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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  • "Arguments abound regarding the first works of art laid down in the early hard rock/metal age and whether they need to be updated for later generations. Truth be told – a lot of back catalog gets the second effort treatment to gain songwriting copyrights or merely to take advantage of modern recording updates. From Iced Earth to Testament, Destruction to Exodus to Sonata Arctica, it’s been a cash cow of sorts if you are an ardent collector of everything in your favorite artist’s catalog – yet something us old schoolers have a harder time swallowing. Because let’s face it, in our temples and hearts, how can you possibly better that indelible first impression seared in the psyche?Welcome to the dilemma placed before me in discussion of Secret Sphere and their latest recording. A Time Never Come 2015 Edition is in celebration of this Italian power/progressive metal sextet’s second album- originally set for an exclusive Japanese re-release, the band expanded their horizons to re-record this effort with their current lineup, adding in new arrangements and artwork to sweeten the deal. Two-thirds of the lineup has shuffled around in the 14 year interim since its original 2001 appearance, and there’s no doubt that the golden voice of current SS singer Michele Luppi (ex-Vision Divine) runs circles around Roberto Messina. Does it justify another 11 song transformation about Aurienne, the girl who finds a strange magical sphere as we watch her voyage handling a mortal illness?Keyboardist Gabriele Ciaccia definitely fills the sonic landscape on a more theatrical/symphonic path right from the start of “Legend”, but fortunately guitarists Marco Pastorino and Aldo Lonobile also factor heavily in the crunch/wow factor throughout, Aldo’s lead work a mix of semi-shred meets melodic master class. The slightly down-tuned guitar tone gives faster material like “Under the Flag of Mary Read” and “Hamelin” a darker feel than the original album – while the star of this 2015 edition has to be Michele. Singing low and high, accentuating words with texture, anger, excitement, and passion, the man can handle a power number like “The Brave” as easily as “Mystery of Love”, the graceful tear-jerker track. The fairy-tale oriented art from Nathalia Suellen seems better suited to the story on hand than the cyber-oriented first try.In the end, the fans will decide if they need A Time Never Come 2015 Edition and vote with their wallets. While not disputing the quality, give me the first go around – imperfections and all, as Secret Sphere wet appetites for their next original studio record." - Dead Rhetoric
    $15.00
  • Special 2 CD collector's edition features an instrumental orchestral version of the album (DO I HEAR KARAOKE?) plus a bonus track.
    $19.00
  • Excellent debut release from this progressive folk band from Italy.  The band is led by multi-instrumentalist Valerio Smaldoni who sings (in English) and plays keyboards and some guitar.  The music has a definite prog flavor particularly from the keyboard work - some nice atmospheric Mellotron-type sounds as well as Mini-moog soloing.  Guitarwork is acoustic based that never gets overly agressive.  I'm reminded of Celeste and W&W period Genesis.  This is the kind of thing I can listen to as a Sunday morning wake up call.  
    $18.00
  • I've always been disappointed that Avalon broke up. Eurasia was one of my favorite Sensory releases and vocalist Chity Somapala was one of the main reasons. After kicking around with a number of projects he has put together a new progressive metal "supergroup" of sorts that has the earmark to be something really special. Red Circuit was put together by keyboardist Markus Teske, a producer who has worked with Vanden Plas in the past. He enlisted Chity to sing. The music is a great blend of melodic prog metal that will appeal to fans of Vanden Plas. Special guest guitarists include Patrick Rondat (Elegy), Stephan Lill (Vanden Plas), and Stephan Forte (Adagio). This will be one of 2006's best prog metal releases.
    $6.00
  • One of the great prog albums of the 70s finally given an official reissue although for the time being it appears that its vinyl only.Kvartetten Som Sprängde recorded one album for the short lived Gump label (only 4 releases on the label I believe).  What a killer.  The band was an instrumental trio consisting of Rune Carlsson on drums and percussion, Fred Hellman on C-3 organ and piano, and Finn Sjöberg on guitar and flute.Kattvals features massive phat swirling organ sounds, lethal guitar leads, and a killer groove.  Musically the band is equally rooted in prog, jazz rock, hard rock, and even latin rock.  The band is often comparted to Santana and to some degree that is true.  Hellman's organ work brings to mind Greg Rolie.  He is the perfect foil for Sjöberg's fluid soloing.  The music has a bit of a loose jamming feel to it without flying off the handle.Quite simply one of the best.  BUY OR DIE!
    $32.00
  • Remastered edition finally taken from the original master tapes and transferred utilizing 24 bit / 96 khz technology.
