Metamorpheus

SKU: SPV085-4088A
Label:
Inside Out
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Steve Hackett's latest is a musical continuation of his classical compositions that he began with A Mid-Summer's Night's Dream. This is music for nylon string guitar and orchestra.

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  • Glass Hammer get all existential on us...Perilous is the new band's new concept album about a man dealing with grand scale issues like mortality.  A bit of a downer but like all Glass Hammer projects there is a ray of sunshine at the end.  Glass Hammer is fronted by Jon Davison who was plucked away by the remaining members of Yes for current tours and cruises.  He remains a member of GH as well.  Naturally with the voice of a Jon Anderson sound alike, the music bears remarkable similarity to Yes.  Some of Fred Schendel's piano work reminds a bit of Going For The One.  When Fred is hammering away on the organ the music takes on a Kansas quality.  So essentially not much has changed.  Glass Hammer's sound has pretty much evolved into a Yes/Kansas hybrid over the past decade and there it remains.
    $13.00
  • "All albums are important and significant in the life of a band, no matter what the circumstances, but it’s fair to say that some can be regarded as genuine milestones, even game-changers, in that they’ll influence the whole future of the band. In view of what The Reasoning have gone through over the last two years, I think it’s fair to say that ‘Adventures In Neverland’ is going to be one of the most important in the band’s career. For a start, the personnel upheavals since the band’s last album, Adverse Camber, have seen the band slimmed down to a five-piece, and with a new guitarist, Keith Hawkins, to replace Owain Roberts. It’s also the band’s first full length release since signing a deal with the Esoteric Antenna label, so even without the personal issues, there is an awful lot riding on this album for the band.So, back-story aside, what about the music? Opener ‘Hyperdrive’ is something of a statement of intent, as if the band are ready for a full-powered launch into the future. They sound like a band with something to prove, but this really couldn’t be any other band than The Reasoning with Rachel Cohen’s soaring, passionate vocals over backing that has so much going on, it’s really hard to take everything in on one listen. ‘Urgent’ and ‘fast and furious’ haven’t often been phrases used to describe the band, but this really sets out to almost forcibly grab the listener’s attention.Some of the songs on the album have been played live for a while now, such as ‘The Omega Point’. Inspired by the novels of Scarlet Thomas, it references the band’s past work a little more than the opener, but even so it still sounds as if there’s a lot of pent-up energy in the band and there’s some fine soloing by Keith Hawkins and Tony Turrell on keys. Other highlights on the first few listens include ‘Stop The Clock’, with its extended intro almost making you assume the song is an instrumental, until Rachel comes in with the vocal, and there are some previously unheard folky influences that make ‘End of Days’ a particular treat. I should also mention ‘No Friend Of Mine’, a song about the perils of Facebook and Social Networking as a whole. It’s another song that has already been road tested live for several months and as soon as I heard it I thought it to be one of the best things the band has ever done, and I see no reason now to change that particular opinion.Inevitably, there are some who will pore over the album and the lyrics in particular for any references to Owain Roberts, and I suspect ‘Threnody’ (Dictionary definition: ‘a poem, speech or song of lamentation, especially for the dead’) will get particular attention in this respect. I don’t intend to discuss that any further here, suffice to say it’s another very fine song, and it has to be said that throughout this album new boy Keith Hawkins sounds a real find, with some excellent work, including some very nice neo-classical links on ‘Stop The Clock’. Having said that, all the playing and indeed singing, on this record is absolutely out of the top draw. There are some albums you can make your mind up about fairly quickly, but each time I listen to Adventures In Neverland I hear something new to enjoy.The recent Classic Rock Presents Prog Awards, where the band were nominated in the New Blood category, not only brought the legends of the genre into the mainstream spotlight, but also highlighted the absolute wealth of new talent that the scene in the UK can boast. By anybody’s standards, this is a very strong release from a band who more than one commentator has said are ready to break through to the next level, and this could well be the album to take them there." - The Midland Rocks
