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 is not a new Lost Horizon record.There, we got that sorted out. The good news is that Daniel Heiman is finally back where he belongs: in metal. For its third outing, Harmony tapped this fan-favorite singer, but unlike recent, however successful, hijack jobs (think Michele Luppi with Secret Sphere, or further back, Urban Breed with Bloodbound), this is still one hundred percent a Swedish, religious power metal experience.After a promising start with Dreaming Awake, and a superior sophomore effort in Chapter II: The Aftermath, Chapter III at last gives us the Harmony record that I always knew the Swedes had in them. Retaining the band’s signature solemn style and subtle sense of melody, Theatre Of Redemption is bigger, better, and an overall top contender for 2014’s album of the year.Just how much has this to do with Heiman himself? Of course, hiring a man of his not inconsiderable talent is certain to lend your work that extra flavor. This isn’t to say that Henrik Båth held the band back (about as much as Mikael Dahl did/does in Crystal Eyes), but that Heiman touch is fan-favorite for a reason. The superhuman wails, the natural emotion, the unrivaled raw power, all of that bigger and better than before as well. In whatever dark corner of the music industry this man has been lurking in for all these years, he’s picked up a thing or two. A tender and soulful performance like the one on “What If” could simply not have come from him in his Lost Horizon-days. Goosebumps, ladies and gentlemen, entire flocks of geese.Logically, even Daniel freakin’ Heiman can only thrive when the songwriting is there to support him. Harmony stepped up its game considerably in this department, opting for shorter, tighter material here. Theatre Of Redemption is trademarked by sharp and poignant riffs, simple but gripping melodies, and an overdose of class. “Son Of The Morning” and the title track sound like the basic but effective kind of songs that Kamelot used to churn out in its heyday, boasting oriental effects, a mystic atmosphere, and an ominous chorus. “I gave it aaall – for – NOTHING!” More geese and whatnot.Not all of it is down and plodding, though. Introspective opener “Window Of My Soul”, the celebratory “Crown Me King”, and self-referencing closer “In Search Of” root Harmony firmly in the national style. Anyone attempting to chronicle the rich history of Swedish power metal should do well to include them. For filler tracks, to conclude, look further, because Harmony wastes no time making every single song one worthy of remembrance and appreciation.This is not a Lost Horizon record. Instead it’s the best album Harmony has ever released, and one of the best this year has seen so far. Daniel Heiman returns gloriously to be crowned as king (only to disappear, as he’s only a guest on this album), and aids Harmony in releasing its full potential. Fans of Heiman, Harmony, and (Swedish) power metal in general should purchase this blindly." - Black Wind Metal
    $15.00
  • "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
  • "Prior to the release of 'Visions Fugitives', Mekong Delta had been no stranger to classical music. Their style of thrashy progressive metal exuded the influence of many a composer, particularly those with a darker sound to their orchestral observations. When it came to actually performing classical music however, the band up to this point had more or less limited themselves to using neoclassical tricks within their metal context, even doing a cover or two. With that in mind, 'Visions Fugitives' and its centerpiece 'Suite For Group And Orchestra' was quite a long time in the making. Although some may go to criticize the band for never going as far as to use a real-life orchestra in its recording, few albums within the 'thrash metal' umbrella have engaged me so much. Throw in a few pieces of cerebral prog metal to flesh things out, and you have a piece of work that would make the old giants of progressive rock proud.Although 'Suite For Group And Orchestra' is planted right in the middle of the album, there is still a clear division here between the ornate classical 'epic', and the more traditional songs. Like Rush's '2112', or Fates Warning's 'No Exit', Mekong Delta follow prog metal canon by giving listeners a clear cut of both gears, although every track on 'Visions Fugitives' falls firmly within progressive metal territory. As they have in the past, Mekong Delta shares the neighborhood with Voivod and Watchtower, in that their brand of thrash favours the cerebral over the speedy riffage of many of their contemporaries. Besides band founder Ralph Hubert, Mekong Delta has been a revolving door of musicians since their inception, and 'Visions Fugitives' is no exception. Mark Kaye brings a guitar performance to the band that fits their mission statement like a glove, fusing technicality with the sort of frantic atmosphere Mekong Delta had been capitalizing on with prior records. As far as Mekong Delta's metal edge is concerned, Douglas Lee's vocals may be the most controversial aspect of the sound. Although the complex vocalizations at the end of 'Them' declare