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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  • "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
  • Realm Of Shadows is the third album from the Dutch masters of symphonic rock. Knight Area creates harder edged progressive rock in the vein of Arena, Marillion, and Dream Theater. This latest effort is a conceptual work about a metaphysical journey that finds their music and themes taking a decidedly darker turn. Knight Area was founded in 2004 after Gerben Klazinga recorded the first album The Sun Also Rises. This album was a project of Gerben, who wrote all the music, with many musicians participating in the recordings of the album. It was a worldwide success and as a consequence Gerben formed a band to play live. Their second album, Under A New Sign, was released in 2007 after the band successfully played European and American stages including a performance at Nearfest. The album was a real band effort receiving superb reviews worldwide. A subsequent tour found the band performing in the UK, Germany, and Canada. The band will support the release of Realm Of Shadows with a European tour including appearances at ProgPower Europe, Prockfest, and the Classic Rock Society Octoberfest.
    $14.00
  • "The second installment of our 20th Anniversary celebration, "Off the Floor 02" continues with more live-in-the-studio performances of staples from our live sets. Taken from the same sessions as "Off the Floor (01)," the track list draws from each of our five studio albums and includes a healthy dose of improvisation, a bit of re-imagining and even a little new music in the form of a bass & drums interlude.We won't repeat the "Brief History of Tiles" from the OtF (01) liner notes, but will take a moment to revisit the basic 'off the floor' concept. After much discussion about our "platinum" milestone (unfortunely not for sales!), we decided to do a live album using the somewhat non-traditional approach of recording live in the studio. This is actually what the phrase 'off the floor' means in recording lingo: to record a song as a complete performance without adding more parts (overdubs) later. We recruited a few friends to be our audience – for inspiration and to keep us on our toes.Having the controlled environment of a private 'soundstage' allowed us to focus on the music. We didn't have to haul a bunch of equipment into a club and deal with recording technicalities, show promotion and other business distractions. Although we were in a studio, "OtF 02" is still "live" – complete with the occasional less-than-perfect note and other minor imperfection. We did, however, take advantage of the relaxed setting and usually played each song twice, picking the best version for the CD. Occasionally we didn't need a second take, but a couple of times we needed a third take ("Patterns" oddly enough!).To offer a little something different, "OtF (01)" had a couple special guests plus an expanded arrangement of 'The Wading Pool.' For "Off the Floor 02" we dug into our archives and dusted off a few tunes from our appearance at the 2005 Rites of Spring Festival (ROSfest). We had recorded our entire 2-hour set, but filed the hard drive away with little thought it would see the light of day. Technical problems had dogged us the moment we hit the stage and left us feeling unsatisfied with our performance. Sampler and keyboard sounds would mysteriously reset and the bass amp would cut in and out. Figuring out why these intermittant problems were happening was made even more challenging by Jeff's state of exhaustion; even though it was a good kind of exhaustion caused by the birth of his daughter just four days before the show. Since the problems were on his side of the stage he had to play detective and keep up with the songs! Eventually, the issue was discovered and duct tape strategically applied to a loose electrical wall outlet – which worked just fine unless someone happened to use the side-stage walkway.Although tempted by the 12-minute "venting" version of "Capture the Flag," we didn't want to repeat any songs already included on either Off the Floor disc. Fortunately, "Facing Failure," "Ballad of the Sacred Cows," "Paintings" and "Window Dressing" were in all-around good shape. We only needed to drop in a couple missing samples and a keyboard part. By including selections from ROSfest as part of the Off the Floor project we get to acknowledge Pat Deleon, our drummer from 1997 to 2005, and present a complete live history of Tiles." - Chris Herin/TilesDisc One: Off the Floor 021. Patterns (4.38)2. Hide & Seek (8.09)3. Taking Control (5.14)4. Remember To Forget (5.00)5. Analysis Paralysis (5.18)6. Cactus Valley (7.01)7. Sacred & Mundane (6.30)8. Dancing Dogs (5.45)9. Safe Procedures (7.31)10. Another's Hand (6.26)Mark Evans: Drums & PercussionChris Herin: Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsPaul Rarick: Lead VocalsJeff Whittle: Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsDisc Two: Live at the 2005 Rites of Spring Festival1. Intro/Facing Failure (6.48)2. Ballad Of The Sacred Cows (7.24)3. Paintings (5.04)4. Window Dressing (17.03)Paul Rarick: Lead VocalsChris Herin: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsJeff Whittle: Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Backing VocalsPat DeLeon: Drums, PercussionBonus Videos (from the Off the Floor sessions):1. Landscrape (4.27)2. Remember To Forget (5.00)
    $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
  • "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
  • Live DVD filmed in Tampere, Finland on November 19, 2011.  This was part of the farewell tour for drummer Jorg Michael.  Comes with a 30 minute documentary covering the band's history and interviews with band members.
