Presto (SACD)

SKU: AFZ182
Label:
Audio Fidelity
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Numbered limited edition hybrid SACD of this late 80s Rush title.  The key here is in the mastering.  Kevin Gray is at the controls and he does a consistently great job.  I would expect this to be the definitive digital edition.

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  • Raise The Curtain is the latest effort from the former Savatage mastermind.  Its quite different from the Jon Oliva's Pain project and in a surprising way.  The music has a strong 70s vibe blending elements of progressive rock, AOR, and metal.  Oliva plays all the instruments but he collaborated on the songwriting with Dan Fasciano.  From the opening roaring organ sounds you know you are in for something a bit different.  You can tell this is Jon Oliva - there are parts that will remind you a bit of Savatage but you will also think in terms of Kansas, ELP, Alice Cooper.  A mash up of styles for sure but quite well done.  A friend who heard an advance copy summed it up perfectly: "A fun album".  This is the first pressing that has one bonus track.  Grab it while we got 'em.
    $15.00
  • This release is part of the "Deep Jazz Reality" series that explores obscure jazz titles.  Often the music touches on modal, spiritual, and even psychedelic jazz.  While Japanese artists are often featured, the series is a bit wide open, touching on musicians from all over the globe.  These CD reissues are limited releases in mini-lp sleeves and often go out of print, at which point they sell for ridiculous prices.Toshiaki Yokota is a legendary jazz flautist in Japan that is apparently still going strong.  He was involved in four 1970 albums, three of which he was the leader.  All of his early albums sell in the "if you have to ask you can't afford it" range.  While Exciting Flute is the most conventional of them all it still has quite a bit of charm.  Its a fully plugged in set, in which his Beat Generation ensemble run through their interpretations of the current pop hits of the day - with Yokota's flute work at the fore.  Its all a bit campy now, listening to beat psych/big band interpretations of "Venus", and "Born To Be Wild" but still fun.
    $30.00
  • This was originally released in 2004 and has been out of print for some time.  The band has just reissued it but with the inclusion of a newly recorded 10 minute work "The Day The Earth Stood Still".Here is what I wrote many years ago..."Superb debut release from this Massachusetts based prog rock band. Eccentric Orbit is an instrumental quartet with an odd lineup - bass, drums, keyboards and wind-controlled synths. The band is led by bassist Bill Noland and features Mark Cella (M&M Music) on drums.The music of Eccentric Orbit sounds like a long lost album from the 70s. A heavy debt is paid to King Crimson and ELP. Think Red crossed with Tarkus! Mellotrons (real not samples), organ and blazing synth runs got me booging all over Casa Laser's Edge. I haven't heard much good old fashioned prog rock lately - this one has hit me hard. Will easily be a top 10 year end candidate for me. Man o' man this disc has me grinning from ear to ear.  Essential. "
    $12.00
  • A couple of years ago I scored some of these in a warehouse find and they blew out of here immediately.  Some more turned up but how long they will last is anyone's guess.Dadawa is the stage name of Chinese singer Zhu Zheqin.  Think of her as China's answer to Enya.  No Celtic influences here - its purely Asian.  She collaborated with producer/composer He Xuntian on Sister Drum (and later titles) and he knows what he's doing.  The music builds and builds and draws you in.  Her voice is purely hypnotic.  The production is such that it unfolds in layers and layers - of vocals and instrumentation.I have to make a point of discussing the audio aspects of this set.  Its simply unbelievable.  While compatible with standard Redbook CD, the dynamics on this album are utterly insance.  If you crank this one up you are in danger of smoking your woofers - the bottom end on this recording is cavernous but tight as can be.  This is an XRCD24 disc.  It is a special pressing utilizing JVC's proprietary mastering process.  You want to be a show off?  This is the disc to play.  A total lease breaker and gorgeous music to boot.  BUY OR DIE!
    $12.00
  • Originally known as Spriguns Of Tolgus, the band led by the husband and wife team of Mike and Mandy Morton got signed to Decca and became simply known as Spriguns.  The band's stock in trade is traditional British folk very similar to Steeleye Span.  Violinist Tom Ling plugs in adding a bit of a rock feel.  
