The Human Contradiction (2CD Mediabook)

I'm going to get straight to the point.  If you are a fan of female fronted metal you must own this album.  The Human Contradiction is a complete triumph.  It finds the band returning a bit to their roots.  There are still poppy elements - that's part of their core sound - but there is a heaviness that will remind you of Lucidity.  Nightwish's Marco Hietala returns contributing on clean vocals. Also back is Orphanage vocalist George Oosthoek who is one of the best growlers in the metal scene.  Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz makes a guest appearance.

Timo Somers' guitar riffs are chunkier, Charlotte's voice is impeccable as always, and Martijn's keyboards are simply epic.  The album was recorded at Studio Fredman and sounds massive.  Weaving the whole album together is a sci-fi theme borrowed from the writings of Octavia Butler.

This is an album filled with a enough earworm hooks to drive you crazy but at the same time its heavy!  For my taste its a top 10 album for 2014.  BUY OR DIE!

Limited edition 2CD mediabook edition.  The bonus CD contains 2 additional new studio tracks as well as live tracks and two orchestral versions of tracks from The Human Contradiction.  Essential.

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  • "In 2013, Norway's ever mercurial Motorpsycho released Still Life with Eggplant, with second guitarist Reine Fisk added to the fold. It was a collection of "other songs," those written for previous albums but not recorded. Those five cuts, despite their random sources, did have another connecting thread: they reflected some of the band's earliest explorations into hard rock and neo-psychedelia as displayed on records like Demon Box and Timothy's Monster. The way forward for Motorpsycho was apparently through the lens of the past. Behind the Sun marks the band's 25th anniversary, and once again, they journey further into that back catalog of unrecorded material. Produced by bassist and vocalist Bent Sæther, Motorpsycho once more employs Fisk as well as violist Ole Henrik Moe and violinist Kari Ronnekleiv. These nine tracks are as focused as those on Eggplant and often more adventurous. Opener "Cloudwalker (A Darker Blue)" begins as something of a Baroque psych tune and unwinds into a taut dynamic rocker with the strings and multi-part vocal harmonies adding texture and force. "On a Plate" is furious, riff-driven guitar rock that recalls the unhinged energy of the band's earliest sound. Rumbling tom-toms and pulsing synths introduce the instrumental "Kvæstor (Incl. Where Greyhounds Dare)," but are quickly joined by the twin-guitar attack of Hans Magnus Ryan and Fisk. A throbbing bassline and strings drive the front as the guitars sing, churn, and shape-shift between intensity and melody. The "Hell, Pts. 1-3" is a suite that began on Eggplant. It continues here with "Hell, Pts. 4-6: Traitor/The Tapestry/Swiss Cheese Mountain." Over nearly 13 minutes, it commences as airy, twisting prog rock with blended acoustic and electric guitars, synths, and strings, all buoying Sæther's urgent vocal. While a fingerpicked vamp holds the center, tension begins to ebb and flow as stinging guitar solos, dreamy keyboard interludes, and cymbal washes gradually erect an architecture of transcendent, anthemic rock. "Entropy" reveals Motorpsycho's more subtle dimensions. At over seven minutes, it gradually unfolds with a lyric bassline, lush, layered vocal harmonies, shuffling drums and skittering cymbals, and breezy keys and guitars, all contrasting sharply with its melancholy lyrics. "Hell, Part 7: Victim of Rock" closes the set with a screaming solo guitar and drum assault over a frenetic bassline. Unhinged sonic psych effects -- loads of reverb, backmasking, etc. -- frame this labyrinthine, careening rock ride that sends Behind the Sun off on stun. After more than 20 records, Motorpsycho remain inexhaustible in their creativity, fully, energetically, in command of a musical vision that is boundless." - Allmusic Guide
    $18.00
  • Special 2 CD collector's edition features an instrumental orchestral version of the album (DO I HEAR KARAOKE?) plus a bonus track.
