko and James Maier (Guitars), Simon Best (Bass), and Christian Nativo (Drums) have finally returned with their fifth studio album Distant Is The Sun on AFM Records. The band has stayed true to their unique blend of progressive, power, AOR metal and have secured the talents of Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann of Ordan Ogen for mixing duites on Distant Is The Sun. Picking up right where The Fourth Season left off, the musicianship and songwriting on Distant Is The Sun is exceptional.The album kicks off with the short instrumental track Beyond Redemption and powers right into the first song King of Empty Promises. The double bass drum attack from Nativo and melodic keyboards lead the way and the harmonious soaring vocals during the chorus are a perfect way to officially start the album.The title track is next and begins with a heavy groove and transforms into a light piano tinged verses with Massaro’s impressive vocals leading to a catchy and melodic chorus. The twin guitar harmony lead attack from Porcianko and Maier is a thing of beauty during the solo section.Symphonic keys signify the start of When Truth Lies, an epic slab of energetic melodic progressive metal with a driving headbanging beat. Sonata Arctica frontman Tony Kaako lends his melodic pipes to the fast and furious power metal of Circle of Fire. Kaako and Massaro’s vocals compliment each other extremely well and create an amazing metal duet.The keyboard prominence on Denied Deliverance is pronounced in the mix but never overshadows the heaviness of the track, it just adds to the overall melody of the song. A blazing guitar solo section highlights the middle portion of another stellar song. Let the River Run has an impeccable acappella vocal harmony section that begins this mid tempo metal gem. The beautiful vocals during the chorus will be stuck in your head for days after listening.The album slows down for the piano based Story of Misery but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a traditional power ballad. The emphasis is on POWER with a emotive vocal performance from Massaro. Era Zero speeds things right back up with a frenzied double kick attack with plenty of soaring melodic vocals throughout and a shredding guitar solo from the tandem of Porcianko/Maier and culminates in a symphonic ending and bursts right into Pillars of Sand which keeps the hard and fast metal flowing.The eerie keyboard intro of As December Fades melds into a Maiden-esque guitar harmony and a glorious AOR sounding chorus with a symphonic element that is reminiscent of Within Temptation. A bright piano melody signals the beginning of Handful of Hope. Once again Massaro gets his chance to shine with an impressive vocal performance filled with passion and emotion. The bands penchant for writing catchy power metal is on display on Walls of Silence. The brilliant symphonic melodies and heavy guitar compliment each other perfectly. The album closes with the acoustic guitar tinged instrument titled April, an understated yet effective piece of music with a keyboard accompaniment underneath in the mix. It is a curious choice to end the album, but well done nonetheless.After a seven-year absence, the world of melodic prog welcomes back Vanishing Point with open arms and hopefully Distant Is The Sun will shoot the band to the next level of popularity outside their native Australia. This goes to show that like a fine wine, Vanishing Point only improves with age!" - Lady Obscure
    $15.00
  • This is another one of those classic Renaissance radio broadcasts that tape traders have circulated for years.  It gets an "official" release courtesy of Purple Pyramid.  It was recorded on the Turn Of The Cards tour at the Academy Of Music in NYC on May 17, 1974.  If you are fan and you don't have a cassette squirrelled away somewhere you need to own it.
    $17.00
  • Magnificent spacerock journey is a conceptual work that was one half of a duology completed by "Time To Turn". Stunning Floyd-like soundscapes with Frank Bornemann's ever present guitar runs. Comes with a live version of "On The Verge Of Darkening Lights". Highest recommendation.Please note this disc incorporates EMI copy control technology which seems to allow you to do whatever it is you would normally do with a CD but you can't rip it. Bummer.
