Caress Of Steel ($5 Special)

SKU: 314534625
Label:
Atlantic Records
Category:
Progressive Rock
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This is where the progressive elements really start to coalesce ie. the 20 minute "The Fountain Of Lamneth".  Remastered edition.

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  • "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
  • "There have been those times in man’s life where he tells himself that he had enough with everything that had been going on surrounding his ordinary environment. Aside from the warmth of family life or even by choosing, the soothing loneliness, there are the proceedings of the society such as the corrupt politics and fragmentary feast for power that seemed to be endless without a care for future consequences. So how one can escape such a world where everything seemed to be blackened, not like a starless night, but by mankind itself that commences various of actions without thinking first? The answer might be running away but to where? The only answer is to the far reaches of space by cunningly stealing a spaceship. Though it sounds like a story from the far future when space travel is available, but it has a sense it in and can also be inferred to the spiritual form of the works of the mind and how it can escape reality while submerging into an altered universe of hopes and dreams about better life. Well, I will stop here with the philosophical debate with myself, though it is rather intriguing. The purpose of my gibbering your thinking patterns is because it highly relates to the new concept album by the Italian Power Metal band, VISION DIVINE. “Destination Set To Nowhere”, released via earMUSIC / Armoury Records, is the Metal journey and your new Star Trek across the vast space in finding new fortunes and ideologies without forgetting where the warmth of home lies.I have to tell you that it has been really difficult to not keep on discussing VISION DIVINE’s ideas regarding this fascinating story that though sounds pretty simple it harbours so many standpoints that a whole article can be written on top of their basis. However, there is also the Metal behind the philosophical mind that created this story. Nearly like every Power Metal band coming from Europe, VISION DIVINE has been storming in high speeds without letting of the so important melodic touch, an element that has been chief for the large majority of European Metal bands of the kind. Olaf Thorsen(nickname of Carlo Andrea Magnani), guitarist of the veteran Power Metal band LABYRINTH, created this beast as a side project but it got into something more. While along the years massing some of the greatest talents of the Italian scene, including the special recruitment of RHAPSODY OF FIRE’s top notch frontman, Fabio Lione, VISION DIVINE, the way I see it, has been able to assert itself as the Italian STRATOVARIOUS, but in a much higher level, while when it came down to musical quality and tenacity topping their own local mother bands as RHAPSODY OF FIRE and LABYRINTH. Right from its foundation, while perfecting their style year after year, including this here release, that for me is the band’s greatest achievement, VISION DIVINE spread their high regard for melodic Power Metal but with such musical sophistication that took them into towering altitudes and even into the world of Progressive Metal with slight similarities to DREAM THEATER and ANUBIS GATE.As far as the diverse course of “Destination Set To Nowhere”, I believe that VISION DIVINE were able to entice with such profound technical abilities and incredible skills to create wonderful tracks that seem to be endless. Throughout the entire release I was trying to relive the lives of that men and women on that spaceship running away from the frustrations of Earth. The intense and clever riffing, rhythms, great keyboards layers and miscellaneous drumming, like fast paced heart beats of hundreds of people, aided on understanding what went on through the stages of the story, where is the next destination in the land of nowhere. On top of those all there is the magnificent vocal line by a voice that is so smooth and clear but also has its own deadly Hyde creeping from its cage from time to time. I can’t really break this tracklist into lone tracks because I believe that this entire release is something that you ought to experience in full. Of course that I have my personal choices regarding preferred tracks, and I am used to provide clear cuts, yet for the sake of the story and the effort that was spent on the material, I will leave you to decide which part of this journey suits you more. Generally, VISION DIVINE is offering you an accessible showcase of musical prowess and utter creativity to step into what could be in the not so far future, and maybe help you to think to who or what idea do you mark your ballot for. “Destination Set To Nowhere” certainly became one of my candidates for the album of year for 2012." - METAL TEMPLE
    $13.00
  • New art rock project from Tim Bowness (No Man) and Giancarlo Erra (Nosound). This is simmering atmospheric progressive music that will definitely appeal to the fanbase of both No Man and Nosound - as well as Porcupine Tree and David Sylvian. Very low key atmospheric music created by an amazing array of talent including: Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Robert Fripp(King Crimson), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, No-Man etc), Julianne Regan (All About Eve), Jim Matheos (OSI/Fates Warning) and Ricard Huxflux Nettermalm (Paatos). 21st Century Chillout Man!
