A Chord Too Far (4CD Mediabook)

"Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of the first ever boxed set celebrating the solo work of Genesis founding member Tony Banks. A CHORD TOO FAR is a deluxe 4 CD set comprising 48 songs and pieces, all personally selected by Tony. Many tracks have been remixed exclusively for this collection and have been drawn from his seven solo and two orchestral albums; A CURIOUS FEELING, THE FUGITIVE, THE WICKED LADY (film score), SOUNDTRACKS , BANKSTATEMENT, STILL, STRICTLY INC. and his orchestral albums SEVEN – A SUITE FOR ORCHESTRA and SIX PIECES FOR ORCHESTRA.

A CHORD TOO FAR also includes four previously unreleased tracks, three of which are keyboard demos of his orchestral suites. The fourth is a piece originally written for the album STILL. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 as a member of Genesis, Tony is one of the most respected songwriters and keyboardists in the world. His career spans almost 50 years and has seen him sell in excess of 130 million albums . His body of work is as innovative as it is eclectic. Genesis’ avant-garde style made them one of progressive rock’s founding fathers in the 1970s, creating an experimental style of rock music never before seen. They went on to produce music with a greater pop sensibility in the 1980s that saw them become one of the biggest selling bands of the decade, and play stadiums throughout the world.

Tony Banks’ solo work has continued in the same vein. His rock albums have included collaborations with some of the world’s most respected musicians including singers Toyah Wilcox, Fish and Nick Kershaw , bassist Pino Pallodino , and drummers Steve Gadd and Vinnie Colaiuta , as well as long time Genesis collaborators Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson . He has composed original scores for four films The Shout (1978), The Wicked Lady (1983), Starship (1985) and Quicksilver (1986) and most recently his orchestral albums, Seven: A Suite for Orchestra and Six Pieces for Orchestra, that were performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra."

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  • "With the release of its sixth LP, The Parallax II: Future Sequence (the sequel to the Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP), in 2012, American progressive metal quintet Between the Buried and Me set a new benchmark for its genre. Sure, both 2007’s Colors and 2009’s The Great Misdirect are incredible records (the former was a breakthrough in terms of both approach and commercial appeal, while the latter was more polished, accessible, and vibrant), but Parallax II took the epic-suite-broken-into-sections format Colors introduced and perfected it. With its dramatic chronicle, seamless flow, hypnotic singing, inventive instrumentation, and self-referential continuity, it easily ranked not only as BTBAM’s best effort to date, but as one of the greatest progressive metal albums of all time.Naturally, expectations skyrocketed when the band announced its follow-up, Coma Ecliptic; fortunately, it surely satisfies them. Another seventy minute odyssey into imaginative soundscapes, mind-blowing arrangements, affective storytelling, and remarkable tonal shifts (both musically and vocally), the full-length retains everything that made their past few opuses so unique, breathtaking, and rewarding. However, as astounding as it is, Coma Ecliptic doesn’t quite surpass its predecessor, as it’s slightly less varied and daring; nevertheless, it comes very close to matching Parallax II, making it another absolutely extraordinary entry in their discography.Billed as another “modern rock opera,” the concept of Coma Ecliptic actually shares similarities with that of The Mars Volta’s debut, De-Loused in the Comatorium. As bassist Dan Briggs explains, the plot “follows the wanderings of an unidentified man, stuck in a coma, as he journeys through his past lives. Each song is its own episode in a modern day, sort of The Twilight Zone-esque fashion [sic]. The unidentified man enters each world and is offered a choice: stay, or move on to the next in search of something better, something more ‘perfect.’”  