    $17.00
  • Shockingly good reunion album from 1978 that gave us the athemic title track which now has classic status."Deep Purple's definitive Mark II lineup reunited for 1984's Perfect Strangers. It is one of the better examples of a reunion album, although the band's uneasy camaraderie only lasted a few more years. "Knocking at Your Back Door" opens the album with a roar. Ian Gillan's lyrics don't make much sense, but Ritchie Blackmore's guitar riffs and Ian Paice's thunderous drumming carry this song as well as the rest of the album. The robotic rhythm of the title cut relies on Jon Lord's organ work. The 1999 remastered reissue features the bonus track "Son of Alerik." This fascinating, mid-tempo, ten-minute instrumental was the B-side of the "Perfect Strangers" 12" single in the U.K." - All Music Guide
    $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
  • A tightly woven matrix of extreme progressive metal underscores a desolate vision of a future gone awry...Zero Hour are the cutting edge of intricate progressive metal. Their influences range from the dark brooding power of Fates Warning to the technicality of Spiral Architect. The band features twin brothers Jasun and Troy Tipton on guitars and bass, drummer Mike Guy, and vocalist Erik Rosvold. A self-financed first release by the band was produced by Dino Alden (Marty Friedman, Mordred, Imagika). With limited distribution the band was able to sell over 2,000 copies on their own all based on word of mouth via the Internet as well as fantastic reviews in major metal magazines around the world.Returning to the studio with Alden the band has now produced "The Towers Of Avarice", a conceptual work that conjures a bleak vision of the future. The story tells the tale of two societies one above ground obsessed with consumption and the restless slaves living underground that are under their control. The band has intensified their already intricate sound by eschewing longwinded solos in exchange for complexity and power. Guitar and bass interlock seamlessly only to be interrupted by a staccato assault of crushing guitar riffs and soaring vocals. Rosvold is a truly gifted singer, often compared to Ronnie James Dio and John Arch. He grabs the spotlight with his angst ridden vocals, conveying all the drama that unfolds in the tale. This truly is a future classic of complex progressive metal.The album features surrealist artwork and graphic design by Travis Smith.
    $13.00
  • "Described in the accompanying literature as Osada Vida's second album, this is in fact their fifth release if we include the three albums released locally in Poland between 2000 and 2004. Their 2006 album "Three Seats Behind A Triangle" is regarded though as representing the start of the band in international terms and with their current line up. The concept here may at first seem bizarre, and even a little distasteful. The various "body parts" are used though to symbolise the "feelings and emotions (good and bad) experienced by humans in their day to day existence". Thus we have tracks with basic titles such as "Liver" "Brain" and "Spine", each also bearing a more illuminating sub-title. The diverse range of influences which graced "Three seats.." are in evidence one again here, the album overall having a slightly softer edge this time. The opening "Body" which forms a sort of overture, perhaps deliberately reminds us of ELP's "Karn Evil 9". Lyrics such as "Ladies and gentelmen (sic) welcome to our body parts party, we'd like to present you our main guests, so let me introduce them" and "On the left we see Mr. Bone" are more than a little reminiscent of Part one of ELP's epic. In musical terms, the song gets us off to a strong start with tight melodies and diverse instrumentation. "Liver; Mr. Liver's letter to you" starts with an extended instrumental passage which ranges from Moraz like jazz synth to metal tinged guitar riffing. The lyrics and vocal style are reminiscent of Manfred Mann's Earth band's "Hello, this is your heart", concluding with the stark warning "I can make you feel pain…. I can make you be dead, so keep me in mind, dear". The track includes some fine interplay between synth and guitar concluding with a mellotron backed heavy riff. "Brain; mind on cloud nine" is tinged in irony describing an "If I ruled the world" dream. The song is unusually understated, almost ballad like, with some dreamy guitar. "Tongue, a white lie" describes