    $19.00
  • ""If the voice don't say it, the guitar will play it," raps Saffron on "Pork-U-Pine," the third track on Jeff Beck's minimally titled Jeff. And he does. Beck teams with producer Andy Wright, the man responsible for his more complete immersion into electronic backdrops on his last outing, You Had It Coming. This time the transition is complete. Beck used electronica first on Who Else!, moved a little more into the fire on You Had It Coming, and here merges his full-on Beck-Ola guitar heaviness with the sounds of contemporary spazz-out big beats and noise. Beck and Wright employ Apollo 440 on "Grease Monkey" and "Hot Rod Honeymoon," and use a number of vocalists, including the wondrously gifted Nancy Sorrell, on a host of tracks, as well as the London Session Orchestra on others (such as "Seasons," where hip-hop, breakbeats, and old-school Tangerine Dream sequencing meet the guitarist's deep blues and funk-drenched guitar stylings). As for atmospherics, David Torn (aka producer Splattercell) offers a shape-shifting mix of glitch tracks on "Plan B" for Beck to wax on both acoustically and electrically, and make them weigh a ton. But it's on cuts like "Trouble Man," a purely instrumental big drum and guitar skronk workout, where Beck truly shines here. With a rhythm section of Dean Garcia and Steve Barney -- and Tony Hymas appears as well -- Beck goes completely overboard: the volume screams and the sheer crunch of his riffs and solos split the rhythm tracks in two, then four, and finally eight, as he turns single-string runs into commentaries on everything from heavy metal to East Indian classical music.The industrial crank and burn of "Grease Monkey" is an outing fraught with danger for the guitarist, who has to whirl away inside a maelstrom of deeply funky noise -- and Beck rides the top of the wave into dirty drum hell and comes out wailing. For those who feel they need a dose of Beck's rootsier and bluesier playing, there is one, but the context is mentally unglued. "Hot Rod Honeymoon" is a drum and bass sprint with Beck playing both slide and Texas-style blues à la Albert Collins, letting the strings bite into the beats. The vocals are a bit cheesy, but the entire track is so huge it's easy to overlook them. "Line Dancing With Monkeys" has a splintered Delta riff at its core, but it mutates, shifts, changes shape, and becomes the kind of spooky blues that cannot be made with conventional instruments. His turnarounds into the myopic rhythms provide a kind of menacing foil to their increasing insistence in the mix. Before gabber-style drum and bass threaten to break out of the box, Beck's elongated bent-note solos tame them. "JB's Blues" is the oddest thing here because it's so ordinary; it feels like it belongs on an updated Blow By Blow. In all this is some of the most emotionally charged and ferocious playing of Beck's career. Within the context of contemporary beatronica, Beck flourishes. He find a worthy opponent to tame in the machines, and his ever-present funkiness is allowed to express far more excess than restraint. This is as fine a modern guitar record as you are ever going to hear." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • This has been sitting in the can for quite some time and now Esoteric Antenna is bringing it to market.  This CD/DVD documents the live performance at NEARfest from the reformed Canadian prog/AOR trio.  Cameron Hawkins and Martin Deller and now joined by viola/mandolinist Claudio Vena.  Pretty nice selection of material dipping into the band's back catalog.
    $19.00
  • Here's one I never thought I would see... "The Battle" is marketed under the name Allen/Lande...those being Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (Ark, Masterplan). In actuality, the mastermind behind the project is Magnus Karlsson, the guitarist of Last Tribe and Starbreaker. He uses the singers individually and combined to interesting effect. Essentially an album of melodic metal it occassionally strays into the upper echelons due to the participation of these magnificent frontmen.
    $14.00
  • "This is the 1st album by a French band whose sound & compositional style are firmly rooted into Zeuhl and who features a line-up of vocals, guitar, bass, drums, synths, & flute.Vak started in 2008, centered around the prog/zeuhl compositions of drummer Vladimir Mejstelman : repetitive patterns, asymetric measures, crafted melodies and emphatic moments. After several musicians changes over the years, further influences completed the melting pot, from the rhythmic progressive metal influences reminiscent of Tool or some of Mike Patton's projects, to experiments echoing the Rock in Opposition scene, such as Guapo.Vocalist Aurelie Saintecroix does a great job, her wordless vocals strongly evoking Eskaton's early works. This first album has been recorded between 2011-2014, originally planed to be issued as 2 EPs (6 long tracks) - which never happened!Vak is currently heading towards a new kind of zeuhl with broad perspectives and influences, notably including metal & space-rock touches; a second album which will features more of this sound will hopefully be issued in 2016, but now, finally, you can hear all they have accomplished up to now!"
