Countdown To Extinction Live ($5 Special)

"Though Megadeth and their founder Dave Mustaine have spent their entire existence just a few steps behind Mustaine's former group Metallica, it's important to remember that they've also spent a lot of time as one of the most popular metal bands in the world. The summit of their commercial success came in 1992 with fifth album Countdown to Extinction, a creative high point from Mustaine and crew possibly spurred on in ways by the footrace with Metallica and the leaps in production made on their self-titled 1991 breakthrough album. Twenty years later, Countdown still stood as Megadeth's best-selling album, and in many circles, their most loved material. Countdown to Extinction: Live is a concert document of the 20th anniversary tour that found the band playing the album front to back, bookended by a few odds and ends from other albums. While the premise seems pretty rote, the execution of the live album is surprisingly interesting. Most live re-creations of full albums fall flat in comparison to the original artifacts, and this is no exception, but it's great to hear the devoted legions sneer along with every word of Mustaine's schizophrenic monologue on "Sweating Bullets" and cheer insanely at the now-dated George Bush samples that pop up throughout the set list. The performances are pinpoint, but the live sound lacks the production and feel of the studio album and eventually the tracks blur, losing the excitement a live experience offers. While the inclusion of extra crowd favorites like "Hangar 18" and "Peace Sells" flesh things out somewhat, the thrill of the live setting doesn't completely transfer, and all but the Megadeth superfans will probably prefer revisiting the original 1992 album before diving into the strong but much duller offerings of the live album." - Allmusic

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  • Realm Of Shadows is the third album from the Dutch masters of symphonic rock. Knight Area creates harder edged progressive rock in the vein of Arena, Marillion, and Dream Theater. This latest effort is a conceptual work about a metaphysical journey that finds their music and themes taking a decidedly darker turn. Knight Area was founded in 2004 after Gerben Klazinga recorded the first album The Sun Also Rises. This album was a project of Gerben, who wrote all the music, with many musicians participating in the recordings of the album. It was a worldwide success and as a consequence Gerben formed a band to play live. Their second album, Under A New Sign, was released in 2007 after the band successfully played European and American stages including a performance at Nearfest. The album was a real band effort receiving superb reviews worldwide. A subsequent tour found the band performing in the UK, Germany, and Canada. The band will support the release of Realm Of Shadows with a European tour including appearances at ProgPower Europe, Prockfest, and the Classic Rock Society Octoberfest.
    $14.00
  • This is a real curious sounding band. AtomA is a Swedish trio consisting of three former members of a band called Slumber. If I could whip up a categorization for AtomA I would file these guys under "space metal". The lead singer is also the band's keyboardist. Synthesizers play a significant role in this band. The overall vibe is this epic but diffused soundscape - almost orchestra. Guitars are actually mixed down. Vocals are mainly clean with a little bit of death thrown in for accent. A totally weird hybrid of space rock, shoe gazer, post rock, and doom metal.
    $5.00
  • "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
    $14.00
  • This is the US deluxe slipcase edition featuring 5 bonus tracks and a music video.
    $8.00
  • CD single from 2005 features alternate versions of "Maniac Dance" as well as a video clip.
    $3.00
  • Reissue of the 2006 album from this Italian progressive power metal band.  At the time the band was led by US vocalist Steve Braun.  Good singer but a bit of a high pitched wailer.  Comes with the band's original 2003 demo and is spiffed up with new artwork."Italian group Ashent released their debut back in 2006 now that same album Flaws Of Elation is being re-issued with new artwork and extra tracks taken off Ashent's four track demo from 2003. The rare demo tracks were included to highlight how the Italian progressive metal band have changed in style, increasing that technical musical input and with further inclusions giving Ashent's songs a wider scope. So here is your opportunity to get hold of these recordings especially as the original version of Flaws Of Elation has now been out of print for some time. Ashent's debut shows this group possess the capabilities to successfully implement their complex music.The demo tracks aren't as polished but still good enough to give examples of this metal band in its early stages, these same songs would also find their way onto Ashent's debut in their updated versions. Naturally the first obvious difference between the demos and how they would later sound on their debut album is the vast improvement in production. "Awakend's Transitions" now bursts out of your speakers with a cleaner more potent sound creating much more impact. The songs flows better and with more additions like that from their drummer they haven't greatly altered the running time just made some appropriate adjustments. "Fallen Angels" is the next and it's a similar case with the updated production aiding to bring the song to life more though I do quite enjoy both versions. I prefer the later version of "Anaemic Ardency" between the two releases the band did have some line-up changes on drums and guitar plus a new vocalist, and I do find his vocal delivery to be more appealing as is the case with the song "Eden".The remaining six tracks offer further strong and impressively structured progressive metal songs that are quite heavy and melodic with some power metal influences, and also included is an instrumental "A Puzzled Sentiment". Ashent have released another album since Deconstructive which I am not familiar with but after hearing how good this one is I would be very keen to also give it a go." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $11.00
