The Breaking Of The World

A new Glass Hammer is like a universal constant.  I can always expect exemplary old school prog rock.  For an old timer like myself Glass Hammer is right in my wheelhouse.  This is their 17th studio album (amazing!) .  If you are unfamiliar with the band you should know it revolves around the core of bassist Steve Babb and keyboardist Fred Schendel.  There have been a lot of musicians through the doors of their studio over the years but somehow they always seem to find an endless supply of them.  The line up seems to be fairly stable at the moment.  Salem Hill mainman Carl Groves handles lead vocals along with Susie Bogdanowicz returning as well.  Guitars are handled by Kamran Alan Shikoh and drums by Aaron Raulston.

Glass Hammer music is a reverential amalgam of Yes, ELP, Kansas and what the hell throw in a little bit of Genesis.  Steve and Fred proudly wear their influences on their sleeves.  Want wicked keyboard pyrotechnics?  Fred brings the thunder.  In fact they all do.  The Breaking Of The World arrives with epic length tracks and audiophile quality sound.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  BUY OR DIE!

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  • 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
  • Obsidian Kingdom is a fascinating band from Barcelona that released Mantiis in 2012 in a limited run of 500 copies.  It's now picked up for worldwide distribution via Season of Mist.  This is definitely progressive metal - real boundary pushing stuff.  The band is categorized as post-metal and that is just one of the guideposts they touch on.  I hear more of a musical connection to Leprous and Arcturus.  If you are inclined towards the more avant garde side of metal you need to hear this band.  With the right push they could become massive.  Highly recommended."Cutting right to the chase, Obsidian Kingdom‘s latest release, ‘Mantiis‘ could very well be the most equivocal album I have reviewed to date. What this five piece post-metal band from Barcelona has put together with their latest genre-crossing, boundary pushing release is something few other bands can lay claim to accomplishing. I can’t even began to describe the number of different genres represented throughout this 47 minute monstrosity of an album.“Not Yet Five” is the album’s opener and starts things off with looming bass, light distortion, piano work and sporadic beeps and buzzes that all blend together to create an eerie ambiance that sets the mood for things to come. From here the album progresses forward with “Oncoming Dark” and “Through the Glass” which start off which crisp clean vocals and electric-accoustic guitar work before evolving into a wanderlust of heaviness that borders between post-metal and progressive death metal. Keyboards play on in an evil manner and when combined with chugging guitars and persistent drumming a doomsday like atmosphere forms. As the album moves forward through the short tracks, it gains in intensity through it’s evolving layers. By the time the album reaches its fourth track, “Cinnamon Balls” it has already spiraled into a dark, twisted place filled with harsh demonic vocals and djent style guitar work.A short piano interlude leads into “Answering Revealing” which brings the album full circle as clean vocals emerge as does a short but sweet return to Obsidian Kindgom‘s softer side. “Last of the Light” is where the album completely goes off of the tracks. While the beginning and end of the track are highlighted by violent vocals and double bass action, bookended between it is a several minute long section that features a classical guitar and with a very bluesy saxophone solo. You heard me right. This is without question one of if not the most unique song I have heard in years and definitely one of the most unusual combinations of instruments. From here ‘Mantiis‘ takes a stark transition to “Genteel to Mention”, a short track that opens with piano and clean vocals  that only last for a short while before the album returns right back to its doom and gloom heavier ways with the intro to “Awake Until Dawn”. The track does come to a crawl as it progresses when piano work mixed with synths present yet another unheard element to the album.‘Mantiis‘ moves forward with “Haunts of the Underworld” showcasing the best guitar work to be found on the album  and “Endless Wall”, which feels like the closest thing to a post-metal track found on the album despite the hints of more djent guitar work. Clean vocals amidst swirly ambiance make up “Fingers in Anguish” and demonic vocals and downtuned guitars return in “Ball-room”, both short tracks that barely cross over the five-minute mark combined. “Ball-Room” does a fantastic job setting the table for the closing track “And Then It Was”. Stark, aggressive drumming leads the way as everything the album has built itself up for comes to a head in this epic finale.One album I do think that compares particularly well to ‘Mantiis‘ is Crippled Black Phoenix‘s ‘Mankind, The Crafty Ape’. The two albums share many similarities in how they flow, how they use music as a journey to tell an album spanning story and also how they infuse many different genres into their sound while never delving down too far into a particular one. While CBF opted for a more psychedelic, bluesy infusion, Obsidian Kingdom chose a much darker, louder progressive death metal meets doom metal approach.While fantastic in its storytelling, the album isn’t without its shortcomings. I found myself wishing the album flowed a little bit better as some of the transitions seemed a bit awkward. There are also times where I wished the clean vocals would have had a stronger presence throughout the album as the band’s softer material is among their strongest work. Still, I can overlook these minor nuances as I continually find myself coming back to this album time and time again. ‘Mantiis‘ is one of the more captivating albums I’ve heard all year and is without question a breath of fresh air. " - PostRock Star 
    $12.00
  • 2 CD of the band's final gig. Essentially the soundtrack to the CD.
