Selling The Aggression

Third album from this Dutch progressive band is a conceptual work.  This one has strong political leanings so it might bother some of you out there.  It basically deals with changes in the geopolitcal climate since the late 90s.  While the band's first album was squarely in the metal camp, the subsequent albums find them moving more and more into the prog rock arena but maintaining an underlying heaviness.  Plenty of keyboards featured throughout the mix in a way that complements the guitar driven heaviness.  For me the stand out is vocalist Dennis Binnekade.  He has a stunning voice and I noticed that this time around someone coached him on his pronuciation. Rock solid contemporary prog. Highly recommended.

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  • "In a society which continues to develop at breathtaking speed, racing through world history in seven-league boots, mercilessly trampling down anything unable to keep pace with this ruthless goose step, Riverside have composed an album which is a perfect reflection of our times. An offering full of symbolism – starting with the fact that the title of their fourth release consists of four words and that the album is precisely 44:44 minutes long – and an intelligent stocktaking of reality. Anno Domini High Definition is no concept album in the classic sense, although it features a central theme and a haunting message. “It’s a story about people who angrily state that such-and-such a device is no longer fashionable, before they`ve even learnt how to use it properly themselves. Even worse – it’s no longer usable, because there’s something better on the market now”, Mariusz Duda, vocalist, bassist, guitarist and lyricist of the four-piece explains. “For me, those are the thoughts of people who wake up every morning worrying that perhaps today their ‘sell-by date’ may expire.”Riverside was founded by guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, drummer Piotr Kozieradzki and Mariusz Duda in 2001. Immediately after the recording of their debut album, Out Of Myself, keyboardist Michal Lapaj joined the band, completing the current line-up which has impressed fans and media alike with the musicians’ great technical skills. Musically and in terms of its subject matter, Anno Domini High Definition marks a temporary climax in the quartet’s artistic work: “It’s an album about people who know they need to speed up or they’ll get left behind“, Duda summarises the tracks, adding: “About people who sometimes, despite themselves, will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. It’s an album about chaos, constant race, uncertainty, stress, and the struggle to survive.”This permanent inner restlessness, a constant search for the latest thing, is reflected in the band’s complex music. The five songs consciously keep up a high energy level, be it through a pounding groove, a turbulent bass line, cutting keyboard passages or haunting vocals. Anno Domini High Definition is a pulsating hybrid of a range of different stylistic means. Duda: “There’s more rock stuff on the record now. The new album has more balls, you could say, than anything we’ve done so far. But I think we kept all the nice melodies and traits that are characteristic to our music. It’s very energetic. There are longer, more complex compositions, but with more energy, power and ease. It’s been a long time since we had so much fun composing and recording, and I hope the listeners will also be infected by this atmosphere.”Anno Domini High Definition sees Riverside take another step in the evolution of their extremely significant sound, documenting a total focus on the here and now. “We don’t want to be one of these living-in-the-past prog bands,” Duda points out. “We feel that we have something new to say, and lots of moments on this album feature a fresh approach to some things. First of all, our main influence – our lives, or to be more precise, the speed of our lives. That’s why we had to cut an extremely dynamic and pretty short record, which suits the times we live in.”Experts have called Riverside a stylistic mix of Tool, Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater, but Duda reckons that other influences are more dominant on Anno Domini High Definition: “We wanted to reflect the energy of the early 70s and combine it with modern sounds. Now I think there is more of a Rush , Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple sound. But at the end of the day, this record ultimately sounds like Riverside.” 
    $14.00
  • Alive & Well Recorded In Paris has been out of print for many years. Esoteric Recordings uncovered the original multitrack tapes and presented an expanded edition.The original sessions were recorded in Paris in 1977. This lineup featured John Etheridge on guitar and Ric Sanders on violin as lead instruments. It was a vastly different sounding version of Soft Machine - at this point there were well into their fusion phase. The bonus disc features 45 minutes of unreleased material from these live recordings as well as 2 tracks from a single they released on Harvest. Of course you get an expanded booklet with nice liner notes. Typical great Esoteric job. Highly recommended.