that he is definitely has the ear for singing, his vocals have a tone to them that would fit much more comfortably in prog rock rather than thrash. Fortunately, Mekong Delta's metal side is never far ahead of the 'prog', and his performance here works just as well for the context as Wolfgang Borgmann's did on their debut.The classical aspect of 'Visions Fugitives' is without a doubt the most important part of the album. Though the four progressive metal songs are too worthy of being deemed masterful in their composition, 'Suite For Group And Orchestra' takes up a damned half of the record, and a listener's appreciation of the record will brink largely on their openness to heavy metal being crossbred with classical music so openly. Although classical music has been going steady with metal since the days of Yngwie Malmsteen and even long before, it rarely gets to the point where the two sounds are mixed to the extent where neither is the dominant force. This is the case with 'Suite For Group And Orchestra', an elaborately composed twenty minute piece worthy of the highest commendation. Here, Mekong Delta mimic the atmosphere of Romantic-era classical music rather than the erudite complexity of composers before, the result being a piece with plenty of epic melody and variety, not to mention a fair deal of room for the band to incorporate their rock instruments into the fray. The soothing acoustic 'Introduction' leads into an eerie 'Preludium', complete with low horns and eerie bells to make it sound like something out of the haunted mansion in Super Mario Brothers. 'Dance' and 'Fugue' bring the piece into less frightening and more proggy, technical realms, often letting the band play powerfully without getting in the way of the orchestration. As far as the composition itself goes, it's remarkable to hear how many places both emotionally and sonically Mekong Delta can take a listener within a twenty minute period.In terms of flaws, the use of a computerized, or 'fake' orchestra may not hurt the compositions or music, but there is always the feeling throughout listening to 'Visions Fugitives' that things could be even more impressive, had the band had the resources to make a full orchestral rendition of their music a reality. A less-than-excellent production quality carries over to the prog metal songs as well, with the vocals sounding somewhat muffled and less mixed than they rightfully should have been. None of these studio issues are ever enough to take away from the excellence of the band's 'vision' however; it might even be said that the muffled sound and artificial instruments even add to the atmosphere. Mekong Delta have long been one of the most engaging acts to come out of German thrash metal, and 'Visions Fugitives' sees them finally realize their dream of bringing classical music to the thrash realm. Even still, it feels as if this project left open room for improvement, but if Mekong Delta never tops the majesty they have created here, I won't be one to complain." - Metal Archives
    $12.00
  • Limited edition hardbound art book featuring the album on 2CDs, another 2 CDs with instrumental versions of the album, a DVD with "making of" and interview footage, plus a 48 page booklet.Arjen Lucassen's long awaited Ayreon project is a total blast.  Like some of the earlier Ayreon albums, it owes as much to prog rock as it does metal.  All the old school heroes like Emerson, Wakeman, Wetton get to strut their stuff showing a young stud like Rudess a thing or two.  As always Lucassen latches on to some of the best vocalists around and this one is no exception.  Highly recommended."You know what the metal world needs more of? Musicals. I'm not saying that ironically either. Sure, we have plenty of prog bands putting out concept albums, but cool as these records many be, the story themselves are not the focus of the album. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen has resurrected his grandest of all projects to continue showing these folks how to tell an epic story the right way.With 01011001 the Ayreon story came to an end, or so we thought. Arjen instead decided to focus on projects like Star One, Guilt Machine, and his solo album Lost in the New Real. When he revealed not too long ago that he was working on a new project, it wasn't a surprise to discover it was new Ayreon, but I was still plenty excited.Lucassen said of the newest record, "It's not science fiction, but a human story set in a science context." So no aliens or battling emotions or any of that. So, in an attempt to better understand the story, I contacting him for the lyrics and much to my surprise, he sent them to me saying, "Oh yes, you need the lyrics, definitely." Holy hell, was he right. The story is indeed more grounded than previous records, but there are still layers to this beast.Fans of Ayreon should know what to expect here. The Theory of Everything has seven guest singers and each singer plays a part in the story. They are JB (Grand Magus) as the Teacher, Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as the Mother, Michael Mills (Toehider) as the Father, Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as the Prodigy, Marco