    $17.00
  • Remastered edition now featuring three live bonus tracks taken from the 1983 tour!! "Performance" is a bit maligned for some reason. The tunes are a bit more concise but it still captures the essence of the band. Recommended for sure.Please note this disc incorporates EMI copy control technology which seems to allow you to do whatever it is you would normally do with a CD but you can't rip it. Bummer.
    $13.00
  • New remastered edition with bonus tracks.Second Consortium sideproject put together by Ian Parry, lead singer for Elegy. Also appearing in this supergroup is Elegy bandmates Patrick Rondat and Dirk Bruinenberg, Vanden Plas guitarist Stephan Lill, and Thom Youngblood of Kamelot. This concept album is melodic metal all the way. What were you expecting???
    $14.00
  • Latest album from this UK band that used to embrace doom metal but ultimately morphed into a Pink Floyd inspired band with metal influences. This time around the band continues to ramp up the atmosphere quotient and seems to downplay the metal aspects. So what we have here is a heavy version of Radiohead or Porcupine Tree. An easy recommendation but if you are looking for metal stay away. Great album now available at a midline price.
    $13.00
  • Import mediabook edition comes with a second disc offering an instrumental version of the album."It is such a rare feat these days that a band can boast a back catalogue of such highly acclaimed albums. Nightwish’s career has not stagnated once in their nearly 20 years of existence, and despite highly publicised vocalist changes that has quartered the fanbases, their popularity has gone nothing but up. Why? Their music is simply immense. So here we are with album number 8, but after throwing so much into their previous effort ‘Imaginaerum‘, have the band finally run out of steam?If the opening track of ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful‘ has anything to say about it, absolutely not. The album opens with Richard Dawkins, the figurehead in the album’s theme of evolution, speaking to provide a brief introduction to the loose concept. Without hesitation the album bursts into life with ‘Shudder Before The Beautiful‘, orchestras blaring, keyboards frantic, and suddenly a wall of guitars thickening into one of Nightwish’s heaviest tracks in their career. The band have gone all out in this one, from a massive chorus transitioning to a prolonged solo battle between guitars and keyboards. It purely represents the things to come on the album, a raw Nightwish that has tapped all the highlights of their career into a transcendent epic.Moving straight on to ‘Weak Fantasy‘, the band does not immediately lift up the power and aggresion, yet makes an immediate impact of the spectrum of elements the instrumentalists now have to offer on the album. From a massive heavy chorus of ominous choirs transitioning into folk guitar melodies and tribal drumming, overlaid by the diverse vocals of Floor Jansen marking her Nightwish recording debut. The further addition of Troy Donockley as a full time member proves to be one of the wisest of investments as they make use of his talents with the vast array of unique instruments evident with tracks such as ‘Elan‘ and ‘My Walden‘.There are moments of this album that represent pure passion and take us on a journey of reminiscence of styles throughout Nightwish’s career, whilst building on top of them with the vast resources of choirs and full orchestra the band now have at their disposal. The softer ‘Elan‘ takes us to the softer metal with hook that Nightwish singles in recent years, while the heavier ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful‘ and playful ‘Alpenglow‘ revisit the ‘Century Child‘ days with a diverse range of Emppu Vuorinen’s erratic guitar work with memorable guitar melodies, and dramatic choruses that completely define Nightwish as a musical force.As the album draws to a close, we come to expect a poetic closure of such an exquisite palette of music, however the higlights of the album are only to come. The beautiful instrumental ‘The Eyes of Sharbat Gula‘ serve as dramatic solace before the storm in the centerpiece of the album – the 24-minute monster of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth‘. This progressive epic highlights the songwriting brilliance of Tuomas Holopainen, taking on the theme of ‘life and evolution by natural selection’, the track takes on the aggressive, the beautiful, the mysterious and everything that the band have to offer in one neat package, making full use of the massive vocal range of Floor Jansen and the masculine prowess of Marco Hietala. One of the finest tracks in Nightwish’s career if I may say so!‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful‘ simply put is sheer brilliance. Where the previous opus’ of ‘Dark Passion Play‘ and ‘Imaginaerum‘ continued a theatrical progression off of the success of ‘Once‘, this album has taken a renewed and raw approach to songwriting, revisitng the process of old and writing songs to highlight talents of band. The broad and experience-laced musicianship has put to full use just englightening us again as to why this band has made, and will continue to make history, and should be very proud of their 8th album. Forget about the past controversies, put aside your vocalist disputes, Nightwish has produced a fantastic album that can be adored by all." - The Metalist