    $10.00
  • Sula Bassana is the nom de plume for Germany multi-instrumentalist Dave Schmidt.  He's been tied into the still burgeoning German underground psychedelic scene for years.  Dark Days is his latest and its a killer mind ripper.  Dave plays almost all the instruments - drums, synths, guitars, Mellotron, and more.  An all instrumental affair it treads similar territory to the bands that Schmidt has collaborated with in the past: Electric Orange, Oresund Space Collective, and Zone Six.  Like most of the current psych bands, there is an obvious indebtness to Ash Ra Tempel.  Long exploratory tracks that blossom with burning wah-wah laced guitar jamz and cool mellow keyboard passages ripped right out of Rick Wright's hidden stash of demo cassettes.  Deep space stuff.  Spinning the 20 minute "Surrealistic Journey" as I write.  A total face melter.  BUY OR DIE!
    $16.00
  • "Described as “the Enya of heavy metal” and a Celtic vocal goddess, Leah’s brand new EP will certainly make waves with fans of acts like Nightwish or Leave’s Eyes. The beautiful siren has a voice that is unmistakably brilliant, showing off right from the start on piano-laden ballad “Shores Of Your Lies.” But for those of you who might be under the assumption that this is just going to be a light-hearted affair with no sign of guitars, drums or other metal elements, you are quite wrong. “The Northern Edge” sounds exactly like what would happen if you threw Enya right into the middle of a sprawling metal band, blast beats included. I don’t know about you, but I’m already impressed with this one. “Surrounded” is a bit lighter, but still showcases Leah’s vibrant vocal chords and some slick guitar playing to boot. I think that other female vocal artists are going to have a healthy amount of competition in this woman, who once again proves her prowess with “Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep.” But finally, there’s the album closer “Dreamland,” which features none other than Eric Peterson (Testament, Dragonlord) on vocals. With his black metal approach (and a so/so clean vocal that doesn’t work for the piece) providing a great balance of dark and light, along with thundering guitar riffs – this track definitely sets the stage for a welcomed heavier side of Leah. Maybe not everyone will understand it, but even if you don’t, you can’t deny that the other four tracks on this EP are quit magnificent. Out of the many female vocal pipes that I’ve heard in the metal and rock genres, Leah is a force to be reckoned with. Metal has never been more majestic." - New Noise
    $10.00
  • New band from France courtesy of Musea Records. Negative Zone is a relatively unknown quartet notable for the inclusion of Fabrice Dimondo and Bruno Ramousse - both from Eclat. The quartet are inspired by early 70s Pink Floyd. You can easily hear elements of Obscured By Clouds and Meddle. There are nice acoustic parts but a psychedelic haze overlays the whole affair. There seems to be more of an emphasis on mood and atmosphere as it has a dreamy feel. A change of pace from the norm these days and quite nice actually.
    $14.00
  • Previously unavailable on CD, Hermann Szobel’s “Szobel” was originally released by Arista Records in 1976. Over the years the album has established a worldwide cult following and the mysterious Mr. Szobel has become a bit of an enigma. Szobel was a 17-year virtuoso pianist who arrived from Austria with aspirations to become a star in the world of jazz. He also happened to be the nephew of rock impresario Bill Graham. Originally intended for release on Arista’s Freedom jazz imprint, the decision was made by Clive Davis to release the debut album on Arista proper in order to give it a chance at a broader appeal. An extraordinary band was assembled to record Szobel’s highly complex music: Michael Visceglia on bass, Bob Goldman on drums, Dave Samuels on percussion including marimba and vibraphone, and Vadim Vyadro on tenor sax, clarinet, and flute. Szobel was highly influenced by Martial Solal and Frank Zappa. His compositions are rooted in jazz, rock and Western classical composition. They are extremely complex and the recording sessions were quite laborious. While he gives space to all of the musicians, his phenomenal technique as a pianist is clearly displayed. In the September 6, 1976 issue of Downbeat the review said that Szobel had "a conception and technique far in advance of most musicians twice his age." Upon its release the album did not sell well and Szobel’s behavior became more and more eccentric. In the middle of recording a second (still unreleased) album, rumor has it that he suffered a mental breakdown. He disappeared from the music world forever. Since then rumors have swirled and a mythology has been created. Unconfirmed reports have Mr. Szobel currently living in Austria. “Szobel” has now been mastered for CD release by audiophile engineer Bob Katz. Extensive liner notes by bassist Michael Visceglia unlock some of the mysteries of Hermann Szobel.
