Men Who Climb Mountains

SKU: PEND27CDS
Label:
Toff Records
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Its been three years since the last Pendragon album.  To be honest I hadn't checked in on them in quite some time so it was interesting to listen to their latest - it was very different from what I expected.  Guitarist Nick Barrett has gone all Roger Waters on us - he wrote all the music and lyrics - so this really has evolved very much into a personal vehicle for him.  The usual bandmates of Peter Gee and Clive Nolan are on board and now joined by new drummer Craig Blundell.  Men Who Climb Mountains is a concept album but Barrett isn't spelling it out - you're going to have to work at this one.  The musical mission of the band has clearly changed over the years.  Don't have any hesitation - its full on prog but much more contemporary sounding.  The symphonic flourishes from the old days aren't quite so obvious - which isn't to say you won't notice Clive Nolan's presence.  Its simply that this is a bit more of a guitar driven vehicle than decades ago and Barrett's mournful solos have that nice Hackett-esque feel that always draws my attention.  I have to say I'm impressed.  Highly recommended.

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    $27.00
  • "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
  • PLEASE NOTE THIS IS THE STANDARD EDITION.  THE DELUXE EDITION WILL BE RELEASED IN TWO WEEKS."After an absence of three years, and several personal trials and tribulations, Austria's Edenbridge arrives with their eighth studio album, The Bonding. Edenbridge has never done anything half way or half-heartedly, sideways or otherwise. So what could the band do to turn the knobs to 11 for their grand symphonic power metal?How about recording with a full orchestra to make those symphonic parts sound even more grand than simple synthesizer twiddling? Through the support of fans and sponsors, Edenbridge was able the Klangvereinigung Orchestra of Vienna to push the band's already impressive symphonic sonics to the stratosphere and beyond.Is this to say that this substantial addition makes The Bonding great, even more spectacular than previous Edenbridge outings? Well ... yeah. There are oodles of melodic symphonic metal bands, many with female lead vocalists, producing their large bombastic sound. Putting the orchestra into the symphonic seems like a no-brainer. Edenbridge gets it right. The orchestra, the symphonic parts of the arrangements, are exactly that, a part of each arrangement. They neither lead nor smother any song, but they certainly add authenticity to Edenbridge's chosen style. The opener Mystic River is a perfect example of this balance.And you still get nice keyboards, big riffs and even bigger solos, and Sabine Edelsbacher’s voice, which sounds better than ever. She's smooth, controlled, clear, and simply powerful. Listening to her on Alight A New Tomorrow, The Invisible Force, or Death Is Not The End, by example, are impressive as they are inspiring.Perhaps we've hit the highlights of The Bonding. All these elements find their culmination, apex as it were, in the title cut which closes the album. It's better than 15 minutes of symphonic melodic power metal bliss. It also features Ms. Edelsbacher in duet with Erik Martensson (WET, Eclipse). Holy shiite! What an awesome combination. The song also displays that aforementioned balanced, more than nuanced, of the orchestra for the symphonic parts with entire arrangement. Principal composer Lanvall desires major kudos for this musical score. The Bonding is grand, engaging, and entertaining, more than a little epic, melodic symphonic power metal from a terrific band. Is it their best album yet? Could be. Strongly recommended." - Danger Dog
    $15.00
  • Budget priced but nice slipcased set includes both the "Solution" and "Divergence" albums complete. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"12256","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"200","width":"200"}}]][[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"12255","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"200","width":"200"}}]]   
    $14.00
  • Second (or first - they are interchangeable) half of the simultaneous release from this Argentinian prog rock band.  "The Facts" might differentiate itself slightly from "The Tales" in that there seems to be a bit more of a crunch factor in the guitarwork but overall this is still symphonic rock.  Pretty damn good too!  Guesting on this album is the great Damian Wilson on vocals.
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  • "Filmed live July 9th, 2009 at the Masters Of Rock Festival in Czech Republic, in front of over 50.000 people, One Live is Shaman’s ultimate live experience. The band’s latest DVD release shows the band play songs with the Philarmonic Orchestra of Prague. Included in the DVD there is also a documentary depicting some candid moments in the band’s touring life, shot during the entire European tour of the same year. "
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  • This was a pleasant surprise and frankly a return to form. "Room V" is actually a sequel to 1998's "Tyranny" and in many ways betters it. I find the album to be a bit laid back - by Shadow Gallery standards. I would say that this leans more towards the prog rock side rather than metal reminding me of a heavier version of Glass Hammer although lots of similarities to Dream Theater are evident. The album is filled with warmth, perhaps due to the emphasis at times on keyboards. So this one straddles the line between symphonic rock and progressive metal doing both with panache - this one is easily recommended.
