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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  • "Voivod is timeless. That doesn’t mean that the Quebec progressive thrash metal band is frozen in stasis. Rather, it’s a testament to their uncompromising insistence on ever-changing, experimental futurism, with every album existing outside of contemporary style in some alternate universe where guitar pickups are wormholes and drumbeats ripple gravity wells." - Montreal GazetteLimited edition mediabook includes 2 extra live songs, an expanded booklets and 2 stickers. 
    $12.00
  • New digipak edition from SPV of the original double album, originally released in 1971. ADII was hit or miss but this one was mostly hit.
    $17.00
  • Exit one guitarist - enter one female singer resulting in a new avant garde direction. While the first album had a quiet classical side this is far more experimental. One can hear an influence from minimalist composers creeping in."Three years passed before Pierrot Lunaire recorded and released the follow-up to their debut album. They returned as a totally refurbished act, with guitarist Caporaletti out and mezzo-soprano extraordinaire Jacqueline Darby in. "Gudrun" is an album that drifts apart from the realms of bucolic melodic prog with a slight dissonant twist; now, the repertoire is design to defy structure and convention, in order to create a sonic journey led by the volatile ruling hands of surprise, radical experimentation, and free form. The link between all tracks is marked by the clicking of a photographic camera, as if each number of the repertoire was some kind of scenario immortalized by the machine and turned into a permanent reminder. If Pierrot Lunaire's previous album was some a catalogue of reflections about the inner world, now Stalteri, Chiocchio and Darby turn their eyes and look at the world in its splendorous chaos and multicolored facets. The 11-minute long title track kicks off the album with a great deal of synth layers and sequenced ornaments, over which Darby's singing, piano lines, stormy guitar leads, and some other occasional stuff lays its print in a daring amalgam. If you can mentally picture a mixture of Klaus Schulze, drumless RIO and Brecht's operettas, then you may have an idea about what I'm trying to describe here (perhaps not too successfully). In sharp contrast, now comes a subtle piano nocturne titled 'Dietro il Silenzio', which sounds quite Satie-inspired to me: a really beautiful piece where the silent voids are as important as the actual piano sounds. The following number is a two part chanting displayed upon disturbing guitar and synth soundscapes: in the middle, a piano and conga drums revisit Darby's line with an air of simplicity that seems to portray some sort of high-spirited joy. 'Gallia' is a Darby-penned number, mostly a showcase for her well crafted dissonant operatic stuff, while her fellow men once again indulge themselves in a background of random dissonances on electric guitar and synthesizer. 'Giovane Madre' is the most symphonic (or should I say the least anti-symphonic) number. It basically consists of a recurring attractive motif on organ and synth, solidly founded on a 6/8 pattern laid by Chiocchio's bass and guest drummer Massimo Buzzi; somewhere in the middle, a gentle, joyful Renaissance-like motif enters abruptly, creating a weird tension that directly defies its own delicate beauty. Simultaneously, you can hear Darby whispering or laughing in some places. Many times I've found myself listening to this particular track three or four times in a row only to take pleasure in the challenging effect that the structure of this track causes in me as a listener. The weirdness never ends. 'Sonde in Profonditá' starts with the sound of an old radio speech, accompanied by a tenuous, evocative organ theme, with sitar, synth and acoustic guitar providing some additional colours until it all disappears under crashing waves. 'Morellia' begins with a Baroque-inspired piano solo, alternating with a Renaissance-like zither melodic line: then comes Darby, together with the piano, string synth, bass and drums (once again, guest Buzzi makes an appearance), delivering the most moving passage in the album. This same structure is reiterated, until a Cabaret-piano motif accompanies Darby's dramatic laughter. This piece is inscrutable, yet it manages to move the listener's heart in a way that they can't fully understand. Finally, 'Mein Armer Italiener' closes down the album with a successive combination of parody military march, psychedelic rock, pastoral stuff, slogan chanting - all comprised in an ambience of radical dadaist humour that may somehow remind us of Zappa's most theatrical pieces. An excellent but not recommendable prog recording due to its massively cryptic nature: anyway, "Gudrun" deserves to be regarded as a classic of the most experimental side of 70s progressive rock." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • 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
  • "Recorded live over 3 nights in October 2003 (17th-19th).In the summer of 2003 Cardiacs were charged with the unenviable task of casting a wincey eye back.Way back to before Sarah hung up her little saxophone, before Tim Quy broke the nausea rule, before THE CONSULTANT and Miss Swift held the reins. Way, way back.For that coming October’s ‘Special Garage Concerts’, Cardiacs were expected to wipe the grime of the dusty archive from thirty-two tunes everyone had long since forgotten about. Cardiacs dutifully frittered away the waning days behind locked doors, exhuming songs from clanking, obsolete machinery and reams of faded manuscript. Music from the band’s conception in 1976 to their ‘coming of age’ in 1983 was given the dressing down THE ALPHABET BUSINESS CONCERN had always wisely insisted it deserved.With the arrival of autumn the songs had somehow taken on a raw, definitive bent. Haphazard approximations you may have previously heard performed by wide-eyed, puny youths were given deftness, muscle and swagger by the four grizzled and worldly-wise men proudly standing their ground under the Cardiacs banner today.This nostalgic arsenal was duly recorded over three consecutive nights at London’s sizeically challenged ‘The Garage’ concert venue. Privileged witnesses described the spectacle as "one-fifth loving recreation, two-fifths exercise in futility and four-fifths sheer brute force."Cunningly encrypted on to two Compact Discs, as never they were meant to be, Volumes One and Two are a unique testament to pure bloody mindedness and musical irrelevance.Both volumes contain music that has never previously been recorded and re-workings of other tunes that many of the faithful claim to have ‘insider knowledge’ of.They don’t have a clue."
