Karma Sown

SKU: SR3073
Label:
Sensory Records
Add to wishlist 

THIS NORTHERN VIRGINIA BASED BAND is a three-piece at heart, musically rooted in the raw energy and rhythmic interplay of RUSH and KING’S X. Fans of dark, guitar-driven rock bands from ALICE IN CHAINS, DEFTONES to the contemporary metal riffing of LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, will connect to the heavy core of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. Add to that progressive complexity and moody synths inspired by DREAM THEATER and PORCUPINE TREE, and a liberal dose of memorable hooks and melodies, to understand some elements of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. And yet, the band has a distinct identity, not quite sounding like any of the aforementioned bands, and with an emotional urgency that pulls subtly from alternative and other influences.

KARMA SOWN IS A TRIUMPH OF A DEBUT ALBUM, immediate and memorable but revealing layers and depth upon repeated listens.

"Progressive metal is in a rough period right now. The old guard are either releasing sub-standard albums that only make it more obvious how far they have fallen, or they are drastically uncool with anyone who didn't become a fan when progressive metal was first being created. Progressive today tends to mean djent, a style that has sapped all the life and humanity out of music, turning metal into a math equation of time signatures, and not songs that anyone can actually remember. There was a time when progressive metal remembered the ultimate goal of music; to have listeners enjoy the songs so much they would return to them again and again. Today, progressive metal is mostly the sort of music that could pass for muzak, if you don't turn the volume up too loud.

Iris Divine wants to change that. They set out with the mission of writing progressive metal that is intricate and challenging, but still produces the kind of songs that listeners who don't have an advanced degree can love and sing along to. It's a challenge, and it goes against the tide, but it's a desperately needed revolution if progressive metal is going to flourish anytime in the near future.

I knew from hearing the pre-release track “A Suicide Aware” that Iris Divide was special, and the full album reinforces the point. “The Everlasting Sea” comes out of the gates with plenty of tricky riffing and unusual rhythms, but they lead into big melodies with strong hooks and vocals. Their progressive playing isn't meant for show, it's a tool used to set a tone that juxtaposes with the more melodic moments. Finding the proper balance between these elements is not easy, and many a band have failed miserably trying to do so, but Iris Divine doesn't. On their debut record, they show a skill some bands have spent their entire careers failing to learn.

What I love most about the record is that it can be seen in many different lights. If you like straight-ahead metal, there is plenty of heavy riffing and pounding drumming here to keep you satisfied. If you like progressive music, these songs have twists and turns, and Rush-like keyboards, in enough quantity to match the djent crowd. And if you're a fan of old-school radio rock, the choruses in these songs will be music to your ears. Keeping all three of these in mind at the same time can be tricky, but it's worth the effort.

For being a trio, “Karma Sown” is a massive sounding record. The production is flawless, big and clear, without ever sounding too polished. The heavy parts are heavy, the vocals are up front, and you would never believe this was a self-produced record that was crowd-funded. I can put it up against many, many of the big label releases, and it would win the fight.

In fact, I can think of a dozen so-called progressive metal bands that should immediately hand over their label contracts to Iris Divine, because it's a crime that a band that is advancing progressive metal in the right direction doesn't have the backing of one of the labels. Not to name names, but this album would be bigger than half of the progressive metal released this year if it had the media push behind it.

In case you haven't noticed, what I'm saying is that “Karma Sown” is a fantastic debut, and the future of progressive metal. Iris Divine isn't a Dream Theater clone, and they're not djent. What they have done is integrate all the strains of progressive metal into a singular sound, one that could set the standard moving forward. If every band sounded this good, progressive metal wouldn't need to be underground. “Karma Sown” is the best progressive metal album of the year, bar none." - Bloody Good Horror

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • By now everyone knows that Cherry Five was the precursor to Goblin before they signed with Cinevox.  Original drummer Carlo Bordini (of Rustichelli - Bordini fame) and vocalist Tony Tartarini have formed a new version of the band.  Bordini and Tartarini have enlisted Taproban keyboardist Gianluca De Rossi and rounded out the lineup with Ludovico Piccinini (guitar) and Pino Sallusti (bass).So the obvious question is - how is it?  Its a two part answer.  First off its 40 years since the first Cherry Red album was recorded.  This sounds nothing at all like Cherry Red or Goblin.  Tartarini sings in Italian and the music doesn't have the Yes vibe that the original lineup had.  But the second part is actually good news.  The music is a three part conceptual work with epic length tracks.  This fits right into the RPI ("Rock Progressivo Italiano" for those that don't know) vein.  Like his work with the terribly underrated Taproban, De Rossi is the focal point of the band's sound.  Piccinini's guitar tone is a bit modern sounding for the vibe they are trying for but its got a dark energy that fits in well with the keys.  This one's going to be a grower and an easy recommendation.
