Private Eyes ($5 Special)

SKU: CK34329
Label:
Columbia
Category:
Hard Rock
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"After the breakup of Deep Purple in 1976, guitarist Tommy Bolin wasted little time beginning work on his second solo album, Private Eyes. While it was more of a conventional rock album than its predecessor, Teaser (which served primarily as a showcase for his guitar skills and contained several jazz/rock instrumentals), it was not as potent. The performances aren't as inspired as those on Teaser or even those on Bolin's lone album with Deep Purple, Come Taste the Band, although there a few highlights could be found. The nine-minute rocker "Post Toastee" merges a long jam section with lyrics concerning the dangers of drug addiction, while "Shake the Devil" is similar stylistically. But Bolin wasn't simply a hard-rocker; he was extremely talented with other kinds of music: the quiet, acoustic-based compositions "Hello, Again" and "Gypsy Soul," and the heartbroken ballad "Sweet Burgundy." With his solo career starting to take shape (after the album's release, he opened for some of rock's biggest names: Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, Rush, ZZ Top, etc.), Bolin's life was tragically cut short at the end of the year due to a drug overdose in Miami, FL." - All Music Guide

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  • New 3 CD edition of the long out of print album from Glass Hammer.  Arguably their best effort, the band was never fully satisfied with the mix so they decided to remix and resequence the album.  Bob Katz handled the mastering to give the album the sound it ultimately deserved.PRODUCTION NOTES - FRED SCHENDELNotes On The Inconsolable Secret “Remixed” CollectionThe project that was ultimately known as The Inconsolable Secret was conceived as a grandiose undertaking from the outset. We knew we wanted to do a themed album and we had the idea to try and incorporate orchestral elements, but hopefully in a way that bands often didn't; that is, written and orchestrated by ourselves as just another palette in the band and not as something grafted onto the music by an outside arranger.But as the project wore on we soon realized that it was going to be even more daunting than we had envisioned.Finally, the double cd was released and went on to a warm reception from fans.As time went by and Steve and I realized a new perspective on The Inconsolable Secret, we were forced to admit that maybe the album didn't truly reflect what we had envisioned as we worked on it. One conscious decision we had made (largely at my insistence, if I recall) was to mix the album in a very raw, unprocessed way. I felt that approach would help give the album a classic vibe. Also, we carefully avoided a lot of overdubbing, especially of keyboards, in an attempt to give the album a live feel, and looked to the orchestration to add the extra fullness and color. That was fine as far as it went but again, in hindsight, we clearly realized that was not the only approach to the material and there might be considerable merit in pursuing a more typical approach - that is, to make the production as big as the concept.It was probably as early as 2008 I first began to tinker with remixing parts of the album. It started with the drums. Our approach to the mix originally was basically to push the faders up and, there you go! Natural. When I revisited the drum tracks, there was frankly only so much that could be done due to the way we had mic'd them in the first place. But I did what I could to punch them up in the manner we would for a more "modern" sounding recording.Phase two of the revisit was overdubs, whatever and however many we felt would sweeten the overall sound to our liking. I started with guitar. I had played guitar initially on A Maker Of Crowns and basically ran out of steam after that. I had my hands full at the time and felt the last thing I needed to do (on what we hoped to be our ultimate recorded statement) was to fumble around in the studio trying to be a guitar player. Walter Moore's time was limited and better utilized as a singer. So we didn't get any guitar from him on the project. We asked David Carter add his talents to the project. He did manage to record guitar on Long and Long Ago, then left abruptly to play golf! Fortunately, Steve and I decided we were liking the idea of a power trio; keys, bass and drums enhanced with orchestra. So, The Inconsolable Secret inevitably had very little guitar. I have since added acoustic guitar to almost every song. As the remake stretched out over the years we ultimately had several guitarists add electric here and there and they all did a stellar job.Next, I added all the little keyboard pads and subtle embellishments we had eschewed originally.We then turned our attention to the vocals. While most of the vocal tracks fit well with the music, we couldn't say that they all did. A couple pieces in particular had always been envisioned, in