Friday Night In San Francisco

Classic acoustic trio set from Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin, and Paco De Lucia. An amazing assault of profound technical ability mixed with pure passion. Each player brings to the table blinding speed but also difference techniques creating a mesmerizing interlocking of styles. Highest recommendation.

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  • Germany’s most famous progressive rock band is back. In celebration of Eloy’s 40th anniversary, band founder/guitarist/visionary Frank Bornemann has returned to the studio to grace us with the band’s first studio album in 10 years. Bornemann’s goal was to recreate the vintage sound of their most popular period. To that end he assembled a lineup featuring members of the band’s past. Time was spent recording at world renowned Horus Sound Studios in Hannover, Germany. Actually owned by Frank Bornemann, it is the place where the classic Eloy sound was created. The result is “Visionary” – an album that can be simply described as pure Eloy. Frank Bornemann formed Eloy in 1969. By 1973 the band was signed to EMI’s prestigious Harvest label. Through constant touring they became a tremendous success in Germany and later on in the UK. Their 1977 album “Ocean” has now sold over 250,000 copies in Germany alone and was certified gold. The music of Eloy transcends genres. One of the originators of the European “space rock” sound, they added symphonic elements to their music that appeals to fans of both progressive and hard rock. The themes of Bornemann’s lyrics are derived from science fiction and ancient mythology with a liberal sprinkling of cosmic consciousness. The Laser’s Edge is proud to be part of this new chapter in Eloy’s history and present this historic new album to their North American fan base. “Visionary” arrives in a deluxe package, featuring a 16-page booklet and a “making of” video.
    $15.00
  • Incredible warehouse find.  Scored a small horde of these and I can pass them on to you at an amazing price."Gamma Ray! Undoubtedly one of the most important names in contemporary, classic Heavy Metal, and thee most respected and influential German band in the genre. Fronted by Kai Hansen, following his departure from Helloween, Gamma Ray has become one of the most prominent bands in European Heavy Metal. "To The Metal" is the 10th studio album in 21 years of worldwide success and a new diamond in their never-ending experimental creativity. The Special Edition contains a bonus DVD in HD with interview, rehearsals, live studio sessions and 3 videoclips."
    $3.00
  • "Andy Tillison, the mastermind behind The Tangent, isn’t a wet-behind-the-ears newbie when it comes to the world of prog rock. He knows he’s taken a risk with the band’s new album, Le Sacre Du Travail, but ten years of leading the band on its journey and seven albums to show for it have given him the strength and courage to present something decidedly different in today’s world of prog.Spurred on by the growing resurgence of progressive rock to do something unexpected that stands outside the box, he zeroed in on the idea of creating an orchestra suite in the spirit of artists like Camel and Deep Purple’s dearly departed Jon Lord. The naysayers might consider the new album to be too far afield from what’s considered prog rock these days, but The Tangent enjoys a broad international fanbase that respects the fact their heroes are bent on being as big and bold and as adventurous as the people who originally started the progressive rock movement off in the late ‘60s.“Big and bold” i this case doesn’t mean loud and in-your-face. On the contrary, Le Sacre Du Travail serves up everything from ‘70s rock to smoky blues to jazz to classical music. Given the conceptual nature of the record, Tillison sees it as a soundtrack without a film.“Hopefully that's what I'm getting across with this music,” says Tillison. “I want to give the music the excitement I felt when I first started hearing classical music. That’s why I got into progressive rock music; hearing classical music as a child, I used to be off and away imagining pictures and scenes and telling myself stories to go along with it. What I wanted to do was tell those stories to somebody else with my own music.”Le Sacre Du Travail is, in brief, a story about 7 billion people that all have the same name; “You”. The Tangent wanted to put the listener into the picture, having decided that if they were going to present this story, it had to be something that absorbed everyone on a familiar level.Tillison: “We avoided the concept album idea for a really long time, and finally we’ve done one. Most of the lyrics came pretty easily; I never wrote them down, I just sang what I felt, lots and lots of different things. I had many takes and many ideas, so I had to go back and pick out the best ones, and eventually I got the idea of what I wanted to sing about. It came out very naturally.”Looking back on The Tangent’s