Rising ($5 SPECIAL)

SKU: 3145473612
Label:
Polydor
Category:
Hard Rock
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Monumental album from Ritchie Blackmore/Ronnie James Dio. Worth it just for "Stargazer" alone. Remastered edition. Essential.

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  • "After a year of personal and personnel problems, the Allman Brothers Band got back together to record the surprisingly consistent live-in-the-studio venture Where It All Begins. It lacks the ambition and stretch of Seven Turns or Shades of Two Worlds, along with their peaks, but it is still a solidly consistent album, driven by some of the virtues of live spontaneity. Highlights include Gregg Allman's frank drug song "All Night Train," the Bo Diddley-beat-driven "No One to Run With," and the glorious dual-guitar workout "Back Where It All Begins."" - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • Stunning reissue of the second album from Jacqueline Thibault aka Laurence Vanay.  To confuse issues more this was actually released under the band name Gate Way.  Perhaps a bit heavier than Galaxies, this treads similar ground.  Spacey prog with a Pink Floyd feel married to gorgeous, soft and wispy dreamlike folk.  Ms. Thibault is a hell of a keyboardist and she displays her wares through out the album.  This deluxe reissue arrives in a mini-lp sleeve, is loaded with bonus tracks, and has a great booklet with an interview with Ms. Thibault.  She's had an interesting life.  It would seem that the time period that Evening Colours was recorded was a bit of a train wreck for her - definitely a good read.  These Laurence Vanay release are clearly two of the best reissues of 2013.  Save yourself hundreds of dollars and hours trying to find an original vinyl copy.  This was transferred from the original master tapes and sounds wonderful.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Tripped out album from South American guitarist Alfonso Lovo. Recorded in 1976, this only existed as an unreleased acetate.  With Santana percussionist Jose "Chepito" Areas on board, you can hear the obvious influences but there is a definite psychedelic vibe - this isn't straight up latin rock.  Synthesisers waft through the air with a lysergic randomness that reminds of some stoned out Jamaican session.  Snakey wah-wah'ed out guitar leads add to the fun and the horns and percussion treat the whole thing like some weird out take from Abraxas.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • "After a 5 year hiatus, Cryptic Vision releases ""Of Infinite Possibilities"" This album is part 3 of their trilogy ""Moments Of Clarity In A World Of Infinite Possibilities"" and is their most ambitious CD yet. From the opening 5/4 riff of Singularity to the bombastic ending of the title track, Cryptic Vision takes you through a progressive journey of the world we live in. From the scientific to the spiritual, from our soul to the outer Universe, the CD explores the meaning of our existence. Each song represents a different perspective of how we try to make sense of our world and what lies beyond."
    $9.00
  • "Don’t let the Appearance Of Nothing distract you from hearing A New Beginning, because, despite such deception, there’s a lot to be enjoyed from one of Switzerland’s few progressive metal bands. I’ve decided to adopt a policy of responding to stupid band names with stupid puns, and I won’t stop until they do. Appearance Of Nothing plays straightforward melodic progressive metal that’s heavy on the melodic. The band has been around for about ten years, and this is their third album. For fans of their first two albums, as well as fans of the more accessible forms of progressive metal, this is a very strong release.Expect synth and guitar heavy music. Every song is carried by crunchy rhythm guitars, and I’m happy to report that the recording and production is spot on to allow them to really shine. As far as distinct strengths of the album: look no further the choruses. Every single one, particularly on the daunting 14 minute title track, is remarkably catchy. This memorability, along with the consistently driving pace of the album, makes it a very easy and enjoyable listen. The lead vocal performance is also pretty great, and the songwriting even manages to accommodate interspersed harsh vocals. Usually throwing harsh vocals into melodic prog is a quick turn-off for me, but I applaud Appearance Of Nothing for pulling it off.Where drawbacks are concerned, I can’t point to any specific “problems”, but there are a few minor disappointments. For a pretty heavy synth presence, strong vocals, and ample songwriting diversity, I was disappointed with the overall atmosphere of the album. While the songs were certainly strong, they lacked a unique identity. This isn’t so much a drawback as it is lost potential for a band that’s got everything else they need to be really, really good.Certainly check out the single “Chains Of History”, as well as the title track. As common to great progressive music, it’s often that the longest song ought to be the best, and that’s certainly true here with the title track. I again applaud solid work from the studio to draw out a powerful performance so that it actually sounds powerful. Where technically proficient progressive metal meets great melodies and an excellent performance, you can’t go wrong." - Black Wind Metal
    $15.00
  • Recent effort is actually a return to their eariler proggier sound. All the Saga fans I know totally dig this one!
    $8.00
  • First album from this Swedish quartet riding the retro-hard rock trend made popular by bands like Graveyard and Witchcraft.  Like those other bands there is a strong Black Sabbath influence but the music has much more of a rawer (garage-like) edge.  I should note that vocals are sung in Swedish so that might be an issue for some of you.  If you like your hard rock with a psychedelic vibe you should check these guys out - its quite lethal.
