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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  • 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
  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a remastered edition of the 1979 album by the Canadian Progressive Rock group FM, Surveillance . The band began life in 1976 with CAMERON HAWKINS (Synthesisers, Bass, Vocals) and NASH THE SLASH (Jeff Plewman) (Electric Violin, Mandolin, Vocals) coming together as a duo, making an appearance on national TV in Canada in the Summer of 1976. By March 1977 FM became a trio with the addition of MARTIN DELLAR on Drums. The band s debut album followed. By the end of the year Nash the Slash had been replaced by BEN MINK on Electric Violin and Mandolin. Surveillance was the third album by the band, released in 1979, and was a hit of the Progressive Rock genre in the USA and Canada. This Esoteric Recordings release is the first time Surveillance has been issued in Europe and has been newly remastered and includes an illustrated booklet and a new essay."
    $17.00
  • Now here's an album that kicks ass from start to finish. Easily going to be one of my favorite discs of the year. Venturia is a new French progressive metal band put together by guitarist Charly Sahona along with drummer Diego Rapacchietti. Charly found this incredible vocalist from New York named Marc Ferreira and paired him with Lydie Robin the band's female vocalist who primarily sings back up as well as the ocassional lead. Adagio's Kevin Codfert guests as the keyboardist. The New Kingdom is an impressive mix of phenomenal chops, infectious melodies and complexity. The closest comparison I can think of is Arabesque. A tune like "Words Of Silence" crushes but at the same time it's hook laden and will stay with you for days. Lydie Robin has a breathy gorgeous voice that works blends well with Ferreira. Venturia are to be applauded - they drew from a variety of different inspirations and put together something really fresh. Highest recommendation - I love this disc. Top 10 candidate.
    $14.00
  • AOR/Melodic metal fans will drop dead when they hear this killing album. Cornerstone consists of Royal Hunt's Steen Mogensen and former Rainbow vocalist Dougie White helped out by an array of musicians including RH's mainman Andre Andersen. No surprises here - it really does sound like a cross between Rainbow and Royal Hunt.
    $12.00
  • "Kalevala's debut album People No Names, from 1972, is not only one of the rarest but also one of the most remarkable Finnish Progressive Rock albums. This official reissue presents the album in its original gatefold jacket and adds unseen photos, a poster and a new interview with vocalist Harri Saksala into the package. Mastered for vinyl from the original masters by Orgone Studios.""Kalevala was founded in 1969 by bassist Juha 'Lido' Salonen. The band's early line-up sported such would-be icons of no-nonsense Finnish rock as guitarist Albert Jarvinen and drummer Remu Aaltonen, and that's pretty much what their early material was, straight-ahead and aggressive guitar rock. Some of the songs on People No Names are closer to psychedelic than progressive rock in that they are still essentially grounded in the blues scale, especially during the vocal sections, but feature some compositional sophistication beyond the scope of ordinary rock music and long guitar solos over repetitive instrumental vamps."
    $27.00
  • 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
  • "What are we going to do with Angra? I don't really enjoy their early material that much – sure it's very well written, and technically sound at that, but it has not yet engaged me and the vocals of then-frontman Matos rub me the wrong way. Temple of Shadows was good but held back by a lot of things that made it hard to listen to all the way through – for instance, it was fruity as hell, and overloaded with too many ideas. Aurora Consurgens fixed those problems and delivered a great album of modernized power metal. But I still thought they could do better...and hence, Aqua.This album is just really awesome. It's proggy and dense – much more so than anything else they've ever done. This is not the kind of album that you would expect after hearing Temple of Shadows alone, and for that I think this is getting a lot of unwarranted bad press from the metal community. In reality this is the sound they seem to have been shooting for all along. Where on Temple they just tossed random elements into a melting pot and hoped it came out with some good hooks – succeeding only half the time – on Aqua, they condense their rumbling guitars, folksy melodies and epic vocal lines into full-throttle progressive metal without any apologies.The restraint on this album is just maddening, as when you think the song might explode into a high-flying chorus or screaming climax...it doesn't. And that's what's so good about it – they've managed to construct a bunch of tunes that never go for the obvious hook, rather choosing to try for a new twist – most of the time it works really well. Edu Falaschi's