Actual Fantasy Revisited (CD/DVD)

New re-worked edition of Arjen Lucassen's second album "Actual Fantasy". Instead of just reissuing the album for Inside Out he went back into the studio and had Ed Warby cut real drums as well as Arjen recording new guitar and bass tracks. Ewa Alberink of Quidam replaced the original sampled flute with the real thing. The entire set was remixed but he didn't stop there. There is a second disc - an NTSC DVD which features a 5.1 surround sound remix of the entire album as well as the original 1996 mix. The package is rounded out with a videociip for "The Stranger Within" in both 5.1 and stereo. One of his best efforts now made even better. 

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  • UK band Touchstone take a surprising (at least to my ears) turn in a heavier direction.  While I would never call this full on metal, mixing engineer John Mitchell decided to turn their guitar up a notch.  Some good crunchy guitar bits through out the album.  The band was never a complex prog band.  Touchstone always had a melodic sensibility touching on AOR and neo-prog.  There is a symphonic element that keeps the music rooted in the prog world but you can tell that this is a band that is looking to cross over into other genres.  Their strongest asset remains vocalist Kim Seviour , who along with Leslie Hunt is one of the best female vocalists in the prog world."Returning once more to confound listeners and music reviewers alike, such as yours truly, with their ever evolving and pleasing neo-prog is England's Touchstone with their fourth long player, Oceans Of Time. Dare say, for their benefit, it's hard to pigeonhole Touchstone's sound. Is it hard rock? AOR? Progressive rock? Yes and then some, and it's not necessarily all that confounding really.However, I might say that Oceans Of Time could be their most 'proggy' album to date. If anything, the songs are quite varied, visiting old territory and exploring the new. Touchstone also returns to some familiar themes. The title track continues the Wintercoast story, and Shadow's End wraps up the Shadows trilogy begun on Discordant Dreams.These songs are also good examples of the strong progressive nature of the album, with Touchstone throwing curves to your ears. Yet Oceans Of Time will also sound more like familiar Touchstone as well. The musical canvas is quite grand lavished with layers of instrumentation, notably Hodgson's guitar and Cottingham's keyboards. Flux is another fine example of Touchstone's exotic musical brew. It's got some hard rock chops mixed with the prog, and then, about the three minute mark, it calms down. Synths stir, then Kim Seviour's vocals arrive, and the arrangement swells to sweet crescendo. It's one of best moments of the album.Other highlights include the bass and drum lines of Contact, a moody piece where Seviour's voice is alluring and graceful; the clever drumming within Fragments, possibly the closest thing to straight melodic rock song here; and, Spirit of the Age, a song with balancing lighter moments with heavier ones, and Seviour at her most sublime. Touchstone is band that keeps evolving and getting better, and so is always interesting and entertaining. Oceans Of Time is well recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $7.00
  • "As long as it exists, thrash metal was always excluded from the mainstream – too loud, too noisy, too aggressive and not melodic enough, it just didn’t fit in with the popular music played in radio and TV stations. But thrash did not give up and prevailed on the hostile market, patiently dealing with all the difficulties in its way. While most bands were satisfied with being popular in the underground scene, Flotsam and Jetsam decided to take a step further and record an album which will roll into the mainstream like a cannonball. “Cuatro”, F&J’s fourth full-length release, was precisely that album. The follow-up to the highly experimental “When The Storm Comes Down” proved that a thrash metal band can achieve success even on the popular music scene, in the same time staying true to its roots. “Cuatro” from 1992 – the strongest album in band’s discography, with a commercial potential rarely seen in the thrash genre. It is also one of the best sounding thrash metal albums ever recorded. New edition includes 5 bonus tracks (video, edits and mixes)."
