Cosmic Handball (BLOW OUT PRICE!)

Cosmic Handball (BLOW OUT PRICE!)

BY Silent Memorial

(Customer Reviews)
$5.00
$ 3.00
SKU: LMP0908-114
Label:
Limb Music
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One of the great overlooked prog metal albums of the 90s made available again. This album with the odd name was only released in Japan by Toshiba-EMI in 1998. It was the debut album from this Swiss trio and featured the great Thomas Vikstrom on vocals. The music was keyboard driven, a bit off kilter and totally amazing. The band didn't release anything again until this year's Retrospective but the similarities are superficial. Retrospective is a great album but a bit more conventional. Cosmic Handball has a lot more personality. Its been remixed and remastered which can only help as the original production was a bit murky sounding. Highest recommendation.

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  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
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  • "You know how it is. You’re the Daughter of Satan, you fall in love, your lover dies, you kill some nuns, and then you destroy the world.All in a day’s work for Demon Lung, whose new album ‘A Dracula’ is the gleeful retelling of a gruesome story inspired by the 1977 horror film Alucarda.‘A Dracula’ is bigger, faster and more spectacular than its predecessor, the band’s excellent debut ‘The Hundredth Name’, and while it may not be a huge creative gamble for the Las Vegas quintet, it’s a step up in every department.Clad in white gown and sorrowful expression, singer Shanda Frederick in undoubtedly the band’s focal point. She particularly enjoyed writing the lyrics for this album, and that relish oozes through in her performance.Frederick’s voice sways and lilts with a delicately-controlled strength. It is at once tragic and snarling, dreamy and yet decisive. For all her gloomy power and vampiric passion, it would be great to hear even more variety from Frederick’s distinctive voice. She persists with a trademark slide at the end of almost every line, which becomes distracting.On the song ‘Raped By The Serpent’, she demonstrates that when her vocals are more positive and invigorated, then the song can really come to life. Other standout tracks include ‘I Am Haunted’, which is a slow and patient triumph, and the gloriously understated epic ‘Gypsy Curse’.Big, metallic riffs pummel and crash as the narrative proceeds to its striking conclusion, the guitars working in perfect partnership with Frederick’s Medusa-like charms.Demon Lung draw upon a sludgy heaviness and apocalyptic drumming to create a thunderous, stirring sound. And yet some songs stubbornly refuse to burst into life, as was the case on the band’s previous album. These Nevada wizards prefer to downplay their own epicness in order to maintain a relentless state of tension.‘A Dracula’ is consistently engaging and mesmerising work of creative misery from these stylish Las Vegas doomsayers." - Doom Metal Heaven
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  • Excellent full length from this up and coming German band. Effloresce fits within the realm of progressive metal but not neatly. Effloresce is fronted by female vocalist Nicki Weber. She has a solid midrange voice. Curiously she also adds harsh black metal vocals in spots as an embellishment...and she also plays flute. Keyboards have a bit of an old school feel (I might even be hearing some Mellotron samples mixed in). In general there is a dark spirit to the music that touches on Opeth territory. Dan Swano mixed and mastered the album so I can understand that angle. The album is filled with epic tracks and while not really solo crazy there are lengthy instrumental passages that demonstrate these guys can certainly play. I'm definitely enjoying the prog rock aspects that keep turning up in unexpected places. Be forewarned, some of you may be turned off by Nicki's use of raspy vocals in spots but its not done in a heavy handed way.
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  • "Labyrinth released one great prog power metal album that everyone talks about in Return to Heaven Denied, and yes, it was awesome. I'm not very familiar with their career in between that album and this one, but I like this one a lot. 6 Days to Nowhere is one of the more extreme examples of a former power metal band going in an entirely new, strange direction, as this is basically a cross between subdued melodic metal and Radiohead-esque mellow coffee shop soft rock, and it's great.I know, I know – that probably doesn't sound good. But the band really sells it, and they do the style up with genuine emotional and heartfelt songwriting. There are a lot of songs on here and they're all fairly simple, with little adornments outside of rhythmic guitars and cool, light keyboard sprinklings and catchy vocal lines – they're very to-the-point and it works, because it takes talent to make simplistic songs this engaging. Vocalist Rob Tiranti reins in his high pitched wailing for a more controlled performance, which is fitting for the album – not every singer needs to wail his head off to sound great.So really there's no obstacles between the listener and the raw emotion on display – the raw feelings of loneliness and isolation and being trapped; no boundaries of technicality and musical adornments to distract from the outpouring sorrow and unrest from Tiranti's silky vocal cords and those svelte, slick guitar riffs. On songs like “Crossroads” and “Just One Day” they sound the most metal, with rattling guitar riffing and galloping tempos – albeit with a much more pensive attitude than most of their contemporaries would go for. “Lost” is a brilliant song, transitioning