The Raven That Refused To Sing

Steven Wilson's solo career apart from Porcupine Tree, is for this listener, far more interesting.  Whereas PTree currently skirts the line between rock and metal, his solo work fits squarely in the progressive rock arena.  The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) is easily his magnum opus.  The musicianship is stellar - he recorded with his touring band: Nick Beggs (Stick), Guthrie Govan (guitar), Adam Holzman (keys), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Theo Travis (flute, sax).  Mr. Wilson has also dug two things out of mothballs - King Crimson's Mellotron and Alan Parsons.  It was Steven Wilson's wish to one day work with Alan Parsons, who came on board as engineer.  I can't tell you who is responsibile for what but I can tell you that the production is impeccable.  The opening epic "Luminol" drips with the holy 'tron sounding like a cross-generation blend of King Crimson eras.  And so it goes through out the album.  Some utterly fierce playing on this album.  From beginning to end a stunning effort.  BUY OR DIE!

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Wed, 2013-02-27 10:26
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One of the finest recordings in the last ten yeares. If your jaw doesnt drop after the first listen, its wired shut. mw
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Product Review

Wed, 2013-02-27 10:26
Rate: 
0
One of the finest recordings in the last ten yeares. If your jaw doesnt drop after the first listen, its wired shut. mw
You must login or register to post reviews.
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  • Mother's Ruin is the second album from the band formed from the ashes of Black Bonzo...and its a sprawling 2 disc set.  The agenda is the same - to recreate the sound of 70s hard rock.  The Swedes nail it in spades.  When the keys are out front you'll immediately think of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.  The guitar driven songs are a bit more reminiscent of Humble Pie and Rolling Stones.  Vocalist Magnus Karnebro (ne Lindgren) is the perfect front man.  I'd love to hear from him more often.  If I didn't tell you otherwise I could easily convince you this album was recorded in 1974 (and I think that was the objective).
    $17.00
  • Special Edition 3CD+DVD Digipak containing a full recording of the Tilburg show and the full live footage of the Cologne show.Track listing DVD: Live in CologneInto The Blue (26:12)My New World (17:29)Shine (07:22)The Whirlwind Medley (29:34)Beyond The Sun (04:24)Kaleidoscope (31:30)Neal & Roine Duet (03:41)We All Need Some Light (05:56)Black As The Sky (08:43)Encore:Medley: All Of The Above / Stranger In Your Soul (26:06)Track listing CD 1: Live in TilburgInto The Blue (27:49)My New World (18:28)Shine (07:23)Track listing CD 2: Live in TilburgThe Whirlwind Medley (30:12)Beyond The Sun (04:50)Kaleidoscope (31:30)Track listing CD 3: Live in TilburgNeal & Roine Duet (04:34)We All Need Some Light (06:05)Black As The Sky (07:22)Nights In White Satin (08:09)Sylvia (04:46)Hocus Pocus (07:09)Medley: All Of The Above / Stranger In Your Soul (24:34)
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  • Like Uriah Heep?  Deep Purple?  What about Black Bonzo?  Yeah???  Well we've got a band for you.  Tarot are a trio from Australia.  Using the pseudonyms of The Hermit, The Hierophant, and The Magician they whip up some awesome retro-hard rock/proto prog that will make you think you are listening to some recently unearthed archival album from 1972.  Heavy swirls of Hammond organ and analogue synths abound underpinning the old school guitar solos.  Is that a real 'tron?  No clue but it sounds close enough for me!!This CD is actually a compilation that pools together the bands previous cassette releases and adds on 2 new tracks.The spirit of Jon Lord wafts through the aether as you listen to this one.  Its got the vibe through out.  If they would have just added some flute I think they would have sent me over the edge but as is its a non-stop killer that pushes all the right buttons.  BUY OR DIE!"Here's a very intriguing release brought to us by Australian label Heavy Chains Records, the latest from psych/prog/hard rock act Tarot (not to be confused with the veteran Finnish metal band of the same name). The Warrior's Spell contains songs from various 2014 cassette & compilation releases and brings them all together on one CD. Tarot are comprised of The Hermit (guitar, organ, synths, vocals), The Hierophant (bass), and The Magician (drums)...not household names by any means, but their music is just as mysterious as their stage names. "The Watcher's Dream" and "Twilight Fortress" offer swirling, '70s styled prog rock keyboards, effects laden vocals, and heavy rock guitars, and the nightmarish "The Wasp" gives the listener a heavy dose of occult rock mixed with some serious Deep Purple & Uriah Heep influences. You'll hear some vintage Wishbone Ash on the soaring "Eyes in the Sky" as well as the title track, two majestic rockers with plenty of searing lead guitar, Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, and emotional vocals. Other highlights include the heavy "Street Lamps Calling", complete with irresistible harmony guitar work, the gritty blues/prog rocker "Mystic Cavern" (which could have been a leftover from Deep Purple's Machine Head), the evil sounding "Dying Daze", the lumbering psych/doom that is "Life and Death", and the dark yet groove laden "Vagrant Hunter".To be honest, there's not a weak track to be found here on The Warrior's Spell, an album full of surprises and more than a healthy nod to classic sounds of the '70s. Though a name change would probably be recommended to differentiate themselves from Finland's Tarot, either way this is a serious band with some serious talent, and this new release is going to get some major time in my CD player for the foreseeable future. Highly recommended, and a band to keep your eye on." - Sea Of Tranquility 
