King For A Day

SKU: KAR091CD
Label:
Karisma Records
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Its been quite a long time since we've heard from Magic Pie.  They went through lots of trials and tribulations getting this album finished but now its finally arrived.  If you are not familiar with this band here's the deal: Magic Pie are a Norwegian band with a retro 70s sound.  The music is a bit of a high wire act balancing the neo-prog sounds of The Flower Kings with the heavier elements of classic Uriah Heep.  They also seem to be the darlings of Rosfest having played there multiple times.

"It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since these proggers from Norway released their promising debut "Motions of Desire". At that time, their music struck me as an enthusiastic combination of classic prog and classic hard rock. (Think Deep Purple for the hard rock side of that equation.) At their best, they offered memorable passages and pieces that sounded like they very well could have been long lost recordings from many years ago. At their worst, they sometimes fell short of filling the big shoes of the legendary bands whose music they strove to emulate. That's actually not bad for a debut album from a new prog band. I found much to like and looked forward to hearing from them again in the future.

Checking back in on them a decade later, I must say that I am very impressed with how they have developed and matured. No longer do I get the feeling that certain sections of songs are direct homages to any particular band from any one particular decade of prog's illustrious history. Their influences, while still very present and valid, are now more varied, including a greater percentage of modern reference points. More importantly, their influences are just that--merely influences rather than templates or even primary reference points.

The sound quality on "King for a Day" is superb thanks in large part to the enlistment of sonic genius Rich Mouser (whose resume includes similar work for prominent contemporaries like Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Dream Theater).

Keyboardist Erling Hananger is an excellent addition to Magic Pie's recipe. His keyboard parts are expressive, dynamic and integral to the music. When appropriate, his leads seamlessly blend, harmonize, and work synergistically with electric guitar.

The lyrics have a melodramatic and somewhat tragic flair this time around, but this is prog so you should be accustomed to the musical ride including a few tragic tales from time to time by now, right?

OK ' so it's time for the "magic" question... A decade after their debut album, how has my impression of Magic Pie changed?

On "King for a Day", I now hear a band which has found "its own voice", one that resonates confidently in the space somewhere between classic arena rock of yesteryear (on prog-steroids of course) and modern melodic prog of the 21st Century (like Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings). Add a few dashes of modern prog-metal to taste and you, my friend, have baked up a very nice confection indeed... MAGIC PIE!

If you love modern prog anthems with big harmonies and 'sing along' choruses, give "King for a Day" a listen! I'm glad I did!" - ProgArchives

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  • "This story began in 1973 when Museo Rosenbach recorded their magnificent debut album Zarathustra that still is one of the boldest and most beautiful work in Classic Italian Prog and in contemporary music in general. And now nearly forty years later this new Italian band Il Tempio delle Clessidre (name taken from one song on the Zarathustra suite) performs the Zarathustra album in its entirety and most importantly and luckily, they perform it with respect to the original feel with original (obviously true analog sound I guess) and don´t try to change it to today´s "standards" in any way, with exception of some jamming that features nice Moog soloing from the great Elisa Montaldo on Superuomo. She´s also a great vocalist and is another lead voice on the Zarathustra, with Stefano "Lupo" Califi the original voice in Museo Rosenbach. And yet the sound is their very own, it´s just a bit different in colour. Actually their performance of Zarathustra is so mature in everything that I couldn´t have had believed to expect. If an inexperienced listener doesn´t know Museo Rosenbach ever existed he/she would be completely fooled by Elisa & boys as playing their very own music, they are that good. Bravo ! What a nice surprise. The band gives the very best and Zarathustra revisited is a superb performance and does honor and does justice to legendary band Museo Rosenbach.Il Tempio delle Clessidre is an incredible debut album and for me is like a continuation to the Zarathustra epic, in a way. It represents the softer, female side of the subject, of course thanks to Elisa´s compositions and performance. Don´t get me wrong, it is far from mellow or dull passages. On the contrary, it contains some very heavy moments, like all great music does. The music of both Rosenbach and Clessidre have the power, grandeur and, most importantly emotion as the best Italian (prog) music always is so very special of. Clessidre is a bold evidence that RPI is very alive and kicking, so to speak. Because music is foremost and most importantly emotion, in the positive sense and that´s the essence of all .Oh yes, the second part of the show features they own songs from the superb eponymous first album. Elisa Montaldo is the main composer and I just can´t stop admiring her enthusiasm for classic Italian prog that is so clear in her compositions. She is the most important female instrumentalist and writer in Prog of today. There are many good prog bands in modern Italian scene but Clessidre is very hard to surpass, both musically and as a performing unit. They are unique in modern Italian rock and in Prog Rock in general, they create a universe of their very own. There are not so many bands lead by a woman, particularly in Prog and especially in Italian scene, aren´t there. With the vocalist of Museo Rosenbach, Stefano "Lupo" Califi and the lovely lady Elisa this is a magical line-up.Needles to say there´s no single dull moment. This is a fine document of a very special band in modern prog, namely the "Lupo" Califi era Clessidre. Alongside the Italian Prog Exhibition (4 DVD set from 2010) this the very best DVD release in modern prog rock music so far, obviously a very hard job for any band to make better, particularly musically. Il Tempio delle Clessidre nicely represents the New Generation of Italian Prog and reigns supreme.Another nice surprise, their very first live show, in Genova they hometown in 2009 with very good sound & picture quality is in the second disc.Italian is the perfect language for symphonic progressive music, it just suits beautifully. And it´s so great to see the veteran proghead enjoying performing with his young companions who respect and prefer the origins of progressive rock, the symphonic way. They seem to understand that it´s only the music who is the true protagonist. This is a perfect union of the old & the new. This is triumphant for new Italian Prog and music itself. This all is so wonderful and extraordinary beautiful. Thank you so much, Elisa & boys." - ProgArchives
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  • "Karnataka are survivors. Since their inception at the tail end of the 1990s, they have most definitely had their ups and downs: they found some success fairly rapidly, helped in no small part by a scorched earth gigging mentality and some fairly prestigious support slots with the likes of progressive rock favourites Porcupine Tree and the much-loved, oft-lamented All About Eve. By 2004, it seemed nothing could prevent the band’s ascent to progressive rock favourites, and larger venues started to beckon.Sadly, their upward trajectory ran abruptly aground when internal relationships fractured and the band went their separate ways. One of the chief songwriters, founder member Ian Jones, decided to keep the Karnataka flame burning, however, and assembled a new-look band. Critics and fans were divided about the reborn band, but Karnataka forged ahead, delivering several well-received tours and their most successful album to date, 2010’s The Gathering Light – but just as the album finally appeared, the band found itself short-staffed once more as various members elected to pursue other interests.The Gathering Light possessed more of a progressive rock influence than any of the band’s previous albums: opening with two instrumentals, and possessed of three further tracks that all clocked in at over ten minutes in length, its sprawling atmospherics housed a haunting, soulful but introspective record which felt like a side-step from the Karnataka of old. Life had thrown many obstacles at chief writer Jones, and the album reflected them all, as Jones and the band overcame adversity to deliver a bruised but unbowed album of survivor anthems. The band’s new album, Secrets Of Angels, however, overflows with confidence: it’s not so much bruised as bruising. Here the band sound truly re-energised, thrumming with barely suppressed vitality. The progressive rock influence has for the most part been dialled back substantially, only really surfacing significantly on the epic, closing title track; the result is a much more immediate and focused album with more immediately hooky and memorable songs.Secrets Of Angels is the band’s first studio album with a new line-up, and it’s a testament to Jones’ deep understanding of the music he’s making that the new look Karnataka are so evidently a force to be reckoned with. The renewed emergy and sense of purposes within the band is exemplified by opener ‘Road To Cairo’, which fuses Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ with Jones’ fine ear for an anthemic chorus. Powered along by a relentless, powerful rhythm, it fair leaps out of the speakers, a sharp contrast with previous albums that tended to open far more gently. Incredibly, this energy level is maintained throughout the next four tracks with barely any let-up: ‘Because Of You’ opens as if it will be a gothic ballad, but soon delivers huge power chords, a dynamite vocal from vocalist Hayley Griffiths, making her first appearance – hopefully the first of