Halo Of Dark Matter

SKU: BBU-2090
Label:
Blues Bureau
Category:
Blues Rock
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"Blues-Rock veterans, the Stoney Curtis Band, returned to the studio in Las Vegas this summer in follow-up to their 2012 double-live release. The resulting CD, Halo Of Dark Matter, is a high-energy collection of guitar-oriented jams, that recalls the stadium guitar heroes of the 70's. This fifth record in Stoney's discography takes things up a couple of notches as his songwriting and soloing skills ascend to yet a higher plateau. The Stoney Curtis Band has been working the clubs between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, for over 10 years, honing their own brand of psychedelic Blues-Rock, readying their show for the road ahead. Over the past few years the band has done a number of USA tours and six European tours as well. Heavily steeped in 60's/70's Psychedelia, the Stoney Curtis Band has translated the energy of their phenomenal live show into an incredible new studio disc containing over 70 minutes of full tilt Blues-Rock."

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  • In early 2014, Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) performed a series of concerts in Japan - doing complete run throughs of their classic albums.  This live recording captures their performance of L'Isola Di Niente (which some of you may know in its bastardized form as The World Became The World).  To the best of my knowledge some of these tunes have never been performed live before.  So who's left in PFM after all these years?  Franz Di Ciocco is still the drummer and he also handles vocals.  Patrick Djivas is a monster bassist.  Franco Mussida handles guitars.  The trio are augmented by Lucio Fabbri on violin (he has ducked in and out of the band over the years), Alessandro Scaglione on keyboards, and a second drummer in Roberto Gualdi. 
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  • Pro-shot DVD filmed on the Passion tour at Wyspianski Theatre in Poland from April 2011.  Comes with some bonus video footage - Nick Barrett interview and other stuff.
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  • Outstanding new collection of previously unreleased material from the Hungarian symphonic rock band. The material actually predates The Martian Chronicles. Basically culled from live recordings this is referred to as an "official bootleg" but I found nothing at all objectionable about the sound quality. Highly recommended symphonic prog from a band that has always known the right way to do it.
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  • "It only seems like a couple of weeks since Caravan announced in August 2013 that they were to record a new album that would be financed by money pledged by fans, and yet here it is already!What should have been a joyous time for the band and fans alike was sadly marred by the death of long-time drummer Richard Coughlan on December , however it is fitting that the digital download of the album was released to fans who had pledged on December 20, the day of Richard’s funeral!Musically this has classic Caravan stamped all over it. It is not, however, a hark back to the halcyon days of the 70′s and In the Land of Grey and Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, there are not anywhere near as many long instrumental sections in there for a start and the longest song I’ll Be There For You clocks in at a mere 6:14. What we do have here is a stripped down, and updated 2013 version of everything that Caravan fans look for. The classic songwriting is there, as is the excellent musicianship and whimsical lyrics, and let’s face it, with that instantly recognisable, trademark voice, Pye Hastings could re-record Never Mind The Bollocks and it would probably still sound like Caravan.All This Could Be Yours is a belter of an opener, and despite what I said above, this is one track that would not have been out of place on Grey and Pink or Girls Who Grow Plump! With an excellent, albeit short, viola solo from Geoffrey Richardson, and a great hook in the chorus, it skips along merrily in classic Caravan style.One of the ways of financing the album was to get people to pledge extra to go to the studio and get involved in the recording, I don’t want to pour cold water on anything but sadly I think this is where the band have shot themselves ever so slightly in the foot. Despite being a great song, I’m On My Way, has some awful, flat backing vocals in the chorus which almost ruin the song. The same applies to This Is What We Are where a slightly naff chorus comes close to ruining what is otherwise a very strong song, being slightly heavier than we are used to from Caravan including an infectious piano motif and an excellent, soaring guitar solo towards the end.The slower Dead Man Walking is the perfect pacer, leading into the very emotive Farewell My Old Friend. As an ode to the passing of a close friend, this song is made all the more poignant following the death of Richard Coughlan and brings a lump to the throat!In typical Caravan style, no-one is allowed to get too maudlin, as the next two songs