Scenes From A Memory

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For my money this is the band's most consistent and best album. Conceptual work that is a continuation of "Metropolis - Part 1" which appeared on the seminal "Images & World" album. The band is at their progified best with Jordan Rudess really making his presence felt. At times it reminds me of a metal version of Pink Floyd's "The Wall". Some monumental riffs that will shatter the foundation of your house (check out "Home") and more complexity than you deserve. Blowtorch album at a pretty reasonably price (if I must say so myself). If you've never actually heard Dream Theater this is a great one to start with.

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  • Michael Romeo doesn't work quickly.  The man takes his time and a new Symphony X album is ready when its been honed to perfection.  Underworld is the first new album in four years.  To get to the point its ridiculously great.  Up through V, the band were the modern agents of neoclassical/symphonic metal.  With The Odyssey the band took a left turn with Russell Allen's vocals being more agressive and a pervasive overall crunchiness, heaviness to the sound.  Perhaps a bit less symphonic sounding.  With Underworld fans of the "old style" will smile once again.  The band has found a way to balance both sides of their sound.  Its heavy but extremely melodic.  Russell's vocals are spot on and Mr. Romeo's solos have an organic flow that will sweep you through the tune.  Its a beautiful marriage of styles - not too much of either direction that the band has exhibited in the past.  Toss in a theme built around Dante's Inferno and you've totally sucked me back in to the fold.  BUY OR DIE!"A lot has happened with New Jersey-based progressive metal band SYMPHONY X since the Iconoclast album was released four years ago. Singer ‘Sir’ Russell Allen recorded and toured behind several releases with ADRENALINE MOB, toured with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and recorded the album The Great Divide with ALLEN-LANDE. Bassist Mike Lepond toured with HELSTAR and released his excellent solo album under the name SILENT ASSASSINS. Keyboardist Michael Pinnella released a solo album and guitarist Michael Romeo made guest appearances on some albums. Drummer Jason Rullo battled and successfully recovered from heart failure in 2013.Four years later, SYMPHONY X delivers another fantastic album, the band sounding just as powerful as Iconoclast, and amazingly never missing a beat. Titled Underworld, it is sort of a concept album, loosely based on Dante’s epic poem Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is not a totally original topic in the metal world; ICED EARTH featured an epic song based on it on their 1995 album Burnt Offerings and SEPULTURA wrote a concept album based on it with 2006’s Dante XXI, while SYMPHONY X themselves included references to it on their 1997 album The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. Several other metal bands have also been influenced by the poem.SYMPHONY X do not follow the tale word for word, but use it more as an inspiration. Michael Romeo is quoted as saying that the album has a theme of “going to hell and back for something or someone you care about.” He also said that this album is more about “the song” instead of the album as a whole, allowing it to flow better from song to song. This doesn’t mean every song is an attempt at a single. Romeo’s intent when writing songs for Underworld was for people to be able to take in the whole album in one listening. (The total album length is just over an hour, compared to Iconoclast’s two discs that were around 83 minutes).To be honest, the last two SYMPHONY X albums, 2007’s Paradise Lost and 2011’s Iconoclast were my favorite albums released by the band so far. I refer to them as the “angry” SYMPHONY X, mainly due to Russell Allen’s vocal delivery and the aggressive music on those particular albums. So, I waited to see if we would get a third album in this same vein from SYMPHONY X. The songs on Underworld seem to alternate between prog and aggression, but for the most part, the album is not as “angry” as Iconoclast. The album strikes a perfect balance between prog and power. Some songs are aggressive without being “angry”. There are definitely more classic SYMPHONY X elements here than on recent releases.The album is much more accessible than previous albums. The songs overall are shorter (most clocking in at around the 5-6 minute mark), and more to the point than on previous albums. For