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  • "Devin Townsend - fully 30 records into an astonishing career - has now just raised the stakes in the form of a new double album combining Ziltoid The Omniscient’s triumphant return and the follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Epicloud!” Feasting upon Z2 is akin to immersing oneself in the arcane creases of the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT catalog, bludgeoning heaviness and angelic melodies living under the cathedral of Devin’s more contemplative solo vision. The effect is lush, full- range, cinematic, and expressive. Addressing the creative tension between the two discs, Devin explains “...it’s DTP...the ‘humans’ against Ziltoid, and it’s a battle of sorts...The DTP and Ziltoid side of my writing has evolved to where this statement was necessary and undoubtedly inevitable. The battle between the two seems like a great way to priced to the next chapter of my work. It’s a backdrop for something that hopefully engaging for people. I hope that the point that I’m trying to make with Ziltoid and the metaphor behind it, isn’t lost in just a sea of absurdity.” Guest musicians include Anneke Van Giersbergen (solo artist, ex-THE GATHERING) and Chris Jericho (WWE star, FOZZY) as Captain Spectacular! Also featuring the "Universal Choir", 2000 voices strong, the biggest choir on a metal record ever!"Limited edition 3CD digipak with bonus disc and special artwork.
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  • Deluxe 25th anniversary edition comes in a slipcase, is remastered and has loads of bonus cuts: singles and outtakes, remixes done in 1996 and even an unreleased track called "Slow Train". Comes with a 28 page booklet with liner notes and photos. EMI went all out on this one.
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  • Goat are an amazing and mesmerizing psychedelic ensemble from Sweden.  The band's possibly mythical biography has created a mystique about them and their intense live performances is spreading the word like wildfire.  One thing is for certain - this band's blend of Black Sabbath, Can, Gong, and Fela Kuti is unlike any other band on the planet.  Tribal rhythms sync with thunderous distorted basslines underpinning amphetamine driven wah-wah guitar leads and whacked out dual female vocals.  This is truly crazy stuff that is unique and one of the reasons this band is in the process of blowing up onto the world stage.  Highest recommendation.Check out this video of their live performance:
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  • A long time in the making and well worth the wait. Art Metal is the new project put together by Jonas Hellborg and Mattias Eklundh (Freak Guitar). Originally conceived as a touring trio with Flower Kings drummer Zoltan Csörsz, Art Metal has evolved into something deeper. Brought on board are the Johansson Bros - Jens and Anders on keyboards and drums. An important component is the addition of Remember Shakti's Selvaganesh on kanjeera. The music of Art Metal demonstrates all of these musicians firing on all cylinders - crazed stunt guitar, not of this earth keyboard solos and a monster rhythm section. Quite of bit of the album bears Selvaganesh's imprint as the writing has an unmistakeable Indian feel. So you get this unusual and highly creative blend of fusion, metal and Indian influences coalesing into something great. A candidate for album of the year. Simply devastating.
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  • New reissue of one of the great prog metal albums of the 90s. Eldritch are now more of a thrash band but their first three discs were as good as any prog metal band ever recorded. Seeds Of Rage is their first and essential for any fan of Dream Theater. Great vocals from Terrance Holler and keyboard work from Oleg Smirnov. This new edition is remastered, housed in a slipcase and features five bonus tracks indlcuing a rehearsal session from 2006, and previously unreleased songs from their 1990 and 1991 demos. This edition is limited to 3,000 copies worldwide. One thing I know about LMP - when they say it's limited they mean it.
    $5.00
  • "This sophomore release by German outfit Seven Steps to the Green Door is an odd one, very well made, well performed, but still an odd one.In the 10 tracks on the CD, 12 if you have the US version with bonus tracks, the band steers it's listener through an erratic - or perhaps rather eclectic - menu of all sorts from the world of music.The compositions themselves have a high degree of variation, the first bonus track the most stellar example with segments exploring funk, laidback jazz and prog metal in one and the same song, but most other tracks have style variations with a minimum of two different styles explored.Lighter neo-progressive touches and heavy progressive rock leaning towards prog metal at times are the most dominant features, closely followed by jazz and fusion. Spirited and energetic in general, and even the hip hop or nu-metal inspired vocal segments come across rather well.The mix and production are high class, but seems to be directed at a mainstream audience though. The guitars are tuned down, contrasts are dampened rather than highlighted; and for such an adventurous creation the overall sound is very slick. Perhaps too slick to cater for a progressive audience; while the music may be too weird for a more mainstream oriented public. Personally I found this to be a great record; but can understand those who doesn't manage to get enthralled by this one.Still - a highly worth investigating tag for this production from me." - ProgArchives
    $3.00