The Metal Opera

SKU: CM8038-2
Label:
Century Media
Category:
Power Metal
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Super session put together by Tobias Stammet, vocalist of Edguy. Lineup reads like a who's who of power/speed metal: Kai Hansen, David DeFeis, Andre Matos, Oliver Hartmann, Sharon Den Adel, Rob Rock, Timo Tolkki on vocals. Musiciasn include Henjo Richter, Markus Grosskopf, and Alex Holzwarth. Basically an over the top power metal opera!

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  • Limited edition import 2CD set with 7 bonus tracks!"When you made the impact that Bigelf did in 2010 with their fourth album ‘Cheat The Gallows’ and the subsequent tour, it’s inevitable that people expected the highly rated band from Los Angeles to hit hard in 2011. But instead we got an astonishing silence. However, all that is about to change with the arrival of ‘Into The Maelstrom’, a new album of melodic prog-doom that eccentric frontman Damon Fox believes will take Bigelf to new heights. “I have been reflecting on the band and pondering what it would take to get us to the next level, I believe we have accomplished this task on the new record.The last three years for Fox have been confusing and difficult, to say the least, as he found the band he’d worked so hard to establish suddenly dissipated. “I’d call our break a spontaneous hiatus. I did genuinely feel that we’d go into 2011 with an album out early in the year, and then we’d build on what we had achieved up until that point. Instead, we came to a standstill. The momentum had vanished, and it halted the band. So, I was forced into an introspective state of hypersleep and had to contemplate my future. I love the other guys in the band as brothers, and I am extremely grateful for they contributed to help get Bigelf this far. I was heartbroken when that line-up came to an end but change nonetheless was upon the band.“Forging ahead, I didn’t feel that I could get it done on my own”, Fox admits. Thankfully, he found a kindred spirit in famed drum god Mike Portnoy, with whom he’d bonded with in 2010 when Bigelf toured with Dream Theater. “We hung out a lot back then, and got very close. Mike and I discussed how similar our situations were with our respective bands going through our ‘Let It Be’ phases. This was around the time when Mike had his dramatic press-laden departure from Dream Theater. I knew Mike loved Bigelf, and he told me not to give up on it and to keep the band going. His encouragement really helped me to carry on through dark times.”"Getting the songs fully realized was something of a laborious experience", Fox explains. “In the past while I had written most of the material, I always had a incredibly gifted band to bounce ideas off of and we would often jam out to fully realize the song . But this time, I had to write, arrange and envision everything on my own. Once I got the selection of songs together, I sent the demos to Portnoy (who had agreed to play on the album). Mike is the busiest man in Prog, so the next time he was in LA, we laid down the drums at Linda Perry's studio, Kung-Fu Gardens where we did ‘Gallows’. I also wrote a song with her for the new album. The rest of the sessions and instrumentation were recorded at my home studio ITM.“I feel this album is going to prove to a lot of MP haters that Portnoy can really lay down a groove and has a serious vibe as a drummer. It’s not just about his chops and his pyrotechnic style, for which he’s known for, especially with Dream Theater. The feel and emotion in his playing on this record is really unique and it’s unlike anything else he’s done before in my opinion” Lovable lefty bassist Duffy Snowhill, who’s been with the band since 2000, is bringing his thundering Viking bass tones to the recording of ‘Into The Maelstrom’. Luis Maldonado is also climbing aboard the Elf vessel for his first trek. “Luis is a close friend who I’ve known for many years. He has his own band, Into The Presence, and works with a lot of established artists as well. Luis is a phenomenal guitarist, he delivered some really blistering leads on the new album. I'm supplied all of the rhythm guitar tracks and managed to squeeze in a few leads as well too. People usually associate me with keyboards – and there are copious amount on the album, to be certain – but originally Bigelf was founded around my guitar riffs, and it was really rewarding to be able to play guitar again from a nucleus standpoint.”