    $16.00
  • "When the studio of ever-groundbreaking Krautrock pioneers Can was sold to Germany's Rock n' Pop Museum, the entire space was disassembled and moved, and in the process, reels and reels of poorly marked and seemingly forgotten tapes were found buried amid other detritus in the studio. These tapes held over 30 hours of unreleased music from Can spanning a nine-year period and including work from both vocalists Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki. Edited down to just over three hours, The Lost Tapes still includes an extensive amount of unheard studio, live, and soundtrack work from the band, and at its heights is as revelatory and brilliant as the best material on their well-loved albums. Early vocalist Malcolm Mooney left the band under doctor's orders after suffering a nervous breakdown connected with heavy paranoia, and his unhinged vocals characterize collections of early Can recordings like Delay. On The Lost Tapes, Mooney rants his way through the ten-plus-minute "Waiting for the Streetcar," a charged jam that crackles with all the same kind of energy that would embody the post-punk movement years later. Of the Mooney era, "Deadly Doris" also has the same fuzzy punk vibes meeting the kind of Krautrock groove Can excelled at, while the spoken eeriness of "When Darkness Comes" finds a brittle soundscape of formless tones and menacing muttering. Highlights are bountiful throughout the set's three discs, with soundtrack work like the hypnotic "Dead Pigeon Suite" and brilliant live renditions of classic tracks from the Damo Suzuki era like "Spoon" and "Mushroom." Some of the material cuts in and out between studio and live recordings, while other studio tracks are extended pieces with well-known album tracks housed in the middle of before-unheard jams. With over 30 hours of material to cull from, it goes without saying that Can loved to jam. If The Lost Tapes has any shortcomings, it would be that Can's exploratory nature led them to follow any idea at great length, and several of the songs approach or exceed the nine-minute mark, making the set difficult to digest at once. Some of the live tracks lack the fire of the rest of the set, as do some of the seemingly innocuous interludes. While The Lost Tapes isn't for every casual listener, the collection keeps from becoming a "fans only" compilation through the sheer amount of ideas and material put forth. Can's inarguable importance in so many fields of music from experimental to production-minded electronic music and so on has spanned generations, and these lost recordings represent an amazing mother lode to any Can enthusiast and certainly should hold more than enough interesting moments for even a curious new listener." - allmusic.com
    $24.00
  • Limited edition double vinyl set.The Odyssey finds the band striking out in a new direction and frankly the results are stunning. Essentially the band made their statement album of neoclassical metal with the "V" release so there really was no point in going further. There is more agression in Russel Allen's voice and Mike Romeo's guitarwork is a crunch machine. This is progressive to the max - the 24 minute title track is a future classic and the sequel "Accolade II" lives up to the original. The overall production simply explodes - gone is the lush symphonics of "V" - this is right in your face. Mike Pinella's trademark blistering synth leads are all over the place and he trades off with Romeo just the way you want them to. What is missing is the symphonic landscapes that linked the different pieces together. I say...2003 is upon us...this new Symphony X is slightly different from the old Symphony X but just as good. Prog and power metal fans need not worry - they have delivered the goods with a surprising twist!
    $17.00
  • "With 1985's Metal Heart, German metal institution Accept attempted to add catchier choruses and melodies to their high-octane guitar riffing in a clear ploy to crack the American market. Not that this move in any way upset the balance of their thus-far smooth-running metal machine, which had been gaining momentum with every release since the start of the decade. No, Metal Heart was certainly a step toward accessibility, but a cautious one at that -- and, frankly, there was no toning down when it came to the lacerated larynx of gifted lead screamer Udo Dirkschneider. You gotta hand it to Accept, they sure knew how to make an entrance by now, and the apocalyptic title track is about as dramatic as it gets (the operatic "Bound to Fail" comes close), with guitarist Wolf Hoffman taking the helm on a long, mid-song solo excursion containing equal nods to Beethoven (very nice) and Edward Van Halen (get real). First single "Midnight Mover" is next, and along with the even more melodic "Screaming for a Love-Bite," it places obvious emphasis on hooks and melodies (and proved to be the toughest to stomach for the band's more hardcore fans). But despite another strange detour into jazz territory with the bizarre "Teach Us to Survive," Accept still packed amazing power, heaping on their Teutonic background vocals for the ultraheavy "Dogs on Leads" and gleefully pile-driving their way through relentless moshers like "Up to the Limit" and "Wrong Is Right." The brilliantly over-the-top "Too High to Get It Right" finds Dirkschneider screeching like never before, and to cap things off, the band really cooks on "Living for Tonight" -- arguably the best track all around. A winning set." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • Limited edition digipak of the live performance of She also contains 2 CDs with the audio soundtrack (not the studio version). These actually do go out of print eventually and become collectable.
    $32.00
  • Dedicated to Karlheinz Stockhausen so I guess you can figure out which direction this one is headed...
    $11.00