    $17.00
  • "After witnessing Swedish Heavy Metal quartet WOLF pull of a spectacular set whilst supporting EVILE at a local show in 2012 I have not looked back since. They are back and they mean business with their latest album “Devil Seed”, to say it’s loud is an understatement.WOLF proudly describe their music as “Real Metal For True Bastards” and in the couple of years I have been listening to these Swedish Metal heads I can wholeheartedly agree with this statement.“Overture In C Shark” and “Shark Attack” provides the listener with a very explosive opening to show us that the boys in WOLF are back and here to stay. The gloriously recognisable vocals provided by Niklas Stålvind only gives the listener more reassurance that it’s a triumphant return for WOLF.It’s very refreshing that WOLF deliver us that same Old School Heavy Metal sound; as I listen to “Devil Seed” I would say you are taken back to the days of IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and SAXON. A real treat for Heavy Metal fans whatever walk of life you come from.This record encompassed many great attributes including boundless guitar riffs and solos, mighty vocal work, miraculous melodies and crashing drums; exactly what you would expect from a Heavy Metal band. The tracks that I think demonstrate this exquisitely are “Surgeons Of Lobotomy”, “I Am Pain” and “River Everlost”. The melodies on these particular tracks stood out the most in my opinion. I also really enjoyed the iconic guitar riffs and solos on the track “River Everlost” so thank you Simon Johansson and Niklas Stålvind for those.The anthemic “Killing Floor” allows you one last chance for some killer Heavy Metal before drawing the album to a close.So overall a truly marvelous epidemic of Heavy Metal from WOLF in the form of “Devil Seed”, it’s a real treat for fans of the genre and the band." - Metal Temple
    $11.00
  • Limited edition boxed set, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic King Crimson album Larks' Tongues in Aspic: 13CDs, 1DVD-A, 1Blu-Ray in 12” box with booklet and memorabilia. DVD-A featuring 5.1 new surround mix, original and new stereo mixes in hi-res stereo, a full album of alt mixes by Steven Wilson and more than 30 minutes of unseen footage of the band live in the studio. Blu-Ray content as per DVD-A with further hi-res stereo material – all presented in DTS Master audio, 4CDs of studio content including CD of session reels featuring the first recorded takes of all pieces on the album, 1CD live in the studio, 8CDs of live audio restored bootlegs and soundboard recordings plus a 36 page booklet with an extensive new interview with Robert Fripp, notes by King Crimson biographer Sid Smith, album sleeve print, concert ticket replica (with code for further concert download) and band photo postcards.
    $149.00
  • First new studio album since 1999's Darktown demonstrates a masterful musican firmly in control. Steve has continued to evolve as an progressive artist with only a modest look backwards. At times subdued there are plenty of guitar pyrotechnics and keyboard embellishments to remind you of his earlier solo works. Recorded with his recent touring band, notable guests include Ian McDonald and brother John Hackett.
    $13.00
  • "Esteemed international metal label Season of Mist began pursuing the two-guitar, three-singer Vancouver quartet Anciients after hearing a series of early mixes for what would become the band’s debut album. It’s easy to imagine what initially lured the diverse label to the band: The tracks on Anciients' nine-song entrance, Heart of Oak, are hyperkinetic but heavily anchored. They surround the hooks you might expect from a Baroness anthem with tangential and technical playing that trends toward prog rock but stops short of Opeth or Enslaved’s maze of redirections. Anciients excel at muscular and agile guitar solos, while the guitarists, Kenny Cook and Chris Dyck, also volley the vocal duties, jumping from death metal bellow to pop-metal lift. It’s exciting stuff, really-- often complicated without seeming excessive, skillful but soulful, approachable but not pedestrian. At its best, Heart of Oak is immediate and electrifying, an album that suggests Anciients’ half-prog, half-pop metal is bound for big stages.By this point, though, you’ve probably wondered what’s up with the band’s name: Why, after all, add an extraneous vowel to a perfectly good handle? That excess is emblematic of Anciients' chief musical foible-- time and again, they add unnecessary sidecars to songs that would have been more effective left alone. Of these nine tracks, only one doesn’t break the six-minute mark. The exception is a tender but predictable instrumental, a mid-album interlude meant as a tribute to some late friends and family members. But the rest of these things are hyperbolic monsters that speak to a rookie act attempting to get through all of their influences at once, even though three of the members have been playing together in other groups for a decade. They are trying to make a very big point all the time, and the weight collapses in on itself. “The Longest River”, a nine-minute cut with a woefully apropos handle, swivels from acoustic foreboding to contract-and-expand thrash, from distended solos to dense stomp, from sweet-singing verses to growled impasses. None of it’s bad, but none of it is astounding enough to pardon the way it obviates an excellent refrain.That’s a consistent problem for Heart of Oak, a record that adulterates