Pain in the Arse with the vitriolic closing line ‘I don’t care if you sue me now, you are insane’, and Trust Me I Am A Doctor put the collective tongues firmly back in the cheek. Doctor takes an irreverent stab at a GP, who I’m quite sure, given the amount of names dropped in the song is a real person and should have no difficulty in identifying himself! But it is all done in good fun and I’m sure no umbrage will be taken!The album finishes on a mellow note with the wistful I’ll Be There For You and the title song Paradise Filter which kicks off  really slow and  melancholy with a late night jazz feel, before breaking out into a middle section that is very reminiscent of the instrumental break in The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again!Overall this is an excellent return for a band that has been absent from the recording studio for too long (it is ten years since the release of The Unauthorised Breakfast Item in 2003). Not that they have been resting on their laurels as they have still been playing live gigs, but it is nice to know that they can still cut it and write well crafted, catchy and extremely listenable songs.It also proves that the pledging route is a very viable way of financing studio time and album releases, sadly, however, I doubt very much that would work for new bands as you would have to have a name for yourself in order to create the initial interest. Maybe extensive gigging and as the old saying goes ‘paying your dues’ would help. Now there’s an idea (take note potential XFactor and The Voice contestants)!" - jonb52
    $20.00
  • Yet another brilliant work from this Norwegian prog band.  The Greatest Show On Earth is the band's third effort.  While the first album Identity delved into alternative/prog realms bearing similarity to Radiohead, their second album All Rights Removed was full on Pink Floyd worship.  This latest effort carries on in similar fashion.  There are parts of the album that were written with tracing paper.  It evokes the mood and feel of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and maybe even a bit of The Wall.  This isn't to say the band doesn't inject any personality of their own - they do.  There are contemporary elements, its just that when they go into full on Pink Floyd mode its so apparent and so well executed that it blinds you to everything else that is going on.  What Bi Kyon Ran is to King Crimson or The Watch is to Genesis, Airbag is to Pink Floyd.  Original?  Truth be told not really.  It doesn't matter, its so well executed that you will just immerse yourself in the listening experience.  Highly recommended.
    $17.00
  • We've had a hell of a time getting our hands on this album but its finally here and more than worthy of your attention.  In fact this is an album that is going to ride high on many 2014 top 10 album lists.This is the first full length release from this six piece band based out of Bergen, Norway.  The core sound of the band is rooted in classic progressive rock.  Think in terms of the aggressive side of Van Der Graaf Generator and King Crimson.  But there is more at play here.  A strong jazz element is at play as well.  I'm reminded of Jaga Jazzist and perhaps a bit of Frank Zappa and Mr. Bungle.  There is no doubt we are going to hear quite a bit from this band in the future.  BUY OR DIE!"An impressive album of refreshingly unique music that crosses many sub genres, including space-psychedelia, symphonic, heavy prog, avant-jazz and experimental/post metal. Wonderful vocals, very tight interplay among all band members with no one member or instrument really standing above any other--though the presence and performance of the saxophone is highly notable. This is complex music played so tightly. And the astonishing 14- minute epic, "God Left Us for A Black Dressed Woman," must be heard to be believed.1. "Oh My Gravity" (9:49) starts as a jazzy stop-and-start piece that picks up in intensity in the second minute before shifting to a melodic ballad in the vein of the heavier side of FROGG CAFÉ. The male vocalist sounds to me like something between RADIOHEAD's THOM YORKE and TODD RUNDGREN. Around the six minute mark the spiraling, swooning music sounds a lot like some of the louder stuff from MOTORPSYCHO's The Death Defying Unicorn. This feel continues into the seventh minute when organ and horns take turns embellishing the staccato music. The bare-bones, bluesy final 45 seconds is bizarre but so cool! A powerful and surprising opener to this unusual album. Very high marks for compositional prowess and instrumental performance. (9/10)2. "Wind Shears" (6:32) opens in a very psychedelia/spacey 1960s way. Then at the one minute mark it settles into a jazz groove with first sax and then jazzy guitar and Hammond organ filling the lanes over the rhythm section. Clavinet is added for a GentleGiant-like bridge before a polyrhythmic KING CRIMSON "Discipline"-like weave appears to support a brief ghost-like vocal. At 3:20 the sound gets much heavier over the same arpeggiated weave, nearly drowning out the still-soloing sax and organ. This is just like TOBY DRIVER (Kayo Dot/Maudlin of the Well)! At 