Downburst

SKU: 146592
Label:
Metal Blade
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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Seventh album from this popular German power metal band led by vocalist Andy Franck.



"Been more than two years since Liquid Monster (which was one), yet still no additional North American shows. Well, the Germans better get their “esel” overseas for Downburst, or there will be an outburst, big time! Although not as immediate as its predecessor, Downburst picks up where Brainstorm left off (‘Stained With Sin’, ‘Redemption In Your Eyes’ and ‘How Do You Feel’). All told, these ten tunes benefit from the symphonic diversification sweeping through the power metal movement, i.e. Primal Fear, Iced Earth, etc. The effect is most noticeable in ‘Surrounding Walls’ and throughout ‘End In Sorrow’, where the hushed tones of singer Andy B. Franck sound decidedly American radio-friendly. In the opposite direction, there’s the staccato modernism of ‘Fire Walk With Me’ and modulated vocals on ‘Frozen’. Heaviest track honours go to ‘Protect Me From Myself’, which also sports an extended guitar break. The ‘All Alone’ finale has Franck in spoken word/near whisper, with an infectious late ‘70s hard rock chorus riff. 8/10" - Mark Gromen/Brave Words

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  • "With 1985's Metal Heart, German metal institution Accept attempted to add catchier choruses and melodies to their high-octane guitar riffing in a clear ploy to crack the American market. Not that this move in any way upset the balance of their thus-far smooth-running metal machine, which had been gaining momentum with every release since the start of the decade. No, Metal Heart was certainly a step toward accessibility, but a cautious one at that -- and, frankly, there was no toning down when it came to the lacerated larynx of gifted lead screamer Udo Dirkschneider. You gotta hand it to Accept, they sure knew how to make an entrance by now, and the apocalyptic title track is about as dramatic as it gets (the operatic "Bound to Fail" comes close), with guitarist Wolf Hoffman taking the helm on a long, mid-song solo excursion containing equal nods to Beethoven (very nice) and Edward Van Halen (get real). First single "Midnight Mover" is next, and along with the even more melodic "Screaming for a Love-Bite," it places obvious emphasis on hooks and melodies (and proved to be the toughest to stomach for the band's more hardcore fans). But despite another strange detour into jazz territory with the bizarre "Teach Us to Survive," Accept still packed amazing power, heaping on their Teutonic background vocals for the ultraheavy "Dogs on Leads" and gleefully pile-driving their way through relentless moshers like "Up to the Limit" and "Wrong Is Right." The brilliantly over-the-top "Too High to Get It Right" finds Dirkschneider screeching like never before, and to cap things off, the band really cooks on "Living for Tonight" -- arguably the best track all around. A winning set." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • San Francisco's Orchid has been kicking around a bit, jumping around a bunch of small labels.  A buzz has been developing around the band so it was only a matter of time before they stepped up to the big time - they got snatched up by Nuclear Blast.  I would say that NB scored a major coup here.  Orchid's reputation has been built upon a doom metal sound that draws heavily from the early Black Sabbath canon.  Plain and simple.  These guys have the retro sound down pat and the look as well.  If you are into doom its not going to come any better than this.  Highly recommended. 
    $13.00
  • First new album in 11 years from this legendary Bay Area thrash band.
