The Anthology (2CD)

SKU: 8807230847
Label:
Concord Records
Category:
Fusion/Jazz
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New 2CD compilation of the four electric albums - completely REMIXED and remastered...and the sound is spectacular. You get the complete versions of Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy and Romantic Warrior and a heaping selection from Where Have I Known You Before and No Mystery. 20 page booklet comes with rare photos and fresh liner notes. The buzz says you will hear things in the mix you never knew existed!

Product Review

Red Circle 1
Thu, 2015-09-17 18:00
Rate: 
0
This is a fantastic collection and a steal at this price.Glad to see this is in the hands of Corea/Concord/Stretch.Polydor and Columbia's reissue programs were always hit or miss. Now if he could get the ECM discs partnered up life would be perfect. Along with the Corea/Burton duo's that is.
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Product Review

Red Circle 1
Thu, 2015-09-17 18:00
Rate: 
0
This is a fantastic collection and a steal at this price.Glad to see this is in the hands of Corea/Concord/Stretch.Polydor and Columbia's reissue programs were always hit or miss. Now if he could get the ECM discs partnered up life would be perfect. Along with the Corea/Burton duo's that is.
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  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • "I have often likened being an author for an online music webzine as similar to being a treasure hunter, we sift through hours of detritus trying to find that gem of music composition that strikes a chord and has meaning, unlike the bubblegum pop of the mainstream world where it is all about money and marketing. True, the music that we champion and review may have little commercial success but, for the artist, this is the culmination of many hours of soul searching and downright hard work.These little gems of music are what I live for as a reviewer and, when you get a surprise release from out of the blue that simply knocks your socks clean off then, it makes it all worthwhile and puts a huge smile on my face.  That sensation of the hairs standing on the nape of my neck started again when I first heard Anton Roolaart’s new release ‘The Plight of Lady Oona’. This time, it wasn’t my discovery, this record was sent my way by Lady Obscure herself and, upon seeing the album cover, I was immediately hooked, as you should know by now, I’m always a sucker for an impressive album sleeve (showing my age there). As I worked my way through multiple listens, it wasn’t just the cover that impressed me.Anton Roolaart is a Dutch artist who lives in America, he has one previous album release, ‘Dreamer’ in 2007. Anton’s music is said to portray the quintessence of melodic progressive rock accompanied with lush orchestration, and this new release is certain to capture the listener’s attention once again. He does this with the help of some talented friends and musicians including Vinnie Puryear, Kendall Scott, Pieter van Hoorn, Rave Tesar and Michael Frasche. Renaissance’s Annie Haslam provides additional vocals on the title track. All songs were composed and produced by Anton with the help of co-producer Rave.You are immediately drawn into Anton’s lush cinemascapes and soundscapes with the brilliant Gravity, gentle, lush instrumentation accompanied by a plaintive vocal infuses the music with a sci-fi feeling, future music if you like. The relaxed yet uplifting tempo is central to the pathos of the track, it is atmospheric with the textured keyboards central to everything. There are hints of 70’s progressive rock in the slow, measured moog solo but, to these ears, it is a song that is set in the stars and the emptiness of space.Stars Fall Down is introduced by a lilting piano and breaking vocal, when the keyboards and laid back drums slip into place it has a real synth pop ethos. That 80’s feel is emphasised by the organ and catching vocal that increases in power as the track runs on. Another song that is food for a healthy intellect, another nice touch is the pared back, distorted solo that gives a smooth, ambient haze to the proceedings. This guy has more than one string to his impressive bow.If you are after an atmospheric, multi-faceted prog epic full of wonderful melodies, plot turns and structures then, look no further than title track The Plight of Lady Oona. Flute and acoustic guitar drift in with the mist at the beginning of the song, a folk influenced