many – on one of the band’s studio albums, and one of guitarist Enrico Pinna’s most outré solos to date, a cascading wail of rage and frustration that will pin you to the nearest wall. ‘Poison Ivy’ goes straight for the jugular, its chanted verses and soaring chorus underpinned by a crunching riff and elaborate orchestrations, a pattern followed by the instantly addictive ‘Forbidden Dreams’, a sprightly rocker with a hugely memorable chorus that is certain to become a sing-along favourite for fans.The album continues with ‘Borderline’, a track with two faces: after opening with another suitably gothic flourish, all wind and a tolling church bell, it reveals itself as a chugging riff-based rocker, with a grimly accusatory lyric; however, the mood is utterly transformed by the distinctly pop chorus. Catharsis and hope in the face of adversity is perhaps Karnataka’s bread and butter, and ‘Borderline’ is an almost perfect distillation of that duality. It’s followed by the highly dramatic ‘Fairytale Lies’, which is reminiscent of Within Temptation at their most balefully reflective, a glorious concoction of tumbling keys and a striking string arrangement, topped off by a lyric that is superb in its cynical acceptance of reality and Griffiths’ astonishing vocal, a masterclass in mood and atmosphere. Yet the mood lifts once again with the penultimate track, ‘Feels Like Home’, a pretty, touching ballad about discovering “the one” that happily avoids the trap many ballads fall into – the cardinal sin of over-sentimentality. The way it develops is compellingly cinematic: as the song goes on, more and more layers are added to the music and the vocal, as if the virtual camera is pulling slowly back to reveal more and more of the stage. It ends in a cascade of harmony vocals, like embers from a firework display drifting back down to earth, and is possibly one of the best ballads the band have ever delivered.After all this drama, it would take something very special indeed not to be anticlimactic, but the title track itself – all twenty minutes of it – is certainly not that. Karnataka have shown themselves to be masters of longer pieces before, never falling into the self-conscious prog trap of simply pasting together a bunch of disparate pieces of music and hoping for the best. Although this magnum opus is comprised of seven separately numbered and titled parts – count ‘em! – it somehow manages to feel organically grown rather than stitched together in a lab. In many ways, it’s the ultimate distillation of what the new-look Karnataka are all about: we have folky, Celtic sections featuring guest appearances from Nightwish’s Troy Donockley; delicate balladry; a pounding symphonic metal interlude, and some outright prog courtesy of penultimate section ‘In The Name Of God’, which opens like Marillion in their pomp and steadily dials up the intensity. The effect is almost total sensory overload, and it will likely take many listens to unlock all the detail, musically and lyrically. Any piece of this length has to end strongly, and happily Karnataka have saved their ace in the hole for the dying moments of the album, as everyone pulls out all the stops for the grand finale. Pinna delivers one of his most devastating solos; Donockley serves up a Uillean pipe solo to die for, and the rhythm section get stuck in as Cagri and the assembled string section provide a backdrop of dizzying beauty for Griffiths to deliver possibly her finest vocal to date. It’s unspeakably moving, a beautiful lament for the losers on the battlefields of life and love that will quite likely require more than one handkerchief.It feels wrong to call current vocalist Hayley Griffiths the “new vocalist”, since she’s been touring with the band since very early in 2012. With a background in large musical productions (Irish dance spectaculars Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance both feature in her quite extensive CV), fronting a rock band was something completely new for Griffiths, and it isn’t perhaps surprising that the first batch of dates she undertook with the band – where the live release New Light was recorded – saw her nailing the demanding vocal parts without breaking a sweat, but looking slightly self-conscious on stage. As anyone who has seen the band recently will attest, any inhibitions that Griffiths may once have had on stage are long since gone, and that confidence has found its way onto the album, where she delivers a flawless, powerful performance. From fiery rock vocals to the lofty, operatic extreme of her range, Griffiths is perfectly on point throughout, as at home with riff-based rockers like ‘Road to Cairo’ and ‘Poison Ivy’ as she is with the gothic balladry of ‘Fairytale Lies’. It’s a bravura showcase for a highly gifted performer, and it’s practically impossible to come away from hearing her in action here not having reached the conclusion that she is the perfect foil for the band. Powerfully charismatic, hugely versatile and technically magnificent, her vocals on the closing title track in particular shame many better known female rock vocalists.