Grace Under Pressure ($5 Special)

SKU: 314534634
Label:
Mercury
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Although it's a good album, Grace Under Pressure marks a change in the band's sound. It is a bit more synth laden, the tunes are a little short. Somewhere along the line they got it into their heads to become The Police. The similarities in sound are too scary.  Remastered edition.

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  • "KING’S X is an American hard rock band that combines progressive metal, funk and soul with vocal arrangements influenced by gospel, blues, and British Invasion pop groups. The band's lyrics are largely based on the members' struggles with religion and self-acceptance. Since being signed to Megaforce Records in 1987, KING’S X has released twelve studio albums, one official live album, and several independent releases. To help hold their diehard fans over the band have decided to release a special package based around a recent performance in London, England. an intimate setting and the set list for the for the evening is virtually a greatest hits collection. A true must for all KING’S X fans!"
    $14.00
  • From the stunning operatic vocals of Francesco Di Giacomo to the dual keyboards of the Nocenzi brothers, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso were the cornerstone of the entire Italian progressive movement. They were simply brilliant. This debut is a foreshadowing of greatness to come but is a masterpiece in it's own right. 24 bit remastered gold edition in a digipak!
    $10.00
  • "It seems these days that metal musicians collaborate with players from other bands quite a bit. Personally, I have mixed feelings when these collaborations happen. Sure, they can make some great music, but for some reason I tend to prefer what said players do with their main bands as opposed to their cross–band work. OSI is an exception to that.Started in 2002 by Fates Warning Guitarist Jim Matheos and former Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore, OSI has remained a long–distance cooperative between the two. Several guest musicians have been brought in for each of their records, such as drummers Mike Portnoy and Gavin Harrison, bassists Sean Malone and Joey Vera, and vocalists Tim Bowness and Mikael √Ökerfeldt. This most recent effort, their fourth, sees Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) returning on drums, with Moore taking care of lyrics and main vocals. Matheos and Moore worked together on all other aspects of the music.As I said earlier, I typically listen to these kinds of albums once or twice and then return to their normal band’s material. But Fire Make Thunder isn’t an album to do that to; sure, it sounds very much like what you’d imagine this trio would create, but all three players are known for creating some great music on their own. And here, put together, they don’t disappoint.The opening track “Cold Call” and the follow–up “Guards” have a sort of sinister tone to it, but aren’t very aggressive tracks. “Indian Curse” is completely void of drums and percussion of any sort, and sounds rather bleak. It’s a good song, but don’t listen to it on a dark, rainy day in March. “Enemy Prayer” is much more metallic than its predecessors on the album, sounding a bit closer to what these two wrote in their main projects. It’s also an instrumental track, a key component of a prog metal record. “Big Chief II” continues the picked up the tempo a bit, and the guitars sound a bit angrier. But the vocals don’t really get that intense, lending a sense of control to the turmoil. “Invisible Men” clocks in at just under ten minutes long, so these two haven’t lost their touch when it comes to lengthy songs either.Thinking of something to compare this album to was difficult at first, but then it hit me. This album is like a horror movie that uses menace to scare, playing on the viewer’s mind, rather than excessive gore or monsters leaping suddenly out of nowhere. Granted, this music isn’t scary, but one can’t help but notice its dark tone. The ambience it captures is one of many things that make this album great. The album artwork is another–I like how the cover kind of reflects the primitive nature of the title, Fire Make Thunder.If the only kind of Prog Metal you’re into is twenty–minute songs with six trillion notes in them, this album won’t interest you in the slightest. None of these songs get even close to becoming exercises in technical wizardry. They are simply well written songs. Each one sounds unique enough that they don’t blend together. They’re short enough to keep just about any listener’s attention for the entire songs’ duration, and there’s enough creativity in each one to ensure that. Moore and Matheos have proved they can write material as well as any prog legend, without having to play more notes than God. This is an album both novices and prog experts will enjoy. Good job, OSI." - Muzikreviews.com
    $11.00
