Nature/Existence ($3 Special)

Excellent debut from this Venezuelan band. Echoes skirts the edge between progressive rock and metal. Clearly Dream Theater (and Rush to some degree) are an influence but the music isn't as heavy as most progressive metal bands. There are some great atmospheric parts that have more of a prog rock vibe. There are a number of guest vocalists that contribute to the album and they are all quite good. I'm surprised there isn't more of a latin influence going on - these guys could pass for a US band. I can see this easily appealing to fans of both prog rock and prog metal. Highly recommended.

Product Review

Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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Here's a candidate for album of the year..... from Venezuela, no less. Truly stunning and complex compositions that are just swimming in great melodic ideas. And, boy, can these guys play. The vocals are top notch courtesy of a number of guest singers who all speak English very well. Very, very highly recommended. Leyth
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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0
Agree with fellow reviewer, Leyth...Good album..Sits more comfortably at the heavier end of Prog rock than Prog metal..but should keep most fans of each genre happy. Good musicianship, good vocals and good compositions...Highly recommended.
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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0
So far my favorite cd of 2010. The vocals on 'Leaf Motif' really blow me away. 'Lullaby' and 'Bonfires' are some really great, powerful, emotional instrumentals. Reminds me of a mix of Riverside/Dreamscape/Dali's Dillema. A+
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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0
A very refreshing release here. Very powerfull stuff going on here. All the elements are top notch, Vocals, And all intruments,, Good touch on the Sax on ""Winds of Dread""B.Ricci
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Product Review

Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
Here's a candidate for album of the year..... from Venezuela, no less. Truly stunning and complex compositions that are just swimming in great melodic ideas. And, boy, can these guys play. The vocals are top notch courtesy of a number of guest singers who all speak English very well. Very, very highly recommended. Leyth
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
Agree with fellow reviewer, Leyth...Good album..Sits more comfortably at the heavier end of Prog rock than Prog metal..but should keep most fans of each genre happy. Good musicianship, good vocals and good compositions...Highly recommended.
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
So far my favorite cd of 2010. The vocals on 'Leaf Motif' really blow me away. 'Lullaby' and 'Bonfires' are some really great, powerful, emotional instrumentals. Reminds me of a mix of Riverside/Dreamscape/Dali's Dillema. A+
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
A very refreshing release here. Very powerfull stuff going on here. All the elements are top notch, Vocals, And all intruments,, Good touch on the Sax on ""Winds of Dread""B.Ricci
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  • Fifth studio album from this always interesting Polish prog band.  Lizard's music always has a dark quality to it.  At times there is a noir quality that reminds of King Crimson but there is a strong symphonic rock component that dominates their music.  Master & M is a conceptual album based around Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master & Margarita" novel.  It consists of five long chapters with some intense instrumental passages.  Vocals are excellent but the problem with Lizard is that band leader Damian Bydlinski sings in Polish.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • 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.
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  • What a great singer Ian Parry is. This guy simply doesn't get the recognition he deserves. He's the prototypical metal singer - great control and range. This is his fourth Consortium Project album. The lineup eschews the previous three's all-star approach. The core band is Ian Parry on vocals, plus Joshua Dutrieux on guitars as well as Ivar De Graaf on drums. There is an assortment of singers and musicians filling in the musical nooks and crannys. Dutrieux and De Graaf are the primary songwriters as well. Children Of Tomorrow is a futuristic concept album. The music is pure melodic metal/AOR. It has a real epic feel. Stick Parry's voice in front a choir and you can't help but get a big sound.