  • Arjen Lucassen's long awaited Ayreon project is a total blast.  Like some of the earlier Ayreon albums, it owes as much to prog rock as it does metal.  All the old school heroes like Emerson, Wakeman, Wetton get to strut their stuff showing a young stud like Rudess a thing or two.  As always Lucassen latches on to some of the best vocalists around and this one is no exception.  Highly recommended.PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL BE A VERY EXPENSIVE IMPORT "ART BOOK" EDITION FORTHCOMING."You know what the metal world needs more of? Musicals. I'm not saying that ironically either. Sure, we have plenty of prog bands putting out concept albums, but cool as these records many be, the story themselves are not the focus of the album. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen has resurrected his grandest of all projects to continue showing these folks how to tell an epic story the right way.With 01011001 the Ayreon story came to an end, or so we thought. Arjen instead decided to focus on projects like Star One, Guilt Machine, and his solo album Lost in the New Real. When he revealed not too long ago that he was working on a new project, it wasn't a surprise to discover it was new Ayreon, but I was still plenty excited.Lucassen said of the newest record, "It's not science fiction, but a human story set in a science context." So no aliens or battling emotions or any of that. So, in an attempt to better understand the story, I contacting him for the lyrics and much to my surprise, he sent them to me saying, "Oh yes, you need the lyrics, definitely." Holy hell, was he right. The story is indeed more grounded than previous records, but there are still layers to this beast.Fans of Ayreon should know what to expect here. The Theory of Everything has seven guest singers and each singer plays a part in the story. They are JB (Grand Magus) as the Teacher, Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as the Mother, Michael Mills (Toehider) as the Father, Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as the Prodigy, Marco Hietala (Nightwish) as the Rival, John Wetton (Asia/ex-King Crimson) as the Psychiatrist, and Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as the Girl.Of these singers, the most impressive is the relatively unknown Sara Squadrani. She performs on a large portion of the story and shines every time, especially on "Love and Envy". I was also surprised to be so enamored with the performance of Christina Scabbia. She's always had  a wonderful voice, but her performance in this record might be her finest. Her harmonies with Squadrani stand out particularly on "Mirror of Dreams". This isn't to say only the performances by the female singers are worth mentioning. Tommy Karevik's introduction in "The Prodigy's World" is one of the strongest moments on the album.Press_Photo_01Every Ayreon album comes an eclectic group of guest musicians. This round primarily consisted of guest keyboardists. Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) handles a good portion of the record, while Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) both make excellent solo appearances on "Progressive Waves".Having listened to all of Lucassen's albums at least once, I can say The Theory of Everything is the most musically diverse offering he's had a hand in, perhaps with the exception of his solo record. This isn't as heavy as previous Ayreon titles, but it has its driving moments like "Collision" and the Dream Theather-esque "Frequency Modulation." The aforementioned "Love and Envy" is a slower introspective song, while "Diagnosis" is massive and a little cheesy, but so awesome. "Transformation" has a Middle Eastern feel to it, and  "The Eleventh Dimension" sounds like intergalactic renaissance faire music.Often times there are jumps in mood, genre, etc in the middle of a song. This is fairly typical for an Ayreon release; what isn't typical is that technically this record consists of only four songs. These four songs are each at least twenty-one minutes, but they are cut up into forty-two pieces (yes, that's a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference) .This is a fun record. It's a record that does require a time commitment. I'd say listeners should treat it as a proper musical or film in a theater. Try to experience it all in one sitting for the full effect. It's absolutely worth it." - Metal Injection
    $17.00
  • Remaster of the band's third album comes with 5 bonus tracks. This one has some of their best toons...
    $5.00
  • German import 2DVD/2CD set featuring the bands 2006 gig from Bochum Germany. The second disc features a number of live shows from 2001-2006. You get interviews and promo videos as well. The two audio discs feature the soundtrack to the gig from Bochum. The set arrives in a slipcased edition.
    $12.00
  • I can't remember a buzz on a band's debut since Circus Maximus.  Perhaps due to the album being released in Japan a year ago and its unavailability elsewhere, maybe because they are lined up to play ProgPowerUSA.  Whatever the reason the album finally gets a wide debut and it was worth the wait.  Damnation Angels is a British symphonic metal band fronted by a Norwegian singer.  He goes by the name PelleK and was a contestant on Norway's version of X Factor.  The band's stock in trade is epic sounding metal that pays a huge debt to Kamelot.  The instrumental passages take on the grandeur and scope of Nightwish.  PelleK does a sold job out front - he's obviously listened to a Khan quite a bit.  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • With new kid on the block, Mike Mangini, fully assimilated into the group, Dream Theater has come up with a stunning new album.  Expect nothing less than full on prog (with a nice tip of the cap to Rush in spots). Enigma Machine may be the best instrumental piece they've cooked up yet.  Highly recommended.This is the CD/DVD deluxe edition.  It arrives in an embossed digipak with expanded artwork from Hugh Syme.  More importantly, the DVD contains a 5.1 mix of the album. 
    $19.00
  • Excellent second album from this Swedish progressive metal band. Vocalist Michael Andersson has really come into his own here - he sings with real passion and control reminding you of John West and Russell Allen. The neoclassical vestiges seem to be gone with the emphasis continuing to be on melody, power and subtle intricate touches. Fans of Vanden Plas, Poverty's No Crime, and Royal Hunt should take note - this is right up your alley. Oh yeah...I forgot. This US edition comes with an exclusive bonus track taken from the band's 1999 demo. Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • "You like In Flames, Soilwork, Killswitch Engage, but also the mighty Machine Head or Metallica? Then check out DARK AGE. Based in THE Metal capital of the world, Hamburg / Germany, since 1995, DARK AGE have gained a lot of respect and played single shows and festivals with a lot of bands like Slayer, In Flames, Sodom, Soilwork, Hypocrisy, Mnemic, Primal Fear, Dismember, Heaven Shall Burn...just to name a few. DARK AGE played the famous Wacken Open Air, the biggest Metal festival in the world, twice: In 2000 and 2003, played the German Summer Breeze in 2008 and did 2 European Tours, one time with Primal Fear." 
    $15.00