catalogue, Tillison – who started his musical career writing punk songs and pays tribute to that era on a the bonus track ‘Hat (Live At Mexborough School 1979’ – admits that The Tangent’s evolution is something of a surprise. At the same time, given that he’s had a decade to refine his craft as a prog artist, “I knew this was coming.” Looking back on his roots, Tillison knows exactly what influenced the outcome of Le Sacre Du Travail“The obvious influence is one of the very first progressive rock albums ever made: The Days Of Future Past by The Moody Blues. They had the idea of breaking a day into pieces and running through it on the album. It must have been there in the back of my mind, although I must say I probably haven't listened to that album in 30 years. I never really thought about it while I was recording, but at some point I realized I was doing the history of a day with an orchestra and a rock band. Deep Purple’s Concerto For Group and Orchestra was a big influence, and at the same time Roger Waters' Amused To Death album is definitely in there.”“We know we’re taking a risk,” Tillison adds. “Some people will go ‘What the hell is this?’ because it’s a big piece of music to get into and you have to find your way around it. But that’s where I want to be; on the leading edge of progressive rock music.”"US jewel box edition with 3 bonus tracks. 
    $10.00
  • "Ashent, an Italian Progressive Metal band, return in 2012 with their third release, Inheritance. This being a milestone for any band, it also sees Ashent returning after a period of change, with changes in the band's lineup. After the 2009 release of Deconstructive, Ashent announced three new members would be filling in: Titta Tani (Goblin,Daemonia, ex-Necrophagia, ex-DGM) on lead vocals, Gilles Boscolo on keyboards and Alessandro Cossu on second guitar. And so, with lineup changes like these, it comes as no surprise that Ashent are redefining themselves a bit. Inheritance finds Ashent taking a very unique stance on Progressive Metal, melding together various styles and sounds to create a somewhat unusual blend. Along with what might be considered the "typical" combination of Progressive Metal instruments with heavy guitars and synths, Ashent mixes in some Mellotron, Hammond, and Saxophone. This gives their sound an almost Neo Prog take on Progressive Metal. And dynamically, Ashent swings between more atmospheric and mellow sections to some louder, chaotic blends. Ashent has a way of using chord progressions where they fill every chord out to the point of almost bursting, adding dissonant tones to the more conventional structures. This is not only achieved with the instrumentation (often combining atmospheric keyboards that are reminiscent of Devin Townsend with some heavy, rhythmic guitars) but also with some very full harmonies in the vocals. Add to this a very dynamic rhythm section, and the music can at times be a little overwhelming. And Ashent deploys many different textures throughout the album, with modern synths, orchestral parts, sequencers, choirs, and even some fusion, making for a very dynamic experience. All this combined also gives them a sound that has a very new, crisp and modern feel to it. This is definitely an album that breaks the mold, and as such will leave some scratching their heads, while others will praise it highly." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • Third and best album from this Italian band that started out in a psych/proto-prog direction. Great example of "Rock Progressivo Italiano". Long suites filled with spacey keys and slashing guitar leads. The keys really make this album - 'tron, phat Moog sounds blast into the ether. Dynamic listening experience with quiet interludes and vocal harmonies interspersed with exciting outbursts of keyboard/guitar interplay. In that respect I'm reminded of Le Orme's Felona E Serona. I've seen this album get knocked on some prog forums and for the life of me I can't imagine why. To my mind this one is a classic and a must own. Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Long awaited second album from this progressive power metal band from Spain. Considering everything this band went through its a wonder they are still together. Originally the band was signed to Transmission Records, the former home of After Forever and Epica. The label went bankrupt just before they were able to release a reworked version of Decoder - their debut that only saw the light of day in Japan. They have now found a home on Ascendance Records out of the UK. OK - enough back history - what's the music about? Ebony Ark is led by vocalist Beatriz Albert. She has a strong forceful voice that fits their crunchy power metal style perfectly. This is not gothic metal. These guys (and girl) take a more progressive slant. The music has an immediate in-your-face mix that really showcases her voice. Its a non-stop riff-fest with more than enough crunch and melody to satisfy. Highest recommendation.
