A Pleasant Shade of Gray (CD/DVD)

New German edition of APSOG arrives at a budget price plus a bonus live DVD (PAL Region 0) of APSOG performed live.

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  • German edition (with Taiwanese OBI) of the band's latest album. Supreme symphonic gothic metal.
    $13.00
  • Embossed limited edition box set comes with:Special Edition of the album1x vinyl size picture book, 60-pages1x t-shirt1x two-sided poster1x photo collage poster1x download code for "Into The Sun", "Deliverance (Instrumental)" & "Medusa (Tarja Solo Version)""Imagine this - you're thrust into the metal world and, as a classical singer, it's pretty alien. But you do your job, sing your songs and the money comes in. And your name gets bigger. And the band become enormous and before you know it - you're literally singing for your supper. Your ultimate passion becomes your job. But is the world of metal really a place for a classical singer? Many thought that, once ousted by Nightwish, Tarja Turunen would soon return to her classical roots. Not quite. She began producing symphonic tinged material that, dare we say it, took the same path as the band that brought her success.The cynics are always going to be around, and I admit, I had the tendency to be one of them - Tarja is clearly only sticking with the guitars because it pays the bills, right? If it was up to her, she'd be singing 'Ave Maria' until the cows came home, right? Some of you stubborn lot will never shift from that point of view, no matter how many metal albums she releases, but it has become clearer than ever whilst listening to 'Colours In The Dark', that Tarja has found the beauty of orchestral metal just as captivating as Nightwish fans and her conviction is growing ever more powerful - if you don't believe it, check out the Romanticide-styled outro of 'Never Enough'. There's plenty more headbangs left in those raven locks - know that!'Victim Of Ritual' highlights the way Tarja commands a song vocally and suits it's position as opening track. The rolling 'R' in the title refrain and the silence she will inevitably conjure during live renditions of the accapella bridge stand to prove why she is such a beloved vocalist. Musically, the track deals in 'Phantom Agony'-era Epica, orchestra-lite and guitar heavy. It also has the most addictive refrains on the album, so it's position as single is proven correct. Likewise 'Never Enough' is instantly enjoyable - the chorus still sounds as vibrant and exciting as when it premiered. The real standout, surprisingly, is the Peter Gabriel cover though. 'Darkness' is not half as pop-ready as her take on 'Poison' and much more Tarja-friendly than 'Still Of The Night' - it shows just how successfully she can transform a cover and make it into her own. The thick strings and swooping instrumental wrap around her versatile vocals as Tarja switches between sinister and emotional at the drop of a hat.It can be a little taboo to mention the language problems, but the purity in which Tarja approaches her English lyrics is both a positive and a negative. Whilst there are the odd cringe-worthy blips throughout ('A conquest of fear, lonesomeness and dislike'), there is a richness to the lyrics of songs like '500 Letters' that simply tell a story, without killing it with too many pretence-laden metaphors. Tarja's infamous pronunciation also serves in her favour on the record - as minor as it may seem, her slightly peculiar delivery brings an unfamiliar flavour to the songs and possesses the ability to coat any banal lyrics with seductive and intriguing overtones just with a twist of a syllable.The record does have plenty of moments to excite you, as I mentioned, but it's not an entirely smooth ride. Too often, the songs feel a little lengthier than they should. I noted in my review of 'Never Enough' that the closing guitar riff went on for too long and a lot of the songs have a similiar fate. None of the tracks are skippable and every single one has it's merits, but it feels as if their strengths may be washed aside by a niggling thought in the back of your head, pondering whether you can bother to venture into a seven minute song for three minutes of beauty. 'Lucid Dreamer' is one such track that would have benefited from a little chopping. 'Mystique Voyage', too, could have seen a shorter track length further highlight the triumphant classical influence on the chorus.Though I exaggerate her operatic past, Tarja has spent most of her vocalist talent and career amongst metal music and it has really shown. What is both frustrating and rewarding, though, is that she is learning as much as the fans are. The music she has produced so far has been on a huge upward curve. The saccharine tendencies of 'My Winter Storm' pale in comparison to 'What Lies Beneath' and it's fantastic manipulation of orchestra, ambiance and metal. 'Colours In The Dark' comes as the next step up - slightly better than it's predecessor but, and this is where the frustration might set in, not quite as brilliant as you predict the next release will be. Editing the tracks a little more and emphasizing the true moments of beauty that linger within the songs is the next mission for team Tarja to take on.Watching an artist grow into the music that gave her the career she has  is not something you see everyday and Tarja is truly and deeply passionate, something many musicians don't retain after many years of the same old record-and-touring routine. She has eager ears and versatile lungs that want to explore. They want to learn and they want to become better. Listen to that aforementioned discography and you'll see how much Tarja has grown and become a force to be reckoned with in metal. 'Colours In The Dark' is nowhere near perfect but it's another chapter in the increasingly refined career of a woman that is, quite rightly, sticking her middle finger up at those who have written her off much too soon." - The Sonic Reverie
    $45.00
  • Official vinyl reissue with the original gatefold sleeve. Third album from the seminal German ensemble is important for a number of reasons. First it was their initial album for the Brain label. Second it was the final album to feature the classic Neumeier, Trepte, and Genrich. The album consists of 4 long extended jams. By this time the band had become tighter and more focused but its still amazingly knarly psychedelic guitar jamz from the outer cosmos - occassionally injected with some of that oddball humor that was also an important part of the Guru Guru ethos - I guess it was the drugs. Important album - highest recommendation. FOREIGN CUSTOMERS PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR SHIPPING CHARGES TO MORE ACCURATELY REFLECT OUR COSTS.
