Dancing In Limbo

There are some changes to the lineup for Belgium's answer to Ozric Tentacles.  Longtime guitarist Dario Frodo only appears as a guest on one track.  He was replaced by Tom Tas.  Also appearing in guest roles are Ozric Tentacles guitarist Ed Wynne as well as a flautist anemd Charels Sla and Karel Baetens on hand percussion.  Overally don't expect any radical change in sound.  Consisting of 4 long tracks, Dancing In Limbo blasts off into space and will trip you out with celestial synths and crystalline, laser-like guitar runs.  Highly recommended.

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  • Deluxe mediabook edition.  CD plus a DVD with 5.1 surround mix, 24 bit stereo, and a "making of" video."Always fond of conceptual storytelling, Ian Anderson goes himself one better with his latest prog-folk-metal concept album. The 15 songs of Homo Erraticus inhabit not one but two metafictional layers. The Gerald Bostock character, hero/anti-hero of the seminal Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick and its recent sequel Thick as a Brick 2, is back again, having now discovered a manuscript left behind in the 1920s by a malaria-ridden old British soldier delightfully named Ernest T. Parritt.Parritt's supposed writings range over northern European history from the Mesolithic era to his own - and on into his future, through the whole 20th century and into our own time and beyond. Winnowed into lyrics written by "Bostock" and set to music by the real protagonist of the story, Ian Anderson, these materials give Anderson - whose creative scope and energy remain robust even as his singing voice has thinned with age - a walk-in-closetful of pegs on which to hang a sequence of songs evoking nothing less than the history of mankind in his part of the world.The first track, "Doggerland," commemorates the area of the southern North Sea that used to be dry land connecting today's British Isles with the rest of Europe. Doggerland vanished under the waves as the last Ice Age ended but, as fisherman discovered not long ago, the sea floor retains much archeological evidence of human occupation. The succeeding songs address migrations, metalworking, invasions (from the Romans to Burger King), the arrival of Christianity, the Industrial Revolution, and so on. To appreciate the songs, you'll want to (at least once) follow along with the notes and lyrics in the accompanying 32-page booklet.The Foreword, in which Anderson discusses the history of Jethro Tull and why he hasn't used the band name for his last few recordings, will especially interest longtime Tull fans. The real question is, will the songs themselves? Some yes, some no. The gruff metal of "Doggerland" gives way to the sweet, plinking folk of "Heavy Metals." (I imagine Anderson chuckling to himself at the irony - no pun intended - of creating such a gentle-sounding song with that title, and on that literal topic.) Both satisfy my Tull craving. "Meliora Sequamur" (Let Us Follow Better Things), which paints a picture of 12th century schoolboys amid religious chant (and cant), does too, and "The Turnpike Inn" is a solid rocker, and the hard-Celtic style of "The Engineer" moves briskly.I like the instrumental track "Tripudium ad Bellum" (Dancing to War). It starts off with an echo of a theme from the original Thick as a Brick (there are others elsewhere on the album), then resolves into a 5/4 march, like a more insistent "Living in the Past." War's aftermath appears in the next track, the sad, deliberate "After These Wars," in which I really feel the lack of Anderson's full-strength vocals. While he was never among rock's greatest singers, that didn't matter - when he sang his songs, you always felt he was all there, and that's what mattered. But now, and not only in the harder songs that shade into old-school heavy metal, his voice just isn't always a match for his music's energy any more.On the other hand, his gift for crafting pleasing, original melodies, writing smart, clever lyrics in complete sentences and true rhyme, and setting much of it in non-traditional time signatures remains strong. The first verse of "After These Wars" reads:After battle, with wounds to lick andbeaus and belles all reuniting.Rationing, austerity: it did us good after the fighting.Now, time to bid some fond farewells andwalk away from empires crumbling.Post-war baby-boom to fuel with post-Victorian half-dressed fumbling.No one in pop music writes like that anymore.Listening to the album as a complete conceptual work, my overall feeling is that there isn't very much new here. Since the 1960s Anderson and Tull have explored countless different musical paths and styles. Some of these produced some of my all-time favorite songs and recordings. Others I hated. But he never seemed to be resting on his laurels. Here I feel like I'm reading a chapter that's not much different from the last chapter.But listening to the songs individually, I like a lot of them. As I write this I'm trying to count the beats of the off-time closer, "Cold Dead Reckoning," with its grim imagery of a future of lost souls navigating their way over a metaphysical Doggerland "amongst the ranks and files of walking dead." I hear crunching minor-key guitar-bass-piano unison figures, a sprightly flute solo. A hopeful verse about "angels watching over" at the end doesn't convince me, as the music continues to growl on as before. Yet there follow a sweet, gentle instrumental coda, reminded us that while things may not turn out well for humanity as we teem over and ruin our only planet, our capacity to create and to appreciate beauty will be with us as long as we live. So let's raise the cup of crimson wonder to Ian Anderson as he charges not-so-gently through his seventh decade." - Seattle Pi
    $17.00
  • Third album from this Dutch progressive band is a conceptual work.  This one has strong political leanings so it might bother some of you out there.  It basically deals with changes in the geopolitcal climate since the late 90s.  While the band's first album was squarely in the metal camp, the subsequent albums find them moving more and more into the prog rock arena but maintaining an underlying heaviness.  Plenty of keyboards featured throughout the mix in a way that complements the guitar driven heaviness.  For me the stand out is vocalist Dennis Binnekade.  He has a stunning voice and I noticed that this time around someone coached him on his pronuciation. Rock solid contemporary prog. Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • CD/DVD in a digibook.  The DVD is the complete show and the CD maxxes out due to the time limitations."In May 2012 Anathema released Weather Systems, the most acclaimed and successful album of a career that has spanned over two decades. The album scored high in numerous critics end of year polls around the world and cemented their reputation as one of the most exciting and progressive bands around. Following the release of the album, the band embarked on a lengthy world tour. The European leg of the tour opened with a triumphant one-off show at the ancient Roman theatre of Philippopolis with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2012. Directed by celebrated filmmaker Lasse Hoile, Universal captures the magic of the event ."
