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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  • Brief Nocturnes is the band's 11th album.  It marks their return to Inside Out and quite frankly its the best album they have released in a very long time.  Chalk it up to Ted Leonard handling vocals or Neal Morse contributing writing to a couple of tunes?  Not sure.  I am definitely hearing more vitality and overt progginess in the compositions.  Ryo is going off his nut here - keys are whizzing all around - organ/'tron/the whole schmear - and Alan's guitar runs are matching him step for step.  Maybe I haven't been paying attention as closely as I should have for the past few years.  I do know that I'm enjoying the hell out of this.  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • Third Ion is a Canadian quartet who's music is squarely in the prog metal domain with a bit of a tech edge.  Oh yeah - I should mention that they have a bizarre obsession with video games.  With a background of playing in Into Eternity and The Devin Townsend Band you know straight away these guys have chops from hell.  This is one of those albums that can leave you off kilter as its constantly shifting directions but it has a melodic base to work from.  Vocals are totally clean and quite good - maybe a bit of a Maynard influence crops up here and there.  Keys are mainly used for texture but its important as a bed for the sick fretwork.  The insertion of "chiptune" sounds add an oddball factor - luckily they don't over do it.  So far 2015 has been a solid year for prog metal.  I expect Third Ion's debut to sit highly on top 10 lists at years end.  Highly recommended."Where to begin? Introducing the band Third Ion or my blatant skepticism about them? Actually both converge. Third Ion is a progressive metal band consisting of former members of Devin Townsend Project and Into Eternity. Their common interests revolve around prog, science, video games, which informs their music. So much so that lyrically the songs consider physics and metaphysics and, musically, the title track is written in 13/8 time signature. Moreover, all the songs will be released in 8-bit as an homage to early video games.And that's where my skepticism reared it's ugly head. Cripes. Chiptunes meets metal. Nintendo and Super Mario and their sparkle and glitter music invading my ear drums. And MIDI too. I hate that shit. And then to think of the players' former band background. No, not death vocals, too.But. Behold. My fears were unnecessary. 13/8Bit is some pretty classy and inventive melodic progressive metal, and there's no death metal vocals. Yeah, in the title track they do some of that Nintendo wonkery, but it's a rather cool and entertaining song, even playful. The songs are large on massive, but not deathly technical, riffs, inherent melody and harmony, and sufficient intrigue in arrangements. Then they're spiced by Justin Bender's spry and fierce guitar solos. Even bass player Mike Young gets to do so as within the second half of Particle Displacement Mechanism or Capitol Spill, by example. You'll also find Young's keyboards in the mix, notably within Time Lapse Beta, varying between simple piano to ethereal synths. Underneath, yet also nearly ubiquitous, are Aaron Edgar's drums, providing beat and rhythm, but also offering some flurries of poly-rhythms. Things do get slightly weird with the only instrumental, Van Halien. It sounds like chiptune, metal, and jazz fusion but, in the end, it's strangely convincing, even appealing. So my skepticism and fears were largely unfounded. Third Ion's 13/8Bit is creative and intriguing progressive metal, defintely worth your time and consideration. Recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $10.00
  • "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
  • 2 track CD single taken from the "Remagine" disc, features the single version of "Being Everyone" as well as the previously unreleased track "Taste The Day".
    $2.00
  • New end of days Christian themed project put together by Neal Morse's drummer Collin Leijenaar. He's put together an interesting lineup. Spock's Beard/Enchant's Ted Leonard handles the vocals (he's amazing as always), Mike LePond of Symphony X is on bass, as well as German guitarist Daniel Fries. There is no keyboardist so Leijenaar enlisted a bunch - Alex Argento, Jordan Rudess, Neal Morse, and Derek Sherinian. Transatalantic producer Rich Mouser mixed the whole thing. As you would expect the whole shebang is all about the apocalypse and its wrapped up in this epic sounding amalgam of progressive rock and metal. Lots of shredding solos on guitar and keys. These guys need to take it on the road before they run out of time!!
    $15.00
  • Superb return to form from these German masters of melodic progressive metal. Beyond Daylight exhibits many similarities to The God Thing and may well prove out to be their best effort yet.
    $15.00
  • In 1991 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso inexplicably decided to revisit their first two albums. The band completely re-recorded the albums and in fact expanded on some of the earlier versions of some of the songs. Shockingly it worked really well. There wasn't an attempt to do radical rearrangements or modernize anything other than the instruments they used. Perhaps just for sentiment I prefer the warmth and nostalgia of the original version but this an interesting attempt to revisit the material and add a bit of polish. Highly recommended - even if you have the original.