example, “Kiss Of Fire” is one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard by SYMPHONY X. It immediately became a favorite of mine on this album, with the verse, “Bring down the hammer, with serious anger – It’s me against the world!” section and the chorus becoming some of my favorite moments. This song probably represents the album to me more than any other, but the album is filled with classics, such as opener “Nevermore”, a ferocious track that is aggressive in the verses, while the chorus is more melody-driven. The title track follows, with many twists, turns and speed sections. “Without You” is a standout track. With its guarded delivery by Allen and acoustic guitar flowing in the background, it is probably the mellowest moment on Underworld, but that’s not a bad thing. The chorus is the focus of the track, with Allen performing some of his best work. The song probably has the most potential as a single. Another solid track, “Charon”, named for the ferry boatman of the underworld, follows. This track has a middle-eastern flavor to it.The longest track on the album (9:24 in length) follows, the excellent “To Hell And Back”. This song has so many great parts, it’s hard to pick a particular favorite, possibly Allen’s soaring vocal on the chorus or the “on and on and on / no quarter asked, no quarter given” section. “In My Darkest Hour” follows and is another favorite of mine, featuring speed riffing parts, mixed with a melodic chorus. Allen really shines on this song. “Run With The Devil” is even more up-tempo and another one of the more accessible songs due to the chorus. “Swan Song” finds keyboardist Pinnella taking the bulk of the spotlight with his piano flourishes. The album closes with the excellent “Legend”. Allen’s aggressive pre-chorus vocals and melodic chorus vocals make this an instant classic.I believe the playing on Underworld is at another level for the band. Lepond’s bass work is spectacular throughout and Jason Rullo makes a real statement with his drum performance. Fantastic work from keyboardist Michael Pinnella and of course guitarist Michael Romeo’s amazing riffs and solos are worth the price alone. But you get more, don’t you? You get one of the best singers in metal, Sir Russell Allen, making yet another classic album even better with his voice.The album’s exquisite cover artwork (once again by illustrator Warren Flanagan) features the return of the SYMPHONY X masks, around which are eight symbols that represent the circles of hell: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, and fraud. The symbol for treachery, the ninth circle, is underneath the masks, and hopefully will be revealed in full inside the album packaging.Underworld is a great album, which grew on me the more I listened to it. SYMPHONY X are masters of American prog metal, and have been for quite some time. Underworld further cements that reputation, and will undoubtedly please fans of all eras of the band." - KNAC.com 
    $14.00
  • 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.
    $16.00
  • Stunning album-of-the-year candidate. Astra is a prog rock band based out of California. This debut release was issued by doom metal label Rise Above Records which struck gold last year with Diagonal - they seem to be scoring some amazing prog bands.Moogs, Mellotrons, Arp Odyssey, flute, guitar....you picking up what I'm putting down? Loooong tracks filled with devastating guitar and phat analog synth solos. Vocals tend to be sparse and unabtrusive. These guys really went deep into the prog rock playbook. As the albums winds its way through its near 80 minutes I'm reminded of Barclay James Harvest, PFM, Far East Family Band, Genesis, and Pink Floyd. Cosmic in part but also symphonic when it needs to be. Like the recording of their labelmates Diagonal - if I had told you this was recorded in 1973 you would believe me. Only Wobbler can compete in terms of retro sounds. Fantastic Roger Dean styled cover from noted artist Arik Roper brings home the bacon and pushes this one clear over the finish line...in first place! BUY OR DIE!
    $13.00
  • Solo album from Nevermore's guitarist is an instrumental affair. It touches on shred duels with Ron Jarzombek and Cannibal Corpse's Pat O'Brien as well as more adventurous material with showcases Michael Manring's basswork as well as producer Neil Kernon's long rumoured ability on guitar.
    $12.00
  • New album featuring Mike Mangini replacing the thought-to-be-irreplaceable Mike Portnoy on drums. No changes in direction - still the prog metal leaders that other bands follow.
