The Largest Fire Known To Man

This is the second album from the Dutch post-progressive band.  The music of A Liquid Landscape has a very cinematic feel.  This is a band that is more about emotion than complexity.  If you enjoy Pineapple Thief and Gazpacho you'll find much to dig into here.

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  • John Sund is an overlooked but superb fusion guitarist from Denmark.  This is an astounding album he recorded in 1993 with the Danish Radio Big Band as well as his band.  Its a full integration of musicians with Sund displaying some blazing chops.  Quite mature work that strikes me as a cross between a Terje Rypdal album and Banco's Di Terra.  A beautiful marriage of rock and jazz.  We scored cheap copies.  Grab them while we have them.  Highly recommended.
    $8.00
  • "To avoid any lingering confusion right from the outset,  you may already be aware of this band because AudioPlastik began life under a different name or names to be more precise. Both Alpha Flood and Brave New Sky were trialled before the trio settled on the name AudioPlastik. Whatever the name though, it’s a musical collaboration which will more than prick the ears of fans of progressive rock or metal music. The trio is fronted none other than Dec Burke, the vocalist for Darwin’s Radio and Frost* as well as being a well thought of solo artist in his own right. Dec also plays the guitar and is joined by the impressive duo of Simon Andersson (Darkwater, ex-Pain Of Salvation) and Threshold’s keyboardist Richard West. Being a fan of all of the names mentioned in the preceding sentences, I have naturally been very excited to hear the final product ever since a debut album was announced to see the light of day early this year.The album is due out in the very near future and goes by the title of ‘In The Head Of A Maniac’. With a title like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the content of this record might be a bizarre, challenging or even a wild schizophrenic beast. However, you’d be wrong, at least to a certain extent anyway. This is progressive music and as such, it does blend many ideas into its collective whole. But it is far from being impenetrable or a difficult listen.To be honest, the most difficult thing is to accurately describe the musical direction on ‘In The Head of a Maniac’. In itself it’s an absorbing listen full of wondrous aspects, one that is instantly likeable but ever more addictive as the number of spins increases. But to be more exact in order to offer a worthwhile review? Ok…If I was to try and sum this album up in a few words, I’d say it’s an absorbing blend of melodic progressive rock, metal and pop with rich cinematic overtones.Dealing with the latter aspect first, the cinematic, symphonic flavour can be heard right from the outset via the relatively brief instrumental opening. This is Richard West at his best, creating a piece of music which is subtly dramatic, emotive and pure film soundtrack fodder. In fact, much the same can be said of the even more dramatic ‘Traveller’ which is equally as enthralling and which could easily fit a suspense or action thriller.That said, West’s stamp is all over each of the thirteen compositions, bringing a rich elegance to proceedings just like he does with Threshold. Whether it’s via more subtle layers of atmospheric synths or more in-your-face modern-sounding embellishments, of which there are several (‘John Doe’) it always fits the song perfectly, providing a foundation of real depth and richness upon which all else is built.Next there’s the guitar playing of Burke and Andersson which is actually surprisingly heavy. Occasionally it is reminiscent in tone of numerous djent artists, particularly when the riffs chug in step with a rumbling bass (also courtesy of Andersson) and powerful drumming. ‘It Matters So Much’ illustrates this perfectly and is also a track that also greatly benefits from a rare and decadent lead guitar solo. This being prog, naturally many of the riffs play around with interesting, complicated tempos and time signatures but they are never complex for the sake of it and never detract from the essence of the songs. A prime example being ‘The Sound Of Isolation’ which contains a riff which befuddles my brain but which works in and around the simpler aspects of the song.One of the biggest strengths on this record however is its melodic sensibility. I mentioned earlier about the pop influences and its in the choruses that this is most noticeable. Just about every song has a hook or a melody that’s memorable. Some are immediate and others take a bit longer to work into the psyche. Regardless, they are there and many of them, alongside those modern programmed flourishes, lend the music that more mainstream feel. ‘Leave Me Here’ and the beautiful ‘Now’ for example, might not be out of place on mainstream popular radio. Elsewhere, ‘Bulletproof’ offers one of the most gorgeous choruses I’ve heard in recent times, ironic given that it’s also one of the heavier, busier tracks that packs a lot of light and shade as well as apparently disparate elements into its relatively short length. Oh and then there’s the stunning closer, ‘Distant Skies’ which pushes ‘Bulletproof’ very close, almost beating it depending on my mood when I listen.Then, to top things off, you’ve got the vocals of Burke. Those familiar with his other work with Frost* or Darwin’s Radio will know exactly what to expect and he doesn’t disappoint. Burke has a tone that’s very melodic and almost soothing but which also has a slightly rough, gritty edge to it that I really like. It means that the vocal delivery can fit both the softer, more introspective parts but which can also do justice to the heavier moments that require something a bit edgier vocally.As you can probably tell, I’m completely enamoured by this album. Almost imperceptibly, it has burrowed into my head and my heart and it refuses to let go. If your tastes dictate that you enjoy music that is rich and varied, deep and thoughtful, beautiful and genuinely unique, look no further than ‘In The Mind Of A Maniac’ by AudioPlastic. You won’t be disappointed." - Man Of Much Metal  