    $16.00
  • Here is the info from the Steamhammer press release:Iced Earth frontman Jon Schaffer isnt one of those metal musicians who only want to entertain their fans with their music. On the contrary, Schaffer uses his compositions to acquaint his fans with historic events and to kindle their interest in subjects that they probably wouldnt have access to otherwise. He has repeatedly proved to be an artist who is fascinated by politics and history and looks beyond the boundaries of his genre, basing his songs on educational objectives. Iced Earths 2003 album, The Glorious Burdon, was a milestone in terms of music and subject matter. Particularly the concert version of Gettysburg (1863) is a successful opener to a historic chapter that is directly linked to the contemporary US. The brand-new double DVD of the same name is about to round off Schaffers ambitious project.In three parts (The Devil To Pay, Hold At All Costs, High Water Mark), Iced Earth narrate the historic events that took place in that legendary location in Pennsylvania in July 1863, when the Confederate troops met the Union in the most blood-soaked battle ever on American soil. Iced Earth and their Gettysburg DVD chronicle this dramatic historic subject in language, images and sound more comprehensively than any other rock band before them.Ive visited the original battle sites several times and read a lot of books about the subject, says Schaffer. But Id never claim to be a Gettysburg expert. I can still find out much more about it because Ive realized: the more you study this battle, the more different points of view youll discover.Also included for the first time is the track in two different 5.1 Surround Sound versions (Metal and Orchestral).DVD 1Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 (Metal Mix)Dolby Digital 5.1 (Orcheastral Mix)Dolby Digital 2.0Aspect Ratio: 4:3Running Time:132 minSpecials: Gettysburg Battlefield TourSpirit of '76Photo GalleryTrailerLyrics (optional)Region Code: AllVideo Standard: NTSCDVD 2Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0Aspect Ratio: 4:3Running Time:63 minSpecials: When The Eagle Cries (Video)The Reckoning (Video)Jon Schaffer Interview
    $12.00
  • This is a new project put together by ex-Xystus drummer Ivo van Dijk.  Its cut from a similar cloth to that band's Equilibrio album in that its a full blown epic all-star project.  While Equilibrio was based on an opera, Karmaflow is actually based on a video game that Ivo was involved in developing.  The album features the Metropole Orchestra and the following participants:Vocalists:Simone Simons - EpicaMark Jansen - Epica, MaYanDani Filth - Cradle Of FilthLindsay Schoolcraft - Cradle Of FilthMarc Hudson - DragonforceAlica White-Gluz - Arch EnemyElyse Ryd - AmarantheCharlotte Wessels - DelainHennning Basse - Rage, MaYanMariangela Demurtas - TristaniaTony Kakko - Sonata ArcticaDaniël de Jongh - TexturesLisette van den Berg - Scarlet StoriesBas Dolmans - XystusMusicians:Ariën van Weesenbeek - EpicaCoen Janssen - EpicaRuud Jolie - Within TemptationIvo Severijns - PowerplaySander Gommans - HDKMerel Bechtold - Delain, MaYan, Purest Of PainBob Wijtsma - Blaze Of DarknessLuuk van Gerven - After ForeverUri Dijk - Textures, EtherealWill SchutAnd did I mention the Metropole Orchestra?  Yes I did.  Again.This one is crazy good.  Highest recommendation.