    $19.00
  • How many of you remember Tritonus?  Back in 1995, there was a Norwegian sampler CD called simply "A Gathering of 8 Norwegian Progressive Metal Bands".  Besides Spiral Architect, Trivial Act, and Manitou there were other bands that managed to score record deals.  Most of them disappeared.  Tritonus was on the sampler.  Despite having some of the strongest material on the CD the band never signed with a label, and despite years of trying, never released any material.  Band leader/virtuoso guitarist Carl August Tidemann would time to time mention that Tritonus was working on its debut, but after almost 2 decades everyone pretty much took it with a grain of salt.  Well...better late than never!If you've been listening to prog metal for a long time you know that the sound has changed a bit over the years.  Tritonus' debut turns back the hands of time.  This is a stunning example of prog metal the way we used to know it.  Stunning musicianship with plenty of jolts of technicality.  At this point, the lineup has changed over the years.  In addition to Tidemann, Tritonus now consists of Rolf Kristensen (vocals), Ole Devold (drums) and Thor-Axel Eriksen (guitars).  Lots of guests contribute (my guess is many of these were past members).  Keyboards (courtesy of Circus Maximus' Lasse Finbraten) tend to be put to good use - you hear the occasional solo but mostly its there for texture - the twin guitars weave together with incredible proficiency and dominate.  I have to point out the vocals of Rolf Kristensen.  This guy is amazing!Its a shame that its taken so many years for Tritonus to release this.  Its quite a great album and in a way it makes me a bit sad.  Had it come out 15 years ago, they could have easily risen through the scene.  We are lucky we have it.  Is it closure for Tritonus or the opening of a new era?  Let's hope for the later.  They deserve a better fate and damn I'd want to hear more music from them.  BUY OR DIE!
    $15.00
  • "ALLEN/LANDE (or ALLEN-LANDE) is a Melodic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal super group / band project formed in 2005 by guitarist Magnus Karlsson (PRIMAL FEAR, STARBREAKER) with two highly acclaimed metal vocalists - vocalist Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X) and former MASTERPLAN vocalist Jørn Lande. The band released such albums: "The Battle" (2005), "The Revenge" (2007), "The Showdown" (2010) and "The Great Divide" on 17th October 2014.Opening track “Come Dream With Me” takes listeners on the journey through the Melodic Rock & Metal world where you can find stronger melodic guitars with wonderful vocals, clear rhythmic section, catchy chorus with an impressive guitar solo which makes goose-flesh, and little PRIMAL FEAR echoes. Powerful drums and mega energetic guitar riffs in “Down from the Mountain” are truly kick-ass with amazing vocals in climate of BLACK SABBATH, AXEL RUDI PELL and memorable refrain in high style. All tracks have similar sounds to GAMMA RAY and TIMO TOLKKI songs. The energetic atmosphere of “Dream About Tomorrow” is caused by heavier riffs, SCORPIONS echoes, great solo, and keys in Power Metal style.My favourite song on the album is “Lady of Winter”, which has everything that is the best in Hard Rock and Metal music – so gentle piano opening, then heavy riffs, clear drums, fabulous memorable high chorus, and perfect worked guitars full of melody. Stunning track with rockin sounds, mid-tempo, perfect bass, slower climate, and totally in the style of JORN. Stronger riffs with gentle keys and massive JORN vocals in pathetic melodic refrain in track “Solid Ground” is perfect, also with a massive and brilliant guitar solo!The band proves that they are on high-class level in powerful “In the Hands of Time” where keys and melodic guitars have STRATOVARIUS echoes. The energetic “Reaching for the Stars” with gentle keys in the background with memorable refrain and massive sounding “Hymn to the Fallen” with mixing Heavy Metal sounds together with rockin style.Also I like very much the ballad titled track “The Great Divide” with beautiful strong voices of singers, calmer guitars, keyboards, and passionate guitar work and chorus in high style with choir in amazing slower tempo – what a wonderful sound! Another ballad “Bittersweet” has a slower rate, clear drums, piano, and brilliant singing together with climatic stronger high riffs. Sounds total perfect!ALLEN/LANDE, again, proved that they are Kings of Rock and Metal. They connect different kinds of sounds – Hard Rock, Heavy Metal with doses of melody. The band creates music with passion. Every track is a masterpiece and in each sound the experience of musicians is hear able. ALLEN/LANDE is simply a fantastic band, and their fresh CD “The Great Divide” is more than highly recommended to every lover of Melodic strong sound!" - Metal Temple
