Reinventing The Steel

SKU: 62451-2
Label:
East West
Category:
Thrash Metal
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"Pantera's back, and all is as wrong with the world as it ever was. They're going to make sure you know it, too. Despite the four-year absence from the studio between Great Southern Trendkill and Reinventing the Steel, Pantera's unflagging aggression is confirmed by the full-throttle rhythms, throat-ripping vocals, and crunchy guitars. Call it their Metallica legacy, except that Pantera are more Metallica than Metallica these days. Heavy metal of this breed may be past its heyday, but Pantera's not going away quietly. In fact, evidence suggests that they're not going away at all--no matter how low you keep the volume knob, Reinventing the Steel is loud, loud, loud!" --Genevieve Williams

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  • Deluxe CD/DVD digipak.  The DVD features a "making of" documentary and lots of other stuff."Opening up the autumn season in grand fashion, a deluge of fantastic releases are upon us and spearheading that charge is veteran progressive black/Viking metal titans Enslaved and their newest and likely earthiest opus RIITIIR. Continuing along the long and illustrious progressive path the band first started drifting toward with 2000’s Mardraum: Beyond The Within. But if 2010’s Axioma Ethica Odini was a return of punishing metal authority, RIITIIR is an exercise in extremes and bombast – everything here is enormous in scale and execution. The songs themselves (most shooting well beyond the eight minute mark) each featuring a myriad of movements and cascading motifs, everything the Enslaved fan loves about the band here and in grand style!Glacial sheets of guitar are par the course for RIITIIR, the opening salvo of “Thoughts Like Hammers” steamrolling right out of the gate, near equal play of harsh and clean vocals coming into play with time, threatening and soothing in equal measure. These peaks and valleys return in epic fashion on “Veilburner,” trade-offs and synchrony of the two ends being used to tremendous effect, the cleans in particular used better here than on any release since Herbrand Larsen joined the group in 2004. This clean expression comes through in grand fashion on 11 minute closer “Forsaken,” a decidedly low key but super effective end to the journeys the album takes.It isn’t all clean wailing and atmospheric pomp however, the band lovingly riffing out with rediscovered metallic bravado with “Roots of the Mountain” and “Storm of Memories.” Though the harsh cliffs at the outset are soon met with clean voiced and mellotron-drenched ridgetops, eventually the listener is firmly kicked back into the abyss, this time accompanied by some fantastic and ongoing solos. It’s fascinating to see the rediscovered metallic vigor that came to life on the last release mixed so fervently with the band’s ever-growing melodic sense and expressive voice. These two aspects of the band, combined with their increasingly complex compositional sense, make for an exhausting and enthralling journey.All that being said, what’s featured on RIITIIR won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s listened to the band for even the past couple years, let alone the last decade – the album is simply another notch along the belt of progression by degrees. The compositions are bigger, more ornate, bristling with finer features and bombast. It’s the band’s thickest release in a long line of releases guitar Ivar Bjørnson has joked are ‘all two weeks long’. With each of those releases however the joy lay in divining the details over repeat listens, unearthing the secrets between the out layers. That remains the case here, RIITIIR another fantastic from a band that burst past the 20-year mark and is showing zero signs of aging. " - Blistering.com
    $15.00
  • "The somber black and white cover could have been a knowing allusion to Meet the Beatles!, but it's really a signal that Van Halen is playing it for keeps on OU812, their second record with Sammy Hagar. Indeed, the striking thing about OU812 is that all its humor is distilled into a silly punny title, because even the party tunes here -- and there are many -- are performed with a dogged, determined vibe. When David Lee Roth fronted the band, almost everything that Van Halen did seemed easy -- as big, boisterous, and raucous as an actual party -- but Van Hagar makes good times seem like tough work here. Apart from a few cuts -- the countryish hook on "Finish What Ya Started," the slow, bluesy strut "Black and Blue" -- the riffs are complicated, not catchy, the rhythms plod, they don't rock, and Sammy strains to inject some good times by singing too hard. It gives OU812 a bit of a dour feel, not entirely dissimilar to Fair Warning, but unlike