    $14.00
  • Remastered with 2 bonus tracks."Over the course of their first three late-'70s albums, Foreigner had firmly established themselves (along with Journey and Styx) as one of the top AOR bands of the era. But the band was still looking for that grand slam of a record that would push them to the very top of the heap. Released in 1981, 4 would be that album. In producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange -- fresh off his massive success with AC/DC's Back in Black -- guitarist and all-around mastermind Mick Jones found both the catalyst to achieve this and his perfect musical soulmate. Lange's legendary obsessive attention to detail and Jones' highly disciplined guitar heroics (which he never allowed to get in the way of a great song) resulted in a collaboration of unprecedented, sparkling efficiency where not a single note is wasted. "Nightlife" is only the first in a series ("Woman in Black," "Don't Let Go," the '50s-tinged "Luanne") of energetic, nearly flawless melodic rockers, and with "Juke Box Hero," the band somehow managed to create both a mainstream hit single and a highly unique-sounding track, alternating heavy metal guitar riffing, chorused vocals, and one of the ultimate "wanna be a rock star" lyrics. As for the mandatory power ballad, the band also reached unparalleled heights with "Waiting for a Girl Like You." One of the decade's most successful cross-genre tearjerkers, it has since become a staple of soft rock radio and completely eclipsed the album's other very lovely ballad, "Girl on the Moon," in the process. And last but not least, the surprisingly funky "Urgent" proved to be one of the band's most memorable and uncharacteristic smash hits, thanks to Junior Walker's signature saxophone solo. Through it all, vocalist Lou Gramm does his part, delivering a dazzling performance that confirmed his status as one of the finest voices of his generation. Three years later, Foreigner would achieve even greater success on a pop level with the uneven Agent Provocateur, but by then Jones and Gramm were locked in an escalating war of egos that would soon lead to the band's demise. All things considered, 4 remains Foreigner's career peak." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • With their departure from the label, AFM Records has seen fit to release this lavish compilation. The 2 cd set is 130 minutes worth of 24 bit remastered album material, videos, unreleased live and studio material.
    $16.00
  • "Jon Lord, the long-time Deep Purple keyboardist, always wanted a studio recording of his famed Concerto For Group and Orchestra. Only recently did he publicly make this wish a reality. In what turned out to be his swan song, he recorded Concerto For Group and Orchestra .Lord assembled guest musicians such as Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, Joe Bonamassa and Steve Morse in the Abbey Road Studios, to work with his trusted partner, director Paul Mann, on the 2012 version of the legendary concert."Over these last years since leaving Deep Purple, I've played it over 30 times with different orchestras and conductors all over the world, and, of course, in 2000 I did it well over 30 times with Purple on the Concerto tour, so I've been honing the piece live on stage, and I ve had the opportunity to change things in the score that weren t sounding quite right. It is therefore a marvelous and exciting prospect to have the definitive recording of the definitive version of the score." (Jon Lord May 2011)On July 16, 2012, Jon Lord passed away in London at 71 years old. This album is a joyful testament of a great musician and fantastic man."His dignity and graciousness touched us all. His music was an inspiration and took us to places beyond our imagination... A truly great man. We humbly express our eternal love and great respect." Tribute from Deep Purple upon the passing of Jon Lord."
    $11.00
  • "Despite what the name might lead you to think, progressive metal is among the most static and boring of all heavy music genres. Half the bands that fall under the moniker exist merely as a vehicle to show off the skills of the players involved, which is fine in small doses, but rarely sustains a creative career. The other half of the bands stick rigidly to the blueprint of one of the fore-bearers of the genre, giving us music that sounds exactly like something we've already heard. Very little of progressive metal is actually interesting, because it is a genre that lacks people dedicated to the art of songwriting. Songs are what makes any band successful, no matter how much sheer musical skill they possess. Dream Theater didn't get to where they are just because they are amazing musicians, they also wrote a slew of great songs and albums. The number of progressive metal bands who have impressed me with their songwriting in recent years is miniscule, but I mention all of this because Ascendia is one of them.As “At The End Of It All” swells into focus with a tribal drum beat and chanted vocals, it's already obvious that this is not