Big Red Dragon

"I can't wait. I should have reviewed other albums before this but it's the first thing that I listen from this artist and I wasn't expecting anything like this. Symphonic orchestral arrangements on melodic bases and a concept behind. I'm not expert in William Blake's poetry but this album has made me curious.
The introduction "William" is a symphonic piece of beauty with a guitar of the "not a misplaced note" kind, like Andy Latimer is used to do, some "mute" vocals and a very nice melody. A stunning surprise.

"Angel Of The Revelation" starts with electronics and piano, then vocals and a proper song starts. The high pitched voice of Sophya joined in a choir by whom? Maybe Sonja Kristina who features in the guests? The guests list is another thing to check. This is a progressive track as I think people usually intends "progressive": sung parts alternated with instrumentals, structured as a suite with different movements and recurring themes. And all in 4 minutes and half.

"Satan" has an obsessive rhythm and has the theathrical flavor of a rock opera. The electronics behind have a vintage sound but is remarkable the dialogue between guitar and piano before the last sung part and the coda. Another great song.

"Love Of Hecate" Is a slow waltz. It's folky and theathrical in the same time, with excellent vocals again. The signature changes in the chorus. It's still a 3/4 (almost) but the tempo is accelerated. Vocals like in Mozart's magic flute are replaced by a cymbal, then piano and vocals. Another very complex and "circular" song.

Percussive piano and bass with water sounds to start "La Porta Dell'Inferno". This is a little mistake: it's taken from Dante's Comedy, but the door should lead to the "anti-inferno". The first lyrics are taken from Dante, then the man talking leaves the Dante's book to give a different view of the hell's entrance. "Here nothing grows because nothing dies". Another great song with the music perfectly fitting with the concept. The violins support the whole track, choirs, a stupendous coda... Great.

After a track like the previous one staying on the same level is very difficult, so the style changes totally. "The Number" is a rock song. Of course the number is 666. It starts hard rock, but with no relations with Iron Maiden, and the rock screamed part is alternated to more quiet and symphonic interludes. The organ is excellent, neither Emerson nor Wakeman, the sound reminds me more to Vitalij Kuprij (Artension).

"Just" is opened by percussion, piano and cello. The theme recalls "La Porta Dell'Inferno" but the vocals take a different direction. The song's intro, before the male singing, makes me think to the Russian Iamthemorning, mainly because of the instruments used. However, after 2 minutes the song changes drastically. The impression is still of a rock opera. Remove the metal element from Ayreon and add more symphonics to have an idea. The vocals here are more operatic. Not enough to think to Zeuhl, but enough to enhance the track. Great guitar solo in a Van Halen style which slows down and closes Floydian before the last sung reprise.

"Cerberus" is the three-headed infernal dog. Keyboard and strings introduce the song which reprises the chords of the main theme. It's on this song that I'm almost sure Sonja Kristina is singing. I don't know it for sure because I have received a download link from Blackwidow records and I haven't seen the notes on the CD. This is a very dark song on which the rock-opera factor is very relevant. I want to add the the most I listen to this album the most I'm surprised. It's surely one of the best albums I've listened to during all the 2013.

"While He's Sleeping" starts in a weird way respect to the symphonic mood of the previous tracks. It's still classically influenced but has a touch of Canterbury, especially in the melody. Not an easy track, but very enjoyable.

Back to full orchestra and theatrical suggestions. "Au Matin Du Premier Jour" (At the morning of the first day) is sung in French by a man who sounds like the chansonniers of the end 50s / early 60s. French and operatic don't mean Magma, but this song has a Zeuhl flavor in the instrumental parts.

"Beatrice" brings us back to Dante's Comedy. To Paradise now. Her character would deserve some words but this would lead us off topic. Of course there's less darkness now. Piano and ethereal voice for a very melodic song. A Sophya's solo performance and let me add that the sequence of chords deserves a mention. There's plenty of good passages. excellent also from the composition point of view.

We are now at the title track. Full orchestra and voice plus some electronics behind. It starts like a symphony and turns into rock. I don't know who's the male singer but his voice is incredible. The mood is still of a rock opera I'm finishing the words...

The album is closed by a cover. "Jerusalem" has been played and recorded by the likes of Vangelis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Par Lindh Project for what I remember. Well, I must say that it's probably the best version that I've heard up to now. It's a new interpretation when the one from Par Lindh was an ELP clone.