4:05 things get quiet and sparse again, with the music vacillating from soft and delicate to heavy and abrasive. A very melodic kind of psychedelic big band section plays out for the final minute. Again, bizarre but so cool! (9/10)3. "Eschaton Hero" (8:29) opens with some guitar, keys & sax riffs repeated over latin percussion. At 1:00 everything settles down into another quiet section with a delicate vocal in Stian Økland's upper register. Beautiful chorus/bridge at 1:47 gives way to an unpretentious bass solo before settling back into the delicate vocal music. Same awesome bridge at 2:49 leads into a heavy section into jazzy chaos--all performed over the most simple, calm drum play. At 4:52 it gets even heavier as it plods along for a minute in support of a fuzz guitar solo. Finally the drums start to play--to match the frenzy of the rest of the band--then everything stops so the band can yell "Yay!" Then a variation on the previous frenzy picks back up until 7:05 when everything settles back down into the soft groove of the initial vocal section for a dirty sax solo before letting Stian finish the song out in his high voice. Well conceived and performed, just not my favorite. (7/10)4. "Extraction" (6:34) begins with another odd intro of two or three parts before settling into the vocal support section--which begins heavily before falling into another RADIOHEAD-like bluesy section. At 2:20 a neat Hammond section leads back into the heavy full band section that opened the vocals, then, again, drops off for the beautiful support of a multi-voice- supported section. At 3:45 a very smooth, stripped down electric guitar solos, until there is a full return to explosiveness at 4:20. A bouncy "O Yo Como Va"-like Hammond section at 4:40 gives way to a kind of Latin weave before falling back into the heavier rock weave from the first vocal section to end. (8/10)5. "God Left Us for A Black Dressed Woman" (14:12) opens with another KC "Discipline"-like weave that morphs and flows, polymorphs and grooves for two and a half minutes before decaying into a simplified form for a bluesy ROBERT PLANT-like vocal section. This song's amazing vocal performance could also be compared to some of the finest MATTHEW PARMENTER/DISCIPLINE works. Some incredibly powerful sections in this song--especially the multi-voice vocals in the eleventh minute and the following heavy full-band part. A very DISCIPLINE-like soft section then ensues with a slow build to an awesome crescendo and frizzed finish. The song evolves, shifts, twists and turns and surprises throughout. Again there are several parts that remind me of MOTORPSYCHO's Unicorn. Without question this is one of the best prog "epics" of the year! (10/10)Aside from the above references to Motorpsycho, King Crimson, Radiohead, Toby Driver, Matthew Parmenter/Discipline, the overall impression this album leaves me with is similar to that of DIAGONAL's eponymously titled debut album from 2008. SEVEN IMPALE's City of the Sun is a wonderful collection of masterfully composed, executed and recorded songs.A 4.5 star album that I can't see giving anything less than five in that it is a treasure for the ages!" - Prog Archives
    $14.00
  • "West German rock band Grobschnitt will see a very limited 17CD super deluxe box set of all 14 of their albums released later this month that comes with almost seven hours of bonus material.The box set is titled 79:10 and covers the entire output of the band from 1972 to 1989. Everything has been newly remastered and in total there is over 22 hours of material for fans to enjoy. The reason for ’79:10′ is that each of the 17 CDs has 79 minutes and 10 secs of audio, so they are packed with content!This box set has been put together with the help band founders Lupo (Gerd Otto Kühn) and Eroc (Joachim Ehrig) who have dug into the archive for pictures, press releases, lyrics and personal stories to create new booklets for each album in this collection – much of it unseen. The CDs are all ‘mintpack’ digipacks.In addition to the CD booklets, there is also a large format (12″x12″) 92-page booklet (with German and English text) with more rare photos and new liner notes.These box sets are rather special because each set comes with a SIGNED ART PRINT of the image that adorned the inside of the gatefold 1977 album Rockpommel’s Land. The three founding members, Lupo, Eroc and Willi Wildschwein, have hand-signed each single art print individually. The print is approximately 13″ x 26″ in size." 
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  • "Marbles was originally released on the band's own Racket Records label and attracted a lot of attention when it was released as the album had been funded by donations from fans who had pre-ordered the album before they started recording in return for having their name printed within the album artwork (over 18,000 names). This new 2CD Madfish edition of the album is packed in a deluxe 36 page digibook re-worked by original designer Carl Glover. The book features unseen pictures not used in the original artwork. The tracks on the second disc have previously only been available through the band's own website."