a perfect world, to feature more of an archetypal high clear tenor, shall we say. At this point we saw no reason to reign back our ambitions in any way, so we searched the Internet for someone who might fit the bill and subsequently contacted a very nice young man from California to see if he'd like to try. He did, and susequently sang three albums for us and joined Yes as well.The last few odds and ends involved unfinished business in the orchestral department. There were some solos intended for real instruments that we just never got a chance to do, most important among them being the solo flute in Having Caught A Glimpse. There were attempts originally to beef up the orchestral sound to what some call a "Hollywood" or "film score" style in terms of its size; using samples and keyboards that I thought I could address and improve. We also re-recorded some choral parts to reflect new arrangements that we had been performing live.In the meantime, The Inconsolable Secret had become the only album of ours ever to become unavailable, simply due to the huge cost of keeping it in print. This had the unintended consequence of raising its status to near-mythic in some quarters and we knew we had a great opportunity to reintroduce it with our new embellishments in an (ironically) even bigger and more expensive version.Any time an artist revisits a work there will be controversy, especially when that work was generally highly regarded in the first place. We are well aware that the new versions will be regarded as heresy in some circles and it was always our intention to make sure the album was included in its original form. We warrant that the two discs representing the original album here are identical to the old release in every regard, save for the deletion of the multimedia files that had been on Disc One. Nor is it our intent to present the new mixes as definitive, or necessarily the “correct” ones. They do however represent a move toward the album as we originally had conceived it in our minds from a sonic standpoint. Obviously, since not all the material is represented, to experience the album as a conceptual whole you must refer back to the original (although we welcome you to assemble your own version from the two provided if you are so inclined). We realize that with the changes come some losses - the openness and simplicity of the original sound has been traded for a denser, fuller feel and we respect those who consider that a bad tradeoff. As for us though, we feel the effort to revisit this material was well worth it, and invite you all to enjoy both what was, and what is. In the end we hope that the music itself wins out over all the technical considerations.
    $25.00
  • "It’s only been a year since Norwegian super-vocalist Jorn Lande’s last studio album (2012’s Bring Heavy Rock to the Land), but we’ve already seen a symphonic re-recordings album (Symphonic) and now a brand new studio offering. The album, Jorn’s tenth solo album (assuming the Dio covers album counts), is called Traveller, and it’s the first to feature Wig Wam’s Trond Holter on lead guitar.Bring Heavy Rock to the Land was, to be frank, uninspired, so it’s something of a surprise to find Jorn back for another round this soon. Perhaps his new collaboration with Holter has recharged his creative batteries. Traveller does sound a bit more exciting than Bring Heavy Rock to the Land. To be sure, it’s still your basic Jorn album, sounding much like something the late Ronnie James Dio might have written for David Coverdale to sing. Still, Jorn’s incredible vocals make the whole thing completely enjoyable, even if it’s not remotely original.Traveller has a very satisfying crunch to it. It’s not so heavy the melodies are overwhelmed, but it has some metal power the way your average Pretty Maids or Masterplan album does. You hear it especially on the one-two punch of “Legend Man” and “Carry the Black,” but songs like “Overload” and the title track also get the blood pumping. The only real dud here is the closing song “The Man Who Was King,” which is a heartfelt, but completely cheesy ode to Jorn’s hero Ronnie James Dio. His heart’s in the right place, but he already had “A Song For Ronnie James” on the Dio album.There are no real surprises here. If you’re a Jorn fan, you pretty much know what to expect from Traveller. If you were less than thrilled with Bring Heavy Rock to the Land, Traveller will probably restore your faith in Jorn at least a little bit. It’s not the powerhouse album Spirit Black or Lonely Are the Brave were, but it’s still a rock solid melodic metal album from one of the best voices in the genre." - Hard Rock Haven
    $14.00
