Le Porte Del Domani (Mini-LP Sleeve)

This one is a real mindblower.  One of Italy's best bands, La Maschera Di Cera, has created a musical sequel to Le Orme's Felona E Serona.  I can't recall any band ever doing something like this.  Like all of the band's work it remains faithful to the "Rock Progressivo Italiano" sound.  Apart from cleaner sounding sonics it could have easily pass for somethining recorded in 1974.  The music does in fact pick up on some of the core themes and melodices from FeS.  You want 'tron?  You got it!  You want flute?  You got it.  To wrap the whole package together the band licensed the cover art from Lanfranco, the artist responsible for the art for FeS.  So it really does feel like a sequel.  Please note there are actually two versions of the album.  This is the Italian language edition that will satisfy any RPI purist.  Highly recommended.

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  • "Marked by an evident Crimso vein, both in the harmonical geometries and in general for the sound, the band proposes an instrumental formula that ranges over ethereal atmospheres and granitic tangles, a perfect synthesis of electric and electronic, in an ongoing game of references between guitars, keyboards and the sax of Leo Aries (Akinetón Retard, from Chile as well). Thanks to a solid technic and solo skills, Abrete Gandul shows the possibility of a genuinely eclectic and perfectly recognizable approach." References: King Crimson, Magma, Akineton Retard
    $18.00
  • "Six albums in, and we've got some changes happening with long running melodic power metal act Ilium. For starters, ex-Riot/Masterplan vocalist Mike DiMeo is now an ex-Ilium member as well, and he's been replaced by the equally well travelled Lance King, who now lends his vocal talents to the band. With that move, Ilium also find themselves on King's Nightmare Records, a perfect fit all around actually if you ask me. My Misanthropia is their brand new effort.Those not familiar with this Australian act can expect a wealth of classic & power metal flavors, as the band take their influences that range from Helloween, Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Judas Priest, and Blind Guardian and combine them to form a hard hitting, melodic, and instantly accessible style. For his part, King sounds a bit more aggressive here, but he seems right at home on blistering speed metal fare like "Penny Black" and the title track, his tone filled with slightly more venom than we normally hear from him, but it works within these blazing heavy metal songs. His soaring passages on "Queltzalcoatl", "Lingua Franca", "Godless Theocracies", and "Orbiting a Sun of Sadness", some of the albums more progressive numbers, are vintage King, and show his highly melodic side. Musically, savage riffing, blazing lead guitar solos, rock solid rhythms, and beds of orchestral keyboards adorn many of these songs, with the closer "The Cryptozoologist" being one of the more adventurous of the lot, an action packed tune with plenty of guitar & keyboard exchanges, sounding like a head-on collision between Dream Theater and Blind Guardian. All of the tracks contain memorable melodies to go along with their musical might, so it's a great combination from start to finish that ultimately results in a very enjoyable album.The pairing of Ilium and Lance King seems like a match made in heaven, and their first album together, My Misanthropia, is highly recommended to lovers of melodic, progressive power metal fans of all ages." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • "These guys might be late to the party, but deserve every bit of your attention regardless. This album really took me unawares, being my first experience with this fairly new yet incredibly accomplished sounding female fronted Australian unit. Their seemingly auto-generated band name may not inspire a lot of confidence, but nonetheless, on Liberator, Divine Ascension serve up progressive power metal of the highest rank. Really any power metal fan craving something heavy and guitar driven is urged in the strongest possible terms to have a look.Vigorous and eager to prove itself at every turn, this is a very full-bodied, attacking presentation, almost bringing Outworld to mind in its all-out directness. For prog/power, Liberator is a veritable ass-stomping of ripping riffs and lead runs, and a metal album first and foremost. Think Mercenary's crunching, at times Gothenburg-flavored axework and you're close. Neck muscles aching, airguitar strings breaking; not what I typically look to this sub-genre for, but there you have it. Keyboards and symphonic