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  • At War With Self - sounds more like a psychological diagnosis than a band! This new group is an instrumental power prog trio leaping onto the progressive scene. The project is the brainchild of guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Glenn Snelwar. Torn Between Dimensions, the band's debut recording, features Snelwar on guitar, mandolin, and keyboards; Michael Manring on fretless bass and e-bow; and Fates Warning's Mark Zonder on drums and percussion. Zonders solidly tasty drumming firmly anchors the trio along with the melodically propulsive bass work of Manring, all wonderfully adorned by Snelwars fierce playing. The band serves up intense, emotional pieces in a wide variety of musical styles. Snelwars intention is to open doors to listeners who may be unfamiliar with progressive rock, classical guitar or metal. At War With Self have an equal passion for such diverse types of music as progressive and metal bands like King Crimson, Voivod and Pink Floyd; classical composers such as Bartok and Villa Lobos; as well as bluegrass and jazz. Torn Between Dimensions takes these influences and combines them into something undeniably progressive and strikingly original. The end result is a dense wall of sound, with different textures and feels within each number, one song flowing seamlessly into the next.Guitarist Glenn Snelwar is perhaps best known for his contributions to Gordian Knots eponymous debut, a project led by Chapman Stick player Sean Malone that featured guest performances by Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Sean Reinert (Cynic) & John Myung (Dream Theater). Snelwar helped co-write three of the songs for Gordian Knot, as well as contributing guitar work. Since his involvement with Gordian Knot, Snelwar has been incorporating mandolin, keyboard and string section programming into a foundation of classical, steel string and electric guitar arrangements to great effect. Michael Manring is a world-renowned, Grammy-nominated bassist who has appeared on over 100 studio projects, including recording and performing with Michael Hedges and Attention Deficit Disorder (with former Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander). Michaels fretless bass parts play a vital role on Torn Between Dimensions, melodic but never overwhelming. For over 15 years, Mark Zonder occupied the drum stool for progressive metal legends Fates Warning. As Zonders fans would expect, he continues to push new boundaries on Torn Between Dimensions. Marks playing on the disc covers a lot of territory - from double bass drumming and odd time signatures, to jazz and Middle Eastern flavors. Snelwar describes Torn Between Dimensions as a concept album, but not in the strict sense of the word. I wanted to create a collection of songs where each would stand on its own, but exist as part of a greater whole. I strived to create something that would impact the listener, and incorporate many stylistic influences. Torn Between Dimensions is a tour de force of powerful, fluid prog rock that should appeal to progheads and rock fanatics alike! Torn Between Dimensions is housed in a digipak and features stunning artwork from noted surrealist Travis Smith.
    $5.00
  • Second album from this German band, recorded in 1977, receives its first ever CD release with bonus material. Bullfrog was a hard rock band with progressive touches very much in the style of Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. These guys actually had some popularity in Germany and even had an album released over here. Curiously the bonus material is an unreleased mix of the album that was rejected by the band and Sky Records. I think I like it better!
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  • Well Steve is done resucitating the Genesis catalogue and back to concentrating on fresh solo material.  The new album Wolflight is a bit of a loose concept album and I find it to be one of his strongest releases in years.  The album is filled with lots of guests (including Chris Squire) contributing exotic instruments to the mix adding an old world sound.  Steve's trademark sound is locked into place so if you are looking for the wailing guitar, liquid runs and acoustic delicacy you won't be disappointed.  His vocals has never been my favorite part of a Steve Hackett album but either I've mellowed in age or his voice has - not sure which.  Regardless it fits the music just fine.  Classic Hackett and nothing less.  BUY OR DIE!
