Look Into The Future ($5 Blowout Price!)

Second album from this post-Santana lineup is a bit more commercial than the debut but there are still progressive overtones. Neil Schon shines again.

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  • Redemption is one of the leading progressive metal bands in the world today.  Formed in Los Angeles, California in 2000 by guitarist / keyboardist / songwriter Nicolas van Dyk, the band features legendary progressive metal vocalist Ray Alder of Fates Warning, as well as guitarist Bernie Versailles (Agent Steel), and the phenomenal rhythm section of Chris Quirarte (drums) and Sean Andrews (bass).Redemption’s combination of heaviness not usually found in progressive metal, irresistible melodies and emotional urgency has created a unique and resonant voice for this band that sets them apart from the many clones in the genre, and which has gained them the attention of fans, critics and musicians.Through the band’s first three studios CDs (2002s self-titled first release, 2005’s The Fullness of Time, and 2007’s The Origins of Ruin), Redemption gained a loyal fanbase and garnered rave reviews worldwide from critics, who describe Redemption’s music as“one of the best progressive metal acts to emerge in the past decade” – DPRP“magical aura and incredible songwriting” – BLABBERMOUTH“it's powerful, catchy, enslaving, technical; it's the whole bunch” – LORDS OF METAL“the new star on the US prog-metal sky” – SQUEALER ROCKSAfter touring in support of Dream Theater and documenting at headlining show at tour’s end entitled Frozen in the Moment, the band returned to the studio to release 2009’s Snowfall on Judgment Day and 2011’s This Mortal Coil.Performing in support of that record, in 2012 Redemption co-headlined the world-famous ProgPower Festival in Atlanta, where the band recorded a unique show featuring nearly 80 minutes of material and staged with complementary visuals that drive home the compelling emotional impact of this band.   That performance is now being released as a CD/DVD set with additional bonus material through Sensory Records, the band’s original label.  From fan favorites such as the never-before-performed Parker’s Eyes to the crushing emotional weight of Stronger than Death, Redemption’s performance captured the special ability of its music to deeply connect with fans.  In the words of one concert-goer, Redemption’s show “was definitely the most exhausting, personal and emotional musical experience I’ve ever had.” 
    $17.00
  • "fter having a very positive experience with Mekong Delta on their fifth album, Kaleidoscope, I have decided to increase the ammount of albums by them that I own, acquiring at one time Dances of Death, Vision Fugitives, Lurking Fear and Wanderer at the Edge of Time and I must say that, with the exception of Lurking Fear, all those releases were nearly incredable, quality-wise, but Dances of Death (and Other Walking Shadows) had a really special quality: in spite of still having separate instances where they played (progressive) thrash metal and then metal arrangements for classical pieces (the second half of the album), they were able to step-up their business and come up with an epic that managed to merge those two parts of their music.There is no denying that the epic is the center piece of Dances of Death. It accounts for about half of the album's length, it showcases the band full potential al both players and composers, it is able to take you through all sorts of places without straying from the main lines or ideas of the song (the song is really varied and eclectic) and also manages to do all that without wasting your tame with unecessary or unwanted wankery. As I mentioned in my previous Meking Delta review, the band's vocalist isn't very much likeble, but in the suite he does not gets in the way too much, so I can say that he at least does not gets in your way when listening to the song.The next songs, Transgressor and True Believers, are two thrash songs with an approach that, although more straighforward than that of the suite, don't lag behind regarding the progressive factor. Furthermore, they are so well written that not only the vocalist does not get in the way, but his awkward voice actually fits in these compositions, to my utter surprise.The final two tracks are instrumental thrash metal adaptations or arrangements of classical compositions, both being originally written by Modest Mussorgsky during the mid 19th century. The first of them is Night on a Bald (or Bare) Mountain and the second is the bonus track The Gnome, part of Modest's piece Pictures at an Exihibition. The adaptations the band does of both songs is very