vocal and piano carry on the ambience as the tale begins. There are multiple influences at play here that Anton moulds into his own unique sound around which, the addition of Annie Haslam’s dulcet tones is a clever touch. The mood take son a definitive 70’s Yes edge with the catchy guitar and expressive bass underscoring an urgent keyboard that ramps up the pace, a spiralling, complex guitar adds another layer of sophistication along with a fulsome organ and minstrel-like guitar. The interlude that follows, full of mystery and opaqueness, is leading the way for Annie’s refined and exquisite vocal. This part of the song is poignant and full of feeling as, eventually, Annie and Anton join forces to deliver an uplifting vocal experience followed by some delightful piano and exquisite guitar work which blossoms into an impressive instrumental section where church organ, soaring keyboards and chiming guitar all contribute to a smorgasbord of musical delight. That mediaeval minstrel effect returns at the end of the song with a short vocal and extended acoustic guitar section that John Williams would be proud of, this is a precise and complicated track that is delivered with verve and aplomb, sublime.There is a darker intensity to Standing in the Rain, it is ominous, evoking a dystopian spirit. The vocal delivery is heightened and impassioned, the guitar riffs are momentous and deep lying and the percussion is moody and profound. The violin touches are vivid and the song cuts through you like a knife, holding you in its hypnotic stare, unable to break free as the mesmerising guitar solo slowly works its way into your psyche.After the potent tension of the previous track, instrumental Memoires is a musical breath of fresh air, dainty and enchanting. The acoustic guitar dances around your mind before a luscious piano makes your heart sing. The heavenly keyboards and ululating guitar join forces to bring a lustre of hope to all around, a real ‘feel good track’ to my ears.This piquant treat for aural receptors comes to a close with The Revealing Light and, at the beginning it is rather enigmatic and secretive and a very slow burner. The flute sound signals the start of something as the cryptic vocals begin, ardent and fervid, backed by a distorted, acid guitar. Lush, electronic keyboard notes envelop you in their embrace as the song takes a psychedelic turn, all Sgt Pepper in its tone. Things change with a twisting, coruscating note delivered by a melancholic guitar  and the solemn drum beat giving a sober feel to the track as a sombre voice over closes out the album with just about the right feel.‘The Plight of Lady Oona’ is an album that gives up its delights bit by bit, there is no instant gratification on offer here, if you are prepared to invest time in the music it will deliver a cornucopia of musical delights. Anton Roolaart is a name to look out for, my first introduction to his music has been an intensive and incredibly impressive one and, it won’t be my last." - Lady Obscure
    $12.00
  • Follow up to 2011's Disobey once again finds this Scottish band clinging to the British neoprog sound that helped define the genre.  To their credit there is a bit more playing than most of their brethren.  I particularly like the ornate keyboard work.  Nothing wrong with some old school prog sounds to remind us how it should be done.
    $13.00
  • "A Sunday Night Above the Rain is a two-disc live set recorded by modern pro giants Marillion last year in March at Center Parcs in Port Zelande, the Netherlands.Disc 1 opens with “Gaza” from the album of the same name. It’s typical Marillion high drama informed by a good chunky beat, spiky middle eastern-sounding synth lines and lilting choruses. Right from the beginning, the crowd comprised of thousands come from over 44 countries this night, is clapping along hot and heavy before Steve Rothery’s wailing guitar solo (one of the most underrated guitar players in rock and roll) and singing along as Steve Hogarth (lead vocalist) will welcome from them often here on the balled “Waiting To Happen,” where, sorry to say, not much really does happen.We get lots of Mark Kelly’s beautiful piano on “This Strange Engine,” though I’m not thrilled by Hogarth’s swallowing words in an over-affected vocal. The tune rocks in its last minutes though as the band and Hogarth rise to an anthem-like ending!The highlight of this first disc though is “Neverland” where Kelly, bassist Peter Trewavas and Hogarth are especially inspired, but again