Rising Force ($5 Special)

SKU: 825324-2
Label:
Polydor
Category:
Power Metal
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While the Rising Force album was not Malmsteen's first entre into the metal world it certainly turned it upside down.  The Swedish guitarist was heavily influenced by Uli Roth and Ritchie Blackmore as well as classical composer/violinist Niccolo Paganini.  Essentially his extreme virtuosity defined the "neoclassical metal" sound and has remained a signature of his ever since.

The Rising Force debut featured a killer lineup - Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull) on drums, Jens Johansson (keys), and Jeff Scott Soto (vocals),  Malmsteen handled all guitar and bass parts as well as the Moog Taurus pedals.  Very much a classic.  Highly recommended.

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  • "Two years ago, a virtually unknown Russian band released a debut with chamber classical orchestration, gorgeous multi-layered vocals, and the occasional modern rock touch. Very few initially noticed it, but eventually by word of mouth, it became an unexpected favorite 2012 album in progressive rock, despite the scarcity of progressive rock elements. Listeners there mainly rated on songwriting and enjoyment.Now, we have a second iamthemorning album, expanding on the elements from the first album. A confident, mature album that will likely bring rave reviews all over the place given the band is not as obscure as in 2012.The music is once again heavily influenced by classical music. Vocals and piano continue creating the foundation of the music, with orchestral instrument, drums, and modern rock sounds adding layers whenever needed. Even the modern rock sounds are used in a very classical, 'iamthemorning' way.The added complexity of the music was a risk. After all, the debut's instantly rewarding melodies and its safe, if brilliant, songwriting approach made it very difficult for many listener to honestly hate such an album. Now, we're dealing with complexity levels more to the tune of classical music and progressive rock. This is now easily categorized as progressive rock, with less direct melodies, knotty musical ideas, occasionally long songs, more in-depth instrumentation and lyricism. The risk is that I enjoyed the first listen less than the first listen of the debut. However, I cannot decide which album I prefer now. I feel like this one has a few minor flaws based on the risk-taking approach, compared to the near-perfection pop of the debut. However, there are even more 'WOW!' moments here in my opinion, some of the very best musical passages I perceive to come across.Flaws? I seem to only gripe about the slow development of their last full song, the samples in 'Howler' and the beginning of 'K.O.S' with a repetitive, awkward drum beat and one-chord guitar riff. Luckily, the latter two songs are overall highly interesting and dynamic songs otherwise, which is why I said the flaws are not severe as they involve a small fraction of two songs.Strengths? It's hard to name them all. The intermissions remain impressive. The first one has such a captivating atmosphere, I can't imagine anyone being hard-pressed to say 'nah' and stop playing the album. The fourth intermission (titled XII) almost reaches song-like status in length, starting with classical violin and continuing with mesmerizing piano. The last intermission is almost transcendental in a spiritual sense.And then you have the songs and they are so, so good. All those subtle melodies and exciting instrumentation in 'Howler', the beautiful 'To Human Misery' with a very captivating main melody yet also with a lot of subtle instrumentation. I should try not to overuse the phrase 'subtle complexity', but I think that word really describes this album. Subtle complexity is what makes this album work so well: you latch on into some obvious melodies on first listen, but then all those little details won't make you lose interest. Every instrument plays melodies, sometimes simultaneously.'Romance' and '5/4' sound a bit like more intricate version of Tori Amos music. They are whimsical, enchanting yet quite complex in instrumentation. Those little details like the muted violin melodies and brief 'shredding' electric guitar that somehow sounds mellow. The '5/4' song is mostly in 6/4 actually, but when it shifts to a 5/4 meter playing a carnival-like atmosphere, it's pure genius, even if it sounds like a horrible idea at first listen. It's an odd choice for a single. I thought it would be 'The Simple Story' which is more instantly recognizable with its melodies and the great piano line near the end. 