    $17.00
  • "Although it's tempting to succumb to retroactive reevaluation, most critics agree that Sepultura's earliest efforts consisted of rather undercooked, unspectacular black metal, hardly foreshadowing their world-conquering output in the death metal field, just a few years ahead. Both 1985's Bestial Devastation EP and the band's first LP, 1986's Morbid Visions, were recorded with minimal time or money, and revealed a band of teenagers more preoccupied with shocking their parents than creating great music, and clearly still learning their craft. In fact, original lead guitarist Jairo T. was the only semi-decent musician of the bunch, but vocalist/guitarist Max Cavalera, drummer Igor Cavalera, and bassist Paulo Jr. nevertheless contributed a mighty spirited racket on blackened thrashers like "Antichrist" and "Warriors of Death." Venom would have been proud. And yet Sepultura still showed early flashes of death metal inspiration on "Crucifixion" and "Show Me the Wrath," even though "Troops of Doom" (later re-recorded) is the only obvious standout on hand. Thankfully, Roadrunner has conveniently reissued Morbid Visions and Bestial Devastation on one CD, lowering the price of admission for uncertain metalheads wishing to hear what all the fuss was about." - Allmusic Guide
    $8.00
  • "Like any respected underground band staging a comeback, Gorguts have a lot to live up to. In order to understand why expectations are unusually high for Colored Sands-- the first new LP since 2001 from this Quebec death-metal institution-- you have to look back to 1998'sObscura, one of the most pungently progressive albums ever made, in or out of metal.Obscura didn't just register as technical; it sounded downright excruciating, as if its shuddering blastbeats, doleful bellows, and deliriously inventive guitarwork were being torn straight from the chests of its makers.But as brilliant as Obscura was, and as wide as its influence has spread-- it holds a hallowed place not just among discerning death-metalheads, but in open-eared jazz circles as well-- it wasn't exactly a definitive Gorguts release. The band made their name playing in a very different style. Their first two LPs, 1991's Considered Dead and 1993's The Erosion of Sanity, demonstrated impressive tightness and a flair for involved composition, but they were very much of their time-- unrelentingly intense dispatches descended from the bulging-vein aggression of 80s thrash. Conceived as early as 93, but not issued until 98, Obscura shocked longtime listeners, who couldn't believe the madness the band's lengthy gestation had birthed.That chapter of Gorguts was short-lived, though, as guitarist/vocalist Steeve Hurdle-- a key co-architect of Obscura, who died tragically last year at age 41-- left the band in 1999. On the next Gorguts LP, 2001's sorely underrated From Wisdom to Hate, founder and sole constant member Luc Lemay streamlined Obscura's demented sprawl, yielding a less outlandish yet equally distinguished statement. This was a wise move; there would've been no way to out-weird Obscura.Fans have known for a while that the next Gorguts record was shaping up to be another fresh start. When Lemay revived the group in 2009, after a suggestion from Hurdle that he commemorate Gorguts' 20th anniversary, he took a new approach to bandbuilding. Gorguts had always been a locally sourced project, staffed by musicians from Lemay's Quebec home base-- including Hurdle, bassist Steve Cloutier and current Voivod guitarist Daniel Mongrain-- but this time, he set about assembling a North American progressive-metal all-star team. This band, which appears on Colored Sands, includes two NYC luminaries: bassist Colin Marston, of Krallice and Behold… the Arctopus, and guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, Marston's bandmate in Dysrhythmia. The drummer is John Longstreth, best known for his work in Kansas's hypertechnical Origin. It would be reductive to peg any of these players as members of a post-Gorguts generation, but their work during the past decade embodies the same spirit that drove Obscura: a conception of metal as art music, not in the Sunn O))) sense-- where the genre commingles with drone, noise and other abstracted forms-- but in the sense of a creatively restless pursuit, a union of unfettered imagination and rigorous virtuosity. Like Luc Lemay, Marston, Hufnagel, and Longstreth have each established themselves as master players driven to expand their idiom without assailing its core tenets.The highest compliment you could pay Colored Sands would be a simple description of what it is: a fully formed outing from an outstandingly pedigreed new incarnation of an already legendary band. Thanks to Lemay's trademark anguished roar and dark-prog riff savvy,Colored Sands feels unmistakably like a Gorguts record, but the compositions-- most by Lemay, with Marston and Hufnagel each