    $5.00
  • "In a society which continues to develop at breathtaking speed, racing through world history in seven-league boots, mercilessly trampling down anything unable to keep pace with this ruthless goose step, Riverside have composed an album which is a perfect reflection of our times. An offering full of symbolism – starting with the fact that the title of their fourth release consists of four words and that the album is precisely 44:44 minutes long – and an intelligent stocktaking of reality. Anno Domini High Definition is no concept album in the classic sense, although it features a central theme and a haunting message. “It’s a story about people who angrily state that such-and-such a device is no longer fashionable, before they`ve even learnt how to use it properly themselves. Even worse – it’s no longer usable, because there’s something better on the market now”, Mariusz Duda, vocalist, bassist, guitarist and lyricist of the four-piece explains. “For me, those are the thoughts of people who wake up every morning worrying that perhaps today their ‘sell-by date’ may expire.”Riverside was founded by guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, drummer Piotr Kozieradzki and Mariusz Duda in 2001. Immediately after the recording of their debut album, Out Of Myself, keyboardist Michal Lapaj joined the band, completing the current line-up which has impressed fans and media alike with the musicians’ great technical skills. Musically and in terms of its subject matter, Anno Domini High Definition marks a temporary climax in the quartet’s artistic work: “It’s an album about people who know they need to speed up or they’ll get left behind“, Duda summarises the tracks, adding: “About people who sometimes, despite themselves, will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. It’s an album about chaos, constant race, uncertainty, stress, and the struggle to survive.”This permanent inner restlessness, a constant search for the latest thing, is reflected in the band’s complex music. The five songs consciously keep up a high energy level, be it through a pounding groove, a turbulent bass line, cutting keyboard passages or haunting vocals. Anno Domini High Definition is a pulsating hybrid of a range of different stylistic means. Duda: “There’s more rock stuff on the record now. The new album has more balls, you could say, than anything we’ve done so far. But I think we kept all the nice melodies and traits that are characteristic to our music. It’s very energetic. There are longer, more complex compositions, but with more energy, power and ease. It’s been a long time since we had so much fun composing and recording, and I hope the listeners will also be infected by this atmosphere.”Anno Domini High Definition sees Riverside take another step in the evolution of their extremely significant sound, documenting a total focus on the here and now. “We don’t want to be one of these living-in-the-past prog bands,” Duda points out. “We feel that we have something new to say, and lots of moments on this album feature a fresh approach to some things. First of all, our main influence – our lives, or to be more precise, the speed of our lives. That’s why we had to cut an extremely dynamic and pretty short record, which suits the times we live in.”Experts have called Riverside a stylistic mix of Tool, Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater, but Duda reckons that other influences are more dominant on Anno Domini High Definition: “We wanted to reflect the energy of the early 70s and combine it with modern sounds. Now I think there is more of a Rush , Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple sound. But at the end of the day, this record ultimately sounds like Riverside.” 
    $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
  • Steven Wilson's solo career apart from Porcupine Tree, is for this listener, far more interesting.  Whereas PTree currently skirts the line between rock and metal, his solo work fits squarely in the progressive rock arena.  The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) is easily his magnum opus.  The musicianship is stellar - he recorded with his touring band: Nick Beggs (Stick), Guthrie Govan (guitar), Adam Holzman (keys), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Theo Travis (flute, sax).  Mr. Wilson has also dug two things out of mothballs - King Crimson's Mellotron and Alan Parsons.  It was Steven Wilson's wish to one day work with Alan Parsons, who came on board as engineer.  I can't tell you who is responsibile for what but I can tell you that the production is impeccable.  The opening epic "Luminol" drips with the holy 'tron sounding like a cross-generation blend of King Crimson eras.  And so it goes through out the album.  Some utterly fierce playing on this album.  From beginning to end a stunning effort.  BUY OR DIE!This is the Blu-ray edition.  In addition to the surround and hi-res stereo mix you get a 23 minute documentary and a bonus track.