    $11.00
  • German import arrives in a mediabook with a patch."Our anticipation levels had maxed, as four years passed by since Sanctuary announced that they were releasing a new record. It is easy to imagine that the only going through their fans' minds was whether their new material will resemble the work they did 25 years ago. I was rather reluctant and ultimately, I was right.First things first, let's get some things straight. Is "The Year The Sun Died" close to the feel of their two emblematic records? Nope. Does it sound like Nevermore? Yeah, as Dane's vocals are closer to that type of delivery, without that being a bad thing. He wouldn't risk going back to his old type of delivery, even if he could achieve such levels with pro tools magic. Modern production trends have also played a significant role to the final cut of this album. On the other hand, the composition approach is quite different to that witnessed on Nevermore albums, as musical themes are much more approachable. On the other hand, even though we don't have the outbursts we were used to, there are a number of theme and tempo changes in many of the tracks which make them very interesting indeed.In general, if we were to analyse its style, we would conclude that we are dealing with a rather heavy record that incorporates bulky guitars in mid-tempo layouts, without that meaning that there are no tracks with a faster pace. Lyrically, it is quite dark and a constant claustrophobic atmosphere is always present, as there is no abundance of melodic guitar themes. It's multifaceted compositions do provide a rather "proggy" feeling, but nothing more than that. Sheppard and Budbill's rhythm section is poignant and to the point, but lacks the ingenuity we were used to them providing.Opening tack "Arise And Purify" is clear evidence of the two contradicting elements that comprise this record. The intro riff is heavy and modern, whereas the chorus uses backing vocals that reminds us of their past. Solos by Rutledge and Hull are unleashed from the get go, and are as precise and technical as required. "Let The Serpent Follow Me" is on the up-tempo side of things but winds down during the chorus, followed by a wonderful, nostalgic bridge. The first slow track is "Exitium (Anthem Of The Living)", which starts off with a calm intro and follows with an awesome riff. Dane also performs really well in this track. "Question Existence Fading" follows a similar path of interchanging musical themes. It sets off with a fast, edgy and fierce riff, includes great solos, awesome vocals and thrilling drumming."I Am Low" is one of the calmer moments of the record, which slowly builds up to a rather heartfelt climax. Another highlight would be "Frozen" which again starts off strong and dials things down during the chorus whilst guitar solos are flying around left, right and centre. The weakest moment of the album would be "One Final Day (Sworn To Believe)", whilst "The World Is Wired", which at first won me over with its groovy attitude, ultimately let me down after multiple listens. The strongest moment is definitely the self-titled track (introduced by the wonderfully acoustic "Ad Vitam Aeternam") which concludes the record. Words don't really give it justice. It is slow, heavy and very memorable. Everything from the Latin chants in the beginning of the track to the despair in Warrel's vocals during the chorus and inspiring guitar work makes this song great. A truly great composition.With this release, Sanctuary did what they had to do. They evolved. Now, because it took them 25 years to do so might not go down well with many people who were expecting a second "Into The Mirror Black", which is totally understandable. Having Nevermore in the meantime might have substantially reduced the shock factor anyway. Let us not forget though that one of the reasons why we loved this band is because of their progressiveness (for lack of a better word). It would be silly to assume that they would not have changed tones even if they hadn't disbanded in 1992." - Noisefull
    $14.00
  • Riverside's latest takes a bit of a swerve from their traditional sound.  Parts of the album bears the imprint of Mariusz Duda's solo work - its more laid back, more refined.  Other aspects of the album carry on with the sound that Riverside has developed over recent albums - chunky organ, trippy keyboard soloing and interstellar guitarwork.  This one is a grower.  At first listen it might not hit you but the more you scrape away at it the more you realize its dug deeper under your skin."For the past decade or so, Polish progressive rock/metal quartet Riverside set itself apart from their stylstiic brethren by offering distinguishing tones, mesmerizing atmospheres, and most importantly, remarkable songwriting. Sure, the band also infuses much of its music with the intricacy genre enthusiasts expect, but their melancholic, yet beautiful and earnest melodies and lyrics (credited mostly to singer/songwriter/bassist Mariusz Duda) have always come first. Perhaps nowhere in its discography is this more apparent than on their newest opus, Love, Fear and the Time Machine.Although it features a few complex arrangements, the record is by far Riverside’s most straightforward and accessible collection to date, showcasing a proclivity for upfront compositions like