contributing a single song-- don't mimic any particular chapter of the band's past. The record's greatest strength is its vast dynamic range. On one hand, it contains some of the thorniest, most aggressive death metal ever issued under the Gorguts name; on the other, it includes moments of stunning textural beauty. That duality is a perfect fit for the album's surprisingly specific lyrical theme: the way Tibetan culture encompasses both ancient majesty and modern despair.It seems odd to praise a Gorguts record for its prettiness, but some of the most memorable passages on Colored Sands are also the subtlest-- transitional sections that punctuate the band's signature gritted-teeth shred. Opening track "Le Toit du Monde" orbits a hypnotic, clean-toned motif-- a waltz-time riff marked by chiming harmonics-- and Hufnagel seasons his extraordinary "Absconders" with a dreamy interlude, an oasis of eerie calm in the middle of a churning epic. Other pieces thrive on adrenaline. Marston's "Forgotten Arrows" features a thrillingly complex central theme, which seems descended both from Dysrhythmia's intricate chiaroscuro riffs and the blastbeat-driven turbo-prog of Behold… the Arctopus. On the other hand, Lemay's title track-- a doomy plod that trades math-metal daredevilry for hard-grooving 4/4-- is one of the most straightforwardly headbangable tracks in the Gorguts discography.Diverse approaches aside, all the songs here share a rare coherence: they're as info-packed as the pieces on Obscura or From Wisdom to Hate, but their construction feels especially logical. While not the most extreme compositions Gorguts have issued, they might be the richest and most memorable; the patiently unfolding arrangements-- complemented by a spacious, full-bodied production job that contrasts sharply with the harsh, brittle sound of Obscura andFrom Wisdom-- give each idea room to really sink in.There's also a strong band unity at work here, honed onstage over the past several years. No Gorguts album has grooved harder than Colored Sands, a fact that has a lot to with John Longstreth, who excels at making dauntingly proggy riffs feel sprightly and pliable. His rapid-fire snare/hi-hat stutter on the verse sections of "Ember's Voice" and the chopsy yet remarkably relaxed post-fusion fills he busts out during the "Absconders" outro exemplify how technical flourishes can enhance a song's momentum rather than hinder it. During moments when the full quartet digs into a meaty pattern-- the sci-fi thrash episode in the middle of "Forgotten Arrows," the lurching slam breakdown in "Enemies of Compassion"-- you're hearing four expert players uniting with Voltron-like purpose: not just a provisional assemblage but a real band at work.At the same time, Colored Sands is, like each of the four Gorguts albums that precedes it, a personal statement from Luc Lemay. For those inclined to read liner notes and follow a lyric sheet, there's a hefty amount of thematic data in the margins of this record that gives it a very different feel than any of the band's prior efforts. The first two Gorguts albums dealt with standard-issue death-metal topics (disease, corruption, madness); Obscura turned inward, tackling depression and spiritual crisis; From Wisdom to Hate was a topical grab-bag, covering religious delusion, political megalomania, and the fascination of antiquity. Here, simply put, Lemay has Tibet on the brain. An admitted outsider to the culture, he nevertheless taps into some profound emotions, touching on the deep spirituality of Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as well as the region's purgatorial struggle with Chinese rule.The idea of a death-metal vocalist howling about sand mandalas and snow lions might look iffy on paper, but the concept sticks, thanks to the dynamism of the music and the conviction Lemay brings to every line. The frontman isn't holding Tibetan culture at arm's length; his seething bellows on tracks such as "Reduced to Silence" come off as a kind of rigorous method acting, as though he were revisiting personal trauma in an effort to comprehend the Sisyphean ordeal of the culture he's depicting. It's admirable that just as Lemay has regularly renovated the Gorguts sound, moving ever further from death-metal orthodoxy, he's also worked to find fresh thematic approaches like the one that unifies Colored Sands.Lemay also shows off his creative breadth on "The Battle of Chamdo", an instrumental piece for string ensemble. Previous Gorguts albums have featured classical-style intros and interludes, cluing fans in to Lemay's training as a violinist and composer, but "Chamdo" is the first full-length stand-alone track of this type issued under the band's name. The composition's strident, martial rhythms and mournful melodies give it a distinct soundtracky quality, as though Lemay were narrating rather than simply evoking China's 1950 invasion of