    $14.00
  • "Factory of Dreams is a project uniting multi-instrumentalist Hugo Flores and Jessica Lehto, on vocal harmonies and arrangements.Hugo Flores formed the band "Sonic Pulsar", which released two albums, 'Playing the Universe', in 2003, and 'Out of Place', in 2006. The success of the two albums further inspired Hugo to create a massive multi-album story project under the moniker "Project Creation", from which he released another two albums, 'Floating World' in 2005 and 'Dawn on Pyther' in 2007.In 2008 Hugo was once again inspired, this time by vocalist Jessica Lehto to create new music outside of the style he'd been working. In 2008, the duo released 'Poles'. It was received well critically, and they followed the success with 'A Strange Utopia', in 2009. 'Melotronical' followed in 2011.Jessica Lehto has performed on many outside projects, including recently on Beto Vazquez and Infinity's, 'Beyond Space Without Limits'. Lehto has her own project: 'Once There Was'. She's now also writing music and scripts for TV and movies."This is the kind of album that is a pleasure to experience.'Prelude' is a warning of a conceptual sci-fi future that follows the adventures of Kyra, a unique and mysterious character who holds the key to the Earth's fate. Angela Merrithew narrates the opening as Kyra, as she awakes exhausted and in distress from a dream, to a world in transition. The spacey synth sound effects are some of the best I've heard since last year's masterpiece, Atoma's 'Skylight' The rapidly increasing decibels of the pre-launch rocket sounds will take your mind out of this world. Close your eyes as you are listening to this one. It is as visual as it is an incredible aural experience.More cool spacey synths and keys, offered by Shawn Gordon as 'Strange Sounds' opens, before Jessica Lehto's beautiful soprano voice slices through the mix. Her siren calling sounds are simply ear-bending. Then piano – like keys take over along with growling lead electric guitar and pulsating drums and bass. "The stars are screaming. A storm is coming". Yes, a storm of vicious thrashing electric guitar…and it is fantastic set against Lehto's soprano. Excellent.Shawn Gordon is back to add some more very cool spacey synths as 'Escaping the Nightmare' opens slowly. Then Lehto's voice returns with male vocal support from Flores. The amount of spacey electric guitar solos flying around the soundscape will amaze you.'Angel Tears' opens with piano – like keys and Raquel Schüler on lead vocals. It is a soft song, full of emotion. "Kyra I wanna be with you. Kyra please let me through. Kyra share your dreams with me. Kyra don't shut me out", as destruction across the planet fills the storyline. Power keys, flashing electric guitar licks, heavy bass and drums overwhelm. Mark Ashby provides narration, as Kyra's boyfriend, as the two drive out of the destruction of the collapsing city to the seashore ahead.Nathan Ashby, as the child, opens 'Seashore Dreams' with story narration. Then, Tadashi Goto provides some awesome synth solos. Later Lyris Hung provides expert violin dashes which will be remembered long after the album completes. All this excellent music while Lehto's dream-like voice soars over the soundscape.'Dark Season' opens slowly with excellent synths before slowly growing drum pulses turn into full blown thunder. Magali Luyten's vocals provide a dark and powerful magic to this track.'Sound War' is full of brilliant keys at the opening, before piano like keys take over. Lehto's voice races to catch up to the keys fleetingly dancing across the soundscape as crushing bass, drums and grinding lead electric guitar roar forward.'Hope Garden' offers some of Chris Brown's guest slicing electric lead guitar soloing. Lehto's voice is consistently brilliant as she