a compulsive liar but concludes that the problem may actually lay with the beholder. Overall, this for me is the lest distinguished track on the album, at least in vocal terms. Even here though there is a striking burst of synth. The only completely instrumental track on the album is "Spine; in full swing", a 7 minute romp through an ever changing selection of styles and sounds. Once again, we enjoy here Osada Vida's unique blend of metal riffing and fusion style improvisation. "Heart; Back and forth" is a slower number with a heavy (heart) beat. The "we are only born to die" type lyrics can seem over-depressive but are counterbalanced to some extent by the lighter multi-tracked vocals and melodic instrumental incursions. "Muscle, Strong but powerless" appears to deal with the futility of violence, the jazz like shuffling intro leading to a mellotron soaked, at times funky number. The odd sounding offbeat riffs are supported by some upfront bass playing. At 11 minutes, the closing track "Bone; my name is bone, the single bone" is the longest on the album. The song starts softly with piano and acoustic guitar leading to some pleasant, almost ambient lead guitar. The song reflects on a life seemingly wasted in the pursuit of money and fame, ruing the fact that "I was part of everything, I am a part of nothingness". The lengthy guitar piece which dominates the track is reminiscent of the "Unquiet slumbers/Quiet earth" sections of Genesis "Wind and wuthering" album. In all, another highly enjoyable album by Osada Vida, which features some complex arrangements. It is good to find a set of gifted musicians who remain willing to extend themselves and explore territories befitting of their talents." - Progarchives.com
    $15.00
  • "To avoid any lingering confusion right from the outset,  you may already be aware of this band because AudioPlastik began life under a different name or names to be more precise. Both Alpha Flood and Brave New Sky were trialled before the trio settled on the name AudioPlastik. Whatever the name though, it’s a musical collaboration which will more than prick the ears of fans of progressive rock or metal music. The trio is fronted none other than Dec Burke, the vocalist for Darwin’s Radio and Frost* as well as being a well thought of solo artist in his own right. Dec also plays the guitar and is joined by the impressive duo of Simon Andersson (Darkwater, ex-Pain Of Salvation) and Threshold’s keyboardist Richard West. Being a fan of all of the names mentioned in the preceding sentences, I have naturally been very excited to hear the final product ever since a debut album was announced to see the light of day early this year.The album is due out in the very near future and goes by the title of ‘In The Head Of A Maniac’. With a title like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the content of this record might be a bizarre, challenging or even a wild schizophrenic beast. However, you’d be wrong, at least to a certain extent anyway. This is progressive music and as such, it does blend many ideas into its collective whole. But it is far from being impenetrable or a difficult listen.To be honest, the most difficult thing is to accurately describe the musical direction on ‘In The Head of a Maniac’. In itself it’s an absorbing listen full of wondrous aspects, one that is instantly likeable but ever more addictive as the number of spins increases. But to be more exact in order to offer a worthwhile review? Ok…If I was to try and sum this album up in a few words, I’d say it’s an absorbing blend of melodic progressive rock, metal and pop with rich cinematic overtones.Dealing with the latter aspect first, the cinematic, symphonic flavour can be heard right from the outset via the relatively brief instrumental opening. This is Richard West at his best, creating a piece of music which is subtly dramatic, emotive and pure film soundtrack fodder. In fact, much the same can be said of the even more dramatic ‘Traveller’ which is equally as enthralling and which could easily fit a suspense or action thriller.That said, West’s stamp is all over each of the thirteen compositions, bringing a rich elegance to proceedings just like he does with Threshold. Whether it’s via more subtle layers of atmospheric synths or more in-your-face modern-sounding embellishments, of which there are several (‘John Doe’) it always fits the song perfectly, providing a foundation of real depth and richness upon which all else is built.Next there’s the guitar playing of Burke and Andersson which is actually surprisingly heavy. Occasionally it is reminiscent in tone of numerous