Illusions

SKU: ARISE059
Label:
Arise Records
Category:
Power Metal
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I dug their first album but this one may even be better! Great melodic power metal with plenty of prog elements (LOVE those keyboards). Nacho Ruiz reminds of a ballsier Andre Matos and Mamen Castano (the band's female singer) backs him adding a fuller sound to the vocals. Both singers have great range. I don't understand why these guys aren't better known. For 5 bucks you are crazy if you pass on this one - it's worth 3 times the price. Highly recommended.

Product Review

Tue, 2010-06-08 09:54
Rate: 
0
I actually took a chance and bought this on a whim not knowing what to expect. I liked the idea of a band combining a female vocalist with a male vocalist and the male not growling! From that aspect I really like the album. What I dislike the most about the album is the lack of catchy hooks and choruses. The music is crunchy at times and beautiful at times, with a good amount of time changes. In conclusion this will appeal to most people that like keyboard driven, prog-metal, but not so much so to the melodic rock fan.
Tue, 2010-06-08 09:54
Rate: 
0
I cannot believe I bought this CD at a bargain price, cause it has landed on my all-time top-ten list of prog-metal albums. Keyboards are not over the top. Male & female vocals absolutely compliment each other. Heavy riffs, but very melodic vocals. Nothing bores me about this album. This is a must buy.
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Product Review

Tue, 2010-06-08 09:54
Rate: 
0
I actually took a chance and bought this on a whim not knowing what to expect. I liked the idea of a band combining a female vocalist with a male vocalist and the male not growling! From that aspect I really like the album. What I dislike the most about the album is the lack of catchy hooks and choruses. The music is crunchy at times and beautiful at times, with a good amount of time changes. In conclusion this will appeal to most people that like keyboard driven, prog-metal, but not so much so to the melodic rock fan.
Tue, 2010-06-08 09:54
Rate: 
0
I cannot believe I bought this CD at a bargain price, cause it has landed on my all-time top-ten list of prog-metal albums. Keyboards are not over the top. Male & female vocals absolutely compliment each other. Heavy riffs, but very melodic vocals. Nothing bores me about this album. This is a must buy.
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  • Domestic pressing of the second album from this superb Polish prog band. While their first album tended to veer more towards the metal side, Metafiction is a bit lighter - but only in overall sound, not thematically. There are plenty of heavy moments but lets call it heavy progressive rock as opposed to metal. Whereas Riverside initially drew heavily from bands like Porcupine Tree, Opeth, and Anathema they ultimately found their own voice. Votum find themselves at the same crossroads. These bands are all similar influences emphasizing atmosphere and mood. Melancholy prevails - this is not an upbeat sounding album. The heavy parts may seem heavier because the quiet parts...are well...they are quieter! This adds to the dynamics of the album and overall it draws you right in to an inxoticating dreamscape. Easily one of 2009's best albums. Lets hope with a US release they are able to find an audience here. Highest recommendation.