    $9.00
  • "For pure Teutonic power metal you need not look any further than to Northern Germany's Stormwarrior. Highly influenced by Eighties speed and power metal, and peers like Helloween and Running Wild, the band is still 'keeping it true' with their own version of classic power metal on their fifth album Thunder and Steele.And galloping it is. Thunder and Steele leaps from the proverbial heavy metal gates at the start and doesn't slow down one bit. (The exception may be Child of Fyre, which has a more moderate pace.) Typical of the band and the genre, the songs are filled with references to heavy metal, battle, and mythology. One song, Servants of Metal, aptly describes Stormwarrior's metal music philosophy.Heavy metal caricatures aside, Stormwarrior does their chosen genre proud. Besides getting the simple galloping nature of power metal, Stormwarrior fills every tune with lots of guitars, big riffage and even bigger solos swarm over every song. Also, to their credit, and likely thanks to producer Piet Sielck (Iron Savior), the mix is quite strong and clear, bringing out the bass line in most every song, an integral element for every speedy power metal song. While there's an expected redundancy when every song is galloping, curiously enough it doesn't get old or tiring, at least not that quickly. With Thunder and Steele, Stormwarrior keeps the fire of 'true' power metal burning bright. Recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00
  • "True in the name of fantasy, true in the name of what is Metal and the heavenly meaning of life of enjoyment and partying, looking for the right thrill. It is above and beyond being mere serious about things, it is about letting yourself out, free as bird, or an eagle in the sky looking for chances, for its next prey. Keeping it steady as they go, not abiding by any other contemporary trend, there is the German FREEDOM CALL, a veteran band led by Chris Bay, no short or far in their musical range than late 80’s / early 90’s HELLOWEEN along with a hefty dosage of mid to late 90’s GAMMA RAY, retaining it Teutonic, massively melodic and bombastically memorable as it can be. Following a tight stature, FREEDOM CALL is about to release their eighth album, “Beyond”, via SPV / Steamhammer Records. Though easily a reminiscent of everything that is considered German Metal, minus ACCEPT, or melodically within the German Metal scene, this album strongly positioned FREEDOM CALL as a free spirit, implementing flowing and smooth songativity, a measure of cheerfulness, plenty of imagination but with a distinct upfront Power Metal prowess.Fortunately, I had the chance to write about the band’s previous, “Land Of The Crimson Dawn”, and also the “Legend Of The Shadowking” album, and it helped me to keep a certain perspective with “Beyond”. Scouring and molesting this album for countless of times, it made me realize how glued I was to the songs. It is fairly true that FREEDOM CALL are the last band to be recognized as genuine, especially with the adjacent proximity to GAMMA RAY (Sometimes even Chris Bay sounds like Kai Hansen) and at times one would notice how their melodic guitaring, meaning the leads and licks aren’t that varied and being represented as clichés under equally similar templates in different versions. However, in an awkward kind of way, this foursome crew has the ability to keep certain elements as their own, for example their commendable lust for life that inspired positivity within their tunes, adhering party like tracks of Traditional Metal, leaving Hard Rock and emotive AOR behind, while flaring the Boogie with heaviness and class. In overall, “Beyond” felt less dark, needless to say sinister, than its previous contenders. On the contrary, it is much more welcoming, haunting, harmonic, fluent songwriting that somewhat focused on the traditional structure of 80’s oriented songs along with emphasizing the choruses that are the bread and butter for any sing along. Instrumentally, I noticed raging rhythm guitar heavy riffery and brick wall rhythm section searing speed junkets by the book, while pampering all the merits that preserved German Metal’s influence. Also several tuned thundered with wonderful soloing and of course, hard to pass it by, tremendous vocal performance under an extraordinary vocal production, nothing shorter than a semi operatic conclusion.Thus, while virtually crossing the hour mark, “Beyond” felt as if it was much shorter in length, it passed me by so rapidly that I just had to push the play button once again to let the