  • Latest effort from one of the original enrollees of the New Wave Of British Progressive Rock. Unlike Marillion, IQ has pretty much stayed the course, holding fast to their progressive rock roots. "Dark Matter" is just 5 songs long but clocks in at 50 minutes. Three shorter tunes are framed by the 12 minute "Sacred Ground" and the near 25 minute epic "Harvest Of Souls". To these ears the music reverts back a bit to the 70s influenced sound of "Subterranea". IQ has always seemed to have worn their Genesis influences on their sleeves and it's quite apparent here. A solid release sure to please both fans of classic prog and neoprog as well.LIMITED TIME SPECIAL PRICING
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  • "Esteemed international metal label Season of Mist began pursuing the two-guitar, three-singer Vancouver quartet Anciients after hearing a series of early mixes for what would become the band’s debut album. It’s easy to imagine what initially lured the diverse label to the band: The tracks on Anciients' nine-song entrance, Heart of Oak, are hyperkinetic but heavily anchored. They surround the hooks you might expect from a Baroness anthem with tangential and technical playing that trends toward prog rock but stops short of Opeth or Enslaved’s maze of redirections. Anciients excel at muscular and agile guitar solos, while the guitarists, Kenny Cook and Chris Dyck, also volley the vocal duties, jumping from death metal bellow to pop-metal lift. It’s exciting stuff, really-- often complicated without seeming excessive, skillful but soulful, approachable but not pedestrian. At its best, Heart of Oak is immediate and electrifying, an album that suggests Anciients’ half-prog, half-pop metal is bound for big stages.By this point, though, you’ve probably wondered what’s up with the band’s name: Why, after all, add an extraneous vowel to a perfectly good handle? That excess is emblematic of Anciients' chief musical foible-- time and again, they add unnecessary sidecars to songs that would have been more effective left alone. Of these nine tracks, only one doesn’t break the six-minute mark. The exception is a tender but predictable instrumental, a mid-album interlude meant as a tribute to some late friends and family members. But the rest of these things are hyperbolic monsters that speak to a rookie act attempting to get through all of their influences at once, even though three of the members have been playing together in other groups for a decade. They are trying to make a very big point all the time, and the weight collapses in on itself. “The Longest River”, a nine-minute cut with a woefully apropos handle, swivels from acoustic foreboding to contract-and-expand thrash, from distended solos to dense stomp, from sweet-singing verses to growled impasses. None of it’s bad, but none of it is astounding enough to pardon the way it obviates an excellent refrain.That’s a consistent problem for Heart of Oak, a record that adulterates many incredibly exciting moments with consistent excess. “Flood and Fire”, a late-album highlight, seems more like a string of song pieces than a proper song, with a righteous solo swiping momentum from a great chorus that, in turn, stymies several great and grim hardcore shout-alongs. As Cook told Metal Underground, album opener “Raise the Sun” initially keys on Fleet Foxes before leaping into a verse so sticky and warm that ASG or Torche might like to have it back. Elsewhere, the song convincingly invokes metalcore and psychedelic rock, hangman riffs and fleeting blast beats. The parts are exhilarating, but strung together with more enthusiasm than wisdom so they’re mostly exhausting. Taken a track or two at a time, Heart of Oak is manageable; make it from end to end, though, and it’s difficult not to feel frustrated by the fatigue.These complaints aren’t meant as some preclusive warning against Heart of Oak; rather, they’re only an honest assessment of a band that, in years to come, is probably going to be great. If Anciients choose to venture further deeper into labyrinthine prog, they’ve got the riffs and rhythms to make it compelling over the long haul. They seem as steeped in the suffocation of black metal from Scandinavia as they do in the sweetness of Allman licks from Georgia, as capable of thrash sprints as they are stoner lulls. And as the pealing organ and rumbling field recordings of the gorgeous (but, again, incredibly excessive) closer “For Lisa” suggest, they bring a wide-eyed approach to their music. Heart of Oak doesn’t have a compelling, cohesive narrative thrust, but there’s always time to buy a book of folklore, right?Alternately, Anciients could choose the route of bands such as Baroness or even Mastodon, embedding that sharp technicality within songs that make their points with concision that doesn’t forsake intricacy. The kernels of these songs are strong enough to suggest that they’re not very far off-- that is, their biggest problem as a band isn’t a dearth of ideas but, rather, discretion with those ideas. Anciients are exciting new prospects, with or without that cumbersome vowel chaiin." - Pitchfork
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  • Budget priced 5CD set in a slimline case featuring the following:The Michael Schenker GroupMSGOne Night At BudokanAssault AttackBuilt To Destroy
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  • Excellent UK doom metal band highly influenced by Pink Floyd.