    $29.00
  • "Equinox produced Styx's first single with A&M, the highly spirited "Lorelei," which found its way to number 27 on the charts. Although it was the only song to chart from Equinox, the album itself is a benchmark in the band's career since it includes an instrumental nature reminiscent of their early progressive years, yet hints toward a more commercial-sounding future in its lyrics. "Light Up" is a brilliant display of keyboard bubbliness, with De Young's vocals in full bloom, while "Lonely Child" and "Suite Madame Blue" show tighter songwriting and a slight drift toward radio amicability. Still harboring their synthesizer-led dramatics alongside Dennis De Young's exaggerated vocal approach, the material on Equinox was a firm precursor of what was to come . After Equinox, guitarist John Curulewski parted ways with the band, replaced by Tommy Shaw, who debuted on 1976's Crystal Ball album." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Following two highly successful tours with established Progressive metalists PAIN OF SALVATION and two years of exacting work, DARK SUNS have finished their third album "Grave Human Genuine.""Grave Human Genuine" – this unconventional title was chosen with care and purpose, as it represents the three characteristic elements of this work: "Grave" signifies darkness, the sinister force, and the inevitable fate. "Human" is synonymous with the music’s inherent soul-depth, while "Genuine" means "real" or "authentic" and hence refers to DARK SUNS’ uncompromising approach to music.But what about the music? DARK SUNS don’t merely pick up where the successful predecessor "Existence" (2005) left off, they present themselves as many-facetted as never before. A clear nod to Doom, complex polyrhythms, unusual and diverse instruments and, last but not least, drummer NIKO KNAPPE’s characteristic yearning vocals comprise the album’s cornerstones. The variety of sounds stretches from angular Metal riff attacks via atmospheric ambient soundscapes and Techno reminiscences to Avant-garde influences – despite this complexity, an accomplished musical mosaic of enormous expressiveness.Exciting nuances are created by the incomparable bass of Pain Of Salvation’s long-time member KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW, a friendly turn that resulted from the tours mentioned above, and DISILLUSION’s SCHMIDT’s guest vocals in "Flies In Amber."With "Grave Human Genuine," DARK SUNS have created a haunting album full of autonomy and instrumental class, self-consciously charting new musical territory. In this, the band from Leipzig embodies the essence of every true progressive band: compositional genius coupled with advancement. The dark suns radiate: gloomy, human and egregiously genuine.
    $6.00
  • Third album from Wobbler finds them with a new vocalist Andreas Prestmo (who is a bit of an improvement). The music is still retro-British 70s prog but its clear that the spectre of Yes presides over the album. The King Crimson and ELP tidbits that cropped up on Hinterland are for the most part gone. Instead think in terms of The Yes Album and Close To The Edge with perhaps a bit of Octopus and This Is Gracious! tossed in for fun. Beginning to end its a total blast. Highest recommendation!"Norway's kings of symphonic prog, Wobbler, arrogantly sidestep the whole debate of "prog" versus progressive. Since it's dubious whether rock has anywhere left to progress anyway, they have instead chosen simply to celebrate the rainbow-colored fireworks, the airy-fairy themes, the danger and the drama and the joy of pure music that made prog what it really was, and still can be: An exhilarating musical spectacle, a gladiator match of major chord crescendos and mini-moog glissandos.Wobbler's third album, Rites at Dawn, is a case in point. It's a no-holds-barred declaration of love to the progressive giants. It's all here - Lars Fredrik Frøislie's overblown arsenal of every analog synth known to man, played with Wakemanesque flair and Emersonian hubris. Andreas Prestmo's soaring vocals, delivering at times delicate, fragile melodies and at times joyous, triumphant multi-part harmonies that would make CSN proud. The vibrant, stinging guitar of Morten Eriksen, the - you guessed it - thundering Rickenbacker bass of Kristian Hultgren, and finally Martin Kneppen's drumming, which manages that neat and esoteric 70's trick of making even impossible time signatures swing and swagger.Rites at Dawn is a major step forward for Wobbler. As songwriters they have matured. Even though the music is as complex as ever, it flows and breathes in a whole new way, and the addition of Andreas' vocals adds a very human, and dare we say emotional, element to the songs. The album somehow pulls off being both challenging and adventurous, but at the same time accessible and downright infectious. Even though this is the kind of prog connoisseurs will stroke their beards appreciatively to, it is also prog their girlfriends will like. And you really can't ask for more than that."