    $17.00
  • Long awaited second album from Santiago Dobles & Co. finds the band with new members and noted producer Neil Kernon in control of the sound. In every respect this is a step up from the debut. New vocalist Diana Serra seems much more comfortable with this style of music. Santiago plays all the guitar parts and offers precise, laser-like, solos. New bassist Alan Goldstein is a monster. What needs to be said about Sean Reinert? Stylistically the songwriting is on par with the debut but all the little pitfalls that hintered that album have been sidestepped. The smartest move was bringing in Mr. Kernon to mix the album. Neil does heavy and Formless is heavy as hell - much more so than the debut. This album just slams beginning to end. Serra's vocals sit perfectly in the mix. Formless is heavy metaphysical metal with a technical edge that will blow away any Cynic fan. AWESOME!
    $14.00
  • This is where the progressive elements really start to coalesce ie. the 20 minute "The Fountain Of Lamneth".  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • Picchio dal Pozzo are considered to be one of the very few "Canterbury" inspired bands that emerged from Italy's fertile 1970's progressive rock musical scene. They released two highly regarded - and highly sought after - albums during their lifetime. The exciting release of Camere Zimmer Rooms, a previously unknown studio recording of all unreleased compositions, extends their legacy greatly! The band formed in Genoa in 1972. They released their first, self-titled album in 1975. The band recorded their second LP " Abbiamo Tutti i Suoi Problemi" in 1980. Shortly after this release, the band dissolved. But, back in 1977, with their first earnings as a band, Picchio decided to buy their first sound reinforcement equipment to use for touring. To check out the equipment, the band decided to set up a live concert in studio for some friends and record it. The result is the tapes that now make up Camere Zimmer Rooms. While never originally intended for release, the band now feels that it is indeed the most faithful recording of Picchio dal Pozzo's music and mood. One of the first things that even the casual listener will discover is that Camere Zimmer Rooms does not sound like a live-in-the-studio recording. Using the full extent of the large band and pre-recorded tapes of things like natural sounds, factory noises, radio-advertising collages and other manipulated material, that were triggered by the various members of the band, the sound is indeed very close to a studio recording that would be filled with overdubbing. Essential for their fans, as well as fans of groups like Caravan, Hatfield & The North, Henry Cow, Soft Machine & Frank Zappa.