never before. While this may disappoint fans who adore the group’s more tangential, frantic instrumentation, rest assured that the album’s stunning emotionality and breathtaking arrangements more than make up for it. Without a doubt, Love, Fear and the Time Machine features some of the most gorgeous, tragic, and ultimately inspiring pieces Riverside have ever recorded, making it another exceptional entry in an invaluable catalog.According to Duda, the effort is a return to the softer, more ambient nature of Riverside’s debut, 2004’s Out of Myself. In fact, the foursome intentionally composed it “to combine the ‘70s and the ‘80s…[the songs] have never been so concise and to the point before.” Because of this new approach, the disc actually evokes Duda’s other project, Lunatic Soul, in subtle but substantial ways at times. Like almost all of Riverside’s previous works, Love, Fear and the Time Machine is also a conceptual record; specifically, it “talk[s] about transformation. About making an important, perhaps life-changing decision everyone has to make at some point in their lives…on the one hand, we’re excited by the change…[but] on the other, we fear the unknown.” Ultimately, the lesson to be learned from it is that “if we sometimes get lost in life, it is to go through something and be found again on the other side, to be reborn as someone better and more valuable.”Fittingly, then, the sequence starts with “Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened by a Hat?)”, which is arguably its best track. Duda begins by reciting a philosophical recollection over a delicate ether of keyboards and bass and guitar notes. Afterward, he launches into a catchy and charming chorus: “Come follow me / We’ll go down / Where the river flows / One day / Just you and I will find a bridge / To another land”. Duda layers his voices too, making it even more gripping, and in-between his passages, guitarist Piotr Grudziński issues his signature soaring accompaniment as the composition evolves. Drummer Piotr Kozieradzki keeps things steady throughout, while keyboardist Michał Łapaj gets the spotlight during the final seconds. Ultimately, “Lost” exemplifies the magnificent succinctness that makes Love, Fear and the Time Machine distinctive in the Riverside canon.Later on, “#Addicted” truly feels like a progressive rock take on the Cure in several ways, such as its dominant bass lines, starry guitar lines, and wistful singing which finds Duda channeling a silky falsetto he’s never really attempted before. There’s also a brief acoustic guitar arpeggio at the end that’s very enjoyable. Lyrically, it serves as a commentary on how social media can transform people into egocentric users who base their self-worth on their digital populiarty. In this way, both its lyrics and music find Riverside stretching slightly beyond its comfort zone, but the result is undeniably, well, addictive.“Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire” feels more traditional, with Duda’s sorrowful confessions and counterpoints perfectly complemented by sharp guitar riffs, aching solos, enveloping percussion, and a moving layer of synthesized splendor. Honestly, it’s like a heartbreaking and somewhat more colorful missing track from Shine of New Generation Slaves, whereas “Saturate Me” contains the sleek yet eccentric tones and virtuosic yet blunt balance that made up the best moments on Rapid Eye Movement. Of course, its sad ponderings, such as “Am I Invisible? / Or alive? / I don’t want to feel like I’m no one anymore”, are archetypal Riverside sentiments, and the interlocking musical patterns (especially near the end) are equally touching.The most commercial segment on Love, Fear and the Time Machine is surely “Discard Your Fear”; however, despite that typically negative connotation, the song’s approachability doesn’t get in the way of its worth. Rather, it’s uplifting message and relatively simple and familiar construction could earn Riverside an entirely new camp of fans. It’s actually quite cathartic, as is the dreamy and tasteful “Toward the Blue Horizon”, which begins and ends as a luscious ode (with lovely piano chords) while transforming into a progressive metal workout in the middle.Both of the record’s final two pieces—“Time Travellers” and “Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)”—are wonderful. The former is an exquisite acoustic ballad about past possibilities and the unforeseen future. Its winding melodies and spaciousness are the standout features, as the rest of the band lets Duda’s voice lead the way, resulting in a simple but commanding experience. In contrast, the latter is more elaborate, impactful, and conclusive, with a strong sense of closure and acceptance, as the speaker realizes the importance of his or her experiences, uncertainties, and decisions. The music builds with great pacing, adding more beautiful layers as the chorus (“It’s a lovely life / You have gone so far / Don’t give it up / Oh, it’s a lovely life / Gotta go with what you think is right”) repeats with sleek harmonies. By the end, listeners are left in awe, reevaluating their own sense of purpose and optimism.Love, Fear and the Time Machine is likely the most polarizing record Riverside has made, as it could be considered both the band’s strongest and weakest full-length effort. Fans hoping for virtuosic jams and unexpected sounds won’t really find them here, while fans looking for more of Riverside’s token elegant instrumentation, affective melodies, and poetic, rich singing will be satisfied beyond measure. Either way, Love, Fear and the Time Machine definitely finds its creators reaching for new, if marginally different, heights, which is commendable in and of itself. Roughly ten years on, Riverside remains as special as ever, and Love, Fear and the Time Machine is, in several ways, its truest work of art." - Pop Matters