convincing and solid, showing indeed how skilled are these guys.A comparison that I believe is appropriate to be made here is between them and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Despite the fact that one of them played rock and the other plays heavy metal, both have similar approaches to their respective style of music, infusing considerable amounts of classical music (with a particular, if not exclusive, preference to the romantic period) in each band's style.So far in my exploration of Mekong Delta's discography, Dances of Death (and Other Walking Shadows) has proved to be the band's most accomplished album. The compositional habilities of the band are on the top and the pieces they have chosen to cover in the end of the album also prove to be among the highest degree of quality. That is the biggest quality of this album, the compositions: it has very intelligently written and diversed or varied songs. Besides not having a single bad part, the album present us the best moment of a band that pushed the boundaries of thrash metal music, inventing yet another path beyond that initiated by acts like Watchtower and Voivod, what makes them deserving of the best rating." - ProgArchives
    $18.00
  • Virtuoso keyboardist Vivien Lalu has created a new progressive metal epic featuring an all star cast:Band [A-Z]---Martin LeMar (Mekong Delta) - VocalsMike LePond (SymphonyX) - BassSimone Mularoni (DGM) - GuitarsVirgil Donati (PlanetX)- DrumsVivien Lalu (Shadrane) - KeyboardsGuests [A-Z]---Jens Johansson (Stratovarius)Joop Wolters (Shadrane)Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater)Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie)Mike Andersson (Cloudscape, Fullforce)Peter Wildoer (Darkane, James LaBrie)Born of Noelle and Michel Lalu, musicians from the ‘70s French progressive act Polene, Vivien Lalu has released a surplus of recordings through an array of different bands and projects since 1997, as the keyboard player for underground black/doom band Time For A Change. At the turn of the millennium Lalu played keys for two underground progressive metal bands from Paris, Sad Warden and then Mind’s Orchard, and in 2002 was hired by Hubi Meisel (ex-Dreamscape vocalist) to compose and record the keys for his solo album EmOcean, the following year doing the same for Meisel’s sophomore album Kailash, both of which were released by Lion Music.It was at this time Vivien Lalu begins recruiting his own associates from major prog and metal bands — some of which he shares time composing music alongside in progressive metal act Shadrane — and forms his own solo project, LALU. The first full-length Oniric Metal was released on Lion Music in 2005 and began an entirely new chapter for this composer and his insatiable need to create mind-expanding, cinematic music.These accomplishments helped Lalu to begin securing score and soundtrack work for film and television; over the last few years he’s written many cues for the orchestral soundtrack for the Warner Bros movie Seuls Two, for the show Science X made in association with Lucasfilm Ltd. Additionally he joined the production team behind Laszlo Jones in order to assist the recordings and production of Banana Nation (Universal Music Group). He’s composed many soundtracks for French television, music and sound effects for Neko Entertainment, worked as a sound designer for Ubisoft Entertainment and much more.After collaborating with Shadow Gallery for a song on their Digital Ghosts album, and working with Canadian drummer Chris Nalbandian for his Paralysis of Analysis solo album — recording all keys and sharing solos with Derek Sherinian and Alex Argento — Vivien finally settled in and began work on the second LALU opus. Handling all composition and songwriting duties, as well as all keyboards on the massive production, Vivien weaved the cloth of the new album with vocalist Martin LeMar (Mekong Delta), bassist Mike LePond (SymphonyX), guitarist Simone Mularoni (DGM), drummer Virgil Donati (PlanetX), the album’s parts recorded in several countries including the United States (Los Angeles and New York), Germany and Italy, produced by Lalu in his own studio, and mixed at Boumbox Studio in Paris by Yan Memmi (Dio’s Lock Up The Wolves, Marcus Miller’s The Sun Don’t Lie, etc.). Additional contributions from Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Joop Wolters (Shadrane), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie), Mike Andersson (Cloudscape) and Peter Wildoer (James LaBrie) were also carefully built into the album, the final product boasting over fifty minutes of exceptional, massive  cinematic, atmospheric metal Lalu has dubbed, Atomic Ark. 