Hietala (Nightwish) as the Rival, John Wetton (Asia/ex-King Crimson) as the Psychiatrist, and Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as the Girl.Of these singers, the most impressive is the relatively unknown Sara Squadrani. She performs on a large portion of the story and shines every time, especially on "Love and Envy". I was also surprised to be so enamored with the performance of Christina Scabbia. She's always had  a wonderful voice, but her performance in this record might be her finest. Her harmonies with Squadrani stand out particularly on "Mirror of Dreams". This isn't to say only the performances by the female singers are worth mentioning. Tommy Karevik's introduction in "The Prodigy's World" is one of the strongest moments on the album.Every Ayreon album comes an eclectic group of guest musicians. This round primarily consisted of guest keyboardists. Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) handles a good portion of the record, while Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) both make excellent solo appearances on "Progressive Waves".Having listened to all of Lucassen's albums at least once, I can say The Theory of Everything is the most musically diverse offering he's had a hand in, perhaps with the exception of his solo record. This isn't as heavy as previous Ayreon titles, but it has its driving moments like "Collision" and the Dream Theather-esque "Frequency Modulation." The aforementioned "Love and Envy" is a slower introspective song, while "Diagnosis" is massive and a little cheesy, but so awesome. "Transformation" has a Middle Eastern feel to it, and  "The Eleventh Dimension" sounds like intergalactic renaissance faire music.Often times there are jumps in mood, genre, etc in the middle of a song. This is fairly typical for an Ayreon release; what isn't typical is that technically this record consists of only four songs. These four songs are each at least twenty-one minutes, but they are cut up into forty-two pieces (yes, that's a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference) .This is a fun record. It's a record that does require a time commitment. I'd say listeners should treat it as a proper musical or film in a theater. Try to experience it all in one sitting for the full effect. It's absolutely worth it." - Metal InjectionSTRICT LIMIT OF ONE PER CUSTOMER
    $40.00
  • Ever wonder what Jasun Tipton does when he's not recording with Cynthesis and Zero Hour? Well apparently he forms a new project! Abnormal Thought Patterns is an instrumental project featuring Jasun on guitars, Troy Tipton on bass, and Mike Guy on drums. Essentially the core musicians of Zero Hour. Further they are augmented with Richard Sharman as the second guitarist. This is tech metal to the max - somewhere along the lines of Blotted Science and Spastic Ink but with that unmistakable Tipton Brothers sound. Its an EP and frankly I don't think you could digest any more in one sitting - lots of notes here. Guaranteed to have many moments where you will stop and ask yourself "how the hell did they do that?". Complex thinking man's metal at its best! Highest recommendation.
    $8.00
  • ""Hansson's third album, which according to many music aficionados was his strongest in musical terms, was released in 1973 as Mellnväsen on the Silence Records label; later issued with the English title Attic Thoughts. Much of the album was recorded at Hansson's home which had become virtually a studio with much of the same line-up of musicians/friends who had played on Magician's Hat. With this album Hansson confirmed his maturity as a musical composer, managing to slowly build upon his body of works without losing that feeling of a fairy-tale atmosphere, his trademark sound which was essentially laid down on his debut album.""
    $16.00
  • Remastered with bonus track."This album is a jaw-dropping affair for anyone who believes that Eddie Van Halen is the ultimate guitar-shredding experience. Gary Moore's classic live album We Want Moore! is about as good as it gets. Drawing mainly from the Irish guitarist's previous two studio albums, every cut gets a shot in the arm from Moore's extended soloing, most notably the Yardbird's "Shapes of Things" at almost nine minutes. Recorded in places as distant as Tokyo, Glasgow and Detroit, the performances also benefit from the impressive vocal tag team between Moore and rhythm guitarist Neil Carter." - Allmusic Guide
    $9.00
  • Long awaited 5.1 remix of the classic Rush album in a limited  "super deluxe" edition comes housed in a hardbound book.  Here is what you get...CD:1. Remastered edition2. 3 previously unreleased live tracksBLU-RAY:1 5.1 remix in 24/96 PCM and DTS-HD2. Stereo mix in 24/96 PCMEXTRAS:40 page comic book by story artist Tom Hodges (Star Wars "The Clone Wars," The Simpson's "Treehouse of Horrors #17") and a 24 page book with expanded artwork, liner notes, lyrics and unreleased photos. New liner notes written by David Fricke, Rolling Stone.
    $69.00
  • The latest from Roine Stolt and Co. is a 2 CD affair featuring plenty of trademark epic tracks. The Flower Kings have been able to perfect the balance between neo and old school prog.