what Steve Rothery slips in are truly spine-chilling moments. What he seemingly just throws away in flips during the vocal are full feasts, his leads perfect from wailing moments to sweet and clean ones, not mere seconds from one another. Not since David Gilmour have I felt a guitarist say so much doing so little.Lots of Disc 2 are from the Gaza album. “Montreal,” with its mid-song Floydian moments, is more a Mark Kelly song really, with especially effective tom work from drummer Ian Mosley behind him and Peter Trewavas poppin’ on the “Power” (good lyric here especially). Mosely and Trewavas are kicking on the opening of what becomes a plinky “The King of Sunset Town,” a tune that showcases a solid Hogarth vocal. A truly beautiful once again piano-led tune, “The Sky Above the Rain” like “Neverland” on the first is the linchpin of this second disc. Hogarth is very good here as are the subtleties of the drum and bass duo once again.The band does give one quick nod to its past (when they were fronted by lead singer/enigmatic frontman Fish) ending with “Garden Party.” Hogarth doesn’t especially sell this tune, but he doesn’t have to as pretty much the audience sings the song for him.If you want to know what modern-day Marillion are all about, grab it." - Short And Sweet NYC
    $15.00
  • A deluxe 2CD edition of the classic No-Man album – now remastered and on Kscope with bonus disc, featuring mini album, b-sides and rarities including four previously unreleased tracks. No Man is Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree).Since releasing their first single in 1990, No-Man has produced a unique body of work that has developed from the band's proto trip-hop/ambient origins into something beyond easy categorisation.After receiving ecstatic press reviews, indie top 20 hits and high profile contracts (with One Little Indian and Sony) in the early 1990s, the band has continued to evolve and has developed a loyal Worldwide cult following.Redefining itself with a constantly changing musical palette, No-Man has most recently released material through celebrated post- progressive label Kscope, who have now released a deluxe edition of one of the band’s most sought-after albums.Wild Opera, No-Man's third album, originally released in 1996, is regarded as the most inventive and unpredictable album in the band's catalogue.Rapidly shifting from distorted grooves to sinister, jazz-inflected trip-hop and from choked rock riffs to more traditional ballad fare,Wild Opera represented a thrilling departure for the band and has since become seen as a classic one-of-a-kind statement of uncompromising creative intent.Long out of print, the original CD is now a highly- collectable rarity, with copies changing hands for over £100 on Ebay.Kscope’s remastered 2CD reissue additionally includes all of the Dry Cleaning Ray mini-album, alongside b-sides and exclusive rarities from the era, including four previously unreleased tracks.The digi-book package features an essay from Richard Smith, the director of Mixtaped, the recent documentary about the band, and new artwork from long-time No-Man collaborator, Carl Glover.CD1 - WILD OPERA1 RADIANT CITY2 PRETTY GENIUS3 INFANT PHENOMENON4 SINISTER JAZZ5 HOUSEWIVES HOOKED ON HEROIN6 LIBERTINE LIBRETTO7 TASTE MY DREAM8 DRY CLEANING RAY9 SHEEPLOOP10 MY RIVAL TREVOR11 TIME TRAVEL IN TEXAS12 MY REVENGE ON SEATTLECD2 - DRY CLEANING RAY1 DRY CLEANING RAY (REMIX EDIT)2 SWEETSIDE SILVER NIGHT3 JACK THE SAX4 DIET MOTHERS5 URBAN DISCO6 PUNISHED FOR BEING BORN7 KIGHTLINGER8 EVELYN (THE SONG OF SLURS)9 SICKNOTEBONUS TRACKS10 HIT THE CEILING11 WHERE I'M CALLING FROM12 HOUSEWIVES HOOKED ON HEROIN (ALTERNATE VERSION)13 MY RIVAL TREVOR (ALTERNATE VERSION)14 TIME TRAVEL IN TEXAS (RADIO SESSION)15 PRETTY GENIUS (RADIO SESSION) 
    $13.00
  • Archangel is the side project of Ubi Maior (and former The Watch) keyboardist Gabriele Manzini.  Like the first album, this one is a concept piece.  I guess vampires are in vogue these days so we get stories of Countess Bathory, Nosferatu, et al.  The musicians on the album are drawn from Ubi Maior, Red Zen, and some other Italian bands.  The key to the album is the return of Damian Wilson who once again stands out as one of the featured vocalists.  The music is squarely in the prog rock vein with a keyboard orientation but with an overall harder edge.  The overall tone of the album is gothic dark.  Manzini includes two cover tunes - he takes his own spin on BOC's "Nosferatu" and Roxy Music's "My Only Love".
