The Last Temptation ($5 Special)

SKU: E52771
Label:
Epic
Category:
Hard Rock
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"hough Alice Cooper's 1989 comeback gave him his first hit album in over a decade, the Trash record left some diehard fans disappointed, as did 1991's Hey Stoopid. Many listeners felt that Cooper had sold himself short, now completely focusing on sleazy sexual anthems, making him just another face in the heavy metal crowd. By the time The Last Temptation was released in 1994, the hair band fad that had fueled Cooper's return was dead, and Cooper was obviously aware of its downfall -- the album sounds almost nothing like its two predecessors. Instead of relating to such albums as Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, Last Temptation seems more similar to Ozzy Osbourne's No More Tears. Thematically, the record returns to mostly conceptual songs, such as "Nothing's Free," "You're My Temptation," and "Cleansed by Fire." Though the album still has a few goofy interruptions, such anthems as "Lost in America" nonetheless boast more originality than anything off of Hey Stoopid or Trash. Far surpassing anything Cooper recorded in almost 20 years, The Last Temptation is unquestionably some of his best work." - Allmusic

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    $5.00
  • Deluxe digipak edition comes with a bonus DVD chronicling the recording and mixing of the album."It is refreshing to see Timo Tolkki making new music instead of in the middle of some controversy. Over the last few years Tolkki has been embedded in a war of words with his former Stratovarius band mates.He has released records with new bands Revolution Renaissance and Symfonia, but both have failed to live up to his past legacy. He is now attempting another new project, Timo Tolkki’s Avalon. His debut, The Land of New Hope is a symphonic power metal opera in the style of Avantasia.This feels exactly like what Tobias Sammet created with Avantasia. Stylistically we are in the same territory, and Tolkki has enlisted the help of some of the best musicians that the power metal genre has to offer. Contributing vocals are Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Rob Rock, Russell Allen (Symphony X), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation) and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica). That is a who’s who of singers and they do not disappoint.The album also features stellar musicians such as Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater), Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody Of Fire) and Mikko Harkin (ex-Sonata Arctica).At the end of the day the quality of the talent isn’t the only thing that matters, as the songwriting has to be up to par. Over the years this is where Tolkki has been incredibly inconsistent. For every “Visions” and “Infinite” he has written he has also written “New Era” and the self-titled Stratovarius record.I can assure you that this is the best record Tolkki has written in thirteen years or maybe even in his career. As this is a rock opera, all the songs follow the storyline about a small group of survivors in 2055 A.D. who search for a sacred place known as “The Land of the New Hope” as planet Earth has been destroyed.The bulk of the vocals are by Ryd, Allen and Rock, who all rise to the occasion and sing with much emotion and power. The tender “In the Name of the Rose” is a magical moment. Ryd and Allen are meant to sing together. Allen shows off his vocal range in the chorus that you will no doubt be chanting along with. He delivers a throaty verse before singing a Maidenesque melody line for the chorus. A heartfelt lead by Tolkki puts an exclamation point on an incredible song.The title track is the only song that features Kiske, and he doesn’t disappoint. The almost nine minute epic begins with some gorgeous orchestration and an arpeggiated guitar line very reminiscent of the Scorpions. Kiske's vocals are soaring and he shows why he is one of the most in demand vocalists still at 45.Kiske is that rare singer that is technically perfect, but also has the gift to bring out a special emotion in his voice. This is the highlight of the record and these two legends should collaborate more.It is an incredible comeback story for Tolkki who was all but down and out. I am happy to see him put his demons to rest and release a record that he might be known for when his career is completed.He is enormously talented and I think this is the perfect atmosphere for him, as he doesn’t have a permanent band but only musicians who guest on the album. We know he is a dynamic personality who struggles to get along with band members, so with this unique situation he is the only permanent member.My biggest concern is that Tolkki seems to get bored with projects and moves on to the next one. Someone needs to guide him to stick with the Avalon project and continue to release records under this moniker.The Land of New Hope is Tolkki’s crowning achievement and I am glad to see one of the best guitar players in power metal return to his rightful place at the top of the genre. Let’s just hope he can keep it together." - About.com
    $11.00
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  • "This re-issue of mid-era Saxon displays all of the fire and passion that has helped to make Saxon an all-time undisputed classic heavy metal band. Ever since their 1979 debut, the band has admirably stayed the course, dishing out album after album of pure, unadulterated metal. "Unleash The Beast" is no exception and deserves a place in every Metalhead s collection."