    $13.00
  • "(Mostly) UK-based symphonic/power metal band Damnation Angels is back with a new album, their second overall, titled The Valiant Fire. It’s the highly-anticipated follow-up to their breakthrough 2013 debut full-length Bringer of Light, and on it the Graney brothers and vocalist Per Fredrik “Pellek”Asly have taken just about everything to the next level.As you might expect after the grandeur of Bringer of Light, The Valiant Fire is, in a word, epic. The orchestrations in particular are massive, swirling around the guitars and drums to create a majestic atmosphere throughout the album. It’s a consistent atmosphere too, almost giving The Valiant Fire a concept album feel, even though the songs are independent of each other. The atmosphere connects them all, and makes this album that much more rewarding when taken as a whole listening experience. The melodies are a little more subtle this time around, but still play a large part in the album’s overall sound. And of course there’s the vocal performance. Pellek is one of the brightest young stars in the genre, and being in Damnation Angels seems to bring out his best performances. The power, range and emotion he conveys is what makes these songs resonate so much.Unlike Bringer of Light, which immediately drew you in with huge melodies, The Valiant Fire is going to take a few spins to really sink in. When it does though, it simply won’t let you go. That’s not to say there aren’t incredible melodies and hooks. They just seem dialed back in comparison to the debut. You’re still going to be headbanging and singing along with the catchy “This Is Who We Are” and “Everlasting.” Oddly enough, the most bombastic song on the album is the instrumental title track. It makes a statement, but you can’t help but wish Pellek was there doubling the impact of such strong melodies. The album boasts a pair of nine-minute epics – “The Frontiersman” and “Under An Ancient Sun” – that are very different from each other but equally memorable. Honestly, all nine of the songs on The Valiant Fire are sensational, and there isn’t a weak moment anywhere on the album.New releases from Nightwish and Kamelot will – deservedly – garner the lion’s share of attention from the Symphonic Metal community, but The Valiant Fire has to be considered one of the best – if not the best – entry in that genre in 2015. Even stepping away from genre tags, this is just one of the best albums you’ll hear all year if you like your metal grand, powerful and epic. If you haven’t yet experienced Damnation Angels, now is the perfect time to discover one of the most exciting bands in recent years." - Hard Rock Haven
    $15.00
  • The third album from Haken once again demonstrates why they are at the forefront of the progressive metal scene.  The first two albums Aquarius and Visions are quite different.  Aquarius is a much quirkier album - lots of twists and turns that kept you off balance through out.  It had more of a prog rock feel and some real oddball approaches that resulted in some reviewers referring to it as circus meteal.  Visions was quite different.  It was much more linear and clearly defined in terms of content.  It was a prog metal album and wonderful one at that.The Mountain is the first release for the band's new home at Inside Out.  The direction of the band takes a bit of a u-turn.  The music falls somewhere in between the first two.  There is a quirky, prog rock vibe but you get the heaviness and complexity of prog metal.  One particular track I keep going back to is "Cockroach King" which essentially pays homage to Gentle Giant's counterpoint vocals.  Regardless of which direction you preferred, The Mountain has enough diversity to go please everyone.If you want to keep track of where progressive metal is headed then climb the mountain - this is where its at.  Highly recommended.US jewel box edition with the same two bonus tracks included on the import digipak.
    $12.00
  • Evergrey are back and better than ever!  I think the general consensus is that as the band became more and more popular the music became a bit more commercial and the production slicker.  Tom Englund has gone back to the basics and its clearly the right move.  Jonas Ekdahl (drums) and Henrik Danhage (guitars) have returned to the fold and production has been handed over to Jacob Hansen.  This is a return to the "classic" Evergrey sound - that perfect balance of melody and heaviness with the right amount of "prog" injected when necessary.  COMEBACK ALBUM OF THE YEAR!  BUY OR DIE!"One of the leading names in the power/progressive metal world is the Swedish five-piece, Evergrey. Forming in 1995, the band has released eight full length albums, with number nine releasing this fall. The band has been known for relatively dark lyrics and concept albums since their debut, and because of this fact, it was very difficult for me to get into their music. I can easily count the amount of times I thought “I should listen to Evergrey” on one hand. Though I wasn’t well versed in their discography, what I had heard was moving quite slowly, was downright melancholic, and just couldn’t catch my attention. That was until the Hymns for the Broken album landed in my inbox.First off, the notable changes in the lineup, with the return of Jonas Ekdahl (drums) and Henrik Danhage (guitar) grabbed my attention immediately. Though the band briefly spoke about the addition of the two previous members on their Facebook, “What can we say? We missed each other.” I truly believe that this decision, and the amazing mixing by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe, Primal Fear) and production quality are what set this album up for its coming success.The album kicks off with a very eerie intro track, then jumps