‘Into The Maelstrom’ was produced by Fox (who also handles all the vocals), and believes this album proves that Bigelf are now exploring alien musical landscapes. “There’s a fresh aura and energy on there that’s completely different to our previous releases, but it also sounds like Bigelf. I view this album as being very psychedelic cinematic. It has a ‘Mad Max’ post-apocalyptic feel – a futuristic world that’s rather dirty and desolate filled with chaos and despair. The bludgeoning Sabbath guitars and “Karn-Evil” keys are still there, but the modern setting is what makes the record have a creative edge.While ‘Into The Maelstrom’ isn’t a concept album as such, Fox does reveal that there is a theme that links much of his lyricism. “It’s about traveling through time into one’s past and into the future, to experience and examine your pain and fears, in order to move forward in life. A lot of my baggage from the my travels provides the cathartic inspiration. Deep, personal feelings like the tragic death of my best friend and former Bigelf guitarist A.H.M. Butler-Jones. And my fears of mankind eventually destroying itself a la, ‘Planet Of The Apes’. I suppose the opening song, ‘Incredible Time Machine’, sums it all up.”Fox is clearly inspired and reinvigorated by the new focus Bigelf have made here. For him it’s not just about how the album sounds, but also the process involved in getting there. “Making the record has been a certain kind of journey. A few years ago I had to completely let go of Bigelf, which was painful but it came back with force and vision. As such, the music began to shape from a different perspective and I have been able to see an alternative way of accomplishing my goals. To me, ‘Into The Maelstrom’ is a genesis, a bridge between the band and a larger audience. Strap yourselves in ladies and gentlemen, you're in for a wild ride.”"
    $15.00
  • Quite fine new album from Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Knight. If you haven't heard Blackmore's Night before, essentially it's Blackmore's English folk/Renaissance meets rock band with his wife's gorgeous vocals on top. There are a few cover tunes sprinkled through out including a cover of Deep Purple's "Child In Time", Ralph McTell's "Streets Of London" but my fav is their reworking of Rainbow's "Street Of Dreams". This is the US edition which basically takes the bonus tracks from the more expensive Euro deluxe edition and includes them as well. One of the 3 bonus cuts is yet another version of "Street Of Dreams" but with Joe Lynn Turner. I'm a Blackmore fan and really enjoyed the disc - highly recommended to the similarly inclined.
    $7.00
  • Rare and fairly brilliant material from the period 6/72 to 1/75. Unfortunately none of this was recorded in the studio so the songs solely exists as this fairly miserable sounding live historical document.
    $16.00
  • This one is a real mindblower.  One of Italy's best bands, La Maschera Di Cera, has created a musical sequel to Le Orme's Felona E Serona.  I can't recall any band ever doing something like this.  Like all of the band's work it remains faithful to the "Rock Progressivo Italiano" sound.  Apart from cleaner sounding sonics it could have easily pass for somethining recorded in 1974.  The music does in fact pick up on some of the core themes and melodices from FeS.  You want 'tron?  You got it!  You want flute?  You got it.  To wrap the whole package together the band licensed the cover art from Lanfranco, the artist responsible for the art for FeS.  So it really does feel like a sequel.  Please note there are actually two versions of the album.  This is the English language edition - it features a slightly different mix than the Italian version.  Highly recommended.
    $20.00
  • This new double CD concept album carries on guitarist Dussan Petrossi's Malmsteen worship. Dionysus vocalist Olaf Hayer fronts this neoclassical assault. Make no mistake and know what you are buying here. This is symphonic power metal that fits exactly into the mold of early Yngvie Malmsteen. Petrossi is a more than capable guitarist and he seems to revel in hero worship. Luckily he pulls it off with flying colors. This limited edition comes with a slipcase, 2 bonus tracks, a videoclip, interview, poster, sticker and wallpaper. Heartily recommended to neoclassically inclined.
