Awaken The Guardian (Remastered 2CD+DVD)

2005 deluxe remastered edition of the bands 1986 magnum opus, the last one to feature John Arch on vocals. This elaborate set features two cds and one live DVD. Disc One is the remastered version of the album. Disc Two features unreleased live and demo tracks. Disc Three is an NTSC Region 0 live DVD of a live gig from 1986. Mike Portnoy wrote the liner notes.

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  • "Death.Taxes.Ozric Tentacles.Since 1984 this loose collective have been releasing reliably great music from the mind of leader Ed Wynne. Their margin of error is enviably tiny – there is no such thing as a bad Ozrics album. Sure, some are better than others, but the body of work is as inescapably consistent as mortality and societal contributions. Technicians of the Sacred is their fifteenth studio album, second double album and the first release in this format since Erpland in 1990. It is also one of the best they have ever recorded.The blend of electronica and inner-space rock is instantly recognisable with ‘The High Pass’. World music and gently undulating synths take their time to ease us back into the required frame of cosmic consciousness. It takes almost 6 minutes for the secret weapon, Wynne’s signature lysergic lead guitar, to be deployed and that is the modus operandi of the whole album – nothing is rushed, each track unfolds lotus-like.‘Changa Masala’ distils all the band’s ingredients into a spicy side-dish. Sequencers, vocal samples and a reggae skank provide the base while acoustic guitar rips like a John McLaughlin solo, interjecting a nod to their past, a musical in-joke for the fans, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet heard it.The Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7 and sometime Ozrics collaborator) influence is foregrounded in the first disc’s closer, ‘Switchback’. Tap-delay guitar slithers over a web of ambient keyboard washes. Portamento bass notes slide and glide their way through the patchouli-scented psychedelic haze.f the first disc was an aromatic treat, then the second is manna. ‘Epiphlioy’ recalls the classic ‘Saucers’. Its serpentine twelve-string acoustic riffs employ Eastern modes to evoke a scene that is paradoxically earthy and otherworldly. Staccato strings conjure Kashmir while a celestial orchestra of whooshing keyboard pads threatens to levitate us into the stratosphere and beyond. We are back in the bizarre bazaar, folks. Brandi Wynne pins down the ethereal mix with a heavy dub bassline. The track changes constantly. This is the most compositionally complex music the band has ever produced.While there are references to Ozric history and a more organic feel similar to early classics with the occasional use of non-electric instruments and ethnic voices, the album as a whole is a step forward. The painstakingly crafted symbiosis of synthesised sounds and rock instrumentation, coupled with a slick production, lend Technicians of the Sacred a holistic integrity not heard since Jurassic Shift (which incidentally entered the UK charts at a very respectable number 11 in 1993). The whole gels together and flows with the multi-layered sophistication of a symphony while retaining some of the jam-band aesthetic of the free festival days.‘Smiling Potion’ features interlocking sequences even Tangerine Dream would be proud of and a tribal metronome-sense beat straight out of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ.As ‘Rubbing Shoulders With The Absolute’ throbs along on a blissed-out dub rhythm artificially generated voices ensure the weirdness meter is kept firmly in the red.Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende makes his first studio appearance and throughout the album he proves to be a superb addition to the group, whether approximating the tight programmed style of The Hidden Step era or, as on the closing track, ‘Zenlike Creature’, tackling elusive prog time signatures with ease and finesse. As Ed Wynne winds up a solo worthy of fusion maestros Mahavishnu Orchestra he introduces a shimmering Hillage-esque repeating motif that stays in the mind long after the music has stopped.Technicians of the Sacred, for all its dynamic shifts and intricacies, is a very chilled-out release, one for relaxing to and for transportation to the other, wherever that may be. There are no jarring wig-out rock guitar hero sections or all-out sonic attacks like ‘The Throbbe’. Rather this is Ozric Tentacles’ most cohesive and accomplished effort in almost 20 years and a highlight of a long and peerless career." - Echoes And Dust
    $35.00
  • Latest album from this UK band that used to embrace doom metal but ultimately morphed into a Pink Floyd inspired band with metal influences. This time around the band continues to ramp up the atmosphere quotient and seems to downplay the metal aspects. So what we have here is a heavy version of Radiohead or Porcupine Tree. An easy recommendation but if you are looking for metal stay away. Great album now available at a midline price.