    $12.00
  • Out of print limited edition mediabook comes with 2 bonus tracks."Doro has long been the reigning queen of metal, and with her 12th solo studio album, Raise Your Fist, she continues to reinforce that notion. Her new album has a thicker feel than her previous release, Fear No Evil (2009). Packed with her trademark anthems and velvet ballads, Raise Your Fist is Doro at the top of her game.Sure Doro has a weakness for the occasional Velveeta lyrical theme, but it is her passion for metal, her fans, and the music that keep her among heroes of the genre. On Raise Your Fist, Doro brings the traditional bang your head, throw up your horns metal, with memorable sing along choruses. The album’s opening track, “Raise Your Fist in the Air”, is a perfect example. A lyrical theme all metalheads can get behind, with air-guitar worthy riffage and an anthemic chorus.Motörhead mainman, Lemmy Kilmister drops by to show a surprisingly tender side on the ballad, “It Still Hurts”, and guitar icon Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind) makes an appearance on the track “Grab the Bull (Last Man Standing)”, giving it some extra swagger.On the song, “Freiheit” she tackles the issue of human rights. She noted that this particular song is very close to her heart. Tracks like “Rock Till Death”, “Take No Prisoners”,  and “Revenge” are some of Doro’s meatier sonic assaults, and remind us that heavy metal need not be void of melody.Doro also pays homage to her dear friend, Ronnie James Dio on the album closer, “Hero”. The song was the first one written for the record, and hits home with serious emotional impact. Doro’s vocals are poignant and emotive, filled with admiration, loss, and angst.Raise Your Fist is a confident, well crafted, classic metal album, which offers a slab of horn-throwing anthems, with just the right amount of sentiment. Doro heads into a new decade with another load of rock and roll ammunition in her arsenal." - Metallic
    $6.00
  • 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
  • New vinyl reissue of this US prog rarity.  Even the CD reissue from a decade ago is long out of print!  Considered by many to be one of the best examples of US prog."An overlookied US band, formed in early-70's and led by guitarist/keyboardist/sax player Robert Williams aka Roberts Owen (R.I.P.).The original line-up featured also multi-instrumentalist James Larner, keyboardist Mark Knox, drummer Jim Miller, bassist Paul Klotzbier and Jeff McMullen on lead vocals/guitars.Maelstrom had a private press LP out in Canada, recorded in 1973 at Fort Walton Beach in Florida and very rare nowadays, originally released under the title ''On the gulf''.Why this band is so overlooked remains a huge mystery to me, as Maelstrom had one of the most eclectic and intricate sounds back in the days.Every track shows a different amount of influences and musical approaches, always played under a very complicated yet well-structured musicianship, offering a huge and dramatic sound like a cross between ETHOS, CATHEDRAL and YEZDA URFA.There are strong amounts of melodies and acoustic passages in the vein of GENESIS, huge sax-based more improvised sections in the vein of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and SOFT MACHINE, smooth electric parts with delicate vocal harmonies as tribute to CARAVAN, complex interplays as GENTLE GIANT first ever presented and YES-like adventurous symphonic orchestrations with a superb atmosphere.Heavy loads of Mellotron and organ, jazzy-flavored sax atmospheres, dramatic orchestrations with good electric parts, instrumental battles and endless changing climates can be detected constantly, leaving the most demanding proghead satisfied.In 1997 Black Moon Records re-issued the album in CD format under the title ''Maelstrom'' and this work contains a couple of extra tracks recorded live by Maelstrom in 1980 at the ''Three Rivers Festival'' in Indiana with only Owen and Klotzbier from the original line-up along with keyboardist Kent Overholser and Rollin Wood on drums.''Opus one'' has a strong E.L.P. vibe with organs leading the way along with some dramatic synth work in a classic Symphonic Rock track, while the longer ''Genesis to geneva'' is a bit more of a loose instrumental composition again in a Symphonic Rock path but surrounded with some more Avant-Garde/Fusion atmospheres, where synths, organ and electric guitars are on the forefront.A fantastic discovery for all fans of adventurous Classic Prog.Interesting combination of Symphonic Rock, Cantebury Prog and Jazz-Rock, where so much is going on.Definitely among the finest releases of the time in the USA/Canada and highly recommended." - Prog Archives
    $24.00