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  • "Fifteen years doesn’t seem like that long ago, but at the time I was a 17 year-old who would soon be writing for Al Kikuras at the legendary Unchain the Underground and getting deep into the back end of all the great metal that was coming out of Europe. On the top of my list was my discovery of cheesy power metal. At the time I was swimming in Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, and Symphony X (not Eurometal, I know) records for the first time and really finding my footing. One day while surfing the Internet I stumbled upon a streaming radio station and heard a song called “Letter to Dana.” I was stunned. Shocked. Cheesed out. And totally in love.Within days I actually received the band’s sophomore release Silence from Al to review, but not before I went over to my local CD store and ordered Ecliptica. Upon receiving it, I turned into a total Sonata Arctica monster, singing along (loudly), and giggling every time Kakko missed a preposition (and oh, did he miss prepositions!). I took no end of joy/amusement from what I saw as the perfect driving music: the high-energy, breakneck speed; the lyrical hits-and-misses; and particularly the pop sensibility in metal packaging and the extremely fun music in a scene that I already knew took itself way too seriously.Ecliptica - RevisitedAnd Ecliptica is a record that’s hard to take too seriously even though it’s a total classic1. Iconic tracks like “FullMoon” with the epic “run away, run away, run away” in the chorus, or the lyrical prowess of “Letter to Dana” (“My eyes might have betrayed me, but I have seen your picture on the cover of a filthy magazine”). The extremely poppy “UnOpened” and expansive epic of “Destruction Preventer” also add to a feeling of a band who was making music that was fun to play and fun to listen to and about as far away from the melodramatic black and gothic metal of the day.Despite being silly or maybe a little wonky, it’s surprising to me how well Ecliptica holds up after all these years. While it certainly is the most obviously Stratovarius-influenced of the band’s material, songs like “Blank File” feel relevant in 2014 because of the NSA scandal. “UnOpened” still rocks the punch it once had, and “FullMoon” makes me giggle like an Angry Metal Schoolgirl and headbang simultaneously. “Letter to Dana” is the finest metal ballad ever written (not kidding) and still holds up 15 years later in spite of itself. And that’s all just listening to original release.Ecliptica Revisited, in my opinion, shows what a different band Sonata Arctica is today than they were in 1999. First, with only 2/5 of the original lineup remaining—Tony Kakko and human metronome drummer Tommy Portimo, for those scoring at home—the players on this record are up a notch from the original band. This isn’t to insult them, but it’s a truism: professional bands always replace original members with guys who play better. This, in combination with 15 years of songwriting and arranging experience, means that Ecliptica Revisited drops new and interesting arrangements that in retrospect are straight and, frankly, kind of stale.Sonata ArcticaIn fact, unlike Manowar‘s recent re-interpretations of their records, Sonata Arctica‘s reinterpretations of their original material introduce quite a bit more variation into the game—and improvements. Vocal tracks have been layered, re-arranged and improved, while guitar solos hop out of the mix in ways that they never did on the original. The band uses dynamics and speed in a way that makes the record far less uniform. Particularly the plodding “My Land” and “Replica” both were given facelifts that make them more entertaining listens. Another interesting point is that in comparing them, I noticed they dropped the whole record a step to accommodate a more realistic range for Mr. Kakko, who certainly made the (common) amateur mistake of topping his lungs out in the studio on the first record. Like many before him, he discovered that vocal range in the studio and vocal range on the road are two very, very different things—and Revisited gives him the chance to update this mistake, while downtuning makes the record just a little darker.Still, one wonders how it came to be that Sonata Arctica decided to revisit a record that members largely have distanced themselves from in recent years. Even while they tried to plant an old school flag with Pariah’s Child, they have frequently made comments of being bored with this material since around Unia. But instead of watching the date come and go, they walked into a studio, re-learned the songs and gave them at least one take. While I’m certainly grateful for this—it sure has re-sparked my love of Ecliptica—it does strike me as out of character. Another curiosity is that after all this time, the band did not bother to correct any of the grammatical errors. Really guys? Missing prepositions aren’t any more holy than a song’s uniform time or key signature…Regardless of motive, though, I actually suggest that fans of Sonata Arctica give this a listen and give a thumbs up to the band for doing this. If you have loved this band as long as I have, there’s a definite comfort of slipping back into the old material—but it’s also nice to hear the band play it in ways that speak to great maturity as musicians. It doesn’t make the old one outdated—shit, it’s a DR6 vs. Ecliptica 1999’s DR7 rating—and it doesn’t reek of the lightning-in-a-bottle-excitement that debut records from up-and-coming bands often have, but unless Tony’s vocal performance annoys you, you’ll have trouble arguing with how good Ecliptica Revisited (still) sounds. And the changes actually make it a—surprise—great or even better (or at least different and very enjoyable) listen." - Angry Metal Guy blog
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  • Fireballet's much maligned second album Two, Too finally receives an authorized release.  Much of the criticism of the 1976 album stems from the awful cover art.  Its definitely something those guys wish they could take back and in a sense they did since they used something different for this CD.  All the prog rock elements of the first album are still in place but the tunes are a little bit shorter and the production is definitely slicker.  Its also clear that Yes became a big influence on the band - check out "It's About Time".  Frankly if you listen to the album objectively it has a lot of merits.  Does it stand up to their first?  No...but it definitely offers something solid for prog fans with open ears.  Definitely worth revisiting.  Comes with one previously unreleased bonus track.
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  • "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
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  • Great debut from this new Italian quintet.  Pure retro prog that channels the spirit of early 70s British prog.  The band's sound is dominated by organ and heavily spiced up with guitar and flute leads.  Hugh Banton or Tony Banks' roadie must have helped set up Paolo Tognazzi's organ because it seems like its ripped right out of 1971.  Vocals are in English and while Andrea Calzoni's accent creeps in now and then he aquits himself quite well - he's got a bit of an Ian Anderson thing going on.  Nice long instrumental breaks with keys playing off the flute and guitar.  Definitely a VDGG - Osanna - PFM - Orme vibe, but keep in mind the early versions of these bands.  1971 vs 1975.  This is the good stuff.  The REALLY good stuff.The LP version comes with a gorgeous gimmix die cut gatefold cover.  I've been in this crazy business for almost 25 years (2013 is year 25).  The Italian labels always come up with the best and most innovative packaging.  They seem to cherish the way things used to be done - when album artwork was more than just something to hold the disc.  They treat the cover like a piece of artwork and ultimately the collector is rewarded with pride of ownership.
