The Masquerade Overture

SKU: SDPCD185
Label:
Snapper Music
Category:
Progressive Rock
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New issue of Pendragon's neoprog classic from 1996. Now comes with a bonus live version of "The Last Man On Earth".

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  • 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
  • "Two years ago, a virtually unknown Russian band released a debut with chamber classical orchestration, gorgeous multi-layered vocals, and the occasional modern rock touch. Very few initially noticed it, but eventually by word of mouth, it became an unexpected favorite 2012 album in progressive rock, despite the scarcity of progressive rock elements. Listeners there mainly rated on songwriting and enjoyment.Now, we have a second iamthemorning album, expanding on the elements from the first album. A confident, mature album that will likely bring rave reviews all over the place given the band is not as obscure as in 2012.The music is once again heavily influenced by classical music. Vocals and piano continue creating the foundation of the music, with orchestral instrument, drums, and modern rock sounds adding layers whenever needed. Even the modern rock sounds are used in a very classical, 'iamthemorning' way.The added complexity of the music was a risk. After all, the debut's instantly rewarding melodies and its safe, if brilliant, songwriting approach made it very difficult for many listener to honestly hate such an album. Now, we're dealing with complexity levels more to the tune of classical music and progressive rock. This is now easily categorized as progressive rock, with less direct melodies, knotty musical ideas, occasionally long songs, more in-depth instrumentation and lyricism. The risk is that I enjoyed the first listen less than the first listen of the debut. However, I cannot decide which album I prefer now. I feel like this one has a few minor flaws based on the risk-taking approach, compared to the near-perfection pop of the debut. However, there are even more 'WOW!' moments here in my opinion, some of the very best musical passages I perceive to come across.Flaws? I seem to only gripe about the slow development of their last full song, the samples in 'Howler' and the beginning of 'K.O.S' with a repetitive, awkward drum beat and one-chord guitar riff. Luckily, the latter two songs are overall highly interesting and dynamic songs otherwise, which is why I said the flaws are not severe as they involve a small fraction of two songs.Strengths? It's hard to name them all. The intermissions remain impressive. The first one has such a captivating atmosphere, I can't imagine anyone being hard-pressed to say 'nah' and stop playing the album. The fourth intermission (titled XII) almost reaches song-like status in length, starting with classical violin and continuing with mesmerizing piano. The last intermission is almost transcendental in a spiritual sense.And then you have the songs and they are so, so good. All those subtle melodies and exciting instrumentation in 'Howler', the beautiful 'To Human Misery' with a very captivating main melody yet also with a lot of subtle instrumentation. I should try not to overuse the phrase 'subtle complexity', but I think that word really describes this album. Subtle complexity is what makes this album work so well: you latch on into some obvious melodies on first listen, but then all those little details won't make you lose interest. Every instrument plays melodies, sometimes simultaneously.'Romance' and '5/4' sound a bit like more intricate version of Tori Amos music. They are whimsical, enchanting yet quite complex in instrumentation. Those little details like the muted violin melodies and brief 'shredding' electric guitar that somehow sounds mellow. The '5/4' song is mostly in 6/4 actually, but when it shifts to a 5/4 meter playing a carnival-like atmosphere, it's pure genius, even if it sounds like a horrible idea at first listen. It's an odd choice for a single. I thought it would be 'The Simple Story' which is more instantly recognizable with its melodies and the great piano line near the end. 'Crowded Corridors' is possibly their most accomplished composition to date and also their longest by far at nearly 9 minutes. It begins relatively subdued with their typical instrumentation and vocalizations, if more haunting than usual. Something else going for it is the more 'epic', dramatic moments that work incredibly well. It'd be interesting if they revisit this approach to songwriting in later albums. A particular highlight, besides the obvious piano solo in the latter half, is a slow melody at minute 3 being revisited at the very end at a faster pace.By the way, most of these songs deviate from a typical song structure to help make it more impactful and dynamic. The song 'Gerda' starts very soft and delicate but later sounds very empowering and grand: it's yet another great song. 'Os Lunatum' starts as an outstanding piano + vocal duet, both at their very best, especially during the song's main hook. Guitars later become dominant on the song's instrumental section. The song concludes with a full band sound, the progression from the very beginning being very natural.'K O S' may be marginally a less enjoyable song here because of that first minute which sounds repetitive and lacks what I like about the band. The rest is an interesting experiment as they veer towards a progressive rock / alternative rock sound without fully losing their trademark vocals, pianos, and subtle way to adding melodic layers. I love the way it ends, reprising the intro in such a way that almost redeems it. The 'Reprise of Light no Light' is another lesser favorite, developing in a slow fashion that sometimes tests my patience. I do love that it, along with the last intermission, ends with peaceful, abstract noise.In the end, they have accomplished a very difficult feat, given the high standard the set themselves with their debut. This second album is very intelligent music as well as very deep, emotional music. It touches me. In the end, despite the occasional flaw, it's a masterpiece and I anticipate it being consistently among my favorite pieces of music regardless of genre alongside their debut." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • Raise The Curtain is the latest effort from the former Savatage mastermind.  Its quite different from the Jon Oliva's Pain project and in a surprising way.  The music has a strong 70s vibe blending elements of progressive rock, AOR, and metal.  Oliva plays all the instruments but he collaborated on the songwriting with Dan Fasciano.  From the opening roaring organ sounds you know you are in for something a bit different.  You can tell this is Jon Oliva - there are parts that will remind you a bit of Savatage but you will also think in terms of Kansas, ELP, Alice Cooper.  A mash up of styles for sure but quite well done.  A friend who heard an advance copy summed it up perfectly: "A fun album".  This is the first pressing that has one bonus track.  Grab it while we got 'em.