    $16.00
  • New remastered deluxe edition of what is arguably Fates Warning's best album. The standard album is accompanied by a second CD featuring the demos for the album. As yet another bonus you get a DVD with live performances from 1989 and 1990. You also get the promo video for "Through Different Eyes". This digipak set is packed! Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • Limited edition live recording of Spock's Beard's complete set at the second High Voltage Festival at Victoria Park, London on July 24, 2011. Some odd stuff about this gig...Nick D'Virgilio was unable to appear so Enchant's Ted Leonard filled in (he has now done so permanently) and Jimmy Keegan played drums. Neal Morse joined the band during the set as a special guest.
    $10.00
  • "Maxi Nil (ex Visions of Atlantis) and Raphael Saini (ex Iced Earth) after touring the world and captivating audiences along the way, decided to join forces and re enter the music world as Jaded Star!Exploding with energy, experience and drive the band's debut album "Memories From The Future" is ready.Produced by Maxi Nil, mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordstrom at the legendary Fredman Studios in Sweden, this album showcases Maxi's electrifying vocals and the masterful drum work Saini is known for.Guitar hero Kosta Vreto with his unique finger strumming style, eschews the plectrum in favor of a raw, organic sound that literally comes straight through his hands. Babis Nikou on the bass brings a solid foundation and the chemistry between he and Maxi as the song writing team provides emotion to match the power of the sound.The elements are there, the forces have aligned, the Jaded Star is ready to shine!" 
    $13.00
  • "Released to massive European acclaim, Machine Head's full-length debut, Burn My Eyes, successfully bridges the gap between second-generation Bay Area thrash (Testament, Death Angel, etc.) and the modern-day Pantera school of hard knocks. Produced by underground stalwart Colin Richardson, Burn My Eyes is a bone-shattering exercise in brutality that gives Pantera's classic, Vulgar Display of Power, a good run for its money. A veteran of the Bay Area thrash scene, guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn emerges as Machine Head's anchor. As guitar player of the riff-heavy yet vocally challenged band Vio-Lence, Flynn had already distinguished himself as a riff-making machine on tracks like "Serial Killer" and "Kill on Command." Interestingly, with the release of Burn My Eyes, every effort was made to cover up Flynn's involvement with his ex-bandmates. Looking back at it, it's easy to understand why. Because of the quick word of mouth in the underground metal community, comparisons to his ex-bandmates would have limited the impact of the record, possibly thwarting its merits. If Vio-Lence held promise, Machine Head was a different proposition all together. Anthems like "Davidian" are monstrous slabs of metal that, by far, eclipse anything Flynn had previously done. Nevertheless, Burn My Eyes is a classic debut and one that helped launch a huge European groundswell for the band that would result in a tour as Slayer's support act. A few months later, the Head would return and headline the very same venues in which they'd opened for Slayer." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • The much anticipated second album from Delain is here and it does not disappoint! Its interesting to see how the band has evolved. Originally conceived by Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt as a studio project, Delain has evolved into a full blown active band. The success of the debut Lucidity tipped Westerholt's hand and Delain became a REAL band. With Charlotte Wessels on vocals, Ronald Landa on guitar and grunt vocals, Sun Caged bassist Rob Vander Loo, and Sander Zoer on drums, Delain took the Netherlands by storm. Delain toured extensively, opening for many bands including sister band Within Temptation, and appeared at many festivals. Ultimately they became a headlining band. With that behind them they headed into the studio to create their sophomore work.April Rain is cut from similar cloth from Lucidity but different enough to hear the evolution mentioned above. Instead of the multiple guests that were featured on Lucidity, April Rain does benefit from the return of Nightwish bassist Marco Hietala who sings male vocals on two tracks, as well as world renowned cellist Maria Ahn.Martijin Westholt is clearly at the helm - the big symphonic sound is still in place. Those elements that he brought to Within Temptation are clearly evident. There is a difference though...perhaps because of Jacob Hansen's mix the sound is more focused and even grittier, crunchier (thank you Mr. Landa). Songs tend to be on the shorter side but they slam harder. Having been familar with Rob Van Der Loo's intense basswork with Sun Caged its great to see him bring that progressive element to the rhythm section. Charlotte Wessels is young but has developed into the perfect voice and face for Delain.The comparisons to Within Temptation will continue but its obvious that Delain has come up with their own sound that stands on its on.This is THE symphonic gothic metal album of 2009. Nothing will touch it. This is the North American digipak edition of April Rain - with the exclusive bonus track "Come Closer". BUY OR DIE.
