Cultosaurus Erectus ($5 Special)

"Signing on with Deep Purple/Black Sabbath producer Martin Birch, Blue Öyster Cult made more of a guitar-heavy hard rock album in Cultosaurus Erectus after flirting with pop ever since the success of Agents of Fortune. (They also promoted this album by going out on a co-headlining tour with Sabbath.) Gone are the female backup singers, the pop hooks, the songs based on keyboard structures, and they are replaced by lots of guitar solos and a beefed-up rhythm section. But the band still were not generating strong enough material to compete with their concert repertoire, so they found themselves in the bind of being a strong touring act unable to translate that success into record sales." - All Music Guide

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  • Fantastic third album from Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold's side project. New lineup includes Lalle Larsson on keyboards - he's one of the sickest, badest mo-fo players on the planet. Classically trained and chops from hell but plays with real sensitivity - not just blazing fast runs. Goran Edman is back on vocals as is drummer Zoltan Csörsz and Krister Jonsson on guitar. FK keyboardist Tomas Bodin guests as does Andy Tillson and Theo Travis - both from The Tangent. The album opens up with the 20 minute "Send A Message From The Heart" - a monster track that out-Flower Kings the Flower Kings. All killer - no filler. 100% prog guaranteed. Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • "Decline and Fall is the long awaited sixth album from a group who personifies the term 'beloved underground favorites'. From the group's beginnings as a duo doing basement recording experiments nearly 30 years ago until now, Thinking Plague has always had a strong vision of their unique take on progressive rock music. Despite the very long lifespan of the band and the many years between records, the basic sound of the group and instrumentation was set early and the years since have seen interesting variations on their sound, from the stripped down approach of the earliest work to the deep layering of electronic sounds and samples of their last album. Decline and Fall strips back a lot of the 'studio-isms' and more than ever, sounds like the work of a really powerful band. The album adds a few other new surprises, most notably the addition of wonderful vocalist Elaine Di Falco who fits right into what may be the band's most demanding job. She sings with great poise and control the band's hallmark melodic lines - passages that would trip up a lesser vocalist. Also new is keyboardist/drummer Kimara Sajn who plays with tremendous authority on both instruments (although just before finishing up the album, the group added drummer Robin Chestnut who appears on one track). Returning are long-term members Mark Harris on saxes and clarinets, Dave Willey on bass and Mike Johnson, the band's guitarist, leader and composer. A new album by Thinking Plague is always an event; working slowly and unwaveringly, the group has released a handful of brilliant, art-rock classics. Decline and Fall is the latest of them."
    $15.00
  • Ambient/prog reworking of Dead End Kings arrives in a limited edition 2 disc digibook.  You get the CD version as well as a DVD featuring a 5.1 and 24 bit hi-resolution stereo mix."After last year’s successful release of their 9th full-length Dead End Kings, Katatonia have returned with a special release entitled Dethroned and Uncrowned. This album is special for two reasons. Firstly, it was brought to life with the help of the so-called ‘Katatoniacs’; that is, the fans were the ones who financed this project through a pledge campaign the band had set up where fans could pledge for various album formats and other items such as drumsticks, lyric sheets, posters, backdrops and even one of Anders’s old guitars. Needless to say, the pledge campaign was highly successful and reached its goal in four days. Secondly, the album is special music-wise, as it contains the same tracks that were found on Dead End Kings, but all of them have undergone a major makeover. As Katatonia wrote on their website: ‘the drums will be dethroned and the distorted rhythm guitars will be uncrowned’. What they have basically done is that they have kept the vocal lines intact but have experimented with the rest of the music, creating stripped-down, semi-acoustic versions of the songs with the focus on ambience and atmosphere, showcasing the band’s progressive song-writing talent. Katatonia have masterfully and rather elegantly transformed the songs into totally different entities and have given themselves as well as the listeners the opportunity to discover different aspects of each track, by adding little interesting details or emphasizing some parts that were not as noticeable as in the previous version, like the Jan Johansson-esque piano touches in ‘Leech’, or the 70s prog vibe in ‘Dead Letters’. All in all, Katatonia have managed yet again to create a beautiful, melancholic and touching piece of work that will certainly fulfill the expectations of the majority of their fans. Those who were not very keen on Dead End Kings (if such people exist), might enjoy some of the songs in their new versions, and, who knows, they might even appreciate that album a bit more after listening to this." - Metal Recusants