  • Remastered edition with 4 bonus tracks."Sepultura had shocked the death metal world in 1989 with the release of their third album, Beneath the Remains, whose seamless combination of songwriting chops and utter brutality quickly transformed the Brazilians from scene outsiders to one of its brightest hopes. The band toured nonstop in support of the album for most of the following two years, and was therefore pressured by both time constraints and enormous expectations when the bandmembers finally entered Tampa's Morrisound Studios with producer Scott Burns to record 1991's Arise. And though it ultimately lacked the consistency of its predecessor and added little innovation to the band's sound, Arise has aged surprisingly well, proving itself a worthy progression and surprisingly well-rounded in its own right. First single "Dead Embryonic Cells" was unquestionably the strongest of the band's death metal era, and its accompanying video broke new ground thanks to ample MTV rotation. Ironically, the subsequent banning of the vicious title track's video (filled with apocalyptic religious imagery) by the cable network would generate even more publicity than Sepultura could have hoped for had it actually been aired. Other album highlights included such complex, multifaceted pieces as "Desperate Cry" (an all-around tour de force for lead guitarist Andreas Kisser) and "Altered State" (which combines a Tarzan-style intro with a grinding detuned main riff and even acoustic guitars), as well as more straightforward thrashers like "Infected Voice" and mid-paced chuggers like "Under Siege (Regnum Irae)." Simply devoid of filler material, this album remains a classic of the death metal genre." - Allmusic Guide
    $8.00
  • After their last performance at Nearfest Apocalypse, Anglagard's lineup went through a bit of an upheaval.  Luckily it didn't materially affect the band's sound.  Anglagard is still Anglagard.  Prog Pa Svenska is a 2CD set that documents the band's three day residence at Club Citta in Tokyo, Japan back in March 2013.  Material is drawn from all three studio albums.  The recording is beautiful and the performances are stellar.  What else do you need to know?  How about this review:"May 14th of this year will see the release of a new Änglagård live album: Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you’re anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård’s small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård’s last show prior to their 1994 breakup. While the liner-notes of Buried Alive reveal a band that was not 100% satisfied, 20 years later with the release of Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan, Änglagård is back and going strong with a new live recording that is rich in dynamic and deep in maturity, a performance that I am confident that they are proud to immortalize for their fans.Prog på Svenska represents the first of three consecutive nights that the masters of dark Swedish prog delivered at Club Città in Japan alongside The Crimson ProjeKCt (featuring the legendary Adrian Belew and Tony Levin). For me personally this is a special album that transports me back to when I witnessed their unbelievable performance only three weeks later at Baja Prog. Among a plethora of canonized acts at the festival (such as Hackett, New Trolls, and Three Friends), Änglagård’s remarkable performance showed that they stand in no one’s shadow. While there’s nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I’ve ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård’s next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn’t kill anyone, I’ll start right off with the new song: ”Introvertus Fugu Part 1.” Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it’s our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that “Introvertus” shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif,  and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. Johan and Linus continue pounding in the rhythm section before the eerie central motif returns to bring “Introvertus” towards its close with the full force of Anna and Linus’ dueling woodwinds, one hanging on the melody while the other produces chaotic squeals before withering off the melody in a very unsettling (but cool) way.After kicking it off with an exciting intro the band takes us back 20 years with “Hostsejd.” The rich dynamics, especially the meticulously controlled Mellotron swells, really shine on this one while some small differences in instrumentation (such as the sax on the first main melody instead of flute) really keep the piece fresh and exciting. Although I was craving the intro on the follow up track, “Längtans Klocka,” the supreme level of interplay between all instruments that starts off the piece is fantastic. Furthermore, the guitar/Mellotron duet at about 6:30 that leads into a memorable theme is quite the highlight. Finally, the circus-y melody towards the end of the song somehow becomes even more diabolic in this slightly stripped down version as Tord’s demented waltzy riff serves as a perfect backdrop for the drunken saxes. Speaking of Tord, it certainly is nice to see him back in the band, and I must add that his guitar playing and sense of emotion is perfect for the band and has improved over the