    $15.00
  • Limited edition embossed digipak with one bonus track."It was the friendly split heard round the world: two bands – same logo, same history….huh? Two Rhapsody’s? Would they sound the same? What does Rhapsody even sound like without Luca? All those questions are now about to be answered as Rhapsody of Fire (RoF) will finally present the response album to the overwhelmingly cinematic masterpiece spewed by Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody (LTR) in 2012. In the interim, there is a new record company (AFM), the first North American Tour and a Hess in….a Hess out. The split with the former HolyHell guitarist has left Roberto De Micheli as the lone guitarist, which turns out to be the best move of all. Meanwhile, Fabio Lione has been the busiest and a singer for hire – guest starring on a multitude of releases, including a long stint with Brazil giants Angra – and permanently joining Hollow Haze on top of Vision Divine. Fans wondered, when would that long awaited response album from Alex Staropoli be heard? The time is now and “Dark Wings of Eternity” is upon us. Right, right….you want the verdict! Well this album will definitely distinguish the band from LTR, but at the same time all of the key RoF qualities remain.Is it a win? Absolutely! Alex Staropoli takes RoF in a more organic and metallic direction, which on the first listen may come across sounding “under produced” when compared to the grandiose “overly produced” previous albums. Successive listens unveil the beauty of “Dark Wings of Steel,” an album that favors drama over theatric, proving there really is room for two Rhapsodys without picking sides.Luca’s vision of Rhapsody is the cinematic grandiose direction – a grand production of sight and sound, dazzling and spectacular. Alex Staropoli has side stepped and stripped down Rhapsody of Fire just a bit towards a purer “heavy metal” direction. Fans might take that statement as a step backward, but keep in mind, having two bands that are exactly the same would be silly and certainly wouldn’t help either. The guitar sound is more prominent, darker, and little less speedy as in the past (save for two of the album’s tracks). The choirs and choruses that fans have come to expect remain intact, as well as those building and sweeping melodies, written to perfectly balance the strengths of Fabio’s voice. Clearly, this is Staropoli’s band and he makes his presence known in a huge way (more on that later), and Roberto’s work is absolutely brilliant and cannot go unnoticed! His riffs are engaging and his solos are masterful, in many ways exceeding Luca’s own (which Turilli would freely admit). Many people do not realize that Roberto was actually in Thundercross in 1993, the band that would change its name to the famous Rhapsody in 1995 (though he did not play on the “Land of Immortals” demo of 1994).For any true fan of the band, approaching “Dark Wings” brings a certain level of both excitement and concern, especially considering Luca’s absence, the band’s back catalog and history, and LTR's post-split opening salvo that only raised the bar. It is nearly impossible for any fan of these bands to simply turn off the past and not instantly begin with comparisons. By giving “Dark Wings of Eternity” room to fly and breathe, I guarantee with each successive spin any concerns will quickly fade. In the end, you will find that RoF really isn’t all that far from where it already was! As soon as "Vis Divina" (intro) and opening track “Rising From Tragic Flames” begin you will notice the hallmarks – choirs, speedy riffs, Fabio – are all there, but the sound, especially the drums, is more natural. Staropoli’s keyboard play is much more modern and flamboyant juxtaposed to De Micheli’s neoclassical style. When that choir bridges you to Fabio’s first verse, you quickly realize this is classic RoF.For purposes of keeping this review from becoming more like a novel, lets group the tracks into “quicker” and “slower.” History has proven that Rhapsody of Fire is more often than not associated with quicker tunes, which are the ones that tend to be prominent among the fans. “Rising From Tragic Flames” is akin to classics like “Unholy Warcry” as the choir and speed is strikingly similar. “Silver Lake of Tears” presents a fierce and angry Fabio on the verses, which will be just what many fans have been hoping for (and no…we aren’t talking “Reign of Terror” angry). The title track is slightly more mid-paced with a De Micheli