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    $5.00
  • "A couple of years ago, the band decided the time had come to reach out to the US industry, starting with bringing in a name producer to do the third album. A call to legendary producer, Ben Grosse (Marilyn Manson, Megadeth, Slipknot, Disturbed, etc.) and sending him samples of their music was enough for Grosse to travel to see the band live, and to agree to work with them on their third album, Destructive Device. Using a lot of what they had learned from working with Grosse, the band continued recording new material even after the Destructive Dev ice album was finished and started to release tracks one at a time through their website. When an offer from Nightmare Records came, the band decided to combine their favorite tracks from the Destructive Device album and what would have been a 4th release, the already online released tracks called 365. Their new album, With Bare Hands combines the best of both these newer albums and showcases the band’s progression into a top-notch musical entity. It serves as a testament to the band’s ability to keep themselves relevant while refusing to compromise their musical style and taste. On songs like “Break me Out” which opens the album, the vocals lead the song, but the subtle instrumentation and mix showcase the band’s ability to use substance and style to put a song over while so many other bands have to depend on sheer volume to accomplish the same thing. On “Breakthrough” and the title track, “With Bare Hands” the band’s pop, almost commercial abilities create hook-laden and riff-laden potential radio singles. And yet the band’s hard rocking rhythm section never ceases to be the thread that holds all the songs on the album together no matter how different they each may seem on the surface. “Thrust Into This Game” pays homage to the band’s hardcore influences taking old school metal instrumental and vocal stylings into the modern day. This track showcases the individual band members’ mastery of their respective instruments as the rhythm section pushes it to the brink of exploding while the guitar leads are flashy without being overdone. If there were one word to describe the band’s approach to its songwriting and playing it would have to be “tasteful.” They don’t depend on showy instrumentation because their natural abilities are enough just as they are."
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  • Special edition arrives with a bonus DVD of the band performing material from Concrete Gardens filmed at EMGTV."Sound: Tony MacAlpine was one of the Shrapnel label guitarists of the '80s, and also played keyboards for the debut releases of Vinnie Moore and other Shrapnel artists. Tony's debut solo album, "Edge of Insanity," came iout in 1986 - the same year as his first side project, M.A.R.S., with release of the album "Project: Driver." Since that time Tony MacAlpine has released numerous solo albums, participated in collaborations, made live guest appearances, and even acted as part of Steve Vai's backing band. "Concrete Gardens" is Tony's twelfth solo studio album, and is entirely instrumental like the vast majority of Tony's solo work. The album has been in the works since 2013, but took a while to release due to Tony's numerous collaborations and other projects. Jeff Loomis provides a guest guitar solo on the album on the track, "Square Circles." The album contains 12 tracks with a total runtime of just under sixty minutes. The album differs from Tony's previous work by having more of a progressive metal flavor to it, while I think of most of his previous releases as just being straight instrumental rock.The album opens up with the track "Exhibitionist Blvd," with some seriously flanged guitar and a major key melody that builds into something a little different as the track goes on. There is a specific passage that shows the influence that Vai has had on MacAlpine, though I would rank them close to equal in the virtuoso racket. "The King's Rhapsody" opens up with a keyboard intro, played by Tony, of course. Heavy guitars come in and takes the song to a few unexpected places, and actually gets my foot tapping, too - which is an accomplishment for instrumental rock! "Man in a Metal Cage" has some interesting note choices, with some mildly middle-eastern sounds for a few brief moments in the track mixed in with some obligatory sweep tapping. Otherwise, there are several passages