    $6.00
  • Fireballet's much maligned second album Two, Too finally receives an authorized release.  Much of the criticism of the 1976 album stems from the awful cover art.  Its definitely something those guys wish they could take back and in a sense they did since they used something different for this CD.  All the prog rock elements of the first album are still in place but the tunes are a little bit shorter and the production is definitely slicker.  Its also clear that Yes became a big influence on the band - check out "It's About Time".  Frankly if you listen to the album objectively it has a lot of merits.  Does it stand up to their first?  No...but it definitely offers something solid for prog fans with open ears.  Definitely worth revisiting.  Comes with one previously unreleased bonus track.
    $14.00
  • Essentially an extension of "Godbluff". This was recorded in early 1976 (Pat Moran, lead singer of Spring was the engineer!). Future classics like "Pilgrims" and "La Rossa" appear. The remastered edition comes with liner notes, photos and a previously unreleased live version of "Gog". 
    $10.00
  • CD/DVD in a digibook.  The DVD is the complete show and the CD maxxes out due to the time limitations."In May 2012 Anathema released Weather Systems, the most acclaimed and successful album of a career that has spanned over two decades. The album scored high in numerous critics end of year polls around the world and cemented their reputation as one of the most exciting and progressive bands around. Following the release of the album, the band embarked on a lengthy world tour. The European leg of the tour opened with a triumphant one-off show at the ancient Roman theatre of Philippopolis with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2012. Directed by celebrated filmmaker Lasse Hoile, Universal captures the magic of the event ."
    $17.00
  • "For Flotsam and Jetsam, the heavy metal highway has been sprinkled with nails. First, the band's frontman Jason Newsted quit to seek his fame and fortune with Metallica. Then, after securing a major label deal, Flotsam and Jetsam were cajoled into toning down to appeal to the masses. Eleven years after releasing its classic album Doomsday for the Deceiver, the band returned to the label that signed it, writing more aggressive material than it had in years. High is a declaration of hate, brimming with full-fisted guitar riffs and head-bobbing beats--an unrestrained battle cry from a band that refuses to lay down and die." --Jon Wiederhorn
    $4.00
  • 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
  • Interesting new concept from this visionary prog band from NY. 3 revisits and reinterprets some of their oldest material - some of which only appeared on bootlegs.
    $12.00
  • Amazing new solo album from Keith Emerson in collaboration with guitarist Marc Bonilla. Easily the best thing he's done outside of ELP/The Nice. He's playing his standard arsenal of grand piano, Hammond C3, the modular Moog, pipe organ plus assorted other synths. Handling drums is Greg Bissonette and Bob Birch is on bass. The album kicks off with the 35 minute suite "The House Of Ocean Born Mary". From the first note you hear the unmistable imprint of Keith Emerson. The album is littered with trademark organ solos - enough to give you flashbacks. Bonilla is a more than satisfactory vocalist, sounding closer to John Wetton than he does Greg Lake. He tends to shy away from shredding, keeping guitar in a supporting role and leaving the spotlight to the keyboards. The album includes "The Art Of Falling Down" which is a reworking of a piece that ELP played on their last tour called "Crossing The Rubicon". Of course you get one of Keith's expected classical interpretations. This time it's "Malambo" taken from Alberto Ginastera's Estancia Suite. This digipak set comes with a bonus DVD featuring live footage of the band as well as interviews. Highest recommendation.
    $15.00
  • Lifesigns is a new band put together by keyboardist journeyman John Young, along with Nick Beggs (Steve Hackett), and Martin Beedle (Cutting Crew).  Featured guests include Steve Hackett, Jakko Jakszyk, Thijs Van Leer, and Robin Boult.  5 long tracks that have a contemporary prog sound but with nice extended instrumental parts.  Not a technical tour de force - emphasis here is on melody.  I'm reminded a bit of Steve Hackett's recent works.  While John Young has written all the material, bassist/Stickist Nick Beggs quietly steals the show.
    $15.00
  • Fourth album from Believe, the Polish progressive rock band formed by Collage guitarist Mirek Gil. The album veers toward the atmospheric side, not unlike Riverside's quieter moments. I'm particularly fond of the violin work of Satomi. Her playing adds a refreshing texture to the mix and is an interesting counterpoint to Gil's fluid guitar lines. 
