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

[email protected]
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
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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
    $18.00
  • "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
  • "Anathema's 1995 emotional doom metal masterpiece, including bonus DVD featuring their legendary Polish gig from 1996, plus promo videos."
    $15.00
  • Phil returns (and sings).
    $9.00
  • Bjorn Riis isn't exactly a household name but if you are a fan of the Norwegian band Airbag he's more familiar than you realize.  Riis is the band's lead guitarist.  For his debut solo album he's enlisted members of Airbag in all aspects of the production.  Riis himself says that the sound doesn't stray too far from Airbag but its a more personal affair.  This is pretty accurate.  Riis is an avowed disciple of David Gilmour.  In fact he set up a website dedicated to Gilmour and his iconic (and easily recognizable) guitar sound.Many aspects of Airbag's three albums owe a heavy debt to Pink Floyd and Riis' solo album fits neatly into the same box.  The album consists of six tracks - three of which run 10+ minutes.  The easiest and most concise way to describe "Lullabies" is that it sounds like a head on collision between Wish You Were Here and The Division Bell.  Nothing wrong with that!  BUY OR DIE! 
    $16.00
  • Limited edition digibook has a bonus DVD featuring a "making of" documentary.Riverside vocalist Mariusz Duda returns with his fourth Lunatic Soul project.  Duda plays all the instruments except drums which are handled by Indukti's Lawrence Dramowicz.  The last Lunatic Soul album, Impressions, was an all instrumental effort that explored ambient and post-rock territory.  Walking On A Flashlight Beam is a bit similar but Duda does provide vocals from time to time.  Like all of the Lunatic Soul albums that preceded it, WOAFB has a very dark and mysterious vibe to it.  Duda is moving away from exclusively using acoustic instruments.  Textural electronic keyboards predominate and I'm pretty certain he plugs his guitar in as well.  This is another one of his albums that will suck you in.  Highly recommended." I'll come right out and say that Lunatic Soul's new album "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" was my most anticipated album of 2014. Why? Well, Mariusz Duda (of Riverside fame) has created such a brilliantly natural sound in his side project that it has become one of my favorites, not to mention my family's, as well. We simply can't get enough of the acoustic, airy atmospheres combined with the dark, throbbing feelings that swing between transcendence and despair. Lunatic Soul's first three albums are masterpieces of emotion and epiphany, and so any follow-up would have to be something special. Duda, however, has delivered in the most unexpected, brilliant ways possible."Walking on a Flashlight Beam" (WOAFB) is an experience that is as much about lyrics and feelings as it is about music. You need the whole picture in order to understand it truly. Duda has been very forthcoming with theme for this album, as it seems to be rather personal. This album is about those people that prefer to shut themselves in their rooms/homes in order to immerse themselves in the creations of others: films, books, music, games, etc. I think it strays between this setting, however, and the same type of person that shuts themselves up, preferring to create art in private.Like I said, this theme is important to the music. WOAFB is full of bleak tension, cold sublimation, and beautiful simplicity. Duda was inclined to create this album with a wide variety of ethnic instruments, tones, and sounds; from cold trance beats contrasted against radiant acoustic guitar to world music influences combined with a new addition to the sound palette of Lunatic Soul: a subtle, heavily distorted electric guitar that crafts some charging, tumbling grooves. Duda has really expanded the sound of his pet project, and it impressed me to no end to hear the vast variety of sounds that were able to come together into a unified, cohesive mix. Sometimes it feels like Duda has gone post-rock, such as in the opener "Shutting out the Sun". Sometimes Duda simply sings a beautifully wrought melody, as in the spectacular "Treehouse" or one of my favorites, "Gutter" (the chorus will be in your head for weeks). Yet, sometimes Duda just wants to lay down an incredible bass-driven instrumental section, as in the winding, complex "Pygmalion's Ladder".Every track really feels just right. "Cold" feels, well, cold. It feels bare and desolate, with a simple melodic line added to enhance the stark feelings present. Duda is so good at expressing emotion in his music. Yet, this album has really impressed upon me how good he is at creating instrumental sections, as this album is full of them. The supremely subtle title track is an amazing example of this, as Duda builds and builds layers and layers of melody, harmony, tone, and effects. In the end, this album is so concentrated and makes so much sense from track to track that I can barely pick a favorite.This might be my album of the year. Don't be surprised if it is. I know I sound like a Duda fanboy (which I kinda am), but this album reaches the heights of the last three, and then expands on them. Incredibly catchy, wonderfully complex, and darkly eclectic, "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" is a journey into a confined consciousness of creativity, privacy, and enigmatic genius. Duda has once again proven his capabilities." - ProgArchives
    $9.00
  • Osada Vida are another one of those Polish bands that wander the territory already trod by Porcupine Tree and Riverside. Emotion laden prog with some nice spacey passages. Filmed in Katowice Poliand in November of 2011.