elements are given no less priority, being remarkably well arranged and produced and naturally composed in harmony with the metal. Orchestral arrangements in the vein of Rhapsody and Nightwish are employed, as are more electronic strains of bands like Pagan's Mind and Edenbridge. There's a lot going on on top of the already busy guitar work, but every piece of it is complementary, making for music that is constantly epic, and constantly heavy as bricks without the need to sacrifice one for the other. Sit back and soak in the chorus of "Stronger": total Within Temptation-style bombast and grandeur ala "The Howling," but made even more intense by big, riffy guitars that chug and harmonize along with some truly serene keyboard arrangements. It's one of the most stirring, spine-chilling metal moments I've heard in years.The label "progressive" in metal is elusive and subject to debate, but these guys I think make a decent claim for it, other than through sheer genre trappings (i.e. sounding more like Symphony X than Helloween). Key and time changes abound, keyboards and guitars play off each other in creative ways, and individual riffs and whole song structures both often detour from paths conventional. The band is confident in their ability to draw in the listener by piling on cool instrumental parts, and so the songs on Liberator often take a minute or so to establish before the vocals start doing their part, without ever feeling slow in getting to the point. So much going on and so much of it good: between all instruments, most songs here carry enough good ideas to provide for two songs for other bands. This is not as restrained and subtle an affair as something like The Black Halo (although Kamelot's heavier bits are at times not a far off comparison for style), but there's nary a sense of overreaching or a "more is less"-kind of effect. The intro of "Hideaway", by Gods go jam that shit: somber yet lush ambience straight out of a movie score, then razor sharp Children of Bodom-like axe ripping ("Black Widow" is a good point of comparison for the whole intro) that twists and mutates a bit until SMASH descend the fast double bass drums interlocked with another rousing riff that just leaps from the speakers – so much is accomplished within the first minute, and hey, there's the splendid remaining 80% of the song waiting to greet you beyond that! The album as whole is truly an exhilirating but also dynamic and not at all wearying listen.Vocalist Jennifer Borg is a somewhat unconventional but expert choice, as she delivers a more restrained performance than the rest of the group. Not weak or unenthusiastic; restrained, like the best kind of actor who knows to best serve the movie or play at hand by stepping into and becoming a character without feeling the need to draw attention to oneself by "putting on a show." Big vocal acrobatics or soothing, "angelic" stylings expected of female vox in a symphonic metal band are not what she's about, and needn't be. Utilizing a lower and narrower range than usual for the style and putting aside excessive drama, Borg's vocal lines give off so much soul, power and depth with subtle elements. All in all, a mature (horribly cliché word in music critique, but I insist) and dignified effort that contributes a good deal of artistry and uniqueness to the package.Throughout the album's 64 minute filler-free runtime, it amazes me how many typical genre pitfalls the Aussie sextet manages to sidestep. Excessive and confusing technicality for the sake of being "prog" that just kills the flow? Nope. Dragging "atmospheric" sections where nothing happens just to have variation? Also not here. Aiming for "epic" but arriving at "pretentious?" Look elsewhere! At least the closing acoustic ballad is an insufferable cheesefest, right? Actually, power/prog's poignant answer to "More than Words" is more like it, what with its percussive guitar slapping bringing that one to mind. If I'm going to dock the album for SOMETHING, well, "The Final Stand" does feature a real pet peeve of mine: that gimmick where the sound mix goes from demo/wet towel on speakers at its onset, to proper studio quality at a flip of a switch (e.g. Slayer - Ghosts of War). I find it overused and generic to the point of befitting the band moniker, but it doesn't hurt the song much and I've heard it done worse.Prog/power is rarely where I look for new metal these days; the genre's heyday is long gone and that may be for the best. That's not to say I'll disregard an island of brilliance like this one though. Good art is good art and while Liberator may sound a decade old, it still exhibits an identity of its own, cool chops aplenty and little triteness. Could Australia simply be a decade behind on this brand of metal, and thus less mined for talent than Europe or South America? Oh, I do hope. For the follow-up, I'd be curious to see how DA can expand their sound from here; perhaps adding elements from more modern metal would help revitalize the genre some? Until then, this is one shining example of tried-and-true that I wouldn't want my worst enemy to miss out on." - Metal Archives