    $13.00
  • Well Steve is done resucitating the Genesis catalogue and back to concentrating on fresh solo material.  The new album Wolflight is a bit of a loose concept album and I find it to be one of his strongest releases in years.  The album is filled with lots of guests (including Chris Squire) contributing exotic instruments to the mix adding an old world sound.  Steve's trademark sound is locked into place so if you are looking for the wailing guitar, liquid runs and acoustic delicacy you won't be disappointed.  His vocals has never been my favorite part of a Steve Hackett album but either I've mellowed in age or his voice has - not sure which.  Regardless it fits the music just fine.  Classic Hackett and nothing less.  BUY OR DIE!
    $12.00
  • Michael Romeo doesn't work quickly.  The man takes his time and a new Symphony X album is ready when its been honed to perfection.  Underworld is the first new album in four years.  To get to the point its ridiculously great.  Up through V, the band were the modern agents of neoclassical/symphonic metal.  With The Odyssey the band took a left turn with Russell Allen's vocals being more agressive and a pervasive overall crunchiness, heaviness to the sound.  Perhaps a bit less symphonic sounding.  With Underworld fans of the "old style" will smile once again.  The band has found a way to balance both sides of their sound.  Its heavy but extremely melodic.  Russell's vocals are spot on and Mr. Romeo's solos have an organic flow that will sweep you through the tune.  Its a beautiful marriage of styles - not too much of either direction that the band has exhibited in the past.  Toss in a theme built around Dante's Inferno and you've totally sucked me back in to the fold.  BUY OR DIE!"A lot has happened with New Jersey-based progressive metal band SYMPHONY X since the Iconoclast album was released four years ago. Singer ‘Sir’ Russell Allen recorded and toured behind several releases with ADRENALINE MOB, toured with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and recorded the album The Great Divide with ALLEN-LANDE. Bassist Mike Lepond toured with HELSTAR and released his excellent solo album under the name SILENT ASSASSINS. Keyboardist Michael Pinnella released a solo album and guitarist Michael Romeo made guest appearances on some albums. Drummer Jason Rullo battled and successfully recovered from heart failure in 2013.Four years later, SYMPHONY X delivers another fantastic album, the band sounding just as powerful as Iconoclast, and amazingly never missing a beat. Titled Underworld, it is sort of a concept album, loosely based on Dante’s epic poem Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is not a totally original topic in the metal world; ICED EARTH featured an epic song based on it on their 1995 album Burnt Offerings and SEPULTURA wrote a concept album based on it with 2006’s Dante XXI, while SYMPHONY X themselves included references to it on their 1997 album The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. Several other metal bands have also been influenced by the poem.SYMPHONY X do not follow the tale word for word, but use it more as an inspiration. Michael Romeo is quoted as saying that the album has a theme of “going to hell and back for something or someone you care about.” He also said that this album is more about “the song” instead of the album as a whole, allowing it to flow better from song to song. This doesn’t mean every song is an attempt at a single. Romeo’s intent when writing songs for Underworld was for people to be able to take in the whole album in one listening. (The total album length is just over an hour, compared to Iconoclast’s two discs that were around 83 minutes).To be honest, the last two SYMPHONY X albums, 2007’s Paradise Lost and 2011’s Iconoclast were my favorite albums released by the band so far. I refer to them as the “angry” SYMPHONY X, mainly due to Russell Allen’s vocal delivery and the aggressive music on those particular albums. So, I waited to see if we would get a third album in this same vein from SYMPHONY X. The songs on Underworld seem to alternate between prog and aggression, but for the most part, the album is not as “angry” as Iconoclast. The album strikes a perfect balance between prog and power. Some songs are aggressive without being “angry”. There are definitely more classic SYMPHONY X elements here than on recent releases.The album is much more accessible than previous albums. The songs overall are shorter (most clocking in at around the 5-6 minute mark), and more to the point than on previous albums. For example, “Kiss Of Fire” is one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard by SYMPHONY X. It immediately became a favorite of