that early unheralded gem, this isn't a descent into darkness; it's merely a very inward rock record, as Eddie Van Halen pushes the band toward interesting musical territory. Often, this takes the form of jazzy chord changes or harmonies -- most evidently on the sleek opener, "Mine All Mine," but also on the otherwise metallic boogie "Source of Infection" -- but there's also "Cabo Wabo," the longest jam they've laid down on record to date, and a cover of Little Feat's "A Apolitical Blues" (which could have been a salute to producer Ted Templeman's early glories as much as a chance to do some down-n-dirty blues rock). Of course, there's also a pair of power ballads here, both poppier than the ones on 5150 -- "When It's Love" is pure balladry, "Feels So Good" rides along on a gurgling synth -- but really, they're red herrings on a record that's the hardest, darkest rock Van Halen has made since Fair Warning. And if it isn't as good as that record (even if it's nearly not as much fun), it's nevertheless the best showcase of the instrumental abilities of Van Hagar." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • "“Cast me into desolation, I’ll find my path again” bellows Sylosis frontman Josh Middleton on “Mercy”, the first single from the UK metal quartet’s fourth full-length release, Dormant Heart.  There is a great deal of sincerity found in these lyrics, in this voice, and in this band.  Sylosis has been making a name for themselves within the metal community for some time, but the band was recently able to attain increased prominence following their 2012 release, Monolith.  This, in part, was also due to extensive touring with bands such as Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, DevilDriver, Devin Townsend, and others, as well as appearances at various festivals around the world.  After yet another change in lineup, Sylosis is back with what could very well be their best, as well as their darkest, grittiest, and most pissed off record to date.No word exists in The Oxford English Dictionary that can adequately describe the level of my excitement upon finding out that I would be given an opportunity to review Dormant Heart.  A few weeks ago, I rushed to indulge in the debut of “Mercy” just minutes after its release.  Now, after experiencing the album in full, I can say with conviction that Dormant Heart certainly lives up to the standard that Sylosis has set for themselves, as if there was ever any doubt that they would to begin with.The album’s first and shortest track, “Where the Wolves Come to Die”, serves as a fantastic opener that brings both heaviness and atmosphere.  An excellent cut in its own right, the track prepares listeners for the sheer brutality that soon follows.  “Victims and Pawns”, as well as title track “Dormant Heart”, feature Sylosis’ massive Bay Area Thrash influence at the forefront.  Both of these tracks contain sections that parallel the unique sounds heard on Monolith, but with a new, fresh approach.  These full-on thrashers, as well as others on Dormant Heart such as “Indoctrinated” and “Callous Souls”, are more than enough to supercharge your being within a matter of seconds.  On release day, be sure to leave the morning coffee at home; you won’t need it.While select cuts from Dormant Heart spend a significant amount of time at higher BPMs, the massive groove that Sylosis is also known for is certainly heard throughout the record.  Tracks such as “To Build a Tomb”, “Overthrown”, and “Servitude” often leave me wondering how such an aggressive, ass-kicking, heavy-as-fuck sound is created in standard tuning.  Then again, most of what this band does leaves me in a similar state of astonishment. Guitar work provided by Josh Middleton and Alex Bailey weaves its way through your being, leaving listeners to pick their collective jaw up off of the goddamn ground.  “To Build a Tomb” and “Servitude” are personal favorites of mine on Dormant Heart.  The first time I heard them, my head was metaphorically sent spiraling into oblivion.Since initially taking on the role of lead vocalist after Jamie Graham’s departure from Sylosis, Josh Middleton’s vocal abilities have steadily improved with each release.  The frontman’s voice hits unexpected highs during both the verses and chorus of “Leech”, in which he soon after unleashes a breathtaking solo.  “Harm” and “Mercy” also showcase Middleton’s competence vocally, as well as the overall expected musicality from the entire band.  Before leaving Sylosis due to other obligations, former drummer Rob Callard laid down drum tracks that complement the material in every which way, along with longtime bassist Carl Parnell providing powerful blends of low-end.  “Mercy” is another personal favorite of mine, containing a chorus that is beneficially infectious and a doomy outro so enormous it practically destroys everything in its path.Closing Dormant Heart is “Quiescent”, a track that stands apart from the preceding eleven.  Middleton sings cleanly over acoustic guitar, which gives way to an eruption of aggressiveness.  Without giving too much away, think of “Quiescent” to Dormant Heart as “Enshrined” is to Monolith, in a way.  The song and album fade, signifying a new beginning of sorts for a band that has seen an eventful two years since its previous effort.  Their dedication and contribution to the world of heavy music is unwavering.  Make no mistake; the future of metal lies in the hands of the mighty Sylosis." - Rock Revolt
