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BY Battiato

(Customer Reviews)
$11.00
$ 6.60
SKU: 74321585512
Label:
BMG Ricordi
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Dedicated to Karlheinz Stockhausen so I guess you can figure out which direction this one is headed...

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  • Blazing second solo album, from 1977. This has some of the fastest guitarwork you will ever hear in your lifetime. DiMeola shows many facets to his playing touching upon pure electric fusion as well as gorgeous acoustic work. The acoustic duet with Paco De Lucia on "Mediterranean Sundance" is breathtaking. Jan Hammer and all the other stars play their nuts off here. Great.
    $5.00
  • "My first experience with Edge Of Paradise dates to 2011. I've listened to a lot of music since then, so my recollection is a little cloudy. That may be a good thing as I approach the band's first full-length album, Immortal Waltz, now signed to Germany's Pure Rock Records.Largely what I do recall is that the focus of Edge Of Paradise revolves around guitarist Dave Bates and vocalist Margarita Monet. He works with layers of dense sharp riffs coupled with leads that vary from neo-classical to pure rock. Monet has a nearly Olympic vocal approach. She's not one of those operatic singers. Yet she can voice the same, along with rock to something more atmospheric and ethereal. For the music EoP works from the base melodic heavy metal infused with a rock groove, and then adds the former elements for this large bombastic presentation. To be fair, four of the songs are from the Perfect Shade of Black EP released in October 2014: the title track, In A Dream, Ghost, and Break Away. But unless you have that EP, this tidbit matters little. The band also covers the Sabbath song, Children of the Sea, with some success.There's a lot to like about this album, simply because of the Bates/Monet approach to songwriting. I can honestly say I enjoyed every song here, thanks to the ease which heaviness and groove are blended together. Yet several songs stood out more than others. First, there's the pair of It's My Show and Immortal Waltz where EoP brings this feeling of theater, possibly some side show, and a little burlesque to their sound. The latter song may even suggest a waltz theme or motif to your ears. Another fine tune is In A Dream, which has this combination of riff density and soaring atmosphere thanks to the vocals.Also, a favorite was Ghost; it's not unlike In A Dream, but more ethereal at the start, only to become massive in riffage in crescendo. Finally, Rise For The Fallen, an anthem of sorts, seemed the song with most groove with Bates' riffs blasting throughout. But this song, like so many others here, displays the chink in the EoP's armor. For all her vocal calisthenics, Monet is difficult to understand. Her voice and style certainly compliment the EoP sound, but you'll want to have the lyrics handy if you want do understand anything she sings. Nevertheless, and overall, Edge Of Paradise's Immortal Waltz is interesting and entertaining melodic heavy metal that will keep you listening. Recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00
  • Sound Of Contact is a new band put together by Simon Collins and session keyboardist Dave Kerzner.  Yeah - Simon is Phil's son.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree - Simon plays drums and he also sings.  His voice is eerily like his dad.  At times virtually indistinguishable.  The music follows a similar path to Phil's work with Genesis and solo.  Parts of the album are pure prog - in fact the album closes with a killer 19 minute epic called "Mobius Slip".  Other parts of the album exhibit a poppier more commercial side.  I don't think of the album as a pop album - its a prog rock album.  Kerzner provides some very interesting keyboard work - lots of intricacies through out the album.  There is that commercial element that reminds me of Genesis in the 80s.  With his voice sounding so much like his father, Simon will always be cursed with being compared to Phil.  That's a fact.  Overall I think he's come up with an interesting album that fans of more contemporary progressive rock will enjoy.