many incredibly exciting moments with consistent excess. “Flood and Fire”, a late-album highlight, seems more like a string of song pieces than a proper song, with a righteous solo swiping momentum from a great chorus that, in turn, stymies several great and grim hardcore shout-alongs. As Cook told Metal Underground, album opener “Raise the Sun” initially keys on Fleet Foxes before leaping into a verse so sticky and warm that ASG or Torche might like to have it back. Elsewhere, the song convincingly invokes metalcore and psychedelic rock, hangman riffs and fleeting blast beats. The parts are exhilarating, but strung together with more enthusiasm than wisdom so they’re mostly exhausting. Taken a track or two at a time, Heart of Oak is manageable; make it from end to end, though, and it’s difficult not to feel frustrated by the fatigue.These complaints aren’t meant as some preclusive warning against Heart of Oak; rather, they’re only an honest assessment of a band that, in years to come, is probably going to be great. If Anciients choose to venture further deeper into labyrinthine prog, they’ve got the riffs and rhythms to make it compelling over the long haul. They seem as steeped in the suffocation of black metal from Scandinavia as they do in the sweetness of Allman licks from Georgia, as capable of thrash sprints as they are stoner lulls. And as the pealing organ and rumbling field recordings of the gorgeous (but, again, incredibly excessive) closer “For Lisa” suggest, they bring a wide-eyed approach to their music. Heart of Oak doesn’t have a compelling, cohesive narrative thrust, but there’s always time to buy a book of folklore, right?Alternately, Anciients could choose the route of bands such as Baroness or even Mastodon, embedding that sharp technicality within songs that make their points with concision that doesn’t forsake intricacy. The kernels of these songs are strong enough to suggest that they’re not very far off-- that is, their biggest problem as a band isn’t a dearth of ideas but, rather, discretion with those ideas. Anciients are exciting new prospects, with or without that cumbersome vowel chaiin." - Pitchfork
    $13.00
  • This is the second album from Serge Bringolf's Strave ensemble.  This large scale ensemble has a mash up of influences.  The Magma imprint is all over the place but if you were to call Strave a jazz or fusion ensemble you wouldn't be wrong.  The album features some blistering guitar work from Alain Eckert - he tears it up.  A fierce rhythmic intensity is present through out.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Second album of collaboration between vocalists Jorne Lande and Russell Allen. Once again the album is fueled by the writing and guitar playing of ex-Last Tribe guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Last Tribe - was that a band that was overlooked or what?). I thought the writing on this one was better than the debut - it sounded more integrated and less forced. It was also tipped more towards the metal end of the spectrum. Great vocal performances goes without saying - recommended for that alone.
    $15.00
  • Riverside's latest takes a bit of a swerve from their traditional sound.  Parts of the album bears the imprint of Mariusz Duda's solo work - its more laid back, more refined.  Other aspects of the album carry on with the sound that Riverside has developed over recent albums - chunky organ, trippy keyboard soloing and interstellar guitarwork.  This one is a grower.  At first listen it might not hit you but the more you scrape away at it the more you realize its dug deeper under your skin."For the past decade or so, Polish progressive rock/metal quartet Riverside set itself apart from their stylstiic brethren by offering distinguishing tones, mesmerizing atmospheres, and most importantly, remarkable songwriting. Sure, the band also infuses much of its music with the intricacy genre enthusiasts expect, but their melancholic, yet beautiful and earnest melodies and lyrics (credited mostly to singer/songwriter/bassist Mariusz Duda) have always come first. Perhaps nowhere in its discography is this more apparent than on their newest opus, Love, Fear and the Time Machine.Although it features a few complex arrangements, the record is by far Riverside’s most straightforward and accessible collection to date, showcasing a proclivity for upfront compositions like never before. While this may disappoint fans who adore the group’s more tangential, frantic instrumentation, rest assured that the album’s stunning emotionality and breathtaking arrangements more than make up for it. Without a doubt, Love, Fear and the Time Machine features some of the most gorgeous, tragic, and ultimately inspiring pieces Riverside have ever recorded, making it another exceptional entry in an invaluable catalog.According to Duda, the effort is a return to the softer, more ambient nature of Riverside’s debut, 2004’s Out of Myself. In fact, the foursome intentionally composed it “to combine the ‘70s and the ‘80s…[the songs] have never been so concise and to the point before.” Because of this new approach, the disc actually evokes Duda’s other project, Lunatic Soul, in subtle but substantial ways at times. Like almost all of Riverside’s previous works, Love, Fear and the Time Machine is also a conceptual record; specifically, it “talk[s] about transformation. About making an important, perhaps life-changing decision everyone has to make at some point in their lives…on the