    $12.00
  • Limited edition import 2CD set with 7 bonus tracks!"When you made the impact that Bigelf did in 2010 with their fourth album ‘Cheat The Gallows’ and the subsequent tour, it’s inevitable that people expected the highly rated band from Los Angeles to hit hard in 2011. But instead we got an astonishing silence. However, all that is about to change with the arrival of ‘Into The Maelstrom’, a new album of melodic prog-doom that eccentric frontman Damon Fox believes will take Bigelf to new heights. “I have been reflecting on the band and pondering what it would take to get us to the next level, I believe we have accomplished this task on the new record.The last three years for Fox have been confusing and difficult, to say the least, as he found the band he’d worked so hard to establish suddenly dissipated. “I’d call our break a spontaneous hiatus. I did genuinely feel that we’d go into 2011 with an album out early in the year, and then we’d build on what we had achieved up until that point. Instead, we came to a standstill. The momentum had vanished, and it halted the band. So, I was forced into an introspective state of hypersleep and had to contemplate my future. I love the other guys in the band as brothers, and I am extremely grateful for they contributed to help get Bigelf this far. I was heartbroken when that line-up came to an end but change nonetheless was upon the band.“Forging ahead, I didn’t feel that I could get it done on my own”, Fox admits. Thankfully, he found a kindred spirit in famed drum god Mike Portnoy, with whom he’d bonded with in 2010 when Bigelf toured with Dream Theater. “We hung out a lot back then, and got very close. Mike and I discussed how similar our situations were with our respective bands going through our ‘Let It Be’ phases. This was around the time when Mike had his dramatic press-laden departure from Dream Theater. I knew Mike loved Bigelf, and he told me not to give up on it and to keep the band going. His encouragement really helped me to carry on through dark times.”"Getting the songs fully realized was something of a laborious experience", Fox explains. “In the past while I had written most of the material, I always had a incredibly gifted band to bounce ideas off of and we would often jam out to fully realize the song . But this time, I had to write, arrange and envision everything on my own. Once I got the selection of songs together, I sent the demos to Portnoy (who had agreed to play on the album). Mike is the busiest man in Prog, so the next time he was in LA, we laid down the drums at Linda Perry's studio, Kung-Fu Gardens where we did ‘Gallows’. I also wrote a song with her for the new album. The rest of the sessions and instrumentation were recorded at my home studio ITM.“I feel this album is going to prove to a lot of MP haters that Portnoy can really lay down a groove and has a serious vibe as a drummer. It’s not just about his chops and his pyrotechnic style, for which he’s known for, especially with Dream Theater. The feel and emotion in his playing on this record is really unique and it’s unlike anything else he’s done before in my opinion” Lovable lefty bassist Duffy Snowhill, who’s been with the band since 2000, is bringing his thundering Viking bass tones to the recording of ‘Into The Maelstrom’. Luis Maldonado is also climbing aboard the Elf vessel for his first trek. “Luis is a close friend who I’ve known for many years. He has his own band, Into The Presence, and works with a lot of established artists as well. Luis is a phenomenal guitarist, he delivered some really blistering leads on the new album. I'm supplied all of the rhythm guitar tracks and managed to squeeze in a few leads as well too. People usually associate me with keyboards – and there are copious amount on the album, to be certain – but originally Bigelf was founded around my guitar riffs, and it was really rewarding to be able to play guitar again from a nucleus standpoint.”‘Into The Maelstrom’ was produced by Fox (who also handles all the vocals), and believes this album proves that Bigelf are now exploring alien musical landscapes. “There’s a fresh aura and energy on there that’s completely different to our previous releases, but it also sounds like Bigelf. I view this album as being very psychedelic cinematic. It has a ‘Mad Max’ post-apocalyptic feel – a futuristic world that’s rather dirty and desolate filled with chaos and despair. The bludgeoning Sabbath guitars and “Karn-Evil” keys are still there, but the modern setting is what makes the record have a creative edge.While ‘Into The Maelstrom’ isn’t a concept album as such, Fox does reveal that there is a theme that links much of his lyricism. “It’s about traveling through time into one’s past and into the future, to experience and examine your pain and fears, in order to move forward in life. A lot of my baggage from the my travels provides the cathartic inspiration. Deep, personal feelings like the tragic death of my best friend and former Bigelf guitarist A.H.M. Butler-Jones. And my fears of mankind eventually destroying itself a la, ‘Planet Of The Apes’. I suppose the opening song, ‘Incredible Time Machine’, sums it all up.”Fox is clearly inspired and reinvigorated by the new focus Bigelf have made here. For him it’s not just about how the album sounds, but also the process involved in getting there. “Making the record has been a certain kind of journey. A few years ago I had to completely let go of Bigelf, which was painful but it came back with force and vision. As such, the music began to shape from a different perspective and I have been able to see an alternative way of accomplishing my goals. To me, ‘Into The Maelstrom’ is a genesis, a bridge between the band and a larger audience. Strap yourselves in ladies and gentlemen, you're in for a wild ride.”"
    $15.00
  • Third and best album from this seminal Italian prog band. Originally Delirium was led by flautist/vocalist Ivano Fossati, who left after the first album and went on to a significant career in Italy as a pop singer (still going strong today). His replacement was Englishman Martin Grice who not only played flute but sax as well. In addition to Grice's great work you get some killer organ and Mellotron. The sax/organ interplay reminds a bit of VDGG and there is an obvious Tull influence at play as well. Nicely remastered and repackaged in a mini-lp sleeve.
    $20.00