Love It To Death ($5 SPECIAL)

"Alice Cooper's third album, Love It to Death, can be pinpointed as the release when everything began to come together for the band. Their first couple of albums (Pretties for You and Easy Action) were both largely psychedelic/acid rock affairs and bore little comparison to the band's eventual rip-roaring, teenage-anthem direction. The main reason for the quintet's change was that the eventually legendary producer Bob Ezrin was on board for the first time and helped the Coopers focus their songwriting and sound, while they also perfected their trashy, violent, and theatrical stage show and image. One of the band's most instantly identifiable anthems, "I'm Eighteen," was what made the album a hit, as well as another classic, "Is It My Body." But like Alice Cooper's other albums from the early '70s, it was an incredibly consistent listen from beginning to end. The garage rocker "Caught in a Dream" as well as the ass-kicking "Long Way to Go" and a pair of epics -- the Doors-esque "Black Juju" and the eerie "Ballad of Dwight Fry" -- showed that Alice was easily in league with other high-energy Detroit bands of the era (MC5, Stooges). Love It to Death was the first of a string of classic releases from the original Alice Cooper group." - All Music Guide

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  • Import digipak edition!"2014 live album the King Crimson spin-off. Featuring the talents of Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, Markus Reuter, Julie Slick and Tobias Ralph; The Crimson ProjeKCT primarily focus on repertoire from the early 1980s through to the mid-90s. The band has a ''double trio'' line-up, as made popular by Crimson between 1994-1997. LIVE IN TOKYO finds the band performing a solid 12-song set." 
    $15.00
  • "The Chicago Transit Authority recorded this double-barreled follow-up to their eponymously titled 1969 debut effort. The contents of Chicago II (1970) underscore the solid foundation of complex jazz changes with heavy electric rock & roll that the band so brazenly forged on the first set. The septet also continued its ability to blend the seemingly divergent musical styles into some of the best and most effective pop music of the era. One thing that had changed was the band's name, which was shortened to simply Chicago to avoid any potential litigious situations from the city of Chicago's transportation department -- which claimed the name as proprietary property. Musically, James Pankow (trombone) was about to further cross-pollinate the band's sound with the multifaceted six-song "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon." The classically inspired suite also garnered the band two of its most beloved hits -- the upbeat pop opener "Make Me Smile" as well as the achingly poignant "Color My World" -- both of which remained at the center of the group's live sets. Chicago had certainly not abandoned its active pursuit of blending high-octane electric rockers such as "25 or 6 to 4" to the progressive jazz inflections heard in the breezy syncopation of "The Road." Adding further depth of field is the darker "Poem for the People" as well as the politically charged five-song set titled "It Better End Soon." These selections feature the band driving home its formidable musicality and uncanny ability to coalesce styles telepathically and at a moment's notice. The contributions of Terry Kath (guitar/vocals) stand out as he unleashes some of his most pungent and sinuous leads, which contrast with the tight brass and woodwind trio of Lee Loughnane (trumpet/vocals), Walter Parazaider (woodwinds/vocals), and the aforementioned Pankow. Peter Cetera (bass/vocals) also marks his songwriting debut -- on the final cut of both the suite and the album -- with "Where Do We Go from Here." It bookends both with at the very least the anticipation and projection of a positive and optimistic future. Potential consumers should note the unsurpassed sound quality and deluxe packaging of the 2002 CD remaster." - Allmusic Guide
    $9.00
  • Classic album from 1981 recut on 180 gram yellow vinyl.  Comes with a bonus 12 inch with remixes of "Strangeitude" and "Sploosh!" by Eat Static and Youth&Simon.