much better than anyone could rightfully expect between charging speed and mellow, jazzy despair and “What???” is a bizarre slice of chugging, idiosyncratic prog that ends up one of the album's more deft, clever moments overall.Most of the album foregoes the metal in favor of more laid back rock music. “Mother Earth” is a bluesy old school 70s rock track with mellow leads and a wailing vocal set and songs like “Waiting Tomorrow,” “Coldness” and “Rusted Nail,” which see the band embracing stodgy rock riffs and plain, amiable vocals perhaps more friendly to the inside of an indie rock show. “Wolves'n'Lambs” is perhaps one of the album's weirdest moments with a lurching chorus section bookended by electronic rhythms, and closing ballad “Smoke and Dreams” is a perfect soundtrack to wandering the city streets under the moon in a city you've never been to before.Despite the variety on display, lyrically is where the album really comes together, as all these songs are tied together with themes of feeling displaced and out of touch and alone. It's not happy music, and the vibe is a very detached and chilled kind of malaise, which makes it unique compared to the angst you might expect upon reading some of the lyrics with no music. But it works, and I think it's really relatable and easy to get into. Who can't remember a time they felt that way – alone and scared and shut off from humanity? The band sells the lyrics with a genuine honesty, and the album comes out affecting and personal as a real artistic statement. I dig this and you should check it out if you like individual, emotionally resonant music – very highly recommended." - The Metal Archives
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  • Top rarity mined from the Vertigo catalog once again (it was briefly available on CD from Repertoire). Odin was a British band that migrated to Germany where they achieved a modest level of success. Recorded in Germany at Windrose Studios in 1972, the music had a decidedly English feel. In fact the album kicks off with "Life Is Only" a lengthy work out in which Jeff Beers, the band's keyboardist, channels Keith Emerson. Curiously this is followed by a short instrumental called "Tribute To Frank" which can only be a reference to Zappa - the music is a dead ringer for his style of writing. Long Hair Music did another fine job, giving us detailed liner notes and even a near 14 minute live bonus track.
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  • "Symphonic Power/Progressive metal group Wind Rose are sure to impress with this epic new album Wardens Of The West Wind. If you appreciate groups like the rousing metal bands Fairyland and Blind Guardian then I do suggest that you give Wind Rose a go.This is their second full-length album, and although I haven't heard Wind Roses's first Shadows Over Lothadruin from what I have read as impressive as that album was the Italian band has stepped up their game with Wardens Of The West Wind. That very cool cover art is by Felipe Machado Franco his other work can be seen on metal albums by the likes of Blind Guardian, Brainstorm, Rage and Rhapsody Of Fire. Bass player/producer Cristiano Bertocchi a former member of the prominent Italian metal groups Labyrinth and Vision Divine had also spent time working with Wind Rose and he joined the band in 2014.Folk ingredients are present and with the inviting sounds of traditional instruments and male chants on "Where Dawn And Shadows Begin" this is the precursor to some rather spirited metal on "Age Of Conquest". "Heavenly Minds" is very memorable with a touch of Symphony X in the chorus. Though the band is inspired by Symphony X and also Blind Guardian and Dream Theater. Wind Rose's songs really captivate, Francesco Cavalieri's excellent lead and those male group vocals are very likeable and they are integrated to great effect. The musical side of Wind Rose is also riveting with a fair degree of complexity, power and that symphonic charm plus while yes it's present Wind Rose's songs aren't constantly locked in rapid metal mode.The longest track a potent epic called "Skull and Crossbones" is just over seven minutes, but there is no need for those over extended songs on Wardens Of The West Wind when the ten on offer should more satisfy your epic musical needs. Wardens Of The Wind should go a long way to ensure a steady increase in the number of Wind Rose fans." - Sea Of Tranquility
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  • One of the best Italian progressive power metal bands. The Caruso Bros. seem to understand the importance of keyboards as a progressive element. Church organ and lots of synths - a good formula in my opinion. Comes in a nice digipak layout.
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  • Well Steve is done resucitating the Genesis catalogue and back to concentrating on fresh solo material.  The new album Wolflight is a bit of a loose concept album and I find it to be one of his strongest releases in years.  The album is filled with lots of guests (including Chris Squire) contributing exotic instruments to the mix adding an old world sound.  Steve's trademark sound is locked into place so if you are looking for the wailing guitar, liquid runs and acoustic delicacy you won't be disappointed.  His vocals has never been my favorite part of a Steve Hackett album but either I've mellowed in age or his voice has - not sure which.  Regardless it fits the music just fine.  Classic Hackett and nothing less.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • Double live CD recorded on the Scarsick tour in Amsterdam. Essentially the soundtrack to the just released DVD, it features a great cross-selection of material from this bands rich history.