mine on this album, with the verse, “Bring down the hammer, with serious anger – It’s me against the world!” section and the chorus becoming some of my favorite moments. This song probably represents the album to me more than any other, but the album is filled with classics, such as opener “Nevermore”, a ferocious track that is aggressive in the verses, while the chorus is more melody-driven. The title track follows, with many twists, turns and speed sections. “Without You” is a standout track. With its guarded delivery by Allen and acoustic guitar flowing in the background, it is probably the mellowest moment on Underworld, but that’s not a bad thing. The chorus is the focus of the track, with Allen performing some of his best work. The song probably has the most potential as a single. Another solid track, “Charon”, named for the ferry boatman of the underworld, follows. This track has a middle-eastern flavor to it.The longest track on the album (9:24 in length) follows, the excellent “To Hell And Back”. This song has so many great parts, it’s hard to pick a particular favorite, possibly Allen’s soaring vocal on the chorus or the “on and on and on / no quarter asked, no quarter given” section. “In My Darkest Hour” follows and is another favorite of mine, featuring speed riffing parts, mixed with a melodic chorus. Allen really shines on this song. “Run With The Devil” is even more up-tempo and another one of the more accessible songs due to the chorus. “Swan Song” finds keyboardist Pinnella taking the bulk of the spotlight with his piano flourishes. The album closes with the excellent “Legend”. Allen’s aggressive pre-chorus vocals and melodic chorus vocals make this an instant classic.I believe the playing on Underworld is at another level for the band. Lepond’s bass work is spectacular throughout and Jason Rullo makes a real statement with his drum performance. Fantastic work from keyboardist Michael Pinnella and of course guitarist Michael Romeo’s amazing riffs and solos are worth the price alone. But you get more, don’t you? You get one of the best singers in metal, Sir Russell Allen, making yet another classic album even better with his voice.The album’s exquisite cover artwork (once again by illustrator Warren Flanagan) features the return of the SYMPHONY X masks, around which are eight symbols that represent the circles of hell: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, and fraud. The symbol for treachery, the ninth circle, is underneath the masks, and hopefully will be revealed in full inside the album packaging.Underworld is a great album, which grew on me the more I listened to it. SYMPHONY X are masters of American prog metal, and have been for quite some time. Underworld further cements that reputation, and will undoubtedly please fans of all eras of the band." - KNAC.com 
    $14.00
  • "I actually found Carving an Icon quite the retroactively blind purchase, suspiciously ironic since I had been tracking this project for quite a while and assumed I knew what to expect from Morfeus in regards to his avant-garde songwriting and abstruse, distinctive approach to the axes. From this isolated point of view, his sonic handprint is indeed all over Viper Solfa, making the unreasonably long wait for Dimension F3H’s This Mechanical World somewhat easier to mitigate since the dude has at least kept the old creative mind juiced as ever. What I wasn’t quite able to ready myself for was the remaining contributions, hardly something to just gloss over, as Viper Solfa is presented as something of a “supergroup” after all as opposed to a mere side-project.Ronny Thorsen supposedly leads Viper Solfa for all formal intents and purposes, the proclivity for many a conflagration granted by his burly speaking timbre and rousing death roars is a concerted force to be reckoned with. It can be argued that he is just another head in the pack, hardly boasting the standalone merit to turn one’s knees to jelly, but Viper Solfa isn’t done yet. The centrepiece of the band isn’t actually Thorsen, but Miriam Renvåg, whose swaying, affecting timbre opens doors unexpected for the band both conceptually and stylistically. So while I can’t feign shock now, I do recall bemused skepticism at the introduction of such audaciously disparate factors. Renvåg’s voice is very sleek and refined, with an almost pop-caliber cadre of appeals that land Viper Solfa closer to bands such as earlier Sirenia once the vocal trade-off between Thorsen is taken into account. It isn’t what I expected, having come into this project for Morfeus alone, but I certainly applaud Viper Solfa for attempting to merge sodden, opaque, death growls with avant-garde female vocal idiosyncrasy.With nearly all preconceptions