    $18.00
  • "Guitar legend Neal Schön has joined forces with bassist Marco Mendoza (Black Star Riders, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) and drummer Deen Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Hardline) to create a unique body of work with jazz and blues-inspired virtuosic hard rock playing, entitled SO U. The new album features Schön, Mendoza and Castronovo splitting vocal and writing duties, with many of the tracks also co-written by Night Ranger/Damn Yankee's songwriter, singer and bassist Jack Blades.Best known as founding member and lead guitarist of Journey, Neal Schön has enjoyed a remarkable career as one of rock n' roll's top virtuosos, with a hand in creating some of the most popular songs of all time. Beginning his career more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay area, the 15-year-old guitar prodigy left home to join Santana. Schön moved on in 1973 to form Journey. With Journey and other projects, he has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 platinum and gold albums, was awarded the prestigious 'Legend Of Live Award' at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and was individually inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall Of Fame in 2013. As the only member to record on all of Journey's albums, Schön continues with the band today in its latest incarnation."
    $15.00
  • Double live CD + pro-shot DVD of Jorn's performance at the Sweden Rock Festival on October 6, 2010. Seventeen tracks solely focused on his solo album material.
    $11.00
  • 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
  • "It's a bit surprising that Pantera waited until 1997 to release a live album, considering how brutal and powerful the band had been in concert. At an average Pantera show, it would not be unusual to see security evicting overzealous fans, and club bathrooms filled with bloody wads of paper towels from mosh pit injuries. Official Live 101 Proof captures the group in its natural, violent element, combining abrupt, barbed riffs with pulse-pounding beats and furious vocals. The record spans Pantera's career, from the classic guitar lick of "Cowboys from Hell" to the fuzzbomb fury of "Suicide Note Pt. 2" (from album The Great Southern Trendkill). As an encore, the band offers album buyers two new studio tracks, the bluesy bonecrusher "Where You Come From" and the grinding piledriver "I Can't Hide." As the fortress of alternative rock continues to crumble, Pantera stomp vindictively through the rubble, their metallic legacy intact."--Jon Wiederhorn
    $6.00
  • 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
  • First ever NEMO DVD! Recorded Live on April 17th and 18th, 2010. The movie is sold together with 2 CDs gathering the more outstanding songs of the band in re-recorded, re-mixed or re-mastered versions, and 2 new tracks!Digipak, strictly limited to 1000 copies! Warning: this is a PAL DVD.Tracks:01. Dvd - Intro / Philéas I (départ / Europe) (8.05)02. Dvd - Miroirs (6.42)03. Dvd - Même Peau, Même Destin (9.28)04. Dvd - Apprentis Sorciers (20.40)05. Dvd - Philéas Partie Ii (les Fleuves Sacrés) (3.53)06. Dvd - La Mort Du Scorpion Partie Iii (8.20)07. Dvd - Tous Les Chemins (10.40)08. Dvd - Barbares (26.28)09. Dvd - Les Enfants Rois10. Dvd - Philéas Partie Iv (nouveau Monde)11. Cd1 - La Machine À Remonter Le Temps (2010)12. Cd1 - 19:59 (2009)13. Cd1 - Barbares (2009 - Version Restaurée)14. Cd1 - Les Enfants Rois (2007 - Version Single)15. Cd1 - Reflets (2007)16. Cd1 - Une Question De Prix (2007)17. Cd1 - Une Question De Temps (2007)18. Cd1 - Ici, Maintenant (2006 - Remix)19. Cd2 - Miroirs (2006 - Rmix)20. Cd2 - Si (2006 - Remix)21. Cd2 - 1914 (2004 (remix)22. Cd2 - O.g.r.e. (2004 - Remix)23. Cd2 - Les Temps Modernes (2004 - Remix)24. Cd2 - La Dernière Vague (2003 - Réenregistrement)25. Cd2 - Générateur (2003 - Réenregistrement)26. Cd2 - Au Dessus Des Pyramides (2002 - Réenregist.)27. Cd2 - Dans La Lune Encore (2002 - Réenregist.)28. Cd2 - Et La Vie Continue (intrumental - 2010)
    $20.00
  • After recording the great Seven Moons album, Jack Bruce, Robin Trower, and Gary Husband did a handful of shows in support of the release. This was filmed in Nijmegen, Netherlands on 2/28/09. The material is primarily drawn from the Seven Moons album as well as a bunch Cream tunes. They even toss in a song from the BLT days. These guys are getting old but they can still play their asses off!!
    $22.00