    $13.00
  • First album from this extreme metal band from Australia that is generating quite a buzz. Ne Obliviscaris mix clean and black metal vocals over a fairly symphonic/prog style that features quite a bit of lead violin. Plenty of guitar crunch to be heard through out as well. Definitely some of the early Opeth albums rubbed off on these guys but oddly classical and jazz elements creep in. As long as the black metal vox don't get to you I think you'll find the music quite captivating. Highly recommended with the noted reservations.
    $16.00
  • Remastered edition."At least half of the songs on Van Halen's eponymous 1978 debut are still considered classics, and the Eddie Van Halen instrumental "Eruption" revolutionized the guitar community by introducing a technique called finger-tapping into the heavy metal lexicon. A magnificent debut for sure, but maybe the band should have held onto a few of their blockbuster tunes to bolster the lean years that started after 1984, and continue to the present day. Regardless, Van Halen amply demonstrate their drive, showmanship, and musicianship throughout, blowing the needle off the scale on such tracks as "You Really Got Me," "Jamie's Cryin'," "Runnin' with the Devil," and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love."" --Jon Wiederhorn
    $6.00
  • Believe it or not this is where it all began for me. After coming home from school one day I saw Rick Wakeman on the Mike Douglas show. He was this odd looking guy with long blonde hair and a flowing cape to match. He had an arsenal of keyboards making strange sounds...it was "The Battle". That appearance led me down to Sam Goody's to buy my first prog album - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. Sure it's pompous, overblown, whatever. I still have fond memories of it and love Wakeman's elaborate keyboard work and the band's integration with the orchestra. A personal classic.
    $5.00
  • "The kings and queens of Scandinavian folklore are back! Thundering in on a north wind from the ancient forests and Scandinavian skies full of fire and mystery. Once lost inside ice and snowcapped mountains and forbidden islands, where you cannot remove a stone, lest you face the curse of bad tidings forever…returns the wonder of Kaipa, with their latest effort: "Vittjar". This time they return to inject wonder into the dog days of summer, much as they did for the springtime with their last album, "In the Wake of Evolution". Kaipa, in case you are new to the band, includes such well-known artists and composers as Hans Lundin, on electric and acoustic keyboards and vocals; Per Nilsson, from Scar Symmetry, on electric and acoustic guitars; Morgan Ågren, from Mats & Morgan and Zappa on drums; Jonas Reingold, from The Flower Kings and Karmakanic, on electric basses; Patrik Lundström, from Ritual; on vocals, and Aleena Gibson on vocals. Hans Lundin is the leader of the band and has been making music since 1965. The band's discography dates back to the mid – 1970s, so these are old pros venturing into new uncharted territory, with music that combines inspiration from the folklore of their past. It makes for a wonderful combination that will provide hours of listening pleasure. I didn't stop playing their last album until deep into the summer after receiving it in early spring. "Vittjar" will be available in the USA on August 28th, 2012. The opening, "First Distraction" is a Renaissance – like, triumphant march, full of flutes, keys, and later lead guitar and strong drums. You can almost visualize the musicians emerging from an opening in the forest to join the field of play. Off to a nice start. Then the action truly begins. "Lightblue and Green" opens with firepower from keys, heavy drums and power lead guitar…just like…yes…one of your favorite Yes songs from the past. Lundström begins the story, "painting my morning in light blue and green…a nice picture indeed. You can visualize early morning sunbeams and the feeling of awakening from some interesting dreams. The power drums, bass, and keys set an excellent tone and build a strong soundscape to surround Lundström's "visions". An awakening from winter and its frigid surroundings, into the fullness of spring. The heavier guitar licks and drums separate this album from the golden charm of the last, with its spring – tinged softness. "Our Silent Ballroom Band" is the epic and longest track at 22:11 minutes, on the album. Few bands can pull off the epics. And even fewer can do it well by adding a great story that raps you into the theme like Kaipa. This track brings the return of Aleena Gibson, reprising her role, singing as a little girl sharing her experiences and reflections of the world around her. The flutes that surround her take you right to Scandinavia and a field, where she is "dancing in the misty summer grass…in a deafening dance of her life". Lundström's vocals return to compliment Gibson's. The keyboard and guitar instrumentals add even more wonder to