    $34.00
  • Limited first edition digipak of live recordings culled from Firewind's 2012 European tour as well as their 10th anniversary gigs in Greece from December 2012.
    $7.00
  • "Two legendary prog-rock albums of the seventies, completely re-mixed and digitally remastered by the man who conceived, recorded, produced and wrote most of the material, David Rohl. This 2CD digipack edition comprises Mandalaband, the 1975 album which featured most of the musicians who would go on to form Sad Café, plus vocalist David Durant, plus The Eye Of Wendor - Prophecies, a concept album with contributions from a host of stars, with musical and vocal contributions from Barclay James Harvest, 10cc, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Maddy Prior (Steeleye Span), Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience), Sad Café and the Hallé Orchestra. The digipack edition includes previously unreleased bonus material on both CDs, plus a 16-page booklet."
    $24.00
  • "With the release of its sixth LP, The Parallax II: Future Sequence (the sequel to the Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP), in 2012, American progressive metal quintet Between the Buried and Me set a new benchmark for its genre. Sure, both 2007’s Colors and 2009’s The Great Misdirect are incredible records (the former was a breakthrough in terms of both approach and commercial appeal, while the latter was more polished, accessible, and vibrant), but Parallax II took the epic-suite-broken-into-sections format Colors introduced and perfected it. With its dramatic chronicle, seamless flow, hypnotic singing, inventive instrumentation, and self-referential continuity, it easily ranked not only as BTBAM’s best effort to date, but as one of the greatest progressive metal albums of all time.Naturally, expectations skyrocketed when the band announced its follow-up, Coma Ecliptic; fortunately, it surely satisfies them. Another seventy minute odyssey into imaginative soundscapes, mind-blowing arrangements, affective storytelling, and remarkable tonal shifts (both musically and vocally), the full-length retains everything that made their past few opuses so unique, breathtaking, and rewarding. However, as astounding as it is, Coma Ecliptic doesn’t quite surpass its predecessor, as it’s slightly less varied and daring; nevertheless, it comes very close to matching Parallax II, making it another absolutely extraordinary entry in their discography.Billed as another “modern rock opera,” the concept of Coma Ecliptic actually shares similarities with that of The Mars Volta’s debut, De-Loused in the Comatorium. As bassist Dan Briggs explains, the plot “follows the wanderings of an unidentified man, stuck in a coma, as he journeys through his past lives. Each song is its own episode in a modern day, sort of The Twilight Zone-esque fashion [sic]. The unidentified man enters each world and is offered a choice: stay, or move on to the next in search of something better, something more ‘perfect.’”  To reveal any more of the tale would ruin its surprises and most affective elements. Suffice it to say, though, that the quintet’s moral intention is to help listeners “make the best of [their lives]. People are constantly searching for something better without taking the time to appreciate the things they have. What we need may already be here . . .” Because of its coherent storyline and meaningful themes, Coma Ecliptic actually contains BTBAM’s strongest narrative yet.Along the same lines, it also features one of their best opening tracks to date: “Node”. Vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Giles Rogers plays an ethereal piano pattern as he sings beautiful yet mournful judgments. Eventually, harmonies, strings, biting guitar riffs, and thunderous percussion explode around him, culminating in a regal and dense declaration of the trauma to come. In typical Between the Buried and Me fashion, Giles’ voice even interlocks with itself a couple times; likewise, the composition alternates between calmness and catastrophe with exceptional build-ups. It’s a fine way to begin, and it demonstrates how the band continues to evolve with each new release. Like most of the “episodes” on Coma Ecliptic, “Node” segues into the next section, “The Coma Machine.”With its fluctuating structures, absorbing melodies, and exceptional musicianship, “The Coma Machine” follows a familiar template; nonetheless, it’s still a fascinating and creative venture. From the way Giles’ infectious chorus (“You teach us what was, out there”) complements the mechanical riffs, to the way the song’s essence moves from hellish to heavenly several times, this track is a stunning beast that never lets up. Of course, their trademark frantic rhythmic changes are in full force here, with gripping stop/start breaks on occasion. Similarly, the sharp intertwining patterns of guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring are as overwhelming as ever. Without a doubt, though, the single