Tibet. "Chamdo" appears at the album's midpoint, and while the piece isn't as arresting as the metal-oriented material that surrounds it, it serves as a smart palate cleanser.Obscura found Gorguts reemerging in bizarrely mutated form; Colored Sands represents a subtler yet similarly striking evolution. Just as he did on Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate, Luc Lemay has chosen expert collaborators here and given them the freedom to leave their mark on the band's legacy. With Colored Sands-- an album of breathtaking detail and scope-- he, Marston, Hufnagel and Longstreth pay fitting tribute to Gorguts' remarkable history. Instead of reclaiming the past, they've pooled their resources to create a new present." - Pitchfork
    $12.00
  • "Building from the jazz fusion foundation of Pretzel Logic, Steely Dan created an alluringly sophisticated album of jazzy pop with Katy Lied. With this record, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen began relying solely on studio musicians, which is evident from the immaculate sound of the album. Usually, such a studied recording method would drain the life out of each song, but that's not the case with Katy Lied, which actually benefits from the duo's perfectionist tendencies. Each song is given a glossy sheen, one that accentuates not only the stronger pop hooks, but also the precise technical skill of the professional musicians drafted to play the solos. Essentially, Katy Lied is a smoother version of Pretzel Logic, featuring the same cross-section of jazz-pop and blues-rock. The lack of innovations doesn't hurt the record, since the songs are uniformly brilliant. Less overtly cynical than previous Dan albums, the album still has its share of lyrical stingers, but what's really notable are the melodies, from the seductive jazzy soul of "Doctor Wu" and the lazy blues of "Chain Lightning" to the terse "Black Friday" and mock calypso of "Everyone's Gone to the Movies." It's another excellent record in one of the most distinguished rock & roll catalogs of the '70s." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • Its been quite a long time since we've heard from Magic Pie.  They went through lots of trials and tribulations getting this album finished but now its finally arrived.  If you are not familiar with this band here's the deal: Magic Pie are a Norwegian band with a retro 70s sound.  The music is a bit of a high wire act balancing the neo-prog sounds of The Flower Kings with the heavier elements of classic Uriah Heep.  They also seem to be the darlings of Rosfest having played there multiple times."It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since these proggers from Norway released their promising debut "Motions of Desire". At that time, their music struck me as an enthusiastic combination of classic prog and classic hard rock. (Think Deep Purple for the hard rock side of that equation.) At their best, they offered memorable passages and pieces that sounded like they very well could have been long lost recordings from many years ago. At their worst, they sometimes fell short of filling the big shoes of the legendary bands whose music they strove to emulate. That's actually not bad for a debut album from a new prog band. I found much to like and looked forward to hearing from them again in the future.Checking back in on them a decade later, I must say that I am very impressed with how they have developed and matured. No longer do I get the feeling that certain sections of songs are direct homages to any particular band from any one particular decade of prog's illustrious history. Their influences, while still very present and valid, are now more varied, including a greater percentage of modern reference points. More importantly, their influences are just that--merely influences rather than templates or even primary reference points.The sound quality on "King for a Day" is superb thanks in large part to the enlistment of sonic genius Rich Mouser (whose resume includes similar work for prominent contemporaries like Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Dream Theater).Keyboardist Erling Hananger is an excellent addition to Magic Pie's recipe. His keyboard parts are expressive, dynamic and integral to the music. When appropriate, his leads seamlessly blend, harmonize, and work synergistically with electric guitar.The lyrics have a melodramatic and somewhat tragic flair this time around, but this is prog so you should be accustomed to the musical ride including a few tragic tales from time to time by now, right?OK ' so it's time for the "magic" question... A decade after their debut album, how has my impression of Magic Pie changed?On "King for a Day", I now hear a band which has found "its own voice", one that resonates confidently in the space somewhere between classic arena rock of yesteryear (on prog-steroids of course) and modern melodic prog