this, my favorite track." "Reach for the stars"… and they do. The Yes – like power of this journey – filled track will bring back memories of the power of the 70s. "Vittjar", the title track is up next and it features Lundström's vocals, in native language providing a violin filled, Renaissance – like track which is easily the second best track on the album. Even if you don't understand the lyrics you can feel the emotion in the vocals and the strings, guitars, keys, bass, and drums. The instrumentation helps create that magic environment we fans remember so well, from all of their albums. "Treasure House" is a good track full of amazing guitar."A Universe of Tinyness" is another of the best songs on the album. The violin work so compliments Gibson's careful vocal delivery that holds the listener spellbound to the story. "Tiny soldiers reach my shore"…"I'm moving back in time…in search of missing lines...I'm moving in reverse in my own universe". The violin is back in "The Crowded Hillsides", and this time it and the cool lead guitar play a major role. Simply spectacular music. The track is full of great Squire-like bass reminders that really help make this track an instant classic like some of the best tracks off "In the Wake". "All of the wonders that hide in the sky…the sky is the limit"…yeh! "Second Distraction" is a great closer full of fantastic lead guitar, bass, mysterious keys and explosive drums. This is a great follow up album to "In the Wale…" This band is expanding its abilities and delivering on the promise of mixing modern rock music with the folklore, music and traditions of the past." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $12.00
  • This is the album that really broke the band in North America.  Hit after hit..."After years of writing hook-laden choruses and triumphantly buzzing riffs, this German band finally perfected the formula. A fine mix of poise and passion, Love at First Sting appeals to both angry metalheads and Top-40 aficionados." -- Jon Wiederhorn
    $5.00
  • Iconoclast is Symphony X's 8th album and debut for their new home at Nuclear Blast. All traces of the symphonic neoclassical metal that characterized their sound through V are now gone. The band made a stylistic change with The Odyssey, developed it further with Paradise Lost and now have really locked into their own identity with Iconoclast. It would be simple to call this power metal but you don't have normally hear a guitarist in a power metal band playing they type of leads that Mike Romeo conjures up. He is one of the most inventive guitarists in metal. Combined with Mike Pinella symphonic accents the progressive elements come through loud and clear. There are a lot of great vocalists in metal but some are a little better than others. Then you get vocalists like Jorn Lande and Russell Allen who are a lot better than the others. Allen comes through with another vocal tour de force. Yes I miss the days of Divine Wings Of Tragedy and Twilight In Olympus but I'm on board with the new sound. Its heavier - crunchier - more direct - but never dull. Romeo makes sure of it - he just bludgeons you with creativity. Highly recommended.
    $6.00
  • "New Era is an apropos name for Cloudscape's fourth album as the band has gone through some significant changes. In the last several years, the band lost three of its founding members including bass player Hans Perrson, drummer Roger Landin, and guitarist Bjorn Eliasson. Cloudscape had to scramble to fill the gaps.New Era could also refer to the course of Cloudscape's musical direction. Although uneven maybe a better word for the album. While melodic metal, that of power and nuances of prog, still bolsters the arrangements, there seems a slant to a more raw modern sound. You can hear this in Your Desire and Share Your Energy, which includes some dirty vocals from Peter Wildoer (Darkane, James LaBrie). Conversely, there's some familiar Cloudscape material here as well. Pull the Brake finds them accessing more melodic hard rock. Voyager 9, the longest cut, offers the power prog side of the band. Heroes integrates a little of both. Ultimately, New Era is mixed bag of songs, and I can honestly say I can't point to one as being jaw-dropping compelling. Nevertheless, this is not a bad album either. It's merely different. Possibly with a few more spins it would grow on me. But considering two spins brought to a mostly ambivalent assessment, it's not likely to happen. Fans, and the curious, should be the first to check out New Era." - Dangerdog.com
    $12.00
  • Fine new release from this German power metal band featuring Andy Franck on vocals. The music is heavy but extremely melodic. This is real power metal but not in a slick Euro-way....it has an US power metal feel. So I guess the way to differentiate between Andy's two bands are this - Brainstorm heavy as hell, Symphorce melodic as hell.Metal Blade is trying something new, pricing this full length release at a mid-price point.