going to be prog-by-numbers. The song kicks into gear with a syncopated guitar riff, before the vocals soar over the top of everything, slapping a thick coat of melody atop the sound. There's a quiet section in the middle of the song that feels like a cousin of Killswitch Engage, which is a fresh sound to hear in this kind of music. When it opens back up into the chorus, the song is massive, and it's hard to believe all of that music was contained in five and a half minutes.The songs on the album are more bite-sized than typical progressive metal, but that plays into the band's strengths as songwriters. By keeping the songs lean and tight, they hit harder than if the instrumental sections had been extended by a minute here and there. There is interesting playing going on, but it's all done within the framework of the songs, and never put out front to dominate the spotlight. It's an approach that is smart not just because of how easy it is to get bogged down in instrumental pyrotechnics, but because an album of that sort would never be able to survive the Herculean vocal presence of singer Nick Sakal.With more than a little bit of similarity to the former singer of the aforementioned Killswitch Engage, Howard Jones, Sakal's vocals dominate the album, making you wonder where a voice like that could have come from. His baritone is warm, rich, and not at all what you would expect to hear in a band that isn't playing down-tuned hardcore.But what is most important are the songs, and that's where Ascendia proves themselves as standouts. Whether tackling more modern fare like “Remember Me”, or more traditionally melodic songs like “Moonchild”, there's a phenomenal blend of heavy riffing and soaring melody. I can't tell you how rare it is to hear a progressive metal band that is so in tune with melody, and can write songs that could stand up if they were stripped down to the chord structure and the vocals. We get an example of that with the duet ballad, “The Song That You Deserved”, a largely piano and voice song that is as beautiful as it is heart-breaking. Ascendia's ear for songs is excellent, and that is what makes “The Lion And The Jester” such an engaging listen. Song after song, there's a warm and inviting chorus waiting to wrap its arms around you after you've heard the heavy and intricate moments.This year has been off to a ridiculously great start, with at least half a dozen legitimately great records having already come my way. Add “The Lion And The Jester” to that list, because Ascendia is making progressive metal the way it was always supposed to be. Both challenging and gratifying, intense and cathartic, “The Lion And The Jester” is a phenomenal piece of work that reminds me of the very best progressive metal I've ever heard. This is an album you need to hear.Oh, and how awesome is that cover art? That is one album that will look as good as it sounds in a collection." - Bloody Good Horror
    $10.00
  • Deluxe digibook edition comes with a bonus CD featuring an instrumental mix of the album."After an absence of three years, and several personal trials and tribulations, Austria's Edenbridge arrives with their eighth studio album, The Bonding. Edenbridge has never done anything half way or half-heartedly, sideways or otherwise. So what could the band do to turn the knobs to 11 for their grand symphonic power metal?How about recording with a full orchestra to make those symphonic parts sound even more grand than simple synthesizer twiddling? Through the support of fans and sponsors, Edenbridge was able the Klangvereinigung Orchestra of Vienna to push the band's already impressive symphonic sonics to the stratosphere and beyond.Is this to say that this substantial addition makes The Bonding great, even more spectacular than previous Edenbridge outings? Well ... yeah. There are oodles of melodic symphonic metal bands, many with female lead vocalists, producing their large bombastic sound. Putting the orchestra into the symphonic seems like a no-brainer. Edenbridge gets it right. The orchestra, the symphonic parts of the arrangements, are exactly that, a part of each arrangement. They neither lead nor smother any song, but they certainly add authenticity to Edenbridge's chosen style. The opener Mystic River is a perfect example of this balance.And you still get nice keyboards, big riffs and even bigger solos, and Sabine Edelsbacher’s voice, which sounds better than ever. She's smooth, controlled, clear, and simply powerful. Listening to her on Alight A New Tomorrow, The Invisible Force, or Death Is Not The End, by example, are impressive as they are inspiring.Perhaps we've hit the highlights of The Bonding. All these elements find their culmination, apex as it were, in the title cut which closes the album. It's better than 15 minutes of symphonic melodic power metal bliss. It also features Ms. Edelsbacher in duet with Erik Martensson (WET, Eclipse). Holy shiite! What an awesome combination. The song also displays that aforementioned balanced, more than nuanced, of the orchestra for the symphonic parts with entire arrangement. Principal composer Lanvall desires major kudos for this musical score. The Bonding is grand, engaging, and entertaining, more than a little epic, melodic symphonic power metal from a terrific band. Is it their best album yet? Could be. Strongly recommended." - Danger Dog