Çağrı Tozluoğlu, on keys, is a similarly impressive recruit. Eschewing the more traditional progressive rock influences of previous keysman Gonzalo Carrera, Tozluoğlu brings a welcome modernity to the band. His soloing is sparsely used, but when it does appear (as on ‘Poison Ivy’), it’s wonderfully fluid. Where Tozluoğlu excels is in his shaping of mood and his orchestrations: his epic approach to arrangement means that this is the biggest-sounding Karnataka album to date. The danger of dialling up the drama is that sonically the music is weighed down until it sounds overwrought, but Tozluoğlu knows exactly when a bit more is too much. Nowhere is this more evident than in the expansive title track, where the gradual crescendoes and sudden juddering launches into explosive instrumental sections are handled with a very fine hand. Even as the song builds more and more layers upon Tozluoğlu’s musical architecture, it never feels like drama for the sake of drama; it all feels natural, logical.Last of the new arrivals is the most recent one, French drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi, whose performance here is frankly the stuff of future legend. With all the energy of progressive legends like Mike Portnoy, Pallagrosi’s explosive playing lends the material added potency and urgency whilst anchoring it to earth, playing a key role in giving it real weight and momentum. His Bonham-esque voyages around his kit during ‘Road to Cairo’ are a joy to hear; at the same time, his restraint on some of the quieter pieces – such as ‘Fairytale Lies’ – demonstrates a keen musicality and a knowledge of where to leave space for the music to breathe. In a world seemingly filled with drummers who appear to treat every song as a drum solo, Pallagrosi’s keen sense of dynamics is both refreshing and exactly what the material needs. He is, in short, the right drummer at the right time.Secrets Of Angels is a triumph. Wonderfully melodic, hugely dramatic without being in any way corny, varied in feel yet somehow effortlessly cohesive, beautifully recorded and mixed, and very sympathetically mastered, it is fairly easily the best-sounding album the band have made. The material is fabulously strong, and managed to both tread new ground and sound like ‘classic’ Karnataka at the same time – no mean feat, especially with all the new blood involved in its writing. As the epic title track draws to a breathless close, the listener may find themselves exhausted – drained by an album that runs the full gamut of emotions and leaves no stone unturned in its quest to powerfully move anyone who takes the time to sit down with it and listen. Hands down, the band’s finest hour, and a validation of the belief and skills of the new-look band. The only difficulty Karnataka now face is how to top it." = Echoes And Dust
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  • Quite a bit of buzz has been circulating about this young Swedish symphonic rock band. The band formed in 2003 and sent a demo off to Tomas Bodin, keyboardist extraordinare for The Flower Kings. Tomas basically took the band under his wing and produced this album (as well as providing some keys in spots). The music has a real positive vibe without getting spiritual. A prime influence on the band seems to be Yes. The opening track "Doorway" sounds like an out take from the Going For The One sessions. One of the best aspects of this band is their vocal harmonies which at times sound like The Beach Boys! The vocal layers blend in with the Mellotron to glorious effect. The 25 minute "We Spin The World" opens with some beautiful keyboard work and then the Rickenbacker bass kicks in and we are clearly spinning around some distant moon circling the planet Flower Kings. Nothing dark and evil here - this is pure "feel good" prog rock that shows a young band displaying maturity and intelligence. Excellent first effort - check these guys out.
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  • "This is the best of the original Mekong Delta albums. The guitar work is nothing short of spectacular with brilliant playing that reaches a depth few thrash bands ever came close to (Laaz Rockit is a critically underrated thrash band for you thrash fans out there).The album centers itself around sounding like a modern thrash version of classical music themes. Tracks like Interludium are mysterious and moving with classical lines spread throughout and a real treat not only for fans of metal but fans of classical as well. The first half of the record is better than the 2nd in my opinion, but throughout the technical playing is excellent. This, along with Watchtower's two releases, are key to the early development of progressive metal, specifically progressive thrash. The tone on this album is of note, both the bass and the guitars have some rich tones to them to complement the intensity of certain "classics" sections.If you liked Metallica but always hoped for something more, I'd suggest looking at this record, as it's some of Mekong Delta's best work and has a certain depth that more famous thrash bands never reached." - ProgArchives
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  • Budget priced slip case set featuring Judgement, A Fine Day To Exit, and A Natural Disaster.