riff that is just as lethal as the speed. The song has one of the coolest guitar vs. keyboard solo battles, something that happens in multiple tracks on the album. “A Tale Of Magic” is an up-tempo half-speed with one of the most memorable choruses on the release. It’s a challenge to pick and outright favorite, but for now the pendulum swings in favor of “Tears of Pain,” with its simple, though highly fetching, riff that just draws more anger from Fabio’s voice.As for the “slower” side, which encompasses ballads and mid-paced tracks, the crop includes the building layers of “Fly to Crystal Skies” - galloping into the chorus along the bass pedals of Alex Holzwarth and the stunning ballad “Custode Di Pace”- a song like so many other greats from RoF and another pedestal for Fabio. “Angel of Light” showcases Fabio’s current strengths - the upper mid vibrato – matched in perfection only by Alessandro Conti. The song sports another one of the best choruses, as well as a slow Manowar type gallop as the song progresses. One of the real standouts in this category is “My Sacrifice,” which rises like a mountain, each level progressively heavier, ranging from near ballad from the onset, to mid-paced bass centric while pausing on the bridge with a uniquely Italian acoustic flair before cascading into the chorus.As mentioned earlier, a word about Alex Staropoli. For starters, I’ll admit that I had my concerns about his “flying solo” as a writer and those concerns were dispelled by “Dark Wings.” His play is much more flamboyant and modern than on previous releases, including a number of keyboard solos that battle back and forth with Roberto’s guitar. It’s an exciting element that really enhances the album. If I had one stylistic gripe, it would be that the keyboards are so prominent in the mix that they suffocate the guitar riffs at times (examples include the opening riff to the title track and “A Tale Of Magic.”). In those heavier tunes, the riffs could easily drive the melody alone.In summary, “Dark Wings of Steel” is a well written and fantastic effort. It demands attentive and successive listens before its true beauty is revealed. Changes are both bold and subtle, especially the more organic sound. The mix meter tilts with Staropoli, which throttles the riffs at times, but the quality of play is superb. The song writing is top notch, leaning more dramatic and less theatrical to distinguish the band from LTR, and Fabio shines not only with his voice, but also in his role as lyric writer. Enough cannot be said about Roberto, who has taken over and stepped up in the absence of Luca. For me, this album is a testament to his play. “Dark Wings of Steel” will not replace the classics, but it will find its place among them. The future is bright for one of heavy metal’s veteran acts." - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • This was formerly known as the Full Power release.At the moment Big Big Train are one of the best prog bands going.  This English crew take some of the best elements of old school Genesis and their ilk and marry it with something very contemporary and relevant.  The band was started years ago by Greg Spawton and Andy Poole.  There were a variety of iterations of the band and as the years went on they got better and better.  If you don't know, their vocalist Dave Longdon was a finalist to replaced Phil Collins in Genesis.  Rutherford and Banks obviously made the wrong choice, going with Ray Wilson instead.  Longdon's vocals remind very much of Gabriela and Collins making the Genesis connection quite easy.  Further on the band added Nick D'Virgilio on drums.  These guys totally grok prog.The band's most recent work was epic in nature.  English Electric was released about six months apart as two separate releases.  Further to this, there were 4 additional tracks which were left off and just released as the Make Some Noise EP."Originally released as two separate albums in 2012 and 2013, the English Electric CD's were subsequently brought together as a limited edition (and now out of print) double album called English Electric Full Power, a release which included four additional songs and a revised track listing from the separate album versions.This new double album version of the English Electric CD's retains the extended track listing of the Full Power release and has been remastered by Rob Aubrey to ensure the songs benefit from even greater dynamic range. It is presented in a softpack with a 40 page booklet."