    $9.00
  • "Newcomers, UK rock band Snakecharmer is a super-group comprised of long-time veterans from some very successful British blues/hard-rock band and the band’s self-titled debut album comes out on Frontiers Records on Feb. 5th. The band plays bluesy, guitar-driven arena rock so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the band was brought together by original Whitesnake members Micky Moody (guitar) and Neil Murray (bass). Other members of the band include Adam Wakeman (Ozzy/Black Sabbath) on keyboards, Laurie Wisefield (x-Wishbone Ash) on guitar, Harry James (x-Thunder, Magnum) on drums and Chris Ousey (x-Virginia Wolf, Heartland). Similar to Moody and Murray’s previous project, Company of Snake, this new band is closer in sound to Bad Company than Whitesnake but you can hear elements of the ‘snake and even early Foreigner in some of the songs." - Brooklyn Rocks 
    $9.00
  • "“Memories Of An Ancient Time”represents the second chapter of the trilogy start with "Countdown to Revenge" two years ago. HOLLOW HAZE has recently parted ways with singer Fabio Lione ( RHAPSODY, ANGRA, KAMELOT), But luckily the Italians, in person but shortly after it announced that Mats Leven (Y. MALMSTEEN, THERION, CANDLEMASS), Rick Altzi (MASTERPLAN, At VANCE) and Amanda Somerville took part in the recording sessions as very special guest singers. Their new and sixth album, that is set to be released on upcoming June’15 by Scarlet Records.This second saga will take you on an epic journey through the desert of Egypt, meeting the aliens, special mention to the amazing artwork realised by Stan W. Decker. This “Memories Of An Ancient Time” has been mastered by Mika Jussila (NIGHTWISH, APOCALYPTICA, CHILDREN OF BODOM) at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and as usually, Mika has done a good job, the production is magestic.“Memories Of An Ancient Time” is a mix of progressive meets power meets symphonic meets heavy metal, fast guitar riffs, neat double bass, magical and orchestral arrangements, big and beautiful choirs in the chorus, you can easily sing along all the songs, especially due to that the songs are relatively short compared to the first album of this trilogy.All the duets between Mats Leven & Amanda Somerville are all well done, Rick is mostly heard in the background, all the lead vocals are on the Mats‘s shoulders. As usual, Mats Leven has often proven, in the past, that he can carry an complete album. Whether by Y. MALMSTEEN or with THERION (even if i prefer his vocal performance with the guitar hero), he always convinced me with his charismatic voice, and he does this time again. HOLLOW HAZE has done the best choice with Mats for sure. Note the female choirs by Amanda & Claudia are just so sweet and touch your heart with their tender melodies. Everything else is fine, there is plenty of tunes (especially in the choruses), as know so well the Italian bands in this style.Its a bombastic album, but you need to hear the first part of the saga to understand, where the band wants to take you,  so you need also to buy the CD with the booklet included to jump into the lyrics and not download MP3! To finish his review, if you’re a fan of this style of metal, you still take pleasure to listen to this “Memories Of An Ancient Time” in a few years.This is already a classic! An emotional masterpiece!" - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • I'm going to get straight to the point.  If you are a fan of female fronted metal you must own this album.  The Human Contradiction is a complete triumph.  It finds the band returning a bit to their roots.  There are still poppy elements - that's part of their core sound - but there is a heaviness that will remind you of Lucidity.  Nightwish's Marco Hietala returns contributing on clean vocals. Also back is Orphanage vocalist George Oosthoek who is one of the best growlers in the metal scene.  Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz makes a guest appearance.Timo Somers' guitar riffs are chunkier, Charlotte's voice is impeccable as always, and Martijn's keyboards are simply epic.  The album was recorded at Studio Fredman and sounds massive.  Weaving the whole album together is a sci-fi theme borrowed from the writings of Octavia Butler.This is an album filled with a enough earworm hooks to drive you crazy but at the same time its heavy!  For my taste its a top 10 album for 2014.  BUY OR DIE!Limited edition 2CD mediabook edition.  The bonus CD contains 2 additional new studio tracks as well as live tracks and two orchestral versions of tracks from The Human Contradiction.  Essential.