djent artists, particularly when the riffs chug in step with a rumbling bass (also courtesy of Andersson) and powerful drumming. ‘It Matters So Much’ illustrates this perfectly and is also a track that also greatly benefits from a rare and decadent lead guitar solo. This being prog, naturally many of the riffs play around with interesting, complicated tempos and time signatures but they are never complex for the sake of it and never detract from the essence of the songs. A prime example being ‘The Sound Of Isolation’ which contains a riff which befuddles my brain but which works in and around the simpler aspects of the song.One of the biggest strengths on this record however is its melodic sensibility. I mentioned earlier about the pop influences and its in the choruses that this is most noticeable. Just about every song has a hook or a melody that’s memorable. Some are immediate and others take a bit longer to work into the psyche. Regardless, they are there and many of them, alongside those modern programmed flourishes, lend the music that more mainstream feel. ‘Leave Me Here’ and the beautiful ‘Now’ for example, might not be out of place on mainstream popular radio. Elsewhere, ‘Bulletproof’ offers one of the most gorgeous choruses I’ve heard in recent times, ironic given that it’s also one of the heavier, busier tracks that packs a lot of light and shade as well as apparently disparate elements into its relatively short length. Oh and then there’s the stunning closer, ‘Distant Skies’ which pushes ‘Bulletproof’ very close, almost beating it depending on my mood when I listen.Then, to top things off, you’ve got the vocals of Burke. Those familiar with his other work with Frost* or Darwin’s Radio will know exactly what to expect and he doesn’t disappoint. Burke has a tone that’s very melodic and almost soothing but which also has a slightly rough, gritty edge to it that I really like. It means that the vocal delivery can fit both the softer, more introspective parts but which can also do justice to the heavier moments that require something a bit edgier vocally.As you can probably tell, I’m completely enamoured by this album. Almost imperceptibly, it has burrowed into my head and my heart and it refuses to let go. If your tastes dictate that you enjoy music that is rich and varied, deep and thoughtful, beautiful and genuinely unique, look no further than ‘In The Mind Of A Maniac’ by AudioPlastic. You won’t be disappointed." - Man Of Much Metal  
    $16.00
  • "As suggested by its title, 'II' is the second album by multi-national band Corvus Stone. They continue with their merry blend of various musical influences, for an explosive cocktail of colours and sounds. Drummer Robert Wolff is now an official member of the band, while vocal duties were shared between several recording artists of Nick Katona's label, Melodic Revolution Records (later shortened in MRR). Sonia Mota, the biggest David Bowie fan on earth, was involved again for the artwork, as enchanting as on the first album.As announced in preamble of this review, this album is a festival of musical sounds, as diverse as the origin of the musicians involved. While music in general is in the field of progressive rock, it's easy to notice that the band doesn't care about labels. Progressive rock is a means to sublimate their influences rather than an end in itself. Therefore, you will hear pop (the baroque echoes of the harpsicord in the opener with beatlesque vocal harmonies, the pastoral accents of "Eternal universe"). Other popular forms of music are also represented. Let's start with blues-rock. First with the cover of Murky Red's "Boots for hire", where the virile voice is provided by none other than Murky Red's frontman, Stef Flaming, yet in a context slightly different from the original version, through its spacey keys and arabesques. Then, the blues influence is also obvious in the languid "Mystery man", with its eerie keys and reminiscences of The Beatles' "I want you (she's so heavy)" in the closing section. Rock'n'roll is there as well with the hellish "Purple stone" and a short wink to Deep Purple's "Highway star". Folk music, highlighted by the use of finnish in the lyrics ("Campfire"), has also its place in this monumental album. On the other hand, "Uncle Schunkle" with its groovy rhythms and its vintage hammond, recalls the golden age of jazz-funk. And obviously, since Corvus Stone are regarded as a progressive rock act, the instrumental "A stoned crow meets the rusty Wolff" is a piece that goes in this direction, with many rhythm changes and colourful keys. The title of the song is a pun on the drummer's