    $12.00
  • First half of a two parter from this superb English band.  OK what you need to know about Big Big Train.  The original members Andy Poole and Greg Spawton have filled out the lineup with Dave Gregory (XTC), Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard), and David Longdon.  Lots of guests on this one including Andy Tillison (The Tangent) who plays lots and lots of keys.  The album was mixed by Rob Aubrey who works extensively with Marillion.  As mentioned in the past, David Longdon was a finalist to replace Phil Collins in Genesis.  His voice shifts between that of Collins and Peter Gabriel - pretty uncanny resemblance.  The music of Big Big Train could not be characterized as anything other than English.  There is quite a bit of old Genesis here but done up with a modern element.  Great stuff - highly recommended. "Presenting eight brand-new songs, English Electric takes the listener on a journey through the English landscape, from the mining towns of the north to the chalk hills of the south.<br><br>Along the way, extraordinary tales are told of inland navigators, art-forgers, miners and men of industry; stories of people who dream of the daylight but are given up to the depths.<br><br>English Electric is a celebration of the people that work on, and under, the land and who made the hedges and the fields, the docks, the towns and the cities. 'Tell me do you know  <br>the song of the Hedgerow?'"
    $13.00
  • "Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena) returns with his new solo project - ‘Alchemy – a musical”, a Victorian adventure set in 1842. Next to Clive Nolan himself, the album feature the artists well known in the world of progressive rock including Tracy Hitchings (Landmarq, Strangers on a Train), Andy Sears (Twelfth Night), Paul Manzi (Arena), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Paul Menel (ex-IQ), David Clifford (Red Jasper) as well as the leading lady of Nolan's previous musical 'SHE', Agnieszka Świta and Noel Calcaterra - a Uruguayan singer/actress and the voice of Clive Nolan South American 'Otra Vida' project from 2010. The Caamora Company musicians - Clive Nolan (keyboards), Mark Westwood (guitars), Scott Higham (drums), Claudio Momberg (keyboards) and Kylan Amos (bass) will once more take charge of the instrumental part of the project. The core members of the company will be joined by special guests and a chorus. This release will be preceded by the world premiere of 'Alchemy' show at the famous Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland on February 22, 2013, where it will be recorded and released on a DVD by Metal Mind Productions in Autumn 2013."
    $17.00
  • "I wasn't expecting to see a new release from the German power metal legends Gamma Ray this year probably as front man Kai Hansen has been involved with his new impressive metal band Unisonic. However this is not an album full of fresh material as such but a live one which means Gamma Ray have now released two live recordings since 2008 and one new full length studio album To The Metal in 2010. They did release the EP Skeletons & Majesties in 2011 which was a different take on some previous Gamma Ray tunes and it received a mixed reception. Since their first release in 1990 Gamma Ray have had a total of ten full length albums and six of these were recorded before the year 2000, so the Gamma crew haven't been so active in recording new material since. Maybe this live album is a filler for the fans till we see that new album hopefully in the not too distant future, with a new Helloween release also on the horizon 2013 is looking great for all the European power metal buffs.Skeletons & Majesties Live is a dual CD release with a DVD version to follow, captured during 2011 at the Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland. Once again Gamma Ray are performing like the enthusiastic precision team they are with Kai Hansen on vocals and guitar and long term members guitarist Henjo Richter and bass player Dirk Schlachter. While behind the kit is their longest serving drummer Daniel Zimmermann who has since departed Gamma Ray after having provided those stirring beats for many years. I was surprised to read this as I was under the impression that Daniel had parted ways with Freedom Call the band he co-founded to concentrate on Gamma Ray, but anyway Daniel has now been replaced by Michael Ehre.Continuing on the theme from the 2011 EP, Skeletons & Majesties Live isn't your usual Gamma Ray collection, as there are different or unexpected inclusions. Like acoustic versions of "Rebellion In Dreamland" and "Send Me A Sign" which sound fine for what they are in these much lighter arrangements, but pale in comparison to the metalized originals. However there is still a fine bundle of Gamma Ray style metal like the memorable animated