    $17.00
  • SpiRitual is the brand-new ethno metal project of Stefan Hertrich, vocalist/songwriter for the long running German gothic metal band Darkseed, and sound track composer for PC games. Supported by international guest musicians, the 29 year old artist hits the road again to explore distant cultures and alternative ways of thinking, as he did in 1999 (Betray My Secrets) and 2004 (Shiva in Exile, awarded with the American Just Plain Folks Music Award in the category "best new age/world album 2004"). Combining distant melancholic aesthetics with hard metal elements, the first release entitled "Pulse" offers 8 epic ethno metal tracks. Brutal metal vocals and mercilessly down-tuned guitars are mixed with warm ethnic instruments and female vocals, creating a dynamic and energetic listening experience.In his role as a writer, Hertrich as usual sees the world critically, but instead of observing the outer grievances under social and political viewpoints, he dips directly into the listener to show him his worst enemy on his way to growth and self-realization: doubts and fears. The lyrics of "Pulse" don´t focus on hopelessness but motivate the listener/reader to recognize and establish positive character attributes slumbering in every human soul: courage, inner strength, sensibility, respect.In cooperation with the German author and scientist D. Ph. Christian Rätsch and the Russian video team Deviant Creations, a multimedia section was created, including a video clip as well as text material of the author and Stefan himself. Being a world-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist Rätsch spent three years of fieldwork among the Lacandone Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, being the only European fluent in their language. His numerous fieldworks also have included research in Thailand, Bali, the Seychelles, and a long-term study (18 years) on shamanism in Nepal combined with expeditions to Korea and the Peruvian and Columbian Amazon. Atmospheric flutes and percussion insets were arranged by the Columbian Shaman Kajuyali Tsamani.Also appearing: female vocals by Gaby Koss (former Haggard, Germany) and Yana Veva (Theodor Bastard, Russia), drums by Maurizio Guolo (Darkseed, Germany) and guitar solos by the German artists Christian Bystron (Megaherz), René Berthiaume (Equilibrium) and Markus Glanz (Koyaanisqatsy).
    $5.00
  • "The German band DAWN OF DESTINY is formed in 2005 by Jens Faber. “Praying To The World” is their fourth full length album released through Phonotraxx Records. A wonderful Power Metal album with Thrash, Death and Gothic influences that contains 15 songs and that does last longer than 75 minutes, making me feel lucky to have picked this album to review, simply because I just loved this album.DAWN OF DESTINY is not the first band that did step into the world of Power Metal and without doubt they won’t be the last one and even though “Praying To The World” contains the familiar Power Metal sound, it also contains other influences. However the way the other  influence are mixed in gives this album an almost magical sound, showing a world filled with fast moving adventure, the good, the bad and miracles, but with roots inside reality and lots of energy to share with the listener.The main energy behind “Praying To The World” did catch my attention right from the beginning, simply because it shines through every song on the album. Energy that’s strong and moving even during the slower parts, making this album a perfect travel partner for those who are on their way with any kind of transportation vehicle, but this album’s also a great listen while taking a long walk.DAWN OF DESTINY did put down an awesome album with skilled players in a tight teamwork spirit. The bass, drum, guitar and keyboard players are able to create different spheres perfectly, but so does the vocalists on this album. Just love the way DAWN OF DESTINY combines different kind of vocals beautifully together on their album “Praying To The World”. They combined clear high and low vocals with easy to follow growling and grunts, able to touch much more than just the beauty and the beast. Giving this album an extra dimension and with that an extra touch. I’m happy to have bumped into DAWN OF DESTINY with their album “Praying To The World”." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • Limited numbered edition of 3000, double LP set.This was an extremely well produced album that simply was a bit flat - not commercial enough for the general public and not prog enough for their fans. Parts of it are actually very Floyd-like and yeah there are moments that are pretty damn awesome but overall this is my least favorite of their catalogue.  Your mileage may vary.