    $16.00
  • "When one thinks of countries that are a hotbed of prog metal bands, places such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland come to mind. However the Land Down Undah’ otherwise known as Australia has been churning out amazing prog metal bands for the past decade. Bands such as Hemina, Voyager, Lord, Carnivool, Caligula’s Horse, Teramaze and Melbourne’s Vanishing Point have been wowing the prog metal scene for the past decade. It’s been seven long years since the release of Vanishing Point’s The Fourth Season, but the melodic metal quintet consisting of Silvio Massaro (Vocals), Chris Porcianko and James Maier (Guitars), Simon Best (Bass), and Christian Nativo (Drums) have finally returned with their fifth studio album Distant Is The Sun on AFM Records. The band has stayed true to their unique blend of progressive, power, AOR metal and have secured the talents of Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann of Ordan Ogen for mixing duites on Distant Is The Sun. Picking up right where The Fourth Season left off, the musicianship and songwriting on Distant Is The Sun is exceptional.The album kicks off with the short instrumental track Beyond Redemption and powers right into the first song King of Empty Promises. The double bass drum attack from Nativo and melodic keyboards lead the way and the harmonious soaring vocals during the chorus are a perfect way to officially start the album.The title track is next and begins with a heavy groove and transforms into a light piano tinged verses with Massaro’s impressive vocals leading to a catchy and melodic chorus. The twin guitar harmony lead attack from Porcianko and Maier is a thing of beauty during the solo section.Symphonic keys signify the start of When Truth Lies, an epic slab of energetic melodic progressive metal with a driving headbanging beat. Sonata Arctica frontman Tony Kaako lends his melodic pipes to the fast and furious power metal of Circle of Fire. Kaako and Massaro’s vocals compliment each other extremely well and create an amazing metal duet.The keyboard prominence on Denied Deliverance is pronounced in the mix but never overshadows the heaviness of the track, it just adds to the overall melody of the song. A blazing guitar solo section highlights the middle portion of another stellar song. Let the River Run has an impeccable acappella vocal harmony section that begins this mid tempo metal gem. The beautiful vocals during the chorus will be stuck in your head for days after listening.The album slows down for the piano based Story of Misery but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a traditional power ballad. The emphasis is on POWER with a emotive vocal performance from Massaro. Era Zero speeds things right back up with a frenzied double kick attack with plenty of soaring melodic vocals throughout and a shredding guitar solo from the tandem of Porcianko/Maier and culminates in a symphonic ending and bursts right into Pillars of Sand which keeps the hard and fast metal flowing.The eerie keyboard intro of As December Fades melds into a Maiden-esque guitar harmony and a glorious AOR sounding chorus with a symphonic element that is reminiscent of Within Temptation. A bright piano melody signals the beginning of Handful of Hope. Once again Massaro gets his chance to shine with an impressive vocal performance filled with passion and emotion. The bands penchant for writing catchy power metal is on display on Walls of Silence. The brilliant symphonic melodies and heavy guitar compliment each other perfectly. The album closes with the acoustic guitar tinged instrument titled April, an understated yet effective piece of music with a keyboard accompaniment underneath in the mix. It is a curious choice to end the album, but well done nonetheless.After a seven-year absence, the world of melodic prog welcomes back Vanishing Point with open arms and hopefully Distant Is The Sun will shoot the band to the next level of popularity outside their native Australia. This goes to show that like a fine wine, Vanishing Point only improves with age!" - Lady Obscure
    $15.00
  • "With its endless, droning minor-key riff and mumbled vocals, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is arguably the most notorious song of the acid rock era. According to legend, the group was so stoned when they recorded the track that they could neither pronounce the title "In the Garden of Eden" or end the track, so it rambles on for a full 17 minutes, which to some listeners sounds like eternity. But that's the essence of its appeal -- it's the epitome of heavy psychedelic excess, encapsulating the most indulgent tendencies of the era. Iron Butterfly never matched the warped excesses of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," either on their debut album of the same name or the rest of their catalog, yet they occasionally made some enjoyable fuzz guitar-driven psychedelia that works as a period piece. The five tracks that share space with their magnum opus on In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida qualify as good artifacts, and the entire record still stands as the group's definitive album, especially since this is the only place the full-length title track is available." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00