espoused by this point, and with Renvåg’s quivering and psychedelic banshee wails taking their mental toll, I realized that there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn between Dimension F3H and Viper Solfa. Symphonics are used sparingly and as punctuation as opposed to the primary arsenal. Morfeus is basically the main songwriter here, and he is still shipping out crunchers of high order in the modern black/death format he began employing in earnest on Legacy of Evil during his waning years with Limbonic Art. In fact, the hard-lined, basal distortion sounds very similar to that record, and as the rollicking, flighty webbing of tremolos grow thicker and denser, Carving an Icon hammers out a welcoming mat to the most unexpected clientele.This ends up being the album’s tripping point, however, as far too much time is spent grooming vocal melodies that sound almost shoehorned in just for the sake of keeping the singers occupied. Thorsen’s petulant rasp gets one-upped by Renvåg’s (sometimes sorely overacted) caterwauling, and the end result borders on the monotonous more often than it should. The band still makes a good show of their missteps, what with a dense, abysmal grandeur pervading the nether reaches of what is honestly a relatively compact and easy listen on the whole, but these shortcomings remain. Carving an Icon may not be a masterpiece, or even the best outlet for all of the talents involved, but I can promise that it sounds like absolutely nothing you have heard lately, or likely will in the near future. At the end of the day, a neat project that delivered at least a few truly lethal numbers like “Whispers and Storms,” “Deranged” and most notably the floods of choppy, aggrandized viscera that embody the aptly-titled “Vulture Kingdom.” My expectations are not in line with the norm due to my familiarity with Morfeus’ back-catalogue, so take of this what you will, but Carving an Icon got more than a few spins out of me."
    $15.00
  • DGM has been cranking out albums for years and with all the lineup changes they go through, somehow the music gets better and better.  Forget that Russell Allen and Jorn Viggo Lofstad guest on the album - sure that's cool.  More important are the facts that vocalist Mark Basile is rock solid and the band has come up with a perfect blend of melodicism, heaviness and proginess. (not sure that is a word).  This one makes all the right moves. File under: AWESOME!   Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Its been seven years since the first release from The Fractured Dimension.  The core of the band is led by two ex-members of the avant metal band Scholomance: Jimmy Pitts (keyboards) and Jerry Twyford (bass).Given the extensive lineup of guest musicians Pitts and Twyford have corraled one would expect a supreme tech metal blow out.  In parts you get that but there are very strong symphonic rock, classical and fusion elements woven into the music.    Essentially they let the musicians be themselves and it makes it more challenging and interesting to hear them work their styles in to the compositions.OK so here is who is on th album:Jimmy Pitts (keys), Jerry Twyford (bass), Hannes Grossmann (drums), Vishal J Singh, Tom "Fountainhead" Geldschlager, and Tom Kopyto on guitars, Joe Deninzon (violin), Kasturi Nath Singh (Indian Classical Fusion Vocals), and guest guitar solos by Christian Muenzner, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Mike Abdow, Pete Pachio, Aaron Roten, Bill Bruce, and Jeremy Barnes.So you have guys from Obscura and lots of insane guitar soloists letting it all hang out with overlays of keyboards, violin all thrown at you with lots of intensity.  The whole thing will keep you off balance and I promise you won't be bored.  Highly recommended."“How can less be more? That’s impossible. More is more”, is a famous quote by Yngwie Malmsteen, and US/Germany-based super-group The Fractured Dimension have turned that statement into their modus operandi through their new album ‘Galaxy Mechanics’. By just looking at the star-studded 16-man line-up, not many would expect anything less than all-out super-technical music: a sound the band itself has labelled ‘Cosmic Instrumental Metal’.Despite the large number of members, from over 7 countries, Keyboardist Jimmy Pitts and bassist Jerry Twyford are the ones spearheading The Fractured Dimension, while the others have special and guest appearances on the record. Where you’d see drummer Hannes Grossmann (ex-Necrophagist, ex-Obscura, Blotted Science, Alkaloid), you’d see his Alkaloid band-mate and guitarist Christian Muenzner, and where you’d see Christian, you’d see current Obscura guitarist Tom Fountainhead Geldschlager, and the list goes on. It