    $9.00
  • New album from Norwegian avant garde metal masters.
    $13.00
  • "Now here’s a band that during the 1980s consistently produced high quality metal albums. Vicious Rumors were the sort of band who bridged the gap between power and thrash metal, a cold steel assault boasting melody and crunching precision.Electric Punishment is the Californian band’s 11th album and like all those mini-classics previous, this one sticks to its guns, rarely straying from its chosen path of scorching hot metal. So many bands over the years, especially when the mid-90s grunge invasion took hold, strayed from their path and buckled under the weight of trend, but Vicious Rumors are one of those rare quantities. A band who’ve stuck to rocking hard and given the fans what they’ve always wanted.This opus is a ten-track affair which closes with an intriguing cover of the Kiss song ‘Strange Ways’, but more on that later. Electric Punishment comes hot on the heels of 2012’s live album Live You To Death, and features a dazzling array of numbers which revolve around Geoff Thorpe’s molten guitar work.Thorpe is the bands founding member and has come a long way since handing out flyers for his new band back in 1979. Despite varying personnel over the years, Vicious Rumors have always remained a solid metal act, criminally underrated, and never once being affected by its changing staff. This time round Thorpe is accompanied by vocalist Brian Allen, guitarist Thaen Rasmussen, bassist Stephen Goodwin and drummer Harry Lowe, with guest appearances from guitarists Brad Gillis (Night Ranger / ex-Ozzy Osbourne), Mark McGee and Bob Capka.The album opener is an out-and-out thrasher in the form of ‘I Am The Gun’, which rushes headlong with its epic vocal wail and twin guitar attack. Again, the band bridge the gap between robust power metal and chuggernaut metal. Lowe is an accomplished drummer whose formidable beats sew together this beast of a track. Vicious Rumors have never deviated from their path over the years and yet somehow remain current with their brand of heavy metal. ‘I Am The Gun’ matches anything that the likes of Anthrax, Overkill, et al have written over the last few years.‘Black X List’ is equally astounding, storming in with that rattling drum and swirling guitar; Thorpe’s handiwork a marvelous sound to behold. It’s the kind of track that sums up that classic Vicious Rumors sound, but if you’re still not convinced then the doom-laden chug of the title track should have you salivating. It’s another epic power metal pile-driver that builds slowly with that ferocious sneer and intimidating chug. This is an anthem for all those metalheads who today are searching for those seemingly lost times of the 80s. Vicious Rumors exude pride and menace all at once; their cauldron of metal is constantly stirred and spiced with the sort of ingredients that make the genre so potent.‘D-Block’, ‘Escape (From Hell)’ and ‘Dime Store Prophet’ hold up the mid-section. ‘D-Block’ is another go-for-throat thrasher, the co-vocal attack (with Thorpe providing the melody) is spine-tingling to say the least. The seven-minute ‘Escape (From Hell)’ slows the pace, combining melodic majesty and more pensive chords, while ‘Dime Store Prophet’ is another rasping, rollicking rocker that injects the veins with pace leading us to the almost semi-ballad-esque and, dare I say it, “hair metal” sway of ‘Together We Unite’. This is a classic simmering slow-burner that seems to reflect on the past, raising a glass to all those fans and people who’ve been part of this incredible bands legacy. It really is an infectious track that will have the lighters (or in the modern sense, mobile phones) waving.The real talent of Vicious Rumors however is their ability to shift between styles whilst all the while making sure their sound is still heavy. ‘Eternally’ is a jarring, almost remote number that relies on that staggering guitar work. But with ‘Thirst For A Kill’ we’re back to that savagery, leading us to the finale which is the aforementioned Kiss song ‘Strange Ways’ (originally from 1974’s Hotter Than Hell), and what a cracking little rocker this is, the drums a shuddering plod behind the vocal snarl. I have to admit to being wary of this track when I saw it listed, but it’s a fitting finale for this album, and once again Vicious Rumors have delivered another face-melter of a record. You knew what was coming, and yet every time they hit you right between the eyes like a cold steel arrow." - Metal Forces