best moment of “The Coma Machine” comes at around the 3:15 mark, when an electrifying new riff crashes in, joined by bells and pounding drums. It’s wholly invigorating and awesome; in fact, it’s one of the best moments on any BTBAM creation. Finally, Giles’ closing bridge is subtle yet very moving.Like a lost gem by Dutch prog metal band Ayreon, “Dim Ignition” sneaks in with an ominous synthesized loop. Essentially, it’s a brief psychedelic interlude in which Giles proclaims foreboding notions over spacey effects and beats. It serves its purpose well and definitely adds to the thematic quality of Coma Ecliptic, but what’s really cool is how the loop bleeds into the introductory, sinister riff of “Famine Wolf” at its conclusion. As for “Famine Wolf” itself, its opening is also among the highlights on the disc. In general, its dynamic juxtapositions aren’t as striking as on some other tracks, but it still balances Giles’ screaming and singing well. The most interesting aspect appears about two-thirds of the way in, when the aforementioned loop returns as Giles evokes the peculiar accent that he used on past LPs. In this way, Coma Ecliptic feels connected to its precursors.Another transition takes place next, as “King Redeem/Queen Serene” starts with a lovely acoustic guitar arpeggio supporting arguably the most touching melody and lyrics Giles has ever sung (“I can’t hear a thing / These waves crash faster”). Every measure comes with more luscious layers until the arrangement breaks into one of the most “prog” moments BTBAM has ever had. After some more heaviness, an essential rhythmic breakdown from “The Coma Machine” comes back, which is very cool, followed by more frantic transformations. Ultimately, the piece ends as it began, so it feels like a self-contained observation.Although all of “Turn on the Darkness” is astonishing in how moves around its various formations, the best part is the chorus, during which Giles brings the concept to the forefront. Following some warm and atmospheric passages, he seizes command by saying, “Welcome to our journey / Please walk with me / I’ll put your mind at ease.” Aside from this, the ways in which the guitar and keyboards echo each other from time to time also help the track stand out. Really, this selection feels like something from The Great Misdirect, which isn’t bad at all.“The Ectopic Stroll” possibly includes the most experimentation aspects on Coma Ecliptic, as Giles’s odd piano chords, coupled with his menacing crooning, make the main parts feel like a malevolent 1940s jazz excerpt. He screeches, “Whoa, can’t get it right!” while sing-a-long harmonies concur, and at first, it’s a bit toounconventional to feel appropriate; but, after a few listens it feels more fitting. Equally, the percussive spasticity and quality feel akin to some of the wilder tones used by Dream Theatre or Devin Townsend. Truly, these risks also show how fearless BTBAM still is in trying new techniques, so they deserve praise for that alone.As its name suggests, “Rapid Calm” is transcendent and lively, with keyboard and guitar outlines dancing around each other as more soothing melodies signal the beginning of the end. In particular, this song is a strong example of how Coma Ecliptic features the strongest emphasis on clean vocals of any Between the Buried and Me record; there’s still plenty of growling throughout, but Giles has never allowed his natural style to shine so densely or prevalently. During the chorus, for instance, he conveys dread and sorrow powerfully, realizing, “They don’t want you there / They don’t want me here / Remember my name / The machine is crumbling.” It’s an exceptional moment, as is the moody intermission near the end, whose somber timbres recall parts of the most recent Opeth collections.Beyond being the standout track on Coma Ecliptic by a mile, “Memory Palace” may be the single best Between the Buried and Me song ever. Each element is just about perfect; from its towering opening riffs and soaring lines to its meticulous and clever shifts, every second is spectacular. The group has never before moved between such drastic deviations with such silky expertise; above all, the leap into what’s likely the band’s most surreal segment yet (“Focus on melody / The sounds under my eyes / Dreaming inside of this / World inside my mind”) is amazing. Furthermore, the way they bring back past moments near the end is sublime. If ever there was a track that single-handedly proved why BTBAM is so special, it’s this one.Luckily, the reprisals continue during the final two tracks, “Option Oblivion” and “Life in Velvet.” The former bursts in from its predecessor with more spellbinding arrays. Brilliantly, Giles brings back a phrase that was first mentioned on “Rapid Calm”:  “A choice of gold or velvet / Do I go on, or follow the crown in the smoke?” A bit further on, he also references “The Coma Machine” by lamenting, “Looking back through the painful tunnel / They taught us what once was.” As for “Life