The Mouths Of Madness

SKU: 2980-2
Label:
Nuclear Blast
Category:
Doom Metal
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San Francisco's Orchid has been kicking around a bit, jumping around a bunch of small labels.  A buzz has been developing around the band so it was only a matter of time before they stepped up to the big time - they got snatched up by Nuclear Blast.  I would say that NB scored a major coup here.  Orchid's reputation has been built upon a doom metal sound that draws heavily from the early Black Sabbath canon.  Plain and simple.  These guys have the retro sound down pat and the look as well.  If you are into doom its not going to come any better than this.  Highly recommended.

 

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    $24.00
  • Second studio album from what may be the ultimate chops band.  Guthrie Govan (guitars), Bryan Beller (bass), and Marco Minnemann (drums) turn it up an notch further.  Everything is set to 11 on this one. Lots of notes flying around and different styles as well - on "Louisville Stomp: I'm hearing some cool country style pickin' from Guthrie Govan that is welcome and unexpected.  He sounds like the second coming of Danny Gatton.  Other tracks are a non-stop shredfest - that's what the Aristocrats are all about.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Quite simply one of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time. This album is very dear to me and many of you will remember that some years ago we released the 3 SFF albums on a 2CD set. Its been out of print for many years and through the efforts of Esoteric Recordings they are back in print, as individual releases.Symphonic Pictures was recorded in 1975. The trio of Eduard Schicke (drums), Gerd Fuhrs (keyboards), and Heinz Frohling (bass/guitar) was formed from the remnants of Spektakel (another one of our out of print releases). The band was signed to Brain Records. Originally Frank Zappa was going to produce their debut but because of scheduling commitments he had to back out. Instead the band worked with Dieter Dierks who was the rising star producer at the time. The album is all instrumental. It consists of the four shorter tracks and then culminates in the side long epic "Pictures". This is one of the great Mellotron albums...ever. One can easily hear how deeply Anglagard was influenced by this album. Three virtuoso musicians creating amazing symphonic rock. It just doesn't get better than this one...or does it? Esoteric has included a bonus disc containing parts of an archival live recording from Papenburg, Germany in 1975. This features two tracks that are not on the album and clearly demonstrates that SFF could pull it off live as well. Perhaps I'm too close to this album but from my perspective its BUY OR DIE! Highest recommendation possible.
    $15.00
  • Latest solo album from Dream Theater's vocalist finds him pushing the boundaries a bit. This is square on prog metal with keyboardist Matt Guillory and guitarist Marco Sfogli returning. LaBrie plays with a monster rhythm section with his main band but he's put together a formidible complement here in Peter Wildoer (Darkane) and Ray Riendeau (Halford) on drums and bass. There seems to be a bit more of a harder edge than his previous solo albums, probably due to the mix of Jens Bogren (Opeth, Paradise Lost). Wildoer also contributes coarse vocals in contrast to LaBrie's smoother style. Essential for any Dream Theater fan.
    $5.00
  • "Norwegian band BRIMSTONE started out as The Brimstone Solar Radiation band back in 1998, and released three full-length productions using this original moniker, the aptly named "Smorgasbord" from 2009 the most recent of these. Following a five year pause they have returned with a shortened band name and their fourth full-length album, "Mannsverk", released through the Norwegian label Karsima Records.Psychedelic progressive rock is the name of the game for Brimstone on their fourth full-length production "Mannsverk", an album that consists of vintage instruments and a vintage sound that alongside what I'd describe as a more contemporary production, as far as song structure and arrangements are concerned, ends up as a compelling and sophisticated disc. Personally I noted what to my ears were certain similarities Beardfish's 2009 album "Destined Solitaire", and in my opinion most of the people who enjoyed that production, will also enjoy this one. Especially if they also might enjoy a band with more of a psychedelic touch, and songs with a generally stronger emphasis on bass guitar and drums." - ProgArchives
    $14.00