    $16.00
  • "2013 five CD set containing a quintet of albums from the shock rock legend, each housed in a miniature LP sleeve. Includes the albums Pretties For You (1969), Easy Action (1970), Love It To Death (1971), Killer (1971) and School's Out (1972)."
    $22.00
  • First time on CD for this masterful fusion album originally released in 1981.  Guitarist/violinist Alain Eckert was a key member of Art Zoyd from 1976 to 1981 - he popped in and out of the lineup during that time  but recorded on their key albums.  This album was recorded after his final departure from Art Zoyd.  The quartet also includes Patricia Dallio (grand piano), Alain Lecointe (electric bass), and Serge Bringolf (drums).  Eckert's playing is breathtaking - his fingers fly - but he's matched every step of the way by the rest of the quartet.  I'm reminded a bit of Larry Coryell and Pat Martino in his approach.  There are even some undercurrents of Canterbury that creep in.  The album is augmented with 30 minutes of previously unreleased live recordings - just 2 unreleased monster tunes.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • "The second installment of our 20th Anniversary celebration, "Off the Floor 02" continues with more live-in-the-studio performances of staples from our live sets. Taken from the same sessions as "Off the Floor (01)," the track list draws from each of our five studio albums and includes a healthy dose of improvisation, a bit of re-imagining and even a little new music in the form of a bass & drums interlude.We won't repeat the "Brief History of Tiles" from the OtF (01) liner notes, but will take a moment to revisit the basic 'off the floor' concept. After much discussion about our "platinum" milestone (unfortunely not for sales!), we decided to do a live album using the somewhat non-traditional approach of recording live in the studio. This is actually what the phrase 'off the floor' means in recording lingo: to record a song as a complete performance without adding more parts (overdubs) later. We recruited a few friends to be our audience – for inspiration and to keep us on our toes.Having the controlled environment of a private 'soundstage' allowed us to focus on the music. We didn't have to haul a bunch of equipment into a club and deal with recording technicalities, show promotion and other business distractions. Although we were in a studio, "OtF 02" is still "live" – complete with the occasional less-than-perfect note and other minor imperfection. We did, however, take advantage of the relaxed setting and usually played each song twice, picking the best version for the CD. Occasionally we didn't need a second take, but a couple of times we needed a third take ("Patterns" oddly enough!).To offer a little something different, "OtF (01)" had a couple special guests plus an expanded arrangement of 'The Wading Pool.' For "Off the Floor 02" we dug into our archives and dusted off a few tunes from our appearance at the 2005 Rites of Spring Festival (ROSfest). We had recorded our entire 2-hour set, but filed the hard drive away with little thought it would see the light of day. Technical problems had dogged us the moment we hit the stage and left us feeling unsatisfied with our performance. Sampler and keyboard sounds would mysteriously reset and the bass amp would cut in and out. Figuring out why these intermittant problems were happening was made even more challenging by Jeff's state of exhaustion; even though it was a good kind of exhaustion caused by the birth of his daughter just four days before the show. Since the problems were on his side of the stage he had to play detective and keep up with the songs! Eventually, the issue was discovered and duct tape strategically