name but might also be a reference to Happy The Man's humorous piece "Stumpy Meets the Firecracker in Stencil Forest". Besides those influences, some dances are honoured throughout the record: salsa ("Scandinavians in Mexico"), cha cha cha ("Mr Cha Cha"), waltz ("Early morning call" with echoes of Stranglers' "Golden Brown"), bolero ("Camelus bactrianus"), flamenco (Colin's guitar opening to some tracks). Moreover, some neo-classical interludes intersperse the album, be it in a mozartian way ("Lisa has a cigar"), or romantic fashion ("Dark Tower"). More surprising is the pastoral symphony in four movements "Moaning Lisa" (two movements in the tradition of british songs of the elisabethan era, separated by a mouth organ-lead boiling instrumental movement, and a final waltz closing the symphony).Besides the lack of interest for any specific label, the band deals with a lot of humour, never grotesque, always delivered with profesionalism. This is made possible thanks to a wide range of keyboard sounds and versatile guitar soloing, among other factors. In fact, keyboard sounds are very diverse, ubiquitous and tasty. While guitar gently weeps with touching short spastic licks, it can also turn aerial, fiery or even delve in a classical spanish realm as seen before. The presence of drummer Robert Wolff on all tracks is an improvement over the previous album. In fact, his play blends the elegance of Barriemore Barlow and the punch of John Bonham, and is instrumental in the support of the music's humorous and eclectic flavours. Vocals are diverse this time, as singers from several MRR acts were invited for the project. Blake Carpenter's high-pitch and sense of derision is tempered by more seriously delivered vocals from his mates of MRR, the whole adding to the versatility of the work.Corvus Stone are a band that don't take themselves seriously, and this aspect should be taken into account when reviewing their works. Thanks to their experience in music, a great musicianship and a sense of humour, they deliver a music that is heartfelt, not dictated by any trend of the moment, and that will put a smile on your face and certainly make your day." - ProgArchives
    $12.00
  • Yet another brilliant work from this Norwegian prog band.  The Greatest Show On Earth is the band's third effort.  While the first album Identity delved into alternative/prog realms bearing similarity to Radiohead, their second album All Rights Removed was full on Pink Floyd worship.  This latest effort carries on in similar fashion.  There are parts of the album that were written with tracing paper.  It evokes the mood and feel of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and maybe even a bit of The Wall.  This isn't to say the band doesn't inject any personality of their own - they do.  There are contemporary elements, its just that when they go into full on Pink Floyd mode its so apparent and so well executed that it blinds you to everything else that is going on.  What Bi Kyon Ran is to King Crimson or The Watch is to Genesis, Airbag is to Pink Floyd.  Original?  Truth be told not really.  It doesn't matter, its so well executed that you will just immerse yourself in the listening experience.  Highly recommended.
    $17.00
  • Some of our rabid regulars asked us about an Australian band called Anubis. It was one of those rare occasions where I admitted to being stumped. Some investigation brought up an interesting label/collective called Bird's Robe Records. The label casts a pretty wide net, featuring all different types of bands but all have a strong progressive element. Anubis may well be their most "straight ahead" prog band. Damn if this isn't a great disc!Anubis have a modern sound but there are symphonic elements and on more than one occasion I'm reminded of Pink Floyd. The album kicks off with a 17 minute killer filled with emotive vocals and spacey keys. If David Gilmour had produced the new Pineapple Thief album it might sound something like this. Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • No need to go into a lengthy discussion of this seminal Canterbury band. This is the right way to do a reissue. Universal saw fit to use 24 bit mastering and filled up each disc in the series with extensive bonus material as well as copious liner notes. "If I Could Do It All Over Again" features 4 previously unreleased tracks. Essential.
    $10.00
  • In our changeover in distributors we received back a quantity of copies of Specs. We need to bring our inventory level back to normal so we are going to temporarily blow out this title. Grab copies at below wholesale price while you can.