    $12.00
  • "One of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power is just what is says: a raw, pulverizing, insanely intense depiction of naked rage and hostility that drains its listeners and pounds them into submission. Even the "ballads," "This Love" and "Hollow," have thunderingly loud, aggressive chorus sections. Preaching power through strength and integrity, Phil Anselmo discards any further attempts at singing in favor of a militaristic bark and an unhinged roar, while the crystal-clear production sets Diamond Darrell's pummeling riffs against a rhythmic backdrop so thunderously supportive that Darrell often solos without underlying rhythm guitar parts. The album again follows Cowboys from Hell's strategy of stacking the best songs at the beginning and letting their momentum carry the listener through the rest, but the riffs and sonic textures are more consistently interesting this time around. Pantera's thick-sounding, post-hardcore power metal and outraged, testosterone-drenched intensity would help pave the way for alternative metal acts like Korn and Tool; Vulgar Display of Power is the best distillation of those virtues." - All Music Guide
    $9.00
  • This was a pleasant surprise and frankly a return to form. "Room V" is actually a sequel to 1998's "Tyranny" and in many ways betters it. I find the album to be a bit laid back - by Shadow Gallery standards. I would say that this leans more towards the prog rock side rather than metal reminding me of a heavier version of Glass Hammer although lots of similarities to Dream Theater are evident. The album is filled with warmth, perhaps due to the emphasis at times on keyboards. So this one straddles the line between symphonic rock and progressive metal doing both with panache - this one is easily recommended.
    $12.00
  • Remastered edition of this star-studded first solo album comes with a bonus track.
    $17.00
  • "Credited with being amongst the saviours of true heavy metal in the late 90s, power metal behemoths HammerFall are back to infect your sound system with high-pitched vocals, galloping riffs and a thundering double-bass kick synonymous with Sweden’s finest.The marketing approach taken on Infected has a somewhat more modern edge to it with the logo being somewhat skewed, as if a product of the toxic wasteland that vocalist Joacim Cans sings about in Patient Zero.Another notable omission is beloved mascot Hector failing to make an appearance on the album cover, replaced by a seemingly infected human mutant’s hand (the original concept was for a biohazard logo, disputed by Biohazard’s Evan Seinfeld – I didn’t realise the international symbol was the nu-metal band’s property). This has caused uproar amongst the HammerFall faithful and Hector has since graced the cover of the single for Send Me A Sign, along with the original band logo.However, despite some unusual deviations in guitarist and chief songwriter Oscar Dronjak’s direction for the band, the sound is essentially a continuation of what we have always loved about the band. Fun lyrics complemented by fist-pumping music and guitar solos that would make the likes of Bill & Ted’s Rufus envious.Although the band seem like they will never come remotely close to topping the unforgettable Glory To The Brave and Legacy Of Kings albums, HammerFall continue to deliver solid power metal and although HammerFall have added a few different types of spirits to the mix this time, the end result is still the same and will have you raising the metal horns up high.In a world of the politically correct, fashionista, hipster, self-important many, HammerFall continue to wave the flag for the disinterested in conforming to a particular mould few, who instead know what they like and don’t need to be told to like it. Bang Your Head…Stand United….amen."- Faster Louder.com.au
    $13.00