    $20.00
  • Remastered edition with 4 bonus tracks."Sepultura had shocked the death metal world in 1989 with the release of their third album, Beneath the Remains, whose seamless combination of songwriting chops and utter brutality quickly transformed the Brazilians from scene outsiders to one of its brightest hopes. The band toured nonstop in support of the album for most of the following two years, and was therefore pressured by both time constraints and enormous expectations when the bandmembers finally entered Tampa's Morrisound Studios with producer Scott Burns to record 1991's Arise. And though it ultimately lacked the consistency of its predecessor and added little innovation to the band's sound, Arise has aged surprisingly well, proving itself a worthy progression and surprisingly well-rounded in its own right. First single "Dead Embryonic Cells" was unquestionably the strongest of the band's death metal era, and its accompanying video broke new ground thanks to ample MTV rotation. Ironically, the subsequent banning of the vicious title track's video (filled with apocalyptic religious imagery) by the cable network would generate even more publicity than Sepultura could have hoped for had it actually been aired. Other album highlights included such complex, multifaceted pieces as "Desperate Cry" (an all-around tour de force for lead guitarist Andreas Kisser) and "Altered State" (which combines a Tarzan-style intro with a grinding detuned main riff and even acoustic guitars), as well as more straightforward thrashers like "Infected Voice" and mid-paced chuggers like "Under Siege (Regnum Irae)." Simply devoid of filler material, this album remains a classic of the death metal genre." - Allmusic Guide
    $8.00
  •  Fascinating new post-rock from this Swedish band sporting at least one familiar name!WALRUS THE BAND: Renowned film music composer and piano player Matti Bye on Hammond & Farfisa Organs, Mellotron and Wurlitzer Piano. The Tiny and Gul 3 member Leo Svensson on Cello and Minimoog. Producer and composer Kristian Holmgren on Electric Bass and Fuzz Bass. Mattias Olsson of Änglagård on drums, with Henrik Olsson of Gul 3 and Harr joining him at their double drum kit, The Sprawl."Exciting new album from Sweden that mixes retro progressive with classic Krautrock sounds. Opening track 'Tromso III' gets the motorik running with a steady beat and analog keyboards layered on top. The real party begins with 'Signals', a haunting organ and violin led piece. Heavy bass and drums propel the track forward in an exciting way. Bleeping synthesizers are dropped on top to create a truly psychedelic atmosphere. But it's the 14 minute 'Spitsbergen' that really places Walrus in the big leagues. Starting out in Ohr music territory, with a decidedly funereal backdrop of organ, synthesizers, bass and plodding drums - the composition suddenly comes alive with an insane and massive fuzz bass attack followed by swirling organ and mellotron . If you don't fly off your couch and put a fist through the wall, then you are... ... legally dead. Very few bands ever capture a perfect moment like that. What a stunning song." - Tom Hayes/Under The Radar CDs
    $13.00
  • New edition taken from the original tapes comes with a real suprise bonus. In addition to the regular version of the album the CD contains a previously never heard before mix done by Geoff Emerick. It is actually the original mix but the band/label decided to add more keys, choirs and effects. As much as I love Remember The Future, this is THE Nektar album for me. Not sure if it's Larry Fast's synth work but something about Recycled makes it the most solid of their albums. One of my all time favs...