    $14.00
  • New 2CD/DVD edition of the live set filmed at the 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands in October 2008. The 130 set includes a complete performance of "Fear Of A Blank Planet". As to be expected the camera work and overall production is impeccable.
    $17.00
  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1975 self-titled album by KESTREL. Hailing from Newcastle, the band featured Tom Knowles (lead vocals), Dave Black (guitar, vocals), John Cook (keyboards, mellotron), Fenwick Moir (bass) and Dave Whitaker (drums), who had previously been with Newcastle trio GINHOUSE.Signing to Cube Records in 1974, Kestrel recorded their sole eponymously titled album in 1975, with the majority of the compositions written by Dave Black. A fine example of melodic Progressive Rock, the album featured some outstanding tracks, including the gorgeous "The Acrobat” and the stunning epic "August Carol”. Inexplicably the album failed to sell in significant quantities and within a short time Kestrel dis-banded, leaving just one album and a single as their recorded legacy.Four decades later, "Kestrel” is now rightly regarded as a true over-looked classic of the Progressive Rock era, with original vinyl copies being impossibly rare and changing hands for huge sums, particularly in Japan.Newly re-mastered from the original tapes, this reissue of "Kestrel” has been expanded to include six bonus tracks, with four of them previously unreleased in the UK, and also includes a booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay.""Obviously, prog does come in all shapes and sizes. There are the pompous ones, the low-key, the larger-than-life ones and the small, the complex and those easily likeable. Everything in between and all things put together makes up the world of prog. Sometimes prog can be sort of poppy aswell. Nothing wrong with that. It can be very enjoyable. I would like to put forth a likeness and draw inspiration from the pub. After several sturdy Guinesses (think of Magma or some other complex band as Guiness) the pallet craves something refreshing, like a cool lemonade or just a sip of water. In this case the lemonade is Kestrel. Light, refreshing yet with a bite to it.Kestrel is one of those obscure bands that did not make it. Not because they were bad, as often the case with some obscurities, but maybe because they simply fell through the net and escaped the record buyer's hands. Who knows? The fact, however, is that the sole album by Kestrel is a very enjobale mixture of pop and prog, sort of a Supertramp meets Chicago and has a child by Genesis and nursed by Nektar added. If that is not all I'd say that Chris Squire babysat at times, considering the sound of the rumbling bass. Or something like that. It holds enough keyboards to make me happy and that says something.The tracks varies in length, the longest being 7.31 minutes, the shortest 4.09. I like all of the songs but "Wind cloud" with it's beautiful and dreamy web is fantastic. So are "Last requests", the epic "In the war" or (the more accessible) Gentle Giant-ish "August carol". All of the tracks are very well produced, performed and thought through. Nothing is left to chance.I think prog is the greatest genre due to it's variety and width. The severely complex at the one end and the very accessible and poppy at the other. All that gives me as a listener the chance to really ease my muscial hunger. If you are looking for something british, something complex yet accessible I would recommend this little overlooked gem. I would not call it a masterpiece but it is a fantastic album, full of ideas and enthusiasm which I really enjoy listening to. Well worth checking out." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • Excellent new sci-fi prog metal project put together by Carptree mainman and keyboardist Carl Westholm. While Westholm is probably better known for his involvement with Carptree he has also been working in the metal field for many years in bands like Abstract Algebra, Krux, and Candlemass.Westholm has assembled an interesting cast of musicians for this larger than life Ayreon-style project. First off, Mats Leven in handling vocals. Right there that is enough for me. Leif Edling, the driving force behind Candlemass plays bass and helps with lyrics. What else do you need? Various members of Carptree and others fill out the heavily symphonic sound lending an epic scope and feel. Highly recommended.