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  • Third album from this Swedish stoner rock band takes equal parts Mastodon, Pink Floyd, and Baroness and jumbles it together.  Toss in a touch of retro-folk in places (I guess that would make it unequal).  It can get a bit sludgy at times and then turns around and blasts off into space.  All I know is I want what they're smoking!"New Keepers Of The Water Towers are a Stoner Metal Band who have been going since 2006 and have a loyal following within the Stoner Metal scene. They have released two well-received albums – 2009’s Chronicles and 2011’s The Calydonian Hunt.Their blend of high voltage Stoner Metal riffs mixed with Fuzz and a slight hint of Sludge Rock made these hugely talented Swedes a band to look out for. Well things are about to change big time for the band thanks to their stunning new album – Cosmic Child.For the 3rd album – the band have went under a spacey transformation of sorts. Cosmic Child sees the band incorporating huge elements of Progressive Rock and Space Rock into their already set great sound.So if you’re a fan of Pink Floyd and Mastodon then your surely going to dig this like I did. Cosmic Child is the band’s creative and most daring work to date. They are a band reborn. This is New Keepers Of The Water Towers like you have never heard before. The band has reflected this in the 47 minute running time. An almost epic length by their standards.First track – The Great Leveller – is the perfect 6-minute introduction to show you the bands new sound and outlook on all things Stoner Metal. Blending Progressive Rock riffs with Space Rock shows you this band have taken a more direct Sci-Fi vibe to their music. What else would you expect with the excellent album cover and cool title?Imagine if NASA wanted the world’s finest Stoner Metal bands to record an album about Space Exploration then The Cosmic Child would be that awesome result. New Keepers have created an astonishing album that will take you to different galaxies and dimensions without ever leaving the comforts of your own home.2nd track – Visions Of Death – might start as a cheerful Space Rock opera but listen to the lyrics and you find something dark and mysterious lurking in the background. Before the album takes you off for an epic journey into the cosmos. 9 mins on show here feel like light-years instead of mins. However, you will not know the difference as you will be enjoying the ride too much. Just more action-packed riffs to show you that New Keepers Of The Water Towers have evolved as musicians and writers since their last release. Wait until the 5:30 minute mark before an amazing Space infused Stoner Rock riff comes out of nowhere.3rd Track – Pyre For The Red Sage – is another magical epic journey through Time and Space. Well 12 minute to be precise but you get another outstanding track, which takes time building the listeners emotions before letting rip with more top-notch Space Rock riffs. Throw in great vocals and lyrics and this album is now firmly in the realm of brilliance. This is a love letter to Pink Floyd as it contains some highly recognisable rock passages that legendary band were known for.I had the feeling when listening to the album that the band had been reading or watching 2001 – A Space Odyssey or other philosophical sci-fi classics as some of their ideas on the album might actually need a degree of some sort to fully understand. However, the riffs contained on the album will keep fans happy for many years to come.The last 3 songs follow the same path as the first 3 songs. More epic progressive space rock riffs blended with sublime Stoner Metal riffs. 18 more mins to keep you transfixed from start to finish.Best track of the remaining 3 is the 12:32 minute instrumental epic – Lapse – which showcases some of the bands finest instrumental work to date. Ambient noises have been beautifully added to create a world that is unnerving as it is exciting. Damn – this track is a work of art at times. Moods and atmospheres collide with intent and purpose. Just close your eyes and let the riffs take you on another great journey into the vastness of space.All in all – The Cosmic Child – is a wonderful album for everyone to experience. It has soul and heart like you would never imagine. It’s expertly produced and played by all involved.The Cosmic Child is going to launch New Keepers Of The Water Tower onto another level within the Stoner Metal scene.Excellent and Highly Recommended." - The Sludgelord Blogspot
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  • Expanded CD/DVD edition. The CD comes with 5 bonus tracks.  The DVD contains a 5.1 surround mix and a ton of documentary/interview footage.Without abandoning the sense of melody and dynamics that remain the Magenta trademark, Metamorphosis sees the band taking a darker, more intense path with powerful, sometimes disturbing subject matter."I think this album is going to surprise a lot of people," says keyboardist Rob Reed "It will challenge many people's preconceptions of what Magenta are, and what we are capable of musically. Most of it was written on guitar, so some of the material is heavier than before, whilst retaining most of the elements of the Magenta sound."The album also marks the band's return to long-form pieces of music, with two 20 minute-plus songs, and a new, richer sound with the addition of strings. "Watch out for some brilliant performances on the record." Reed says. "Christina Booth's vocals are just astonishing, Tim Robinson delivers a virtuoso performance on drums and Chris Fry has pushed the bar even higher than usual with some amazing lead guitar. I have no doubt that this is, by far, our finest album to date."Magenta was formed in 2001, quickly capturing the attention of progressive rock fans around the world with a sound influenced by the icons of the past. Over the years the band has performed at virtually every major progressive rock festival in the world including gigs at Rosfest, BajaProg, and Nearfest. Year after year, the band has received awards from various progressive rock publications. In 2007, the band won two awards from the esteemed British Classic Rock Society including Best Band and Best Female Singer.The album was mastered by Grammy winning engineer Bob Katz. To further enhance the package, Metamorphosis features startling artwork from the noted graphic design house Killustrations.
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