To reveal any more of the tale would ruin its surprises and most affective elements. Suffice it to say, though, that the quintet’s moral intention is to help listeners “make the best of [their lives]. People are constantly searching for something better without taking the time to appreciate the things they have. What we need may already be here . . .” Because of its coherent storyline and meaningful themes, Coma Ecliptic actually contains BTBAM’s strongest narrative yet.Along the same lines, it also features one of their best opening tracks to date: “Node”. Vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Giles Rogers plays an ethereal piano pattern as he sings beautiful yet mournful judgments. Eventually, harmonies, strings, biting guitar riffs, and thunderous percussion explode around him, culminating in a regal and dense declaration of the trauma to come. In typical Between the Buried and Me fashion, Giles’ voice even interlocks with itself a couple times; likewise, the composition alternates between calmness and catastrophe with exceptional build-ups. It’s a fine way to begin, and it demonstrates how the band continues to evolve with each new release. Like most of the “episodes” on Coma Ecliptic, “Node” segues into the next section, “The Coma Machine.”With its fluctuating structures, absorbing melodies, and exceptional musicianship, “The Coma Machine” follows a familiar template; nonetheless, it’s still a fascinating and creative venture. From the way Giles’ infectious chorus (“You teach us what was, out there”) complements the mechanical riffs, to the way the song’s essence moves from hellish to heavenly several times, this track is a stunning beast that never lets up. Of course, their trademark frantic rhythmic changes are in full force here, with gripping stop/start breaks on occasion. Similarly, the sharp intertwining patterns of guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring are as overwhelming as ever. Without a doubt, though, the single best moment of “The Coma Machine” comes at around the 3:15 mark, when an electrifying new riff crashes in, joined by bells and pounding drums. It’s wholly invigorating and awesome; in fact, it’s one of the best moments on any BTBAM creation. Finally, Giles’ closing bridge is subtle yet very moving.Like a lost gem by Dutch prog metal band Ayreon, “Dim Ignition” sneaks in with an ominous synthesized loop. Essentially, it’s a brief psychedelic interlude in which Giles proclaims foreboding notions over spacey effects and beats. It serves its purpose well and definitely adds to the thematic quality of Coma Ecliptic, but what’s really cool is how the loop bleeds into the introductory, sinister riff of “Famine Wolf” at its conclusion. As for “Famine Wolf” itself, its opening is also among the highlights on the disc. In general, its dynamic juxtapositions aren’t as striking as on some other tracks, but it still balances Giles’ screaming and singing well. The most interesting aspect appears about two-thirds of the way in, when the aforementioned loop returns as Giles evokes the peculiar accent that he used on past LPs. In this way, Coma Ecliptic feels connected to its precursors.Another transition takes place next, as “King Redeem/Queen Serene” starts with a lovely acoustic guitar arpeggio supporting arguably the most touching melody and lyrics Giles has ever sung (“I can’t hear a thing / These waves crash faster”). Every measure comes with more luscious layers until the arrangement breaks into one of the most “prog” moments BTBAM has ever had. After some more heaviness, an essential rhythmic breakdown from “The Coma Machine” comes back, which is very cool, followed by more frantic transformations. Ultimately, the piece ends as it began, so it feels like a self-contained observation.Although all of “Turn on the Darkness” is astonishing in how moves around its various formations, the best part is the chorus, during which Giles brings the concept to the forefront. Following some warm and atmospheric passages, he seizes command by saying, “Welcome to our journey / Please walk with me / I’ll put your mind at ease.” Aside from this, the ways in which the guitar and keyboards echo each other from time to time also help the track stand out. Really, this selection feels like something from The Great Misdirect, which isn’t bad at all.