    $24.00
  • "Recorded in November 1973 at the Omega studios in Chicago, Outside the Law is undoubtedly still the definitive Epitaph album. The sound engineer was Dave "Grape" Purple, who won the 1971 Grammy for Best Engineered Recording on Isaac Hayes' Theme from Shaft. The recording of Outside the Law was completed in just 5 days, with very few overdubs, and the final mix was done by Ed Cody at the United Technique studio on Chicago's South Side.So how does a German rock band get to be recorded by studios and engineers who built their reputations on black music - and produce such a brilliant album?In early summer 1972, Epitaph did a mind-blowing rock festival gig at Berlin's Waldbühne stadium. Also present that day was Gary Pollack, head of Billingsgate Records, who stopped Cliff Jackson on the way to the dressing room with the announcement that "in six weeks you guys will be doing a US tour". Knowing that no German rock bands had ever toured or recorded in the USA before, Cliff and the guys were somewhat sceptical about the project. But sure enough, Epitaph landed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport in August 1972 for a successful twenty-day tour.Returning on a cloud of euphoria to the band residence near Visselhovede in northern Germany (plenty of poets, painters, animals, and ladies, but no heating, no bath, and only an outside toilet) work commenced on a new album. The demo was recorded two months later at the Windrose Studio in Hamburg and then sent over to Gary Pollack, who invited the band to come back to Chicago to do the full recording of Outside the Law.While Billingsgate was preparing the release of the album, Epitaph spent their time gigging around the Chicago area.It was around this time that Irving Azoff, then managing Joe Walsh, wanted to take Epitaph under his wing. The band met up with him for two days to try and work out a deal, but the German manager they already had developed some seriously cold feet. Bearing in mind that their manager, Werner Kuhls, did not speak a word of English, it was hard to comprehend just which of Azoff's propositions he was objecting to. The net result was that Epitaph couldn't get out of the contract with Kuhls, and Kuhls was dreaming of hitting the big time. Ordered back to Germany for a Europe-wide tour, it was soon clear that Kuhls was no Azoff. The tour turned out to be fronting for Status Quo, and one festival gig. Azoff went on to represent such artists as The Eagles, Jewel, Van Halen, Neil Diamond, Steely Dan, Guns N' Roses, and Christina Aguilera, to name but a few. Werner Kuhls went on to be a concert promoter and publisher of the German version of Rolling Stone. Now without a manager, Epitaph hoped for success with Billingsgate.When they returned to the US for their third tour in late 1974, it soon became clear that despite excellent sales of the album, Billingsgate was in dire straits and unable to finance a proper promotional tour. Two months of sporadic gigs later, the guys returned to Germany. When Billingsgate was finally declared officially bankrupt, the band was afraid it might get stuck with some of the debt, so officially split up in January 1975. Klaus, Bernie and new drummer Panzer Lehmann played with various German bands, while Cliff headed off in the direction of Kathmandu.Having shaken off the disappointment of the Billingsgate episode, the band members got together once again later that year to lay down some tracks in Dortmund. The tapes were lost. The band continued in various line-ups throughout the eighties, producing a number of albums.Following a suggestion from Rudolf Schenke of the Scorpions, Jim McGillivray and Cliff Jackson got the band together again for the now legendary Live at the Brewery concert in 2000. Sometime later, Cliff was sorting out his cellar, and found the Lost Tapes. Epitaph fans now have the chance a selection of these Lost Tapes which have been added here as bonus tracks. And the twenty-five year wait has been well worthwhile."
    $15.00
  • "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
  • "Rock in a Hard Place is the sound of Aerosmith at their most "out of it." Not to say it's a horrible album by any means -- in fact, there are more than a few pleasant surprises -- but without the guitar team of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, it didn't possess the magical chemistry of their '70s classics. Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay filled in for the departed duo, and it turned out to be the group's most studio-enhanced and experimental record up to this point. To keep up with the then-current musical climate, vocoders and synthesizers can be subtly detected, as heard on the space-age "Prelude to Joanie" and in the beginning to the otherwise tough rocker "Lightning Strikes," which served as the album's lone single/video. "Jailbait," "Bitch's Brew," "Bolivian Ragamuffin," and the title track showed the band could still rock out despite their three-year layoff between albums, a cover of "Cry Me a River" showed their gentle side, while the psychedelicized "Joanie's Butterfly" was the album's surprise highlight. But it didn't take an expert to know that Aerosmith was not the same after the loss of the aforementioned members. And so did the band, who welcomed Perry and Whitford back into its ranks two years after Rock in a Hard Place." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Note this is not a 2 on 1.  Its a 15 track compilation of the albums Balls To The Wall and Restless & Wild.
    $5.00
  • ""RUSH: CLOCKWORK ANGELS TOUR" was filmed and recorded last November at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, during Rush's highly successful Clockwork Angels Tour. The eleven month-marathon world tour crossed North America twice and ventured overseas to Europe in support of the band's acclaimed 2012 studio release "CLOCKWORK ANGELS."In capturing the tour's electrifying three hour set, "RUSH: CLOCKWORK ANGELS TOUR" pairs Rush classics ("Tom Sawyer," "The Spirit Of Radio," "2112"), with a nod to the 80's Rush era (The Analog Kid," "Territories," "Subdivisions") alongside newly reworked arrangements specifically for the tour featuring the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble ("Headlong Flight," "YYZ," "Red Sector A"). The string section marks the first time the trio has brought additional musicians on the road with them. To showcase their latest studio release, the epic set list also features nine tracks off "CLOCKWORK ANGELS." Other highlights include tracks rarely performed and never before recorded live ("The Body Electric," "Middletown Dreams"), in addition to three separate drum solos by the incomparable Neil Peart."