    $15.00
  • Smoking hot chick alert!! New band formed by four members of the now defunct Karnataka. Taking over on vocals is Anne-Marie Helder, who also plays flute. The band has jettisoned the celtic touches of Karnataka. Instead they have a more varied and modern sound. Guest violinist Liz Prendergast adds a nice spacey touch with her solos. For a band that is going for a more immediate and less complex sound no one bothered to let them know that a 19 minute track like the album closer "The Dreaming" isn't going to get them any radio airplay!
    $17.00
  • "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
  • "Robert Fripp guested on David Sylvian’s 1986 album “Gone to Earth”. Sylvian/Fripp evolved as an extension of that collaboration, initially with gigs as a trio with future King Crimson member Trey Gunn on stick, followed by a full length studio album with the addition of Jerry Marotta on Drums, Marc Anderson on percussion & vocalist Ingrid Chavez. The album was recorded by David Bottrill in Woodstock NY and New Orleans.The album entered the UK Top 30 on release in summer 1993, its eclectic mix featuring short songs, extended, looped funk and rock hybrids surprised and pleased fans of both artists with, perhaps, only the beautiful closing track ‘Bringing Down The Light’ with its Soundscapes over ambient backdrop washes coming close to that which might have been expected prior to release. A single, “Jean the Birdman”, was issued shortly after the album and the releases were supported by a full band tour.Experimental yet accessible, song driven yet leaving ample room for instrumental exploration, “The First Day” is a great advert for such occasional meetings insofar as it manages to showcase the individual strengths of both artists while drawing something new and unexpected from their joint work.As such it is one of the best remembered of the many collaborative recordings by both artists.""Robert Fripp and David Sylvian's first official release together, The First Day, is a much funkier and more percussive affair than its bootleg predecessor, The Day Before (which contained radically different versions of these songs). An obvious reason for its higher quality is that it was recorded in a studio, while the bootleg consisted of in-concert demos, and the songs here have been worked to completion. Fripp has found an extremely talented singer/partner in Sylvian, who adds a lot to his quirky compositions. Trey Gunn (who plays a bass-like instrument called the stick) makes each track practically groove and breathe on his own, and allows Fripp to stretch out and experiment in ways previously unheard by this guitar icon. The First Day is a very consistent album, with the musician's excitement and energy easily being felt on such tracks as "God's Monkey," "Brightness," and the ten-minute tour de force "Firepower." Other lengthy tracks follow (the 11-minute "20th Century Dreaming" and the 17-minute "Darshan"), but it never becomes self-indulgent or boring. Certainly one of Robert Fripp's best and more inspired King Crimson side projects." - Allmusic 
    $7.00
  • Stunning Hendrix influenced progressive hardrock from guitarist Bambi Fossati. New edition reissued by Vinyl Magic in a mini-lp sleeve is supposedly remastered although I wouldn't expect much difference in the way of sonics. Looks nicer though!
    $18.00
  • Second album from this Italian retro-hard rockers.  Voodoo Highway has been hyped as the second coming of Deep Purple/Led Zeppelin/Thin Lizzy all rolled into one.  While I wouldn't go that far I can say that they do successfully channel the spirit of those bands.  When the Hammond organ kicks in you definitely be transported to California Jam.  They pick up on the Deep Purple/Rainbow vibe and run with it...and they get pretty damn far!  Highly recommended. 
