To Be Or Not To Be

SKU: AFM115-2
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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Kind of an odd story behind this band. The man behind Yargos is Wieland Hofmeister who actually put Yargos together in 1973. They played around in Germany quite a bit opening for a lot of touring prog bands but they never recorded anything and basically dissolved. Hofmeister decided to finally put something together after all these years and reactivated the Yargos name. He enlisted some interesting guys including Threshold vocalist Mac and ex-Hydrotoxin guitarist Andreas Kienitz. Running Wild bassist Peter Pichl plays here as well. You would expect a metal project but in fact this is more of a mix of bombastic prog rock, AOR, and hard rock. Not much here that I would categorize as metal. Its a little bit on the slick side but pretty well done.

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  • "A Chinese Firedrill is a project assembled and put together by bass player Joey Vera. He has written all the tunes, and play most instruments, with just drums and "DJ scratching" handled by others. Which makes this album more of a solo release than a band project as such. Previous to this release Vera was best known as a band member, with his involvement in Armored Saint, Fates Warning and OSI arguably being the most high profiled. The album “Circles” was issued by Bridge Records in 2006, and re-released in 2007 by ProgRock Records when Joey Vera signed for them.Musically this release will be seen as an odd one by many listeners. Vera's background from metal bands shines through in the guitarwork on many tracks, while his involvement with bands like Chroma Key and OSI are easily detected by the use of synths, as well as ambient and industrial sounding elements in the musical tapestry. But the most striking feature of “Circles” is variation, as all songs explore more or less different musical styles.“Circles” moves between hard rock and heavy metal in style, with some nice synth work throughout, "Automatic Fantasy" explores a more folk-rock influenced musical landscape, spiced with at times extensive synths and a hard rock influenced chorus. The more or less aptly named tune "Insane" mixes mellow psychedelic influenced moods with a grandiose prog metal chorus, fusing both styles at the end, whereas "Siúcra" is more of a symphonic rock and neo-prog musical journey. "Never Say Never" is a trip into prog metal territories with space rock elements included, and the following track "Grass and Stone (Ethereal)" is more of a haunting metal ballad with symphonic and psychedelic tendencies. "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is the final track, mixing electronic and ambient sounds with hard rock and metal in a song with numerous changes in style, pace and sound.Vera is a talented performer and producer, and “Circles” proves that he's a very talented songwriter too. All tunes are coherent, even when exploring multitudes of styles. The songs move effortless between the different styles explored, and each individual song as well as the album as a whole has a distinct, individual sound. Overall this comes across as a very strong release - but perhaps with a slightly limited appeal.Personally I'd recommend this album to people into OSI in general, and fans of their second release Free in particular, but fans of slightly experimental progressive rock and metal might also find this album intriguing." - Olav Björnsen/USAProgressiveMusic.com
    $3.00