    $3.00
  • If you love that classic hard rock sound of the 70s and 80s you will go crazy over this album plain and simple.  Alex Beyrodt reined in the neoclassical overtones just a bit, David Readman shines as always (LOVE this guy's voice).  The result is an album that evokes the spirit of Rainbow, Whitesnake, and Deep Purple.  I thought the last VC album was excellent - this one is even better!  Highly recommended.Limited edition digipak with two bonus tracks and one video clip.
    $17.00
  • "The Pineapple Thief began their journey in 1999, and had a rocky road ahead of them on their way to the top. However, their music has developed leaps and bounds since their first release and this new one is no different. ‘All The Wars’ is an album that deals with the conflicts we face in life and in the world, and it does so fantastically.This record could definitely be described as a sombre album. Don’t let this put you off, instead prepare for the emotional whirlwind of a lifetime as the lyrics suck you in to the story of the album, allowing you to explore with the band the deep sense of conflict with the world that this album presents. The rising and falling elements of the songs toy with you, demanding that you feel the same emotions that the vocalist himself portrays. Songs such as ‘Last Man Standing’ for example, allow you a glimpse into the deep-routed anger of the protagonist of the song. The slow, drawn out build-up of the guitar and drums explode into a deafening outburst of emotion, which is then, almost as quick as it came, suddenly cut off and we return to slower paces. This band knows how to make you feel, and they know how to manipulate your emotions with their instruments, making you rise and fall just as easily as their crescendos. Accompanying such explosive songs are some slower paced ones, such as ‘Reaching Out’. This track is much softer, as the instruments combine together to create a melodic, easy-listening feel.‘All The Wars’ is an album that comes highly recommended to any lovers of rock, and it will definitely still be on your playlist in ten years’ time. The Pineapple Thief’s rise to fame hasn’t been an easy one, but with the release of their latest offering it will be cemented." - Sound Sphere Mag
    $9.00
  • Otherworldly freak folk with a mystical feel.  Ms. Robb has a wisp of a voice that will mesmerize and possibly give you shivers.  Scary and beautiful at the same time.  Highly recommended."Sometimes music tells you more about its creator than he himself could ever do. Chelsea Robb, born in Albion, now residing in the mystical north west of the USA already fits well with the image of an incarnated elementary spirit from her whole appearance and has opened the gates to the magical kingdom in a musical way. Gentle, ethereal and sometimes even ghostly haunting sounds, created on all acoustic instruments such as flute, hurdy gurdy, reed organ and several stringed instruments apart from the classic acoustic guitar build the fruitful soil for a mystifying vocal performance by Ms. Robb who also perfectly performs in a duet with an even more powerful male voice courtesy of NOVEMTHREE mastermind Pythagumus Marshall. An enchanting swarm of different rattles, timbers, bells and rainmakers comes buzzing around the melody patterns, only scarcely driven by an occasional hypnotical beat of a hand drum. The surreal beauty of this second full length album by the project under conduction of Chelsea Robb knows to enchant the listener every second and to tickle his senses. This way even soft, calm and dreamy music can be utterly exciting. The spell of the magic kingdom works well into our dimension through the music of ARROWWOOD."
    $13.00
  • Over the past two decades the Dutch have pretty much cornered the market for female fronted gothic metal.  The Gathering pretty much kicked it off, followed by Within Temptation, After Forever, Epica, and Delain with countless others filling in the gaps - some good and some very much derivative.  Kowai is a new Dutch band that has a sound that harkens back to the beginnings of the scene.  The band is fronted by Laura van Nes who has wonderful voice that is very much reminiscent of Sharon Den Adel.  The band occasionally uses the "beauty and the beast" format - Ms. van Nes' voice juxaposed against the harsh growls of guitarist Bertran Zwijnenburg but that doesn't crop up too often.  The music is filled with melancholy and borders on slow moving doom at times.  After Forever's Joost van den Broek and Stream Of Passion's Jeffrey Revet are responsible for the production.  Given their background they come up wtih the requisite sound - atmospheric and epic.  So here's a band that attempts to reinvent the wheel and they do a damn fine job as well.  This is a still a popular and potentially overcrowded scene.  Musically speaking Kowai has what it takes.  Hopefully they will get the attention they deserve.  Highly recommended.
    $17.00