includes guitarists Tom Kopyto, Mike Abdow, Jeremy Barnes, Bill Bruce, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Pete Pachio and Aaron Roten. Indian guitarist Vishal J Singh is also among the ranks, as is Indian classical fusion vocalist Kasturi Singh and violinist Joe Deninzon.The album is extremely complex, and features an incredible range of musical styles not just through different instruments and tones, but through stylistic variations within an instrument itself. For example, the guitarists exercise their own style of playing, and since different guitarists worked on different tracks on the album, each song is given a unique vibe. The songs are progressive and only subtly repetitive, while each one is quite different from the other not only in terms of the guitars, like mentioned, but also in the way they’re structured and layered instrumentally.Dealing with each track individually is impossible because of their highly complex nature, but some of the high points from the album include songs like “Displacement” and “Elysian” which, like the other tracks, make use of interesting keyboard patches and time changes. The bass and keyboards are prominent everywhere and along with some brilliant drumming, form the backbone of the sound around which the guitars weave their magic.However, the main issue that needs to be addressed is this: does all of this complexity and variation give rise to music that is, put simply, enjoyable? Not everyone may appreciate the highly intricate music, but it makes no sense to say that The Fractured Dimension tried to impress everybody anyway. What can be seen, or rather, what flares up and makes itself obvious in the music, is the honesty behind it. The songs do not feel like they are forced, and the creative freedom of the musicians is in full display here. If one can see this honesty for himself/herself, that person will end up enjoying Galaxy Mechanics. There aren’t many other albums for which the same thing can be said, so the album is a definite hit and not a miss, and while dealing with super-technical and intricate music it is very easy to go wrong.A quarrel one could pick with Jimmy Pitts and Co. involves intriguing song titles, like “Bolshevikian Mythological Creature” and “Seventh Hymn to Nibiru” for example, and no vocals and lyrics to explain them. This doesn’t mean the music would be better off with vocals, but it means that there is no vocal expression of these concepts in a manner everybody can understand. Other than this, Galaxy Mechanics is a sublime effort from The Fractured Dimension, and one can only wonder what this exceptional pool of talent will conjure up next." - Metalwani
    $9.00
  • The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there.  Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan.  One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice.  It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji.  The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics.  The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time).  Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz.  Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics.  There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing.  The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element.  Very little of it would be hard card fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present.  This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music.  Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label.  They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process.  We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.  More will follow in the near future.This is the first of a trilogy of albums coordinated by label founder Tee Fuji.  Its a bit of an all-star jam with members of the TBM roster.  Its a fully electric set that features serious blowing.  Some of it gets pretty freaky but in a good way."Sounds beyond compare – one of those really special 70s sessions from the Japanese Three Blind Mice label – put together in a way that almost seems to be a genre unto itself! The group here have a keen understanding of advances in free jazz and fusion, but work with a deeper spiritual undercurrent and a great sense of sound (shaped by producer Takashi "Tee" Fujii) – so that their individual instrumental elements flow together in rich new ways that are sometimes subtle, sometimes quite righteous! The lineup shifts a bit from track to track – and the set features xcellent work on flute and bass clarinet from Kenji Mori, electric piano from Masaru Imada, tenor from Takao Uematsu, and bass and cello from Nobuyoshi Ino. Titles include "End Of November", "Mort", "Our Foolish", and "Dragon Garden"."