    $20.00
  • "At first glance I was not entirely convinced there was a genuine reason for this release, after all the guitar legend scooped Prog Magazine’s 2013 Progressive Music Award for “Event Of The Year” following another Genesis Revisited sell out performance at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. So why the release of a second CD/DVD box set inside of 12 months capturing his Genesis Revisited tour only this time filmed at the Royal Albert Hall?Any artist/group would choose the Royal Albert Hall over the Hammersmith Odeon just on prestige alone, and maybe Steve choose to record this event for posterity, after all the reaction to the tour – worldwide – has been unprecedented, with more UK dates added in October / November 2014 to satisfy demand.But there must be more to it than that, and there is, a change in the setlist.But this does present something of a quandary for fans. Is it worth buying ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ in addition to ‘Hammersmith’? And if you have neither, which one then is the better buy?The set list was altered for the second leg of the tour, with the ‘Albert Hall’ gig gaining ‘Carpet Crawlers’, ‘The Return Of The Giant Hogweed’, ‘Horizons’, ‘Ripples’ and ‘The Fountain Of Salmacis’ at the expense of Hammersmith’s ‘The Chamber Of 32 Doors’, ‘The Lamia’, ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’, ‘Blood On The Rooftops’, ‘Entangled’ and ‘Eleventh Earl Of Mar’.In order to re-live such a seminal chapter of prog rock history live on stage for Genesis Revisited, Hackett surrounded himself with a team of exceptional musicians including keyboardist Roger King (Gary Moore, Snoop Dog, Jamelia), Gary O’Toole (Chrissie Hynde, Kylie Minogue) on drums, percussion and vocals, Rob Townsend (Eddie Henderson, Bill Bruford, Django Bates) on sax, flute and percussion, Lee Pomeroy (Rick Wakeman, Take That) on bass, and Nad Sylvan (Abbas’s Michael B Tretow) on vocals.Special guests are Roine Stolt and Amanda Lehmann reprising their respective album contributions on ‘The Return Of The Giant Hogweed’ and ‘Ripples’, Ray Wilson does exceptionally well with lead vocal on ‘Carpet Crawlers’ plus ‘I Know What I Like’, and not to be outdone, a certain John Wetton sings on ‘Firth Of Fifth’.Deconstruct this, analyze it, and then put it all back together again, and then you really have a choice to make, Visually and audibly, there’s little to pick between these stunningly masterful performances, the only choice you have to make, is which songs you want to hear, and being Genesis fans we want to hear them all, so if you have one, buy the other, and if you have none, buy them both, as you will regret it if you don’t." - Planet MoshFull track listing:1. Dance On A Volcano2. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight3. Fly On A Windshield4. Broadway Melody of 19745. Carpet Crawlers (w/ Ray Wilson)6. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed (w/ Roine Stolt)7. The Musical Box8. Horizons9. UnquietSlumbersForTheSleeprs10. In That Quiet Earth11. Afterglow12. I Know What I Like (w/ Ray Wilson)13. Firth of Fifth (w/ John Wetton)14. Ripples (w/ Amanda Lehmann)15. The Fountain of Salmacis16. Supper’s Ready17. Watcher of the Skies18. Los Endos
    $15.00
  • "In what seemed like an eternity since the details on the second Darkology album surfaced in December 2013, the running joke was that the second album should be renamed “Fated to Never Be Released.” “Official leaks” of demo tracks surfaced ahead of a European tour “in support of the album” (and without Carptenter who had other commitments). The demos only served to deepen fan desire for the release, as they revealed vocalist Kelly Sundown Carpenter (ex-Firewind live, Adagio) absolutely KILLING IT with a sharpened buzz saw edge that makes Ripper Owens look like an absolute chump. Flash forward to 2015 and finally a release date through Prime Eon and/or Nightmare (depending on where you live) would happen in late Spring. Was it all worth the wait, agony and hype? You betcha it was.The album is a steamroller from start to finish – with some parts here and there that tend to drift slightly (the title track for one) – but it never disappoints. As evidenced in the demos, Carpenter proves why he should be a vocalist in demand as he drives home the heaviness with his ultra-sharp brilliant delivery. Unlike most singers who like to live in the rafters, Kelly pulls it off with zero annoyance. His shredding high end is absolutely essential given the musical assault of riffs (from the great Michael Harris of Thought Chamber) and pounding rhythms (from bassist Michael Neal and drummer Brian Harris) that back it up. Though not similar in style per se as total impact, “Fated to Burn” gives me the same feel as the first time I heard Winter’s Bane’s “Heart of a Killer” and Sanctuary’s “Refuge Denied,” where the first blush with both the young Ripper Owens and Warrell Dane were absolutely life changing. If you add a little dose of “Breaker” era Accept and a tiny drop of Symphony X you have just the tip of just how brilliant “Fated to Burn” truly is.The Harris brothers have struck upon an exciting formula of U.S. power and traditional with just a touch of progressive. In terms of comparison with 2009’s “Altered Reflections,” this album packs five times