years. This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated on “Jordrök,” a quintessential song in Änglagård’s catalog. The reality of the matter is that despite the fact that the band was quite mature at the time of Hybris‘ release, their capacity to bring out all the nuances in pieces like this shows that they are musicians who have truly refined their craft over the years. “Jordrök” sounds more alive than ever; the Mellotron flute section in the middle, one of the band’s absolute trademark melodies, is to die for, and Linus’ superb use of phrasing and pacing in the piano intro certainly takes this classic piece up several notches.Moving deeper into the performance we see “Sorgmantel,” one of my personal favorites from Viljans Öga. The first thing I noticed about this particular performance is that the intro sounds much more raw due to differences in instrumentation, this version starting out with a guitar and bass call and response. While I absolutely adore the studio version, this new arrangement and performance was also wonderful and brought its own set of advantages to the table. First, the bass/guitar duet at the beginning really exposes the melody and shows you that its not just about fancy instrumentation, it’s a gorgeous melody through and through. Second, the band is not concerned in the least bit with rushing through the performance of this piece; the pacing is delicate, precise, and emotional with plenty of space for ritard and sway as the intro melody gets passed around from guitar to bass and flute and is then countered by the piano, making the fugue-nature of this piece even more evident. The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as “Sorgmantel” takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful… even breathtaking.To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with “Kung Bore” and “Sista Somrar.” Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of “Sista Somrar’s” slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.In my opinion, Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don’t want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there’s just something missing, or the band simply doesn’t offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of ‘had to have been there’ to get what’s so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård’s latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn’t a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård’s extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs." - Progulator
    $25.00
  • New remastered edition with a bonus second disc with 16 unreleased tracks."Death writes about life, but not as we know it. They profile the dregs of society: the malformed, the defective, the insane. Spiritual Healing opens with “Living Monstrosity”, a song about a baby “born without eyes, hands, and a half a brain” — the product of a coke-addled pregnancy. The band follows with the aptly-named abortion-themed “Altering the Future”. Frontman and chief songwriter Chuck Schuldiner debates both sides of the argument (“Creating a life only to destroy” v. “Abortion when it is needed”) before concluding pro-choice (“The one who is with child, it’s their choice to make”).This is thinking-man’s metal, and 1989’s Spiritual Healing, which is being reissued by Relapse Records, is Death’s most lyrically dominated album — a conceptual piece about the physically and mentally crippled. It’s as though Schuldiner based his words off medical journals, police reports, and Oliver Sacks novels: “Defensive Personalities” observes bi-polar schizophrenia; “Spiritual Healing” is about a pseudo-religious murderer; and “Low Life” rails against amoral bottom-dwellers who cheat to get by.Feeding off anger and neuroses, Death plays minimalist heavy metal at high speeds and with brutal strength. The thin production (accentuated by the reissue’s improved mastering) is purposefully bleak; it’s a platform for skull-pounding power chords, growled vocals, and tales of the intrinsically hopeless. It’s hard to enjoy this music; it’s so abrasive that it can only be felt and experienced. But in this way, it’s affecting. You will react to it.The three-disc deluxe edition includes outtakes and an audience-recorded live show. Neither is practical, but they do serve academic purposes, depicting how these songs came to be and what they sounded like live. Although the band’s earlier albums are lauded as the origins of death metal, Spiritual Healing saw Schuldiner’s intellectualism blossom into unadulterated aggression. Relapse gives it the comprehensive reissue that it deserves." - Consequence Of Sound
    $15.00
