Regeneration

SKU: NMR85142
Label:
Nightmare Records
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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Excellent futuristic conceptual work framing this band's progressive metal sound. Ascension Theorty consists of keyboardist Tim Becker and vocalist/guitarist Leon Ozug, Both were members of the now defunct Aztec Jade. This is a further refinement on that band's sound - with much improved. Ozug has always been a top shelf singer in need of greater exposure. Becker's keyboards and programming lend an epic quality to the production. My only reservation is about the lack of an actual drummer. With that fully disclosed I easily recommend this album.

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  • Limited edition digibook comes with two bonus tracks and enhanced artwork.I think its pretty much agreed that Echo Street was a bit of a mistep for the band.  It seems like they've gotten the message.  Mystoria finds the band returning to their space rock Pink Floyd meets Black Sabbath meets XTC sound.  The band is a quirky bunch - you will find the songs are filled with hooks and heavy riffs that will stick with you but also there is always a bit of a cosmic vibe."Following the release of Amplifier's sprawling grand opus, The Octopus, in 2011, the band have most definitely had their ups and downs. After the departure of long-time bassist Neil Mahony, the band were forced to regroup and rethink their approach: the lengthy process of writing and recording The Octopus had been a trying experience for all the praise the record subsequently received. Looking backwards to look forwards, Sel Balamir and his band re-visited previously demoed material and used it as the basis for the subsequent Echo Street, a more streamlined and concise record that reassured everyone, not least the band themselves, that their quest for sonic adventure remained undimmed in the face of all that life had chosen to throw at them.It's immediately apparent that Mystoria is a very different album to Echo Street in terms of sound, although in terms of ethos the two albums are probably closer related than any of the other records Amplifier have made. Mystoria eschews the gentler, more stripped-back feel of Echo Street and glories in its chunky twin-guitar riffing and thunderous rhythm section, much as the band did when they put together Insider and The Octopus. At the same time, the tendency of the band to indulge themselves in sprawling psychedelic space rock jams has been reined in. Mystoria is subject to the same intense focus on trimming the fat that Echo Street was subject to - indeed, the band have emphasised that they spent some time honing the songs and finalising their arrangements before they started recording, something they haven't tried before. On the basis of Mystoria, this approach certainly seems to suit them.This new sense of focus, allied to their delight in generating planet-sized riffs, is immediately apparent in the one-two punch of the opening tracks, 'Magic Carpet' and 'Black Rainbow'. The opener is a delightfully psychedelic instrumental built around a sturdy riff that might have lasted eight or nine minutes on previous albums. Here it arrives, says what it needs to say and is done in under four minutes, without sacrificing its loose, jammed-out feel. 'Black Rainbow' makes for a striking contrast, a gargantuan doomy riff powering along a muscular rocker that possesses energy to spare. "And I’m going to sing my song", bellows Balamir, "Been stuck in a throat far too long / And I’m going to get me gone / Going to get me some!" As the song crunches to a halt, Balamir opines "Well, we did it again", as if anyone was in any doubt by this point. And so the scene is set for a really crowd-pleasing album, one that will delight existing fans and appeal to those new to Amplifier's swirling psych-influenced rock.The album has been described as a "party record", with Balamir stating that "It’s a summer time rock record to hopefully make people feel good when they listen to it. That’s the only intent.” In many respects that is absolutely the case. Jammed full of catchy hooks, sing-along choruses and Balamir's trademark guitar, this is an album that impresses immediately, sticks in your mind like velcro, yet has the variety and substance to withstand repeated plays without losing its appeal. Some of the songs here are so quintessentially Amplfier that they might as well have the word 'Amplifier' written through them like a stick of rock: the two openers, the playfully off-kilter 'Bride' and 'Named After Rocky' (which contains a really crowd-pleasing moment as a clearly gimlet-eyed Balamir breaks the fourth wall to tell the listener "Dance toe to toe with the devil /And I’m gonna do you proud / I’m gonna make you proud!") are all good examples of this.However, it wouldn't be an Amplifier album if Sel and company didn't have something new and unexpected to present: here, the unexpected is provided by a surprising voyage into ska with 'Cat's Cradle' and the baleful, shoegazey 'Open Up'. The former comes across like Kula Shaker re-imagining something from the Madness back catalogue, the unmistakeable skanking ska rhythm underpinned by a wonderful turn by the rhythm section of Alex Redhead (bass) and Matt Brobin (drums), paired with a playful lyric that indulges in some social commentary ("Well, the world is like a cat's cradle / Too much tension in a cat's cradle") and a wry vocal turn from Balamir. 