    $17.00
  • New studio album from Roye Albrighton and Ron Howden carrying on with the Nektar name.  Since the band reformed last decade, their studio output hasn't lived up to the reputation of the classic 70s era.  This album appears to stop the skid.  Keyboardist Klaus Henatsch has been with the band for some time now.  His keyboard arsenal has that old school sound utilizing Hammond organ at every turn.  Fill-in bassist to the stars Billy Sherwood rounds out the quartet and he also handled production.  While no two Nektar albums sounded exactly alike there was an overriding sound - once you heard a song you immediately were able to identify it as Nektar.  A lot of that had to do with Albrighton's vocals and guitar work.  Time Machine is just that - a trip back in time to the sound of Nektar in the early 70s.  I'm not going to tell you that is will supplant Remember The Future as their magnum opus, but I have to say that this isn't half bad at all and pretty closely approximates the Nektar sound that we all know and loved.  Surprising and satisfying.
    $16.00
  • Second album from Rush influenced band. New edition comes with four bonus tracks.
    $14.00
  • New edition of this wonderful third album from one of Canada's best progressive bands. Originally released in 1976, Ni Vent...Ni Nouvelle is classic Maneige - a sumptuous blend of keys, reeds, guitar, bass and percussion. The instrumental sextet is augmented by a string section. The music is a bit reminiscent of Camel and Gentle Giant with more than a touch of jazz rock thrown in. This new version features four bonus live tracks. Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • At War With Self - sounds more like a psychological diagnosis than a band! This new group is an instrumental power prog trio leaping onto the progressive scene. The project is the brainchild of guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Glenn Snelwar. Torn Between Dimensions, the band's debut recording, features Snelwar on guitar, mandolin, and keyboards; Michael Manring on fretless bass and e-bow; and Fates Warning's Mark Zonder on drums and percussion. Zonders solidly tasty drumming firmly anchors the trio along with the melodically propulsive bass work of Manring, all wonderfully adorned by Snelwars fierce playing. The band serves up intense, emotional pieces in a wide variety of musical styles. Snelwars intention is to open doors to listeners who may be unfamiliar with progressive rock, classical guitar or metal. At War With Self have an equal passion for such diverse types of music as progressive and metal bands like King Crimson, Voivod and Pink Floyd; classical composers such as Bartok and Villa Lobos; as well as bluegrass and jazz. Torn Between Dimensions takes these influences and combines them into something undeniably progressive and strikingly original. The end result is a dense wall of sound, with different textures and feels within each number, one song flowing seamlessly into the next.Guitarist Glenn Snelwar is perhaps best known for his contributions to Gordian Knots eponymous debut, a project led by Chapman Stick player Sean Malone that featured guest performances by Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Sean Reinert (Cynic) & John Myung (Dream Theater). Snelwar helped co-write three of the songs for Gordian Knot, as well as contributing guitar work. Since his involvement with Gordian Knot, Snelwar has been incorporating mandolin, keyboard and string section programming into a foundation of classical, steel string and electric guitar arrangements to great effect. Michael Manring is a world-renowned, Grammy-nominated bassist who has appeared on over 100 studio projects, including recording and performing with Michael Hedges and Attention Deficit Disorder (with former Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander). Michaels fretless bass parts play a vital role on Torn Between Dimensions, melodic but never overwhelming. For over 15 years, Mark Zonder occupied the drum stool for progressive metal legends Fates Warning. As Zonders fans would expect, he continues to push new boundaries on Torn Between Dimensions. Marks playing on the disc covers a lot of territory - from double bass drumming and odd time signatures, to jazz and Middle Eastern flavors. Snelwar describes Torn Between Dimensions as a concept album, but not in the strict sense of the word. I wanted to create a collection of songs where each would stand on its own, but exist as part of a greater whole. I strived to create something that would impact the listener, and incorporate many stylistic influences. Torn Between Dimensions is a tour de force of powerful, fluid prog rock that should appeal to progheads and rock fanatics alike! Torn Between Dimensions is housed in a digipak and features stunning artwork from noted surrealist Travis Smith.