the punch and power, sure to please fans that prefer metal heavy, guitar driven, and with shredding vocals. The album is a flurry of amazing grinding riffs with Kelly’s lethal vox that make tracks like “Shadows of Oth,” “Quantum Genocide,” “Kill Me If You Can,” “21st Century Frankenstein (Nobot 2)” and personal favorite “Festival of Fear” sound, and in many ways exceed, “Painkiller.” In fact, Darkology is a Metal Church for a new generation – and “Fated to Burn” leaves such an indelible vibe of “The Dark” that I swear the spirit of circa-1986 David Wayne seems to have implanted itself inside of Kelly.In one of the most exciting and pure metal releases in well over a decade, “Fated to Burn” is well worth the wait. Darkology stakes its claim in a busy circuit and with one flap of burning wings created an album that can easily be labeled an instant classic, thus raising its stock as one of the best U.S. bands out there today. This isn’t a mere claim only to be dashed away by a short time – this is the real deal! If you call yourself a fan of metal than heed these words….”Fated to Burn” lives up to and exceeds any hype you may have for it. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the band, then you picked the right time, because the album isn’t “fated to burnout” anytime soon. Darkology has arrived.Highs: One of the best pure metal albums in a decade, Kelly Sundown Carpenter shines.Lows: Some songs drift a little, but not by much.Bottom line: Darkology strikes back with an album that is "Fated to Burn" into the memory for a long long time." - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • "The Contortionist are really speaking my Language (PUN!) on their first full-length with Last Chance to Reason's Michael Lessard on vocals.Last year I went to see Between The Buried and Me and one of the openers was The Contortionist. I knew of them vaguely from my college radio days, but couldn't recall much. I was mainly interested in seeing them because Michael Lessard of Last Chance To Reason had just been announced as their permanent vocalist, and I fucking LOVE(D?) Last Chance To Reason. The set was mostly (if not entirely) from their album Intrinsic and was pretty solid, but I felt like Lessard was a little out of place. He wasn't quite at his full potential. This brings us to Language, and this is Lessard and existing Contortionist members at their best.Language opens with a melodic piece comprised almost entirely of vocal layers that I could really only compare to something on the level of Imogen Heap. The album keeps the melody going on the following track "Language I: Intuition" and it is fucking gorgeous. With the exception of a few parts the song suppresses the metal, instead opting for a rhythmic post rock feel. The heaviness does pick up as the album progresses, but there is definitely and ebb and flow (an idiom that appears a lot in the album) happening that favors the prettier side of the band, and I don't have a problem with it. There is still quite a bit to headbang to with the very next tracks, "Language II: Conspire," "Integration" and more.  So don't fret, they haven't gone soft by any means.It's unclear to me how much of the album is the added influence of Lessard, and how much is natural growth here. The band was able to progress their sound enough while staying grounded in who they are. I find this is rare for a band in general, but especially rare for a band often lumped into the "djent" category. This record is a lot more of everything that worked. It is heavier when it needs to be, it is bigger when it needs to be, it is prettier when it needs to be, etc. For example, "Thrive" could have easily fit anywhere into Intrinsic for about the first minute or two, but then Lessard soars and the song crescendos into pure atmospheric metal glory to a level they hadn't achieved before.I realize much of this review is praising Michael Lessard's vocal abilities, and if Level 3 didn't already cement him as one of the best voices in modern metal/rock/whatever, this album should (I mean, just listen to him on "Ebb & Flow"!). However, this band is really tight and unique regardless of who is the voice. Often bands in the rhythmic, atmospheric, progressive blah blah blah, genre will give in to tropes of the genre, The Contortionist either avoids them or spins them enough to make them seem outside of the box. So many bands will have one guitarist chugging along in wacky rhythms with the bassist and drummer while the other guitarist noodles over the top, and it's just so overdone. These guys will either have everyone noodling in a cool way interweaving with one another, or they just go different directions completely. This could be said about previous records as well I'm sure, it's just especially notable here.This album is not everyone. If you're quick to lazily label any rhythmic progressive band out there as "djent" and dismiss them accordingly, you should probably just not bother here. This album is for fans of progressive music, atmospheric metal, theory nerds, and especially the previous work of either LCTR or The Contortionist.I was a much bigger Last Chance fan going into Language, but this has really turned me on to The Contortionist more. This is a fantastic release that is best digested as one long piece." - Metal Injection
    $13.00