continues to deliver the spacey storyline. The thundering bass, drums and Brown's electric lead will make this track memorable long after the disc finishes."Show me the way to your mind" from the soft and beautiful voice of Lehto, as Chris Brown's roaring electric guitar solos and Tadashi Goto's synth solos electrify 'Traveling'. "Childhood memories. Hidden and now awaken. Reaching the deep corners of Space. Entering the realm of the Star's Mind..." Yes!'The Neutron Star' is full of Chris Brown's power electric guitar grinding, while Lyris Hung provides soft violin to balance the sound as Lehto and Flores help provide the continuing storyline and vocal effects.Mark Ashby returns to narrate the opening of 'Join Us Into Sound', as Tadashi Goto provides stellar synth solos, while the rushing electric lead guitar, bass, and pounding drums deliver their consistent rhythm.'Playing the Universe' closes the album with soft and dramatic accelerating keys that are some of the best on the album. Then the lead electric guitar explodes as the bass and drums build a powerful wall of sound surrounding the soft flute like keys in the middle. Lehto's siren – like vocals call you from the center of the mix as those electric riffs cut and bend all around you. Nice effect. ;^)This is an album filled with great music and excellent female lead vocalists. The storyline is interesting and the lyrical development is well conceived. Definitely an album you will want to experience with headphones in the comfort of your easy chair…with your eyes closed. Venefica Luna's artwork is simply out of this world. Some of the best I've seen since the 'Master', Ed Unitsky. Let the story unfold as you bask in the glow of the surrounding soundscape." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $3.00
  • Remastered edition with one bonus track."With Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, and Neal Schon leading Journey once again, and bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith behind them, it would seem that Trial by Fire would contain the same elements that gave them their stardom in the '80s. Disappointingly, though, there is nothing captivating or even the least bit attractive about this unimaginative release. Perry's singing hasn't lost too much of its power, but the faster tunes come off as contrived and messy. Sounding hard and scattered, the smoothness of their trademarked music is nowhere to be found, replaced with brash, beat-up, hollow rock riffs. The ballads fare no better, as the passion that once flourished within the band when it came to slowing things down has long since faded. Just the fact that Journey reunited may lure fans to this album, but it won't be long before the discontentment begins set in." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Machine Men is a group of young Finnish men (all in their early 20’s) playing traditional melodic heavy metal. The band formed in 1998, and after some demo activity, finally recorded their debut album, Scars & Wounds in 2002 on Dynamic Arts Records in Finland. Earlier this year, Machine Men signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records. That brings us to the present, which sees Machine Men released their sophomore album, Elegies.Although they are from Finland, Machine Men have not followed the easy path of becoming another Stratovarius / Sonata Arctica clone. Instead, the band has chosen a more traditional metal flavor for its sound. A very obvious Iron Maiden influence flows through the entire album, yet the production gives the album a feeling more similar to Bruce Dickinson’s recent solo albums. Anthony, Machine Men’s lead vocalist sounds like Dickinson’s twin brother more than just a few times on this album. He doesn’t possess quite the range or power as the “Air-Raid