    $15.00
  • "After the breakup of Deep Purple in 1976, guitarist Tommy Bolin wasted little time beginning work on his second solo album, Private Eyes. While it was more of a conventional rock album than its predecessor, Teaser (which served primarily as a showcase for his guitar skills and contained several jazz/rock instrumentals), it was not as potent. The performances aren't as inspired as those on Teaser or even those on Bolin's lone album with Deep Purple, Come Taste the Band, although there a few highlights could be found. The nine-minute rocker "Post Toastee" merges a long jam section with lyrics concerning the dangers of drug addiction, while "Shake the Devil" is similar stylistically. But Bolin wasn't simply a hard-rocker; he was extremely talented with other kinds of music: the quiet, acoustic-based compositions "Hello, Again" and "Gypsy Soul," and the heartbroken ballad "Sweet Burgundy." With his solo career starting to take shape (after the album's release, he opened for some of rock's biggest names: Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, Rush, ZZ Top, etc.), Bolin's life was tragically cut short at the end of the year due to a drug overdose in Miami, FL." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Taking the same creative freedom that they explored in their debut, Visionary Position, Panic Room have fused their signature sound with an even higher level of energy and raw power. All captured in a two-week 'live' studio recording session, Satellite is a jaw-dropping collection of songs that all shine with the talent, passion, and freedom of a band at the very top of their game. The album is jam-packed full of great hooks, powerful grooves, gorgeous melodies and, of course, the amazing voice of stellar frontwoman, Anne-Marie Helder. While Led Zeppelin, Zero 7, Burt Bacharach, Kate Bush, Alanis Morissette and Metallica are among the touchstones for the creative spark of Panic Room, they are no slavish copyists and Satellite emerges, an evolving, original and beautiful creation ready to take flight to the stars."CD/DVD edition:DISC ONE: CD - "SATELLITE”1.    FREEDOM TO BREATHE2.    PICKING UP KNIVES3.    I AM A CAT4.    THE FALL5.    BLACK NOISE6.    YASUNI7.    SUNSHINE8.    INTO THE FIRE9.    DARK STAR10.    MUSE11.    SATELLITEDISC TWO: DVD - "LITTLE SATELLITE” EPNTSC – REGION 01.    5th AMENDMENT (AUDIO ONLY)2.    THE GREAT DIVIDE (AUDIO ONLY)3.    GO (AUDIO ONLY)4.    SANDSTORMS (AUDIO ONLY)5.    SATELLITE – PROMOTIONAL VIDEO 
    $20.00
  • Latest in the 40th anniversary series featuring remixes by Steven Wilson.  Here is what you get:CD contains a new stereo remix plus 3 alternate mixes.  The DVD contains 5.1 remix of the album, a 24/96 and 24/48 stereo remix, the original album mix and alternate takes and mixes in 24/48.  The video content is the complete Beat Club performance and is worth the price alone.  
    $20.00
  • "Although Vulgar Display of Power remains Pantera's best and definitive album, Cowboys from Hell was the creative breakthrough that set the stage for its conception. Not only were its demos responsible for getting Pantera signed to a major label in the first place, but its fresh musical perspective also gave them a much-needed blank slate with which to conquer the 1990s and, first and foremost, erase their 1980s failures. These failures were cataloged on no less than four independently released LPs packed with largely derivative and thoroughly unimpressive hair metal, and only the fourth of them even counted with recently installed lead vocalist Phil Anselmo, whose broader influences and irrepressible energy cannot be underestimated in altering Pantera's fate. As the "new guy" entering the Texans' insular world, Anselmo made only tentative contributions to that fourth Pantera album, 1988's Power Metal, but its incremental heaviness and titular statement of intent nevertheless presaged the wholesale reinvention that would be effectively crystallized by Cowboys from Hell. Here, at last, virtuoso guitarist Diamond (soon to be rechristened Dimebag) Darrell Abbott was finally inspired to snap out of the rampant Van Halen-isms that had creatively shackled his formidable talents thus far, and established his own unmistakable imprint for the instrument, and, by extension, Pantera's signature sound. This was characterized by a subtlety-free sledgehammer approach informed by, but not beholden to, recent developments in extreme metal, as well as a groove-laden, muscular riffing style punctuated by squealing pinch harmonics -- as illustrated to perfection by the downtuned post-thrash beatdown of the title track, "Primal Concrete Sledge," and "The