'Open Up', on the other hand, is the song most removed from the sunny, somewhat carefree feel of a lot of the other songs, coming across like 90s indie darlings Lush at their most metallic, a fuzzy wall of sound framed by reverb-laden icy sheets of guitar and a pleading lyric as Balamir asks a lover "Well, are you looking for a man / To try to solve / Well to open up / Won’t you open up?"he somewhat nightmarish 'OMG' continues this darker thread, a juddering riff and bleak lyric ("Did you look 'em in the eye / As life was choking you / Choking you...") meaning that these two tracks dunk the previously sun-kissed listener in freezing water, enabling them to return refreshed yet unsettled to the remainder of the album, which picks up the more carefree feel established by the earlier tracks. 'The Meaning Of If' may have a somewhat fatalistic lyric ("Well, any simple man can see / That there ain't no cure to the meaning of if / 'Least no meaning I can see") but the swirling guitar that runs through the track is pinned to the wall - as is the listener - by a titanic Sabbath-style riff that intimates that if Balamir believes that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, he'll be going out with a smile on his face, dancing like no-one's watching.The album closes with a pair of tracks that are clearly closely interrelated, as the mellow 'Crystal Mountain', with its strong 60s psychedelic pastoral feel and suitably surreal love ballad lyric gives way to a building tension that resolves itself into the wonderfully typical fuzzed guitars and lumbering riff of 'Crystal Anthem', that manages to pack in a truly jaw-dropping storm of squalling guitar before collapsing, exhausted, into a heap. The chorus of 'Crystal Anthem' seems to define both Balamir's world view and the band's approach to Mystoria as a whole, as Balamir sings "And I just want to say / That life is a kind of game / We’ve all been born to play." As with all the best games, life may be sometimes difficult: the path to victory designed by sadists and the pieces easy to lose, but ultimately games are designed to be fun. And the new-look Amplifier, not least Balamir himself, would appear to be playing this game to win.Mystoria is a resounding triumph for Amplifier. Whilst Echo Street was full of great songs and superb performances, its comparatively sedate feel did sometimes leave one wondering if the freewheeling sense of adventure that so typified the band had been tempered permanently by the problems and setbacks that they'd had to deal with. Mystoria is both a sure-footed restatement of Amplifier's intent and evidence that, like all the most positive survivors, the band have learnt a lot from the bumps in the road. The band that recorded The Octopus are back, older, bolder, wiser, and with a fire in their eyes and in their bellies. Long may it be so." - Echoes And Dust 
    $9.00
  • This Swedish doomsters does an uncanny job of channeling 70s dark hard rock sounds.  Black Sabbath comes to mind instantly and you'll hear some similarities to bands like Pentagram and Candlemass.  This time around they have opened up their sound a bit - I distinctly hear more than a little bit of Zep inscribed in their genome.  Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • The official title of this amazing Spanish quartet is actually One Of These Days & Thee Heavy Random Tone Colour Lab.  This is the band's debut release and is only available on vinyl.  It arrives on 180 gram vinyl in a numbered limited edition of 500 copies.  Gorgeous artwork form Iria Rodriguez.  You also get a download code for mp3s of the album.This is pure retro/prog/psych plain and simple.  Beyond the tip of the cap with their name, the band draws some musical influence from Atom Heart Mother era Pink Floyd.  The album consists of 4 long tracks.  When the band stretches out I'm also reminded very much of early Nektar - say Tab In The Ocean.  Organ, 'tron, analogue synths - all the good stuff is here.  Guitars have the right sound.  Its not like metal guitars grafted onto an old school sound (some of the new Italian retro bands seem to get this wrong).  This album reeks of the early 70s.Quite a stunning release.  If you can play vinyl you have no choice...BUY OR DIE!