Siren” himself, but Anthony is certainly an excellent vocalist that is perfect for this band. Just to make the Iron Maiden / Bruce Dickinson comparison more complete, I’ll point out that Machine Men (the band’s name) is also a song title from Dickinson’s Chemical Wedding album. That’s not all, check out the last track of Elegies. Yes, that version of Freak is a cover of the opening track of Accident of Birth!Well, after what you’ve read up to this point, you can surely guess that this album is not exactly original or groundbreaking. True. However, Elegies is an excellent album, proving that the band is great at what they do, and able to create songs that have a definite lasting value. Aside from the outstanding Dickinson vocal performance, strong guitar work is a key ingredient to the band’s music. Of course, the band loves to employ lots of dual leads and classy guitar solos. The rhythms forge ahead with a force and heaviness very similar to the heavier side of Accident of Birth. However, songs such as October and From Sunrise to Sunset see the band delve into slow and mid tempo territory, and they pull it off quite well. The guitar work is still crunchy and authoritative in both instances, which gives the songs a sense of urgency despite their slower approach. All around, the guitar sound is heavy, not sounding at all like a retro tribute to Iron Maiden. As I said earlier, the guitar sound is has a tone similar to Bruce Dickinson’s solo about, but technically executed in a way very similar to classic Iron Maiden. Having said that, Machine Men make no secret to hide their chief influences, yet they are able to add their own touch, and thus create an inspired and personal sounding album. Before I know it, 45 minutes is up, and the album comes to a close. That can only be considered a good thing, I suppose. Each of the songs is a keeper, no filler on this album at all. The guys add a nice, but not overpowering melodic quality to their music. A very nice balance is struck between heaviness, vocal prowess, and catchy, melodic parts. This all adds up to produce an album with lasting power that is sure to please. Although the Iron Maiden / Bruce Dickinson influence is inescapable, Machine Men are able to add just enough of their own touch to the music. Furthermore, the guys are just great songwriters.I hadn’t heard of this band before, but Elegies is enough for me to become a fan of Machine Men. This is the type of album that can easily stay in your listening rotation for weeks at a time and not get old. Obviously, fans of Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson’s solo work should check this album out. These guys certainly provide another dimension to the Finnish metal scene. As long as the guys keep coming up with quality songs and consistent albums such as Elegies, there’s no reason not to expect them to have a successful career." - Metal Reviews
    $4.00
  • With new kid on the block, Mike Mangini, fully assimilated into the group, Dream Theater has come up with a stunning new album.  Expect nothing less than full on prog (with a nice tip of the cap to Rush in spots). Enigma Machine may be the best instrumental piece they've cooked up yet.  Highly recommended.This is the CD/DVD deluxe edition.  It arrives in an embossed digipak with expanded artwork from Hugh Syme.  More importantly, the DVD contains a 5.1 mix of the album. 
    $19.00
  • New album from UK melodic prog metal kings. This time around they play up the prog aspect offering 7 epic tracks.
    $12.00
  • The band's first album from 1974. At this point in time the music was this miasa of progressive rock and blues jams held together with pure emotion and raw energy. This one definitely needed to be cleaned up on CD since the original vinyl pressing was terrible.