    $13.00
  • Hailed as "one of the most original and daring groups on planet", Australia’s VOYAGER has battled geographical isolation to tour Europe twice, perform at ProgPower Europe 2006 and share stages with diverse acts like NIGHTWISH, STEVE VAI, SOILWORK and ALESTORM. They are the first Australian band ever to be invited to play at the prestigious PROGPOWER USA festival in 2011.The band's loyal international fanbase has praised its incredibly catchy songwriting and compared its sound to a mixture of AMORPHIS' thirst for melody, SOILWORK's heaviness and the crystal vocal clarity of A-HA's Morton Harket. Formed in 1999, VOYAGER has 3 full-length albums under its belt, each one propelling them further into cult status as an elite progressive metal band."The Meaning of I" is an introspective, at times electronic, yet occasionally uplifting journey into the mind in search of meaning. It is a culmination of VOYAGER's sound: polished yet organic, heavy yet melodic, dark yet playful. Its melody, songwriting and structure tastefully flow through a labyrinth of emotions, perfected by the mixing and mastering work of Jens Bogren (OPETH, KATATONIA, SOILWORK). The album is complemented by the guest vocal performances of Dan Tompkins (TESSERACT) and DC Cooper (ROYAL HUNT). Once again, artwork master George Grie provided the gripping cover to complete this journey into the mind.
    $13.00
  • "As we’ve been chronicling all year long, 2013 has been a great year for Norwegian progressive metal with some excellent progressive power metal from Illusion Suite, Tellus Requiem and Pellek, the new album by the long-running prog metal band Divided Multitude, the fantastic new album by Leprous and the exciting debut by Withem (you can read our review here).  Now, into that great mix the young band Vicinity has just released their debut full -length album, Awakening and it easily stands with the best of what their countrymen have produced this year. The band works in a decidedly melodic and dramatic fashion anchored around the wonderful voice of Alexander Lykke, the multi-faceted guitars of Kim-Marius Olsen and the powerful drumming of Frode Lillevold.  Interestingly there are no keyboards on the album (except for a few background sounds for effects) which wasn’t readily apparent to me at first because the songs are so well written and the vocal melodies are so strong. Olsen multi-tracks soft and harder textures to really give the album a rich sound.  The album has a great full sound and was mastered by the prolific Jens Bogren.Awakening is an hour long album but only has six songs.  Three are in the 11-14 minute range and the other three are between 5-6 minutes. The longer songs are not really more complex, but just feel necessary to the structure of each song which is really a testament to the band’s composition style -- the band will do a long song if warranted but works well in both long and short song formats.  The album begins with Mass Delusion which starts as a high-energy rocker but has a great instrumental mid-section that propels the song to its energetic conclusion. Opportunities Lost is the longest song on the album at over 14 minutes and is a deceptively simple song that consistently builds tension throughout the piece, alternates between short instrumental interludes, both soft and hard, and has a great vocal melody that ends in a wonderfully dramatic finale. Again, it’s fairly simple in structure but is so well written that I couldn’t believe it was as long as it was.  I was reminded of what great neo-progressive bands like IQ often do so well -- take a great idea and vary and expand on it to great emotional conclusions.  Across The River is a shorter, five minute song and is mostly a ballad that builds in intensity throughout to a powerful finale.   Walk All The Way is an 11-minute song that’s easily my favorite on the album as its got some of the most beautiful vocals on Awakening, has the heaviest section on the album right in the middle (complete with some harsher vocals for contrast and intensity) before building to a wonderfully majestic finale.  Olsen also really shines here as well with some great emotional soloing.  The Time For Change is next and it’s yet another amazing power ballad that shows, yet again how well this band can create drama and excitement.  The album ends with the 11 minute album title song that has a fairly heavy opening section but ends with a stunningly beautiful epic finish.  Honestly there’s not a weak moment on this album and if dramatic and emotionally affective progressive metal is your cup of tea, this album will hit you hard.Awakening is a really, really solid album that has so much going for it. It’s got a great, joyously youthful spirit and is decidedly focused on the emotional content instead of trying to wow the listener with technicality.   Vicinity is primarily a band of great melodic songwriters and they have the perfect vocalist in Lykke to carry out their vision of exciting  progressive music and if they continue on this path could really make some waves in this great genre." - Prog Metal Zone
    $15.00