vocals are reigned in to a deeper, darker intonation than he's ever had, and his vocal melodies are just superb on here. They're slow-burning growers, but once they hit you, they really hit you, as on "Hollow" or "A Monster in Her Eyes." "Weakness of a Man" is just great with this, too.The guitars are always heavy and rhythmic, not always going for a straight-ahead metal attack, but always being complex and riveting – check out the blistering "Awake from Darkness" or the more straight-ahead power metal cruiser "Arising Thunder." There are some subtle folk elements on a few tracks like the excellent "Lease of Life" and the crushing, searing "Weakness of a Man," and a lot of slow, ballad-esque moments that allow Falaschi to stretch out his pipes and the guitarists to cook out some more emotive moments. "A Monster in Her Eyes" is absolutely stunning in this regard.Nothing on here is really done in a way you'd expect, and since the hooks are so angular and fresh, the songs never wear out their welcome, always sounding cool and innovative. There is a somber twinge to the melodies here at times, and at others, an angry, wrathful one, making this album sound somewhat like a journey through the raging, untamed wilderness – if not for the pristine sense of refinement in the songwriting, that is. With Aqua the band eschews more and more of what held them back in the early days and also brings closer the themes and motifs they always wanted to get down in their lyrics and atmosphere. This album is progressive, raw, subtle and a huge grower if there ever was one, revealing new layers with each spin. Angra has never sounded better." - The Metal Crypt
    $15.00
  • "The debut recording from the Dixie Dregs (The Great Spectacular is considered a demo) stands as one fusion's high-water marks. This music is wholly original and played with a freshness and vigor that had begun to wane in a genre that was becoming a model in self-parody. The influences here are plentiful, but it is the country roots that provide the music with its vitality. Founder/guitarist Steve Morse proved to be an important new guitarist, offering an inimitable style with the technique the music demands. The music is complex and challenging, but that's easy to overlook due to the band's sunny approach. While they would go on to create more fully realized recordings, this one proved that fusion had a soul." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • One of the finest releases of the era "Procol Harum” captured the exquisite song writing of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid and the excellence of the musicians in the group, namely Gary Brooker (voice, piano), Robin Trower (lead guitar), David Knights (bass guitar), B.J. Wilson (drums) and Matthew Fisher (Hammond organ). The overall result was a collection of songs that would prove to be truly ground breaking, despite only having being released in Mono at the insistence of producer Denny Cordell.Newly re-mastered from the original tapes, this Deluxe edition of "Procol Harum” has been expanded to include 27 bonus tracks (8 previously unreleased) over two CDs, including the classic singles "A Whiter Shade of Pale”, "Homburg”, along with rare B-sides, alternate session takes and stereo mixes and seven previously unreleased BBC Radio sessions from June and September 1967.This expanded deluxe edition of "Procol Harum” also includes a lavishly illustrated booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay by Procol Harum biographer Henry Scott-Irvine, along with a facsimile promotional shop poster for the release of the album in January 1968.Disc One1. CONQUISTADOR2. SHE WANDERED THROUGH THE GARDEN FENCE3. SOMETHING FOLLOWING ME4. MABEL5. CERDES (OUTSIDE THE GATES OF)6. A CHRISTMAS CAMEL7. KALEIDOSCOPE8. SALAD DAYS (ARE HERE AGAIN)9. GOOD CAPTAIN CLACK10. REPENT WALPURGISBONUS TRACKS11. A WHITER SHADE OF PALE12. LIME STREET BLUESA & B SIDES OF SINGLE13. HOMBURG14. GOOD CAPTAIN CLACK (SINGLE VERSION)A & B SIDES OF SINGLE15. ALPHA16. SALAD DAYS (ARE HERE AGAIN) – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASEDRECORDED AT OLYMPIC STUDIOS, LONDON – 29th MARCH 196717. UNDERSTANDABLY BLUERECORDED AT OLYMPIC STUDIOS, LONDON – 17th JULY 196718. PANDORA’S BOX (INSTRUMENTAL)RECORDED AT ADVISION STUDIOS, LONDON - 24TH AUGUST 196719. CERDES (OUTSIDE THE GATES OF) (ALTERNATE MONO MIX)20. SOMETHING FOLLOWING ME (ALTERNATE MONO MIX)Disc Two1. A WHITER SHADE OF PALE (EXTENDED EARLY VERSION)RECORDED AT OLYMPIC STUDIOS, LONDON – 29TH MARCH 19672. HOMBURG (EXTENDED STEREO VERSION)3. REPENT WALPURGIS (EXTENDED STEREO VERSION)RECORDED AT ADVISION STUDIOS, LONDON - AUGUST 19674. CONQUISTADOR (1971 STEREO MIX)5. SHE WANDERED THROUGH THE GARDEN FENCE (1971 STEREO MIX)6. SOMETHING FOLLOWING ME (STEREO MIX)7. MABEL (UNDUBBED STEREO MIX)8. KALEIDOSCOPE (STEREO MIX)9. CERDES (OUTSIDE THE GATES OF) (STEREO MIX)10. HOMBURG (1971 STEREO MIX)11. MORNING DEW12. A WHITER SHADE OF PALE13. MABEL"EASYBEAT” SESSION 14th JUNE 1967 BBC LIGHT PROGRAMME PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED14. HOMBURG15. GOOD CAPTAIN CLACK16. SHE WANDERED THROUGH THE GARDEN FENCE17. KALEIDOSCOPE"TOP GEAR” SESSION 27th SEPTEMBER 1967 BBC RADIO ONE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED 