    $11.00
  • "Most folks are probably more familiar with Mathew Kvohst McNerney as a member of avant post black metallers Code, or Dodheimsgard offshoot DHG, but in Hexvessel, MKMcN explores a different sonic path altogether, a sort of ritualist psychedelic folk, that has more in common with groups like Woven Hand and Comus and other modern freak folkers than any of the bands in his more metal pedigree.The coolest part about Hexvessel is McNerney’s distinctive vocals. For us, the best part of Code were McNerney’s clean vocals, especially set amidst churning black buzz, or Interpol like metallized gloom, so to hear those same vocals draped over sun dappled acoustic guitars and fluttering flutes, is pretty spectacular, and reveals that in many ways, his talents were wasted screeching and shrieking over black buzz.The tracks are dark and haunting, minimal and dreamily druggy, hazy and washed out, warm and woozy and psychedelic, conjuring that seventies acid folk vibe, buzzing metallic drones swirling around lush finger picked steel string Appalachia, the vocals crooned one second ominously whispered the next, the core sound of the group augmented by a fantastic array of musical instruments including mandolin, banjo, bandoneon, upright bass, gongs, harmonium, dulcimer, zither, psaltery, bells and more, the songs alternately ominous and sinister, hushed and dreamlike, sometimes set amidst the sound of a summer glade, all bird calls and whispering wind, other times wreathed in strange occultic ambience, the lyrics mysterious and cryptic, the delivery, passionate and urgent, a gorgeously timeless collection of old timey ballads, haunting laments, foresty folk dirges, and various other permutations of Hexvessel’s mystical dark folke.Most definitely for fans of all strains of folk: psychedelic, apocalyptic, doom, freak and otherwise, as well as fellow folk brethren like Woven Hand, Comus, Sixteen Horsepower, Burial Hex, Espers, Six Organs Of Admittance, Timesbold, Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat, etc.Super striking packaging, all metallic gold ink on full color matte finish, inside an equally striking booklet filled with haunting images, lyrics, liner notes and original artwork by Albert Witchfinder of Reverend Bizarre.”"
    $15.00
  • Reissue of hard to find live EP recorded on King Crimson's 2001 tour opening for Tool.
    $8.00
  • Limited edition double vinyl set.The Odyssey finds the band striking out in a new direction and frankly the results are stunning. Essentially the band made their statement album of neoclassical metal with the "V" release so there really was no point in going further. There is more agression in Russel Allen's voice and Mike Romeo's guitarwork is a crunch machine. This is progressive to the max - the 24 minute title track is a future classic and the sequel "Accolade II" lives up to the original. The overall production simply explodes - gone is the lush symphonics of "V" - this is right in your face. Mike Pinella's trademark blistering synth leads are all over the place and he trades off with Romeo just the way you want them to. What is missing is the symphonic landscapes that linked the different pieces together. I say...2003 is upon us...this new Symphony X is slightly different from the old Symphony X but just as good. Prog and power metal fans need not worry - they have delivered the goods with a surprising twist!
    $17.00
  • Sophomore release from this Sabaton offshoot.  This time the Swede's fixation is on the American Civil War.  Whatever floats your boat (or sinks it as the case may be).  Digipak edition with two bonus tracks."Civil War: a Swedish metal band styled after the American Civil War of 19th century. I'm not sure I get foreigner's fascination with one of the worst times in my country's history. But here they are. This is my first experience with Civil War, so for those who know the band, bear with me for a few words about their origins.Civil Was started by four original members of Sabaton, Daniel Mullback, Rikard Sundén, Daniel Myhr and Oskar Montelius, when they bailed from the band in 2012. They hooked up with Nils Patrik Johansson, of Astral Doors fame, for a lead vocalist. They returned to their melodic power metal roots for their chosen musical style. Next, lyrically, the tell tales of war and warriors. Did I say four guys were original members of Sabaton? Yup. It appears there's a recurring theme here, and it is possible to reinvent the wheel.As for the music, it's rather typical power metal and really requires no explanation. However, in combination with the lyrical themes, you may have difficulty shaking off the Sabaton vibe. Yet, if you like military history, Civil War becomes somewhat of a thinking man's heavy metal band. Though their name suggests the songs would be about that American war, Civil War speaks to a variety of persons and conflicts.Some of these are self-explanatory like Braveheart (William Wallace), Schindler's Ark, Back to Iwo Jima or the Bay Pigs, the failed invasion of Cuba by rebels financed by the American government. Some need a little explanation like Admiral Over The Ocean which concerns Nelson and the sea battle of Trafalgar or Tears of the North, about Vikings in Russia. Two songs speak specifically to the American civil war: USS Monitor, about the first ironclad steamship created by the Union Navy and Gods and Generals. The intent of the latter is more sketchy; it could have something to do with the Jeffery Shaara novel of the same name. My digital promo came with a lyric sheet which was helpful. I'm sure the lyrics will be in the CD booklet.Again, all these things are wrapped up in melodic heavy and power metal: good melody and harmony, quick pacing, flourishes of synths, and lots of guitar solos. The wild card here is probably Johansson's voice. He has the gruff sandpaper style which, for me, has always taken some to time to appreciate. Overall, Gods And Generals is solid, if not typical, European power metal, with the thoughtful militry history lyrics the strong feature, though this is not novel either. Recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $13.00
  • "Paul Kantner's debut solo album actually was credited to "Paul Kantner/Jefferson Starship," the first use of the "Starship" billing, predating the formation of the group with that name by four years. Kantner used it, extrapolating on the name of his current band, Jefferson Airplane, to refer to Blows's science fiction concept: A bunch of left-wing hippies closely resembling his San Francisco Bay Area compatriots hijack a government-built starship and head off to re-start the human race on another planet. Kantner had presaged this post-apocalyptic colonization idea on "Wooden Ships" on the last Airplane album, Volunteers, and here he expanded it out to album length with the help of members of The Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Crosby, Stills and Nash, plus assorted others, a shifting supergroup informally known as PERRO, The Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra. (Kantner later would borrow that name for a subsequent solo album.) Blows actually was a little loose as concept albums go, seeming as concerned with the arrival of Kantner and Grace Slick's baby as with the departure of the starship. Kantner employed often dense instrumentation and complex arrangements, but there were enough hooks and harmonies to keep things interesting. Blows eventually went gold, and it was even nominated for a science fiction award usually reserved for novels." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • New remastered edition of Sirens and The Dungeons Are Calling. Originally conceived as all of their debut album, the material was split up because it was too long for vinyl release. Jon Oliva states that this is the first time the material is appearing as it was conceived. This "complete session" release includes one new bonus track recorded by Oliva in 2010.