in Velvet,” it continues the symbolic theme of velvet (as a catalyst for spiritual transformation) that runs throughout the album; it’s also lead by a modified version of the chord progression from “The Coma Machine.” Like “Node,” it features Giles singing softly while playing piano, and in doing so, it brings Coma Ecliptic full circle. As a final burst of brilliance, the aforementioned electrifying guitar riff and closing bridge from “The Coma Machine” also makes an appearance. Because of these numerous references, Coma Ecliptic has the most alluring, suitable, and clever conclusion of any Between the Buried and Me record.Coma Ecliptic is an exquisite masterpiece. As with most opaque works, it takes many listens to fully appreciate everything here (including multilayered production, parallel structures, and callbacks to prior parts); however, once listeners understand all that’s going on, they’ll be utterly blown away. Between the Buried and Me have proven time and time again how distinctive, ambitious, capable, and important they are within its genre; no other band can do what they do as well as they do, and this effort just proves that once again." - Pop Matters
    $16.00
  • "The debut recording from the Dixie Dregs (The Great Spectacular is considered a demo) stands as one fusion's high-water marks. This music is wholly original and played with a freshness and vigor that had begun to wane in a genre that was becoming a model in self-parody. The influences here are plentiful, but it is the country roots that provide the music with its vitality. Founder/guitarist Steve Morse proved to be an important new guitarist, offering an inimitable style with the technique the music demands. The music is complex and challenging, but that's easy to overlook due to the band's sunny approach. While they would go on to create more fully realized recordings, this one proved that fusion had a soul." - Allmusic Guide
    $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
  • To commemorate their 10th anniversary, Riverside has recorded a new 3 song “mini-album”. This 33 minute work consists of three long tracks that segue into one cohesive whole. Stylistically it’s a return to the spacier melancholy sound of their debut “Out Of Myself”. Memories In My Head is a musical rollercoaster ride of deep emotional power. This new release also marks the band's return to the Laser’s Edge, the label that they began their incredible journey with. Recommended to fans of Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, and Anathema.
    $10.00
  • Ever wonder what Dream Theater would sound like today if Charlie Dominici had never left the band? This disc will give you an idea. Like the second part of the 03 trilogy, Dominici is backed by Italian progressive metal band Solid Vision. They began life as a Dream Theater cover band and it shows in their playing. Stylistically this is progressive metal heavily influenced by DT performed by a sickeningly tight band. I think if anything I think time has treated Dominici's voice pretty well. He stays within his range and doesn't try to go for upper register histrionics. This disc doesn't really come as much of a surprise because Part 2 was the shocker. This is the logical next step. Highly recommended to any fan of Dream Theater.
    $14.00
  • "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
  • "When Gregg Allman was asked why Dickey Betts was kicked out of the Allman Brothers Band in the spring of 2000, he is reported to have suggested the answer lay in the tapes from the group's two-week stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York. That makes it surprising that the Allmans would turn to those tapes to assemble their first new album release in five and a half years, Peakin' at the Beacon. Happily, however, there is no evidence of Betts' alleged shortcomings on the disc, though it must be admitted that, since he is one of two lead guitarists (the other being Derek Trucks, making his recorded debut with the band), it isn't always easy to tell who is playing. There is plenty of guitar work, and it is up to the Allmans' usual standard. Following the instrumental opener, Gregg Allman sings lead on seven straight songs, all of which come from the band's first three studio albums. Betts finally appears as a vocalist on the ninth track, the 1990 folk-country tune "Seven Turns." Finally, there is a 27-and-a-half-minute version of the 1975 Betts instrumental "High Falls," a typical extended workout complete with jazzy interludes and a lengthy percussion section. the Allmans may not have been due for another live album (two of their last three releases being concert recordings), but the series of Beacon shows has become an annual event, and the disc serves as a souvenir from the March 2000 shows. Fans who attended those shows, or who just want to be reassured that the Allmans sound much the same as ever, may enjoy the album; less devoted listeners probably shouldn't bother." - Allmusic
    $5.00