  • Standard edition comes (at the moment) with a slipcase "o" card wrapper."It’s been quite a past few years for the incredible Anathema. Honors have been bestowed upon them, they’ve released an instant classic album in “Weather Systems”, and last year they released one of the best live concert films I’ve ever seen, “Universal”. Anathema is on top of the world, and they are only getting bigger. With all of this on their shoulders, they approach the world once again with their new album, “Distant Satellites”, a fitting name for a massive album. Again, with all of their recent success creating huge expectations, can this band meet such critical reception? Needless to say, Vincent Cavanagh on vocals, Danny Cavanagh on guitar, Jamie Cavanagh on bass, John Douglas on percussion, Daniel Cardoso on drums, and Lee Douglas with her wonderful vocals were all up to the challenge.“Distant Satellites” is a very different album from “Weather Systems”, or anything else they’ve done, for that matter. It is different, yet somehow instantly familiar. It includes everything that makes them Anathema, but adds new and exciting elements to their already excellent formula. If you’ve never heard Anathema, their formula (in their last few albums, anyways) includes soaring guitars, amazingly catchy melodies, spiritual lyrics, and emotional flow both vocally and structurally. They are the masters of melody, and they remain complex and progressive even while being simple and accessible. They are truly masters of their craft.This new album, then, is no different in those terms. The melodies return in force, such as the serene beauty of “The Lost Song” parts 1-3. And, yet, there is something different here. The melodic lines are somewhat more complex, less in-your-face, and more organic. This especially shows in the song lengths, most of them being over five minutes. This allows for more growth and more progression. Indeed, then, the melodies on “Distant Satellites”, while not being as instantly lovable or recognizable, are certainly more difficult and possibly will have a longer “shelf life” in my mind. Yes, the orchestrations seem to be lower key, as well, allowing the vocalists to express themselves more personally then ever.There are other improvements, too. I feel that the musicianship is more fervent and on a higher plateau of difficulty than Anathema has tried. Drummer John Douglas, especially, plays amazingly well from start to finish, accenting the music with awesome pounding and fills. The rest of the band are at their peak, too, with Vincent and Lee being especially great with emotional and meaningful vocal performances.“Distant Satellites” is different in more meaningful ways, too. Utilizing post-rock/metal structures is nothing new for Anathema, but they really do perfect them here, as on “Dusk”, a dark, climactic song. Yet, there is a sense of continuity between tracks, too. This is obviously the case between the three parts of “The Lost Song”, but it’s also apparent throughout the album, as if Anathema is telling us a story, convincing us of our true selves and our connection with the universe and with each other.This album is wonderful in the first half, but my excitement reached new heights in the second half. Anathema has taken it upon themselves to change things up a bit. They wanted to progress their sound, but make it all seem so natural. So, in the second half, the album climaxes with one of the best songs, simply called “Anathema”. But then, we are thrown for a loop somewhat, as “You’re Not Alone” features a hefty portion of electronic vibe. It’s great, but the best is still to come.Next, “Firelight”, a darkly ethereal instrumental track that is completely electronic, is thrust upon us, and is followed up by what may possibly be the best song Anathema has ever produced, “Distant Satellites”. This track combines everything that has ever made Anathema great: soaring melodies, climactic structure, gentle spirituality, amazing vocals, and now an electronic beat that is both complex and catchy. Vibrant, mesmerizing, and pure, this track elates me every time I hear it. It takes this album, and my heart, to new heights. The album finishes with a gentle ballad that just seems so fitting, yet it still has the strong electronic influence.So, is “Distant Satellites” a winner? In every way! Is it their best album? I don’t know; it has the potential, but it might take time, just like “Weather Systems” did. What I can tell you is that this new album is more mature, more progressive, more interesting and eclectic, and less formulaic then anything Anathema has crafted yet. It does sacrifice some accessibility and some instant likability for these things, but I respect their decision massively, and I fully expect to see “Distant Satellites” at the tops of many lists at the end of 2014." - Progulator
    $9.00
  • Univers is the long awaited follow up to Element V from this very talented band from Oz. Once again they blend elements of power, progressive and death metal but in a way that is melodic and engaging. The death vocals pop up on occasion and offer a nice counterpoint to the clean male vox. This time around the music has a bit of a modern, poppier, component but it doesn't make this commercial in any way. Another first class release from this band that was clearly not resting on their laurels - this is what progressive is supposed to mean. Highly recommended.
    $9.00