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  • "Three years after Ai, Taiwanese symphonic power metal band Seraphim is back in strength with the well-titled Chinese language record Rising, which was also released with English lyrics to the international market one year later. A lot of things have changed between the third and the fourth (and up to now, last) records from the band. Guitarist Lucas Huang, drummer Simon Lin, bassist Jax Yeh and even singer Pay Lee left the band for numerous reasons. Band leader Kessier Hsu was responsible for guitar and bass duties on this release. The new singer Quinn Weng had joined the band back in 2004, and new drummer Van Shaw completed the trio in 2005. Bassist Mars Liu only joined the band shortly after the recordings in 2007, while second guitarist Thiago Trinsi from Brazil came to the band in 2010.Despite all these changes, the fourth record is typically Seraphim, with all the trademarks that distinguished the first three records, and only a few minor differences. The clean male vocals and death growls are less present on this release, and the music focuses on the vocal duties of new singer Quinn Weng. She had quite a difficult task in replacing the unique and powerful voice of Pay Lee, but does a very solid job. Her vocals are very grounded, but nevertheless variable. They are less operatic and spiritual than those of her predecessor, but I think she appeals to a wider audience, as her vocals rock more and fit more neatly into the power metal genre. This being said, the new record has less symphonic elements and focuses on more power metal sounds. The songs have become faster and heavier than ever before, and the drumming in particular is a killer on this release. Just listen to an energizing song like “Spring Wind” and you will understand what I mean. The music makes me think of the Liechtenstein gothic metal outfit Elis or Germany’s Xandria at times.The softer tracks are much less prominent on this album, but once they finally appear they are very strong. “No More” is a dreamy and transcending rock ballad with some commercial potential (and I mean this in the most positive way). The track has an amazing guitar solo, but it’s the calm parts that make me think of a symphonic new age epic. Let me add that Quinn Weng gives her best performance of the record on this track, truly equaling Peggy Lee. She sounds almost as heavenly as her predecessor did, but adds her very own touch upon this track that sends shivers down my spine. This song is definitely one of two highlights of this release, and also one of the strongest tracks in the band’s entire discography, as far as I’m concerned.My personal highlight of the record is nevertheless an epic symphonic piece that goes back to the style of the previous records and takes it to a new level of greatness. The stunning title track “Rising” is easily among the best of Seraphim’s catalog. In almost ten minutes, the song never gets boring, and features very elaborate song writing with catchy parts and diversified changes, as well as folky passages and heavier instrumental parts with tight riffs. This track is a firework of diversity and an absolute must-hear anthem for fans of gothic, power, and symphonic metal alike.In the end, this record is generally much heavier and obviously power metal-oriented than previous releases. Gone are most of the heavenly symphonic elements, but Rising is a lot faster and really rocks. Despite this new direction, old and new fans alike should be kept happy, and funnily enough, the two most outstanding songs are the ballad and the self-titled epic. The new line-up sounds fresh and promising, and I still hope for a new fifth release that might arrive in coming years. The band members are now living all around the world in Canada, Iceland, and Taiwan, but they are bound to meet again this year, and will hopefully work on new compositions. I will certainly keep in touch with Seraphim, and suggest that you do so as well, as well as (re)discover their back catalog while we wait for new things to come!" - Black Wind Metal
    $13.00
  • Limited edition digipak comes with a bonus track - a cover of The Tea Party's "Temptation".First studio album in five years from this revered band. Like a fine wine, Nevermore keeps getting better with age, improving their game along the way. For my personal taste they are the best of the US power metal bands going and probably the heaviest. This album was produced by Peter Wichers and Andy Sneap mixed.
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  • Stunning return by the Swedish/Danish outfit formerly known simply as Twilight. Keyboardist Finn Zierler has assembled a new lineup that features old members of Twilight as well as vocal God Jorn Lande (Ark, Malmsteen). This is epic symphonic metal with lots of intricacies to keep prog fans from chomping at the bit. A stunning album that features crystalline production from Tommy Hansen. Definitely one of the top 10 metal releases for 2001. Highest recommendation.