“The Ectopic Stroll” possibly includes the most experimentation aspects on Coma Ecliptic, as Giles’s odd piano chords, coupled with his menacing crooning, make the main parts feel like a malevolent 1940s jazz excerpt. He screeches, “Whoa, can’t get it right!” while sing-a-long harmonies concur, and at first, it’s a bit toounconventional to feel appropriate; but, after a few listens it feels more fitting. Equally, the percussive spasticity and quality feel akin to some of the wilder tones used by Dream Theatre or Devin Townsend. Truly, these risks also show how fearless BTBAM still is in trying new techniques, so they deserve praise for that alone.As its name suggests, “Rapid Calm” is transcendent and lively, with keyboard and guitar outlines dancing around each other as more soothing melodies signal the beginning of the end. In particular, this song is a strong example of how Coma Ecliptic features the strongest emphasis on clean vocals of any Between the Buried and Me record; there’s still plenty of growling throughout, but Giles has never allowed his natural style to shine so densely or prevalently. During the chorus, for instance, he conveys dread and sorrow powerfully, realizing, “They don’t want you there / They don’t want me here / Remember my name / The machine is crumbling.” It’s an exceptional moment, as is the moody intermission near the end, whose somber timbres recall parts of the most recent Opeth collections.Beyond being the standout track on Coma Ecliptic by a mile, “Memory Palace” may be the single best Between the Buried and Me song ever. Each element is just about perfect; from its towering opening riffs and soaring lines to its meticulous and clever shifts, every second is spectacular. The group has never before moved between such drastic deviations with such silky expertise; above all, the leap into what’s likely the band’s most surreal segment yet (“Focus on melody / The sounds under my eyes / Dreaming inside of this / World inside my mind”) is amazing. Furthermore, the way they bring back past moments near the end is sublime. If ever there was a track that single-handedly proved why BTBAM is so special, it’s this one.Luckily, the reprisals continue during the final two tracks, “Option Oblivion” and “Life in Velvet.” The former bursts in from its predecessor with more spellbinding arrays. Brilliantly, Giles brings back a phrase that was first mentioned on “Rapid Calm”:  “A choice of gold or velvet / Do I go on, or follow the crown in the smoke?” A bit further on, he also references “The Coma Machine” by lamenting, “Looking back through the painful tunnel / They taught us what once was.” As for “Life in Velvet,” it continues the symbolic theme of velvet (as a catalyst for spiritual transformation) that runs throughout the album; it’s also lead by a modified version of the chord progression from “The Coma Machine.” Like “Node,” it features Giles singing softly while playing piano, and in doing so, it brings Coma Ecliptic full circle. As a final burst of brilliance, the aforementioned electrifying guitar riff and closing bridge from “The Coma Machine” also makes an appearance. Because of these numerous references, Coma Ecliptic has the most alluring, suitable, and clever conclusion of any Between the Buried and Me record.Coma Ecliptic is an exquisite masterpiece. As with most opaque works, it takes many listens to fully appreciate everything here (including multilayered production, parallel structures, and callbacks to prior parts); however, once listeners understand all that’s going on, they’ll be utterly blown away. Between the Buried and Me have proven time and time again how distinctive, ambitious, capable, and important they are within its genre; no other band can do what they do as well as they do, and this effort just proves that once again." - Pop Matters
    $16.00