    $13.00
  • Limited ediiton with O-card slipcase.  Comes with multitrack versions of 3 songs that you can remix on your own."I have an odd history with this band, first being introduced to them through their debut album Sanctus Ignis, which was described to me as Symphony X, only not quite as good. I agree with that statement, but the next material I heard from this band was this, Archangels In Black, which is so dramatically different from their debut album that I was wondering what the hell happened to them. So I went on a journey through the rest of their discography in order to discover what had happened. The style in this album is very heavy. Much heavier than their first two albums, and maybe just a bit more so than their previous recording, Dominate. It has more death metal growling and dark, crunchy riffs, whereas their first two albums were very neo-classical, symphonic, and progressive with lots of piano usage and more progressive elements. Previously, it may have sounded like Symphony X, but now they have turned in a whole new direction, towards what I would consider to be progressive/power metal with melodic death elements thrown in for effect.What really entrances me about this album – and make no mistake, it’s a great album – is how the softer bits and orchestral parts are woven so tightly around the raw power of the rest of it. The atmosphere of this album is really dark, gothic, and creepy; the orchestral arrangements really enhance that atmosphere and provide an excellent balance between heavy and light while still maintaining that atmosphere. This, my friends, is some top-notch song writing. I’ve heard a lot of people knocking this album, saying it should have been better, but I really don’t agree with that. It’s a great improvement over Dominate, though I suppose it could be longer.Of course, albums are judged by their songs rather than their overall sound. “Vamphyri” is the explosive opener as well as the chosen single for this particular album which you’ll understand the moment you hear this song; it begins with a very heavy riff building up into a scream/growl from Christian Palin (whom incidently is my favorite Adagio singer so far) that immediately tells you this is some seriously heavy metal and not for the faint of heart. Vamphyri is definitely one of the better songs from this with a great melody and chorus that is sooo much fun to sing; this song should be very pleasing to power metal fans.“Fear Circus” is another noteworthy track, as it is the only music video from this album. It’s got a very cool groove that makes it easy to fall in love with. Actually the part of this song that captivated me the most was the middle section when the metal backs off and the orchestra comes in with a rather haunting melody that leads into a fantastic keyboard/guitar solo. “Undead” is also a great song, with a very well done piano solo introduction which is actually kind of misleading, because when the metal part kicks in it does so with an immediate and not even remotely subtle bang. The melo-death growls are very prevalent in this song, more so than most of the other songs; while I’m not a huge fan of melodic death metal, I don’t mind it as much when they are used sparingly in collaboration with normal vocals mostly for effect; Adagio has really managed to find a good balance in this album. “Codex Oscura” is the epic here, and it’s quite good, combining an orchestral opening with creepy atmospheric effects, memorable melodies, and exciting dynamic changes.For the most part, all but one song is great: “Twilight at Dawn”. It starts off well enough, but around the two minute mark it introduces the chorus, which is the least melodic chorus and the least enjoyable of the album. It’s not bad, but it repeats over and over again more than any chorus really should. With all the repetition of death grunting, it just gets old (though I think a melo – death metal fan would be able to appreciate it more).Overall, Archangels In Black is a great album, and the band’s finest to date. Adagio has managed to create a unique sound and make it their own. The orchestrations they use are some of the best I have heard on any metal album (Blind Guardian’s At The Edge Of Time might have a slight edge), and with it, they’ve managed to produce something special. Honestly, with the constant vocal lineup changes (three singers in four albums), I’m amazed they have managed to stay as consistent as they have. This is one incredibly talented group of Frenchmen, and I can’t wait to see what they bring out next." - Black Wind Metal
    $12.00