    $12.00
  • "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
    $26.00
  • New solo album from RPWL guitarist Kalle Wallner offers a neoprog fan's wetdream lineup: John Mitchell (Kino), John Jowitt (IQ), Paul Wrightson (Arena), and Clive Nolan (Pendragon).
    $17.00
  • "Flaming Lips fandom in the 21st-century requires agreeing to the terms of this transaction: in exchange for receiving a non-stop stream of new, consistently adventurous music from your favorite band, you have to put up with Wayne Coyne’s Instagram skeeziness, and all the #freaks hashtags, exclamation-point abuse, and Miley Cyrus tongue-wagging selfies that go with it. Seems like a fair enough trade-off, but even those fans who are most tolerant of Wayne’s social-media madcappery had to be thinking “really, dude?” last spring when some especially ill-advised photos led to accusations of racism, and the extremely acrimonious ousting of long-time Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock (the fallout from which continues to spread).In light of this, the debut of the Lips’ prog-inspired alter-ego act the Electric Würms couldn’t have come at a better time. By promoting redoubtable multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd to bandleader and reducing Coyne to background noisemaker (with Nashville psych-rock outfit Linear Downfall playing the role of an absent Michael Ivins), the new project effectively doubles as a form of damage control, redirecting our attention back to the ongoing evolution of what has been a remarkably productive and intriguingly unpredictable phase for the band. Even that Teutonic album title—which apparently translates as “music that’s hard to twerk to”—offers the guarantee of a Miley-free zone.Given that Drozd has long been the de facto musical director of the Flaming Lips, the Würms unsurprisingly stick to the post-Embryonic playbook, to the point where the new band name is practically immaterial, and Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk could just as easily be the (slightly) sunnier follow-up to the blood-red-skied electro-psych of 2013’s The Terror. And when you consider how much Coyne’s voice was fused into the textural mist on that album, Drozd’s soft, childlike coo doesn’t have much opportunity to distinguish itself amid the shock-treatment synths, radio-static guitar fuzz, and stellar-drift drums. Oddly, for an album that cheekily presents itself as a long-lost ’70s prog cut-out bin artifact, Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk’s most notable characteristic may be its 29-minute brevity, offering a tasting-menu sampler of the various modes the Lips have been exploring for the past five years. It’s almost as if the Lips have formed a cover-band-medley version of themselves.So in lieu of prog’s multi-sectional intricacy, each of the six tracks here lock into discrete themes, from the mirage-like space-age bachelor-pad smear of “Futuristic Hallucination” to the Live-Evil-era Miles (by way of Yoko Ono’s Fly) psych-funk shriek of “Transform!!!” However, these four-minute spurts are too free-ranging to establish a melodic logic, yet too steady in execution to achieve maximal freak-out potential; with its creeping rhythm, quavering vocal, and steampiped-synth exhaust, “The Bat” is very much sonically of a piece with The Terror, but feels insubstantial outside a similarly elaborate context.Ironically, focus arrives in the form of a cover of Yes’ hyrda-headed dinosaur-rock colossus “Heart of the Sunrise,” which simply lops off Vincent Gallo’s favorite build-up and the arpeggiated closing act and condenses it into a pure and simple four-minute star-gazing ballad, with Drozd doing an eerily spot-on Jon Anderson. (That said, the attempt at writing a modern-day Yes song—“I Could Only See Clouds”—is less satisfying, with a placid central melody that never fully adheres to the intrusive Howe/Squire-worthy contorto-riff.) But it’s not surprising that the Würms find their greatest success the further they venture from the Lips mothership and the longer they stay the course. With the Neu! hypno-rock pulse of “Living,” the band turn in both their headiest jam and most dramatic song, with Drozd’s ghostly voice sounding like a final transmission to mission control before he and Coyne thrust themselves into the coldest, darkest reaches of outer space—or, at the very least, somewhere with no smartphone reception." - Pitchfork
    $9.00