    $10.00
  • A new release from Causa Sui is like money in the bank.  The new Live At Freak Valley is no exception.  The live milieu is where the band really shines.  If you are unfamilar with the band you should know that the band's origins date back to the stoner scene but they evolved into something different - something more psychedelic - more organic.  The quartet features Jakob Skott (drums), Jonas Munk (guitar), Jess Kahr (bass), and Rasmus Rasmussen (keyboards).  The band goes off on looooong instrumental jams.  Munk's guitarwork has a beautiful fluidity that plays off of Rasmussen's keyboards which tend to surge to the forefront like waves on the ocean - or sit back and become a nice supporting backdrop for Munk's lead work.  I love when Munk burst out with a chunk of heavy riffage that recalls their stoner days.  Reminds me of vintage Zeppelin!  Highly recommended.
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  • Out of print limited edition mediabook comes with 2 bonus tracks."Doro has long been the reigning queen of metal, and with her 12th solo studio album, Raise Your Fist, she continues to reinforce that notion. Her new album has a thicker feel than her previous release, Fear No Evil (2009). Packed with her trademark anthems and velvet ballads, Raise Your Fist is Doro at the top of her game.Sure Doro has a weakness for the occasional Velveeta lyrical theme, but it is her passion for metal, her fans, and the music that keep her among heroes of the genre. On Raise Your Fist, Doro brings the traditional bang your head, throw up your horns metal, with memorable sing along choruses. The album’s opening track, “Raise Your Fist in the Air”, is a perfect example. A lyrical theme all metalheads can get behind, with air-guitar worthy riffage and an anthemic chorus.Motörhead mainman, Lemmy Kilmister drops by to show a surprisingly tender side on the ballad, “It Still Hurts”, and guitar icon Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind) makes an appearance on the track “Grab the Bull (Last Man Standing)”, giving it some extra swagger.On the song, “Freiheit” she tackles the issue of human rights. She noted that this particular song is very close to her heart. Tracks like “Rock Till Death”, “Take No Prisoners”,  and “Revenge” are some of Doro’s meatier sonic assaults, and remind us that heavy metal need not be void of melody.Doro also pays homage to her dear friend, Ronnie James Dio on the album closer, “Hero”. The song was the first one written for the record, and hits home with serious emotional impact. Doro’s vocals are poignant and emotive, filled with admiration, loss, and angst.Raise Your Fist is a confident, well crafted, classic metal album, which offers a slab of horn-throwing anthems, with just the right amount of sentiment. Doro heads into a new decade with another load of rock and roll ammunition in her arsenal." - Metallic
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  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1975 self-titled album by KESTREL. Hailing from Newcastle, the band featured Tom Knowles (lead vocals), Dave Black (guitar, vocals), John Cook (keyboards, mellotron), Fenwick Moir (bass) and Dave Whitaker (drums), who had previously been with Newcastle trio GINHOUSE.Signing to Cube Records in 1974, Kestrel recorded their sole eponymously titled album in 1975, with the majority of the compositions written by Dave Black. A fine example of melodic Progressive Rock, the album featured some outstanding tracks, including the gorgeous "The Acrobat” and the stunning epic "August Carol”. Inexplicably the album failed to sell in significant quantities and within a short time Kestrel dis-banded, leaving just one album and a single as their recorded legacy.Four decades later, "Kestrel” is now rightly regarded as a true over-looked classic of the Progressive Rock era, with original vinyl copies being impossibly rare and changing hands for huge sums, particularly in Japan.Newly re-mastered from the original tapes, this reissue of "Kestrel” has been expanded to include six bonus tracks, with four of them previously unreleased in the UK, and also includes a booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay.""Obviously, prog does come in all shapes and sizes. There are the pompous ones, the low-key, the larger-than-life ones and the small, the complex and those easily likeable. Everything in between and all things put together makes up the world of prog. Sometimes prog can be sort of poppy aswell. Nothing wrong with that. It can be very enjoyable. I would like to put forth a likeness and draw inspiration from the pub. After several sturdy Guinesses (think of Magma or some other complex band as Guiness) the pallet craves something refreshing, like a cool lemonade or just a sip of water. In this case the lemonade is Kestrel. Light, refreshing yet with a bite to it.Kestrel is one of those obscure bands that did not make it. Not because they were bad, as often the case with some obscurities, but maybe because they simply fell through the net and escaped the record buyer's hands. Who knows? The fact, however, is that