    $29.00
  • "When push came to shove, few metal fans ever had any doubts that Max Cavalera would do just fine on his own after his acrimonious split from Brazilian death metal heroes Sepultura. In fact, the guitarist/singer/songwriter quickly proved himself the better of the two parties with the release of his new band Soulfly's eponymous debut in 1998. But, whereas that record maintained a rather linear progression from Sepultura's often underappreciated, at times groundbreaking work, clearly the singer's more adventurous work was now behind him. Primitive, Soulfly's sophomore "solo" project, introduces the listener to yet another slew of "new" musical styles, experiments, and collaborations. Frustratingly, where albums like Arise and especially Roots broke through standard metal clichés by reinventing its aesthetic with often startling results, a record like Primitive just seems like a haphazardly thrown-together melange of styles, with few cuts really managing to inspire or even gel. In fact, most of Cavalera's ideas sound half-baked here -- teetering on the cusp of something great, but never fulfilling that promise. With its mishmash of moods and irreverent sense of experimentation, Primitive teases but mostly plays it safe with its facile over-the-top posturing. Maybe it's the fact that Cavalera's lyrics have become something of an embarrassing mess these days, with the singer (and we use the term loosely) abusing every overwrought rap-metal cliché imaginable. Ignore the words (and let's not kid ourselves, a lot of folks will) and one is left with a solid, somewhat predictable metal release, which almost redeems itself thanks in part to a punchy production courtesy of Korn and Alice in Chains producer/engineer Toby Wright. As for the individual tracks themselves, opener "Back to the Primitive" is perfectly interchangeable with any other of the opening cuts on all the previous Soulfly and Sepultura albums (something Metallica once mastered to perfection back in its heyday). However, at the end of the day, Cavalera is no Hetfield and "Back to the Primitive" is no "Fight Fire With Fire" or "Battery" for that matter. Primitive then succumbs to a cluster-f**k of guest appearances including Slayer's Tom Araya, the Deftones' Chino Moreno, and the entire Mulambo Tribe (huh?) from Brazil -- yielding as many "ooh, that was neat" reactions as it does "what the hell was that for?" confusion. Of the aforementioned lyrical calamities, the otherwise satisfying "Bring It" and "Jump the F**k Up" are especially laughable for their sheer stupidity. "Mulambo," as one has come to expect, is the album's meaningless, supposed tribal chant (and no, it doesn't mean anything in Portuguese either), while "In Memory of..." is simply a blatantly shortsighted attempt at hip-hop. Two offerings, however, are pretty much beyond reproach: there's "Son Song," a surprising lucid collaboration with Sean Lennon that succeeds because it is so downright catchy and off the wall, and the closing "Flyhigh," truly surprising with its female lead co-vocal and bludgeoning detuned guitar groove. Ultimately, Primitive finds Cavalera in a reluctant holding pattern, and begs the question: "Where do we go from here?"" - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • Great instrumental symphonic band led by Finisterre leader Fabio Zuffanti. This is the 3rd of 4 parts celebrating the seasons. Pure analog keyboards (Mellotron, Moog, Hammond), flute, sax, guitar, etc. The music has a bit of a melancholy and sombre feel but at the same time it can be quite exhilarating. In some ways it reminds me of SFF... Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • "In their quest to melancholize everybody’s lives and institutionalize sorrow as a beauteous condition, these Finnish metal legends have produced yet another record that is the perfect companion to a night of stargazing. As their eleventh studio album, Circle is an apt sonic reflection of the pensiveness that accompanies old age.Angst and gloom take turns to induce emotional roller-coaster rides (“Shades Of Gray”, “Hopeless Days” and “Enchanted By The Moon”) while the keyboard plays the role of a calm voice amidst electric guitar maelstroms (“Mission”, “The Wanderer” and “Into The Abyss”). Once again, Tomi Joutsen’s signature mix of powerful, guttural growling and deep, emotive clean singing does a splendid job of nailing catchy choruses. Folkish woodwind tunes (“Narrowpath”, “Nightbird’s Song” and “A New Day”) and a brief saxophone motif (towards the end of “A New Day”) give the music a soothing touch too.Alas, as beautiful as Circle is, it is one of those listenable records that you would spin to sleep to rather than energetically nod to. No new ground is trodden upon, but the starry sky above is reached once again" - New NoiseThis is the CD/DVD edition.  The CD comes with the bonus track "Dead Man's Dream" and the DVD features a "making of" documentary as well as a video clip.