  • "Eden must be rumbling, its ground beginning to shatter as it is being constantly sliced by the profanity of an intense music heading closer and closer. Mankind was assumingly banished from the enchanted lands of upstairs without an option of returning, but the curse will be forever remembered, reminisced by those expatriated for generations, thus the creation of a sonic boom, a symphonic echo forged by the ancient sin, in order to redirect it back to where it came from. The creators have been quite proficient in their deeds, escalating their abilities for the shaping of the perfect “Symphony Of Sin”, this multinational formation is called EDEN’S CURSE. Actually, this isn’t the first time I was touched by the band’s enhanced multiformity as I had the chance to review their previous “Trinity” release. But with the upcoming “Symphony Of Sin”, again via AFM Records, EDEN’S CURSE underwent a slight change of figures. With vocalist Michael Eden out of the game, along with keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio, the remaining members sought out and found the Serbian soulful bliss of the young Nikola Mijic and the experience and abilities of Steve Williams (ex-POWER QUEST / ex-MERCURY RAIN / ex-DSG). Even with their reorganization, EDEN’S CURSE maintained their same sensitivity towards the melodic crust of both Rock and Metal, and I might even add that they enriched it this time around.The materialization of “Symphony Of Sin”, signified a slight change of proceedings within EDEN’S CURSE music. Nothing much a substantial impact of sorts, yet I felt as that this album tends towards the boundaries of AOR and Hard Rock rather towards the clutches of Heavy or Power Metal, thus making it less heavier or piercing, yet not without a lesser quality. Other than the classic influence of DIO, BLACK SABBATH and DOKKEN, particularly within Thorsten Koehne’s rocking riffery, it appears that the band took a closer step towards the catchy vibes of BALANCE OF POWER, PINK CREAM 69, SHAKRA, HOUSE OF LORDS, JADED HEART, COLDSPELL, EVIDENCE ONE and POWERWORLD. On the other hand, I found the energetic flex of STRATOVARIUS and Koehne’s guitar wizardry orientation of ex-STRATOVARIUS’s Timo Tolkki. Additionally, Mijic’s exquisite voice pattern, like a mixture of Jon Lynn Turner, Ian Gillian and Tony Martin seems to fit well with rockier songs and therefore the songwriting the musical direction was accordingly. “Symphony Of Sin”, in comparison to “Trinity”, consists of a fairly harmonic vibe, especially demonstrated on the choral vocals that were amazingly produced, which garnered the listening experience a fine edge of smoothness. There is nothing too cheesy or cheap, but a polished form of Hard N’ Heavy with a clear 80s ambiance, leaning on softer margins.“Unbreakable” and “Wings To Fly” are the opposite of modern day breakers, hook laden emotive rockers exercising the arts of old AOR, along with Pete Newdeck’s robust drumming efforts, taking on smoother turns, creating an anthem driven feel with such a fine elegance full of grace. “Devil in Disguise”, fulfilling the lust of those looking for a bite of intensity and exuberant guitar riffery, yet will find out that within this Heavy Metal chugger there is a sweet peak moment with an enticing chorus and sharp edged soloing. “Turn The Page” and “Where is the Love?” inflamed with its melodic sensation, riff revelations, corresponding between Hard Rock and Metal, and another enchanting display of Mijic’s soaring vocals. EDEN’S CURSE established a profound position for themselves, finding the right voice to lead them forward, and the exact musical vibe to follow through the next steps of their career. “Symphony Of Sin” is a quality product of an 80s admiration and fascination, yet also upgraded by the features and goods of a well attributed crew." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • Its quite rare that a metal album gets proper care and attention when it comes to sound quality.  This Audio Fidelity hybrid SACD release of the classic Dio title was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Stephen Marsh.  This is about the best its every going to sound.
    $24.00
  • Only for true metal freaks (you know who you are). If Manowar is too wimpy for ya check 'em out.