'Crowded Corridors' is possibly their most accomplished composition to date and also their longest by far at nearly 9 minutes. It begins relatively subdued with their typical instrumentation and vocalizations, if more haunting than usual. Something else going for it is the more 'epic', dramatic moments that work incredibly well. It'd be interesting if they revisit this approach to songwriting in later albums. A particular highlight, besides the obvious piano solo in the latter half, is a slow melody at minute 3 being revisited at the very end at a faster pace.By the way, most of these songs deviate from a typical song structure to help make it more impactful and dynamic. The song 'Gerda' starts very soft and delicate but later sounds very empowering and grand: it's yet another great song. 'Os Lunatum' starts as an outstanding piano + vocal duet, both at their very best, especially during the song's main hook. Guitars later become dominant on the song's instrumental section. The song concludes with a full band sound, the progression from the very beginning being very natural.'K O S' may be marginally a less enjoyable song here because of that first minute which sounds repetitive and lacks what I like about the band. The rest is an interesting experiment as they veer towards a progressive rock / alternative rock sound without fully losing their trademark vocals, pianos, and subtle way to adding melodic layers. I love the way it ends, reprising the intro in such a way that almost redeems it. The 'Reprise of Light no Light' is another lesser favorite, developing in a slow fashion that sometimes tests my patience. I do love that it, along with the last intermission, ends with peaceful, abstract noise.In the end, they have accomplished a very difficult feat, given the high standard the set themselves with their debut. This second album is very intelligent music as well as very deep, emotional music. It touches me. In the end, despite the occasional flaw, it's a masterpiece and I anticipate it being consistently among my favorite pieces of music regardless of genre alongside their debut." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • Second album from this exciting band from Tunisia. Myrath is heavily influenced by the progressive power metal style of Symphony X but on this album they have given us a swerve. Although he sings in English, the band's new vocalist sings in a traditional Arabic style. There is a more pronounced Middle Eastern flavor in the songwriting but there is still the neoclassical/prog element very much present. Its a unique sound - I wouldn't even compare them to Orphaned Land who take a different path. These guys clearly are not afraid to carve out their own path.
    $14.00
  • "There are few bands, with a better than 25 years career, that have been as consistent in their sound and output as Denmark's Royal Hunt. Sure, they've had their share of personnel changes, significantly in the vocalist position, yet they carry on with increasing success. Recently, some of that success comes from one simple yet significant change. They brought Pennsylvania native D.C. Cooper back on the microphone. For my money, he'll always be the voice of Royal. He remains so, and the band records their thirteen album with Cooper, XIII - Devil's Dozen, his fifth on vocals for Royal Hunt.For those unfamiliar with Royal Hunt, which I doubt if you're reading this, the band performs melodic and symphonic heavy metal, with large emphasis on the first two descriptors. The symphonic element comes from founder and principal songwriter Andre Anderson's influence and keyboard presence. I'm presuming it's his synths that account for the large than life orchestration and not an actual orchestra. PR material was wanting on that information. Suffice to say, the symphonic layer provides two things. It provides a lush and lavish canvas and reinforces the melody of the arrangement, in every song. After this, Anderson offers keyboard solos throughout, sharing the limelight with the guitar leads. And those leads are as present and immense as everything else. Actually, I think the guitar presence is even larger on this album than most. Jonas Larsen is at the top of his game.Following these things, Cooper is also in top form, with a strong vocal presence. His skill comes from his natural ability to follow the melody and harmony of an arrangement, and then stay in range. Then there's the character of the songs, which has been alluded to by speaking of the particular musical elements.What's notable in those song arrangements is the importance of harmony and melody, but also the basic rock groove. This is where, from the band's inception, classic melodic hard rock has been as much a pillar of the musical foundation as the symphonic element. When these things dovetail together as with So Right So Wrong, How Do You Know, Way Too Late, and the quite catchy Hear On A Platte, Royal Hunt is a formidable melodic metal powerhouse. And that was only to mention four songs. They're all outstanding, all terrific and no filler. Once more, with XIII - Devil's Dozen, Royal Hunt's melodic and symphonic heavy metal is consistent, creative, and entertaining. Sweet stuff and strongly recommended." - Dangerdog.com 
    $16.00
  • Classic album from 1981 recut on 180 gram yellow vinyl.  Comes with a bonus 12 inch with remixes of "Strangeitude" and "Sploosh!" by Eat Static and Youth&Simon.