    $14.00
  • "Next To None is the band of four young guys that are from Lehigh Vallay in Pennsylvania. Their names? Max Portnoy (d), Thomas Cuce (key/v), Ryland Holland (g) and Kris Rank (b). Portnoy, Portnoy, Portnoy? Yes, Max is the son of Mike Portnoy who some of you know from his time at Dream Theater or many other projects.The boys began already at the age of 12 and 13 to write own music. Additionally they also could gain already some live experience by being on tour with Adrenaline Mob and The Winery Dogs.The music of Next To None has many influences. There is the harder stuff that Max brings in and on the other hand the classic rock component that comes via Holland. The result is an interesting metal cocktail that is very entertaining.The diversity of sound comes back in songs like the melodic "Runaway" which is a straight-forward one. It includes a heavy riff, but also a keyboard-based middle part that give the tune a slightly new expression.The opener "The edge of sanity" instead is an nine minutes long epos that start with pouring rain, thunder and a chiming bell. It builds up to an dark prog metal track that reminds to Dream Theater not a big surprise. Their are two more of those extraordinary long tracks on "A light in the dark". "Control" is another nine minute long tune while the closer "Blood on my hands" is with eight minutes a bit shorter. Also those two numbers are more complex prog metal that shows the musical quality of the guys.Next to these extralong tracks it's the different influences that enables Next To None to numbers like "You are not me" too. Here we are talking about a raging metal track with a brutal verse. The chorus is more melodic, however, it is one of the heaviest tunes on the album. And it still fits into the context.But it also shows the wide vocal range of singer Thomas Cuce. He can handle the angry screams like on the before mentioned track as well as some soulful vocals that are need for e.g. "A lonely walk". The classic rock influences are very present in this song and I had to think about the good old Rainbow times. Cool stuff.There are maybe a few smaller parts that sound a bit unfinished but it's amazing how far the four guys got already. Still being in their teenage days the boys write already excellent songs and their musical talent is amazing. If these guys continue we can expect something very special for the coming years.These boys did a great album that has for sure a 'Wow'-factor." - Markus' Heavy Music Blog
    $13.00
  • "With a well-received studio album in the form of “The First Day” issued in summer 1993, Sylvian/Fripp took to the road for a lengthy tour to support the release. Trey Gunn reprised his role from the earlier tour and studio recordings as stick player, while Pat Mastelotto joined the group on drums, a position which led to his being offered a role in the 1990s King Crimson, a band in which he has remained a member of every line-up since. Producer and recordings artist Michael Brook completed the touring ensemble.“Damage” was recorded at the final London concerts in December 1993 and issued in 1994. Whereas the studio album had a measured grace and power, the live album was even more muscular on the rock pieces, drawing some extraordinary performances from all contributors. This made the contrast with the quieter, more ambient material even more pronounced, with audiences able to hear every nuance of the material. David Sylvian had rarely sounded better or more comfortable in a live setting. Robert Fripp provided some of his most blistering solos. Songs from the recent studio album were featured as were fan favourites from David’s solo albums and Rain Tree Crow, alongside one new song “The First Day”.Initially released as a limited edition in 1994, the album quickly sold out and became a highly sought after recording. The album was remixed by David Sylvian and issued in 2001 with a slightly altered track-listing and running order.It is this second edition of the album that is now being reissued.""Damage is derived from the closing shows of the 1993 Road to Graceland tour, which heralded the collaborative reunion of King Crimson's Robert Fripp (guitar) with David Sylvian (guitar/keyboards/vocals), the former leader of Japan. This hour-plus set finds Sylvian in tremendous voice and Fripp sonically enveloping spaces and respecting silences in a bout of well-manicured fretwork. The pair is augmented by soon-to-be Krim members Pat Mastelotto (drums) and Trey Gunn (Chapman stick/vocals) as well as former Martha & the Muffins axeman Michael Brook (guitar). The contrast in styles from Fripp's ethereal Soundscapes and edgy guitar inflections to Sylvian's smoother and refined demeanor is reminiscent of Brian Eno's early collaborations with Roxy Music. The fact that both know how to manipulate the spaces between the notes unites them further. Damage is full of those moments; so many, in fact, it is amazing that Fripp and Sylvian do not make the time to work together more often. "Firepower" contains a premier example of exactly how each craftsman is able to compliment the other. Fripp's extended solos at the end of the piece are definitive and singularly his own, yet the context in which he approaches his role as soloist yields an overwhelmingly palpable symbiosis between music and musician(s). Likewise, listeners who consider Fripp a calculated and overtly technical guitarist might be shocked by his cerebrally funky additions to tracks such as "God's Monkey" and "20th Century Dreaming (A Shaman's Song)." The syncopated nature of the melodies allows for a great deal of interplay and collaboration between Gunn and Mastelotto -- a trait they'd further incorporate into the mid-'90s version of King Crimson." - Allmusic