  • "Transformation is a very apt title for Canadian Prog veterans FM, for not only has their music transformed numerous times over the years, so has their line-up. Joining bassist/keyboard player Cameron Hawkins this time round is drummer Paul DeLong (Roger Hodgson/Kim Mitchell), violinist/mandolin player Edward Bernard, who has performed with Druckfarben and violinist (yes, there are two violinists here) Aaron Solomon. The recording group being completed by legendary Rush, Dream Theater, Fates Warning producer/engineer Terry Brown, who does an excellent job.So you'll gather then that the first proper FM album since 1987's Tonight still follows in its predecessors footsteps of placing violin front and centre. Yet while that may sound risky in today's often sanitised Prog world, Transformation sounds remarkably contemporary and, at the same time, true to this band's 70s roots. More beautiful than punchy, in places the songs on this album feel like Yes with copious amounts of violin strung over it, the air being light, melodic and captivating. DeLong is stunning throughout, his rare ability to be ridiculously busy and intricate, underpinned by a solidity which fixes everything in place. Nary a second goes by where the percussionist isn't whispering a ghost beat, paradiddling the toms to within an inch of their lives, or alternating between snare, hi-hat and cymbals at break neck speed. However, amazingly, he never interrupts the beautiful flow of the vocals provided by Hawkins, Solomon and Bernard; the trio causing another reason for celebration in the process. However no album was built on drums and voice alone, so the stunning, varied violin, viola and mandolin work which weaves and dances across Hawkins deep resonant bass and darting, lilting, pointed synth contributions, are as impressive as they are vital to the unbridled success of this album.There's a real depth of sound and arrangement across the nine tracks on show, the likes of "Tour Of Duty" a journey from fragile art through fractured beauty, into controlled frenzy. "The Love Bomb (Universal Love)" and "Brave New Worlds" contrast this approach excellently, a sparse framework thriving on roaming bass, while gentle string stabs allow the vocals to express the emotions of melancholic introspection, but overriding hope and belief displayed in every one of the songs on this album. And it's that uplifting feeling which really infuses Transformation with the power to captivate and control your attention from start to finish, whether through the harsher attack of the bristling "Re-Boot, Reawaken", unsettling pulse of "Children Of Eve", the almost jauntily optimistic "Safe And Sound" or idyllic "Heaven On Earth".Often when a band reappears from the past, as if by magic to reclaim their past glories, the results are safe and deflating. Transformation however falls far from that trap, instead announcing itself with a triumphant confidence which never fades once as its beauties unfold, and vitally it just gets better with each and every luscious visit to the land of hope and understanding it creates." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $17.00
  • Special edition arrives with a bonus DVD of the band performing material from Concrete Gardens filmed at EMGTV."Sound: Tony MacAlpine was one of the Shrapnel label guitarists of the '80s, and also played keyboards for the debut releases of Vinnie Moore and other Shrapnel artists. Tony's debut solo album, "Edge of Insanity," came iout in 1986 - the same year as his first side project, M.A.R.S., with release of the album "Project: Driver." Since that time Tony MacAlpine has released numerous solo albums, participated in collaborations, made live guest appearances, and even acted as part of Steve Vai's backing band. "Concrete Gardens" is Tony's twelfth solo studio album, and is entirely instrumental like the vast majority of Tony's solo work. The album has been in the works since 2013, but took a while to release due to Tony's numerous collaborations and other projects. Jeff Loomis provides a guest guitar solo on the album on the track, "Square Circles." The album contains 12 tracks with a total runtime of just under sixty minutes. The album differs from Tony's previous work by having more of a progressive metal flavor to it, while I think of most of his previous releases as just being straight instrumental rock.The album opens up with the track "Exhibitionist Blvd," with some seriously flanged guitar and a major key melody that builds into something a little different as the track goes on. There is a specific passage that shows the influence that Vai has had on MacAlpine, though I would rank them close to equal in the virtuoso racket. "The King's Rhapsody" opens up with a keyboard intro, played by Tony, of course. Heavy guitars come in and takes the song to a few unexpected places, and actually gets my foot tapping, too - which is an accomplishment for instrumental rock! "Man in a Metal Cage" has some interesting note choices, with some mildly middle-eastern sounds for a few brief moments in the track mixed in with some obligatory sweep tapping. Otherwise, there are several passages working to create several moments of extreme tension. There are a few arpeggiated parts that are reminiscent of some other song that I can't quite place. "Poison Cookies" has