    $24.00
  • Nation Beyond is a Swedish progressive metal band which began life as a project by Debase guitarist Jonas Karlgren and Face Down bassist Joakim Hedestedt. Fleshed out with additional members, the duo went to work on an epic conceptual work dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The resulting work is a stunning amalgam of Savatage, Queensryche, Evergrey, and Redemption. Yeah...I'm not kidding! Vocalist Nielz Lindstrom is very expressive, reminding at various times of Chris Cornell and Tom Englund. The album has a big symphonic sound that evokes the moodiness of Dead Winter Dead period Savatage and Redemption's The Fullness Of Time. The writing has strong emphasis on melody but just when you think it is leaning too much in the symphonic direction it slams you in the face with just the right amount of crunch. I could go on and on about this disc - this one pushed all the right buttons for me. Packaged in a gorgeous digipak with fantastic artwork, this debut left me slack jawed and stunned. BUY OR DIE!!Hear it for yourself: Nation Beyond on Myspace
    $13.00
  • Former Adagio vocalist Gus Monsanto has reappeared, now fronting this intense Brazilian power metal band.  For the most part Monsanto sings in his clean style but he augments and accentuates the lead vocal lines with some deathly growls.  The music heavy as hell with fierce almost thrash-life riffing and sick leads.  Having said that its all pretty melodic and will sit well with power metal fans. 
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  • Seventh album from one of the leading lights of the modern progressive rock movement.  The album demonstrates the band expanding the scope of their sound a bit as some of the material has a metallic quality.  Overall though the band stays true to their roots - plenty of 'tron, organ and analog keyboard sounds to be heard.  These guys didn't forget where they came from.  They just crossed over to the dark side...a little bit.  Embrace the crunch and enjoy.  Highly recommended.
    $9.00
  • For some this was the start of an era for others the end.  This took my hopes and dreams for a true progressive supergroup for the 80s and stomped them into dust.  Your mileage may vary.
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  • Latest from this Italian band create an intelligent mix of folk and power metal.  Love that violin!  Era is spiced up with some special guests: Jon Oliva, Teemu Matysaari (Wintersun), and Maurizio Cardullo (Folkstone).
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  • The technical metal genre has pretty much been dormant for many years. It has somewhat morphed into djent metal these days which bears a lot of similarities but it isn't quite the same thing now is it? After an 8 year pause the UK tech metal band Linear Sphere has returned with their second album. Back in 2004 the band released Reality Dysfunction, an album somewhat molded in the Spiral Architect vein. Their new album, Manvantara, carries on in that direction. Its a conceptual work of an existential and metaphysical nature. What you can expect is mind bending metal cut with extreme precision melded with jazz/fusion breaks. With the departure of Charlie Griffiths who went on to join Haken, the band carried on with founding member Martin Goulding handling all the guitar parts. Vocalist Jos Geron still takes a bit of getting used to - he has a bit of raspiness - but his singing has improved substantially from the debut. Plenty of shred to be heard but all done tastefully. This is one of my favorite styles of metal so it was real nice to hear something along these lines after so many years. Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • Sixth studio album from this Finnish symphonic power metal band now fronted by Annette Olzon. In 2005, the band had an acrimonious split with Tarja Turunen, their incredible operatic vocalist. The band didn't try to find a singer with a similar range. Olzon is a solid singer with no operatic aspirations. With the changeover, band leader Tuomas Holopainen has tailored the music to fit her range. This is reportedly the most expensive Finnish album ever recorded due to the use of the London Philharmonic. Pure epic symphonic metal is Nightwish's calling card and it's here in spades - bigger than ever.