  • "Despite what the name might lead you to think, progressive metal is among the most static and boring of all heavy music genres. Half the bands that fall under the moniker exist merely as a vehicle to show off the skills of the players involved, which is fine in small doses, but rarely sustains a creative career. The other half of the bands stick rigidly to the blueprint of one of the fore-bearers of the genre, giving us music that sounds exactly like something we've already heard. Very little of progressive metal is actually interesting, because it is a genre that lacks people dedicated to the art of songwriting. Songs are what makes any band successful, no matter how much sheer musical skill they possess. Dream Theater didn't get to where they are just because they are amazing musicians, they also wrote a slew of great songs and albums. The number of progressive metal bands who have impressed me with their songwriting in recent years is miniscule, but I mention all of this because Ascendia is one of them.As “At The End Of It All” swells into focus with a tribal drum beat and chanted vocals, it's already obvious that this is not going to be prog-by-numbers. The song kicks into gear with a syncopated guitar riff, before the vocals soar over the top of everything, slapping a thick coat of melody atop the sound. There's a quiet section in the middle of the song that feels like a cousin of Killswitch Engage, which is a fresh sound to hear in this kind of music. When it opens back up into the chorus, the song is massive, and it's hard to believe all of that music was contained in five and a half minutes.The songs on the album are more bite-sized than typical progressive metal, but that plays into the band's strengths as songwriters. By keeping the songs lean and tight, they hit harder than if the instrumental sections had been extended by a minute here and there. There is interesting playing going on, but it's all done within the framework of the songs, and never put out front to dominate the spotlight. It's an approach that is smart not just because of how easy it is to get bogged down in instrumental pyrotechnics, but because an album of that sort would never be able to survive the Herculean vocal presence of singer Nick Sakal.With more than a little bit of similarity to the former singer of the aforementioned Killswitch Engage, Howard Jones, Sakal's vocals dominate the album, making you wonder where a voice like that could have come from. His baritone is warm, rich, and not at all what you would expect to hear in a band that isn't playing down-tuned hardcore.But what is most important are the songs, and that's where Ascendia proves themselves as standouts. Whether tackling more modern fare like “Remember Me”, or more traditionally melodic songs like “Moonchild”, there's a phenomenal blend of heavy riffing and soaring melody. I can't tell you how rare it is to hear a progressive metal band that is so in tune with melody, and can write songs that could stand up if they were stripped down to the chord structure and the vocals. We get an example of that with the duet ballad, “The Song That You Deserved”, a largely piano and voice song that is as beautiful as it is heart-breaking. Ascendia's ear for songs is excellent, and that is what makes “The Lion And The Jester” such an engaging listen. Song after song, there's a warm and inviting chorus waiting to wrap its arms around you after you've heard the heavy and intricate moments.This year has been off to a ridiculously great start, with at least half a dozen legitimately great records having already come my way. Add “The Lion And The Jester” to that list, because Ascendia is making progressive metal the way it was always supposed to be. Both challenging and gratifying, intense and cathartic, “The Lion And The Jester” is a phenomenal piece of work that reminds me of the very best progressive metal I've ever heard. This is an album you need to hear.Oh, and how awesome is that cover art? That is one album that will look as good as it sounds in a collection." - Bloody Good Horror
    $10.00
  • Another release in the "Deep Jazz Reality" series and its a monster rarity.  You can tell that Exciting Flute must have come before Elevation and Flute Adventure since each album gets a bit freaker than the next one in line.  Elevation features arrangements by Masahiko Satoh and is another plugged in set.  While there are some covers of commercial pop tunes even those are a bit more adventurous - check out the 9 minute run through of "What'd I Say" - lots of wiggy psychedelic guitar and organ runs trading licks with Yokota's flute work.  He sounds like he's channeling his inner Ian Anderson.    Grab this one while its still in print!