    $15.00
  • "Abnormal Thoughts Patterns is a new technical metal trio that comes onto the scene equipped with twenty-plus years of experience. Featuring Mike Guy on drums and twins Jasun and Troy Tipton on guitar and bass respectively, ATP is perhaps better known as the musical backbone of underrated prog metal purveyors Zero Hour. Apt comparisons between the Californian three-piece and acts such as Death and Animals as Leaders have been made, but when Abnormal Thought Patterns are at their most frenetic, they also share Blotted Science's aptitude for conjuring up aural insect swarms. Some of this stuff is guaranteed to make listeners' heads spin.Manipulation Through Anesthesia is ATP's debut full-length release, and it gets off to an excellent start, extending on the saga of the very first tracks they wrote, "Velocity and Acceleration" parts 1-4. These songs, numbered from 5 to 8, flow together as one connected work, clearly taking place in the same universe and containing shared motifs. It's 13 minutes of some of the finest instrumental metal out there. The album then takes a left turn in the form of "Calculating Patterns", a pleasant, jazzy cooldown. It is the first of several mellow tunes that demonstrate Abnormal Thought Patterns' diversity."Harmonic Oscillators", the album's most challenging cut in more ways than one, is also worth a mention. Here, the guys in Abnormal Thought Patterns lose themselves in mathemathics for the first and only time on the album. It's the type of song to make aspiring musicians seethe with envy and set their instrument of choice on fire, being a technical tour de force full of mindboggling time signatures and incredibly dexterous playing. It's also, again with the maths, the only 7+-minute song on an album where the average one clocks in at 4 minutes, and without changing the formular around much. For many, this all-out assault will no doubt be considered the highlight of the album. For others, it'll be a bit too much of a good thing.Speaking of the formular, ATP seems to have carved out a more than solid niche for itself already. Though the notes-per-minute count is oftentimes off the charts on Manipulation Under Anesthesia, the majority of its content manages to stay quite musical. The main event of their faster songs tend to be a heavy, hypnotic, repeated guitar riff, assisted by the always-very-audible bass humming surprisingly melodic tunes while the drums keep everything in place, usually prioritizing cymbal and snare patterns over flashy tom fills. On that note, the album is in no way lacking in heaviness or rhythmic depth despite foregoing the use of double kick drums. Quite an unusual feat in the shred-based instrumental metal environment.For anyone familiar with Zero Hour, it should come as no surprise that ATP succeeds in shredding with style. But there's a lot more to them than that. Abnormal Thought Patterns keep an excellent balance between all three instruments (which are occasionally joined by some light synth accompaniment), making sure there's always something worthwhile happening on several fronts, and they're able to impress even when venturing out of their comfort zone. Manipulation Through Anesthesia does lose a bit of steam towards the end, but is nonetheless an impressive album and a very promising debut." - Metal Revolution
    $14.00
  • "Downtime doesn’t appear to be in this Swedish traditional group’s mindset, at least in this point of their career. Striking while the iron’s hot from their 2011 Heads Will Roll debut and touring with the legendary Lizzy Borden across mainland Europe, the quintet from Gothenburg set about writing the follow up, Storms of War rather quickly. With King Diamond guitarist Andy Larocque behind the production chair, Storms of War will either make Katana another worthy Swedish contender to the Wolf/Enforcer new brigade throne or may cast them into the land of bargain bins forevermore.The opening salvo of riff peeling from guitarists Patrik Essen and Tobias Karlsson on “Reaper” rivals the best 80’s Judas Priest with Accept for good measure- and the trade-off solos are pure ecstasy for all air guitarists worldwide. Sometimes the reference points get a tad obvious: Iron Maiden on “Wrath of the Emerald Witch,” Loudness on “The Samurai Returns,” but Anders Persson’s poised drumming and the multi-octave, high-octane melodies from Johan Bernspang more than make up for any similarities.Bernspang even shows off a lighter, lower playful side to his voice ala Bruce Dickinson during the shorter, gallop-worthy “City on the Edge of Forever.” The swirling wind effects and a slow moving bass line signal the start of the eight-minute epic “In the Land of the Sun,” the verse melody mirroring the open clean plucking before the tempo moves upward and you feel like you are experiencing another NWOBHM journey with a series of Egyptian point-counterpoint guitar refrains. And how about the Omen up and down guitar harmonies throughout “Modesty Blaise” circa Warning Of Danger?Since Iron Maiden feel that their fans desire more progressive rock-length arrangements over the classics they rendered on the first seven studio albums, Katana could fit that missing niche in your collection with Storms of War. Thank you gentlemen for bringing me back to my teenage years with this one. " - Blistering,com
    $14.00
  • IQ's 10th studio arrives and again with a slightly reconfigured lineup.  The exceptionally gifted Neil Durant, previously with Sphere3, is now handling keyboards.  Nothing dramatic changed.  If anything keyboards might even be a bit more prominent.  Paul Cook and Tim Esau, the original rhythm section, are now in tow. Peter Nicholls is his sombre self.  Guitars seem to be slightly heavier but all in all this sounds like prime IQ.  This is a band that has weathered personnel changes over the year but like a fine wine they've improved with age.  This is a BUY OR DIE release.  Top 10 for 2014. 
    $15.00