into the first single and video, “King of Errors”. Even without being an Evergrey fan in particular, I have always known who Tom Englund was, as his voice is so unique and legendary in the industry that I couldn’t ever really escape it. This song is a great display of the power and ability he has as a vocalist to truly bring a wonderfully written song to an entirely new level. The blend of the guitar riffs and keyboard work is perfection to say the least, but when the awe-inspiring guitar solo hit, I knew this album had me by its teeth.Immediately following is another one of the strongest tracks on the album, “A New Dawn” with a strong and hard-hitting guitar and bass riff that doesn’t ever really let go throughout the song. This song features one of the more beautiful keyboard solos on the album, but yet again that guitar solo just comes out of nowhere and destroys any solo I have ever heard this band release. “Black Undertow” is another perfect example of why Englund is so well-respected in the music world. It begins with his chillingly lower vocal range, but builds back up to where he truly shines. This song not only features another soaring and strong chorus, but the rhythm work between all instruments keeps it dark and eerie, though the keyboard lightly dances above it all.The title track to the record explodes into this phenomenal musical intro, but fades just as quickly as it hits. Boasting some of the strongest, most emotional lyrics on the album, the song hits a chord in many personal ways. “Scream loud, these hymns are for the broken,” are just some of this crowd enticing chorus that Englund sings flawlessly throughout. Bringing the album to a close is the over seven minute song “The Aftermath” which begins in a ballad-like fashion, but builds to a very strong finale. The tempo remains slow, but the flawless movement in the instruments keeps it absolutely enthralling. The last half of the song is entirely instrumental, and the conversations between keyboard, bass, and drums is something that I could listen to on repeat for hours, especially when the haunting lead melody soars above it all.If you can’t tell, I can’t think of a single moment on this album I don’t absolutely love. As someone who could never get hooked by an Evergrey album, I can assure you this is not just ‘fandom’ talking. Hymns for the Broken is a perfect album that even after weeks of constant play, I can not get enough of. Perhaps it is indeed perfection, or perhaps it just hit me at the right time in my life, either way I am in love. Easily a current contender for album of the year, it’s so full of beautiful melodies and amazing arrangements that any fan of power or progressive metal will absolutely love. I don’t doubt that all previous fans of the band will appreciate this album as much as I do, but I sincerely hope that new listeners give this record a fair and objective chance as well.This is definitely their most ambitious release yet, and they absolutely nailed it!" - Metalholic 
    $15.00
  • Long awaited second album from this progressive power metal band from Spain. Considering everything this band went through its a wonder they are still together. Originally the band was signed to Transmission Records, the former home of After Forever and Epica. The label went bankrupt just before they were able to release a reworked version of Decoder - their debut that only saw the light of day in Japan. They have now found a home on Ascendance Records out of the UK. OK - enough back history - what's the music about? Ebony Ark is led by vocalist Beatriz Albert. She has a strong forceful voice that fits their crunchy power metal style perfectly. This is not gothic metal. These guys (and girl) take a more progressive slant. The music has an immediate in-your-face mix that really showcases her voice. Its a non-stop riff-fest with more than enough crunch and melody to satisfy. Highest recommendation.
    $5.00
  • This one has been out of print forever and has now been properly remastered by EMI. At this point the band experimented with a more direct sound bordering on metal at times. I always loved that great Rodney Matthews cover.Please note this disc incorporates EMI copy control technology which seems to allow you to do whatever it is you would normally do with a CD but you can't rip it. Bummer.
    $11.00
  • One of my favorite albums from Threshold. Damian Wilson is a real standout and the music's subtle celtic underpinning give the album a distinct flavor. New edition comes with 3 bonus tracks.
    $18.00
  • I'm going to get straight to the point.  If you are a fan of female fronted metal you must own this album.  The Human Contradiction is a complete triumph.  It finds the band returning a bit to their roots.  There are still poppy elements - that's part of their core sound - but there is a heaviness that will remind you of Lucidity.  Nightwish's Marco Hietala returns contributing on clean vocals. Also back is Orphanage vocalist George Oosthoek who is one of the best growlers in the metal scene.  Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz makes a guest appearance.Timo Somers' guitar riffs are chunkier, Charlotte's voice is impeccable as always, and Martijn's keyboards are simply epic.  The album was recorded at Studio Fredman and sounds massive.  Weaving the whole album together is a sci-fi theme borrowed from the writings of Octavia Butler.This is an album filled with a enough earworm hooks to drive you crazy but at the same time its heavy!  For my taste its a top 10 album for 2014.  BUY OR DIE!Limited edition 2CD mediabook edition.  The bonus CD contains 2 additional new studio tracks as well as live tracks and two orchestral versions of tracks from The Human Contradiction.  Essential.
    $16.00