  • Limited mini-LP sleeve edition."Paul Chain is, apparently, a weirdo who came from the band Death SS, who I know nothing about and thus won’t bother trying to summarize. No, I think I have enough material here just talking about Paul Chain’s oddball solo debut Life and Death. It is an esoteric and individual beast without anything resembling trendiness or modernization, reaching back from its late 80s standing into the dark murkiness of the 70s at some parts, and at others into an entirely new dimension, unexplored by man before and since. People, I can’t come up with any more ways to say this is strange, so let’s just cut the middle man and start reviewing this sucker.Life and Death isn’t exactly a title that sends any warning signals to your brain, and neither the track names or the cover art does either, so I really had nothing to go on. I guess I was expecting some sort of dirty, minimalistic doomy affair with deep, grunted vocals and dirgey bass and occult themes, or something, but really I was completely unprepared for the airy strings, the clean, sluggish guitars that sometimes broke into melodious leads and the high-pitched warbling from the vocals that followed.Yes, Paul Chain as a vocalist is quite literally out of this world, as I can’t think of even one other singer I know to compare him to. His voice alone sounds a tiny bit like Jon Arch if he ever got a super-clean production job, but it’s the way he sings that is so different from anyone else. For one, a lot of the time he apparently isn’t even singing real words – he’s completely made up his own language. How fucked up is that? It’s actually really cool and lends to the alien mystical air this album was obviously trying to set up. And two, his vocal lines are just so idiosyncratic and so stylized that I doubt anyone could cover and not sound totally ridiculous even attempting. His voice dives and soars and croons and emotes a million different ways over the course of this album, and not once does he sound like he’s straining. His high, slightly breathy whine is layered over the music like a light morning mist.The music isn’t quite as weird, but it’s still pretty damned distinctive. The first track is a pretty useless intro without much to really make it worth hearing, but then “Antichrist” kicks in, with its crawling tempo and strange nuanced vocal lines, and this is a song that had to grow on me a little – it’s not one of the best on here, but it’s certainly good enough to introduce the listener to what’s going to come. This is music that succeeds when you just sit back and let it roll over you in waves – like on “Kill Me,” which rides a really simple, driving riff for the entire seven minute run-time, along with Chain’s moaning of the titular words for the chorus. But it works; it really works. It engulfs the listener in a chasm of melody so tight they might never be able to get out, and it’s probably the album standout at the end of the day. “Ancient Caravans” is a short, soft piece with some really delicate vocals and an atmosphere like the Middle East at nighttime, and then we kick into the other album highlight with “My Hills,” which explodes like a shooting star with happy island-style acoustics layered over colorful, blazing leads in what ends up being a mouthwatering affair. It’s not terribly metallic but it is a wonderful, engaging piece of music.The rest of the album remains curious, with the sliding guitar melodies of “Alleuia Song” and the muttered vocals and more traditional metal riff of “Spirits,” even though there are no songs as good as “My Hills.” “Cemetery” is 8 minutes of thumping bass-lines, grunted vocals and loopy, obscure guitar leads, and it comes together pretty well, never failing to entertain even if it isn’t really something that will blow you away. The album closes with “Oblivious,” which is an organ piece that leaves the listener feeling uncertain, staring at the night sky wondering what he or she has just experienced…I like it myself; it’s a good way to leave an impression. It’s like, what happened? I’d better listen to that again and inspect it more closely. And that’s always good.Life and Death is pretty much like that as a whole, really – it’s a curious affair, and no doubt inspired. With only seven tracks being actual songs it runs under 40 minutes of real music, and I think that hurts it a bit, as it really does fly by. And I don’t want to be mean to this album or anything, but a lot of these songs just don’t really catch fire. “Kill Me” and “My Hills” are about the only ones that do. Nothing else really comes up to that level, and it’s a little disappointing, as I know he has it in him to do a whole album like that. These songs are good, but most of them end up being just…curious, rather than spellbinding and arresting as those two mentioned songs can be. This feels like a warm-up album at the end of the day. Nothing wrong with that, and I can really dig this when it’s on, but I think the stars are telling me with this to go seek out Chain’s future exploits and find gold…" - Metal Archives 
    $17.00
  • First full length from this Norwegian progmetal band. Dark and moody with strong classical overtones, Winds relies more on atmosphere than pyrotechnics. The standout for me is guitarist Carl August Tidemann of the late lamented Tritonus. Tidemann may be familiar to you also from his work with Arcturus. His intricate, shredding style is in deep contrast to the drama created by the mournful violin and strings. An unusual album that is continuing to reveal it's secrets to me with each listen. I can easily recommend this to the prog metal fan looking for something a little different. As a bonus the CD contains all the material from their debut EP.
    $12.00