  • "Every month that passes seems to bring more evidence that the NWOBHM revival continues to gather pace, with a plethora of bands using the up and at 'em riffage and soaring twin guitars to create albums that firmly nod towards the movement made most famous by the likes of Iron Maiden and Saxon. Newest New Wavers on the block this month are Sweden's Katana, who not only sound like they were raised on a diet of Maiden, Priest and Accept, but who also rather worryingly would appear to have raided the wardrobe of these bands, as well as the slightly less leather obsessed acts of the era with red trousers and stripey jackets (along with a nice perm) giving the band's promo shots a genuinely retro feel. As with nearly all metal and progressive acts coming out of Scandinavia these days, Katana are a tight unit that manage to show a great deal of musical skill and talent across what is a rip roaring, if predictable set of songs. Dip into this debut album at any point and twin lead howls of mid period Maiden, or the crunching blasts of Judas Priest abound from the speakers with an audible enthusiasm. That more than anything else makes it hard not to smile as these well tread themes are given a rigorous polish by Katana and while it may be impossible not to suggest that there is absolutely zero in the way of imagination or originality on show on Heads Will Roll, the songs are actually irresistibly enjoyable. Yes singer Johan Bernspang does fire out too many Dickinson like "Ooohhh Ohhhh Ohhhhhh's" and the sprawling bass in the intro of "Quest For Hades" screams Steve Harris, but that doesn't stop the likes of humungously riffed "Rebel Ride", or the galloping romp of "Livin' Without Fear" being great slabs of rollickingly heavy metal. Nothing new, but an impressive start none the less." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • "Nightmare managed to release just two studio albums in the eighties before falling victim to "musical differences" and the band tore themselves apart at the tail end of the decade. The story could have ended there and the name of Nightmare might have vanished without trace but in 1999 the band resurfaced with original drummer Jo Amore emerging from the shadows of obscurity to front a new version of the old dream.Recruiting his brother David to takeover his vacated stool Jo set about rebuilding Nightmare's reputation brick by brick. Fifteen years on from that rebirth Nightmare are the pride of the French metal scene and 'The Aftermath' is a riveting fifty minutes of tricolour thunder!Combining elements from their traditional eighties roots with a modern drive and something of a theatrical stance they create some seriously epic soundscapes. 'Bringer Of A No Man's Land' and 'Forbidden Tribe' are first to shatter the peace with a brace of hammer blows that feel like Avantasia collided headfirst with some 'Painkiller' Priest. Vocally Jo negotiates a line between the snarling insanity of Dee Snider and a Jorn-esque genius. Their ambitious brand of power metal is grand and striking, 'Invoking Demons' a standout piece. Atmospheric build ups, electrically charged at every turn the tunes they've compiled for 'The Aftermath' are sharp and precise, each underpinned by David's hard hitting style, his beats exploding with the ferocity of Napoleonic cannons. Regimented rhythms march steadily throughout and provide a solid backbone to each metal moment.With 'Alone In The Distance' bringing a close to ten well crafted and skillfully executed songs I find myself wishing more bands would take a page out of Nightmare's book of dreams because 'The Aftermath' is exactly how a contemporary metal album should sound. It's clear and powerful but not once is it over polished with unnecessary production. Nightmare manage to retain a sharp cutting edge to their classic yet current metal sound and keep some fierce serrations perfectly placed along the way so that each track rips into your psyche leaving you bloodthirsty for more.As a new addition to Nightmare's long history 'The Aftermath' will surely be welcomed by old fans with open arms and I can imagine a few new fans being drawn in by this album and its charms too. It's stuff like this that ignites my passion about metal. Impressive stuff indeed." - Uber Rock
    $15.00
  • Glass Hammer get all existential on us...Perilous is the new band's new concept album about a man dealing with grand scale issues like mortality.  A bit of a downer but like all Glass Hammer projects there is a ray of sunshine at the end.  Glass Hammer is fronted by Jon Davison who was plucked away by the remaining members of Yes for current tours and cruises.  He remains a member of GH as well.  Naturally with the voice of a Jon Anderson sound alike, the music bears remarkable similarity to Yes.  Some of Fred Schendel's piano work reminds a bit of Going For The One.  When Fred is hammering away on the organ the music takes on a Kansas quality.  So essentially not much has changed.  Glass Hammer's sound has pretty much evolved into a Yes/Kansas hybrid over the past decade and there it remains.