    $13.00
  • The band gave Terry Brown the boot as producer. Peter Collins came in and kicked the band's ass a bit. The tunes are a bit more progressive sounding but radio fodder like "The Big Money" made these guys trillions.  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • "What do you get when you take a rough and ready Germanic power metal band and add two members of Blind Guardian? You get a better rough and ready Germanic power metal band. Sinbreed is that band and features the talents of Blind Guardian guitarist Marcus Siepen and drummer Frederik Ehmke, which gives them some instant musical credibility and clout. Their 2009 debut When World’s Collide was a rock solid slab of slick, but angry metal in the vein of modern Accept, Herman Frank and Paragon and Shadows improves on that template with even more raspy, Udo-like vocals and thrashy guitar lines. These cats don’t go in for the frilly aspects of Euro-power and prefer to pummel and attack with aggression while maintaining enough melody to hook you in. That makes Shadows a feisty, ill-tempered collection of speedy riffs, catchy choruses, and pissed off attitude, and when power metal is done this well, it’s pretty hard to resist. Not revolutionary, but it sure satisfies that need for edgy power sans pirate shirt.If you loved the last two Accept albums, songs like “Bleed” and “Call to Arms” will go down gangbusters. Lots of fast, in-your-face riffs and the excellently raspy roar of Herbie Langhans combine for some headbanging good times with all the Germanic flair you expect from acts like Grave Digger, but this is much better and more jacked up. It’s one speedster after another, each with a more than adequate chorus and ample nutsack. Sometimes they remind a bit of Steel Attack (title track), others times there’s a distinct Steel Prophet feel to the songs (“Leaving the Road”). Regardless of what influences they borrow from, they keep things straight-ahead, simple and rocking.Tunes like “Reborn,” ”Black Death” and “London Moon” have simple, memorable refrains and manage to be catchy without dialing back on the aggression. Most songs ride along on simple, but heavy riff patterns and rely on Herbie’s vocals to do the heavy lifting, pausing only for some satisfying, if typical power metal solos. It’s a simple approach, but it works for them, though there isn’t much difference from song to song and things do start to bleed together a little on the album’s back-end.Speaking of Herbie’s vocals, he’s a helluva good front man for this type of music. He has the raspy, gravely style down pat and reminds me a lot of new Accept singer Mark Tornillo. He has quite the powerful range and can hit all sorts of interesting notes when he so desires. He also has a bit of Bruce Dickinson’s flair and swagger hiding between his harsher approach (especially on “Standing Tall”) and it helps put the music over and make an impression. Marcus Siepen and Flo Laurin deliver the badass riffage required for this style and their solo work is pretty nifty (especially on “Broken Wings”). Nothing they do will make you fall out of a chair, but they manage to keep things moving for all ten songs and the album feels like it goes by quickly, which is a good thing.A typical dose of Teutonic terror, but a very good one, Shadows blasts away with all barrels, stays very consistent and checks all the required boxes on Yea Olde Power Metal Checklist. These guys are one of my favorite bands of this ilk and between them, Accept and Herman Frank, I get all the Germanic rage I can handle at my advanced age. If you need more muscle in your power metal, these guys have the iron injection ready to go. Go heavy or go home." - Angry Metal Guy
    $16.00
  • "A Sunday Night Above the Rain is a two-disc live set recorded by modern pro giants Marillion last year in March at Center Parcs in Port Zelande, the Netherlands.Disc 1 opens with “Gaza” from the album of the same name. It’s typical Marillion high drama informed by a good chunky beat, spiky middle eastern-sounding synth lines and lilting choruses. Right from the beginning, the crowd comprised of thousands come from over 44 countries this night, is clapping along hot and heavy before Steve Rothery’s wailing guitar solo (one of the most underrated guitar players in rock and roll) and singing along as Steve Hogarth (lead vocalist) will welcome from them often here on the balled “Waiting To Happen,” where, sorry to say, not much really does happen.We get lots of Mark Kelly’s beautiful piano on “This Strange Engine,” though I’m not thrilled by Hogarth’s swallowing words in an over-affected vocal. The tune rocks in its last minutes though as the band and Hogarth rise to an anthem-like ending!The highlight of this first disc though is “Neverland” where Kelly, bassist Peter Trewavas and Hogarth are especially inspired, but again what Steve Rothery slips in are truly spine-chilling moments. What he seemingly just throws away in flips during the vocal are full feasts, his leads perfect from wailing moments to sweet and clean ones, not mere seconds from one another. Not since David Gilmour have I felt a guitarist say so much doing so little.Lots of Disc 2 are from the Gaza album. “Montreal,” with its mid-song Floydian moments, is more a Mark Kelly song really, with especially effective tom work from drummer Ian Mosley behind him and Peter Trewavas poppin’ on the “Power” (good lyric here especially). Mosely and Trewavas are kicking on the opening of what becomes a plinky “The King of Sunset Town,” a tune that showcases a solid Hogarth vocal. A truly beautiful once again piano-led tune, “The Sky Above the Rain” like “Neverland” on the first is the linchpin of this second disc. Hogarth is very good here as are the subtleties of the drum and bass duo once again.The band does give one quick nod to its past (when they were fronted by lead singer/enigmatic frontman Fish) ending with “Garden Party.” Hogarth doesn’t especially sell this tune, but he doesn’t have to as pretty much the audience sings the song for him.If you want to know what modern-day Marillion are all about, grab it." - Short And Sweet NYC
    $15.00
  • Smoking hot live album recorded on the Electric Rendezvous tour. Jan Hammer and Philippe Saisse on keyboards? It's ill...