a weird jazz-fusion funk feeling going on with it that I definitely appreciated - if for nothing else it changed gears long enough to shake off any monotony I thought the album might be working towards."Epic" was both a more laid back song, but also was very cerebral - the keyboard and guitar parts built on each other in a weird/cool way. "Napoleon's Puppet" very briefly reminded me of some material written by Brendan Small for his album, "Galaktikon," but it had that rhythm part to it that definitely separated it by giving it some incredibly strong groove. "Sierra Morena" is played on piano/keyboard in the intro but guitar, bass and drums come in pretty quickly. The song is named after a mountain range in Spain with the same name. I can't quite connect the music as being descriptive of a mountain range unless they're being written about the context of flying over them. "Square Circles" has some moments in the track that remind me a little bit of King Crimson, though the sense of melody is still a tad more traditional. Jeff Loomis guests on this track for a guitar solo, and it is a fairly outstanding solo in the context of the song, having a good balance of being emotive and twisted."Red Giant" is a pretty intense track, with some more middle-eastern vibes going on, and one of the most engaging and vocal-like melodies from the album, to my ears. "Confessions of a Medieval Monument" definitely grabs a certain type of vibe from the opening, with a cool (but fairly simple) bassline running behind it. This is definitely one of those songs that creates a fertile atmosphere for a little mind movie to play along to it. The way the dynamics are used on this song, as well as the recurring melodic theme, make this easily one of the strongest tracks on the album. The title track, "Concrete Gardens," is interesting with a heavy rhythm guitar and a (initially) much cleaner lead part. Something about this track reminds me of Frank Zappa, which is absolutely a good thing. The album closes out with a song called "Maiden's Wish," which is played on keyboard/piano as a solo piece. It is a fairly light-hearted song to end the album with, and I enjoyed it. If you just listen for the crazy guitar, then you can stop short of "Maiden's Wish." // 8Lyrics: There are none. // 8Overall Impression: I have always been extremely impressed with Tony MacAlpine, and this album just reinforces my opinion. While he may not be quite at the technical/speed level of some other virtuoso guitarists, especially the whole Shrapnel bunch, he makes up for it in a strong sense of feel and musicality. I especially enjoy the melodies he uses as recurring themes in many of his songs. I highly recommend this album to anyone who's a fan of instrumental rock or metal. // 8" - Ultimate-Guitar.com
    $15.00
  • "A 5-track mini-album ‘little brother’ to the splendid Not The Weapon But The Hand, Arc Light features 4 new tracks and a new version of Intergalactic featuring Aziz Ibrahim (Stone Roses, Ian Brown) on guitar.Not The Weapon But The Hand was the 2012 debut album from the cult hero collaborative. It featured appearances from Danny Thompson on double bass, Chris Maitland (ex Porcupine Tree) on drums and Dave Gregory (XTC) on guitar, bass and string arrangementSteve Hogarth is best known as the frontman of Marillion, the progressive rock legends that he joined in 1989, following spells in The Europeans and How We Live. In addition to the 12 albums Marillion have released in this time he has also recorded and toured as a solo artist, under the name ‘h’.In recent years Richard Barbieri has been a core member of Porcupine Tree playing keyboards on all the band’s albums since 1993 as well as releasing two solo albums, Things Buried and Stranger Inside. Prior to this, it was in the new-wave pioneers Japan that he originally came to prominence, helping to create the ground-breaking synthesiser sound that defined the band and influenced the likes of The Human League, Duran Duran, Gary Numan, Talk Talk and a whole raft of artists to follow."
    $12.00
  • Gowy is an undiscovered French band but that won't be for long... This is a new quartet assembled by guitarist Gregory Francois. We were contacted by Greg due to his friendship with Christophe Godin of Morglbl. He thought it might be up our alley and he is spot on. The music on Gowy's debut is primarily instrumental although there are some tunes with French vocals. Musically speaking Freak Kitchen frequently comes to mind with more than a bit of Vai, Zappa and Morglbl tossed in as well. The keyboards, bass and drums all play a supporting role for Greg's extraordinary guitar excursions into outer space. This is much more clever than the typical chops-from-hell disc. Is Essential Tracks really essential? Well I know its essentially clear that a buzz will develop soon. Highly recommended. Check 'em out: Gowy's MySpace Page
    $14.00
  • Their first album was laid back psychedelic folk with a female singer. Quite beautiful.