    $8.00
  • With new kid on the block, Mike Mangini, fully assimilated into the group, Dream Theater has come up with a stunning new album.  Expect nothing less than full on prog (with a nice tip of the cap to Rush in spots). Enigma Machine may be the best instrumental piece they've cooked up yet.  Highly recommended.This is the mega-deluxe box set.  It includes:Exclusive Artwork by Hugh Syme.Custom Box Set Holds:• Custom 2GB Majesty Symbol USB Stick containing:     - Isolated stems of "Behind The Veil"     - "Take This For The Pain (Mike Mangini Audition Improv Jam)" - 30 minute documentary.• Exclusive 7" of "The Bigger Picture" on clear vinyl, wrapped and sealed with a custom wax seal.• Gel-skin iDots of Majesty Symbol for iPhone.• 2-Disc embossed Deluxe Edition digi with bonus disc of 5.1 audio mix + expanded packaging.• 180-gram 2-LP embossed gatefold vinyl with high quality FLAC files of full album. 
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  • Previously unavailable on CD, Hermann Szobel’s “Szobel” was originally released by Arista Records in 1976. Over the years the album has established a worldwide cult following and the mysterious Mr. Szobel has become a bit of an enigma. Szobel was a 17-year virtuoso pianist who arrived from Austria with aspirations to become a star in the world of jazz. He also happened to be the nephew of rock impresario Bill Graham. Originally intended for release on Arista’s Freedom jazz imprint, the decision was made by Clive Davis to release the debut album on Arista proper in order to give it a chance at a broader appeal. An extraordinary band was assembled to record Szobel’s highly complex music: Michael Visceglia on bass, Bob Goldman on drums, Dave Samuels on percussion including marimba and vibraphone, and Vadim Vyadro on tenor sax, clarinet, and flute. Szobel was highly influenced by Martial Solal and Frank Zappa. His compositions are rooted in jazz, rock and Western classical composition. They are extremely complex and the recording sessions were quite laborious. While he gives space to all of the musicians, his phenomenal technique as a pianist is clearly displayed. In the September 6, 1976 issue of Downbeat the review said that Szobel had "a conception and technique far in advance of most musicians twice his age." Upon its release the album did not sell well and Szobel’s behavior became more and more eccentric. In the middle of recording a second (still unreleased) album, rumor has it that he suffered a mental breakdown. He disappeared from the music world forever. Since then rumors have swirled and a mythology has been created. Unconfirmed reports have Mr. Szobel currently living in Austria. “Szobel” has now been mastered for CD release by audiophile engineer Bob Katz. Extensive liner notes by bassist Michael Visceglia unlock some of the mysteries of Hermann Szobel.
    $14.00
  • "The first Mahavishnu Orchestra's original very slim catalog was padded out somewhat by this live album (recorded in New York's Central Park) on which the five jazz/rock virtuosos can be heard stretching out at greater length than in the studio. There are only three selections on the disc, all of which were to have been on the group's then-unissued third album -- two of them, guitarist John McLaughlin's "Trilogy: Sunlit Path/La Merede la Mer" and keyboardist Jan Hammer's "Sister Andrea," are proportioned roughly as they were in their studio renditions, while the third, McLaughlin's "Dream," is stretched to nearly double its 11-minute studio length. Each develops organically through a number of sections, and there are fewer lockstep unison passages than on the earlier recordings. McLaughlin is as flashy and noisy as ever on double-necked electric guitar, and Hammer and violinist Jerry Goodman are a match for him in the speed department, with drummer Billy Cobham displaying a compelling, raw power and dexterity to his work as well, especially on the CD edition, which also gives bassist Rich Laird a showcase for his slightly subtler work. Yet for all of the superb playing, one really doesn't hear much music on this album; electricity and competitive empathy are clearly not enough, particularly on the 21-minute "Dream," which left a lot of fans feeling let down at the end of its side-two-filling run on the LP. In the decades since this album was released, the studio versions of these three pieces, along with other tracks being worked up for their third album, have appeared as The Lost Trident Sessions -- dating from May and June of 1973 -- thus giving fans a means of comparing this repertory to what the band had worked out (or not worked out) in the studio; and Between Nothingness and Eternity has come up a bit in estimation as a result, benefiting as it does from the spontaneity and energy of a live performance, though even that can only carry this work so far -- beyond the personality conflicts that broke up the band, they seem to have been approaching, though not quite reaching, a musical dead end as well." - Allmusic
    $5.00