Circles ($3 Special)

"A Chinese Firedrill is a project assembled and put together by bass player Joey Vera. He has written all the tunes, and play most instruments, with just drums and "DJ scratching" handled by others. Which makes this album more of a solo release than a band project as such. Previous to this release Vera was best known as a band member, with his involvement in Armored Saint, Fates Warning and OSI arguably being the most high profiled. The album “Circles” was issued by Bridge Records in 2006, and re-released in 2007 by ProgRock Records when Joey Vera signed for them.

Musically this release will be seen as an odd one by many listeners. Vera's background from metal bands shines through in the guitarwork on many tracks, while his involvement with bands like Chroma Key and OSI are easily detected by the use of synths, as well as ambient and industrial sounding elements in the musical tapestry. But the most striking feature of “Circles” is variation, as all songs explore more or less different musical styles.

“Circles” moves between hard rock and heavy metal in style, with some nice synth work throughout, "Automatic Fantasy" explores a more folk-rock influenced musical landscape, spiced with at times extensive synths and a hard rock influenced chorus. The more or less aptly named tune "Insane" mixes mellow psychedelic influenced moods with a grandiose prog metal chorus, fusing both styles at the end, whereas "Siúcra" is more of a symphonic rock and neo-prog musical journey. "Never Say Never" is a trip into prog metal territories with space rock elements included, and the following track "Grass and Stone (Ethereal)" is more of a haunting metal ballad with symphonic and psychedelic tendencies. "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is the final track, mixing electronic and ambient sounds with hard rock and metal in a song with numerous changes in style, pace and sound.

Vera is a talented performer and producer, and “Circles” proves that he's a very talented songwriter too. All tunes are coherent, even when exploring multitudes of styles. The songs move effortless between the different styles explored, and each individual song as well as the album as a whole has a distinct, individual sound. Overall this comes across as a very strong release - but perhaps with a slightly limited appeal.

Personally I'd recommend this album to people into OSI in general, and fans of their second release Free in particular, but fans of slightly experimental progressive rock and metal might also find this album intriguing." - Olav Björnsen/USAProgressiveMusic.com

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • "Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1969 album A SALTY DOG by PROCOL HARUM. Released in June 1969, the record followed on from the huge international success of the band’s debut single "A Whiter Shade of Pale” and the follow up single "Homburg” and the superb albums PROCOL HARUM and SHINE ON BRIGHTLY.  One of the finest releases of the era "A Salty Dog” saw the exquisite song writing of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid honed to perfection on highlights such as the album’s title track, "The Devil Came From Kansas”, "Wreck of the Hesperus”, "The Milk of Human Kindness” and more.  Recorded at Abbey Road studios, the album captured 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).Newly re-mastered from the original tapes, this Deluxe edition of "A Salty Dog” has been expanded to include 12 bonus tracks (5 previously unreleased) over two CDs, including the mono single mix of the title track and its non-album B-side; an early take of ‘The Milk Of Human Kindness’, plus five previously unreleased tracks from BBC Radio sessions from October 1968 & May 1969 along with four live tracks recorded in the USA in April 1969.This expanded deluxe edition of "A Salty Dog” 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"
    $19.00
  • "Boston's many fans were upset that it took the band two years to follow up its monster debut. When it arrived, the sophomore effort DON'T LOOK BACK was a virtual rewrite of BOSTON. This didn't stop the masses from snapping up the album, which ultimately racked up sales in the multi-platinum range.Boston sounds inspired on the anthemic title track. Other standout tracks include "It's Easy" and "Man I'll Never Be." The hard-rocking "Don't Be Afraid" closes the album. And two years would prove to be nothing in light of the eight-year hiatus between DON'T LOOK BACK and Boston's next release, 1986's THIRD STAGE." - Allmusic
    $5.00