    $12.00
  • "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
  • "From Guapo’s origins as an artsy noise-rock duo in the 90s to their current standing as a quartet, founder and drummer Dave Smith has steered clear of cliché and compromise. Albums such as Five Suns (2004), Black Oni (2005) and Elixirs (2008) chronicled the trio incarnation of Guapo’s attempts to define and expand a musical vocabulary rooted in a stripped-back, somewhat aesthetic RIO-style chamber ensemble.Yet as striking as these albums were, in hindsight they were but a preamble to 2013’s The History Of The Visitation. This marked a significant line-up change that saw Smith and bassist James Sedwards joined by ex-Cardiacs man/future Gongster Kavus Torabi and Chrome Hoof keyboard player Emmett Elvin. It also saw Guapo embrace a more demonstrative, gutsy rock aesthetic.That boldness continues on Obscure Knowledge, a single, continuous, 43-minute suite. The band’s take-no-prisoners attitude is obvious from the word go. The album opens with a four-note bass motif ascending through a blizzard of cymbals and fractious, sustained keyboard tones. When soaring guitar and circuitous MC Escher-esque organ riffing erupts and takes flight, there are moments where we get the answer to that burning question: what would Mahavishnu Orchestra and Van der Graaf Generator have sounded like if they’d ever joined forces? The suite evolved from the band’s weekly rehearsals wherein each section was slowly accrued from a process of trial and error and selective pruning. This isn’t cerebral jazz-rock; more scarily belligerent minimalism.After the initial airburst of establishing themes across a Fender Rhodes morse code tapped out by Elvin, Kavus Torabi strikes one ominous guitar chord more than 60 times in the space of five minutes. Wilful and provocative, it’s like a musical dare to see who is going to blink first. With each of those tolling repetitions there comes a sense of escalating pressure and constriction, an expert raising of the temperature inexorably leading to bursting point.Breaking down and reassembling as each new segment in the piece is introduced, Guapo’s restlessness is only stilled in the midst of some teeth-scraping sonics over halfway through the album. Even here, the fierce drones fluctuating with La Monte Young-style sonic whispers offer little respite.Unflinchingly adventurous and every bit as brilliant as its predecessor, Obscure Knowledge not only consolidates Guapo’s progress but sets the benchmark by which others can be measured." - Prog
    $15.00
  • After their last performance at Nearfest Apocalypse, Anglagard's lineup went through a bit of an upheaval.  Luckily it didn't materially affect the band's sound.  Anglagard is still Anglagard.  Prog Pa Svenska is a 2CD set that documents the band's three day residence at Club Citta in Tokyo, Japan back in March 2013.  Material is drawn from all three studio albums.  The recording is beautiful and the performances are stellar.  What else do you need to know?  How about this review:"May 14th of this year will see the release of a new Änglagård live album: Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you’re anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård’s small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård’s last show prior to their 1994 breakup. While the liner-notes of Buried Alive reveal a band that was not 100% satisfied, 20 years later with the release of Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan, Änglagård is back and going strong with a new live recording that is rich in dynamic and deep in maturity, a performance that I am confident that they are proud to immortalize for their fans.Prog på Svenska represents the first of three consecutive nights that the masters of dark Swedish prog delivered at Club Città in Japan alongside The Crimson ProjeKCt (featuring the legendary Adrian Belew and Tony Levin). For me personally this is a special album that transports me back to when I witnessed their unbelievable performance only three weeks later at Baja Prog. Among a plethora of canonized acts at the festival (such as Hackett, New Trolls, and Three Friends), Änglagård’s remarkable performance showed that they stand in no one’s shadow. While there’s nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I’ve ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård’s next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn’t kill anyone, I’ll start right off with the new song: ”Introvertus Fugu Part 1.” Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it’s our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that “Introvertus” shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif,  and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. Johan and Linus continue pounding in the rhythm section before the eerie central motif returns to bring “Introvertus” towards its close with the full force of Anna and Linus’ dueling woodwinds, one hanging on the melody while the other produces chaotic squeals before withering off the melody in a very unsettling (but cool) way.After kicking it off with an exciting intro the band takes us back 20 years with “Hostsejd.” The rich dynamics, especially the meticulously controlled Mellotron swells, really shine on this one while some small differences in instrumentation (such as the sax on the first main melody instead of flute) really keep the piece fresh and exciting. Although I was craving the intro on the follow up track, “Längtans Klocka,” the supreme level of interplay between all instruments that starts off the piece is fantastic. Furthermore, the guitar/Mellotron duet at about 6:30 that leads into a memorable theme is quite the highlight. Finally, the circus-y melody towards the end of the song somehow becomes even more diabolic in this slightly stripped down version as Tord’s demented waltzy riff serves as a perfect backdrop for the drunken saxes. Speaking of Tord, it certainly is nice to see him back in the band, and I must add that his guitar playing and sense of emotion is perfect for the band and has improved over the years. This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated on “Jordrök,” a quintessential song in Änglagård’s catalog. The reality of the matter is that despite the fact that the band was quite mature at the time of Hybris‘ release, their capacity to bring out all the nuances in pieces like this shows that they are musicians who have truly refined their craft over the years. “Jordrök” sounds more alive than ever; the Mellotron flute section in the middle, one of the band’s absolute trademark