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  • Domestic pressing of the second album from this superb Polish prog band. While their first album tended to veer more towards the metal side, Metafiction is a bit lighter - but only in overall sound, not thematically. There are plenty of heavy moments but lets call it heavy progressive rock as opposed to metal. Whereas Riverside initially drew heavily from bands like Porcupine Tree, Opeth, and Anathema they ultimately found their own voice. Votum find themselves at the same crossroads. These bands are all similar influences emphasizing atmosphere and mood. Melancholy prevails - this is not an upbeat sounding album. The heavy parts may seem heavier because the quiet parts...are well...they are quieter! This adds to the dynamics of the album and overall it draws you right in to an inxoticating dreamscape. Easily one of 2009's best albums. Lets hope with a US release they are able to find an audience here. Highest recommendation.
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  • "The telling strikes of new power metal have been falling left and right this most righteous of autumns, and the Frenchmen of Operadyse have seen fit to lend their sword arm to the collective effort to bury us listeners utterly in a mountain of releases. The band’s debut release, Pandemonium, is a symphonic power metal affair that draws upon the considerable vocal talents of Frank Garcia (better known as the erstwhile frontman of Spheric Universe Experience), and boy do I ever like him in this setting!Drawing to mind similar recent projects like Fogalord and perhaps Galderia, I find Operadyse outstanding for its sheer buoyancy. This is not, as some may say, “yet another Rhapsody clone”. Please. If that statement were true of half the bands accused of it, we’d be dwelling in a cesspool of artistic stagnancy – and that is hardly the case. Pandemonium, the album’s title, should be interpreted in the most jubilant, energetic way possible. Often a generally uplifting, almost martial power metal beat (“Unfold Legend”), Operadyse nevertheless varies its formula more than you might think, featuring variety in the mystique of “Fairies Secret Garden”, a sudden black metal lapse in “Keeper Of The Flame”, and the absurdly joyful strains of “Nevermore”.A large part of what makes this work outstanding is its bombast. String samples, synth brass, rich choirs, lots of tom rolls from the drum kit, extremely good supporting female vocal work, and even some timpani and big crash cymbals in the background – Operadyse pulls out all the stops to make this as big and as ambitious a project as possible. While that’s true, this isn’t as ludicrously over-the-top as a band like Pathfinder. As explosive as the aural pyrotechnics are on Pandemonium, there’s also a noticeable sense of restraint. This tendency is best manifested in the sweeping breaks that take place in the music from time to time. Mark my words – wherever Pathfinder would insert a shriek or spin up a brazen guitar solo, Operadyse is more than happy to draw back, lay off the guitars and vocals, throw in some deep brass, and let the scale of the compositions grow. As a result, we have a pronounced “peaks and valleys” feeling with this album – but I’m not addressing the quality of the music, which is universally good to great – but rather the dynamic and textural sensations. Further emphasizing this behavior is the tonality – so much of this album abounds in uplifting major key revelry that when anything discordant arises, it is very pronounced, and consequently that much more powerful.There are only a couple of very minor drawbacks to this otherwise very impressive album. The first is my sometimes back-and-forth relationship with Garcia – a singer who wasn’t remotely on my roadmap prior to this album. He has the typical French slur that affects his enunciation with much of the lyricism, and I feel that his softer vocals leave something to be desired. On the other hand, when he ratchets up to the high register and gives his voice a bit of a bite, he reminds me of Bill Makatowicz of Illusion Suite – which is a rather flattering comparison in my book. Secondly and finally, in terms of real criticism, and I’ll put this simply: I want more guitar. For all my talk of comparing this to Pathfinder and praising its subtlety, I miss some of the bright and flashy guitar work that that album featured. Operadyse definitely does not excel at “heavy” metal.Pandemonium is, however, a symphonic power metal lover’s blissful release, and a joy for anyone that craves the inspiring, feel-good brand of power metal that genre stalwarts Freedom Call and Power Quest once emphasized. This will get dismissed by those who don’t like “flower metal”, but the devil take them – this is exciting and not insubstantial material. Just one more banger on the books for 2013 to you and I, perhaps, but this album is an auspicious beginning to a career for Operadyse." - Black Wind Metal
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  • Get yer puffy shirts on matey! Alestorm are a Scottish power metal band who play "pirate metal", the likes that you haven't heard since the glory days of Running Wild. This is the limited edition that comes with a bonus DVD (PAL Region 0) of the band's performance at the Wacken Festival in 2008.
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