working to create several moments of extreme tension. There are a few arpeggiated parts that are reminiscent of some other song that I can't quite place. "Poison Cookies" has a weird jazz-fusion funk feeling going on with it that I definitely appreciated - if for nothing else it changed gears long enough to shake off any monotony I thought the album might be working towards."Epic" was both a more laid back song, but also was very cerebral - the keyboard and guitar parts built on each other in a weird/cool way. "Napoleon's Puppet" very briefly reminded me of some material written by Brendan Small for his album, "Galaktikon," but it had that rhythm part to it that definitely separated it by giving it some incredibly strong groove. "Sierra Morena" is played on piano/keyboard in the intro but guitar, bass and drums come in pretty quickly. The song is named after a mountain range in Spain with the same name. I can't quite connect the music as being descriptive of a mountain range unless they're being written about the context of flying over them. "Square Circles" has some moments in the track that remind me a little bit of King Crimson, though the sense of melody is still a tad more traditional. Jeff Loomis guests on this track for a guitar solo, and it is a fairly outstanding solo in the context of the song, having a good balance of being emotive and twisted."Red Giant" is a pretty intense track, with some more middle-eastern vibes going on, and one of the most engaging and vocal-like melodies from the album, to my ears. "Confessions of a Medieval Monument" definitely grabs a certain type of vibe from the opening, with a cool (but fairly simple) bassline running behind it. This is definitely one of those songs that creates a fertile atmosphere for a little mind movie to play along to it. The way the dynamics are used on this song, as well as the recurring melodic theme, make this easily one of the strongest tracks on the album. The title track, "Concrete Gardens," is interesting with a heavy rhythm guitar and a (initially) much cleaner lead part. Something about this track reminds me of Frank Zappa, which is absolutely a good thing. The album closes out with a song called "Maiden's Wish," which is played on keyboard/piano as a solo piece. It is a fairly light-hearted song to end the album with, and I enjoyed it. If you just listen for the crazy guitar, then you can stop short of "Maiden's Wish." // 8Lyrics: There are none. // 8Overall Impression: I have always been extremely impressed with Tony MacAlpine, and this album just reinforces my opinion. While he may not be quite at the technical/speed level of some other virtuoso guitarists, especially the whole Shrapnel bunch, he makes up for it in a strong sense of feel and musicality. I especially enjoy the melodies he uses as recurring themes in many of his songs. I highly recommend this album to anyone who's a fan of instrumental rock or metal. // 8" - Ultimate-Guitar.com
    $15.00
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  • Live DVD filmed in Tampere, Finland on November 19, 2011.  This was part of the farewell tour for drummer Jorg Michael.  Comes with a 30 minute documentary covering the band's history and interviews with band members.
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  • Live In Tokyo is a live performance from November 14th, 2012 at Zepp Tokyo for supergroup PSMS, which features drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Transatlantic), bassist Billy Sheehan (Talas, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth), guitarist Tony MacAlpine & keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Black Country Communion, Dream Theater, Billy Idol). This 95 minute concert showcases a wide range of instrumental performances from each of the members careers & collaborations. Included in the set are Shy Boy from Sheehan's band Talas, MacAlpine's The Stranger, Sherinian's Apocalypse 1470 B.C. and Dream Theater's A Change Of Seasons: The Crimson Sunrise.Bonus Features:Behind The Scenes featuretteTrack Listing:1) A Change Of Seasons: I. The Crimson Sunrise 2) Acid Rain 3) The Stranger 4) Stratus 5) Apocalypse 1470 B.C. 6) Tony MacAlpine Guitar Solo 7) Been Here Before 8) Birds Of Prey (Billy's Boogie) / Billy Sheehan Bass Solo 9) The Farandole 10) The Pump 11) Mike Portnoy Drum Intro 12) Nightmare City 13) Hell's Kitchen 14) Derek Sherinian Keyboard Solo 15) Lines In The Sand 16) Shy Boy.
    $16.00