Art of Shredding," among others.For his part, Anselmo was only too eager to decorate Darrell's blunt rhythmic onslaught with cavernous roars declaiming impetuous and empowering lyrics that challenged all comers. In the process, he virtually abandoned his impressive melodic singing range (on par with the great Rob Halford) altogether, only reaching for those higher registers on "Shattered" (a rather misplaced throwback to the power metal era) and the stately lament "Cemetery Gates," which, years later, would sadly serve as requiem for Darrell's untimely passing. Not to be left out, drummer Vinnie Paul almost matched his baby brother's coming-out party with a heretofore unknown percussive dexterity, and bassist Rex Brown not only managed to keep up with Darrell's six-string tour de force, but bolstered the band's bottom end with added gut-punching power. So it was that, in what can truly be described as a collective ritual of musical catharsis, the members of Pantera were reborn as Cowboys from Hell, simultaneously defining an entirely new subgenre in the process: groove metal. [Indeed, such was the album's lasting impact that in time it was accorded a 20th anniversary reissue comprised of three separate discs: the first contained a complete remastering of the original set; the second packed 12 live recordings, of which seven (recorded at the 1990 Foundations Forum music industry event) were previously unreleased; and the third collected the all-important album demos (most of them very faithful to the album versions, although "Shattered" boasts an intro that was later dropped -- "Cemetery Gates" still lacks the intro it got) plus a never-heard album outtake called "The Will to Survive," which, with its more traditional heavy metal riff and predominating melodic vocals from Anselmo, wouldn't have sounded out of place on Judas Priest's Painkiller.]" - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • Despite a fracture between Andy Powell and Martin Turner, Wishbone Ash carries on - now in two different iterations. I guess Andy Powell retained the rights to the pure Wishbone Ash name and he's helming the ship on this release. Its just what any Ash fan would want - blues driven prog from a twin axe attack. That's the Wishbone Ash signature sound and if you are a fan you won't be disappointed.
    $15.00
  • I'm not familar with what is currently going on in the Venezuelan progressive rock scene but if this is any indication I want to hear more... Mojo Pojo's music is an amalgam of melodic prog rock and fusion with a smattering of metal tossed in for good measure. The music grooves and is extremely catchy. A good chunk of the album is instrumental and these guys stretch out and shred Morglbl style on some tracks and just straight up prog rock on others. Vocals are fine - a mix of English and Spanish. Oh yeah - James Murphy heavies it up with a guest guitar solo on one tune but if you are metal averse I wouldn't sweat it, you'll enjoy the tune as well. Overall the music has a real upbeat feel good vibe. Nice packaging courtesy of Hugh Syme (how the hell can they afford them? Life must be good in Venezuela!). Mojo Pojo offers much for all progressive rock interests and can be easily recommended.
    $11.00
  • "Unwritten Pages’ Noah is an album born out of a passion for progressive, driving music, concept albums and 80’s science-fiction film. It combines the broad musical taste of its creator Frederic Epe and the stylistic and unique musical backgrounds of each project member, reaching from rock and metal to Latin influences and more classical/score-oriented arrangements.The album features soaring guitars, fat organs and bone-breaking drums, as well as a healthy dose of retro. But most of all, it never loses its focus on unique and melody-driven song-writing. And it comes in the form of an ambitious story, told through the eyes of the vocalists and musicians.Noah tells the story of a boy born in the ruins of the futuristic Utopia City, and Maria, the daughter of a ruthless politician who has – literally – split Utopia City in half and driven the poor to a district known as LS01X. As the political climate escalates, a few hundred people from both sides of the city are forced to leave their home world and start a new life on Mars. Here, both Maria and the boy grow up in the middle of a rising conflict between two factions that are unwilling to ignore their grudge-ridden past. Noah features the talents of Damian Wilson (Threshold, Ayreon, Les Misérables), Karl Groom (Threshold, Shadowland), Davy Mickers (Stream of Passion, Ayreon), Alejandro Millán (Hello Madness, Stream of Passion) and many others."