    $16.00
  • "“Oblivion” is the early episode of a conceptual saga set to be released in a trilogy format by this Multinational band called EXXILES, the man behind all that is the former REIGN OF THE ARCHITECT’s drummer Mauricio Bustamante (EVANGELIUM) from Mexico, he started working on his new production right after his departure from R.O.T.A. with a new goal in mind : Created a new entity under a variable geometry size, working as a band with a core of fellow Mexicain players, like guitar player Sergio Aguilar (AGORA), on Bass the talented Simon Rojas , Noel Martinez on keyboards or axeman Antonio Rivera (from the Death Metal band SOLITUDE) and a bunch of illustrious guests coming from every corner of the Prog Metal Universe, in order to form a community around a musical project with a strong focus on the human relationship notion.Of course the renowned musicians around Mauricio are coming from different area of the world and some are quite popular, as their original bands are among the most respected in the whole genre : namely SYMPHONY X / SAVATAGE / T.S.O./ REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE or CIRCUS MAXIMUS but also more underground but quite highly regarded such as COMMUNIC /AGORA or STREAM OF PASSION and to complete the team, some less known musicians yet hyper talented from the fertile Scandinavian ground, with members from LOST IN THOUGHTS/SPIRAL ARCHITECTS…Indeed, Øyvind Hægeland is brilliantly taking the Lead Vocal role on the odd timing driven pace of “Hopelessness”…Generous in circonvolutions and complex to the max!Musically very rich, it’s not easy to understand it at the first encounter, but I immediately discerned some obvious qualities, notably in the vocal department… Indeed the performances by Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE/ ex SAVATAGE) in the opening cut “A Better Legacy ” is convincing in his traditional majestic mode, but most of all the sonic enlightement comes from the great vocals provided by the Brazilian citizen Gus Monsanto (SYMBOLICA/ex ADAGIO /ex REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE / HUMAN FORTRESS) which are uppar with the most exigeant taste or in total coherence with the excessive perfectionism of some HM bloggers!This album will expand its qualities later, in a precise and clever way little by little, a long process to fully enjoy it in its fullness, the tagged identity is based around a Dark classy sound with some Melodic method and some intricate harmonic arrangements, more dramatic in the ambiances than it seems, while the smartness and the complex shape of their creative ways are updated by an evolutive style in a thick schema of Heaviness, and this intrepid proof of their capacity to created some unexpected ideas in a fresh theory and a regenerated light!Another great surprise is the Wilmer Waarbroek (already known from AYREON) vocal input at the end of the album in the duet of song “Awakening Part I (Dark Renaissance)”& “The Messenger”, ultra rewarding numbers, those songs along with Marcela Bovio in the Spanish song “Llorona” is another persuasive addition and a good alternative to the superb cast of vocalist!However, the superb singer Gus Monsanto is quite omnipresent while singing on 50% of the songs, this man is holding a serious set of pipes, giving a demonstration of his great polyvalency and contrast (“Page of the Night”), each track is well arranged, the succession of different pace is salvatory sharing some subtle progressive moments with some more Heavy spark in a very dense manners (the fantastic pair “Dictator of Trust”/”Anthem Of Lies”), some epic bombastic instrumental parts like in the unvocalized track “Entropy”,  a few piece of Prog Symphonic Metal with weird structure and some experimental orchestral sounds to create an impressive outcome, very well written with some incredible talented writing and utmost playing skills in every area, notably in the soloing sector, thanks to the guest appearances of some terrific players such as Mats Haugen (CIRCUS MAXIMUS) or David Grey (LOST IN THOUGHT) is the icing on the cake, the ultimate uplifting details to complete the whole .After the overflowing of essential releases in this genre, the ambitious EXXILES “Oblivion” first chapter is another good advice for the Smart-Metal-music avid fanatics and a tip for those who already missed PANTOMMIND ,,Searching For Eternity” or SOUL SECRET ,,4”…This time I hope my reminder will not fall into oblivion." - Metal Temple
    $12.00