A masterpiece, amazing because unexpected. How can an artist that I've never heard before have done a thing like this? Symphonic proggers and RPI fans will surely agree with me, but there's so many stuff in this album. It will stay in my portable reader for a very long time, I think." - ProgArchives

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • The Journey Continues!"To Travel For Evermore," the second album from the Danish metal band Wuthering Heights, is the sequel to their celebrated debut "Within". This second part of a projected musical trilogy finds the band with a new and stronger lineup. Main composer/guitarist Erik Ravn is reunited with ex-Tad Morose vocalist Kristen Andren but the lineup now also includes Time Machine bassist Lorenzo Deho and guitarist Henrik Flymann of Zool. With twin lead guitars the band has expanded their musical vision to encompass neoclassical metal as well as symphonic speed metal. Wuthering Heights will appeal to fans of Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, Angra and Yngwie Malmsteen. The album was produced by Tommy Hansen who cut his teeth producing Helloween, Pretty Maids, and Iron Fire.
    $5.00
  • "The new Echolyn The End is beautiful is a far cry from the absolutely fantastic As The World which still is one of my favorite Echolyn albums! That said, they´re most certainly progressive in the truest sense of the word. As this album steers towards new areas. And YES it is brilliant! This my friend is a top notch album of the highest order!The music is excellent as always. They still have the complexity in their arrangements and individually they deliver the goods! But...and there is a but....you have to wait till track #6 "So Ready" to get some of their trademark Gentle Giant-like vocal arrangements. And therein my dear prog friends the problem lies. We have come to expect some fine complicated vocals arrangements. Now they're almost gone. Brett Kull & Ray Weston used to deliver the excellent lead vocals with the rest of these wonderful musicians following on superb second vocal harmonies.And they still do, that is, deliver the vocals...but somehow its not the Echolyn of yesterday! On the other hand, this is about progressive music and as such they still are, this great US band with superb arrangements and a brilliant mind for new thinking in this musical world we adore and love! "Misery, Not Memory" is the track that comes closest to that of the former Echolyn –ideology...with traces of Gentle Giant contra-point music style.Overall I must say that I love this album (my favorite still is As The World) for the sheer power and exuberance in fabulous ideas and musical brilliance. And oh....they dare....they dare go a step further...which is what this is all about: progression!So if you are new to these guys, get the first one (just out in a fine new package...with bonus) then work your way up till this one! Echolyn, a fine US prog band that always deliver! If you are a true prog fan then this album should be on your want list! Yeah, I am calling your prog loyality into question! This is a killer album! Make no mistake! This one goes to prog history!" - Prog Planet
    $11.00
  • "Downtime doesn’t appear to be in this Swedish traditional group’s mindset, at least in this point of their career. Striking while the iron’s hot from their 2011 Heads Will Roll debut and touring with the legendary Lizzy Borden across mainland Europe, the quintet from Gothenburg set about writing the follow up, Storms of War rather quickly. With King Diamond guitarist Andy Larocque behind the production chair, Storms of War will either make Katana another worthy Swedish contender to the Wolf/Enforcer new brigade throne or may cast them into the land of bargain bins forevermore.The opening salvo of riff peeling from guitarists Patrik Essen and Tobias Karlsson on “Reaper” rivals the best 80’s Judas Priest with Accept for good measure- and the trade-off solos are pure ecstasy for all air guitarists worldwide. Sometimes the reference points get a tad obvious: Iron Maiden on “Wrath of the Emerald Witch,” Loudness on “The Samurai Returns,” but Anders Persson’s poised drumming and the multi-octave, high-octane melodies from Johan Bernspang more than make up for any similarities.Bernspang even shows off a lighter, lower playful side to his voice ala Bruce Dickinson during the shorter, gallop-worthy “City on the Edge of Forever.” The swirling wind effects and a slow moving bass line signal the start of the eight-minute epic “In the Land of the Sun,” the verse melody mirroring the open clean plucking before the tempo moves upward and you feel like you are experiencing another NWOBHM journey with a series of Egyptian point-counterpoint guitar refrains. And how about the Omen up and down guitar harmonies throughout “Modesty Blaise” circa Warning Of Danger?Since Iron Maiden feel that their fans desire more progressive rock-length arrangements over the classics they rendered on the first seven studio albums, Katana could fit that missing niche in your collection with Storms of War. Thank you gentlemen for bringing me back to my teenage years with this one. " - Blistering,com