    $15.00
  • Remastered edition."Without second guitarist David Knopfler, Dire Straits began to move away from its roots rock origins into a jazzier variation of country-rock and singer/songwriter folk-rock. Naturally, this means that Mark Knopfler's ambitions as a songwriter are growing, as the storytelling pretensions of Making Movies indicate. Fortunately, his skills are increasing, as the lovely "Romeo and Juliet," "Tunnel of Love," and "Skateaway" indicate. And Making Movies is helped by a new wave-tinged pop production, which actually helps Knopfler's jazzy inclinations take hold. The record runs out of steam toward the end, closing with the borderline offensive "Les Boys," but the remainder of Making Movies ranks among the band's finest work." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • "Edguy are not going to win over Necrophagist or Portal fans with their new album, Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown. That isn’t what Edguy are about. They’re not Kvlt, tr00, etc. They do 80’s metal with massive amounts of fun and they do it really well.All the while annoying people who take music far too seriously. They are also are a superb band live, taking cues from Maiden with sing-along choruses and an almost pop sensibility towards song writing. After listening to Space Police once I was singing some of the tracks without realising it! The last couple of albums ‘Tinnitus Sanctus’ and ‘Age of the Joker’ took a more straight forward hard rock approach and while they were good albums, they didn’t have the pomposity and sense of ceremony ala Helloween or Gamma Ray of the preceding albums. This was for me, always part of the Edguy charm.Studio album number ten starts off almost where “Age of the Joker” left off with the track ‘Sabre and Torch‘ and quickly builds to an over the top masterpiece that brings back memories of  ‘Vain Glory Opera’ and ‘Hellfire Club.’ For some reason singer Tobias Sammet sounds a little restrained on this track and dare I say, somewhat tired. It’s almost as if this album was recorded live and he needed some time to warm up but there is no need to worry he quickly proves me wrong.The title track harks back to something off 2006′s superb Rocket Ride; a keyboard lead epic with a bouncing tempo to get a festival crowd going. It is like it was written for inclusion early in the live set. ‘Defenders of the Crown’ is where the smile really come across my face; double kick drums and a Manowar-esque chorus. It is nothing short of brilliant. ‘Love Tyger’ and ‘The Realms Of Baba Yaya’ are mid to fast tempo numbers that are as catchy as anything they have previously written and prove that Mr Sammet and co. are back in flying form! As usual, the band are excellent; loads of feeling and virtuosity, though not always at the same time….I love this album and it keeps getting better with their version of Falco’s ‘Rock me Amadeus’. Some tracks sound like they were Avantasia (Tobais Sammet’s metal opera side project) tracks but were considered to Edguy for those albums. ‘Do me like a Caveman’ and ‘Alone in Myself’ for example. ‘The Eternal Wayfarer’ is the kind of song Def Leppard wish they could write now, lucky for them Edguy still have it.Space Police- Defenders Of The Crown isn’t just the best thing Edguy have released in years, it is one of the best power metal albums released in years." - Planet Mosh
    $6.00
  • This one came out of left field and hit me like a ton of bricks. Possible Album Of The Year candidate. Trioscapes is an instrumental fusion project conceived by Between The Buried And Me bassist Dan Briggs. He enlisted tenor sax player and flautist Walter Fancourt and drummer/percussionist Matt Lynch to do a cover of Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Celestial Terrestial Commuters" and it turned into a full length project.Briggs is an absolute monster bassist. He does some insane things with his axe, processing it to sound like a guitar at times. Other times he lays down some heavy Hugh Hopper fuzz bass. Fancourt and Lynch are also outstanding. Highly aggressive and propulsive, you won't miss any guitar I assure you. Briggs is a hard core prog rock fan and the other guys must be as well - you can easily hear the Mel Collins-era King Crimson vibe mashing up with Zappa-esque arrangements. Soft Machine and Mahavishnu Orchestra also come to mind. These guys create a big ruckus and its going to kick your ass from beginning to end. Lots of non-metal releases slipping out with the Metal Blade imprint lately. BUY OR DIE!!