  • "It only seems like a couple of weeks since Caravan announced in August 2013 that they were to record a new album that would be financed by money pledged by fans, and yet here it is already!What should have been a joyous time for the band and fans alike was sadly marred by the death of long-time drummer Richard Coughlan on December , however it is fitting that the digital download of the album was released to fans who had pledged on December 20, the day of Richard’s funeral!Musically this has classic Caravan stamped all over it. It is not, however, a hark back to the halcyon days of the 70′s and In the Land of Grey and Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, there are not anywhere near as many long instrumental sections in there for a start and the longest song I’ll Be There For You clocks in at a mere 6:14. What we do have here is a stripped down, and updated 2013 version of everything that Caravan fans look for. The classic songwriting is there, as is the excellent musicianship and whimsical lyrics, and let’s face it, with that instantly recognisable, trademark voice, Pye Hastings could re-record Never Mind The Bollocks and it would probably still sound like Caravan.All This Could Be Yours is a belter of an opener, and despite what I said above, this is one track that would not have been out of place on Grey and Pink or Girls Who Grow Plump! With an excellent, albeit short, viola solo from Geoffrey Richardson, and a great hook in the chorus, it skips along merrily in classic Caravan style.One of the ways of financing the album was to get people to pledge extra to go to the studio and get involved in the recording, I don’t want to pour cold water on anything but sadly I think this is where the band have shot themselves ever so slightly in the foot. Despite being a great song, I’m On My Way, has some awful, flat backing vocals in the chorus which almost ruin the song. The same applies to This Is What We Are where a slightly naff chorus comes close to ruining what is otherwise a very strong song, being slightly heavier than we are used to from Caravan including an infectious piano motif and an excellent, soaring guitar solo towards the end.The slower Dead Man Walking is the perfect pacer, leading into the very emotive Farewell My Old Friend. As an ode to the passing of a close friend, this song is made all the more poignant following the death of Richard Coughlan and brings a lump to the throat!In typical Caravan style, no-one is allowed to get too maudlin, as the next two songs Pain in the Arse with the vitriolic closing line ‘I don’t care if you sue me now, you are insane’, and Trust Me I Am A Doctor put the collective tongues firmly back in the cheek. Doctor takes an irreverent stab at a GP, who I’m quite sure, given the amount of names dropped in the song is a real person and should have no difficulty in identifying himself! But it is all done in good fun and I’m sure no umbrage will be taken!The album finishes on a mellow note with the wistful I’ll Be There For You and the title song Paradise Filter which kicks off  really slow and  melancholy with a late night jazz feel, before breaking out into a middle section that is very reminiscent of the instrumental break in The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again!Overall this is an excellent return for a band that has been absent from the recording studio for too long (it is ten years since the release of The Unauthorised Breakfast Item in 2003). Not that they have been resting on their laurels as they have still been playing live gigs, but it is nice to know that they can still cut it and write well crafted, catchy and extremely listenable songs.It also proves that the pledging route is a very viable way of financing studio time and album releases, sadly, however, I doubt very much that would work for new bands as you would have to have a name for yourself in order to create the initial interest. Maybe extensive gigging and as the old saying goes ‘paying your dues’ would help. Now there’s an idea (take note potential XFactor and The Voice contestants)!" - jonb52
    $20.00
  • High quality Japanese SHM-CD in a mini-LP sleeve."Sucessfully experimental album ahead of it's time.Influenced by the cutting edge musical experiments that abounded in late '70s New York Daevid radically changed direction from his previous acoustic troubadour style. Utilising the then embryonic sampling and video technology he radically cut-up, re-mixed and over dubbed the New York Gong LP 'About Time' to produce 'Playbax 80'. It resulted in this stunning and at times assaulting set, and it's still way out there."
    $14.00
  • "Marbles was originally released on the band's own Racket Records label and attracted a lot of attention when it was released as the album had been funded by donations from fans who had pre-ordered the album before they started recording in return for having their name printed within the album artwork (over 18,000 names). This new 2CD Madfish edition of the album is packed in a deluxe 36 page digibook re-worked by original designer Carl Glover. The book features unseen pictures not used in the original artwork. The tracks on the second disc have previously only been available through the band's own website."
    $13.00
  • Cheap price for this reissue of the first album from the band that ultimately evolved into the AOR radio friendly band. This stuff isn't like that at all. Essentially the initial incarnation of Journey featured Neal Schon and Greg Rolie from Santana, along with Aynsley Dunbar (post-Zappa), and bassist Ross Valory. The music is high-energy with strong progressive rock and fusion elements. The three instrumentals veer towards the fusion side but Rolie's organ work lend the music the prog rock touches. Schon simply annihilates on this entire disc - he sounds like a cross between Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana. Forget your preconceived notions - this is like a different band with the same name as the one you are thinking of. Not a wheel in the sky to be found...