    $17.00
  • "Aranis, year 2014: a Belgian band that brings something definitely off the beaten tracks! The second installment in their "Made in Belgium" series (aka MIB 2) is now on the road...and it's more captivating than a thriller! In it, a subtle blend of rejuvenated classical influences mix with (aming other things and with no specific order) a touch of drumless/ clarinetless Balkanic Klezmer- punk, a glimpse of 100% Brussels- deserts tango and a few improvised moments that manage to never really sound like "jazz"...No easy label comes to mind when it comes to describe Aranis' sound...and so its should be! A pretty unpredictable sextet...Classical? Jazz? Folk? Rock?...Well, a little bit of all this...That's what you'll taste in the Aranis pizza! So, why wouldn't you treat your ears and get a slice of it? With real chunks of Peter Vermeersch (FES), Koen Van Roy (Cro Magnon), Walter Hus (Maximalist!), Ananta Roosens (La sieste du dromadaire), Aurélie Dorzée (Aurélia) and many others..."Second release in the series from this exciting Belgian chamber rock sextet.  This is more chamber than rock but it has a great kinetic energy that melds different styles - classicial, rock, klezmer, zeuhl - always keeping the listener on his toes.  Never abrasive - always mesmerizing.  Highly recommended.  ARANIS - SKIP 21 from Robbe Maes on Vimeo.
    $15.00
  • "Dream Evil is by no means a departure from the Dio formula that was so successful for his first three solo albums. All of the elements that made them so successful are yet again retained here. However, what makes things different this time around is that Dio has more of a melodious side to him, which he puts use here rather than relying on the riffs and delivery he learned at the school of Sabbath. He even touches on the power ballad (a sure sign that the style had fully infiltrated metal) with "All the Fool Sailed Away." The title track and "Sunset Superman" also proved to be two of Dio's most well-known, and most loved songs in his massive catalog. Not an essential release, but one that diehard fans will be sure to want in their collection." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "That it only took them two albums to reach a point of such accomplished ambition is testament to Deadly Circus Fire’s grit and tenacity, propelled from London’s fickle trend-following scene by their devotion to creating something earnest, intelligent and arresting.If you’ve heard their 2012 debut The King And The Bishop, The Hydra's Tailor will surprise you.No longer reliant on the suits-and-facepaint theatrical shtick to get them noticed, their maturity speaks volumes. The Hydra's Tailor is thick, pulsating melodic progressive metal. It plunges into moments of gothic-tinged post-metal, is as playful as Haken and discordant like Mastodon while hooking into melodies that expound the confidence and subtle anguish of Adam Grant’s vocals. The emotive potency of songs like Where It Lies, House Of Plagues and Universe are the icing on the cake from a band who have finally arrived." - Metal Hammer 
    $11.00
  • Debut release from a prog ensemble hailing from Belarus and its quite a nice one at that.  Mostly an instrmental quintet (there are English vocals in places), the band blends together Crimon ferocity with Canterbury school leanings.  Instrumentation is a bit of the kitchen sink variety - keys, guitar, bass, drums, and reeds.  The guitarwork has a startling precision to it that really made me take notice.  Nice synth soloing reminds me a little bit of Dave Stewart's work with National Health.  Beautiful, serene acoustic guitar/flute interplay.  Yeah this is the good stuff.  I can eat this for lunch.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • European only 2CD greatest hits set. The 2 CDs features remastered versions of classic tracks plus you get 3 unreleased acoustic tracks recorded in 2000 by Jon Oliva.
    $14.00
  • Phil returns (and sings).
    $9.00
  • Released by Camel some years ago, this is a wonderful archival live set from 1972. Four tracks: "Lady Fantasy", "White Rider", "Six Ate", and the incredible "God Of Light".