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  • The MPS Project is a trio led by keyboardist Michael Pelz-Sherman. He's a very gifted musician who has clearly been influenced by Chick Corea and Jan Hammer.  He concentrates on electric keyboards but piano figures prominently.  The music is easily categorized as fusion in the tradition of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra but probably leans ever so slightly towards the jazz side of the spectrum.  My understanding is the band tore it up at Progday 2014.  Highly recommended."The MPS Project is a group of veteran professional musicians living in the Triangle region of North Carolina and dedicated to creating original, progressive Jazz. Our music explores the intersections of jazz, progressive rock, and 70's-style fusion in the tradition of Return to Forever and Weather Report. Informed by contemporary chamber music, collective free improvisation, and modern "jam-band" sensibilities, the MPS Project boldly and expertly covers a wide swath of musical territory, ranging from heartfelt lyrical ballads to ethereal sonic textures to complex rhythmic structures to blistering electronic funk. Their debut CD, "Goes Without Saying," features six compositions by leader Michael Pelz-Sherman, two extended free improvisations, and a unique arrangement of Steve Swallow's jazz standard, "Falling Grace"."
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  • Rob Reed is the leader and keyboardist of Magenta - we all knew this.  I think what is less well known is Rob's proficiency on other instruments.  Sanctuary is an instrumental tour-de force in which Rob plays all the instruments himself.  His clear, and unabashed, inspiration for Sanctuary is Mike Oldfield's iconic Tubular Bells album.  The imprint of Oldfield on the composition is undeniable.  Reed wears his influences on his sleeve with no shame.  He's even brought in the Tubular Bells production crew of Tony Newman and Simon Heyworth to handle production and mastering.  Its an epic sounding recording and you'll get to hear it in all its glory - the set comes with a DVD that features the album in both a 5.1 surround as well as 24/96 hi-res stereo mix.  BUY OR DIE!"Multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Robert Reed (Magenta/Kompendium), announces the release of a unique new album, Sanctuary, on 21st July through Tigermoth Records. Sanctuary is produced, mixed and engineered by Robert Reed, who is joined by legendary T u b u l a r B e l l s producers Tom Newman (as co-producer) and Simon Heyworth, who mastered the album. The album will be released in 3 formats: CD, vinyl and DVD 5.1 surround.Rob Reed was inspired to become a musician and composer at the age of seven after discovering Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. So inspired was he by the album, that he learned to play not just one, but all the instruments featured on the album. Sanctuary is the fruition of a decision that Rob made in January 2013 to utilize his abilities as a multi-instrumentalist and create an album in the style of Tubular Bells; he recalls: “The next four weeks were a blur as the music just came out. It turned out to be the most enjoyable album I’ve made. I wanted to play all the instruments, and for all of them to be real; no synthesized or sampled instruments, just the real thing.”Rob Reed was determined to keep his vision of Sanctuary intact and play all the instruments himself: “I just had a blind confidence that I could play them all. I owned all the guitars, etc in my own studio but had to hire the larger percussion instruments, like timpani’s and tubular bells, so the lead percussionist of the Welsh National Orchestra turned up with a lorry full of the most expensive percussion. For two days he frowned as I made my way through playing these instruments, like a kid in a sweet shop. Whenever I struggled he continued to ask if I wanted him to play them. I replied that I couldn’t, as it would break the pledge of making the album by myself.... Everything is played by hand by myself, except for guest vocalists, Synergy Vocals.”Reed was conscious that he was treading a fine line in preventing Sanctuary becoming a pastiche of Tubular Bells. He continues: “I worked hard to make the melodies stand on their own. I wanted to capture the emotion that Mike Oldfield managed to communicate through his playing that replaces lyrics. I wanted to use voices, but not have lyrics; just vowels combined with nonsensical words. Synergy Vocals were accustomed to this, having worked with Philip Glass and Steve Reich.”Reed secured the collaboration of Tubular Bells producers Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth after seeking their seal of approval. Reed comments: “Simon told me when he heard it, he closed his eyes and was back in the Manor Studios in 1973 and commented on how well it was executed. I contacted Tom to ask if he could offer any advice on the mix or production, and when we finally spoke, he was really complimentary and offered to get involved in the production and mixing; he also had loads of ideas about structure and arrangements. He has been invaluable with his insight and was always there when I was struggling to finish the album. All the timing errors and tuning errors are left in... it was real”.Tom Newman says: “I really enjoyed working on this - I had carte blanche and just enjoyed sculpting the sounds into shape, and placing all the beautifully crafted parts in the right places in the musical landscape . . .”Multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Robert Reed (Magenta/Kompendium), announces the release of a unique new album, Sanctuary, on 21st July through Tigermoth Records. Sanctuary is produced, mixed and engineered by Robert Reed, who is joined by legendary T u b u l a r B e l l s producers Tom Newman (as co-producer) and Simon Heyworth, who mastered the album. The album will be released in 3 formats: CD, vinyl and DVD 5.1 surround.The result is an astounding piece of emotional instrumental music."