    $8.00
  • "In 1972 Jethro Tull were riding high on the crest of a popularity wave. They sold out huge arenas on the back of their critically acclaimed fifth album Thick As A Brick. The question was, how do you follow a concept album comprising a single 44-minute piece of music? The answer was, with a double album of separate songs of course.For the first time in their five year career Tull went into the studio with an unchanged line-up. Founder member and undisputed leader Ian Anderson was still writing songs on flute, acoustic guitar and now saxophone, and he was again joined by guitarist Martin Barre, bassist Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, drummer Barriemore Barlow and keyboard player John Evans. But which studio to use?The first criterion was that it had to be abroad. The second criterion was that the studio of choice had to have a good reputation. The 18th century Château d'Hérouville near Paris had previously been used by Elton John to record Honky Château and by Pink Floyd for Obscured By Clouds. It contained living accommodation as well as studio facilities, and so seemed the ideal choice. What could possibly go wrong?The choice was a disaster. First up, there were technical problems with the studio itself. Then there was the accommodation... the band all slept in a dormitory, it was very basic which might have been tolerable, had they been the sole occupants of the rooms. Unfortunately, they had unwelcome company, of a bed-bug variety. And then to make matters infinitely worse everybody got food poisoning from the in-house catering.Unsurprisingly the band decided to go home and the decision was made to ditch the hour or so s worth of music recorded in France. They decided to start from scratch and write a whole new album, instead of trying to somehow regenerate everybody s interest and commitment to something that had already struggled.And so to A Passion Play, an album that evolved into a 45-minute piece of quasi-prog rock, with complex time-signatures, complex lyrics and, well, complex everything, really. With a mere nine days left in the studio before the next tour, the pressure was on to produce something quickly. The concept explored the notion that choices might still be faced in the afterlife. It recognizes that age-old conflict between good and bad, God and the Devil.This beautifully packaged 2CD/2DVD case-bound book expanded edition of A Passion Play includes the original album and earlier Château d'Hérouville Sessions both of which have been mixed to 5.1 surround sound and new stereo mixes by Steven Wilson."Disc: 11. Lifebeats /Prelude2. The Silver Cord3. Re-Assuring Tune4. Memory Bank5. Best Friends6. Critique Oblique7. Forest Dance #18. The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles9. Forest Dance #210. The Foot Of Our Stairs11. Overseer Overture12. Flight From Lucifer13. 10.08 to Paddington14. Magus Perde15. EpilogueDisc: 21. The Big Top2. Scenario3. Audition4. Skating Away5. Sailor6. No Rehearsal7. Left Right8. Solitaire9. Critique Oblique (Part I)10. Critique Oblique (Part II)11. Animelee (1st Dance) [Instrumental]12. Animelee (2nd Dance) [Instrumental]13. Law Of The Bungle (Part I)14. Tiger15. Law Of The Bungle (Part II)Disc: 31. A Passion Play mixed to 5.1 DTS and AC3 Dolby Digital surround sound and PCM 96/24 PCM stereo.2. A flat transfer from the original master at PCM 96/24 stereo3. Video clips of The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles an intro and outro film used in the Passion Play tour of 1973.Disc: 41. The Château d'Hérouville Sessions mixed to 5.1 DTS and AC3 Dolby Digital surround sound
    $40.00