    $16.00
  • 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.
    $3.00
  • Remastered edition with bonus tracks."In 1988, few heavy metal bands were comprised of all black members, and fewer had the talent or know-how to inject different musical forms into their hard rock sound (funk, punk, alternative, jazz, soul, rap) -- but N.Y.C.'s Living Colour proved to be an exception. Unlike nearly all of the era's metal bands, the group's music has held up over time, thanks to its originality and execution. Living Colour leader/guitarist Vernon Reid spent years honing his six-string chops, and was one of the most respected guitarists in New York's underground scene. He couldn't have done a better job selecting members for his new rock band -- singer Corey Glover, bassist Muzz Skillings, and drummer Will Calhoun -- as their now-classic debut, Vivid, proves. Though the album was released in mid-1988, it picked up steam slowly, exploding at the year's end with the hit single/MTV anthem "Cult of Personality," which merged an instantly recognizable Reid guitar riff and lyrics that explored the dark side of world leaders past and present (and remains LC's best-known song). The album was also incredibly consistent, as proven by the rocker "Middle Man" (which contains lyrics from a note penned by Glover, in which he pondered suicide), the funky, anti-racist "Funny Vibe," the touching "Open Letter (To a Landlord)," plus the Caribbean rock of "Glamour Boys." Add to it an inspired reading of Talking Heads' "Memories Can't Wait," the Zeppelin-esque "Desperate People," and two complex love songs ("I Want to Know" and "Broken Hearts"), and you have one of the finest hard rock albums of the '80s -- and for that matter, all time." - Allmusic Guide
    $7.00
  • "It is summer and it's hot in California. For the recording musician it means that air conditioners are causing problems and are generally too loud. So, the musician can either sit on their ass and do nothing or simply switch gears and record an album with sounds that are louder than the air conditioners. This is what Henning Pauly decided to do when he realized that moving on to his rock-opera "Babysteps" was not possible right now. He called up the singer of the new band of his bandmates from Chain, Transmission, in Germany and asked if he was available. Juan Roos immediately said yes to the project, but he only had a two week window and it was two weeks from that phone call. Henning loves deadlines and so he started writing to have the album written and recorded, minus vocals, within two weeks.Henning describes Juan's voice as a perfect blend between Geoff Tate and David Coverdale: "Juan can give you the high stuff, but he can also be really raspy and rocky...his voice just kicks you square in the nuts!"Because of the very limited time frame for the conception and production of "Credit where credit is due" Henning asked his proven writing team to join in when it comes to lyrics and melodies, so Matt Cash is on board again, as are Edward Heppenstall and Jason McSheehy. Several songs on the album loosely deal with the world of rockstars, scandals and getting credit for what one has done. No need, really, to point out here that everyone involved will get credit where credit is due.The music is loud, heavy and realism has been shoved behind production value on the list of priorities. Heavy Industrial Drum sounds are interspersed with acoustic sets. The banjo finds its way into metal again and sometimes you can draw clear parallels to the work of Trent Reznor and Marylin Manson. There's more to it than just that, but the production is clearly more modern than anything Henning is done so far.This CD was about having fun with music and production and it gives Henning a chance to be back in the studio and have fun doing what he loves the most...making music, not talking about it."