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  • "One of the most elegantly complex and fully realized of the "difficult" Italian classics, Melos is for fans of the Osanna, Balletto di Bronzi, RRR, and Semiramis styles. I have a hunch that fans of Crimson, VDGG, and Gentle Giant will also approve. It will probably be less appreciated by fans of the gentler and more accessible bands like Celeste and Locanda delle Fate. The musical approach and the sound are very sophisticated and unique. A combination of primarily guitars, flutes and saxes are tightly woven into a very dense, often dark, unsettling, and just plain eerie feel. Some sources say there are no (or very little) keyboards used to create this sound palette which is certainly unusual. Sometimes I think I hear some but I can't be sure the way the other instruments are employed. It took me many plays to really get past the rather exhausting outer shell and discover the melodies hiding inside and now I just cannot get enough of this excellent material. This band from Naples was related to the Osanna band via the Rustici brothers, the younger one in Cervello was another example of how the very young were leaders in the Italian scene back then. Corrado Rustici was but a teenager when the band recorded Melos in Milan back in 1973. While Osanna's big album "Palepoli" generally gets the most attention my personal view is that "Melos" is a better album. While not as trippy as the wildly freaky "Palepoli" I feel that Melos is more overtly musical and more genuinely satisfying in the long run.Juan at ItalianProg describes the Cervello sound like this: "There is great deal of excellent acoustic guitar work and mellotron-like sounds created by the saxophones. The vocals coupled with the acoustic guitar and flutes hypnotize the listener into a technical yet fluid atmosphere so the music then breaks into a frenzy full of sax and adventurous guitar playing. The tempo and mood change from calm and melodic to violent and bizarre (interweaving between scales). No keyboards present, but they are not needed due to the "cerebral" arrangements these musicians have created for us on this album."[Juan Carlos Lopez] In another great review Warren Nelson sums up the sound perfectly: ".with soaring and complex melodies, compelling and angular instrumental passages culminating in some aggressive individual performances, all weaved together in a tapestry of beautiful and emotional musical syncopation. One of the few Italian prog releases without a prominent keyboard arsenal, the rich sound of this band is achieved with powerful drumming, multiple woodwinds, and intelligent scaler runs on guitar. But not least of all are the typically emotionally powerful vocals. Dynamic change-ups and exquisite group interaction complete another example of one of the finest Italian progressive albums you will ever hear."[Warren Nelson]My own take on the specific tracks: "Canto Del Capro" begins with layers of flutes over what sounds like a foghorn and cymbal splashes moving left to right in the stereo spectrum. Soon an acoustic guitar precedes delightfully freaky operatic style vocals like only the Italians can do. A thrilling opening. Suddenly the drums kick in and you think it might be "normal" for a bit but soon these ungodly compressed vocals rattle your eardrums. Strange acoustic and electric guitar flares round out the rest of this unsettling start. "Trittico" is an enchanting initially with sentimental flute melody, acoustic and vocal. Eventually a crazy sax and percussion crash the party for a bit before the soft opening style returns with additional guitar noodlings. After a brief fade the end section is a bizarre cacophony of choral voices. My one complaint is wishing the bass were a bit more clear and upfront, sometimes it is distant and muddy but it's a minor nitpick. "Euterpe" begins with acoustic and flutes again in a warm and inviting mood. This eventually leads into the full band jamming with a real e-guitar and saxophone workout. "Scinsicne" begins with guitar that sounds like it came from an outtake of "Astronomy Domine!" In comes great flute and bass interplay and then vocals which are another strong point on this album. As the band comes on full the saxes jump into the fray and the sound gets brutal. At 3:48 is one of my favorite parts of the album, these mutant bizarre sounds and drums that mimic some sinister funeral dirge. This is followed by a maniacal e-guitar