material sweep me for another outing. “Heart Of A Warrior” is yet another war hero track, a hymn that is one of the many that signaled me why Metal music is the best thing that ever happened to, a classic Power Metal emblem that had me thinking of early HAMMERFALL, specifically due to its emphatic chorus. “Paladin” and “Follow Your Heart”, a chain of two hits, one by one they barraged my essence with memorable sheer moments of heavenly glory, musically nothing really changed, captivating melodic turmoil, sparkling with a few heavier passages, yet I was more obsessed by production of the vocals, typically on these two, multi channeled fury highlighting an imposing spiritual release, riding into the night under the wings of a dragon. “Beyond”, could be mistaken as the album’s epic, yet though its length, it is nothing of a sort from my end. This song’s character is the precise formula and means for the creation of an ultimate Power Metal track tracking over seven minutes. Infusing GAMMA RAYish harmonic main lead guitar riff, bombastically treading near operatic proportions and combining them with both slow to fast tempo drum ignitions, you may have yourself a winner, an ultimate song that will carry you with it for just enough time for you to grasp it straightforwardly.FREEDOM CALL, in their own special way, might be disjointed a bit from what is happening around them, as our existence became harsher over the years, however, they remained true to their previous forms, snubbed Hard Rock a bit in favor of hard to the bone Metal, reoccurring themselves occasionally but in this here release formed a heartwarming demonstration of notable songwriting that would cause you to bite the bullet time and time again." - Metal Temple 
    $14.00
  • "This 2012 live album was recorded last December on the European tour with the mighty Hammerfall. It features 11 songs , nine classics and two very special studio recordings of '' Sign of the Southern Cross" by Black Sabbath and "Running Wild" by Judas Priest. "We wanted to do a few covers of our metal gods Sabbath and Priest as a tribute to where it all started" Guitarist Geoff Thorpe said. Vicious Rumors is known for their wicked live performance and Live You To Death captures the fire and energy of the band live and in your face! This Live CD is a high speed hammer that's razor sharp! Recorded by Pontus Norgren of Hammerfall, mixed by Juan Urteaga and produced by Geoff Thorpe."
    $15.00
  • "Pink Cream 69 is an undisputed member of the elite class of melodic hard rock, the kind of band that rarely disappoints. Yes, some releases are better than others, but that is to be expected over the course of eleven studio albums and the fact is that all of them are worth your time and attention. Between the rock-solid vocals of David Readman and the immaculate production of Dennis Ward, expecting a PC69 album to fail is almost as foolish as expecting the Pope to announce his conversion to Satanism at the next Easter Mass.So how does Ceremonial stack up within the PC69 pantheon? Pretty damn good, actually. Not quite as good as Electrified or Sonic Dynamite, but slightly better than In10sity and Thunderdome. By now you know what to expect when you pick up a PC69 album and that’s exactly what the band delivers. There’s more diversity to their sound this time, the band doing a nice job of mixing things up between high-octane rockers, melodic mid-tempo anthems, and the occasional burst of metal heaviness, all of which ensure the songs don’t blur into one another. PC69 know what fans want and serve it up in fine fashion with minimal deviation from ingrained expectations.Of course, rock music is entirely subjective and how well you rank Ceremonial will depend entirely upon your personal proclivities, but there is simply no denying that this release features stellar musicianship, powering engineering, and some truly great hooks. The choruses really take off while the tight harmonies and sizzling guitar work together in tandem to make this one of the highlights of 2013.Ceremonial is a less aggressive beast than many of the releases that came before, zeroing in on the melodic section of the hard rock bleachers, a minor adjustment that serves the band well; the overall vibe is just a little looser and more fun that some of their previous output. That’s not to say PC69 have turned into a bunch of featherweights; “Big Machine” alone proves the band can still bring the heaviness, laying down a punishing groove that leads into a hard-fisted chorus that Readman delivers with an extra