  • Remastered with 2 bonus tracks."Given the less violent moniker Hell Bent for Leather for U.S. release (as if that makes any sense), Killing Machine is a transitional album between the progressive-minded complexity of Stained Class and the more commercialized stadium rock of British Steel. In terms of image, however, Judas Priest comes into their own here, creating modern heavy metal fashion by donning studded leather outfits that recalled biker subculture (a connection Rob Halford supported by riding a Harley-Davidson on-stage) but -- in one of metal's supreme ironies -- actually came from gay S&M clubs. Now looking as fierce as their music sounded, Priest set about scaling back the ambition of Stained Class, making the songs more concise and immediate, with simpler structures and fewer underlying subtleties. However, the band largely maintains its then-trademark aggression; the simpler songs actually allow them to hike the tempo on the proto-speed metal numbers even more, and there are hints of blues-rock creeping back into the overall sound, complementing the newfound tough-guy swagger in the band's attitude. At the same time, the relative simplicity also provides the first glimpse of the band's more commercial instincts. If these competing impulses don't make for their most cohesive album, it's also true that most of what's here was still pretty peerless for its time. If Stained Class was the death album, Killing Machine is the sex album -- "Delivering the Goods," the title track, "Burnin' Up," and "Evil Fantasies" are all loaded with S&M imagery, while "Running Wild" is a nightlife party anthem, and "Before the Dawn" a morose heartbreak ballad that nonetheless works in context as the downside of all this carnality. "Delivering the Goods" in particular ranks with their best straightforward rockers, while "Hell Bent for Leather" pushes ever farther towards speed metal proper, crystallizing Halford's leather-and-motorcycle obsessions into one of the band's signature statements. The other title track, "Killing Machine," is a midtempo stomper about a contract hitman, and there's yet another brilliantly reinvented cover song, as the band transforms the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac chestnut "The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)" into a heavy, sinister groover. Of the more commercial material, the anthemic chorus of "Evening Star" leaves the best impression, while "Rock Forever" is their first explicit ode to heavy metal itself (and there would be many, many more to come). The uneasiest implications for the future come from "Take on the World," a lunkheaded stadium shout-along that gave the band its first British hit single, and is clearly patterned after Queen's "We Will Rock You." Occasional missteps and all, Killing Machine closes the book on Judas Priest's early period, which constitutes some of the most influential heavy metal ever recorded. The flood of NWOBHM talent they'd inspired was about to be unleashed on the record-buying public, and henceforth, Priest was intent on reaping the rewards. They would remain a vital force in their second, more commercial phase (more so than some fans of their late-'70s classics might care to admit), but their work of redefining the genre had largely been completed." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Wow!  This Canadian band sure has a thing for Pink Floyd.  Led by vocalist/songwriter Phil Burton, Innerspace definitely channel Gilmour and Co.  Notice how I phrased it.  Burton's vocals sound very much like David Gilmour and lead guitarist Simon Arsenault has more than a little of that characteristic sound to his playing as well.  Compositionally this is VERY much derived from Floyd.  There are bits that crop up that will remind you of Meddle, DSOTM, Animals, and even as late as The Division Bell.  Where they really stray from the Floyd sound is with keyboardist Paul Aubrey who is much more active a keyboardist than Rick Wright - lots of cool noodly synth soloing.  While its all original compositions this one was like a fun trip down memory lane through the Pink Floyd catalog.  There aren't a lot of bands out there that are so overtly influenced by the British legends.  I can honestly say that Innerspace do it about as well as it can be done.  Highly recommended.
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  • Leprous are an exciting young band from Norway. They made a great album for our label in Tall Poppy Syndrome and have now found a new home at Inside Out. Bilateral is the band's third album. It continues their tradition of mixing progressive rock and metal in equal doses. They serve it up in a way that continually leaves the listener off kilter. This time Einar Solberg sings almost (but not totally) with clean vocals. There is still quite a bit of heaviness. The music constantly challenges you and at times isn't all that pleasant to listen to...but you can't stop. If Van Der Graaf Generator recorded a metal album it might sound something like this. Album of the year candidate...you must own this!
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  • "Factory of Dreams is a symphonic metal gothic project consisting of Hugo Flores and Jessica Lehto. Hugo produces and creates all the music while Jessica provides her beautiful vocals. Following their album POLES in 2008, Factory of Dreams are back with a new production bringing a whole new epic and progressive feel to the sound crafted on their debut. More complex, heavier, faster and at the same time catchy, this is a huge album, featuring the hallmark of Factory of Dreams, with great melodic sense and shivering moments and a great cast of guest singers and performers. As a highlight, the near 10 minute Epic E-motions, and the beautiful track Sonic Sensations depicting a World created by Sound and Music."