  • Chicago based Oceanborn are a very interesting new progressive metal band.  They draw influences from a variety of styles.  You can hear Avenged Sevenfold, Muse, Katatonia, and Dream Theater in their musicial DNA.  Vocals are all clean and most definitely angst driven.  Entwined with the progressive elements is a melodic, almost pop quality that creeps into the fray only to be beaten down by crushing riffs.  Somewhat of a tough album to describe but something really cool going on here.  Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • "Progressive rock and boy-band pop seem like natural enemies at first. The former's fascination with ornate, elongated passages of finger-exhausting musicianship is in almost every way the opposite of the latter's emphasis on catchiness first; it's hard to imagine turn-of-the-millennium hits like "Bye Bye Bye" with extended guitar and keyboard solos. Yet ever since A Doorway to Summer, their 2005 debut, Moon Safari has put to rest the notion that progressive-minded songwriters can't make pop that's as hook-driven as it is ostentatious. Grandiloquent epics like "Other Half of the Sky," from the 2008 double album Blomljud, weave together widescreen arrangements with the band's signature five-part vocal harmony, a feature unmatched by few groups in any genre, anywhere. It's easy to isolate the audience with solipsistic soloing and obtuse orchestrations, but from day one Moon Safari has made prog that—assuming the layperson were more amenable to songs that run upwards of thirty minutes—could lead them to something like a pop crossover hit.But while the union of hook-heavy vocal interplay and '70's prog stylistics gives Moon Safari an unmistakable, unique sound, it also handicapped them in a significant way for their first two LPs. The group's accessibility on A Doorway to Summer and Blomljud, along with its technical prowess, is unassailable, but the high-fructose sweetness of its style leads to a diabetic rush when stretched out onto songs that span ten to thirty minutes. For example, "Other Half of the Sky," the titanic thirty minute showstopper off of Blomljud, has so many memorable hooks that by the time it's run its time out, it's hard to remember all of them. The classic problem of "too many voices leads to a noisy room" was the defining problem of Moon Safari's otherwise enjoyable sound for some time. All that changed, however, in 2010 with the release of Lover's End.It is no exaggeration—even as the decade remains young—to say that Lover's End is one of the finest progressive rock records of the '00's. Hell, it's not even crazy to say that it's one of the finest pop albums of the '00s; anyone, even those turned off by prog's eccentricities, can find something to love on this mellifluous collection of songs. From the a cappella charm of "Southern Belle" to the hook-loaded "New York City Summergirl," Lover's End is chock full of goodness from beginning to end. What explains its genius is that in contrast to A Doorway to Summer and Blomljud, the songs are given exactly the amount of space they need, and not a second more. Some songwriters may feel hamstrung by the verse/chorus structure, but it's a perfect fit for Moon Safari's joyous approach to music.With their newest studio outing, Himlabacken, Vol. 1, Moon Safari continue the refining of their sound, and while this isn't the breakthrough that Lover's End was, it nonetheless attests to the brilliance of this group. Whereas the latter was bound by a loose concept (love and heartbreak), Himlabacken Vol. 1 is less a lyrics album than its predecessor. The cost of this is that the music is less distinct in its cohesiveness, but there are no shortage of catchy passages and amped-up solos. "Mega Moon" comes off as a tribute to musical theatre, with "The Very Model of A Modern Major General" vocal delivery interweaving with Queen-esque bombast to an impressive effect. "Too Young to Say Goodbye" sees and matches the polyharmonic beauty of "Lover's End (Part One)." By sticking to concise song formats—the longest cut here runs nine and a half minutes—Moon Safari ensures that things never run out of steam, an essential quality to any good progressive rock band.If nothing else, Himlabacken, Vol. 1 proves that there's one thing Moon Safari can't be accused of: being unaware of themselves. Grand finale "Sugar Band" is as much a statement of identity as it is a slice of epic pop: "Sweet and saccharine are we," they declare, followed by "syrup's the blood in our veins." (Less successful is the clumsy Katy Perry innuendo of, "suck our big candy canes," which is thematically consistent but tonally off.) Both "Sugar Band" and "Little Man," one of the few Moon Safari songs to feature a solo vocal, are emblematic of the mushiness that might turn some prog fans away from their music. The latter, while obviously a touching document of a father's love for his son, does feel a bit out of place in how deeply personal it is; part of the strength of this group's sonic is the universality of its pop appeal, and the intimacy behind "My Little Man" makes listening to it an almost voyeuristic experience. "Mega Moon" and "Sugar Band" are better at capturing the convivial spirit of the band that's accessible to all.As with past outings, even those drawn to vocal harmonies might find it hard to stomach all of the sweetness of Himlabacken, Vol. 1. But what ultimately makes this LP successful is its unpretentious commitment to fun. Moon Safari are a rare collective that prove daunting musical chops aren't anathema to accessibility, and with Himlabacken, Vol. 1 they've made a recording that, while not the magnum opus that Lover's End was, is as true a capturing of their ethos as there could ever be. Sating a sweet tooth brings to mind the phrase "guilty pleasure," but there's no guilt involved with music as first-class as this. Who knew being in a boy band could sound so classy? " - Sea Of Tranquility
    $16.00
  • 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.
    $27.00