    $5.00
  • Limited edition digipak comes with a bonus live CD."Even if I’d spend a decent amount of time, I don’t think I would be able to find an average album in BRAINSTORM’s discography. You can try it for yourself but I am sure you’ll realize that this German band has been releasing very good albums being extremely reliable to its fan base. I am sure some will object to my statement by saying that the albums are indeed good but not stellar. Then you’d reach to the dilemma of what a metalhead prefers his favorite band to release; a couple of really good albums or keep a constant quality level? On the other hand, over-thinking music takes a huge chunk of just-having-fun time, so I will leave all these questions to the hands/minds of the deep thinkers because “Firesoul” comes with ten great songs to sing and headbang along.“Erased By The Dark” opens the album and the trained ear should not have a single problem recognizing the (by now) trademark BRAINSTORM sound. Andy B. Franck’s powerful voice is once again delivering a hearty collection of vocal melodies that do not need a lot of time to get you humming or even singing along. The guitars have a US Power Metal quality that is hard to miss and impossible to fail, so please crank the volume up during the fat rhythm of the self-titled track and “Entering Solitude” (love the opening guitar groove here). “Shadowseeker” steps on the gas and throws in the mix some killer leads that guide the song to a climax during the solo before passing the baton to the album’s highlight, “Feed Me Lies”. This song could easily be a BRAINSTORM showcase for those who have missed this band completely bringing along; the dialogue-like mix of the lead-vocals, the collection of catchy melodies (I challenge you to resist singing along the chorus) and the awesome double guitar action that tops everything off. The band’s German ancestry comes to surface through the solid rhythm that can make you think of PRIMAL FEAR or SINNER; in other words, Power Metal in its finest and obviously I am not talking about the cheesy/cookie cutter one. I have no idea about the bonus material (I will hunt the vinyl edition anyway) but having the album in repeat-mode made me think that the mid-tempo and kind of dark “…And I Wonder” leads to the faster and heavier album’s opener in a natural way, so it will keep you listening.After listening more than it would be enough to write my thoughts/opinion about it, I realized that “Firesoul” is better than the last two albums and I think I enjoyed it as I did “Liquid Monster” that placed BRAINSTORM under my music-radar. This album is the perfect way to starting dealing with this band that I think has not received the deserved recognition (yet) and I will again refer you to its high-quality backcatalogue." - Metal Kaoz
    $16.00
  • "By titling their third album Fear of Music and opening it with the African rhythmic experiment "I Zimbra," complete with nonsense lyrics by poet Hugo Ball, Talking Heads make the record seem more of a departure than it is. Though Fear of Music is musically distinct from its predecessors, it's mostly because of the use of minor keys that give the music a more ominous sound. Previously, David Byrne's offbeat observations had been set off by an overtly humorous tone; on Fear of Music, he is still odd, but no longer so funny. At the same time, however, the music has become even more compelling. Worked up from jams (though Byrne received sole songwriter's credit), the music is becoming denser and more driving, notably on the album's standout track, "Life During Wartime," with lyrics that match the music's power. "This ain't no party," declares Byrne, "this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around." The other key song, "Heaven," extends the dismissal Byrne had expressed for the U.S. in "The Big Country" to paradise itself: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." It's also the album's most melodic song. Those are the highlights. What keeps Fear of Music from being as impressive an album as Talking Heads' first two is that much of it seems to repeat those earlier efforts, while the few newer elements seem so risky and exciting. It's an uneven, transitional album, though its better songs are as good as any Talking Heads ever did." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • 2CD live recording from the Paradise Theater in Boston.  Recorded on April 15, 1988.  If you don't know 3 was the one shot band that featured Keith Emerson, Carl Palmer, and Robert Berry.  Besides sporting mullets the band ran through a set list that relied heavily on their album as well as a little ELP, a little Emerson solo material, and even The Nice.  It seemed like a good idea at the time...
    $17.00
  • Liquorish Allsorts is the first solo album from Robert Webb, keyboardist for the legendary Britsh band England.  The set collects a variety of material from different era, dating all the way back to the early 70s and runs up to the present day.  Much of the material fits firmly in the prog category and some of it...not so much.  There are an endless number of musicians that contribute to the set including his former England bandmates.  Even Nicko McBrain is here!  Current musicians participating are drawn from Kenso and Resistor.
    $12.00
  • Metal Mind has packaged Basnie and Safe jewel boxes together in a slipcase and a very attractive price.
    $16.00