    $30.00
  • Reissue of the band's first album.  Fantastic progressive power metal with a strong spiritual message. Normally I'm not a big fan of the one-man-band concept but composer/singer/multi-instrumentalist Matt Smith really blew me away with this first time effort. Elements of Savatage, Queensryche, Symphony X and even Kansas pop up. Long epic sweeping tracks with lots of power and melody. Matt's proves he's got the voice and the chops to go far. Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • "The Aristocrats by any measure the hottest new band in instrumental rock/fusion today rewrote their own rules for their third studio album, Tres Caballeros. After two fairly raw trio albums, guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia/GPS), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Dethklok) and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani) set up camp at legendary Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood, CA, where Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen all recorded landmark albums. The result: Nine new compositions of greater sonic depth and breadth than ever before, with unique textures and lush layering augmenting the band s preternatural ability to improvise at the highest levels possible. But it s all still tempered with a steadfast refusal to take themselves too seriously, and The Aristocrats are still having more fun than a fusion band has any right to have. We ve learned a lot since we started this band four years, three studio albums, two live DVDs and about a billion notes ago! and I think our latest offering reflects this in all kinds of ways, says guitarist Guthrie Govan. The decision to road-test our new material in front of a live audience before commencing the recording process; the choice to record in a studio which had some thoroughly inspiring rock'n'roll "mojo"; our sudden urge to become more bold and experimental with overdubs rather than feeling any pressure to record exclusively in a strict trio format... all of this has had some kind of positive effect on the way the new record came out. Plus, I think the material on this album is some of the most interesting stuff we ve ever written for each other, so... here s hoping our noble listeners will like the finished product as much as we do! Deluxe Edition Bonus DVD Features 30min documentary w/exclusive individual interviews, studio & live footage Bonus audio (outtakes/demos) & group interview"
    $19.00
  • Willowglass is the vehicle for British multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marshall.  He plays guitar, keys, and bass.  Accompaniment is courtesy of Hans Jorg Schmitz on drums and Steve Unruh on violin, flute, and guitars.The music is all instrumental and harkens back to the classic British progressive sounds of the 70s.  The album kicks off with the 20 minute "A House Of Cards Pt 1", which is a pure love letter to the Mellotron.  Reminds me a bit of King Crimson's Lizard.  The music never gets overly heavy.  Marshall tends to rely on acoustic guitar quite a bit and Unruh's violin figures quite prominently.  We always say they don't make 'em like they used to but apparently they still do.  If you miss the glory days of Genesis and Camel you need to fill that spot in your collection.  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • A bit of a departure for the prog metal founders. Disconnected incorporates some of the in your face aggressiveness that Ray Alder explored on Engine with the proggier sounds of APSOG. Kind of a hit or miss affair. The high points really soar.
    $10.00
  • "Gurnemanz, was a German folk rock band, who have recorded and pressed privately two excellent albums during the mid 70s. Their delightful music is somewhere between first Broeselmaschine, Hoelderlin and Ougenweide. All ingredients are there, sitar, flute, lute, lyre, mandolin etc played by master musicians, but above all is this stunning female voice of Manuela Schmitz.This is their second album, originally pressed privately in 1977, all tracks are sung in English and it includes one of the best versions of the JOHN BARLEYCORN song, ever heard.Deluxe 180g vinyl, from the original analogue master tapes, exact reproduction of the original first pressing. 500 pieces limited edition."First ever official exact reissueGreat German folk rock album with female vocals from 1977Fully authorizedEnglish lyricsExpertly remastered by band member John Cremer himselfLimited, deluxe exact reissue on 180g vinyl with printed inner sleeve500 pieces limited  
    $29.00
  • 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
  • "The Prog Rock supergroup whose debut became the surprise hit of 2012 returns with a brand new album featuring an even more impressive lineup of stellar musicians and artists lending their talents to this incredible project!Features performances by mindblowing musicians Steve Stevens, Rick Wakeman, Steve Morse, Peter Banks (in his final appearance) as well as Captain Kirk himself William Shatner, PLUS members of Yes, Dream Theater, Nektar Asia, Gong and more!Deluxe digipak packaging!Performed by:Rick Wakeman Steve Stevens Chris Squire Peter Banks Steve Morse Larry Fast Alan Parsons Sonja Kristina Jordan Rudess Steve Hillage John Wesley Nik Turner Geoff Downes Roye Albrighton Gary Green Tony Kaye William Shatner Colin Moulding Mel Collins John Wetton Derek Sherinian Billy Sherwood Fee Waybill Patrick Moraz Jim Cuomo "
    $15.00
  • Official 180 gram vinyl reprint. First album from this German band originally released in 1972. While the band's output showed a progressive decline as they went on, their first three albums were pretty good - with this one being the heads and shoulders best. The music revolves around the organ of Frieder Schmidt and phased guitar of Willie Wagner. While not the most complex music, the band settles into a nice groove with wicked soloing through out. There is even some 'tron lurking. Think Birth Control meets Deep Purple. I eat this stuff up - love it!FOREIGN CUSTOMERS PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR SHIPPING CHARGES TO MORE ACCURATELY REFLECT OUR COSTS.