  • "Since the early days of Sonic Pulsar, Portugal's Hugo Flores's output has been prolific and impressive - and Factory Of Dreams is his latest project.Designed to counterpoint the complexity of his Project Creation music, Factory Of Dreams is - by comparison - more straightforward and approachable, less creative and experimental, and it's song-oriented instead of a sweeping concept piece.Poles should find a wide audience as it slots neatly into the genre originally created by The Gathering, and since enriched by luminaries such as Within Temptation, Nightwish, Edenbridge, Lacuna Coil, After Forever, and Epica - et al. It is goth metal, though the 'metal' label is used lightly, fronted by the rich soprano of Sweden's Jessica Lehto. But unlike its genre-mates, Factory Of Dreams isn't a band - it's a 2-person project, an Internet collaboration, with vocals and many arrangements provided by Jessica while multi-instrumentalist Flores provides the rest. Consequently, there's a fair amount of variety from track to track, though the dynamics and the energy - and the synth percussion - are consistent, and some might accuse each song of sounding somewhat similar to the next.Although it isn't a concept piece in the sense of the complicated Project Creation story, Flores remains close to his sci-fi story roots with this one. The theme here revolves around a place on some distant planet comprising two lands called Poles, separated by a river, divided by good and evil - or "positiveness and negativeness". This world is ruled by a "Generator Of Illusions", hence the Factory of Dreams title. It gets more complex, and hints tenuously at modern society's inclination to ingest what we're told as the absolute truth. That may sound somewhat over the top, but the theme does add a layer of sophistication to the record."Electric Boom" is a guitar-led piece, and showcases Flores's virtuosity on his primary instrument - rich guitar work underscored by a fat fretless bass, and only a few brief lines sung by Jessica. "Air Powerplant" is a standout - one of the simpler tracks, yet the tempo changes from elegant piano work to a huge metallic wall of sound, and with Jessica slipping in and out of an operatic style, it has an appeal of its own. "The Piano In The Sea" is another soft ballad, with piano and electronica floating above that soothing songstress. Closing track "Crossing The Bridge To The Positive Pole" ends rather abruptly, leading you to check your CD player - because surely there ought to be another song?If you're a fan of the progressive goth format of a semi-operatic soprano contrasting dark atmospherics and power-chord driven bass-heavy hard-rock, Factory Of Dreams is not Poles apart from others in the genre - but it's a pleasing listen, and has a lot going for it." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $3.00
  • 28 years is a long time for a band to stay together but that's how long Woodenhead has been playing together. They have quietly cultivated a dedicated cult following in New Orleans. Now Free Electric Sound is bringing this extraordinary quartet to a national audience. Woodenhead's music is a spicy gumbo of jazz fusion, symphonic rock and local R 'n' B flavors (sorry for the wordplay!) The group has toured the U.S. and Central America and has played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for over 20 years. The band has played with the Dixie Dregs, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea's Elektrik Band, John McLaughlin Trio, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Tuck And Patti, Hugh Masekela, Spyro Gyra, Robben Ford, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and John Mayall, and has toured with the Steve Morse Band and Allan Holdsworth."Perseverance", the band's 6th album, was recorded live in New Orleans and captures all the energy and emotional playing of a Woodenhead gig. Augmented by a horn section, the band's music comes across as a blend of the Dixie Dregs, Happy The Man, and Hot Rats-era Zappa. This is an album with broad appeal to fans of jazz rock, prog rock and even Cajun music. "At the New Orleans jazz festival, Woodenhead gets a standing ovation for teaching traditional jazz fans just how far imagination and electricity can push the form" - Esquire magazine
    $5.00
  • Trio of Alex Skolnick (Testament) on guitar, Tim Alexander (Primus) on drums, and Michael Mannring on bass. Although there is some structure to the songs they have a loose improvisational feel. Pretty uncommercial and not at all what you would have expected from a Magna Carta release.