the sole album by Kestrel is a very enjobale mixture of pop and prog, sort of a Supertramp meets Chicago and has a child by Genesis and nursed by Nektar added. If that is not all I'd say that Chris Squire babysat at times, considering the sound of the rumbling bass. Or something like that. It holds enough keyboards to make me happy and that says something.The tracks varies in length, the longest being 7.31 minutes, the shortest 4.09. I like all of the songs but "Wind cloud" with it's beautiful and dreamy web is fantastic. So are "Last requests", the epic "In the war" or (the more accessible) Gentle Giant-ish "August carol". All of the tracks are very well produced, performed and thought through. Nothing is left to chance.I think prog is the greatest genre due to it's variety and width. The severely complex at the one end and the very accessible and poppy at the other. All that gives me as a listener the chance to really ease my muscial hunger. If you are looking for something british, something complex yet accessible I would recommend this little overlooked gem. I would not call it a masterpiece but it is a fantastic album, full of ideas and enthusiasm which I really enjoy listening to. Well worth checking out." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • Japan only release of the new live album from Anekdoten. Concentrating on material from "From Within" and "Gravity" it also features two unreleased tracks. This is pure fire. Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • Limited edition digipak comes with a bonus track - a cover of The Tea Party's "Temptation".First studio album in five years from this revered band. Like a fine wine, Nevermore keeps getting better with age, improving their game along the way. For my personal taste they are the best of the US power metal bands going and probably the heaviest. This album was produced by Peter Wichers and Andy Sneap mixed.
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  • The debut album that sent shockwaves through the progressive underground. Particularly amazing album when you put it into the context of it's recording date - 1970. While far from the best Magma album - in fact the signature sounds are not even in place - it's one smoking jazz rock fusion album owing much to Miles Davis and Soft Machine. 2 cd set.
    $24.00
  • New digipak edition of the band's long out of print first album plus a bonus live CD recorded in 1995. A brilliant mash up of Gentle Giant influenced prog rock and American flavors."Echolyn's shot at the big time, this is the only album they recorded with Sony before breaking up, only to reform in late 1999. The music shows a progression of the band's style away from the naive neo-prog of the first album towards a fusion of 90s rock and progressive rock that works very well for me. While there is certainly some accomplished musicianship on this album (particularly from keyboardist Chris Buzby) they tend to stick to writing songs rather than sprawling compositional "epics". There is plenty of vocal harmonization on this one, and occasionally a light jazzy touch to this one that sticks out in contrast to the rockier parts.There is a fair amount of string work on this one, particularly at the start of songs. Although a string section is credited, I'm not sure which parts are them and which parts are synthesized. Apart from that, the instrumentation is fairly standard for rock let alone prog, save the addition of Buzby's keyboards (and yes, I am among the people who wishes he'd buy a moog or something, just for kicks).Although some might be put off by the increased commercialism of this release, and there are those who would criticize the ever-optimistic nature of the lyrics, I think this album does an excellent job of marrying progressive rock to what was going on in the 90s, in a way that was much more relevant than similar attempts by Spock's Beard and other such bands. There are songs here, such as "One for the Show", or "Settled Land" which strike me as strong on every level, evaluated from either the genre of rock or the genre of prog. Maybe I've just been suckered by this one, but I greatly enjoy it, and I recommend it without hesitation to a fan of any type of music." - Ground And Sky
    $11.00
  • "Symphonic Power/Progressive metal group Wind Rose are sure to impress with this epic new album Wardens Of The West Wind. If you appreciate groups like the rousing metal bands Fairyland and Blind Guardian then I do suggest that you give Wind Rose a go.This is their second full-length album, and although I haven't heard Wind Roses's first Shadows Over Lothadruin from what I have read as impressive as that album was the Italian band has stepped up their game with Wardens Of The West Wind. That very cool cover art is by Felipe Machado Franco his other work can be seen on metal albums by the likes of Blind Guardian, Brainstorm, Rage and Rhapsody Of Fire. Bass player/producer Cristiano Bertocchi a former member of the prominent Italian metal groups Labyrinth and Vision Divine had also spent time working with Wind Rose and he joined the band in 2014.Folk ingredients are present and with the inviting sounds of traditional instruments and male chants on "Where Dawn And Shadows Begin" this is the precursor to some rather spirited metal on "Age Of Conquest". "Heavenly Minds" is very memorable with a touch of Symphony X in the chorus. Though the band is inspired by Symphony X and also Blind Guardian and Dream Theater. Wind Rose's songs really captivate, Francesco Cavalieri's excellent lead and those male group vocals are very likeable and they are integrated to great effect. The musical side of Wind Rose is also riveting with a fair degree of complexity, power and that symphonic charm plus while yes it's present Wind Rose's songs aren't constantly locked in rapid metal mode.The longest track a potent epic called "Skull and Crossbones" is just over seven minutes, but there is no need for those over extended songs on Wardens Of The West Wind when the ten on offer should more satisfy your epic musical needs. Wardens Of The Wind should go a long way to ensure a steady increase in the number of Wind Rose fans." - Sea Of Tranquility