    $16.00
  • ‘Minstrel in the Gallery,’ Jethro Tull‘s eighth LP, is being remastered and expanded for its 40th birthday.The band’s fifth consecutive U.S. Top 10 album — and the last to feature the longtime lineup of Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, John Evans, Barrie Barlow and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond — ‘Minstrel’ was originally released in September 1975, and spun off one single with the title track, which peaked at No. 80. The new edition, which supplants a previously available 2002 remaster, is being released on May 5 as a limited-edition two-CD / two-DVD set.The deluxe version, titled the ‘La Grande’ edition, adds seven bonus tracks (six of them previously unreleased) to the original album, including two mixed to 5.1 surround, and all to stereo by Steven Wilson, plus a flat transfer of the original LP mix at 96/24 and a flat transfer of the original quad mix, both of which include the B-side ‘Summerday Sands.’This edition, which is available for pre-order now, also includes an eight-minute film from 1975, featuring the band performing ‘Minstrel in the Gallery’ in Paris during July 1975, and adds a case-bound DVD book with an 80-page booklet featuring essays and photos as well as a series of track-by-track annotations by Anderson. For those who don’t have a ‘La Grande’ budget to match the deluxe pricing, ‘Minstrel’ will also be reissued digitally and on a single CD, as well as a 180-gram vinyl limited-edition pressing.Jethro Tull, ‘Minstrel in the Gallery’ 40th Anniversary La Grande Edition Track Listing:Disc One – New Steven Wilson Stereo Mix‘Minstrel in the Gallery’‘Cold Wind to Valhalla’‘Black Satin Dancer’‘Requiem’‘One White Duck / 010 = Nothing At All’‘Baker St. Muse’: a. ‘Pig-Me And The Whore’ b. ‘Nice Little Tune’ c. ‘Crash-Barrier Waltzer” d. ‘Mother England Reverie’‘Grace’‘Summerday Sands’‘Requiem’ (Version 1, previously unreleased)‘One White Duck’ (Take 5, previously unreleased)‘Grace’ (Take 2, previously unreleased)‘Minstrel in the Gallery’ (BBC version, previously unreleased)‘Cold Wind to Valhalla’ (BBC version, previously unreleased)‘Aqualung’ (BBC version, previously unreleased)Disc Two – Live at the Palais Des Sports, Paris, July 5, 1975 (A Jakko Jakszyk Stereo Mix)‘Introduction (The Beach Part 11)’‘Wind Up’‘Critique Oblique’‘Wond’ring Aloud’‘My God’: a. Flute Solo Including: ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/Bouree/Quartet’ b. ‘Living in the Past’ c. ‘My God’ (Reprise)‘Cross-Eyed Mary’‘Minstrel in the Gallery’‘Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day’‘Bungle in the Jungle’‘Aqualung’Guitar Solo‘Back-Door Angels’‘Locomotive Breath’ with improvisation and including “Hard Headed English General” and “Back-Door Angels” (reprise)The DVDs  feature the DTS & DD 5.1 surround mixes as well as the 96/24 PCM stereo mix and and an eight and half minute film of the band recorded in Paris on 6th July 1975.