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  • Now here is a beautiful slice of contemporary progressive rock.  Anubis is an underrated band from Australia - bands down under don't seem to get the attention they deserve.  Hitchhiking is their third full length album.  2011's A Tower Of Silence was a big hit around here and frankly when it arrived it came as a huge surprise.  This long awaited follow up reinforces that the prog rock world needs to take notice.  The music has a cinematic Floyd-like feel.  Vocals from Robert James Moulding are emotion driven and have plenty of impact.  This is not a band who's music is filled with tons of soloing but what's here is solid.  In other words this is not old school prog - its very forward thinking but with a modern sound.  Highly recommended."I have long dreamt of an Australian progressive rock album that would inspire me to click the repeat button, in order to drift through its world all over again, and I am happy to declare that Hitchhiking to Byzantium has been on constant rotation for weeks at this point. Bringing an enchanting blend of Floydian melancholy and the energy of Rush to the table, Anubis have come to stake their claim as heavyweights in the Oz scene with their third opus.Whilst being equally impressed with their 2011 album A Tower of Silence (which I have only just heard recently also), I have found myself returning to Byzantium more to explore the subtle nuances contained within the album’s ten tracks. ‘Fadeout’ as an opening diddy is like riding a gentle breeze for just a short while before being swept up in all the drama and opulence of ‘A King with No Crown’, a reference quality track on every level, cinematic in scope and full of drama and tension and certainly an inspired choice as opening single for the album. ‘Dead Trees’ is a classic prog cut with all the bells and whistles sporting a vocal performance that harkens to a young James Labrie and a chorus that will have you by the balls from the first time you hear it.I mentioned a notable influence from Floyd and Rush earlier, but if I was to be honest, I would love to ask them if they are fans of American prog band Tiles and those wonderful Brits Anathema, because both bands are called to mind on this album amongst others like Sweden’s Anekdoten. The title track is a sublime centrepiece and features a plaintive aura that is sent soaring when spine-tingling female backing vocals lace the chorus. It’s so hard to choose a favourite song when they are all so filled with creamy goodness, but any of these three  - ‘Blood is Thicker than Common Sense’ (a seductive groover), ‘Tightening of the Screws’ (a majestic slice of melancholia reminiscent of early The Pineapple Thief) or ‘Partitionists’ (a lyrical and musical marvel) - could easily take the title for this humble listener.The final triptych features dark drama in ‘Crimson Stained Romance’, a song that reminded me most of a classic Floyd epic, the 15+ minute ‘A Room with a View’, which is nothing short of a sweeping symphony of moods and tones and the closing ‘Silent Wandering Ghosts’ sounds exactly like its title would suggest, haunting and transcendent with an outro to die for.These seven talented lads are a gifted lot, with every performance of outstanding quality, enhanced by a jaw-dropping production that let’s every instrument tell its own little story and play its part in this emotionally resonant work that as the band state themselves: "I feel that there's more of us in there - the hurdles that life throws at us and the only way to feel true inner peace - by examining the love around you. It's certainly an introspective record - but it's real life. It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us. Hitchhiking to Byzantium. That journey is life."And somehow I believe them." - Loud Mag
    $15.00
  • "The shady stretch of land that exists somewhere between the crossroads of rock, metal, prog, and alternative is one that generates discussion, but not necessarily sales. Fans of Dredg, Oceansize, Cog, and the like have watched countless inspired dissenters of the rock norm leave their mark on music boards and venue bathrooms, only to fizzle into obscurity when radio deemed their playful idiosyncrasies just a little too off-putting. There is a certain burden any group that shakes off standard typecasts faces, yet, with the Australian music scene abuzz with newly recognized talent, and the current popularity of all things delay-driven, it’s an interesting time to be a band like Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus.In a recent editorial Vince wrote about Tesseract, he echoed a sentiment I’ve long held: the current line