of the 21st Century (like Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings). Add a few dashes of modern prog-metal to taste and you, my friend, have baked up a very nice confection indeed... MAGIC PIE!If you love modern prog anthems with big harmonies and 'sing along' choruses, give "King for a Day" a listen! I'm glad I did!" - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • “Crazy French phenomenon Christophe Godin applies his nothing short of bonkers rock guitar abilities to this ferocious yet tongue-in-cheek display of post-Vai/Zappa composition and musicianship. Jazzy it ain’t, but full of immense playing technique and cool tones it most definitely is. Be afraid.” – Guitarist Magazine Brutal Romance is the fifth release from this intense French instrumental trio. Through extensive gigging in the US, this Morglbl has developed an ever expanding fanbase addicted to their crazy blend of jazz and metal. The band consists of Christophe Godin (guitars), Ivan Rougny (bass), and Aurelian Ouzoulias. All three members of the band are known around the world not just from Morglbl but as clinicians as well. Morglbl injects a dose of tongue in cheek humor into jazz rock laced with crushing power chords. They have a strong cross over appeal between fans of progressive rock, fusion, and metal. Morglbl has performed at festivals alongside Liquid Tension Experiment and Umphrey’s McGee. They have most recently toured the US as co-headliners with Sweden’s Freak Kitchen. Fans of shred and fusion Gods like Allan Holdsworth, Steve Vai or Freak Kitchen’s Mattias Eklundh will find this essential.
    $13.00
  • Germany’s most famous progressive rock band is back. In celebration of Eloy’s 40th anniversary, band founder/guitarist/visionary Frank Bornemann has returned to the studio to grace us with the band’s first studio album in 10 years. Bornemann’s goal was to recreate the vintage sound of their most popular period. To that end he assembled a lineup featuring members of the band’s past. Time was spent recording at world renowned Horus Sound Studios in Hannover, Germany. Actually owned by Frank Bornemann, it is the place where the classic Eloy sound was created. The result is “Visionary” – an album that can be simply described as pure Eloy. Frank Bornemann formed Eloy in 1969. By 1973 the band was signed to EMI’s prestigious Harvest label. Through constant touring they became a tremendous success in Germany and later on in the UK. Their 1977 album “Ocean” has now sold over 250,000 copies in Germany alone and was certified gold. The music of Eloy transcends genres. One of the originators of the European “space rock” sound, they added symphonic elements to their music that appeals to fans of both progressive and hard rock. The themes of Bornemann’s lyrics are derived from science fiction and ancient mythology with a liberal sprinkling of cosmic consciousness. The Laser’s Edge is proud to be part of this new chapter in Eloy’s history and present this historic new album to their North American fan base. “Visionary” arrives in a deluxe package, featuring a 16-page booklet and a “making of” video.
    $15.00
  • "During the last few years North Atlantic Oscillation have been steadily building both their fanbase and their reputation. Well known fans such as Zane Lowe and Guy Garvey have been joined by a growing number of devoted punters drawn to the band's unique combination of sonic complexity and melodic intrigue. The band's second album Fog Electric was released in 2012, following 2010's Grappling Hooks and numerous tours and festival appearances have accompanied both releases.Now Sam Healy, NAO's frontman and songwriter, returns with Sand, a new solo project which will be released on Kscope in October 2013. Written, performed and recorded throughout 2012 and 2013, Sand allowed Sam to work in a different way, as he describes:"I wanted to try something that I could work on entirely alone, with no deadlines or schedules intruding on the process. It was an experiment to see if I could conceive and execute a whole record without any outside influence. I only told few people about it until it was almost complete. I had a sense after the release of 'Fog Electric' that I should try something else before starting on a third NAO album, something with a different feel, a musical palate-cleanser."This change in process has resulted in an album which, while still sure to appeal to fans of Healy's previous work, has a more intimate and personal feel, both sonically and thematically.Melodic passages and conventional pop structures are framed by striking changes in dynamics, to create a dramatic sonic palette which ranges from the barely audible to wildly loud and back again, often within the same track. The album also has a slightly warmer, less alien feel than NAO recordings, with instruments less likely to be heavily treated and distorted beyond recognition."