    $30.00
  • "Edguy are not going to win over Necrophagist or Portal fans with their new album, Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown. That isn’t what Edguy are about. They’re not Kvlt, tr00, etc. They do 80’s metal with massive amounts of fun and they do it really well.All the while annoying people who take music far too seriously. They are also are a superb band live, taking cues from Maiden with sing-along choruses and an almost pop sensibility towards song writing. After listening to Space Police once I was singing some of the tracks without realising it! The last couple of albums ‘Tinnitus Sanctus’ and ‘Age of the Joker’ took a more straight forward hard rock approach and while they were good albums, they didn’t have the pomposity and sense of ceremony ala Helloween or Gamma Ray of the preceding albums. This was for me, always part of the Edguy charm.Studio album number ten starts off almost where “Age of the Joker” left off with the track ‘Sabre and Torch‘ and quickly builds to an over the top masterpiece that brings back memories of  ‘Vain Glory Opera’ and ‘Hellfire Club.’ For some reason singer Tobias Sammet sounds a little restrained on this track and dare I say, somewhat tired. It’s almost as if this album was recorded live and he needed some time to warm up but there is no need to worry he quickly proves me wrong.The title track harks back to something off 2006′s superb Rocket Ride; a keyboard lead epic with a bouncing tempo to get a festival crowd going. It is like it was written for inclusion early in the live set. ‘Defenders of the Crown’ is where the smile really come across my face; double kick drums and a Manowar-esque chorus. It is nothing short of brilliant. ‘Love Tyger’ and ‘The Realms Of Baba Yaya’ are mid to fast tempo numbers that are as catchy as anything they have previously written and prove that Mr Sammet and co. are back in flying form! As usual, the band are excellent; loads of feeling and virtuosity, though not always at the same time….I love this album and it keeps getting better with their version of Falco’s ‘Rock me Amadeus’. Some tracks sound like they were Avantasia (Tobais Sammet’s metal opera side project) tracks but were considered to Edguy for those albums. ‘Do me like a Caveman’ and ‘Alone in Myself’ for example. ‘The Eternal Wayfarer’ is the kind of song Def Leppard wish they could write now, lucky for them Edguy still have it.Space Police- Defenders Of The Crown isn’t just the best thing Edguy have released in years, it is one of the best power metal albums released in years." - Planet Mosh
    $6.00
  • "Chapter 1, the debut album from Level 10 is the first collaboration between vocal powerhouse Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob) and bassist/producer/writer Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle) Frontiers President, Serafino Perugino initiated the duo to team up for the creation of a new Metal project which could melt the more contemporary sound of Adrenaline Mob with the more traditional European Power Metal melody and aggression.Sinner enlisted his Primal Fear/Voodoo Circle bandmates Randy Black (on drums) and Alex Beyrodt (on guitar) and Roland Grapow (ex Helloween, MasterPlan, Serious Black) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Voodoo Circle) to complete the lineup on lead guitar and keyboards respectively. On the songwriting side – besides the band members – the album features the songwriting talents of Magnus Karlsson, Carsten Schulz, Ralf Scheepers, Johann Fiegl, Sander Gommans and Amanda Somerville.For those fans of Russell Allen who were expecting Symphony X, you will be slightly disappointed, aside from Allen’s trademark pipes, there is not much here resemble Symphony X’s brand of neo-classical prog metal. By the same token, those fans of Allen who fear the agro-vocals and Godsmack-esque brand of “modern heavy rock”, can breathe easy, as the music on Chapter One leans closer to Euro power metal than mainstream hard rock.The album opener, Cry No More kicks off with a vengeance, with a guitar riff that would sound at home on one of Voodoo Circle albums. Allen’s vocals are powerful during the verses and soar on the multi-harmony chorus. Del Vecchio adds a 70’s moog synth sound on the keys and Black pounds the drums mercilessly. There is a crunchy, heavy groove on the mid-tempo Soul of the Warrior, featuring stellar vocal work on the chorus and a catchy as hell chorus. The tempo picks up with an 80’s sounding rocker with a driving beat, heavy chugging guitar rhythms, and Allen sounding aggressive while still maintaining his trademark melodic voice. The chorus features another killer multi-harmony vocal and Beyrodt and Grapow get to flex their muscles during the harmony guitar solo.The album takes a more AOR tone on the heavy rock anthem One Way Street, which has a 70’s Bad Company meets Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood feel to it. Randy Black’s percussion skills are on center stage, showing why Black is one of the most versatile drummers in power metal today. The albums first single titled Blasphemy has the symphonic bombast of European power metal and Allen’s voice is at it’s most evil sounding during the vocals and shows off his upper register during the chorus.Last Man On Earth is another hard rock song with a great hook and sing-a-long chorus, which does get a little repetitive after a few listens but I guess that’s what why they call it a hook! Scream And Shout is another old school power mental anthem straight out of the 80’s with it’s, for lack of a better word, *shout* a-long chorus. The guitar harmonies and shredding solo section blend in perfectly and Black’s double bass drumming drives the song once again.Allen flexes his vocal muscles on the mid-tempo rock of Into The Wilderness, using his upper register as only he can. The