tracks "Anywhere In The Galaxy" and "Dethrone Tyranny", and both sound fantastic. I was surprised by the absence of material from the latest full length studio album To The Metal, a song like "Empathy" would have been a great inclusion but on Skeletons & Majesties Live the swift track "Rise" is the sole inclusion from that album. An added attraction that fans of Hansen's former band Helloween will recognise are the vocals of Michael Kiske who appears on three tracks including one of Helloween's classics "Future World".Skeletons & Majesties Live demonstrates that Gamma Ray are still up to the task, but myself I do prefer their previous two live albums Skeletons In The Closet and Hell Yeah! The Awesome Foursome. Though the DVD may change my thoughts, especially with a Blu Ray edition on the cards." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • Since the release of 2013’s In Crescendo, Kingcrow toured North America in support of Pain Of Salvation, and headlined a European tour.  Kingcrow kept busy in 2014, touring Europe with Fates Warning and at the same time crafting the material that would become Eidos.“Eidos” is a new conceptual album about choices, consequences, dealing with regret and disillusion. Their earlier album Phlegethon dealt with childhood and In Crescendo about the end of youth.  Eidos can be considered the third part of a trilogy about the path of life. Musically it sees the band exploring new territories and pushing the extremes of its complex soundscape with a darker atmosphere and a more progressive attitude.Describing the band today is quite a difficult task, but one could state that the influence of such artists as Porcupine Tree, Riverside, Opeth, Anathema, Radiohead , King Crimson and Massive Attack are all present in the music of Kingcrow.With each release Kingcrow has taken a step further away from their original roots as a classic metal band and is now one of the most personal and exciting bands that Italy has to offer.
    $13.00
  • Limited edition digipak with 2 bonus tracks."The road to Altzi is paved with good intentions…. When Masterplan announced the new lineup in November of last year, Jorn apologists flooded the comment strings of various metal news outlets with comments like “another band is spoiled by a vocalist change” and “no Jorn…no Masterplan.” While I might agree that there was reason for outcry when a well-known/respected singer leaves a band, it’s not as if Masterplan has never had another vocalist and is not a band with more past members than present. The object is to listen and make judgments later. The announcement of Rick Altzi was particularly intriguing and any fan of At Vance and Thunderstone can attest – there was much reason for hope.The news that main man/guitarist Roland Grapow’s (Ex-Helloween) revealed that there was going to be a return to “faster” and “more metal” material made this more appealing. Add further still…the addition of Ex-Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and the naysayers should have stood back and waited to react. Why? As it turned out, Rick Altzi proves a more than compatible replacement for Jorn…and *GASP* dare I say – a wee bit better in spots? Blasphemy? Try it…prove me wrong.Musically, the album ranks as one of the band’s finest, recalling the best heard from the self-titled debut, 2005’s “Aeronautics,” and the appropriately titled 2010 “Time to Be King,” but with a heavier edge. Altzi is so compatible that only the most attentive Jorn fans can see the difference, most notably that low power that shifts with a slab of grit while on the way up to the high range. This is not besmirching Altzi at all, as his range is proven and perfect. His first appearance is at 0:47 on the album’s second track “The Game,” an admirable driving melodic metal song with noticeably well-crafted double bass from new drummer Marthus Skaroupka (Cradle of Filth) and copious amounts of heaviness intertwined with trademark melody. Grapow proves again what amazing solos he can play.The album’s first music video was for “Keep Your Dream Alive” – a mid-paced winner expertly chosen, as it’s the song where Altzi shines brightest, showing the breadth of his range – and for many moments I said “Jorn who?” The finest track on the album is “Betrayal,” which will prove to be one of the best of the year when all is said and done, if not for its Middle Eastern charm that falls into the heaviest riff on the album drawn out like slamming shudders by Axel Mackenrott’s keyboards. Other notables are the appealing riff in “Earth Going Down” (which is a tad swallowed by the keyboards as the song progresses), the Strato-feel of “Black Night of Magic,” the speedier “Return to Avalon” and the never dull 11 minute title track (especially 6:13 to 7:15) and vocal duet of Altzi and Grapow. Highly recommended is the digipak