    $8.00
  • "It's a bit surprising that Pantera waited until 1997 to release a live album, considering how brutal and powerful the band had been in concert. At an average Pantera show, it would not be unusual to see security evicting overzealous fans, and club bathrooms filled with bloody wads of paper towels from mosh pit injuries. Official Live 101 Proof captures the group in its natural, violent element, combining abrupt, barbed riffs with pulse-pounding beats and furious vocals. The record spans Pantera's career, from the classic guitar lick of "Cowboys from Hell" to the fuzzbomb fury of "Suicide Note Pt. 2" (from album The Great Southern Trendkill). As an encore, the band offers album buyers two new studio tracks, the bluesy bonecrusher "Where You Come From" and the grinding piledriver "I Can't Hide." As the fortress of alternative rock continues to crumble, Pantera stomp vindictively through the rubble, their metallic legacy intact."--Jon Wiederhorn
    $6.00
  • "San Francisco has produced countless acts that have defined, and even created, entire genres of music from the psychedelic movement to some band named METALLICA. On “The Zodiac Sessions”, Stoner Metal darlings ORCHID, somehow manage to add their name to the list with a seedy, grooving, bong hit ripping trip through the dark side. Poster children of the Stoner-hipster-Metal phenomenon, ORCHID has released a mess of music since forming in 2007. “Zodiac” is a collection of the bands earlier work, the “Through the Devils Doorway” EP and the killer full-length, “Capricorn”. Newly re-mastered, both records sound excitedly crisp and full, begging to be played at full volume with no remorse.If you really stretch your chemically altered imagination, you can see ORCHID onstage at the Fillmore ruining every ones buzz with their hemorging wall of sound and message of absolute Doom. Maybe that trippy vision is a little too heavy for your current state of mind but these guys are making retro sound progressive, conjuring the very best of classic BLACK SABBATH, PENTAGRAM and DUST while burning a path all their own. “Capricorn” is just plain creepy as the boogie virtually drips off Mark Thomas Baker’s guitar. It’s almost impossible to understand how the refrain gets so heavy with one guitar player but Keith Nickel hammers the bass strings so hard it shakes the ice in your glass. Carter Kennedy handles the back end nicely with deeply body shaking drum work, the perfect complement to the classic crushing being done by Baker and Nickel. Theo Mindell leads the charge with a howling voice resembling Bobby Liebling at his evilest.Baker throws the black cloak of doom gently over the listeners head with “Black Funeral”, the perfect late night graveyard hang out song, Mindell sounding like he is trying to raise the old souls of San Francisco’s past for an undead freak out. On “Eastern Women” we hear the marching guitar rhythm that has lead Orchid to the head of the stoner rock pact. It’s raw and unrelenting, showing a hint of what was to come as the band grew into their already legendary “The Mouths of Madness” record. It all comes to a crashing conclusion with “No One Makes a Sound”. Mindell lays it out on the line, letting us know that ‘they ain’t going to listen now, until no one makes a sound’. Eye opening stuff reminding us that heavy licks and heavy lyrics are how this whole San Fran thing got started.While a double re-packaging of not one but two records, neither one a decade old, is a little pretentious, original ORCHID vinyl is already fetching a pretty penny online. Sporting some groovy new art from multi-tasker Theo Mindell, “Zodiac Sessions” gives first time listeners a chance to pick up some old ORCHID on the cheap (for now) and gives those who were there the first time a second hit off the good stuff." - Metal Temple
    $14.00