song itself isn’t as memorable as some of the other material on the album save for the chorus, which has some fine harmony vocal work. The requisite piano power ballad All Is Gone is a fitting showcase for Russell Allen’s amazing vocal prowess, even though the song itself sounds like a combination of Symphony X’s When All Hope Is Lost and something off of one of the Allen/Lande albums, which is not surprising since Magnus Karlsson is one of the credited songwriters here.The crushing riff of Demonized brings the heavy power metal with Russell at his most sinister sounding. For those fans wanting to hear something heavy, this one is for you. Chugging guitar rhythms, aggressive vocals, pounding drums, and shredding solos, this one has it all, a headbangers delight! The groove-heavy Soul Is Enternal has a mid-tempo fist pumping rhythm with Allen using a more soulful vocal approach during the verses and letting loose during the chorus.The album closer Forevermore is a power metal classic filled with melody, a HUGE multi-vocal harmony chorus and superb vocals from Allen and guest Ralf Scheepers vocals are quite noticeable in the mix. This song is probably the closest to the sound of Primal Fear and tied with Cry No More for my favorite song on the album. In an age where so-called supergroups are becoming more prevalent, Level 10’s debut album finds itself in the upper echelon, even if its destiny is to be a one off studio project, only time will tell." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • Bulgaria doesn't immediately come to mind as a hot bed of musical activity but that is where Sensory made their latest discovery. In 2000, the band created their calling card to the progressive metal world a demo that was well received in the underground press. Affter a series of lineup changes the band set about recording their debut "Shade of Fate". The result is a tour de force of progressive metal that will appeal to fans of Dream Theater, Vanden Plas and Queensryche. Pantommind use gorgeous symphonic soundscapes as a backdrop for intricate keyboard solos, crunch-filled guitar riffs and pure soaring vocals. This is a band poised to capture the imagination of progressive metal fans around the world. Sensory's release of "Shade Of Fate" also features two exclusive bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • "Culled from concerts in Chile, Brazil and Argentina in 1993 and 1997, ELP Live in South America is an essential collection to the catalog of this progressive rock supergroup. Features versions of their hits from their forty five year career including Lucky Man, From The Beginning, Hoedown, Knife Edge and Pictures at an Exhibition. Four CDS of great listening.""Label Manticore Records say: “Featuring extended workouts of their best-known tunes, this value-priced collection comes in a wallet pack.“The specific concerts are Estadio Chile in Santiago, April 1, 1993; Obras Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina on April 5, 1993; and Metropolitan Theater, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 16, 1997.”"
    $35.00
  • "The amazing musicians from Uzbekistan are back with “Sodom and Gomorrah,” a concept CD that features the acclaimed original FROMUZ line-up of Vitaly Popeloff (guitars), Albert Khalmurzaev (keyboards, guitars, vocals, harmonica), Vladimir Badirov (drums), and Andrey Mara-Novik (bass), plus Evgeniy Popelov (keyboards, vocals).“Sodom & Gomorrah” was originally composed by multi-instrumentalist Albert Khalmurzaev as the soundtrack for a theatrical musical production of the same name at the Youth Theatre of Uzbekistan. Reinterpreting the Biblical tale of “Sodom and Gomorrah” as a conceptual foundation, it tells the story of our modern world, ravaged by global addictions and vice that can only be remedied through a change from within the very heart of the human condition.This concept is conveyed through the well-established passion and incendiary musicianship that has become the hallmark of FROMUZ.  This is modern progressive rock at its very finest.FROMUZ originally performed “Sodom and Gomorrah” live over the course of three years, starting in 2004, actively working with the Youth Theater in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as well as performances at prestigious theater festivals in St. Petersburg, Russia, the International Chekhov Festival (Moscow, Russia), and more.  The band recorded the soundtrack during this time-frame, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the decision was made to return to those tracks, editing, mixing, and mastering them for an official release."
    $12.00
  • 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.
    $8.00
  • Gorgeous solo album from Samsara Blues Experiment guitarist/leader Christian Peters.  He plays all the instruments on the album.  With the exception of one vocal track the album is all instrumental.  Its a hypnotic journey to another place and time that will remind you of early Popol Vuh and "Ummagumma" era Pink Floyd.  Sitar, acoustic guitars, and keys have a dreamy laid back quality that is simply mesmerizing.  