    $11.00
  • This Japanese edition comes with two bonus tracks: "Lonely" and "Sweet Enclosure".
    $15.00
  • Former Adagio vocalist Gus Monsanto has reappeared, now fronting this intense Brazilian power metal band.  For the most part Monsanto sings in his clean style but he augments and accentuates the lead vocal lines with some deathly growls.  The music heavy as hell with fierce almost thrash-life riffing and sick leads.  Having said that its all pretty melodic and will sit well with power metal fans. 
    $15.00
  • "This was the first U.S.-released CD-5 from Kate Bush, assembled from parts of three prior U.K. CD single releases (the additional tracks can also be found on This Woman's Work). It includes the album mix of "The Sensual World," as well as an instrumental version (she's avoided the extended remixes and rethinks this time), which, the video and other work considered, comes off as a wonderful pagan ditty, despite the rather flat and slightly muddy mixing job. In addition, there's also "Be Kind to My Mistakes" from the Nicholas Roeg-directed Castaway (an otherwise dull and disappointing film, despite Oliver Reed and the lead actress spending most of her onscreen time in a state of undress), "Ken" (from the mini-movie G.L.C., released only in the U.K.; she also contributed the incidental score), and "I'm Still Waiting," which, with "Be Kind to My Mistakes," graced the CD-5 release of the U.K. remix of "This Woman's Work." "Be Kind to My Mistakes" and "I'm Still Waiting" are good examples of a Kate Bush song -- full tilt percussion, almost jazzy vocal arrangements that sometimes seem unconnected to the rhythm, and other times seem part of it; "I'm Still Waiting," unfortunately, also has a little of Bush's tendency to shriek histrionically for emphasis. "Ken" is an outright crowd-pleasing stomp of a piece, not so much arranged as bashed together -- basically a theme for one of the major characters of G.L.C., and performed with unabashed enjoyment with drums, bass, voice, and Fairlight strings. The only real negative here is that Columbia chose to leave out two other tracks released in the U.K.: "The Confrontation" and "One Last Look Around the House Before We Go...," both on the U.K. 12" version of "Love & Anger."" - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • European only 2CD greatest hits set. The 2 CDs features remastered versions of classic tracks plus you get 3 unreleased acoustic tracks recorded in 2000 by Jon Oliva.
    $14.00
  • Adrenaline Mob is a new hard rock/metal band assembled by Russell Allen (Symphony X), Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), Mike Orlando, and John Moyer (ex-Disturbed).This style of music is a bit of departure for Allen and Portnoy. Adrenaline Mob seems to take its direction from their bassist who was a member of Disturbed. The music fits in the Disturbed/Godsmack vein. Allen's vocals are much more aggressive sounding than in Symphony X reminding a bit of Rob Zombie. Guitarist Mike Orlando plays with hyper-kinetic abandon. Mr. Portnoy...is Mr. Portnoy. What would you expect? This band is definitely going to be controversial with the Symphony X and Dream Theater crowd because it sounds so extremely different from those bands. Your move.
    $9.00
  • Stellar Italian progressive album from 1973. Another one of those one-off bands that should have graced us with at least one more effort. A gem of classically influenced progressive rock typical of the 70s Italian scene - but way above average. Comes with two bonus cuts.
    $18.00