    $19.00
  • One of the best Quebecois prog albums.  Originally released in 1972 by Columbia its become a serious rarity - one of the top in the Canadian prog genre.  All the reviews will tell you the same basic story.  Dervieux was dying of cancer.  He assembled a group of musicians that would ultimately carry on after his death as Contraction.  The album is very keyboard intensive having a bit of a classical feel - kind of ELP-ish in spots.  Quite a beautiful album and essential."Franck Dervieux manned the keyboards on some of Jean-Pierre Ferland's earlier works, but by 1972 the gifted pianist had decided to strike out on his own. For Dimension M, Dervieux assembled some of the cream of the early Quebec prog scene, including bassist Yves Laferriere, Michel Robidoux on acoustic guitar, drummer Christian St. Roch and on several tracks singer Christiane Robichaud, all of whom would go on to form the sought-after prog band Contraction. Dervieux was suffering from late-stage cancer at the time and dedicated the record to his team of doctors in Sherbrooke, who he claims "preserved" him for the making of this record.What makes Dimension M such a joy is the way it straddles - remember this is just 1972 - the worlds of psychedelia and prog. Dervieux delivers plenty of classically-themed piano and virtuosic organ solos a la ELP, but elsewhere, on the blithe intro to side-one closer 'Hyperboree' (an adaptation of a work by obscure French composer Gabriel Govrez) he fuses some bluesy organ with Robichaud's fetching aria. Even better is the haunting build-up of drums, keyboard and voice on his own 'Concerto Pour Les Mondes Perdus' or the spacy workout 'Present Du Futur' over on side two. Fans of Soft Machine, Kingdom Come or Van der Graaf Generator should find plenty to salivate over on these tracks.Alas, though the Lord may giveth, he also taketh away, and one of the true originators of Quebecois progressive rock died not long after the release of Dimension M. The original vinyl came in a gatefold sleeve with a four-page insert, but it can be devilishly hard to find despite coming out on Columbia Canada. For those of us who want more immediate gratification, the dedicated folks over at ProgQuebec recently issued Dimension M on CD, carefully mastered from a vinyl source, with photos and bilingual liner notes to boot." - Canukistan Music 
    $18.00
  • "Give Aerosmith credit for not only realizing something was wrong after Nine Lives relatively flat-lined, but deciding to do something about it. Ditching the outside producers who initially liberated but eventually straitjacketed them, Steve Tyler and Joe Perry seized control of the boards, working with the assistance of Mark Hudson and Marti Frederiksen. (Forever the Stones fanatics, Tyler and Perry dubbed this crew the Boneyard Boys, just like how Mick-n-Keef are the Glimmer Twins.) So, this isn't really a full-fledged band affair and Hudson and Frederiksen's fingerprints are all over the place, but that doesn't matter since the end result is tighter, savvier, and better than anything since Pump. It's still far from perfect, however, since it suffers from a surfeit of memorable material, and the group members' steadfast refusal to act their age results in a couple of embarrassing slips into stodginess (the "f*ckin' A" chorus on the title track, a song improbably titled "Trip Hoppin'," or the ludicrous "Avant Garden"). These mean that the record doesn't come close to matching the twin comebacks of Permanent Vacation and Pump, but it's a sleek, classicist hard rock record that sounds good -- better than Aerosmith has sounded in nearly a decade, as a matter of fact, particularly when the group gets a hook as tuneful as that of "Jaded." Aerosmith sounds good enough on Just Push Play that it almost makes you forgive the Heavy Metal refugee on the front cover, a sexy robot illustration that looks far more out of date than the music sounds." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • "The Roaring Wolves are back… On a strong wake of a surprising and a triumphal album in 2011, that was much simply called “Wolfpakk”, the turbulent duo of vocalists comprised of Mark Sweeney (ex-CRYSTAL BALL) and Michael Voss (MAD MAX/MSG / ex-CASANOVA) unleash the successor, named "Cry Wolf" , and again the choral all-star project shift is the trick to give a marketing format for this burning platter, by gathering a pack of many high-class guest musicians and a few full blooded terrific barking voices to produce another raving record in the same musical vein as the great and self-titled debut.Running and undaunted Guests on "Cry Wolf" are :Vocals: Amanda Somerville (AVANTASIA), Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR / ex-GAMMA RAY), Göran Edman (ex-RISING FORCE / ex-GLORY), Johnny Gioeli (A.R.P. / HARDLINE), Tony Mills (ex-SHY/ ex-SIAM / ex-TNT), Doogie White (ex-RAINBOW / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-CORNERSTONE / MSG), Blaze Baley (ex-IRON MAIDEN / WOLFSBANE), Piet Sielck (IRON SAVIOR / ex-SAVAGE CIRCUS).Guitars: Kee Marcello (ex-EUROPE / ex-EASY ACTION), Mandy Meyer (UNISONIC / KROKUS / ex-GOTTHARD / ex-COBRA), Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN / ex-HELLOWEEN).Keys: Don Airey (ex-OZZY / DEEP PURPLE), Tony Carey (ex-RAINBOW).Drums: Brian Tichy (SUN / ex-WHITESNAKE), Hermann Rarebell (ex-SCORPIONS), Roland Jahoda (ex-PARADOX / F.U.C.K.)Under the leitmotiv of “if isn’t broken don’t fix it”, the Duet of Alpha Wolves and the fantastic AFM Records are teamed again in order to reedit the successful experience in giving the full and wild creative responsibility to the werewolf duet: the champions of Melodic Metal -Mister Sweeney and Doctor Voss.They wrote all the songs together (minus one surprise cover version from RAINBOW “Run With The Wolf” featuring the participation of the iconic keyboard player Tony Carey) and they were also in charge once again, for production and mixing duty, and of course they performed some ferocious vocals. This is a work of art tremendously and carefully polished that put some lights in a brilliant manner to the songwriting talent of the savage binomial Voss / Sweeney.The highlights of the albums are , the beginning track "Moonlight” with Ralf Scheepers who provide a very typical high flux of screaming and yelling, embellished by a fast pace and an epic dimension somewhere between HEAVENS GATE and MIND ODYSSEY with a little something from GAMMA RAY.In the same melodic power frenzy, the solid "A Matter of Time" that sounds like VICTORY meets BONFIRE, boosted by a share of battling vocals between Sweeney and Johnny Gioeli with an uplifting performance, courtesy of Mr. Brian Tichy beating his drum kit."Palace of Gold" reveals a new heaviness and a dark density before transforming in a more pompous style than usual with the participation to the voice of Tony Mills and a massive multi-layer backing vocal section choir, like a symphonic version of DIO merged with a delicate and fragile Prog Rock melody.Another fast double kick power number is "Beast In Me" with the always classy singing of Goran Edman, recalling that he was the singer for RISING FORCE / SPACE ODYSSEY / STRATOSPHERE and for 1999’s third album “The Last Viking” by The JOHANSSON BROTHERS and a true Neoclassical expertise demonstration in the lead spot provided by Roland Grapow.Then it's time for a real entertaining Teutonic Metal with an Hard Rock touch cut named "Pressure Down" with the very distinctive voice of Doogie White which is highlighted in a mid tempo heavy rhythm , and a strong sing along headbanging refrain with a great gang backing vocal unit, like ACCEPT meets SINNER with an extensive ad lib howling final.The rest of the tracklisting is also enjoyable mixing a few gimmick True Metal tracks as a simple sing along hymn as "Wakken" in the HAMMERFALL / IRON  SAVIOR / RUNNIG WILD and obliviously ACCEPT's fashion (…"bang your head…Metal attack"…)  or the less catchy but energetic, epic, tortuous and poignant title track "Cry Wolf" that extend to ten minutes with atmospheric sequence, special FX surreal sounds like wind and rain plus a few narrative parts in with a very surprising vocal interpretation of Blaze Bayley and a ultra-fast shredding piece of lead guitar signed by the one and the only, the other Swedish maestro Mr. Kee Marcello himself for a big fat guitar lesson and a serious beating .Before that we had a ballad with Mrs. Somerville but I think it's just a flat and ordinary number, very caricaturish, in a not really inspired style, before that it was the moment for the WOLFPAKK's leaders to be left alone in the vocal department at least, Voss / Sweeney are dueling in the single, a quite regular Euro Metal cut under the moniker of "Dark Revelation"…Not my favorite.The cover version of a legendary classic rock track, is as always, a double edged sword but secured with the approval and the additional playing of the early RAINBOW's keyboardist Tony Carey, to keep it in the right path, in this case "Run With The Wolf" is a good revision lightened in its rhythmic cadence structure as a result we have a more pompous rendition, with obviously the Hammond keyboards quite upfront.Finally, the album is the perfect sequel of the highly acclaimed debut; this sophomore episode fulfilled the dangerous task, with maybe a less impressive guest list but with a real focus on bringing back, proudly and under one united flag, the old nature of the pure roaring Euro-Metal mania." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • Archival release of a live Hawklords gig, recorded on the 25 Years On tour. To the best of my knowledge this has never been available before (but I reserve the right to be wrong!). Newly mixed from the original 16 track tapes, you get the typical high quality Mark Powell/Atomhenge treatment.
    $14.00
  • New digipak edition combines the first two parts of a trilogy that was rounded out with Invictus.  Its equal parts rock opera and power metal.  Each album is enhanced with two bonus tracks.
    $13.00