    $30.00
  • New 2CD reissue of the band's first album, originally released in 1994.  The second disc contains 18 rare and previously unreleased tracks.  Cool new artwork as well.
    $15.00
  • One of the great overlooked prog metal albums of the 90s made available again. This album with the odd name was only released in Japan by Toshiba-EMI in 1998. It was the debut album from this Swiss trio and featured the great Thomas Vikstrom on vocals. The music was keyboard driven, a bit off kilter and totally amazing. The band didn't release anything again until this year's Retrospective but the similarities are superficial. Retrospective is a great album but a bit more conventional. Cosmic Handball has a lot more personality. Its been remixed and remastered which can only help as the original production was a bit murky sounding. Highest recommendation.
    $5.00
  • "A Sunday Night Above the Rain is a two-disc live set recorded by modern pro giants Marillion last year in March at Center Parcs in Port Zelande, the Netherlands.Disc 1 opens with “Gaza” from the album of the same name. It’s typical Marillion high drama informed by a good chunky beat, spiky middle eastern-sounding synth lines and lilting choruses. Right from the beginning, the crowd comprised of thousands come from over 44 countries this night, is clapping along hot and heavy before Steve Rothery’s wailing guitar solo (one of the most underrated guitar players in rock and roll) and singing along as Steve Hogarth (lead vocalist) will welcome from them often here on the balled “Waiting To Happen,” where, sorry to say, not much really does happen.We get lots of Mark Kelly’s beautiful piano on “This Strange Engine,” though I’m not thrilled by Hogarth’s swallowing words in an over-affected vocal. The tune rocks in its last minutes though as the band and Hogarth rise to an anthem-like ending!The highlight of this first disc though is “Neverland” where Kelly, bassist Peter Trewavas and Hogarth are especially inspired, but again what Steve Rothery slips in are truly spine-chilling moments. What he seemingly just throws away in flips during the vocal are full feasts, his leads perfect from wailing moments to sweet and clean ones, not mere seconds from one another. Not since David Gilmour have I felt a guitarist say so much doing so little.Lots of Disc 2 are from the Gaza album. “Montreal,” with its mid-song Floydian moments, is more a Mark Kelly song really, with especially effective tom work from drummer Ian Mosley behind him and Peter Trewavas poppin’ on the “Power” (good lyric here especially). Mosely and Trewavas are kicking on the opening of what becomes a plinky “The King of Sunset Town,” a tune that showcases a solid Hogarth vocal. A truly beautiful once again piano-led tune, “The Sky Above the Rain” like “Neverland” on the first is the linchpin of this second disc. Hogarth is very good here as are the subtleties of the drum and bass duo once again.The band does give one quick nod to its past (when they were fronted by lead singer/enigmatic frontman Fish) ending with “Garden Party.” Hogarth doesn’t especially sell this tune, but he doesn’t have to as pretty much the audience sings the song for him.If you want to know what modern-day Marillion are all about, grab it." - Short And Sweet NYC
    $15.00