    $12.00
  • Budget priced 5CD set in a slimline case featuring the following:The Michael Schenker GroupMSGOne Night At BudokanAssault AttackBuilt To Destroy
    $28.00
  • Limited edition of 1000 CDs, from mastertapes. The Ghost was a short lived UK psychedelic folk band led by ex-Velvet Fogg guitarist Paul Eastment. The band featured singer Shirley Kent who later on developed a career as a folk and jazz singer. The music is mostly prominent for the Farfisa organ of Terry Guy lending a psychedelic vibe. Housed in a digipak and new artwork.
    $13.00
  • New limited edition (2000 copies) comes with bonus audio CD. 155 minute NTSC region free DVD. Features the band live in concert from Poland in January 2004. Comes with a load of bonus videos and audio tracks. Now you can be depressed in 5.1 surround!!
    $18.00
  • "Let’s welcome a new and extremely promising progressive rock act from Israel whose songs stand for a successful balancing act between traditional elements and the future of the genre. The band is called Ephrat, has found renowned supporters in Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), who mixed their debut album No One´s Words, and guest vocalists Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain Of Salvation) and Petronella Nettermalm (Paatos), and delivers a colourful mix of European influences and the atmospheric tone sequences of the Middle East - the benchmark data of a new group could hardly be more promising.Mastermind, guitarist, flutist, keyboardist and sole composer of the quartet is Omer Ephrat, who describes his creative visions as follows: “It’s sophisticated progressive music that’s driven by a rock’n’roll feel. But I really think that my music sometimes slips from those definitions and creates a new entity. The main influences range from the progressive rock groups of the Seventies, such as Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and King Crimson to newer metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater and many more.” In addition, there are cross-references to the band’s native country. “The Mediterranean and ethnic characters that this country holds are alive and well in my music, whether I like it or not,” says Omer Ephrat. “I think the contrast of a European country mixed with an ethnic one – that’s the way I see Israel – is exactly what’s happening on this album. It’s not a bad thing, it’s one of the things that make the music original and special.” Alongside Omer Ephrat, the band consists of Gili Rosenberg, vocalist Lior Seker and drummer Tomer Z, whom experts of the genre know from his collaboration with Blackfield. Then there are two high-carat guests who add additional specks of colour to this diverse album. The most renowned of them is Daniel Gildenlöw, boss and chief visionary of Swedish elite prog rock act, Pain Of Salvation, who recorded the lead vocals of the almost 10-minute ‘The Sum Of Damage Done’. “Before the first note was composed for this album, I knew I wanted Daniel to be on it,” Omer Ephrat confesses. “Apart from being a very talented musician and gifted vocalist, I think that he’s something very unique in the progressive genre and to me symbolizes the endless possibilities of the progressive genre to evolve. It was great working with him, and I think he adds a new aspect to the album. He did a great job writing the lyrics for his song, and of course recording the vocals.”By no means less impressive is Petronella Nettermalm’s melancholy voice on ‘Haze’, which lends an interesting Björk/Portisheadesque flair to the track: “This match was initially suggested by Steven Wilson, who suggested that I should listen to her band Paatos and consider adding her to the project. So I did, and it was love at first listen. She has a unique voice and feel that I just had to have on this album. After hearing her voice, I wrote ‘Haze’ in less than five minutes, inspired by the collaboration that could be. Our collaboration was so successful that Petronella added her voice to a second song, ‘Real’, along with the main vocalist, Lior Seker.”The cherry on this cake consisting of haunting tracks is the warm, transparent mix courtesy of Steven Wilson, whom Omer Ephrat contacted for the first time by e-mail two years ago. “Not long after, he got back to me and was very excited about what he had heard, wanting to meet me in Tel-Aviv. Steven offered to mix and master the album. His mix makes the album what it is. He understands music and knows how to handle it to get it where it belongs.”"
    $14.00
  • What a strange and quirky band. It's so hard to wrap your head around where these Swedes are coming from that when it's all over I have to shake my head in both wonderment and admiration. A.C.T have the veneer of a commerical oriented band but if you listen carefully there are so many twists to the music (and lyrics) that you realize it's anything but. One of the band's trademarks is to include an epic track and their fourth album doesn't disappoint - it features the grandiose 22 minute, 9 part "Consequences". The CD comes with a bonus multimedia section with live footage. It's easy to see why these guys are getting more and more popular.
    $14.00