solo. "Melos" features great flute and sax workouts again with another Rustici axe thrashing at the end. "Galassia" is a feast of inventive vocal interludes over beautifully played acoustic guitars. Dabbles of flute precede a full blown e-guitar freakout challenged by pursuing sax and percussion attacks. You'll need a shower after this track. "Affresco" is a rather traditional sounding closer piece, very short and there just to bring you gently back to Earth after your cerebral pummeling.I guess the reason I light up the magic star 5 would be this: Even when listening to most good albums it is evident that I am doing just that. I'm listening to a collection of songs that are just too structured and I know what is coming. They might light up my pleasure center and my brain says "oh that's a good song, let me listen to more of the same!" Melos does not allow me to stagnate. It's more like eavesdropping on someone's thoughts (presented musically) than listening to the next "killer song, dude." Their thoughts or perhaps their nightmares in this case with everything being so strange, the album starts and it's like this bizarre trip occurs. Even some of my favorite albums are relatively predictable but not Melos. With each play I still wonder what the hell is going on. It still pushes my buttons and challenges me, my definition of a genuinely progressive album. That's not the only way an album can get 5 stars from me but it is one way.This is one of the Italian albums you hear people describe as "harsh" and you might hate it the first several times you listen. Don't get discouraged. Put it away and spin it every other month..like many of the best prog albums you may end up loving it a year from now. That's how it was for me-a real grower. But while many of us are thrilled by this album it is not universally loved in the way that PFM is. It's rather confrontational sonic style does have its detractors so read plenty of reviews before you take the plunge. In my book this is essential for Italian fans and recommended for fans of stuff like "Red" era Crimson. Try to find the Japanese mini-lp sleeve edition which features decent sound and a high quality reproduction of the cool artwork. I love the cover of this album..fantastic stuff!" - ProgArchives
    $11.00
  • "My first introduction to Brazil's Hibria came with last year's DVD/CD live package Blinded By Tokyo. It seems, besides their popularity in South America, they've been a hit in Japan from earlier on in their career. The live set was good showcase for their power metal skills. Now seeking more international recognition, Hibria releases Silent Revenge through AFM Records.I'll admit I was almost put off by Silent Revenge from the start, thanks to the first, and title, cut. Silent Revenge features Andre Meyer of death metal act Distraught offering competing death vocals. I get the addition, but it's still annoying. Later, with Walking to Death, Hibria vocalist Iuri Sanson nears hardcore screamo vocals. All this makes me wonder if, in attempt to be edgier or more commercial, Hibria wants to move more towards modern metal.Alternatively, listening to Silence Will Make You Suffer, Lonely Fight, or the powerful anthem Shall I Keep on Burning (unplugged version is even better), you find both Sanson and Hibria straying little from their traditional heavy power metal roots, with emphasis on heavy. However, sometimes they get a little over ambitious as with The Way It Is. It's decent power metal, just too long. One thing Hibria has always been known for is powerful guitar leads, and there's a truck load of ripping leads all over this album. This simple, but necessary element, puts Silent Revenge beyond a better than average album. Their traditional South American and Japanese fans should enjoy this album, and the band will probably collect more fans in Europe as well. Recommended." - Danger Dog
    $15.00