one hand, we’re excited by the change…[but] on the other, we fear the unknown.” Ultimately, the lesson to be learned from it is that “if we sometimes get lost in life, it is to go through something and be found again on the other side, to be reborn as someone better and more valuable.”Fittingly, then, the sequence starts with “Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened by a Hat?)”, which is arguably its best track. Duda begins by reciting a philosophical recollection over a delicate ether of keyboards and bass and guitar notes. Afterward, he launches into a catchy and charming chorus: “Come follow me / We’ll go down / Where the river flows / One day / Just you and I will find a bridge / To another land”. Duda layers his voices too, making it even more gripping, and in-between his passages, guitarist Piotr Grudziński issues his signature soaring accompaniment as the composition evolves. Drummer Piotr Kozieradzki keeps things steady throughout, while keyboardist Michał Łapaj gets the spotlight during the final seconds. Ultimately, “Lost” exemplifies the magnificent succinctness that makes Love, Fear and the Time Machine distinctive in the Riverside canon.Later on, “#Addicted” truly feels like a progressive rock take on the Cure in several ways, such as its dominant bass lines, starry guitar lines, and wistful singing which finds Duda channeling a silky falsetto he’s never really attempted before. There’s also a brief acoustic guitar arpeggio at the end that’s very enjoyable. Lyrically, it serves as a commentary on how social media can transform people into egocentric users who base their self-worth on their digital populiarty. In this way, both its lyrics and music find Riverside stretching slightly beyond its comfort zone, but the result is undeniably, well, addictive.“Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire” feels more traditional, with Duda’s sorrowful confessions and counterpoints perfectly complemented by sharp guitar riffs, aching solos, enveloping percussion, and a moving layer of synthesized splendor. Honestly, it’s like a heartbreaking and somewhat more colorful missing track from Shine of New Generation Slaves, whereas “Saturate Me” contains the sleek yet eccentric tones and virtuosic yet blunt balance that made up the best moments on Rapid Eye Movement. Of course, its sad ponderings, such as “Am I Invisible? / Or alive? / I don’t want to feel like I’m no one anymore”, are archetypal Riverside sentiments, and the interlocking musical patterns (especially near the end) are equally touching.The most commercial segment on Love, Fear and the Time Machine is surely “Discard Your Fear”; however, despite that typically negative connotation, the song’s approachability doesn’t get in the way of its worth. Rather, it’s uplifting message and relatively simple and familiar construction could earn Riverside an entirely new camp of fans. It’s actually quite cathartic, as is the dreamy and tasteful “Toward the Blue Horizon”, which begins and ends as a luscious ode (with lovely piano chords) while transforming into a progressive metal workout in the middle.Both of the record’s final two pieces—“Time Travellers” and “Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)”—are wonderful. The former is an exquisite acoustic ballad about past possibilities and the unforeseen future. Its winding melodies and spaciousness are the standout features, as the rest of the band lets Duda’s voice lead the way, resulting in a simple but commanding experience. In contrast, the latter is more elaborate, impactful, and conclusive, with a strong sense of closure and acceptance, as the speaker realizes the importance of his or her experiences, uncertainties, and decisions. The music builds with great pacing, adding more beautiful layers as the chorus (“It’s a lovely life / You have gone so far / Don’t give it up / Oh, it’s a lovely life / Gotta go with what you think is right”) repeats with sleek harmonies. By the end, listeners are left in awe, reevaluating their own sense of purpose and optimism.Love, Fear and the Time Machine is likely the most polarizing record Riverside has made, as it could be considered both the band’s strongest and weakest full-length effort. Fans hoping for virtuosic jams and unexpected sounds won’t really find them here, while fans looking for more of Riverside’s token elegant instrumentation, affective melodies, and poetic, rich singing will be satisfied beyond measure. Either way, Love, Fear and the Time Machine definitely finds its creators reaching for new, if marginally different, heights, which is commendable in and of itself. Roughly ten years on, Riverside remains as special as ever, and Love, Fear and the Time Machine is, in several ways, its truest work of art." - Pop Matters
    $12.00
  • "On 'Possession', CRYSTAL VIPER decided to cross the borders of Traditional Heavy Metal, and while the fast and melodic songs bring references to such classic bands as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio or Jag Panzer, the epic and dark parts bring comparisons to acts such as Candlemass, Mercyful Fate or even Bathory. The album's artwork, made in a very classic and old school Heavy Metal style, has been painted by Michal Oracz, the famous Polish author of RPG and board games (incl. the world bestseller Neuroshima), and includes many impressive details which will be noticed by fans after listening to the album. Produced by Bart Gabriel (Sacred Steel, Sabaton, Burning Starr)."