    $14.00
  • "Sinbreed is the project around 27 year old Guitarist Flo Laurin who joined forces with dedicated artists of the European metal scene. The blistering combination of speed, melodic and aggressive arrangements combined with high and soaring vocals characterizes Sinbreed's distinctive Power metal, and they now present their debut album "When worlds collide".The project has been in the making since the late nineties by founder Flo Laurin, and piece by piece everything has fallen in place; from the style of the music, the influences and the band members. Three demo’s were recorded, and the last one was voted “Best newcomer of the month” in Germany’s Heavy Magazine. During spring 2009 a deal was made with Sweden’s Ulterium Records, and the band started to work hard on their debut album.The members of Sinbreed are Frederik Ehmke [Blind Guardian] on drums, Hebie Langhans [Seventh Avenue] on vocals, Alexander Schulz on bass and Flo Laurin who handles guitars and keys. For the mixing and mastering of the album the band decided to work together with the highly acclaimed producer Markus Teske, famous for his work with Symphony X, Vanden Plas, Neal Morse among others.Guests on the album includes Thomas Rettke [Redkey, Ex. Heaven's Gate], Joost van den Broek [Ayreon, Star One] and Morten Sandager [Pretty Maids]. The artwork was created by Felipe Machado Franco [Iced Earth, Ayreon, Pyramaze] and the booklet by Markus Sigfridsson [Darkwater, Harmony]."
    $15.00
  • New 2 disc expanded edition of Shallow Life comes with a bonus disc with live tracks and b-side tunes and 2 new acoustic versions of "Spellbound" and "Closer".
    $6.00
  • "In what seemed like an eternity since the details on the second Darkology album surfaced in December 2013, the running joke was that the second album should be renamed “Fated to Never Be Released.” “Official leaks” of demo tracks surfaced ahead of a European tour “in support of the album” (and without Carptenter who had other commitments). The demos only served to deepen fan desire for the release, as they revealed vocalist Kelly Sundown Carpenter (ex-Firewind live, Adagio) absolutely KILLING IT with a sharpened buzz saw edge that makes Ripper Owens look like an absolute chump. Flash forward to 2015 and finally a release date through Prime Eon and/or Nightmare (depending on where you live) would happen in late Spring. Was it all worth the wait, agony and hype? You betcha it was.The album is a steamroller from start to finish – with some parts here and there that tend to drift slightly (the title track for one) – but it never disappoints. As evidenced in the demos, Carpenter proves why he should be a vocalist in demand as he drives home the heaviness with his ultra-sharp brilliant delivery. Unlike most singers who like to live in the rafters, Kelly pulls it off with zero annoyance. His shredding high end is absolutely essential given the musical assault of riffs (from the great Michael Harris of Thought Chamber) and pounding rhythms (from bassist Michael Neal and drummer Brian Harris) that back it up. Though not similar in style per se as total impact, “Fated to Burn” gives me the same feel as the first time I heard Winter’s Bane’s “Heart of a Killer” and Sanctuary’s “Refuge Denied,” where the first blush with both the young Ripper Owens and Warrell Dane were absolutely life changing. If you add a little dose of “Breaker” era Accept and a tiny drop of Symphony X you have just the tip of just how brilliant “Fated to Burn” truly is.The Harris brothers have struck upon an exciting formula of U.S. power and traditional with just a touch of progressive. In terms of comparison with 2009’s “Altered Reflections,” this album packs five times the punch and power, sure to please fans that prefer metal heavy, guitar driven, and with shredding vocals. The album is a flurry of amazing grinding riffs with Kelly’s lethal vox that make tracks like “Shadows of Oth,” “Quantum Genocide,” “Kill Me If You Can,” “21st Century Frankenstein (Nobot 2)” and personal favorite “Festival of Fear” sound, and in many ways exceed, “Painkiller.” In fact, Darkology is a Metal Church for a new generation – and “Fated to Burn” leaves such an indelible vibe of “The Dark” that I swear the spirit of circa-1986 David Wayne seems to have implanted itself inside of Kelly.In one of the most exciting and pure metal releases in well over a decade, “Fated to Burn” is well worth the wait. Darkology stakes its claim in a busy circuit and with one flap of burning wings created an album that can easily be labeled an instant classic, thus raising its stock as one of the best U.S. bands out there today. This isn’t a mere claim only to be dashed away by a short time – this is the real deal! If you call yourself a fan of metal than heed these words….”Fated to Burn” lives up to and exceeds any hype you may have for it. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the band, then you picked the right time, because the album isn’t “fated to burnout” anytime soon. Darkology has arrived.Highs: One of the best pure metal albums in a decade, Kelly Sundown Carpenter shines.Lows: Some songs drift a little, but not by much.Bottom line: Darkology strikes back with an album that is "Fated to Burn" into the memory for a long long time." - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • 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