dose of attitude. But for the most part the band is content to focus on the melodic rather than the metal. That’s neither a pro nor a con, simply a statement of fact. Do with it what thou will.If the metallic tracks are scanter than venison in a vegan’s freezer, the catchy melodic rock tunes are in abundance. “Wasted Years” is a blissful mid-tempo number delivered in that inimitable way that only an experienced band like P69 can pull off. Next up is the urgently hard rocking “Special” and it gets the job done…assuming that job is to get your body moving. “Right From Wrong” is a jaw-dropping demonstration of how to do melodic rock right, featuring an insanely catchy hook and a bouncy sing-along chorus that really sticks in your brain. If you are asked what the best track on this album is and you don’t answer, “Right From Wrong,” then you are… well, wrong.PC69 could have just whipped together a few solid songs, had Readman phone in some professional but heart-lacking vocals, used Ward’s glossy production to hide a multitude of sonic sins, and fans would have gobbled it up like a starving wolf chowing down on a crippled chicken. But being the consummate professionals they are, they refused to take the easy road. Instead, they actually crafted some damn fine melodic hard rock songs, coaxed a great vocal performance out of Readman, and used Ward’s crunchy production as icing on the cake rather than a crutch. The result is another top-notch offering from Pink Cream 69 that most melodic hard rockers will enjoy as much as oral connoisseurs enjoy the position from which the band takes its name." - Hard Rock Haven
    $15.00
  • "To be in a band remotely related to the realms of Progressive and Power, is to be an immensely accomplished instrumentalist in your own right. However, it is all too easy for entire bands to be lost in the sea of generic driven mass, regardless of the title of 'progressive', swamped in unusual and atonal melodic progressions and multi-rhythmic drumming. Sometimes even the lyrics can become a drawl; who wants to hear about the same knight fighting the same dragon across 10 different bands? This is where Floridians SKYLINER come into play, ablaze with fresh ideologies, tried-and-true Power Metal establishments with Progressive embellishments, and very real lyrical philosophies.The intro track blew me away with its eerie soundscape and powerful vocal delivery, not unlike a cross between VOLBEAT's Michael Poulsen and ex-ICED EARTH vocalist Matthew Barlow. Pulling no punches is "Symphony in Black" delivering a speedy and uplifting cascade of riffs steeped in creative melodies. Jake delivers a unique vocal effort, sticking to an aggressive Heavy Metal approach with unusual, yet catchy inflections in his melodies. "Forever Young" is a powerful track that hits home with passages evolving in both speed and technicality, with abrupt crescendos marked by drastic blast-offs in tempo; an incredibly solid track with creative drumming and even more diverse vocal performances.I would devote a significant portion of my writing towards the epic "Worlds of Conflict", wherein the lads "pulled a DREAM THEATER" and wrote an enormous, 21-minute track. Rarely does one hear something of such epic proportions. Never stale, it seamlessly weaves in and out of passages of their own individuality that coalesce into powerful crescendos, or on the other hand may diverge into various sentient soundscapes. The bass work in this track is thoroughly impressive, going past a meat-and-potatoes approach to offer an astounding array of dynamics to add to a track that would ordinarily require a great amount of fleshing-out. I stress, this is not something you would chuck on to fit the mood. Absorb it, and embrace it.Individually, the tracks are excellent. The 21 minute monster is at a masterpiece level, I cannot get enough of it. If I had a single qualm it would be that each of the tracks are 'too' different from the next, that the album feels more like a collection of works as opposed to, well, an 'album'. But then, I could be wrong; I could be too used to listening to 2-hour, drawlish concept albums. It is my belief that the end product was their 100% intention. They have done this right." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • The latest from this superb US melodic metal band. This fits as a logical progression from Ten More Tales. Lots of prog moves balanced by some AOR moments - which is basically the Balance of Power formula. So you get intricacy and melody all wrapped together in one cool package.