    $14.00
  • Yet another one to file away under the "I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime" category. NTSC Region 0 DVD of the live appearance by these Polish symphonic rock legends at Rockin' Jamboree '80. The DVD also contains videoclips of various appearances on Polish television as well as a video clip by Madmax - a band put together by four of the members after Exodus broke up. As a bonus there are some audio tracks taken from The Most Beautiful Day and Supernova. Make sure you don't mistake this for the thrash band from California or you will be in for a real surprise.
    $18.00
  • "Annysia is a Symphonic Power Metal band from Spain, led by lead vocalist, Rose Mack. The obligatory instrumental, The Essence Of A New Born Star is a well written one, that builds up tension in the beginning of the disc much like a movie soundtrack to an epic battle movie. The operatic stylings of Mack can be heard immediately over a harpischord-laden keyboard effect before the rest of the band kicks in. She definitely has a style of her own, and the music behind her is well played. The highest range of her vocals on this song, show her range, though I think an octave lower is more in her power range. The guitar solo on the other hand sounds out of place, but it may be the production of the song,. Nephilim starts out much in the same vein, though the vocals during the verses are a little more subdued and similar to Liv Kristine in Leave's Eyes. The growly/black metal vocals on this particular song don't do much for me here. The brief but arppegio-laden guitar solo is again well played, and a better fit here. Battle of Mystics is the first track I heard from the band, and honestly the vocal gymnastics in the beginning and during parts of the song, show Mack's talent, but they are done a little too much for my taste, though the song itself is very good. Actually musically this is probably my favorite track on the disc Demontia is a track I could not get into, but musically is not a bad song. Fairysins though, features Mack and a soft piano. Her vocals on this song shows her unique tone, and her wheelhouse when it comes to her range. This song is actually quite beautiful. The epic-ness of Valkyrie is not just in its almost nine minute length, but the music as well. Mack commands her range throughout the entire song, and the twin guitar lead melody is well played. I am not sure if I like the lead tone of the guitar that much, its a little fuzzy for my taste, but the musicianship is definitely there. The previously mentioned death/black metal vocals make an appearance here, and again does nothing for me except take away from Mack's solid performance.Again the fuzzy guitar tone comes back on the beginning of Redemption though when it meshes with the symphonic parts it does not sound as bad. Straying from her operatic range for most the song, Mack shows that she can again, subdue her range, even on a much faster song. The ability for her to sing like this, without her sounding like she is singing in a monotone is a compliment to her abilities. Lost Soul is another piano song, showing the sweeping vocals of Mack. The expression “Less is more,” best explains her vocals on this song, and it was definitely the right call. The instrumental of Captain's Song shows her bandmates definitely have talent themselves, and it is a pretty damn good instrumental. Another standout song is the mid paced, Pirates Of The Sea. The male operatic vocals are too low in the mix to be heard clear enough, though they are much better than the “Blackened” ones of earlier. Nivek is next, and is another epic song in its song structure. For the seven minutes it runs, it pretty much hits all the right marks. With headphones on though, Mack's vocals could have been produced a little better,and be heard a little louder. Much like the disc begins, it ends with an instrumental track, an outro.While the imperfections do come to head when you hear the disc as a whole, Annysia's debut is actually a well written, if only inconsistently produced disc. The disc does have its highs, with strong songwriting and Mack's powerhouse vocals. I do believe in some songs, the band is trying to be as epic as possibly when possibly a little more restrain could have been used. Again most of this criticism is personal opinion, and every listener will have their own opinion. As a whole, this is a great start for a new band, who is obviously full of talented musicians. Let us hope for a label to find the band, and for stronger production values next time." - Metal Review
    $13.00