    $22.00
  • Remastered edition of the second album from the greatest hard rock band to come from Long Island.Comes with 4 bonus tracks and a price you can live with.
    $5.00
  • Once again we turn to Norway for a fresh take on an old sound. With amps turned way up, Anti-Depressive Delivery blend classic progressive rock with modern raw aggression. Mellotron, organ and synth clash with frantic guitar leads underscoring this young band's appreciation for prog and metal Gods past and present. Think Anekdoten mixed with Pain Of Salvation and Somnambulist.The prog world may never be the same...
    $5.00
  • Deluxe mediabook edition.  CD plus a DVD with 5.1 surround mix, 24 bit stereo, and a "making of" video."Always fond of conceptual storytelling, Ian Anderson goes himself one better with his latest prog-folk-metal concept album. The 15 songs of Homo Erraticus inhabit not one but two metafictional layers. The Gerald Bostock character, hero/anti-hero of the seminal Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick and its recent sequel Thick as a Brick 2, is back again, having now discovered a manuscript left behind in the 1920s by a malaria-ridden old British soldier delightfully named Ernest T. Parritt.Parritt's supposed writings range over northern European history from the Mesolithic era to his own - and on into his future, through the whole 20th century and into our own time and beyond. Winnowed into lyrics written by "Bostock" and set to music by the real protagonist of the story, Ian Anderson, these materials give Anderson - whose creative scope and energy remain robust even as his singing voice has thinned with age - a walk-in-closetful of pegs on which to hang a sequence of songs evoking nothing less than the history of mankind in his part of the world.The first track, "Doggerland," commemorates the area of the southern North Sea that used to be dry land connecting today's British Isles with the rest of Europe. Doggerland vanished under the waves as the last Ice Age ended but, as fisherman discovered not long ago, the sea floor retains much archeological evidence of human occupation. The succeeding songs address migrations, metalworking, invasions (from the Romans to Burger King), the arrival of Christianity, the Industrial Revolution, and so on. To appreciate the songs, you'll want to (at least once) follow along with the notes and lyrics in the accompanying 32-page booklet.The Foreword, in which Anderson discusses the history of Jethro Tull and why he hasn't used the band name for his last few recordings, will especially interest longtime Tull fans. The real question is, will the songs themselves? Some yes, some no. The gruff metal of "Doggerland" gives way to the sweet, plinking folk of "Heavy Metals." (I imagine Anderson chuckling to himself at the irony - no pun intended - of creating such a gentle-sounding song with that title, and on that literal topic.) Both satisfy my Tull craving. "Meliora Sequamur" (Let Us Follow Better Things), which paints a picture of 12th century schoolboys amid religious chant (and cant), does too, and "The Turnpike Inn" is a solid rocker, and the hard-Celtic style of "The Engineer" moves briskly.I like the instrumental track "Tripudium ad Bellum" (Dancing to War). It starts off with an echo of a theme from the original Thick as a Brick (there are others elsewhere on the album), then resolves into a 5/4 march, like a more insistent "Living in the Past." War's aftermath appears in the next track, the sad, deliberate "After These Wars," in which I really feel the lack of Anderson's full-strength vocals. While he was never among rock's greatest singers, that didn't matter - when he sang his songs, you always felt he was all there, and that's what mattered. But now, and not only in the harder songs that shade into old-school heavy metal, his voice just isn't always a match for his music's energy any more.On the other hand, his gift for crafting pleasing, original melodies, writing smart, clever lyrics in complete sentences and true rhyme, and setting much of it in non-traditional time signatures remains strong. The first verse of "After These Wars" reads:After battle, with wounds to lick andbeaus and belles all reuniting.Rationing, austerity: it did us good after the fighting.Now, time to bid some fond farewells andwalk away from empires crumbling.Post-war baby-boom to fuel with post-Victorian half-dressed fumbling.No one in pop music writes like that anymore.Listening to the album as a complete conceptual work, my overall feeling is that there isn't very much new here. Since the 1960s Anderson and Tull have explored countless different musical paths and styles. Some of these produced some of my all-time favorite songs and recordings. Others I hated. But he never seemed to be resting on his laurels. Here I feel like I'm reading a chapter that's not much different from the last chapter.But listening to the songs individually, I like a lot of them. As I write this I'm trying to count the beats of the off-time closer, "Cold Dead Reckoning," with its grim imagery of a future of lost souls navigating their way over a metaphysical Doggerland "amongst the ranks and files of walking dead." I hear crunching minor-key guitar-bass-piano unison figures, a sprightly flute solo. A hopeful verse about "angels watching over" at the end doesn't convince me, as the music continues to growl on as before. Yet there follow a sweet, gentle instrumental coda, reminded us that while things may not turn out well for humanity as we teem over and ruin our only planet, our capacity to create and to appreciate beauty will be with us as long as we live. So let's raise the cup of crimson wonder to Ian Anderson as he charges not-so-gently through his seventh decade." - Seattle Pi