    $16.00
  • A great album perhaps beaten to death by radio airplay of "Spirit Of The Radio" and "Freewill".  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • Obsidian Kingdom is a fascinating band from Barcelona that released Mantiis in 2012 in a limited run of 500 copies.  It's now picked up for worldwide distribution via Season of Mist.  This is definitely progressive metal - real boundary pushing stuff.  The band is categorized as post-metal and that is just one of the guideposts they touch on.  I hear more of a musical connection to Leprous and Arcturus.  If you are inclined towards the more avant garde side of metal you need to hear this band.  With the right push they could become massive.  Highly recommended."Cutting right to the chase, Obsidian Kingdom‘s latest release, ‘Mantiis‘ could very well be the most equivocal album I have reviewed to date. What this five piece post-metal band from Barcelona has put together with their latest genre-crossing, boundary pushing release is something few other bands can lay claim to accomplishing. I can’t even began to describe the number of different genres represented throughout this 47 minute monstrosity of an album.“Not Yet Five” is the album’s opener and starts things off with looming bass, light distortion, piano work and sporadic beeps and buzzes that all blend together to create an eerie ambiance that sets the mood for things to come. From here the album progresses forward with “Oncoming Dark” and “Through the Glass” which start off which crisp clean vocals and electric-accoustic guitar work before evolving into a wanderlust of heaviness that borders between post-metal and progressive death metal. Keyboards play on in an evil manner and when combined with chugging guitars and persistent drumming a doomsday like atmosphere forms. As the album moves forward through the short tracks, it gains in intensity through it’s evolving layers. By the time the album reaches its fourth track, “Cinnamon Balls” it has already spiraled into a dark, twisted place filled with harsh demonic vocals and djent style guitar work.A short piano interlude leads into “Answering Revealing” which brings the album full circle as clean vocals emerge as does a short but sweet return to Obsidian Kindgom‘s softer side. “Last of the Light” is where the album completely goes off of the tracks. While the beginning and end of the track are highlighted by violent vocals and double bass action, bookended between it is a several minute long section that features a classical guitar and with a very bluesy saxophone solo. You heard me right. This is without question one of if not the most unique song I have heard in years and definitely one of the most unusual combinations of instruments. From here ‘Mantiis‘ takes a stark transition to “Genteel to Mention”, a short track that opens with piano and clean vocals  that only last for a short while before the album returns right back to its doom and gloom heavier ways with the intro to “Awake Until Dawn”. The track does come to a crawl as it progresses when piano work mixed with synths present yet another unheard element to the album.‘Mantiis‘ moves forward with “Haunts of the Underworld” showcasing the best guitar work to be found on the album  and “Endless Wall”, which feels like the closest thing to a post-metal track found on the album despite the hints of more djent guitar work. Clean vocals amidst swirly ambiance make up “Fingers in Anguish” and demonic vocals and downtuned guitars return in “Ball-room”, both short tracks that barely cross over the five-minute mark combined. “Ball-Room” does a fantastic job setting the table for the closing track “And Then It Was”. Stark, aggressive drumming leads the way as everything the album has built itself up for comes to a head in this epic finale.One album I do think that compares particularly well to ‘Mantiis‘ is Crippled Black Phoenix‘s ‘Mankind, The Crafty Ape’. The two albums share many similarities in how they flow, how they use music as a journey to tell an album spanning story and also how they infuse many different genres into their sound while never delving down too far into a particular one. While CBF opted for a more psychedelic, bluesy infusion, Obsidian Kingdom chose a much darker, louder progressive death metal meets doom metal approach.While fantastic in its storytelling, the album isn’t without its shortcomings. I found myself wishing the album flowed a little bit better as some of the transitions seemed a bit awkward. There are also times where I wished the clean vocals would have had a stronger presence throughout the album as the band’s softer material is among their strongest work. Still, I can overlook these minor nuances as I continually find myself coming back to this album time and time again. ‘Mantiis‘ is one of the more captivating albums I’ve heard all year and is without question a breath of fresh air. " - PostRock Star 
    $12.00