of alternative progressive bands might just be the perfect “something for everyone” presence heavy music has needed to escape the rigid confines of the underground.It is difficult to shake the sense, in listening to Dead Letter Circus’s sophomore album, The Catalyst Fire, that the term “alternative rock” does no justice to them, and that there are a whole lot of people who could conceivably enjoy the crap out of this work.Dead Letter Circus already proved that touring with significantly heavier bands (the likes of which include Animals as Leaders, Intronaut, Last Chance to Reason, and Monuments) posed no challenge to winning over fans who would normally avoid anything quite so digestible, and with the impeccable song craft and memorable hooks on display in The Catalyst Fire, I think it’s only a matter of time before the people standing on the other side of the aisle also take notice.The first things that standout on any number of these tunes are Kim Benzie’s explosive tenor vocals and the big, shimmering walls of sound his band mates house them in. Benzie has the kind of voice that is perfect for this style of music—familiar, but never readily traceable to a sum of affected influences. His range alone is impressive, but his ability to weave it into inescapably catchy melodic motifs with intelligent messaging behind them is paramount to DLC’s universal appeal.Of course vocals alone are not the full package; this is passionate, high-energy music, and the band behind Benzie just kills it. As with This is The Warning, the group’s instrumental voice consists of delay-blasted, tremolo-heavy guitar leads jousting with one of the growliest bass tones in rock music and an ever-stimulating rhythmic presence that never feels “in the way.” Luke Williams shows off more than a little of [The Mars Volta's] Jon Theodore’s influence in his nutty patterns, but by keeping them within the architecture of 4/4 time he never detracts from the immediacy of his surroundings.This package is all further elevated by Australian production ace Forrester Savell (Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect), who returns for his second project with the band. His distinctive mix style of “rhythm guitar in the background— everything else upfront” plays a pivotal role in what makes Dead Letter Circus sound so friggin’ huge and heavy without sounding like a metal band.High praise aside, it’s worth acknowledging that very little has changed in the group’s formula. The Catalyst Fire is just another batch of very tightly written and memorable songs, with all of the group’s strengths made readily apparent. Despite having two new guitarists in the band’s ranks (following the departure of founding member Rob Maric), the aforementioned stylistic elements that made This is The Warning successful remain firmly in place.There does, however, seem to be more of an effort made to vary things up on this work. Where the group’s debut, at times, felt a little too consistent in its approach, The Catalyst Fire sees Dead Letter Circus shuffling out the constant adrenaline of songs like “Stand Apart” and the single “Lodestar” for contemplative slowburners to the tune of “The Veil” and “I Am.” One could argue that the group has become a little comfortable with the harmonic framework of their choosing, but it would be difficult to imagine them conveying the same feeling in their music outside of their beloved major-flavored-minor key progressions.As a whole, The Catalyst Fire, is darker and snappier in its execution than This is The Warning, making for a subtle evolution of an already very strong base. Also, the fact that Karnivool recently made a serious deviation from their relative norm makes a more immediate and urgent sounding release from the Dead Letter folks all too welcome in 2013. I have little doubt that those in the metal and prog worlds who dug the group’s first release will have no trouble rekindling the flame with The Catalyst Fire, but with a little marketing muscle, this could be the vehicle that makes Dead Letter Circus an “anybody band,” and a damn good one at that." - Metal Sucks
    $2.00
  • Uptempo power metal from Italy.  Evershine don't retry to reinvent the wheel.  Their stock in trade is melodic (catchy) metal with a touch of speed.  Some nice symphonic elements are present as well.  Somehow the Italian metal scene is able to turn up a slew of excellent singers.  Evershine has a good one in Marco Coppotelli.  He reminds me a little bit of Andre Matos.  In fact some of the music reminds me of Angra with also some touches of Helloween.  I'm a prog guy and I think its pretty decent.  I'm sure power metal fans will burst a vein over this.