    $17.00
  • "NoSound is an Italian band headed by Giancarlo Erra on vocals, guitars, and keyboards; including: Marco Berni, on keyboards and vocals; Alessandro Luci, on bass, upright bass, and keyboards; Paolo Vigliarolo, on acoustic and electric guitars; and joining them for their fourth album is accomplished drummer and former Porcupine Tree member, Chris Maitland.As a fan of the band it was great to receive this promo copy of the album.Here are my thoughts on 'Afterthoughts'.'In My Fears', opens with the solo electric guitar strumming familiar on many a NoSound album. Only this time it sounds like something far away…approaching through the mist, like a boat on the still ocean, or someone walking on the beach and slowly coming into sight,. The screeching guitar/keyboard effect that whirls around the original lead guitar only adds a soft breeze to the mystery. Giancarlo's first vocals enter the realm of consciousness, "I still feel the glow of this morning light". "I wish I could stay". "Days are so bright". Perfect. Soft, intricate piano, surrounded by waves of guitars and bass, with drums rising like wave crests. Wishin' you were there…huh?'I Miss the Ground' starts with a deeper pitched electric guitar echoing in that familiar way that Giancarlo creates mystery. Then, "I started all over again". And yes, the sound of the band has changed. There are the familiar waves of emotion which follow the guitars and keyboards, only this time more direct and somehow with more power. Erra's vocals are clearer than on past albums. Maitland's touch is different. The clashes and crashes shimmer more brilliantly than before.'Two Monkeys' opens with some beautiful trademark piano, surrounded by soft bass and soaring guitar, drifting off into the distance. Then Erra's vocals unfold the emotional and deep story of the two monkeys. "When I was young I believed there were two monkeys here". "Living in the trees between my arms and the sea". "Someone told me once that was their home". "But their life was sad because they were alone". The piano and keyboards are full of emotion. The writing and singing is…as always full of intense emotion. An even more powerful sounding version than the EP.'The Anger Song' opens with very interesting and unique guitar sounds. Then Maitland takes the stage to add his signature drum sound as the keys and guitars weave mystery around the soundscape. This track has an ever engulfing sound of waves of ocean and emotion which has always been a trademark of the band. It takes me back to "About Butterflies and Children", only this is the other side of happiness and bliss. If it is anger, it is soft anger, until Maitland picks it up a notch and drives louder as the waves of sound crash harder . The waves of guitar and keyboards crest and fall like waves, with Maitland adding the whitecaps to everything brilliantly.'Encounter', opens with wandering piano and drifting guitar chords mixed well with soft tapped drums. Giancarlo's voice enters, "I waited for you at the airport today. To hear what you wanted to say". The sad cello accompanying him brings out the full range of emotions filling the air. The keys surrounding, add mystery to this encounter.'She' is full of brilliant piano and soft tapping drums at the start. The excellent grinding electric guitar which enters with Maitland's drums and keys is sizzling white hot. Erra's vocals bring the emotion, reaching out to touch the subject of the story.'Wherever You Are' is full of more soft emotion and excellent acoustic guitar. Keys surround the mix, but not the waves from before, only soft cello – mixed symphonic keys providing a rich contrast to what has already been heard. Maitland's drums help pick up the pace and pour forth another helping of shimmering and solid sound.'Paralyzed', opens with more soft piano and soft electric guitar. That electric guitar later launches into full blast to pierce the sky and rain down cymbals full of glow. The guitar work on this track is some of the best on the album.'Afterthought', is full of some of the best piano on the album. It opens like the sunrise with soft piano crawling its way to your ears. Erra's vocals are at their peak and the bass, keyboards and drums deliver their best for this closer.This is a dreamy, surf riding wave album full of emotional undercurrents. Maitland's addition to the band has brought more highs and a more powerful drum delivery. The clarity which rains supreme on the mix of this new album points the compass in a new direction. The waves of guitar and keys fill the air and Erra's vocals are clearer and more emotional than on past albums. As always, this band performs as consummate professionals. No afterthoughts or worries on this album. It is another stellar performance. Don't miss this latest chapter in the story.The 2 disc edition of 'Afterthoughts', will include a DVD-A/DVD-V (NTSC 16:9, Region Free) version, with stereo and 5.1 surround high resolution 24bit / 96kHz mixes, plus DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround versions. " - Sea of TranquilityNosound - Wherever You Are (from Afterthoughts) from Kscope on Vimeo.