applied to a loose electrical wall outlet – which worked just fine unless someone happened to use the side-stage walkway.Although tempted by the 12-minute "venting" version of "Capture the Flag," we didn't want to repeat any songs already included on either Off the Floor disc. Fortunately, "Facing Failure," "Ballad of the Sacred Cows," "Paintings" and "Window Dressing" were in all-around good shape. We only needed to drop in a couple missing samples and a keyboard part. By including selections from ROSfest as part of the Off the Floor project we get to acknowledge Pat Deleon, our drummer from 1997 to 2005, and present a complete live history of Tiles." - Chris Herin/TilesDisc One: Off the Floor 021. Patterns (4.38)2. Hide & Seek (8.09)3. Taking Control (5.14)4. Remember To Forget (5.00)5. Analysis Paralysis (5.18)6. Cactus Valley (7.01)7. Sacred & Mundane (6.30)8. Dancing Dogs (5.45)9. Safe Procedures (7.31)10. Another's Hand (6.26)Mark Evans: Drums & PercussionChris Herin: Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsPaul Rarick: Lead VocalsJeff Whittle: Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsDisc Two: Live at the 2005 Rites of Spring Festival1. Intro/Facing Failure (6.48)2. Ballad Of The Sacred Cows (7.24)3. Paintings (5.04)4. Window Dressing (17.03)Paul Rarick: Lead VocalsChris Herin: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsJeff Whittle: Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsPat DeLeon: Drums, PercussionBonus Videos (from the Off the Floor sessions):1. Landscrape (4.27)2. Remember To Forget (5.00)
    $15.00
  • Peculiar but interesting band from Belgium. Oceans Of Sadness mix progressive, death and doom metal influences freely and even incorporate some 70s flavors as well. The music is a bit off-kilter in the same way that Pain Of Salvation used to be. Vocals are a mix of clean and coarse. The odd use of Hammond organ in places is a weird stylistic choice that just helps to set these guys apart from the norm. If you like your prog metal to the left of center check these guys out.
    $8.00
  • Originally released privately in 1978 and long sought after by collectors, III was the one off album by this Dutch progressive rock band. The dual guitar driven quartet injected a touch of anarchy into their mix of improv and Crimso influenced prog. This release marks the first time it has ever appeared on CD. It comes with extensive unreleased bonus material, detailed liner notes and unpublished photos. The album was mastered by audiophile engineer Bob Katz from the original analogue master tapes. This is a strictly limited edition of 500 copies and arrives housed in an old style mini-LP tip-on sleeve.
    $27.00
  • I'm not sure I understand the marketing of this in North America. Although it was simultaneously released in Europe along with its companion disc The Wicked Symphony, NB America decided to split them up here."Avantasia are no strangers to the grandiose, as evidenced by their ambitious Metal Opera series and their affinity of and dexterity with eloquently placing guest musicians in their songs. They've now outdone themselves with two separate but complimentary studio albums - Angel of Babylon and 2010's The Wicked Symphony. This epic rock opera spans two full albums and brings the listener further into their fantastical otherworld they've come to be known for. The Wicked Symphony has done quite well in the US, and now fans can complete the epic story! Frontman/songwriter Tobias Sammet (also of Edguy) has invited a who's who of rock and metal musicians to join him, including Jorn Lande (Yngwie Malmsteen), Russell Allen (Symphony X), Jon Oliva (Savatage), Eric Singer (KISS), Bruce Kulick (KISS) and Michael Kiske (Helloween)!"