    $5.00
  • NTSC Region 1 2 DVD set of Dream Theater's performance in Tokyo in 2004. Disc one features the entire set (18 tracks in all) and disc two has a slew of documentary footage and interviews, videos, etc. I just finished watching the concert and it's a blowtorch set with state of the art video production. A must own.
    $22.00
  • White Willow's third album receives new treatment from Jacob Holm Lupo's Termo Records.  This remastered edition comes with new artwork and liner notes as well as 3 previously unreleased bonus tracks.White Willow is one of the most significant progressive groups of the current eraThe Billboard Guide To Progressive MusicWhite Willows third album "Sacrament" is a mystical blend of gothic atmospheres and intricate, classically influenced progressive music. Having firmly established themselves around the world as one of the premier progressive ensembles, "Sacrament" is one of 2000s most anticipated progressive rock releases.The Norwegian bands 1995 debut "Ignis Fatuus" is enshrined in the Top 100 releases of Billboards Guide To Progressive Music. This album launched the band into the world spotlight culminating in a highly acclaimed performance at Progfest 95 in Los Angeles. The 1998 follow up "Ex Tenebris" brought further attention to the group with its mystical blend of gothic, folk, and classical music within a progressive rock framework."Sacrament" shows the maturity of the band. Perhaps a bit heavier than before but with all their trademark ingredients in place, White Willow will easily once again capture the attention of progressive rock fans around the world. Imagine a blend of The Gathering, King Crimson, and vintage Jethro Tull and you have just scratched the surface of the intense sounds this band creates. Soaring female vocals, mondo-Crimsonoid guitar leads, and blistering flute work set against a backdrop of symphonic rock keyboards will effortless ignite the imagination of the dedicated progressive music listener.Also of note is the stunningly transparent and three dimensional audiophile sound.
    $16.00
  • "Most progressive music fans will recognize guitarist John Wesley from his work as touring member with Porcupine Tree over the last several albums. Yet, Wesley also has an extensive solo collection as well, and he expands it with his sixth album, Disconnect.The album is defined by one singular element, Wesley's guitar playing. Disconnect is definitely a guitar driven prog record. His playing evokes the styles of David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, Steve Wilson, and maybe even some Jeff Beck. (Lifeson guests on Once A Warrior.) Wesley's sound on many songs is generally sharp and high-pitched as with Once A Warrior, sometimes sounding psychedelic as within Disconnect, and then kinetic, yet muted, within Take What You Need.There's a lot of weight to many songs as well, definitely tipping the album towards progressive metal. When a song does appear to be somewhat lighter at the start, like Gets You Everytime or Mary Will, Wesley jumps in with those slashing guitar licks to slice your ears into tiny little pieces, like stir fry vegetables. If there is a drawback to the album at all, it's that the slashing sharpness of the guitar is pervasive and can get more than a little shrill at times. But there are some lighter pieces here, namely Window and more so Satellite, where Wesley dials up some acoustic guitar in the mix.Briefly, the other significant element here is Wesley's vocals. He has a great melodic voice, emotive and passionate at times, and definitely pleasing. With guitar in hand, a strong voice, and creative compositions, John Wesley has delivered another fine album with Disconnect. Easily recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $10.00
  • "Death.Taxes.Ozric Tentacles.Since 1984 this loose collective have been releasing reliably great music from the mind of leader Ed Wynne. Their margin of error is enviably tiny – there is no such thing as a bad Ozrics album. Sure, some are better than others, but the body of work is as inescapably consistent as mortality and societal contributions. Technicians of the Sacred is their fifteenth studio album, second double album and the first release in this format since Erpland in 1990. It is also one of the best they have ever recorded.The blend of electronica and inner-space rock is instantly recognisable with ‘The High Pass’. World music and gently undulating synths take their time to ease us back into the required frame of cosmic consciousness. It takes almost 6 minutes for the secret weapon, Wynne’s signature lysergic lead guitar, to be deployed and that is the modus operandi of the whole album – nothing is rushed, each track unfolds lotus-like.