    $3.00
  • "A new interpretation of a classic RPI title! This is quite an undertaking, but it comes off in an outstanding way, giving new life to old friends. In contrast to so many reworkings of old pieces that I've heard in recent years, this one does not leave me only wishing to listen to the original. Rather, the new work stands well on its own, not only helping me listen to the original with new ears, but also bringing new insights and experience.In 1972, Latte e Miele released their debut, an incredibly ambitious work based on the Passion of St. Matthew, "Passio Secundum Mattheum." This is one of the seminal titles of 1970s RPI and has rightfully stood the test of time. The band would never equal this album, although the subsequent title, "Papillon", came close. After that the band broke up for a time, until drummer Alfio Vitanza reformed the band, with new members including bassist Massimo Gori. Their only album, "Aquile e Scoiattoli", has its moments but is inferior to the first two, and the band disbanded a few years later after moving toward more commercial music.In 2008 the band reformed, including all three original members (Vitanza and songwriter/keyboardist Oliviero Lacagnina, as well as guitarist Marcello Giancarlo Dellacasa) and Massimo Gori, bassist from the second generation of the band. The quartet released "Live Tasting", an excellent live album that portended of the good to come. Their time together also produced a wonderful new album, "Marco Polo: Sogni e Viaggi" in 2009.Over the years, Lacagnina never stopped composing his masterpiece, his "Passio". Now the quartet has recorded anew their masterpiece, adding those "new" compositions into the narrative. For example, "Il Pane e il Sangue dell'Alleanza" has been inserted right after "Ultima Cena", and "Il Rinnegamento di Pietro" and "Il Prezzo del Sangue" between "Il Pianto" and "Giuda". Also, the ending has been fleshed out significantly, with four new songs, and the final song, "Come un Ruscello che..." includes the final themes previously entitled "Il Dono della Vita". Also of note, a solo organ piece entitled "Toccata per organo" is placed just before "Calvario"--this is special, as it is an original take from 1972!The instrumentation is true to the spirit of the 1972 piece, although with an updated sound. Ditto the choir, which sometimes on the 1972 version is muted and thin--here the choir parts are strong, lush, and vibrant. The majority of the pieces that were rerecorded for this edition also maintain their compositional structure, although there are a few changes inserted (notably in "I Falsi Testimoni", the new version of "I Testimoni" parts 1 and 2). There is nothing that violates that spirit of the original work, though it is impossible to duplicate its wonderful innocence.Another unique feature of this album is the presence of several prominent figures from RPI providing the spoken Evangelist parts. These include Alvaro Fella (Jumbo), Lino Vairetti (Osanna), Silvana Aliotta (Circus 2000), Paolo Carelli (Pholas Dactylus), Aldo de Scalzi (Picchio dal Pozzo), Sophya Baccini, Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio delle Clessidre), Giorgio D'Adamo (New Trolls), Max Manfredi, Simonluca, and Paolo Griguolo (Picchio dal Pazzo). It's a nice touch that really rounds out the album.The CD comes in a jewel case with a lyric booklet. I'm told that the pending Japanese version will contain a newly recorded composition as a bonus track. But don't wait for that one--go out and grab this one. You won't be disappointed. Four plus stars (Gnosis 13/15).Edit: I can't stop listening to this! Though it's not quite as good as the original, it's very close. I'm bumping it up to Gnosis 14/15, which is five stars on PA." - ProgArchives
    $25.00
  • Peculiar but interesting band from Belgium. Oceans Of Sadness mix progressive, death and doom metal influences freely and even incorporate some 70s flavors as well. The music is a bit off-kilter in the same way that Pain Of Salvation used to be. Vocals are a mix of clean and coarse. The odd use of Hammond organ in places is a weird stylistic choice that just helps to set these guys apart from the norm. If you like your prog metal to the left of center check these guys out.
    $8.00
  • "Dancer and the Moon is Blackmore s Night 8th studio album. Despite Ritchie Blackmore s past as a guitar player in Deep Purple and Rainbow, he is now in another stage of his musical life, concentrating on modern Folk, Renaissance and Progressive Rock music. Besides Ritche s incredible talent as aguitar player, the other selling point for Blackmore s Night is vocalist Candice Night, the beautiful wife of Ritchie Blackmore who could be described as a younger, and folkier, version of Stevie Nicks."Deluxe digipak CD/DVD edition.  The DVD features a documentary as well as acoustic versions of 3 tunes that are on the album and one that is not.
    $19.00
  • No sophomore slump for this Austrian band. Stylistically it's still a bit of a balancing act between the power and prog side of metal with a definite leaning towards power. The symphonic element seems to have been amped up a bit lending comparisons to Kamelot and Sonata Arctica. Once again Georg Neuhauser's vocals are a standout (at least for my taste). He has a great way of communicating emotions elevating the music beyond the standard prog/power fare.
    $12.00
  • "Gäa was one of the more obscure German underground bands from the 70s.  They recorded one album for the Kerston label.  According to legend, after the album was released, many copies were destroyed due to poor sales.  Of course this has driven the price of an original copy into the stratosphere.The five piece had a sound a bit similar to early Eloy.  Lots of organ, some flute, but more importantly some of the most wicked Hendrix influenced leads you will hear.  Whip it all together with production that sounds like it was recorded in a massive echo chamber and you've got a winner.  A stone cold killer." - ProgArchives
    $18.00