    $41.00
  • "Every year since I have started listening to metal music I have always somehow got myself in the comforting grip of a brilliant solo album that doesn’t heavily rely on singing. Whether discovered or newly released, it’s nice for the instruments to do the talking when you see names like Steve Vai cropping up on the new releases shelf in HMV. Gus G is mainly recognised as the guitarist for Firewind, but he’s also the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and raised his profile even higher as a sensational guitarist. He finally gets to shred until he bleeds, and he has help from Jeff Scott Soto, Elize Ryd, Jacob Bunton and Mats Leven to lend their vocals to Brand New Revolution. With plenty of bands and experience, Gus G will have the spotlight shining upon his strong posture.The Quest already pumps you up for what is yet to come on the album. It’s absolutely incredible. An action-packed, energetic introduction that fades out softly into the album title track as Bunton sings on that as well as Burn and We Are One. All of these have a savage hard rock sound that stamps its way along the audio waves that are shooting through my headphones with excellent solos (what else would you expect?) that sizzle that brain of mine like bacon on a grill. Elize Ryd lends her vocals on What Lies Below, adding some aggression and crunch to the album, making way for the ballad Behind Those Eyes. Jeff Scott Soto provides his legendary voice on Gone To Stay, returning to the hard rock vibe Bunton provides along with One More Try. This song is sandwiched between ballads, decent ballads to be precise.Come Hell or High Water is the first song to feature Mats Leven, possibly one of my favourites on the album, along with his last two If It Ends Today and The Demon Inside. His vocals screeching through these songs something to behold, as it is with the vocalists on this album. If It Ends Today is added to the soft rock list, as the ballads on this album aren’t ‘80s glam cheesy it makes this album essential. Scott Soto has one last song with Generation G that is in between the latter two of Leven’s tunes, a song that has a similar vibe to Youth Gone Wild by Skid Row when it comes to uniting a group of people one way or another, it’s uplifting. The Demon Inside finishes this album with slow tempo and crunching riff and catchy chorus, fading out quickly.Brand New Revolution is a remarkable listen, for those guitar fanatics who are just expecting instrumental songs from a guitarists solo album will be hushed by The Quest as well as Gus G‘s incredible talent that shifts through the album. It’s blend of hard rock and ballads often made me think of Whitesnake, but only for the mix of moods, not the sound. The vocalists were an absolute treat to listen to and the production work from Jay Ruxton and Mike Fraser was just perfect. Brand New Revolution does everything perfectly to show that Gus G doesn’t fuck about, he has stuck to his guns and fired out this monstrous yet honourable album." - Heavy Magazine Australia
    $12.00
  • I remember how I felt the first time I heard Riverside. Its purely a coincidence that Pinkroom also hails from Poland but this debut disc hits me in a similar way. The band is (at the moment) a duo of Mariusz Boniecki (guitars, vocals, keys) and Marcin Kledzik (drums). In terms of the music there is definitely somewhat of a similarity to Riverside and Porcupine Tree in the way they incorporate atmospheric blissed out passages and then drop the heavy bomb on you. The more intricate parts have a retro-Crimson vibe particularly from the Mellotron samples. There is lots of intricacies to the music but I'm always drawn to the drama and emotion from this disc. Boniecki is a solid vocalist - the production envelops his voice is a gauze-like dreamy texture adding a hallucenogenic effect is places. Truth be told had Pinkroom not pressed up this disc already it would probably be sporting a Laser's Edge imprint. I'm really impressed by this band and if you are a fan of the band's I've mentioned you really need to hear this.. They are in the process of expanding the lineup so they can gig - can't wait to hear them live. You may very well not hear a better album this year. BUY OR DIE!Don't believe me?? Check 'em out for yourself: http://pinkroom.bandcamp.com
    $13.00
  • Official vinyl reissue with the original gatefold sleeve. Third album from the seminal German ensemble is important for a number of reasons. First it was their initial album for the Brain label. Second it was the final album to feature the classic Neumeier, Trepte, and Genrich. The album consists of 4 long extended jams. By this time the band had become tighter and more focused but its still amazingly knarly psychedelic guitar jamz from the outer cosmos - occassionally injected with some of that oddball humor that was also an important part of the Guru Guru ethos - I guess it was the drugs. Important album - highest recommendation. FOREIGN CUSTOMERS PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR SHIPPING CHARGES TO MORE ACCURATELY REFLECT OUR COSTS.