    $15.00
  • Third album from this Swedish ensemble that features Reine Fiske as a member.  It has a soft and gentle vibe that touches on psych, folk, and pop with undercurrents of prog creeping in (thanks to Reine).  Beautiful stuff."On Picture You, The Amazing incorporates traces of psychedelic rock, ’60s pop, and even twee, mostly in the soft-spoken, accented vocals of lead singer Christoffer Gunrup. If that all sounds like chaos, it isn’t. The Amazing has a plan, and they’re rewarded for following it to its furthest conclusion.Almost every track on the band’s third album finds itself on the far side of the five-minute mark, and that’s because no one in The Amazing is in any kind of rush. Their ability to combine all of the aforementioned disparate elements not only into one album but into one song is jaw-dropping.Even though Gunrup rejects terms like “prog” for his band’s work, that doesn’t mean they don’t apply. The seven-and-a-half-minute “Fryshusfunk” screeches over from hazy summer nap music into something much more complex and challenging in a moment of disruption that’s unparalleled throughout the rest of Picture You. The song is as easy to slip into as a dream, but once you’re inside it’s nearly impossible to extract yourself.The nine-minute title track forms the record’s gooey center, shimmering and changing shape from an airy hymn to lush, free-form instrumentation. The song’s ethereal qualities belie its muscle; about halfway in, the tone shifts to a faster pace, propelled by a swift, driving beat. It’s a song that unfolds as it goes, demanding that you spend more time with it only because it’s a hard piece of music to map after only a few listens.The languid, easy “Circles” and “Safe Island”, the former sliding into the latter, create a kind of tropical hurricane eye in the album’s first half, invoking a high-energy euphoria that could just as easily wash over listeners or whip them into a frenzy. This is big music, meant to be played over a quality sound system or, even better, live; tinny laptop speakers can’t possibly do it justice.Maybe due to the nature of its formation — the band’s lineup features members of Swedish-language bands Dungen and Granada — the band has never struggled to define its sound like other nascent bands do. It sprung forth fully formed, like Athena from Zeus’ forehead: powerful, lovely, hard to wrap your mind around sometimes, but all the more intriguing because of it." - Consequence Of Sound
    $12.00
  • Tenth studio album from the reconstituted verison of Focus led by Thijs van Leer.  Returning is original drummer Pierre van der Linden.  Bobby Jacobs handles bass and Menno Gootjes lead guitar.  X doesn't break any new ground.  This sounds just like classic Focus - van Leer concentrates on flute and Hammond organ and vocals.  Pure prog with strong jazzy overtones in places.  Neat cover art and logo courtesy of Roger Dean.  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • Since the release of 2013’s In Crescendo, Kingcrow toured North America in support of Pain Of Salvation, and headlined a European tour.  Kingcrow kept busy in 2014, touring Europe with Fates Warning and at the same time crafting the material that would become Eidos.“Eidos” is a new conceptual album about choices, consequences, dealing with regret and disillusion. Their earlier album Phlegethon dealt with childhood and In Crescendo about the end of youth.  Eidos can be considered the third part of a trilogy about the path of life. Musically it sees the band exploring new territories and pushing the extremes of its complex soundscape with a darker atmosphere and a more progressive attitude.Describing the band today is quite a difficult task, but one could state that the influence of such artists as Porcupine Tree, Riverside, Opeth, Anathema, Radiohead , King Crimson and Massive Attack are all present in the music of Kingcrow.With each release Kingcrow has taken a step further away from their original roots as a classic metal band and is now one of the most personal and exciting bands that Italy has to offer.
    $13.00
  • Second album from this Italian band that actually goes back to the 70s although they didn't record until recently.The roots of the band's sound is quite obvious.  Il Cerchio D'Oro are proponents of "Rock Progressive Italiano".  With the necessary Italian vocals in place, the music has a nice balance of keys and guitar but there are plenty of guests introducing flute, sax, mandolin.  It should be noted that these guests are sourced from classic bands The Trip, PFM, and Delirium.  Dig the 'tron?  Its here!  The synth work in particular is going to remind you of Flavio Premoli.  
    $16.00
  • Cynthesis is a new band that reunites three of the original members of Zero Hour (Jasun and Troy Tipton, and Erik Rosvold) along with Enchant drummer Sean Flanagan.ReEvolution is the middle part of a dystopian trilogy begun with 2011’s DeEvolution. The central character, a shaman, is sent out to gather more slaves. He comes across a tribe and senses a light within them that triggers a distant memory of his past.  He realizes this is the original tribe he was taken from.  He brings them back to the city and encounters what was done to the population and sets them free.While Cynthesis maintains much of the Zero Hour tech metal influence, it also demonstrates the more melodic and atmospheric side of Jasun Tipton’s songwriting.  ReEvolution will appeal to fans of both progressive rock and metal.
    $13.00
  • Third album from this superb Dutch band.  Laser's Edge has a long standing relationship with the band, having released their debut, Hallway Of Dreams, in North America.Take equal parts Loreena McKennitt, Kate Bush, and Within Temptation and you've got the basic sound of Kingfisher Sky.  The band was formed by ex-Within Temptation drummer Ivar de Graaf and is fronted by his wife Judith Rijnveld.  Judith is an incredible vocalist - her voice will transfix you.  The lineup features two guitarists, cello, keys, bass, and drums.  Everyone in the band is first class but you will always be drawn back to Judith.  The music takes on a mystical, ethereal quality in places.  It never really crosses over into the metal realm but the guitars can get crunchy in a nice way.  One notable guest on this album is Kristeffor Gildenlow who handles all the bass parts.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Second release from this German band and frankly its a huge improvement from their debut. Dante skirt the fine line between neoprogressive rock and progressive metal. The music is quite melodic and there is some heaviness in the guitarwork...and yeah the keyboardist likes to shred like Jordan does...so maybe they can slip into the metal category. File these guys along side Ricochet.
    $3.00
  • Third album from this very fine Irish neo-progressive band.  Dead Heroes Club have that traditional sound down.  Frontman Liam Campbell's voice has an uncanny resemblance to Fish and Peter Gabriel (which one depends on the tune).  This one is ripped right out of the Clutching At Straws playbook but the band tends to stretch out a bit more.  I also noticed that the guitar is cranked up a bit more than in the past.  Good stuff.
    $15.00