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  • "I was first exposed to Cardiacs’ oddly compelling world when the video to ‘Tarred And Feathered’ aired on The Tube on April 17 1987. Six musicians wearing old-fashioned vaguely military-style uniforms, covered in badly applied make-up and cranking out the most eccentric music I had ever heard broadcast on TV, against a backdrop that looked as though it had been stolen from a 70s children’s show. I had no idea what to make of it but it certainly made an impression. A friend of mine said he liked it, until he realised that the seemingly chaotic nature of the tune was in fact scripted mayhem, written down as notes and not improvised at all. This had the opposite effect on me. I wondered how someone could write such music and what on earth their influences could be.When I briefly moved to Cambridge aged 18, my best friend there was a Cardiacs obsessive who used to terrorise his poor live-in-landlord by constantly screening their Seaside Treats video at full-throttle volume. There was something about those films - the childish petulance of the musician’s behaviour, the industrial surrealism of Eraserhead transposed instead to the garish English seaside - that I found irritating. But after a few listens, splinters of melodies had embedded themselves in my brain (abetted no doubt by the eruption of electronic mayhem that follows the command "take it Sarah" on ‘To Go Off And Things’) and resistance was no longer an option. I went out into the city centre and bought my first Cardiacs album, A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window. Although subsequent releases by the band would mean I was forever revising which was my favourite, it was to mark the beginning of a lifelong love of their music.Perhaps their best known recording, ALM&AH&TWWW was Cardiacs’ fourth album and the first to be recorded in a proper studio - The Workhouse in the Old Kent Road in London, which was gutted by a fire soon after. Three cassette only albums, The Obvious Identity, Toy World and The Seaside, had preceded it, along with the Big Ship mini-LP. The classic line up of brothers Tim and Jim Smith on lead vocals/guitar and bass/vocals respectively, Sarah Smith on saxophones and clarinet, William D. Drake on keyboards and vocals, Tim Quay on marimba and percussion, and Dominic Luckman on drums, was expanded to include strings and a brass section. Ashley Slater added tenor and bass trombone, Phil Cesar brought trumpet and flugelhorn, while Elaine Herman completed the picture on violin. The band’s main creative force Tim Smith produced the album, which contained the nearest thing they ever had to a hit single, ‘Is This The Life?’ Tim once told me that demand for the single far outstripped stock from the initial pressing and although he tried to get more pressed up as quickly as possible, the plant where they were being made was also pressing copies of Kylie Minogue’s ‘I Should Be So Lucky,’ and was already at maximum capacity cranking out copies of her massive breakthrough hit. A quick look at the timeframe suggests the story could have been true, but as this was exactly the kind of self-penned apocryphal tale that Tim could never resist indulging in, I’m still unsure as to whether I believe it or not." - The Quietus
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  • "ESOTERIC RECORDINGS are pleased to announce a newly remastered edition of the classic Psychedelic album "Western Flier” by HAPSHASH and the COLOURED COAT, Psychedelic graphic designers and darlings of London’s Underground scene Michael English and Nigel Waymouth. Being responsible for a series of legendary posters for artists such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Traffic, Tomorrow, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, The Who et al, Waymouth and English ventured into music after being persuaded to do so by friend, DJ and manager Guy Stevens. The first Hapshash album, "Featuring Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids” featured the musicians from the band Art, later to become Spooky Tooth, and appeared on the Liberty’s Minit label in 1967 and was a combination of electronic madness and improvised psychedelic freeform freak-out. By the end of 1968, the diversion from graphic art into music led to the end of the Waymouth / English partnership. Waymouth retained the name Hapshash and the Coloured Coat and signed a contract for a new album with Liberty Records. Entering the studio with Liberty staff producer Mike Batt and session musicians such as Tony McPhee (of the Groundhogs), drummer Andy Renton, guitarist Michael Mayhew, bass player Eddie Tripp and violinist Freddie Ballerini, the album "Western Flier” was the result.This Esoteric Recordings edition has been remastered from the original master tapes and includes a booklet that restores the original album artwork and a new essay."
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