    $15.00
  • 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
  • After their last performance at Nearfest Apocalypse, Anglagard's lineup went through a bit of an upheaval.  Luckily it didn't materially affect the band's sound.  Anglagard is still Anglagard.  Prog Pa Svenska is a 2CD set that documents the band's three day residence at Club Citta in Tokyo, Japan back in March 2013.  Material is drawn from all three studio albums.  The recording is beautiful and the performances are stellar.  What else do you need to know?  How about this review:"May 14th of this year will see the release of a new Änglagård live album: Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you’re anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård’s small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård’s last show prior to their 1994 breakup. While the liner-notes of Buried Alive reveal a band that was not 100% satisfied, 20 years later with the release of Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan, Änglagård is back and going strong with a new live recording that is rich in dynamic and deep in maturity, a performance that I am confident that they are proud to immortalize for their fans.Prog på Svenska represents the first of three consecutive nights that the masters of dark Swedish prog delivered at Club Città in Japan alongside The Crimson ProjeKCt (featuring the legendary Adrian Belew and Tony Levin). For me personally this is a special album that transports me back to when I witnessed their unbelievable performance only three weeks later at Baja Prog. Among a plethora of canonized acts at the festival (such as Hackett, New Trolls, and Three Friends), Änglagård’s remarkable performance showed that they stand in no one’s shadow. While there’s nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I’ve ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård’s next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn’t kill anyone, I’ll start right off with the new song: ”Introvertus Fugu Part 1.” Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it’s our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that “Introvertus” shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif,  and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. Johan and Linus continue pounding in the rhythm section before the eerie central motif returns to bring “Introvertus” towards its close with the full force of Anna and Linus’ dueling woodwinds, one hanging on the melody while the other produces chaotic squeals before withering off the melody in a very unsettling (but cool) way.After kicking it off with an exciting intro the band takes us back 20 years with “Hostsejd.” The rich dynamics, especially the meticulously controlled Mellotron swells, really shine on this one while some small differences in instrumentation (such as the sax on the first main melody instead of flute) really keep the piece fresh and exciting. Although I was craving the intro on the follow up track, “Längtans Klocka,” the supreme level of interplay between all instruments that starts off the piece is fantastic. Furthermore, the guitar/Mellotron duet at about 6:30 that leads into a memorable theme is quite the highlight. Finally, the circus-y melody towards the end of the song somehow becomes even more diabolic in this slightly stripped down version as Tord’s demented waltzy riff serves as a perfect backdrop for the drunken saxes. Speaking of Tord, it certainly is nice to see him back in the band, and I must add that his guitar playing and sense of emotion is perfect for the band and has improved over the years. This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated on “Jordrök,” a quintessential song in Änglagård’s catalog. The reality of the matter is that despite the fact that the band was quite mature at the time of Hybris‘ release, their capacity to bring out all the nuances in pieces like this shows that they are musicians who have truly refined their craft over the years. “Jordrök” sounds more alive than ever; the Mellotron flute section in the middle, one of the band’s absolute trademark melodies, is to die for, and Linus’ superb use of phrasing and pacing in the piano intro certainly takes this classic piece up several notches.Moving deeper into the performance we see “Sorgmantel,” one of my personal favorites from Viljans Öga. The first thing I noticed about this particular performance is that the intro sounds much more raw due to differences in instrumentation, this version starting out with a guitar and bass call and response. While I absolutely adore the studio version, this new arrangement and performance was also wonderful and brought its own set of advantages to the table. First, the bass/guitar duet at the beginning really exposes the melody and shows you that its not just about fancy instrumentation, it’s a gorgeous melody through and through. Second, the band is not concerned in the least bit with rushing through the performance of this piece; the pacing is delicate, precise, and emotional with plenty of space for ritard and sway as the intro melody gets passed around from guitar to bass and flute and is then countered by the piano, making the fugue-nature of this piece even more evident. The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as “Sorgmantel” takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful… even breathtaking.To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with “Kung Bore” and “Sista Somrar.” Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of “Sista Somrar’s” slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.In my opinion, Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don’t want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there’s just something missing, or the band simply doesn’t offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of ‘had to have been there’ to get what’s so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård’s latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn’t a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård’s extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs." - Progulator
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