Snack(s)

SKU: ALT038
Label:
Altrock Records
Category:
Avant Garde/RIO
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"Four years after their first, the mighty band of Oakland, led by guitarist / vocalist Wally Scharold, presents its new production, with a renewed line-up that keeps faith with its distinctive style reaching a full maturity in avant-garde rock. The complexity of the melodic lines, broken and involving the whole ensemble (with a substantial role for the wind section), the incessant rhythm characterized by continuous changes of measure, the “dirty” vocals by Scharold alternating to that of saxophonist Jamison Smeltz, make this release a new milestone for lovers of RIO and the avantgarde."

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  • Volto is a new (but long gestating) project from Tool drummer Danny Carey and Pigmy Love Circus guitarist John Ziegler.  The quartet is rounded out by noted keyboardist Jeff Babko and session bassist Lance Morrison.  The quartet have been together for some time playing cover tunes.  They finally decided to cut some original music.  To that end they recorded all analogue and had the album mastered by Bob Ludwig.  Expect great sound.This is a blazing all instrumental effort that fits squarely in the fusion genre but with strong overtones of progressive rock...and maybe just a touch of metal.  Chops from hell are the order of the day but this is highly melodic and never seems to suffer from "toomanynotes" syndrome.  At times Ziegler turns up the crunch factor to good effect and Babko lays down some wonderful solos.  Carey is Carey...awesome!!  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • We are a little late with this one (ok...a couple of years late). Leverage have bounced around labels but hopefully have found a long term home with Spinefarm. High quality melodic metal with proggy touches. Seems like these guys should be jumping up a level in popularity. The idea behind Circus Colossus was sounding big and serious. Not that the band wasn't serious before, but there was always that "underground, little band"-charm to them that they're very eager to get rid of. They want to get into the big game with the top dogs, but not by becoming radio friendly, and they're pretty much playing their cards right at this point. There are several changes to the band's sound. The production is a lot better (not that it was shaggy before though) and it amplifies the arena quality that some of their tracks have. There are symphonic elements added with great taste, and instead of a fast rocker we've got an instrumental intro to open the album. The quantity and content of the ballads, one of their trademarks, has changed. There's the short "Don't Keep Me Waiting" stripped down to piano and voice (it's written by their drummer, who also does their album covers), and as a bonus song, one of the best power ballads ever written, "Walk On Home" (how many power ballads with deep, storytelling lyrics can you name anyway?). Also, the band takes a break from grim overtones and hard-hitting harmonies by adding two very light and upbeat songs, "Rider Of Storm" and "Revelation." Though the changes may be numerous, the essential Leverage elements remain - heavy riffs (as demonstrated on "Worldbeater"), songs that ooze with catchy elements and yet don't lack quality ("Wolf And The Moon"), great guitar work courtesy of gentlemen Heikkinen and Spoof, fast tracks that hit you right in the heart ("Prisoners", "Broken Wings"), and wonderful vocals by Pekka Heino. They continue on the path of playing good quality, melody and harmony-based music heavy rock stripped of cheese. And they're doing pretty great." - Metal Storm
    $16.00
  • Live recording from a gig somewhere in Germany in 1973 (no details available). The instrumental quartet of flute, guitar, bass and drums add a strong improv element to their exploratory mix of jazz and progressive rock. Some of this reminds me of the Mel Collins-era King Crimson. Essential for any krautrock fan.
    $18.00
  • Trigaux's brilliant new studio album is virtually a recasting of Univers Zero featuring Guy Segers and Daniel Denis.
    $15.00
  • Their first album for Polydor, recorded in 1974. This features some of their most famous material: "Child Of The Universe", "The Great 1974 Mining Disaster". Remastered with 5 bonus tracks.
    $9.00
  • Beautiful new live recording from the Swedish prog ensemble led by guitarist Peter Bryngelsson.  The show was recorded at Silver Elephant in Tokyo on 11/23/11.  The material is drawn from their debut as well as their last studio album, released in 2008.  They close out with a cover of "21st Century Schizoid Man".  If you are unfamiliar with Ragnarok you really should check out their first two studio albums.  Their music blends symphonic rock a la Camel with the occasional edge of King Crimson as well as Swedish folk themes.  I love that echoplex'ed guitar sound.  This is the good stuff.  Highly recommended.