    $9.00
  • "‘Map of the Past‘, the fifth studio album from Cumbrian prog rockers It Bites, will most likely inhabit a strange, disturbing place in your heart. It’s a release that is obscurely beautiful and tender, but also one that can occasionally sound incongruous and lost in time. Very often, when it comes to progressive music, people will often justify anything odd by defending it with its genre. In the case of It Bites, there is a temptation to lean on a sound from their 80s heyday, which occasionally makes ‘Map of the Past’ seem staid and not just a little cheesy.In places this album is a wonderful, soaring retrospect vision of a forgotten generation, built around the ‘discovery of an old family photograph’. Although not a concept album per se, ‘Map of the Past’ explores the idea of lives captured within photographs, and reflects these contemplative visions with equally thoughtful music; album opener, ‘Man In the Photograph’ opens with the fuzz of radio static and soon leads into sound of organs and John Mitchell’s recollections borne from this one picture. The song blends into the more progressive sounding fare of ‘Wallflower‘ and its indulgent synth solo. The title track is more engaging, with soaring chorus vocals and disorientating time signatures, showcasing the tight musicianship and richly mature songwriting ability that has grown from their 30 years of existence.The strength of this album falters with ‘Flag’ and its irrepressibly outdated smattering of 80s memorabilia and Sting powered vocal lines, although the lyrics are undoubtedly more engaging than any Police offshoot. The album does have a tendency to wander into these unpalatable territories, but more than often than not redeems itself; as the grandiose, irresistible flounce of ‘Send No Flowers‘ resurrects its orchestral bombast and moves into ‘Meadow and the Stream’s artistically detailed backdrop, it’s clear that this album is more rollercoaster than record. The album finishes, as it started, relying on simply constructed songs and that radio static to bookmark the end; ‘The Last Escape’ is honestly beautiful, and seems even more so in contrast to the tumult of the remainder of the record.‘Map of the Past’ shifts between temporal paradigms rather than changing between tracks; it’s a scintillating album that is honest to itself, and stays true to It Bites’ form, even if it does rely on sounds from their back backcatalogue occasionally. Despite this, the depth of the album is phenomenal and is genuinely rich in its storyline, with music that peaks and troughs fittingly. Well worth a listen if you find yourself pointed at the progosphere." - Bring The Noise
    $5.00
  • "BLACKCUBE is a French Progressive Metal band. Amongst their main influences are Symphony X, Queen, Dream Theater and Deep Purple, but they take pride in building their own musical identity, which ranges from psychedelic and relaxing moments to sections of catchy heavy-prog. Exploring many changes in time signature and arrangement, the band strives to present different moods within single tracks while preserving its substance beyond the soulessness of mere technical exhibition.Formed in 2004, BlackCube was at first dedicated to covers and went through numerous changes in its line-up. It was not until the summer of 2008 that the sextet found its current line-up when a full-time singer joined the band. The band wrote four songs at that time and went on to record them, pressing with their own money their first EP.Quickly it appeared that it was not enough for them and they went on writing a full repertoire with the purpose of not having to play covers at their concerts anymore to fill in the gaps. They wanted an entirely original setlist.Within the writing process, each of the six members of BlackCube adds his two cents. The direction is simple yet demanding: the members badly want songs they take pleasure in playing and listening to. The lyrics revolve around many different themes, including cultural, poetical, and metaphysical subjects with an inclination towards a certain form of onirism."
    $14.00
  • This is a real curious sounding band. AtomA is a Swedish trio consisting of three former members of a band called Slumber. If I could whip up a categorization for AtomA I would file these guys under "space metal". The lead singer is also the band's keyboardist. Synthesizers play a significant role in this band. The overall vibe is this epic but diffused soundscape - almost orchestra. Guitars are actually mixed down. Vocals are mainly clean with a little bit of death thrown in for accent. A totally weird hybrid of space rock, shoe gazer, post rock, and doom metal.
    $5.00
  • Following two highly successful tours with established Progressive metalists PAIN OF SALVATION and two years of exacting work, DARK SUNS have finished their third album "Grave Human Genuine.""Grave Human Genuine" – this unconventional title was chosen with care and purpose, as it represents the three characteristic elements of this work: "Grave" signifies darkness, the sinister force, and the inevitable fate. "Human" is synonymous with the music’s inherent soul-depth, while "Genuine" means "real" or "authentic" and hence refers to DARK SUNS’ uncompromising approach to music.But what about the music? DARK SUNS don’t merely pick up where the successful predecessor "Existence" (2005) left off, they present themselves as many-facetted as never before. A clear nod to Doom, complex polyrhythms, unusual and diverse instruments and, last but not least, drummer NIKO KNAPPE’s characteristic yearning vocals comprise the album’s cornerstones. The variety of sounds stretches from angular Metal riff attacks via atmospheric ambient soundscapes and Techno reminiscences to Avant-garde influences – despite this complexity, an accomplished musical mosaic of enormous expressiveness.Exciting nuances are created by the incomparable bass of Pain Of Salvation’s long-time member KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW, a friendly turn that resulted from the tours mentioned above, and DISILLUSION’s SCHMIDT’s guest vocals in "Flies In Amber."With "Grave Human Genuine," DARK SUNS have created a haunting album full of autonomy and instrumental class, self-consciously charting new musical territory. In this, the band from Leipzig embodies the essence of every true progressive band: compositional genius coupled with advancement. The dark suns radiate: gloomy, human and egregiously genuine.