    $13.00
  • After a 10 year absence Enchant are back.  The band started in 1993 making them one of the earliest prog metal band.  Actually they are sort of an interesting band in that they seem to exist in both the prog rock and prog metal realms.  Some metal fans think of them as a bit lightweight and some prog rock fans think they are too heavy!  One thing is for sure they are wildly successful.  This is definitely prog but it never loses sight of the melody.  Fronted by the great Ted Leonard (who is now doing double duty with Spock's Beard) this one is a no-brainer - whether you are metal or prog head.  "irst impressions are the similarities to Spock’s Beard. Hardly surprising since Ted Leonard has been singing with them since 2011. He’s been with Enchant longer; their first CD came out in 1993. And familiarity doesn’t breed contempt here, fortunately.Bay area progressive rockers, they steer a straight course composing guitar-structured songs that they extemporise over. Guitarist Douglas A Ott is also the band’s main producer, with The Great Divide having been recorded at his own studio, but if in the past the band’s followed his direction they’re now more involved after a ten year gap working on other projects. Also, while integral, Ott doesn’t dominate Enchant’s sound but flows in and out adding a hard rock bias to their generic musical flavouring. Drummer/percussionist Sean Flanegan and bassist Ed Platt have the solidity of early Kansas and musically there are some pretty snazzy and often too brief keyboard solos from Bill Jenkins.A rolling cyclical bass line forms the basis of opening number ‘Circles’ with Leonard pondering life going round well, like a circle – while the lyrics aren’t profound they feel right and though this isn’t a concept album, despite the band stating otherwise, there are common themes concerning the human condition in a loosely existential manner. Mainly straight verse and choruses ‘Circles’ breaks out into more complicated time signatures before an acoustic comes to the fore, vocals return, an electric guitar take over and it concludes with a nicely warm keyboard solo. ‘Within An Inch’ follows with a steady rock backbeat over which Ott’s playing echoes Camel’s Andy Latimer interrupted briefly by some John Ellis punk-styled sirening. ‘The Great Divide’ follows suit in a more epic manner, the arrangement akin to Genesis in their golden period.Enchant don’t play with the fairies, despite what their name suggests. If anything they’re two steps removed from an AOR sound leaning in towards early Asia with some latter day Beatles thrown in, and a less grandiose take on Spock’s Beard. One might refer to them as technically proficient rather than emotionally overwrought, meaning there is a heartfelt flavour to their songs, and they tend to grow on you.The subdued opening to ‘Life In A Shadow’ throws a brief curveball echoing the Canterbury sound of Hatfield & The North before a heavy chorded chorus takes this into a rocking tune with soulful harmonies. ‘Deserve To Feel’ pours on the technical drumming and dribbling triplet bass figures with some flashy pyrotechnics predominantly on guitar but with keen keyboard flourishes, moving into a more intricate musical score as Jenkins and Ott trade inspired lines towards its conclusion. Likewise, ‘Here And Now’ builds reflectively moving towards emotional drama.Finely composed, played well, Enchant’s The Great Divide might not have you falling under its spell, but you may well be surprised how you find yourself being drawn to playing it." - The Midland Rocks
    $12.00
  • San Francisco's Orchid has been kicking around a bit, jumping around a bunch of small labels.  A buzz has been developing around the band so it was only a matter of time before they stepped up to the big time - they got snatched up by Nuclear Blast.  I would say that NB scored a major coup here.  Orchid's reputation has been built upon a doom metal sound that draws heavily from the early Black Sabbath canon.  Plain and simple.  These guys have the retro sound down pat and the look as well.  If you are into doom its not going to come any better than this.  Highly recommended. 