    $14.00
  • "Refreshing, powerful, and extremely melodic – the adjectives I’d use at a push to describe Teramaze‘s 5th album. I have to admit I pretty much consider this their sophomore release as I was not party to their releases throughout the 90′s, with my first introduction to the band with their 2012 powerhouse ‘Anhedonia’ which quite ironically generated feels of anything but anhedonia. There has been an undeniable buzz around this release and I have found it virtually impossible to escape the widespread word and hype around this album anywhere I look online; generally I wouldn’t necessarily see this as categorically positive as it can taint your expectations unintentionally. Thankfully for the most part, my expectations and hopes with this album have been realised to the point that I welcome any melodic, thrash, progressive or otherwise metallically inclined music fan to check this 79-ish minute thematic conceptual monster.The initial impressions I have when comparing this with ‘Anhedonia’ is a development away from the slightly more thrash-oriented direction that I suspected was the impact of the members growing up in the era where that particular sub-genre beared its greatest fruits. I use the term development as I believe it has very much naturally progressed as compared to what I would consider a departure. The addition of more progressive structures and more varied layering works exceptionally well in Teramaze‘s favour to create a soundscape of in your face riffs, contemplative and brooding moods, earworm choruses, and timeless unity across the entire album.Without doubt one of the things that will grab listeners’ attention is the astonishing fretboard wizardry of band leader and Dean Well’s who treats us to undeniably wondrous smorgasbord of head nodding animosity (special mention to the riff at 2:02 in ‘Line of Symmetry’ – that will get you nodding with the mania of Jack Black), and emotive, creative, delicious lead playing that is akin to guitar heroes aplenty (Petrucci, Sfogli, Skolnick – just to name a few). The balance of great lead playing and rhythm work is a pleasure with nothing inappropriately overstated like one can sometimes expect of the genre. As a special addition, the tones are simply incredible on this album and it is glued perfectly with the bass and bonded by the fairydust keyboards that emerge to keep the sonic palette interesting (courtesy of Circadian Pulse keyboardist Dave Holley).The production is another point of veritable quality with all the instruments presented in a crystal clear state whilst maintaining vibe and not losing out to sterility which is a sad by-product of the self-produced musical climate of 2014. The only complaint I really have is that the mastering is a little hot which is noticeable after the first track (which was mastered in my ideal sweet spot). It sits at DR6 across the whole album on average which is nothing out of the ordinary for this day and age but it occasionally gets fatiguing especially over such a long record. Thankfully moment of distortion are kept to a minimum, however there are some trace elements of weakened transients and the occasional buried vocal that loses intelligibility.Vocalist Brett Rerekura is a joy to listen to and I am appreciative of the fact although his voice pushes the aggressive edge to fit the setting of the music, it is rich in melody and characteristic timbre and is not sabotaged with growls. Long live the singer in a metal band, I say! I detect glimmers of Layne Staley, Sebastian Bach and the rhythmic phrasing of James Hetfield. My only beef is the occasional “Aussieisms” I hear in some inflections which I am hyper-sensitive too (even though I’m Australian myself), however this doesn’t detract too much from what is a splendid vocal performance across the board. There are moments of supreme delicacy especially in ‘Bodies of Betrayal’ which I would have liked to have heard more of as well as a bit more of that delicate side to the band overall to give this album the dynamic curve it deserved. This is of course only a minor criticism.The album’s concept, while not narrative based centres around the experiential nature of deception; especially by that of governing bodies and the powers that be. I think the title of ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ is perfectly apt as this is not the viewpoint or mindset of everyone and best kept as the worldview of a particular minority of people. I think for some the lyrical approach could border on conspiracy but I like the exploratory nature of them and what is truly the harm in questioning some of the taken-for-granted “truths” we hold in this ever-changing world. Kudos to Teramaze for honestly and whole-heartedly fusing their beliefs with such hard-hitting music in a way that I see as completely lacking pretence.For me the standout tracks are ‘Bodies of Betrayal’, ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ (6:53 in this gives me goosebumps), and ‘viii In Vitro’ as I believe they hold the most profound emotional connection with me due to the individual moods they build. I have to admit the only track that I am not particularly keen on is the one with the guest vocals as I feel as though it breaks the flow of the album in a way that was superfluous to requirements. It came across as guests for guests sake which is probably my most direct criticism of the record.This is an exceptional release that stands up to my extremely critical ear and was only let down by perhaps a slight lack of expression with regards to dynamics (mastering and songwriting) across such a long album. Its length to some may indeed be a bit hard to swallow in single listens, however this is par for the course for me as a fan of long form writing. For fans of Metallica, Dream Theater, Alice in Chains and anyone who wishes to have a boot up the bum and an electrode to the brain from an ambitious and highly satiating album." - Metal Obsession