    $6.00
  • "While Ki was a rambling, spacious and highly melodic trip through a futuristic world of transcendental art rock and Addicted was a sparkling, sugar-drenched turbo-riff glitter bomb, the final two parts of Townsend’s latest masterwork take both him and his legion of listeners on a far less expected and disorientating journey. Part three, Deconstruction, is arguably the most deranged, complex and extreme record that Devin has ever made. Fans of Strapping Young Lad will almost certainly feel at home with its bug-eyed maze of riffs and breathtaking dynamics. Fans of Devin’s more mellow work will have to grit their teeth and hold on for dear life."
    $5.00
  • This one is a bit of a twist for Inside Out and clearly demonstrates the influence that parent Century Media is having over the label these days. The Safety Fire are a British djent metal band. They've been around since 2006 and have developed a following touring around with similar bands like Periphery and Tesseract. For my mind Sikth did this the best but they are gone. Tesseract's releases were pretty great mainly because vocalist Dan Williams eschewed screaming for the most part. The Safety Fire is pretty much cut from the same cloth as these other bands. Lots of intricate tech metal bits through out. Your tolerance of screamo vocals will gauge how much you enjoy this band.
    $5.00
  • Excellent debut from this Venezuelan band. Echoes skirts the edge between progressive rock and metal. Clearly Dream Theater (and Rush to some degree) are an influence but the music isn't as heavy as most progressive metal bands. There are some great atmospheric parts that have more of a prog rock vibe. There are a number of guest vocalists that contribute to the album and they are all quite good. I'm surprised there isn't more of a latin influence going on - these guys could pass for a US band. I can see this easily appealing to fans of both prog rock and prog metal. Highly recommended.
    $3.00
  • Guitarist/vocalist Clay Withrow is the heart and soul behind Vangough.  He's made some fine albums in the past but this is clearly his best as you can tell that he's exerting more of his own vision.  The previous albums were fine slices of progressive metal, bu they were clearly influenced heavily by Pain Of Salvation.  While there is some of that early PoS feel, Between The Madness has more of Clay than Daniel.  Its very angst driven music - from the vocals to the grinding guitar solos.  This is one pissed off band.  Its a non-stop prog metal roller coaster ride.  BUY OR DIE!"Over the last two full-length albums leading up to this, the band’s most important release, one thing is strikingly clear: Vangough has been eating their Wheaties. Whereas the last album couldn't find its center of gravity despite merits and high replay value, "Between The Madness" bridges the gap between Vangough's left brain and right brain. Moreover, the band feels much more balanced with the addition of drummer Kyle Haws. Further, it sounds like mastermind Clay Withrow had pushed himself beyond his limits to expand the Vangough tone palate.On the “Acoustic Scars” EP, Withrow developed a vocal technique that finds full maturation on "Between The Madness:” the rage-sing. Almost a yell, but neither a scream nor a simple vocal fry and free of any pitch interference, Withrow's rage-sing makes the lyrical intent as clear as it can be. The album offers bile to many parties, lyrically, and puts the listener behind a sometimes uncomfortable but necessary first-person perspective: any other perspective simply would not do justice to the intent. Vangough has always been more effective at conveying feelings than telling stories, but never before had the songs had such a natural novel-like flow to them. All the while, Withrow peppers his versatile clean singing with elaborate layers of harmony and polyphony, making for subtly different listening experiences each time.The overall sound hasn't drastically changed, and even shows some musical nods to prior songs. In "Vaudeville Nation," a scathing condemnation of a track, a clever link is established with "Mannikin Parade" around 4:28. The main melody of the latter is re-introduced on guitars in a straight-played manner. Later in the song, a similar "Mannikin Parade" vocal melody emerges in the