    $13.00
  • "In the interim between Van Canto albums, it was such a pleasant surprise to see Stefan Schmidt start up another project, this time shedding the a cappella metal he invented to incorporate more guitar and return metal to its roots….which doesn’t mean Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, or even The Beatles. No, Schmidt went back to the real roots of metal: Ludwig Beethoven and Johan Sebastian Bach. Joining him is recently retired and again activated drummer Jorg Michael (Ex-Every Metal Band In Europe), Sebastian Scharf (Schmidt’s former mate in Jester’s Funeral) and David Vogt on bass. The result was precisely as expected, a stunning album of metallic perfection that comes close enough to Statovarius’ “Nemesis” to make 2013 very challenging at year end.With nothing dramatic added or employment of new types of metal, Heavatar takes the power of metal and mashes it with classical (Beethoven and Bach are credited writers) without any string instrument orchestration. Sounds like a recipe for basic chicken soup, huh? Well….that may be true, but Schmidt’s secret weapon is really no secret at all: Van Canto. Try to envision the greatest band you can create and then relegate the world’s only a Capella band as your “backup singers.” What you just did was automatically make your choruses unattainable by any average band.Countless times throughout “All My Kingdoms” there are moments that evoke such feeling for a fan of power and “true metal.” There’s the incorporation of the Beethoven’s “5th” right at the onset of “Replica,” the galloping twin guitar attack of Schmidt and Sebastian Scharf during “Abracadabra” as Schmidt belts out “You accuse me, I don’t give a f**k” like the bastard child of James Hetfield and Eric Adams, and the rapid fire riff attack of “Elysium At Dawn.” Schmidt has such a commanding voice, and it is so nice to hear him come out from behind his vocal Stratocaster to shine again as a soloist.Another thing that stands out from other recent power metal releases (barring Mystic Prophecy) is the ability to sound solidly within other “euro” metal without sacrificing a deadly guitar crunch. This album is far from being happy power metal - it’s devastatingly heavy. Check out “Luna! Luna!,” a track with a punishing and pounding rhythm while the chorus soars above the crumbling earth. It’s like “Hail to England” era Manowar with Blind Guardian choruses. Speaking of Manowar, the album’s final track “To the Metal” is so over the top in metal pomp it rivals anything in Manowar’s cheese arsenal (the big difference – honesty and no bass buzz).“Opus I: All My Kingdoms” is a pure masterpiece of power metal in the truest sense of the word “power.” Though I uphold and admire Van Canto and it’s never-boring-always-brilliant material, when you add some punch the listener gets a glimpse of what truly could be like with that vocal talent over a six string. For those power metal fans that prefer more power with choruses that reach the stratosphere, this is just the gem you were looking for." - Metal Underground
    $12.00
  • Japanese mini-LP sleeve edition at a bargain price. "Rory Gallagher sounds inspired throughout JInx, gamely leading new drummer Brendan O'Neill and keyboardist Bob Andrews through the blues-rock paces, even though the guitarist's personal fortunes were on a downslide from which they would never recover. "Big Guns" and "Bourbon," the album's opening selections find Rory in full fiery form, tossing out muscular guitar lines and fiery solos with descriptive lyrics catering to his infatuation with American gangsters. The album also features two of his best, and least known, songs in the spooky, paranoid title track, complete with simmering sax section, boiling tom-tom drums as well as his own stealthy harmonica, and "Easy Come Easy Go," a beautiful, bluesy ballad where Rory double tracks his acoustic and electric guitars. Gallagher's tough vocals take on a new emotional depth not previously heard, and are particularly poignant throughout. Diving into the blues, Lightnin' Slims' "Nothin' but the Devil," one of the two songs added for this reissue, is an acoustic solo showpiece revealing Gallagher's delta roots and substantial slide abilities. Louisiana Red's "Ride On Red, Ride On" is a crackling double-time burner with Rory charging through with an appropriately whisky-soaked approach and a shimmering electric slide solo. Another extra track, "Lonely Mile," a finished tune previously omitted due to the time restrictions of vinyl, is a worthy addition to Gallagher's mid-tempo grinding rocker catalog. Although not his best album, Jinx is a tough and confident release, and it's 2000 reappearance after being difficult to find for almost 20 years, especially in this pristine edition, is reason to rejoice for Rory Gallagher fans." - Allmusicguide.com
    $13.00