    $13.00
  • "After what has been a rather public and unseemly split from Nightwish (déjà vu anyone...?), onetime Alyson Avenue front-lady Anette Olzon returns with her first solo album, Shine. For anyone expecting something akin to the Nightwish bombast and bluster, it is an album set to surprise, possibly shock and ultimately disappoint. However, for those willing to simply take this album at face value, the surprise will be of an altogether different variety; a classy mix of Pop hooks, grandiose arrangements, intimacy and a sprinkling of the eccentricity which marked Kate Bush out, creating a quite beautiful, confident record that really does indeed shine very brightly indeed. What Shine also allows Olzon to do, is to illustrate a voice that soars, whispers, commands and seduces, revealing far greater facets and variety than her previous musical situation could ever have allowed. Put simply, like the music here, or not, there's absolutely no denying that Anette Olzon is mightily impressive.Thankfully, it is also extremely easy to give in to the music's charms, Olzon surrounding herself with a crack team (Stefan Orn, Johan Glossner, Johan Kronlund) of songwriters, producers and mixer-masterers, to craft a set of songs that are reasonably simple, memorable and thoroughly captivating. The likes of "Lies" hits like a shimmering Evanescence, "Invincible" is a string and voice (and plaintive guitar as the song builds) masterclass of stark melancholia, "Moving Away" a Scandi-folk tinged piece of adult Pop which works tremendously well. Add to that opener, "Like A Show", which fuses strings to slow electro-beats and a fragile vocal; "Falling", which I could imagine a stripped back Scorpions attempting, and the wonderful, soaring, is it Pop, is it Rock of the album's title track and not only do each and every one of the songs hit their mark, but they do so with enough eclecticism to stand up to repeat listens. And I haven't even mentioned the Kate Bush "Army Dreamers" clone "Floating", which while landing possibly too close to this particular Bush, is still a highlight. Factor in the commercial nous of Abba in places, and Shine really becomes a rare beast. An intelligent, yet utterly accessible and singalongable Pop come Rock album.Some may have thought that Anette Olzon's departure from Nightwish signalled the beginning of the end of her career in the limelight. On the strength of Shine, it is only just the beginning." - Sea of Tranquility
    $12.00
  • UK band Touchstone take a surprising (at least to my ears) turn in a heavier direction.  While I would never call this full on metal, mixing engineer John Mitchell decided to turn their guitar up a notch.  Some good crunchy guitar bits through out the album.  The band was never a complex prog band.  Touchstone always had a melodic sensibility touching on AOR and neo-prog.  There is a symphonic element that keeps the music rooted in the prog world but you can tell that this is a band that is looking to cross over into other genres.  Their strongest asset remains vocalist Kim Seviour , who along with Leslie Hunt is one of the best female vocalists in the prog world."Returning once more to confound listeners and music reviewers alike, such as yours truly, with their ever evolving and pleasing neo-prog is England's Touchstone with their fourth long player, Oceans Of Time. Dare say, for their benefit, it's hard to pigeonhole Touchstone's sound. Is it hard rock? AOR? Progressive rock? Yes and then some, and it's not necessarily all that confounding really.However, I might say that Oceans Of Time could be their most 'proggy' album to date. If anything, the songs are quite varied, visiting old territory and exploring the new. Touchstone also returns to some familiar themes. The title track continues the Wintercoast story, and Shadow's End wraps up the Shadows trilogy begun on Discordant Dreams.These songs are also good examples of the strong progressive nature of the album, with Touchstone throwing curves to your ears. Yet Oceans Of Time will also sound more like familiar Touchstone as well. The musical canvas is quite grand lavished with layers of instrumentation, notably Hodgson's guitar and Cottingham's keyboards. Flux is another fine example of Touchstone's exotic musical brew. It's got some hard rock chops mixed with the prog, and then, about the three minute mark, it calms down. Synths stir, then Kim Seviour's vocals arrive, and the arrangement swells to sweet crescendo. It's one of best moments of the album.Other highlights include the bass and drum lines of Contact, a moody piece where Seviour's voice is alluring and graceful; the clever drumming within Fragments, possibly the closest thing to straight melodic rock song here; and, Spirit of the Age, a song with balancing lighter moments with heavier ones, and Seviour at her most sublime. Touchstone is band that keeps evolving and getting better, and so is always interesting and entertaining. Oceans Of Time is well recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $7.00