    $12.00
  • 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
  • "Iced Earth are going through a bit of a renaissance period at the moment. While they do have many hardcore fans who would defend their back catalogue to the end, honestly the heavy metal titans haven’t made a truly exciting album in about twenty years; that is, they hadn’t, until the release of 2011’s Dystopia. After two decades of putting out stale and generally uninteresting meat and potatoes heavy metal, finally they had an album that managed to match up to their first few records, one with the power and energy to justify their continued status as metal heroes. Plagues of Babylon is its follow-up, and thankfully they have managed to take this momentum forward and release another great album.Opening with the title track’s marching drum beat (strangely similar to Dystopia in that regard) and ominous harmonized leads, as soon as the heavy, chugging main riff kicks in it’s clear that this album is going to be a worthy successor. Noticeably, the production is very good, giving the guitars a sharp razor edge that albums like the totally flat The Glorious Burden lacked. Mainman Jon Schaffer churns out some of the best riffs in his career on this album, especially on the raging and thrashy Democide. Some new blood is brought in with an all new rhythm section, bassist Luke Appleton helping give the album its low-end crunch while drummer Raphael Saini (who was sadly since left) punctuates the songs with intricate tom patterns and ride cymbal work while maintaining a constant driving power. Stu Block meanwhile, who debuted as vocalist on Dystopia, continues to make sure that fan favourite Matt Barlow is not missed too much, his gruff voice helping give the songs a darker edge while his highs are utilised when appropriate, never being over-used.This is hardly perfect though. Plagues is a bit front-loaded, the second half never quite managing to match up to the first, especially considering it contains two somewhat unnecessary covers. The first is Spirit of the Times by Sons of Liberty, a Jon Schaffer side project, and you can’t help but question the logic in covering your own material, especially as aside from the darker and heavier overtones it’s not massively different from the original. The second, Highwayman by Jimmy Webb, is hardly electrifying either.That said, many of the problems that plagued previous Iced Earth efforts no longer show up. The obligatory cheesy metal ballad only appears once in If I Could See You, which is one of the better ones they’ve done, and only a couple of songs have a clean guitar intro, unlike on The Dark Saga where they appear on nearly every song. Iced Earth are a band who are at their best when they’re firing on all cylinders, and that is largely what they stick to here. With it’s almost death metal cover art, Plagues is for the most part a balls-out thrill ride, and honestly might be Iced Earth’s most complete work to date." - Sound And Motion Magazine
    $12.00
  • Remastered edition with two bonus tracks."After the failed experiment of Turbo, Judas Priest toned down the synths and returned to the basics, delivering a straight-ahead, much more typical Priest album with Ram It Down. The band's fan base was still devoted enough to consistently push each new album past the platinum sales mark, and perhaps that's part of the reason Ram It Down generally sounds like it's on autopilot. While there are some well-constructed songs, they tend toward the generic, and the songwriting is pretty lackluster overall, with the up-tempo title track easily standing out as the best tune here. And even though Ram It Down backed away from the territory explored on Turbo, much of the album still has a too-polished, mechanical-sounding production, especially the drums. Lyrically, Ram It Down is firmly entrenched in adolescent theatrics that lack the personality or toughness of Priest's best anthems, which -- coupled with the lack of much truly memorable music -- makes the record sound cynical and insincere, the lowest point in the Rob Halford era. Further debits are given for the cover of "Johnny B. Goode."" - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • If you love that classic hard rock sound of the 70s and 80s you will go crazy over this album plain and simple.  Alex Beyrodt reined in the neoclassical overtones just a bit, David Readman shines as always (LOVE this guy's voice).  The result is an album that evokes the spirit of Rainbow, Whitesnake, and Deep Purple.  I thought the last VC album was excellent - this one is even better!  Highly recommended.Limited edition digipak with two bonus tracks and one video clip.
    $17.00