    $3.00
  • Import special edition comes with:Download code for studio version of “Into The Sun”40-pages picture booklet"Imagine this - you're thrust into the metal world and, as a classical singer, it's pretty alien. But you do your job, sing your songs and the money comes in. And your name gets bigger. And the band become enormous and before you know it - you're literally singing for your supper. Your ultimate passion becomes your job. But is the world of metal really a place for a classical singer? Many thought that, once ousted by Nightwish, Tarja Turunen would soon return to her classical roots. Not quite. She began producing symphonic tinged material that, dare we say it, took the same path as the band that brought her success.The cynics are always going to be around, and I admit, I had the tendency to be one of them - Tarja is clearly only sticking with the guitars because it pays the bills, right? If it was up to her, she'd be singing 'Ave Maria' until the cows came home, right? Some of you stubborn lot will never shift from that point of view, no matter how many metal albums she releases, but it has become clearer than ever whilst listening to 'Colours In The Dark', that Tarja has found the beauty of orchestral metal just as captivating as Nightwish fans and her conviction is growing ever more powerful - if you don't believe it, check out the Romanticide-styled outro of 'Never Enough'. There's plenty more headbangs left in those raven locks - know that!'Victim Of Ritual' highlights the way Tarja commands a song vocally and suits it's position as opening track. The rolling 'R' in the title refrain and the silence she will inevitably conjure during live renditions of the accapella bridge stand to prove why she is such a beloved vocalist. Musically, the track deals in 'Phantom Agony'-era Epica, orchestra-lite and guitar heavy. It also has the most addictive refrains on the album, so it's position as single is proven correct. Likewise 'Never Enough' is instantly enjoyable - the chorus still sounds as vibrant and exciting as when it premiered. The real standout, surprisingly, is the Peter Gabriel cover though. 'Darkness' is not half as pop-ready as her take on 'Poison' and much more Tarja-friendly than 'Still Of The Night' - it shows just how successfully she can transform a cover and make it into her own. The thick strings and swooping instrumental wrap around her versatile vocals as Tarja switches between sinister and emotional at the drop of a hat.It can be a little taboo to mention the language problems, but the purity in which Tarja approaches her English lyrics is both a positive and a negative. Whilst there are the odd cringe-worthy blips throughout ('A conquest of fear, lonesomeness and dislike'), there is a richness to the lyrics of songs like '500 Letters' that simply tell a story, without killing it with too many pretence-laden metaphors. Tarja's infamous pronunciation also serves in her favour on the record - as minor as it may seem, her slightly peculiar delivery brings an unfamiliar flavour to the songs and possesses the ability to coat any banal lyrics with seductive and intriguing overtones just with a twist of a syllable.The record does have plenty of moments to excite you, as I mentioned, but it's not an entirely smooth ride. Too often, the songs feel a little lengthier than they should. I noted in my review of 'Never Enough' that the closing guitar riff went on for too long and a lot of the songs have a similiar fate. None of the tracks are skippable and every single one has it's merits, but it feels as if their strengths may be washed aside by a niggling thought in the back of your head, pondering whether you can bother to venture into a seven minute song for three minutes of beauty. 'Lucid Dreamer' is one such track that would have benefited from a little chopping. 'Mystique Voyage', too, could have seen a shorter track length further highlight the triumphant classical influence on the chorus.Though I exaggerate her operatic past, Tarja has spent most of her vocalist talent and career amongst metal music and it has really shown. What is both frustrating and rewarding, though, is that she is learning as much as the fans are. The music she has produced so far has been on a huge upward curve. The saccharine tendencies of 'My Winter Storm' pale in comparison to 'What Lies Beneath' and it's fantastic manipulation of orchestra, ambiance and metal. 'Colours In The Dark' comes as the next step up - slightly better than it's predecessor but, and this is where the frustration might set in, not quite as brilliant as you predict the next release will be. Editing the tracks a little more and emphasizing the true moments of beauty that linger within the songs is the next mission for team Tarja to take on.Watching an artist grow into the music that gave her the career she has  is not something you see everyday and Tarja is truly and deeply passionate, something many musicians don't retain after many years of the same old record-and-touring routine. She has eager ears and versatile lungs that want to explore. They want to learn and they want to become better. Listen to that aforementioned discography and you'll see how much Tarja has grown and become a force to be reckoned with in metal. 'Colours In The Dark' is nowhere near perfect but it's another chapter in the increasingly refined career of a woman that is, quite rightly, sticking her middle finger up at those who have written her off much too soon." - The Sonic Reverie
    $21.00
  • The band's second album finds them seeking their own identity. There is still a Porcupine Tree vibe but its much less overt. Keyboards are definitely not in the forefront - this is a guitar driven effort with lots of crunch, distortion, and a schmearing of grunge. Good stuff!!
    $10.00