    $15.00
  • "There are some bands that have been around for years that seemingly just go through the motions of putting out material not worthy of their own back catalog. Then there are bands like Rage that take the sum of its 29 years (26 as Rage, 3 as Avenger) and continually put out the highest quality pure metal. Rage has seen many stylistic changes in those years from the power metal origins of “Reign of Fear” to the ultra thrashy “Perfect Man” back to the power metal on “Trapped” and “The Missing Link” to the total classical/metal collaboration of “Lingua Mortis” (which came three years before Metallica even thought of “S & M”), then to the metal opera of “Ghosts” and now to power/thrash/groove of “21” (and all the albums in between). The one constant through it all is that Rage has been one of the mainstays of metal and the one band any metal fan can always count on to release albums that get better with age.It takes just one pass to hook the listener into the Rage web (or “strings on a….”) of thrash, power, groove and melody on this album, which is one of the best the band has ever released. “21” represents not only the “blackjack” theme that the intro and title track suggest, but it is the exact number of full length releases the band unleashed since the 1984 Avenger release “Prayers of Steel.”One thing is certain, Rage is at its most deadly as a three piece, which saw the band’s finest releases from 1988-1993 and again from 2001-present. In 2001, with the release of “Welcome to the Other Side,” Rage unleashed one of its biggest assets, guitar god Victor Smolski. Smolski’s combination of crushing riffs, blistering solos, and unleavened groove are some of the best in metal and simply made the band that much better. However, there would be no Rage if not for bassist/vocalist/founding member Pete “Peavy” Wagner. His vocals are as unmistakable as his proficient bass playing (check out “Eternally”) added to his already larger than life presence.On “21” the band has never sounded heavier and tighter. The listener is treated to an entree of soaring melody with thick gravy like groove over a bed of punishing riffs. From top to bottom, there is no discernible flaw. “Twenty One” sets the crushing tone along with “Forever Dead” and “Feel My Pain” until you get to the album’s biggest surprise “Serial Killer.” Here is one thing I haven’t heard on a Rage album...Peavy doing near death growls on the verses following a woman’s loud shriek at the onset, which is silhouetted with riff upon riff and melody upon melody. It’s the wildest track the band has ever written. “Psycho Terror” follows it up showing the younger bands exactly how to properly choke a riff, lay on the groove, and make it an album favorite.“Death Romantic” takes on the sore topic of love in a way only Rage can. “Destiny” comes very close to the sound of “Perfect Man.” “Black And White” and “Concrete Wall” fill the gaps with the signature Rage style. “Eternally” takes what would be an “average” power ballad for any other band and “Rage-ifies” it with chunky riffs and unprecedented melody.Rage has been a model of consistency and power in a German scene that the group helped define. “21” is another in a stellar catalog of albums that span three decades and should be celebrated as one of the band’s finest." - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • "The debut recording from the Dixie Dregs (The Great Spectacular is considered a demo) stands as one fusion's high-water marks. This music is wholly original and played with a freshness and vigor that had begun to wane in a genre that was becoming a model in self-parody. The influences here are plentiful, but it is the country roots that provide the music with its vitality. Founder/guitarist Steve Morse proved to be an important new guitarist, offering an inimitable style with the technique the music demands. The music is complex and challenging, but that's easy to overlook due to the band's sunny approach. While they would go on to create more fully realized recordings, this one proved that fusion had a soul." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • More of an emphasis on keys lends a Yes quality to their sound.
    $14.00
  • Remastered edition with 3 bonus tracks."Child Is Father to the Man is keyboard player/singer/arranger Al Kooper's finest work, an album on which he moves the folk-blues-rock amalgamation of the Blues Project into even wider pastures, taking in classical and jazz elements (including strings and horns), all without losing the pop essence that makes the hybrid work. This is one of the great albums of the eclectic post-Sgt. Pepper era of the late '60s, a time when you could borrow styles from Greenwich Village contemporary folk to San Francisco acid rock and mix them into what seemed to have the potential to become a new American musical form. It's Kooper's bluesy songs, such as "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" and "I Can't Quit Her," and his singing that are the primary focus, but the album is an aural delight; listen to the way the bass guitar interacts with the horns on "My Days Are Numbered" or the charming arrangement and Steve Katz's vocal on Tim Buckley's "Morning Glory." Then Kooper sings Harry Nilsson's "Without Her" over a delicate, jazzy backing with fl├╝gelhorn/alto saxophone interplay by Randy Brecker and Fred Lipsius. This is the sound of a group of virtuosos enjoying itself in the newly open possibilities of pop music. Maybe it couldn't have lasted; anyway, it didn't." - Allmusic
    $5.00