line "...and burn the circus to the ground," and up through the yell following it. Further, continuing the storyline started with "Road To Blighttown" on the “Acoustic Scars” EP, "Depths of Blighttown" adds a fitting dark and ominous chapter to the story.The added input from Haws and bassist Jeren Martin have made the songs seem more logical, acting as balancing forces. The drumming style of Haws is noticeably organized, nuanced, and thought-out and could be accurately categorized as a blend of the styles of Lamb of God's Chris Adler, Opeth-era Martin Lopez, and Pain of Salvation-era Johan Langell. The mixing job by Sterling Winfield is a stunning step forward for the band as well, and the drum sound is particularly remarkable for its bright, punchy, but balanced character. Lead guitarist Jay Gleason makes several shred-tastic appearances to accentuate the technicality of Vangough's instrumentation, while Justus Johnston and Jose Palacios make appearances on strings to further amplify the feeling of the songs and add a superb creep factor touching on Resident Evil levels at times.No song feels out of place or unessential, with "Infestation," "Schizophrenia," "Vaudeville Nation," "Useless," and "Corporatocracy" as highlights. The dynamic growth between “Kingdom of Ruin” and “Between The Madness” makes this album out to be Vangough's “Blackwater Park,” what many will no doubt cite as the band’s seminal record. Put simply, there has never been a better time to jump off of whatever progressive metal train you've been on and ride with Vangough. "Into the dark I take you," Withrow jabs at us. Make sure your seatbelts are securely fastened." - Metal Underground
    $11.00
  • "It is summer and it's hot in California. For the recording musician it means that air conditioners are causing problems and are generally too loud. So, the musician can either sit on their ass and do nothing or simply switch gears and record an album with sounds that are louder than the air conditioners. This is what Henning Pauly decided to do when he realized that moving on to his rock-opera "Babysteps" was not possible right now. He called up the singer of the new band of his bandmates from Chain, Transmission, in Germany and asked if he was available. Juan Roos immediately said yes to the project, but he only had a two week window and it was two weeks from that phone call. Henning loves deadlines and so he started writing to have the album written and recorded, minus vocals, within two weeks.Henning describes Juan's voice as a perfect blend between Geoff Tate and David Coverdale: "Juan can give you the high stuff, but he can also be really raspy and rocky...his voice just kicks you square in the nuts!"Because of the very limited time frame for the conception and production of "Credit where credit is due" Henning asked his proven writing team to join in when it comes to lyrics and melodies, so Matt Cash is on board again, as are Edward Heppenstall and Jason McSheehy. Several songs on the album loosely deal with the world of rockstars, scandals and getting credit for what one has done. No need, really, to point out here that everyone involved will get credit where credit is due.The music is loud, heavy and realism has been shoved behind production value on the list of priorities. Heavy Industrial Drum sounds are interspersed with acoustic sets. The banjo finds its way into metal again and sometimes you can draw clear parallels to the work of Trent Reznor and Marylin Manson. There's more to it than just that, but the production is clearly more modern than anything Henning is done so far.This CD was about having fun with music and production and it gives Henning a chance to be back in the studio and have fun doing what he loves the most...making music, not talking about it."
    $3.00
  • Third album from this superb progressive cyber-metal band from Germany. Their second album "Mirror Of Creation" was released on a small independent German label and was always difficult to track down (or keep in stock). Although well received it didn't boost the band's popularity. This disc finds them on Lion Music and it's a real winner - a futuristic sci-fi themed concept album loaded with monster crunch, laser like synths and rock solid vocals. Highest recommendation - these guys are now 3 for 3!!
    $14.00