‘Changa Masala’ distils all the band’s ingredients into a spicy side-dish. Sequencers, vocal samples and a reggae skank provide the base while acoustic guitar rips like a John McLaughlin solo, interjecting a nod to their past, a musical in-joke for the fans, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet heard it.The Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7 and sometime Ozrics collaborator) influence is foregrounded in the first disc’s closer, ‘Switchback’. Tap-delay guitar slithers over a web of ambient keyboard washes. Portamento bass notes slide and glide their way through the patchouli-scented psychedelic haze.f the first disc was an aromatic treat, then the second is manna. ‘Epiphlioy’ recalls the classic ‘Saucers’. Its serpentine twelve-string acoustic riffs employ Eastern modes to evoke a scene that is paradoxically earthy and otherworldly. Staccato strings conjure Kashmir while a celestial orchestra of whooshing keyboard pads threatens to levitate us into the stratosphere and beyond. We are back in the bizarre bazaar, folks. Brandi Wynne pins down the ethereal mix with a heavy dub bassline. The track changes constantly. This is the most compositionally complex music the band has ever produced.While there are references to Ozric history and a more organic feel similar to early classics with the occasional use of non-electric instruments and ethnic voices, the album as a whole is a step forward. The painstakingly crafted symbiosis of synthesised sounds and rock instrumentation, coupled with a slick production, lend Technicians of the Sacred a holistic integrity not heard since Jurassic Shift (which incidentally entered the UK charts at a very respectable number 11 in 1993). The whole gels together and flows with the multi-layered sophistication of a symphony while retaining some of the jam-band aesthetic of the free festival days.‘Smiling Potion’ features interlocking sequences even Tangerine Dream would be proud of and a tribal metronome-sense beat straight out of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ.As ‘Rubbing Shoulders With The Absolute’ throbs along on a blissed-out dub rhythm artificially generated voices ensure the weirdness meter is kept firmly in the red.Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende makes his first studio appearance and throughout the album he proves to be a superb addition to the group, whether approximating the tight programmed style of The Hidden Step era or, as on the closing track, ‘Zenlike Creature’, tackling elusive prog time signatures with ease and finesse. As Ed Wynne winds up a solo worthy of fusion maestros Mahavishnu Orchestra he introduces a shimmering Hillage-esque repeating motif that stays in the mind long after the music has stopped.Technicians of the Sacred, for all its dynamic shifts and intricacies, is a very chilled-out release, one for relaxing to and for transportation to the other, wherever that may be. There are no jarring wig-out rock guitar hero sections or all-out sonic attacks like ‘The Throbbe’. Rather this is Ozric Tentacles’ most cohesive and accomplished effort in almost 20 years and a highlight of a long and peerless career." - Echoes And Dust
    $13.00
  • The band's first album is a bit raw in sound. This is pre-Peart material. LIstening to this today you would almost think it's a different band although their trademark tune "Working Man" is here.  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • The second album of a projected 4 disc series. This one is heavier than Ki and also features Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) as guest vocalist.
    $12.00
  • 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
  • "Building from the jazz fusion foundation of Pretzel Logic, Steely Dan created an alluringly sophisticated album of jazzy pop with Katy Lied. With this record, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen began relying solely on studio musicians, which is evident from the immaculate sound of the album. Usually, such a studied recording method would drain the life out of each song, but that's not the case with Katy Lied, which actually benefits from the duo's perfectionist tendencies. Each song is given a glossy sheen, one that accentuates not only the stronger pop hooks, but also the precise technical skill of the professional musicians drafted to play the solos. Essentially, Katy Lied is a smoother version of Pretzel Logic, featuring the same cross-section of jazz-pop and blues-rock. The lack of innovations doesn't hurt the record, since the songs are uniformly brilliant. Less overtly cynical than previous Dan albums, the album still has its share of lyrical stingers, but what's really notable are the melodies, from the seductive jazzy soul of "Doctor Wu" and the lazy blues of "Chain Lightning" to the terse "Black Friday" and mock calypso of "Everyone's Gone to the Movies." It's another excellent record in one of the most distinguished rock & roll catalogs of the '70s." - All Music Guide
    $5.00