Highly recommended. "In the liner notes for So Came Restless Night, Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Christian Peters mentions that he’d never intended to release anything under the moniker of this Soulitude project, but that it was the encouragement of the few for whom he played this material that finally brought him around to the idea of doing so. Peters, who serves also in the guitarist/vocalist role for Samsara Blues Experiment and doubles as the head of Electric Magic Records, which is releasing So Came Restless Night, conveys that kind of inward sensibility throughout the album’s nine songs. Instrumental but for the closer “All that’s Left Behind,” the 39-minute span of what has wound up as the debut release from Soulitude (for which Peters also handled the artwork/layout as part of his Sun Art visual side) keeps to a layered, exploratory feel that results in an intimate take on psychedelic/acid folk, Peters‘ penchant for sitar flourish, keys and mandolin adding depth to the arrangements while keeping a balance with the solo-project vibe. There are a variety of moods throughout, but most of them joyful, and for anyone who might know Peters‘ work from Samsara Blues Experiment or his time previously in Terraplane, the softer sound of Soulitude could come as a surprise, but I doubt it will. Much of the atmospherics he brings to So Came Restless Night, Peters has worked into the sensibilities of his other projects, so it’s less that Soulitude is coming out of nowhere than it is focusing on a different side of similar elements to what Peters has done all along. The lush acoustic and electric guitar interplay on the penultimate “Voices of the Forest” will be recognizable, and certainly his affinity for Eastern textures is carried over as well. Soulitude doesn’t come without context, but even for someone who perhaps isn’t familiar with Peters‘ work, there’s plenty here to latch onto for fans of acid folk and the solo psychedelia proffered by the likes of Lamp of the Universe.Peters originally self-released So Came Restless Night on CD-R in 2009, so technically the Electric Magic version is a reissue, but I’ve been thinking of it more as an official release for the solo-project, which was also remastered by Peters‘ Samsara Blues Experiment bandmate, Richard Behrens. Either way, the greater likelihood is that these songs will be new to those who hear them, and given the inherently classic nature of the material, it’s not like it comes across any more dated four years later than it’s meant to be. I don’t know what span of time these recordings were made — there’s a palpable jump in volume as the more synth-driven “Ballad of the Black Swan” gives way to “Last Farewell to Elisabeth” — but nothing really interrupts the molten flow that emerges song to song, and with Peters as the uniting and driving force behind the album’s 39 minutes, there’s little to account for in terms of hiccups. Interestingly, centerpiece “The Albatross” is credited to French poet Charles Baudelaire, but I’m not sure if it’s an interpretation of his poem of the same name or if there’s speech buried somewhere in the mix, because although the recordings throughout So Came Restless Night are relatively bare-bones — it’s not underproduced, but it’s self-made — there’s still a sense of dimension and of depth to each track, beginning with the airy guitars of “Intro,” which set up a subtle post-desert rock influence soon to emerge and find resolution on “Morninghope,” the winding notes of which spiral out in full color and provide an early highlight following the melodic effects wash of opener “Natural Mystic,” where effects mania (think: guitar as theremin) is buried under sweet electric guitar leads. Much of Peters‘ output is based on variations — he’ll work with electric guitar principally on “Morninghope,” acoustics and sitar on the subsequent “Awakening” — but if the album is assembled of these experiments, it’s not without some clear effort put into the construction. It moves easily and brings you with it.“The Albatross” is about as close as Peters comes to minimalism, keeping for a time an undercurrent of synth to sweet acoustic lines, but the back half of So Came Restless Night is more lush and packed also with longer titles — the last four tracks comprising four or more words each while the first five were one or two words — “Ballad of the Black Swan” generating something of a swirl before “Last Farewell to Elisabeth” complements the synth wash that track presents with layers of electric guitar, engaged in a deceptively bluesy solo. At this point, Soulitude is at its most immersive, and if you’re ever going to get lost in the record, it probably will have happened by the time the song’s 5:38 are over. That leaves “Voices of the Forest” and “All that’s Left Behind” to close out, the two songs accounting for about a quarter of the album’s total runtime and the vast majority of that going to “Voices of the Forest,” which is the longest cut on So Came Restless Night at 7:50. Unsurprisingly, the track takes its time unfolding its full breadth, but when it does, “Voices of the Forest” steps in line behind the acoustic guitar and presents the collection’s most definitively folkish moment. It makes for a gorgeous, fitting culmination, and while there are multiple ideas presented here I’d hope Peters could see fit to develop for future Soulitude material, I’d be most interested to hear how he might combine the ethics behind the instrumental build of “Voices of the Forest” and “All that’s Left Behind,” which is an automatic standout as the closer for being the only piece here with vocals. Peters‘ voice is no less suited to the quiet acoustic-led psych here than it is to some of Samsara Blues Experiment‘s more out-there jams — which is to say it’s quite well suited — and while it’s curious he’d end So Came Restless Night with vocals where the record preceding has none, neither is this out of place, feeling more like an arrival after “Voices of the Forest” than a departure to somewhere else musically. Such is the fluid nature of this material, and while I don’t know if Peters has any plans to continue on with new recordings as Soulitude — he does not seem to be lacking in ways to keep busy — there’s plenty of potential here for growth should he get a free minute to pick up the project somewhere down the line. And if that doesn’t happen, and So Came Restless Night is all there is, that’s okay too. These songs have held up pretty well already and I hear nothing in them to indicate they won’t continue to do so." - The Obelisk
    $15.00