    $14.00
  • "Death.Taxes.Ozric Tentacles.Since 1984 this loose collective have been releasing reliably great music from the mind of leader Ed Wynne. Their margin of error is enviably tiny – there is no such thing as a bad Ozrics album. Sure, some are better than others, but the body of work is as inescapably consistent as mortality and societal contributions. Technicians of the Sacred is their fifteenth studio album, second double album and the first release in this format since Erpland in 1990. It is also one of the best they have ever recorded.The blend of electronica and inner-space rock is instantly recognisable with ‘The High Pass’. World music and gently undulating synths take their time to ease us back into the required frame of cosmic consciousness. It takes almost 6 minutes for the secret weapon, Wynne’s signature lysergic lead guitar, to be deployed and that is the modus operandi of the whole album – nothing is rushed, each track unfolds lotus-like.‘Changa Masala’ distils all the band’s ingredients into a spicy side-dish. Sequencers, vocal samples and a reggae skank provide the base while acoustic guitar rips like a John McLaughlin solo, interjecting a nod to their past, a musical in-joke for the fans, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet heard it.The Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7 and sometime Ozrics collaborator) influence is foregrounded in the first disc’s closer, ‘Switchback’. Tap-delay guitar slithers over a web of ambient keyboard washes. Portamento bass notes slide and glide their way through the patchouli-scented psychedelic haze.f the first disc was an aromatic treat, then the second is manna. ‘Epiphlioy’ recalls the classic ‘Saucers’. Its serpentine twelve-string acoustic riffs employ Eastern modes to evoke a scene that is paradoxically earthy and otherworldly. Staccato strings conjure Kashmir while a celestial orchestra of whooshing keyboard pads threatens to levitate us into the stratosphere and beyond. We are back in the bizarre bazaar, folks. Brandi Wynne pins down the ethereal mix with a heavy dub bassline. The track changes constantly. This is the most compositionally complex music the band has ever produced.While there are references to Ozric history and a more organic feel similar to early classics with the occasional use of non-electric instruments and ethnic voices, the album as a whole is a step forward. The painstakingly crafted symbiosis of synthesised sounds and rock instrumentation, coupled with a slick production, lend Technicians of the Sacred a holistic integrity not heard since Jurassic Shift (which incidentally entered the UK charts at a very respectable number 11 in 1993). The whole gels together and flows with the multi-layered sophistication of a symphony while retaining some of the jam-band aesthetic of the free festival days.‘Smiling Potion’ features interlocking sequences even Tangerine Dream would be proud of and a tribal metronome-sense beat straight out of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ.As ‘Rubbing Shoulders With The Absolute’ throbs along on a blissed-out dub rhythm artificially generated voices ensure the weirdness meter is kept firmly in the red.Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende makes his first studio appearance and throughout the album he proves to be a superb addition to the group, whether approximating the tight programmed style of The Hidden Step era or, as on the closing track, ‘Zenlike Creature’, tackling elusive prog time signatures with ease and finesse. As Ed Wynne winds up a solo worthy of fusion maestros Mahavishnu Orchestra he introduces a shimmering Hillage-esque repeating motif that stays in the mind long after the music has stopped.Technicians of the Sacred, for all its dynamic shifts and intricacies, is a very chilled-out release, one for relaxing to and for transportation to the other, wherever that may be. There are no jarring wig-out rock guitar hero sections or all-out sonic attacks like ‘The Throbbe’. Rather this is Ozric Tentacles’ most cohesive and accomplished effort in almost 20 years and a highlight of a long and peerless career." - Echoes And Dust
    $13.00
  • Gorgeous remastered edition features two bonus tracks from their early singles.
    $14.00