    $29.00
  • Under the Red Cloud marks the 12th studio album from Finland’s grandfathers of extreme metal, the band’s sixth LP with Tomi Joutsen as vocalist and his 10th year in the band. The string of Tomi’s six records started with 2006’s Eclipse and had an absolutely epic beginning. Eclipse, Silent Waters and Skyforger  showed the band’s new found drive and energy, reclaiming some of their death metal heritage, while veering further into what Nuclear Blast has fittingly labeled ‘melancholy rock.’ Unfortunately, Angry Metal Guy’s Law of Diminishing Recordings™ is a fickle mistress, and The Beginning of Times and Circle were both records that were good, but lacked the urgency of that initial trilogy. These records saw the band pushing into newer territory—heavy Jethro Tull influences bled through on the former, while Circle developed some of the band’s folky elements in cool ways. Neither album gripped me. But when Amorphis releases an album, it’s hard for me not to get excited, and upon seeing the cover art for Under the Red Cloud, all that warm anticipation came back. And fortunately, they didn’t disappoint.Under the Red Cloud is a return to form for Amorphis, and the most cohesive album the band has released since 2009’s Skyforger. Clocking in at 50 minutes, it’s made of ten thematically cohesive tracks. The album isn’t a story though. Instead, the lyrics (written, as always, by Pekka Kainulainen) are conceptually foreboding; about living under a red cloud in troubled times. The music matches this feel, and while I wouldn’t say the album is necessarily so much heavier than previous records, it may have been influenced by the 20th Anniversary of Tales from the Thousand Lakes, because the band has certainly produced the most growl-heavy material of the Joutsen-era.You wouldn’t notice that on the opening title track, however. “Under the Red Cloud” starts with an atmospheric piano bolstered by throbbing bass and a clean guitar in harmonic minor before merging into prime Amorphis territory: a chunky, groovy riff with Tomi’s cleans augmenting the sound perfectly. This format—the classic hard rock song-writing—is the stamp with which the band’s newer material has largely been pressed. “Sacrifice” is similar, breaking in with a “House of Sleep” intro, and a heavy, syncopated verse before giving way to a hooky chorus and a slick guitar melody. “Bad Blood” features Tomi’s growl in the verse, but it’s heavy on the groove and light on the melody before giving way to an epic chorus and beautiful bridge.Amorphis isn’t afraid of their death metal side here. Between “The Four Wise Ones” and “Death of a King,” every single track starts with growls, and the former doesn’t feature any clean vocals from Joutsen at all—instead there’s a short bridge with a haunting, effected vocal line that evokes Elegy. “The Four Wise Ones” and “The Dark Path” both feature crescendos with a ’90s black metal feel—wet with keys and a trem-picked melodies—only undermined by Rechberger’s refusal to use blast beats and Tomi’s growls. The death-laden material works well, though moments like the verse in “Bad Blood” or “Death of a King,” which is one of the singles from Under the Red Cloud, are places where I would have chosen clean vocals rather than growls.There is a danger, however, in Amorphis‘s modern sound, in that it’s pretty easy to fall into a rut. A fairly close listen to Under the Red Cloud reveals that the songs pretty much all follow the same structure, which when the band isn’t producing their sharpest writing can become repetitive. When the album hits its stride, though, it’s an extremely well-crafted record. From “Sacrifice” to “White Night” is a stretch of pure enjoyment—each song flowing into the next, while peaking on the final two tracks. “Tree of Ages” features a folky Celtic theme that has been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it, and “White Night” is a moody track that closes the album out with a surge.Under the Red Cloud is a very good album and a return to form. The record simply sounds like Amorphis; the band has developed a sound that bridges the gap between their old material and the new—with plenty of moments on here that remind me of Elegy and Tuonela with sitar (“Death of a King”) or bong water keyboard solos (“Enemy at the Gates”). And it’s incredible how the band’s riffing can still be so idiosyncratic. “The Skull” and “Enemy at the Gate” have riffs you only hear in Amorphis and Barren Earth; and after 12 records they still pull them off without feeling like they’re ripping themselves off. Consistency is a virtue for big bands if they’re any good, but I think there are hints on UtRC that Amorphis could get more adventurous going forward, and I hope they do. Until that time, though, I’ll be sitting here enjoying these tunes under the red clouds." - Angry Metal Guy
    $15.00