melodies, is to die for, and Linus’ superb use of phrasing and pacing in the piano intro certainly takes this classic piece up several notches.Moving deeper into the performance we see “Sorgmantel,” one of my personal favorites from Viljans Öga. The first thing I noticed about this particular performance is that the intro sounds much more raw due to differences in instrumentation, this version starting out with a guitar and bass call and response. While I absolutely adore the studio version, this new arrangement and performance was also wonderful and brought its own set of advantages to the table. First, the bass/guitar duet at the beginning really exposes the melody and shows you that its not just about fancy instrumentation, it’s a gorgeous melody through and through. Second, the band is not concerned in the least bit with rushing through the performance of this piece; the pacing is delicate, precise, and emotional with plenty of space for ritard and sway as the intro melody gets passed around from guitar to bass and flute and is then countered by the piano, making the fugue-nature of this piece even more evident. The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as “Sorgmantel” takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful… even breathtaking.To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with “Kung Bore” and “Sista Somrar.” Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of “Sista Somrar’s” slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.In my opinion, Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don’t want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there’s just something missing, or the band simply doesn’t offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of ‘had to have been there’ to get what’s so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård’s latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn’t a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård’s extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs." - Progulator
    $25.00
  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a newly remastered anthology featuring the best of the recorded output by the legendary Danish band BURNIN RED IVANHOE, drawn from the recordings made for Sonet Records between 1969 and 1974.Burnin Red Ivanhoe are legends of the Danish Progressive Rock scene of the late 60s / early 70s. Formed in Copenhagen in 1967, the band initially featured the talents of KARSTEN VOGEL (Saxophones), STEEN CLAESSON (Guitar, Vocals), STEEN LANGE (Bass) and BO THRIGE ANDERSEN (Drums). Signing to Sonet Records in Denmark in December 1969, the band issued their first album "M 144” in 1969. Over the next few years the band’s line-up varied, but the string of albums such as "Burnin Red Ivanhoe”, "WWW”, "Miley Smile / Stage Recall” and "Right On” released between 1969 and 1974 gained many admirers throughout the world, including John Peel (who signed the band to his Dandelion label). Burnin Red Ivanhoe’s unique fusion of Jazz, Rock and the Avant Garde was as imaginative as anything emerging from the embryonic German rock scene of the time and remains impressive forty years later.This anthology has been newly remastered from the original master tapes and features an illustrated booklet with new essay."
    $19.00
  • Second album from this outstanding new Italian band performing in the "Rock Progressivo Italiano" style.  Their debut La Crudelta Di Aprile blew me away and this new one is coming on like a sledgehammer.  The quartet is led by keyboardist Emanuele Tarasconi who pulls all kinds of vintage keys out of the closet.  Guitars figure a bit more prominently this time around and again there is a guest violinist.  The focal point tends to always drift back to Tarasconi's keys which have a style that reminds of Toni Pagliuca's work with Le Orme.  There are Italian vocals on the album but there are really long stretches of instrumental passages to the point that the vocals are inconsequential.  If you liked their first album you are going to love this one.  BUY OR DIE! 
    $16.00
  • The White Ladies was the third album from Trace (now billed as Rick van der Linden and Trace).  Its a conceptual work that is often criticized for the use of narration and vocals, which truth be told can be a bit annoying after awhile.  Overall the playing is top notch with plenty of van der Linden's trademark keyboard pyrotechnics.  This new edition comes with 13 previously unreleased demo tracks.
    $16.00
  • Its been four years since this British ensemble's debut album.  Been a long time coming but there have been a number of personnel changes in the band.  Founding members Alex Crispin (vox/keys) and bassist Dan Pomlett left the band, while guitarist Nicholas Richards switched over to bass.  While the band went through a state of flux their core sound didn't really change a hell of a lot.  Yeah maybe its pared down a bit but it is still steeped in the sounds of the early 70s.  Mellotron, organ and reeds abound.  Guitar is a bit more dominant but still with that retro Vertigo vibe.  Vocals only appear on one track and they are OK.  Think in terms of an instrumental VDGG in a massive jam session with members of Soft Machine and Eloy.  As if!  I will be hard pressed to come across a better progressive rock album released in 2012.  BUY OR DIE!
    $13.00
  • A new edition of XTC’s classic 1992 album, the first in a series of XTC albums to get the deluxe remix treatment.  Featuring new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes made from the original multitrack tapes by Steven Wilson.  Also included is the original stereo mix, instrumental mixes, and other bonus material.SW produced the new mixes with the input of founder band member Andy Partridge and the full approval of the band.Presented in special packaging with an expanded booklet and sleeve-notes by Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding and Dave Gregory, this is the cd and blu-ray version.The CD features a completely new stereo album mix, including non-album track Didn’t Hurt a Bit.Blu-Ray features:- a 5.1 Mix of the album in 96/24 LPCM.- original mix, and a new album mix by Steven Wilson, both in high resolution 96/24 LPCM stereo- exclusive instrumental versions of all new mixes in 96/24 LPCM stereo- exclusive Andy Partridge home demos and Colin Moulding work tapes for songs written for the album and contemporaneously.- filmed footage of the band working on the album in Chipping Norton Studios.- promo films for The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead and The Disappointed also feature on the Blu-Ray. 