    $16.00
  • "The average underground metal fan seeing Crucified Barbara in the daily news feed probably made the same mistake I did in expecting this Scandinavian all-female rock band to be too upbeat and soft to hold my attention. That turned out to not be the case at all, as “In The Red” has the best of both worlds: an energetic rockin' vibe with more than enough of a metal edge. If you dig metal/rock crossovers like Doro or want a more serious and less humorously misogynistic Steel Panther, “In The Red” is absolutely the album for you.The album opens with the catchy “I Sell My Kids For Rock 'N Roll,” an anthem of rebellion against slowing down the rock just because of age, and then shifts into the slower but harder hitting “To Kill A Man,” which would make a great soundtrack to an “I Spit On Your Grave”-style revenge flick. Third track, “Electric Sky” then splits the difference, being catchy but still heavy.The album as a whole is incredibly cohesive, keeping up a solid and recognizable vibe while slightly altering the formula to switch between punk rock partying and darker themes. There's not much in the way of experimentation or a single stand-out track, but that's actually more of a good thing than you might think, as there's really no filler tracks either.“In The Red” is likely to hold the attention of extreme metal fans better than a good deal of the other rock hybrid groups. Granted it's not brutal or extreme, but so long as you don't head into it expecting Arch Enemy you'll be good to go. These tracks are definitely heavier than say Lita Ford's material, but much more rock focused and less on the extreme end than other all-female groups such as Astarte. This leads to both high powered guitar riffing on tracks like “Lunatic” alongside an old school Blue Oyster Cult feel on “Finders Keepers.”Refusing to give up the fist pumping fun of rock while playing heavy metal, Crucified Barbara's “In The Red” is a must-hear for fans of either genre.Highs: A great meshing of energetic rock with hard hitting metal with essentially no filler material.Lows: If you only dig extreme metal this won't have as much appeal, and there's not much in the way of experimentation or a single stand out track.Bottom line: Rock and metal rarely sound this good together - even if the less heavy end of music doesn't usually appeal to you, give this one a listen anyway." - Metal Underground
    $13.00
  • "The replacement of drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander with Brian "Brain" Mantia doesn't affect Primus' sound in any notable way on The Brown Album. That isn't surprising -- Les Claypool's side project Sausage sounds identical to Primus. What's notable about The Brown Album is how Claypool moves Primus even further into progressive and jazz-rock territory, concentrating entirely on the instrumental interplay of the group and caring very little for writing full-fledged songs. "Shake Hands With Beef," the first single from the album, has a reasonably amusing adolescent lyric, but the real attraction of the song is how its thunderous bass riff weaves in and out with the syncopated drums and avant guitar. In that sense, it does let the listener know what the album is about, and very few Primus fans should be disappointed by what The Brown Album delivers. It's standard Primus -- all instrumental interplay and adolescent humor -- but it's delivered with more finesse and skill than ever." - Allmusic
    $5.00
  • Remastered first solo album from Gong's brilliant guitarist. A great mix of psychedelic and Canterbury rock. Comes with 2 bonus tracks - a 2006 remix of "Pentagrammaspin" and a 13 minute power trio version of "Aftaglid". Essential!
    $12.00
  • "Jeff Beck returns two years after the ten-years-in-the-making Who Else?, and You Had It Coming isn't surprising just for its rapidity, but for its music. From the moment the electronicized, post-rave beats of "Earthquake" kick off the record, it's clear that Beck isn't content to stay in place -- he's trying to adapt to the modern world. To a certain extent, this isn't an entirely new phenomenon, since each of his records is clearly, inextricably of its time, from the crunching metal of Truth through the breezy jazz fusion of Blow By Blow to the modernized album rock of Guitar Shop. This is just another side of that, as Beck works with electronic music, both noisy and new age introspective. It's a bit clever, actually, since Beck's playing has always been otherworldly, dipping, bending, and sounding like anything other than a normal guitar. The problem is, when he's surrounded by lockstep, processed beats and gurgling synths, his guitar doesn't leap to the forefront and capture attention the way it does on his best recordings. Still, there's something to be said for the effort, because even if it doesn't sound like a Beck record, it isn't a bad record, and it's certainly a helluva lot more successful than Clapton's similar forays into these waters. Besides, knowing that he knocked this out so quickly makes it a little endearing." - All Music Guide
    $5.00