    $15.00
  • "For his first solo release since 2009s House of Insanity, Trans Siberian Orchestra/Savatage guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Chris Caffery has enlisted the help of virtuoso drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne) and keyboard player/composer Lonnie Park to create Your Heaven is Real, a 13 song collection of blistering heavy metal that not only continues to display his stellar guitar chops but also his continued confident & improving vocal ability and strong songwriting skills. Your Heaven Is Real was recorded, mixed and produced by Caffery at Face The Music Studios in New York with additional recording done by Lonnie Park at Ultimate Sound in Groton, NY and Brian Tichy's Big Timers Studio in Canyon Country, CA. Instantly memorable and catchy, Your Heaven is Real is immediately more appealing and accessible than its predecessor, filled with some of his heaviest as well as most commercial sounding material to date.The opening title track, a tale of a very true frightening situation experienced by the guitarist, kicks in with sledgehammer riffs and snarling vocals, a true headbanger's delight and easily one of the must hear songs on the album. "Arm And a Leg" is another dark, menacing slice of heavy metal, complete with Caffery's venomous 'Jon Oliva-meets-Alice Cooper-meets-Sebastian Bach' vocal delivery, which is then followed up by the instantly catchy, hook laden metal anthem "Just Fine", one of the most upbeat, fun songs he's ever recorded, complete with a killer chorus and great guitar solo. Things take a turn for the poignant & melancholy on the Savatage sounding "Why", a fabulous song with a great lyrical message and emotional vocals (some of Chris' best ever) to go along with many guitar and keyboard textures. Without a doubt it's another highlight of Your Heaven is Real, and pushes past the 7-minute length as the one of the albums two epics. "Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don't" is an upbeat schizoid heavy metal gem, complete with complex riffs and some futuristic, almost prog-rock styled synths, while the blazing instrumental "Hot Wheelz" (dedicated to a special someone perhaps?) is chock full of manic drumming from Tichy and plenty of Caffery's blazing guitar licks. "I Never Knew" is more of an atmospheric rocker thick with keyboards and layers of lush guitar work, providing the framework for Caffery to inject some heartfelt, hook laden vocal passages. It's a nice change of pace, and I'd love to hear more in this style from him.The back end of the CD is equally as strong, kicking off with the energetic riff monger "Sick and Tired", and continuing on with the mid paced, grinding "Death By Design", a doom laden piece that will instantly appeal to fans of vintage Savatage as well as Black Sabbath. After the brief but lovely guitar instrumental "2-26-15", Caffery unleashes "Too Soon To Be Too Late", a rampaging, addicting example of metal guitar firepower packed with catchy vocal hooks and irresistible melodies. This is one of those songs that if it existed in 1987 would have been a huge hit with teenage hard rock & heavy metal fans. The second of Your Heaven is Real's lengthy songs is "Over and Over", an emotional ballad that slowly builds to a powerful climax, again showcasing Caffery's confident vocals and featuring a sizzling guitar solo. This leads to the gorgeous "Come Home", a short keyboard/guitar/vocal piece that takes the album out on a tranquil note, again displaying the huge amount of variety that Caffery has included on this fine new release.I've been saying for years that Chris Caffery has yet to top his best solo release, which was his first in Faces, but I think, now a decade later, he's finally done it with Your Heaven is Real. Well rounded and showing off much of what makes Chris Caffery 'click', Your Heaven is Real permeates with positive energy, power, and majesty, obviously a very personal album for the artist but ultimately his most revealing. Well done." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00