    $9.00
  • "US band ODIN'S COURT have been around ever since 2001, with a good handful of productions to their name so far, and in terms of full length albums they have released six of them so far. Their most recent one, "The Warmth of Mediocrity", was issued through US label The RecordLabel.net's Progrock Records division towards the end of 2013.While this is a full length album, I guess the majority would really sort this one as a compilation rather than a bonafide studio disc, as the greater majority of the songs have been pulled from old releases. But as these songs have been both remixed and to some extent remade as well, due to the addition of Dimetrius LaFavors as lead vocalist, this really is a new album even if much of the material have been available in other versions previously.As far as style is concerned, Odin's Court is among those bands that venture back and forth across the border between the rock and metal part of the progressive universe, although the main emphasis appears to be on the latter of these. They explore, at least in recent years, a brand of progressive metal that explore the contrasts between grimy, gnarly dark toned guitar riff constructions and light toned, subtly exotic sounding keyboard textures, with ample room for movements of a more careful nature to alternate between the harder edged and more intense ones. The piano is employed for an additional delicate touch on several occasions, and what I presume to be digitally crafted orchestral backings also have their place in the material of this band. The dulcimer is also used to good effects to convey effects of a more careful nature within this landscape.From what I can recall of their older material, it would appear that their new vocalist is a good addition to this band. There are still some issues with the vocals however. That there are songs here not written with the new vocalist and his particular voice in mind is a fact, and that some of the vocal parts comes across as somewhat odd in structure and execution both is a detrimental detail at times. As is the band's slight tendency to hit off in a dramatic, technically oriented run with quirky staccato riff bursts in asynchronous patterns, although this latter aspect probably has more to do with personal taste and not quite as much to do with stylistic expression and structure as such.Personally I found the band to be most interesting when exploring territories of a more regular nature, with the remade version of Utopian Rust and the following instrumental Paradise Lost: Chapter 1 to be clear album highlights. The former a fairly traditional progressive metal creation sporting a fairly smooth, dark toned guitar riff and a fairly predictable but effective keyboard contrast as the dominant elements, with compelling harmony based guitar soloing and a nifty bass motif beneath that fits this song in this guise very well indeed. The latter of these two songs appears to be a case of progressive metal inspired by classical music, using orchestral details to supplement the guitars and organ that otherwise sets the mood and atmosphere. Opening and title track The Warmth of Mediocrity also warrants a mention, and again we're dealing with a more common variety of progressive metal with strong and distinct contrasts between guitar riffs and keyboards, majestic themes and a harmony based song in general expression and instrumental solo runs both.All in all a somewhat uneven production as far as I'm concerned, where the most experimental numbers also comes across as the least inspired of the lot. But when Odin's Court starts exploring a more common and predictable variety of progressive metal, then they are going strong with all cylinders firing in a fitting, majestic manner. A band and an album worth taking a look at if you're curious of a band that are at their best exploring traditional progressive metal Dream Theater style, while also having a go at assembling compositions of a more challenging nature that may not be quite as appealing - all of this very much depending on personal taste admittedly." - ProgArchives
    $3.00
  • Second album from this post-Santana lineup is a bit more commercial than the debut but there are still progressive overtones. Neil Schon shines again.
    $5.00
  • Third album from this talented Ohio based band arrives with some twists. They have enlisted Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals (kind of a wild card pick) and there is a definite Christian slant to the lyrics. My tolerance for bible thumpin' is pretty low. Syzygy comes close to the threshold but don't cross it - I guess because the music is so strong. The linchpin of the band is guitarist Carl Baldassarre who continues to be quite tasteful. He can get crunchy and heavy but displays roots in classical guitar. Have no fear - there is plenty of instrumental symphonic rock firepower as in the past. Oh yeah lots of tuneage here - over 77 minutes.
    $13.00