    $27.00
  • Remastered edition of the iconic first album from Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. At the time frontman Ronnie James Dio was an unknown singer from an upstate New York band called Elf. This released turned the hard rock world upside down. "Man On The Silver Mountain", "Catch The Rainbow", "Still I'm Sad"....it didn't get better than this...ever!
    $5.00
  • "Every pro electric-bass player and their mothers wore out the grooves of this record when it first came out, trying to cop Clarke's speedy, thundering, slapped-thumb bass licks. Yet ultimately, it was Clarke's rapidly developing compositional skills that made this album so listenable and so much fun for the rest of us, then and now. The title track not only contributed a killer riff to the bass vocabulary; it is a cunningly organized piece of music with a well-defined structure. Moreover, Clarke follows his calling card with two tunes that are even more memorable -- the sauntering ballad "Quiet Afternoon" and an ebullient, Brazilian percussion-laced number with a good string arrangement and a terrific groove, "The Dancer." Clarke also brings out the standup bass for a soulful acoustic dialogue with John McLaughlin on "Desert Song." Evidently enthused by their leader's material, David Sancious (keyboards) and Raymond Gomez (guitars) deliver some of their best solos on records -- and with George Duke on hand on one cut, you hear some preliminary flickerings of Clarke's ventures into the commercial sphere. But at this point in time, Clarke was triumphantly proving that it was possible to be both good and commercial at the same time." - All Music
    $5.00
  • Utterly insane avant garde metal from The Netherlands.  A not so simple guidepost would be to think of Leprous meets Queen meets Mr. Bungle.  That's really just the starting point.  This one will keep you off balance and scratching your head in wonderment.  Brilliant and totally mesmerizing.  BUY OR DIE!!"You probably haven’t heard of Dutch Avante-garde prog metal band Schizoid Lloyd, which is a shame, as their two previously released EPs, Virus in 2009 and Circus in 2010, were incredible slices of metallic weirdness that blended the humorous stylings of Queen, Mr. Bungle and Frank Zappa, as well as a long and diverse list of more subtle influences (their Facebook page’s influences section is extensive and covers everything from Gorguts to Kanye West), resulting in something as unique as it is strange. This past year, the band finished work on their debut album and announced their signing to Finnish label Blood Music.The band’s debut, appropriately titled The Last Note in God’s Magnum Opus, is a monstrous slab of progressive metal that’s not afraid to go some very strange places, and while it can be cacophonous at times, the songwriting is good enough to hold together tunes that wouldn’t work if written and played by less skilled musicians. Songs like “Suicide Penguin” and “Avalanche Riders” careen from riff to riff while the rest of the band rides alongside. It’s all incredibly breathless and odd, but not without subtlety and emotional depth. The most surprising part of this record, in fact, is it’s ability to be catchy and emotional without losing an ounce of technical or compositional depth.That’s not to say that this is an album for casual listening or the uninitiated. The sheer amount of musical “stuff” going on at once can make your head spin if you’re not used to bands like Mr. Bungle or Diablo Swing Orchestra and their propensity for offbeat histrionics. Even so, going in with an open mind and no expectations beyond “Things are going to get weird” should allow almost anyone to appreciate the virtuosity on display. The multiple vocal stylings from three of the musicians are almost akin to Mastodon, if they spent way too much time listening to Queen and doing cocaine. Even at it’s most blisteringly odd, however, the compositions are rock solid and so tightly played it’s enjoyable to listen to even if you can’t get a handle on what’s going on, in much the same way riding a rollercoaster blazed out of your mind is enjoyable.Schizoid Lloyd wear their influences on their sleeves. Queen is evident in the vocal melodies and harmonies, Frank Zappa in the guitar compositions and Mr. Bungle in the song titles and bizarre atmosphere, but the band manages to take all these disparate pieces and craft an album that not only feels cohesive, but is both fun to listen to and possessive of a character all it’s own. These six Dutchmen are certainly no amateurs on their instruments or newcomers to the genre, and they manage to check all the boxes as well as go above and beyond and deliver something that feels fresh in a genre that can often feel burdened by it’s own strangeness and need to stay one step ahead of everything else. The Last Note in God’s Magnum Opus is fantastic, and it would be a shame if this was the last note from this band." - Heavy Blog Is Heavy
    $16.00