  • "Female fronted Symphonic Power Metal band AMBERIAN DAWN return with their new album “Magic Forest” on Napalm Records. Female fronted bands have always been a target for hate in the Metal community, but it’s nice to hear this powerful and lovely voice!The only way I can think to describe this band is imagine Children of Bodom, put a girl in front and make it Power Metal instead of Death Metal. Capri’s vocals are both beautiful and chilling throughout the entire album. These are over some strong instrumentals with a bunch of incredible guitar and keyboard solos, AMBERIAN DAWN bring Power Metal to a whole new galaxy!As much as I’d like to talk about and praise each and every song on this album for you, there is one main song that sticks out the most. “I’m Still Here” is the perfect song to show what AMBERIAN DAWN bring, catchy vocals, insane but not over the top instrumentals and a wicked keyboard to guitar solo. If there is any song to look up to decide if you are going to like this band or album this is it right here.“Magic Forest” is absolutely killer, if you’re not one of those people who hates female fronted bands without rhyme or reason. Symphonic Power Metal is a rare treat and it gets even better when you find an astounding band that does it right!" - Metal Temple 
    $13.00
  • Second album from Silent Force guitarist Alex Beyrodt continues to successfully mine the 70s hard rock sounds. With the great David Readman out front, Voodoo Circle sounds remarkably like Burn-era Deep Purple and late 70s Rainbow. Beyrodt takes more of a Malmsteen approach with crazy fast sweeps but a bit of Blackmore trickles in there. Funny how much this sounds like a 70s disc. I have a soft spot for this kind of stuff. Recommended to like minded individuals.
    $15.00
  • Gorgeous acoustic prog effort.
    $10.00
  • In recent times there has been very little new music coming from the Magma camp.  "Slag Tanz" is a new composition that the band has been performing and its finally been recorded in the studio.  Its got the classic Magma sound and if you are a zeuhl fan this is indispensable.Funny that their new label is referring to this as jazz metal.  Perhaps they should try a different marketing ploy."Powerful, hypnotic, unclassifiable, incomparables. MAGMA are in a class of their own. Finally, music to set the cat among the pigeons... Magma are the dynamite that will explode the conventions of a music scene that is becoming rather too self-satisfied with its own beauty... Magma are unlike anything that has gone before...So people were saying in 1970.In 2015, nearly half a century later, this is truer than ever and the new mini-album Slag Tanz (pronounced schlag tanz), this veritable symphony of jazz metal that has erupted from nowhere, radiates with all Magma s singular intensity!"Slünd AImëhntösz - Alerte ! (2:19)Slag (3:03)Dümb (2:57)Vers la nuit (3:30)Slünd BDümblaë - Le silence des mondes (2:58)Zü Zaïn ! (2:16)Slag Tanz (2:29)Wohldünt (1:23)Lyrics & Music : Christian VanderStella VANDER : voiceIsabelle FEUILLEBOIS : voiceHervé AKNIN : voiceBenoît ALZIARY : vibraphoneJames MAC GAW : guitarJérémie TERNOY : pianoPhilippe BUSSONNET : bassChristian VANDER : drums, piano, voice on "Wohldünt"Recorded and mixed between september 2013 and september 2014 at UZ Studio by Francis LINON
    $13.00
  • The Swedes seem to love their retro 70s music and Three Seasons serves it up hot and heavy.  This guitar/bass/drums trio harken back to the early days of the British psychedelic scene.  You will be reminded of Cream, Incredible Hog,and Leafhound.  When the organ kicks in you'll harken back to days of yore when the mighty Heep, Purple, and Lucifer's Friend prowled the countryside looking for victims.  You could be next!
    $15.00
  • First new studio album in many years is a winner. In typical Schulze fashion the disc consists of four epic length compositions. This is a more modern sounding KS - plenty of sampled sounds can be found here - but at the same time it harkens back to some of his work in the 70s. There is a rhythmic, percussive intensity to the music that is a driving force a la Dune. In fact KS plays the Mini-Moog for the first time on a studio recording (who would have figured?). While his output can be uneven at times this one comes across as a solid disc.
    $15.00
  • "2012 Blu-Ray live release. The Tea Party is a Canadian rock band with blues, progressive rock, Indian and Middle Eastern influences, dubbed "Moroccan roll" by the media. Active throughout the 1990s up until 2005 when the band broke up, The Tea Party released eight albums on EMI Music Canada, selling 2 million records worldwide, and achieving a #1 Canadian single "Heaven Coming Down" in 1999. The Tea Party toured Canada on twenty-one occasions and Australia on twelve. In November 2002, The Tea Party toured Canada with symphony orchestras reinterpreting a decade's worth of shared songwriting. The band broke up in 2005 due to creative differences, but re-united in 2011 to play several Canadian tour dates during the summer. During the tour it was decided to continue and the band has now reformed. Live From Australia: The Reformation Tour was recorded in 2012 during The Tea Party's Australian tour and showcases the band bursting with renewed energy."
    $17.00
  • "Filmed live July 9th, 2009 at the Masters Of Rock Festival in Czech Republic, in front of over 50.000 people, One Live is Shaman’s ultimate live experience. The band’s latest DVD release shows the band play songs with the Philarmonic Orchestra of Prague. Included in the DVD there is also a documentary depicting some candid moments in the band’s touring life, shot during the entire European tour of the same year. "
    $14.00