  • "With Billion Dollar Babies, Alice Cooper refined the raw grit of their earlier work in favor of a slightly more polished sound (courtesy of super-producer Bob Ezrin), resulting in a mega-hit album that reached the top of the U.S. album charts. Song for song, Billion Dollar Babies is probably the original Alice Cooper group's finest and strongest. Such tracks as "Hello Hooray," the lethal stomp of the title track, the defiant "Elected" (a rewrite of an earlier song, "Reflected"), and the poison-laced pop candy of "No More Mr. Nice Guy" remain among Cooper's greatest achievements. Also included are a pair of perennial concert standards -- the disturbing necrophilia ditty "I Love the Dead" and the chilling macabre of "Sick Things" -- as well as such strong, lesser-known selections as "Raped and Freezin'," "Unfinished Sweet," and perhaps Cooper's most overlooked gem, "Generation Landslide." Nothing seemed like it could stop this great hard rock band from overtaking the universe, but tensions between the members behind the scenes would force the stellar original AC band to split up after just one more album. Not only is Billion Dollar Babies one of Cooper's very best; it remains one of rock's all-time, quintessential classics." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Riot has always been ahead of the curve, be it their powerful riff machine, or their unapologetic status as pioneers in the speed metal genre. I would like to take an opportunity to differ once again with the common viewpoint here, this is not “almost” Painkiller 2 years before; it is its doppelganger, at least in terms of kick ass aggressiveness and image. It is a more musical and complex answer to the thrash genre that it fathered; its spirit is that of a triumphant warrior cutting down its foes. While the heroic Painkiller soared through the sky putting fear into the hearts of his enemies, Thundersteel’s half-cyborg/half-tank body stood tall to face them on the ground.In 1988 metal was mostly known by its image, and if you judge these guys by that alone, they look like the bastard sons of Motley Crue and Judas Priest. But when Tony Moore blasts his high banshee voice into the microphone, he sounds like a crazed Viking Berserker ready to behead an army of frightened Romans. Mark Reale, the only remaining originator of this outfit, wields his guitar like a battle axe and challenges the likes of K.K. Downing, Dave Murray and Ross the Boss. Bobby Jarzombek, who is well known for his work with Rob Halford’s solo project, as well as several other bands, gives the performance of his life on here. Don Van Stavern keeps the bottom end solid and has a wicked bass intro in “Johnny’s Back”.There is never a dull moment on this album, from start to finish it grabs you by the throat and commands you to praise the Gods of Metal. Be it the fast as hell title track, which rivals anything Judas Priest has ever put out, or the more moderated Deep Purple riff monster “Sign of the Crimson Storm”, it screams metal. You’ve got an anthem of rebellion and non-conformity at warp speed like “Johnny’s Back” in the running, or the Manowar inspired heavy ballad “Bloodstreets”, which gives Heart of Steel a run for its money. “Fight or Fall” and “Flight of the Warrior” have memorable choruses and plenty of amazing lead work, all done by the original speed metal riff man Mark Reale, while “On Wings of Eagles” is a better produced version of something you might find on Kill Em’ All.We’ve got two highlights on this album, both of which are a good bit different than the lion’s share of speed driven songs on here. “Run for your life” is an upper mid-tempo crusher with tons of great lead guitar work, but it’s true charm is the chorus, which reminds me a bit of the high/low vocal interchanges that you hear on Dio’s early material. “Buried Alive (The Tell Tale Heart)” is actually a bit reminiscent of Crimson Glory’s work on Transcendence, which came out the same year that this did. You’ve got a rather odd spoken intro with a clean and somber guitar line, followed by some brilliant twin guitar soloing (all done by one guy, just the same way Tony Iommi did it). After 3 minutes of mind-blowing, we get a slow and evil sounding groove that grows into a brilliant homage to the NWOBHM, names like Iron Maiden and Angel Witch come to mind.In conclusion, this is a piece of metal history that demands to be listened to. If you are a power metal fan who lives for speed and melody, get your tight jeans wearing ass to the store right now. If you’re a holdover from the glory days of traditional metal and you don’t have it, get it now or risk having your credentials as a metal head questioned. If you love thrash with attitude, this gives the bands that carry that label a run for their money. Fans of Judas Priest, Manowar, Helloween, Running Wild, and Iron Maiden in particular will love this. There is a new power alive in the distance, carrying a fully charged plasma cannon, followed by an army of true metal warriors, and his name is “Thundersteel”." - Metal Archives
    $7.00