version with bonus tracks “1492” and “Fear the Silence.”My only complaint is not necessarily with the band’s play or its flawless execution, its more the melodic metal style in general. At the same time it represents a favorite style – in Masterplan’s case best defined as “what Whitesnake would sound like if they tipped a bit into power metal” – listening to entire album presents a challenge, if only for that mid-paced repetition. I find the album plays a bit better when I listen to a few songs at a time, mixing it in with other bands and styles.This may be “a new beginning” for Masterplan in member changes, however the creation of high quality melodic metal perseveres. Grapow assembled a new team of musicians that prove just as compatible, especially Altzi’s performance. With the proof in the product, fans of the band should have little to complain about with “Novum Initium,” though I suspect some Jorn lamenters will never take the road less traveled….the one where its “time for” Rick “to be king.”" - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • Now here is a beautiful slice of contemporary progressive rock.  Anubis is an underrated band from Australia - bands down under don't seem to get the attention they deserve.  Hitchhiking is their third full length album.  2011's A Tower Of Silence was a big hit around here and frankly when it arrived it came as a huge surprise.  This long awaited follow up reinforces that the prog rock world needs to take notice.  The music has a cinematic Floyd-like feel.  Vocals from Robert James Moulding are emotion driven and have plenty of impact.  This is not a band who's music is filled with tons of soloing but what's here is solid.  In other words this is not old school prog - its very forward thinking but with a modern sound.  Highly recommended."I have long dreamt of an Australian progressive rock album that would inspire me to click the repeat button, in order to drift through its world all over again, and I am happy to declare that Hitchhiking to Byzantium has been on constant rotation for weeks at this point. Bringing an enchanting blend of Floydian melancholy and the energy of Rush to the table, Anubis have come to stake their claim as heavyweights in the Oz scene with their third opus.Whilst being equally impressed with their 2011 album A Tower of Silence (which I have only just heard recently also), I have found myself returning to Byzantium more to explore the subtle nuances contained within the album’s ten tracks. ‘Fadeout’ as an opening diddy is like riding a gentle breeze for just a short while before being swept up in all the drama and opulence of ‘A King with No Crown’, a reference quality track on every level, cinematic in scope and full of drama and tension and certainly an inspired choice as opening single for the album. ‘Dead Trees’ is a classic prog cut with all the bells and whistles sporting a vocal performance that harkens to a young James Labrie and a chorus that will have you by the balls from the first time you hear it.I mentioned a notable influence from Floyd and Rush earlier, but if I was to be honest, I would love to ask them if they are fans of American prog band Tiles and those wonderful Brits Anathema, because both bands are called to mind on this album amongst others like Sweden’s Anekdoten. The title track is a sublime centrepiece and features a plaintive aura that is sent soaring when spine-tingling female backing vocals lace the chorus. It’s so hard to choose a favourite song when they are all so filled with creamy goodness, but any of these three  - ‘Blood is Thicker than Common Sense’ (a seductive groover), ‘Tightening of the Screws’ (a majestic slice of melancholia reminiscent of early The Pineapple Thief) or ‘Partitionists’ (a lyrical and musical marvel) - could easily take the title for this humble listener.The final triptych features dark drama in ‘Crimson Stained Romance’, a song that reminded me most of a classic Floyd epic, the 15+ minute ‘A Room with a View’, which is nothing short of a sweeping symphony of moods and tones and the closing ‘Silent Wandering Ghosts’ sounds exactly like its title would suggest, haunting and transcendent with an outro to die for.These seven talented lads are a gifted lot, with every performance of outstanding quality, enhanced by a jaw-dropping production that let’s every instrument tell its own little story and play its part in this emotionally resonant work that as the band state themselves: "I feel that there's more of us in there - the hurdles that life throws at us and the only way to feel true inner peace - by examining the love around you. It's certainly an introspective record - but it's real life. It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us. Hitchhiking to Byzantium. That journey is life."And somehow I believe them." - Loud Mag
    $15.00