    $14.00
  • "Oh Wow!. That was my reaction and remains my reaction to this album every time I spool it up and listen to it. What surprises me here on PA is that the ratings for the Pendragon albums are as low as they are - 3.85 isn't low by any means however I would have expected to see average ratings in excess of 4 for many of the band's albums. For sheer musical beauty there is very little that equals these musicians in full flight. The lovers of two of the very favourite bands here being Genesis (up to Duke) and Marillion (Fish era) should be over the moon with Pendragon as this group of musicians encompass the feelings and musical emotions of those two iconic bands brilliantly. The melodies soar and the musicianship is top drawer. Nick Barrett's voice takes some getting used to at first but it by no means spoils the music and you do get used to it pretty quickly to the extent that you wouldn't want to hear anyone else on vocals with the band.This album soars with melodic brilliance and with emotion and all of the instruments go towards making up the sound - the highlights being Barrett's lead guitar and Nolan's keyboards which are backed by the brilliant drumming of Fudge Smith and the more than adequate bass of Peter Gee. I can't single out a single track which is out of place or doesn't belong - they are all huge. To discuss this album on a track by track basis would be futile and it is enough to say that the album is a full on adventure in melody - and how it is!" - ProgArchives
    $29.00
  • In the late '90s, Nemesis quickly rose to the top of the Hungarian progressive metal scene with their two albums "Nemesis" and "Abraxas". Frustrated by an inability to cross over into the Western metal arena the band briefly dissolved. After reforming with a new lineup the band decided to re-record and re-arrange their old material but with a major difference: this time around they would sing in English. The band recorded two albums, "Eden?" and "Psychgeist". "Eden?" demonstrates the band's ability to create dark and moody progressive metal laced with heavy riffing, keyboard driven spaciness and an exotic Eastern vibe. Influences of Dream Theater, Fates Warning and Pink Floyd are present but the combinationis unique and clearly defined as Nemesis' own sound. Sensory will follow up the release of "Eden?" in six months with "Psychogeist".
    $4.00
  • "Australian progressive rock band WITHOUTEND delivers a debut album offering a very original interpretation of modern Progressive Metal/Rock. The album's main concept of change and consequences is conveyed through a blend of dark melodic progressive music with very dark and emotional lyrical content. The opening track "Again" is based on the idea of coming face to face with temptation and living with your consequences and sets the scene for the rest of the album. "In Transit", perhaps the most commercially accessible tracks on the album deals with the life changing aspects of moving on to a new chapter of ones life and looking at life as being a silent movie. "Analyse" and "I Still Remember" both explore the breakdown in relationships in response to major life changes. "Searching for Meaning" and "Descend" are based on a persons quest for answers and questioning people's beliefs while living/existing in artificial and predetermined surroundings. "Comfort Zone" deals with one's personal battle against their comfort zone. "Compulsion" closes the chapter opened by the opening track and tries to solve and understand ones compulsive desires. The idea behind the last track, "The Third Day" was to express the time heels all wounds/solves all problems concept in a ballad which closes the album." - Prog Archives
    $3.00
  • Remastered edition of the band's second album comes with four bonus tracks.
    $9.00
  • Four mammoth length drugged out tracks that will blast you off to the deepest part of the cosmos."The fifth instalment of the Cosmic odyssey on Paradigms. As as you will surely now expect, it's a potent kraut mammoth of the highest order. Four towering psych beasts inhabit this album, commanding 74 blissful minutes. You can hear one of them below.Only previously available on cassette, 'The Inner Sanctum' is now available as a luscious, limited digi-pak album, laden with glorious artwork and some of the band's hardest cuts. Only 500 of these wonders are available. THE COSMIC DEAD on top of their freak-out game, right here.."
    $16.00