    $15.00
  • You might recognize this album...you should.  Like the rest of the Egg catalog, Patrick Vian's sole album was heavily imported into the US by JEM Records.  Back in the day, this album was everywhere.  In fact I still run across copies in the used bins from time to time.  It even made the Nurse With Wound list.  Originally released in 1976, it finally has found an audience and has been reissued by Staubgold.  Patrick Vian is the son of French jazz musician Boris Vian.  He was also a member of the underground rock band Red Noise, who made one album that is quite well known among prog and psych collectors.  Bruits Et Temps Analogues is actually quite an interesting album that has probably been taken for granted over the years.  Vian has assembled a high caliber instrumental quartet that includes noted percussionist Mino Cinelu.  Vian plays a variety of analog synths  - Moogs and ARPs.  George Granier is the second keyboardist and Ame Son's Bernard Lavialle plays guitar.  The music is flat out prog rock.  Vian's use of synths has a bit of a spacey quality but not in a textural way - he's playing laser-like leads while the band plays in a bit of a jazz rock style.  The rockier tracks sound a bit like Egg stablemates Ose and Heldon.  So you wind up with this weird amalgam of styles that come across like a mash up of Heldon and Gong.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • This release is part of the "Deep Jazz Reality" series that explores obscure jazz titles.  Often the music touches on modal, spiritual, and even psychedelic jazz.  While Japanese artists are often featured, the series is a bit wide open, touching on musicians from all over the globe.  These CD reissues are limited releases in mini-lp sleeves and often go out of print, at which point they sell for ridiculous prices.Toshiaki Yokota is a legendary jazz flautist in Japan that is apparently still going strong.  He was involved in four 1970 albums, three of which he was the leader.  All of his early albums sell in the "if you have to ask you can't afford it" range.  While Exciting Flute is the most conventional of them all it still has quite a bit of charm.  Its a fully plugged in set, in which his Beat Generation ensemble run through their interpretations of the current pop hits of the day - with Yokota's flute work at the fore.  Its all a bit campy now, listening to beat psych/big band interpretations of "Venus", and "Born To Be Wild" but still fun.
    $30.00
  • Special 2 CD collector's edition features an instrumental orchestral version of the album (DO I HEAR KARAOKE?) plus a bonus track.
    $19.00
  • New 2 CD reissue of the classic first album to feature Anneke van Giersbergen (chronologically speaking it was the band's third album). The bonus disc contains rare b-side tracks, a load of unreleased demos and the video to "Leaves".
    $9.00
  • "A keyboardist from Milan, who begun his career in mid-70's at the age of 25.Colombo was signed by Ricky Gianco's obscure Ultima Spaggia label, on which he released his debut ''Sfogatevi Bestie'' in 1975.The album features a huge line-up of 12 musicians, among them some very well-known figures such as Nuova Idea's Ricky Belloni on guitars along with his brother Gigi on bass, Pepe Gagliardi on pianoforte, guitarist Maurizio Martelli from Gramigna, Perigeo's Claudio Fasoli on sax and drummer Flaviano Cuffari (formerly with Nuova Idea as well).The album contains elements from Jazz Rock, Progressive Rock and Fusion with complex themes and an alternation between improvised and structural parts.It opens with the short ARTI E MESTIERI-inspired ''Sono Pronto'', where piano, violin and deep bass hold the interest in a nice and frenetic jazzy opener.The longest track though ''Caccia Alla Volpe'' is the perfect example of Colombo's approach.Manic grooves blended with experimental improvised bits and nice interplays, performed on piano, drums, xylophones and saxes.On ''Entereneuse'' there is a light FRANK ZAPPA influence with some humourous wordless vocals but also some fine musicianship with Colombo's keyboard work on the forefront along with a trumpet section and Fasoli's saxes.The eponymous track is pleasant guitar-based Jazz/Fusion with a fiery rhythm and some good soloing, while ''Metronomo 138'' is sort of Experimental Jazz Rock with obscure persussion parts, effects and piano, rather too long and too improvised.''Assurdo P.II'' will close this release featuring the vocal work of Marco Ferradini but the instrumental sections are the winner on this with some very well work on saxes, guitars and keyboards, always in a Rock/Fusion style.Good energetic Jazz/Prog/Fusion with a light experimental edge, headed by its dynamic sounds and decent interplays.A must-have for fans of the style or anyone deep into the aforementioned bands/artists  .Recommended" - Prog Archives
    $15.00