    $10.00
  • Third album from this superb Italian prog ensemble now reduced to a trio.  The band now consists of two keyboardists Beppe Colombo and Corrado Grappeggia, and multi-instrumentalist Claudio Colombo who plays drums, flute, guitar, and bass.  The trio is augmented by some special guests: David Jackson (ex-VDGG), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), and Dino Fiore (Il Castello Di Atlante).  The music takes on a little bit more of a modern feel but for the most part it stays true to the roots of "Rock Progressivo Italiano".  Plenty of wicked keyboard parts mixed with some heavy guitar leads.  Yeah vocals are in Italian as if you didn't already know. Over the past 3 or 4 years the Italian prog scene has exploded with excellent bands.  Pandora is clearly near the top.  The whole package comes in a nice tri fold mini-lp sleeve.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • From the Austrian label that brought us the beautiful Klockwerk Orange reissue comes yet another rarity from that country's prog rock past.  Isaiah were yet another one and done band that released a sole album on CBS.  Originals are hideously rare and must be appraoching 4 figures at this point.  Its very much a flute/guitar driven album that touches on horn rock at times.  Plenty of tasteful keyboard work to boot as well.  This lavish gatefold set comes with a second album which contains incredible unreleased demos from 1973-1977.  This unreleased material is even better than the actual album!  As a bonus the label has graciously included both albums on CD.  Its all housed in a beautiful gatefold sleeve that has liner notes in German and English.  Klockwerk Orange went out of print very quickly and I expect a repeat here as well.  Highly recommended.
    $27.00
  • Mind blowing set from this early 70s German jazz rock band culled from the vaults of SWF radio.  Dzyan was formed by bassist Reinhard Karwatky but the emerging star was guitarist Eddy Marron.  The lineup for these sessions is a quintet consisting of guitar, sax, bass, drums, and percussion.  High energy jazz rock with a psychedelic undercurrent is the order of the day.  Think Mahavishnu Orchestra crossed with Guru Guru.  Percussionist Jochen Leuschner also handles the occassional vocal.  He's got a great soulful voice that fits in comfortably.  High level of musicianship throughout but I have to mention Marron again - his playing really blows my mind.  Typical superb job from Long Hair Music - previously unavaialbe photos and detailed liner notes.  BUY OR DIE!
    $18.00
  • Here's a prog rock band from New Jersey that frankly was completely unknown to me until I stumbled on them recently.  Good thing too!No More Pain is a quartet that blends contemporary sounds with classic old school prog.  My initial thoughts when I first heard the band was going to lead me to comparisons to Spock's Beard and Echolyn but the deeper I dug into it the whole thing clicked - BEARDFISH!  Lots of similarities to that great Swedish band in the way they take elements of the 70s and wipe the schmutz off it and make it sound fresh and new.  Some nice flashy keyboard solos will make you flashback to 1973 Tony Banks.  Scrub the comparisons you might read referencing Dream Theater - none of that is going on here.  This is pure prog rock.  If you are looking for metal move on - you'll be disappointed.  Lots of music packed into this disc, capping off with the 17 minute epic "The Network".  These guys need a publicist and maybe get out and play some festivals.  Highly recommended.
    $10.00
  • 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
  • "Esoteric are pleased to announce the reissues of the entire Vertigo label recordings by Jackson Heights, the group founded by Lee JACKSON, bass guitarist and vocalist with The Nice. Upon the demise of The Nice, Jackson founded his new band, recording one album for Charisma before moving home to the legendary Vertigo label, for whom the band recorded three albums. By this time Lee Jackson had assembled a new line up of Brian Chatton (Keyboards), John McBurnie (Guitar) and Mike Giles (formerly of King Crimson) (drums). This line-up was the band’ s finest with Ragamuffin’s Fool being their second album for the Swirl label."
    $17.00
  • "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
  • Hardbound mediabook edition with one bonus track."I haven't had anything similar on my musical plate for a while, so Gazpacho's eighth album Demon was an interesting, beautifully surprising and absolutely brilliant variation. Again Gazpacho mixes progressive sounds with electronic elements and folk instrumentation with the addition of dynamic riffing and amazing vocals. The outcome is a unique sound that is quite inimitable and rare to find. How much you enjoy the new record will mainly depend on how you respond to this incredible mix and the singing style used by the vocalist. Anyway Gazpacho rules, especially at night.I'm a great fan of these guys and for those of you that still don't know who they are, Gazpacho is a band formed in Oslo, Norway in 1996 by childhood friends, Jon-Arne Vilbo and Thomas Andersen, along with Jan-Henrik Ohme - later joined by Mikael Krømer, Lars Erik Asp and Kristian Torp; they released their debut album Bravo in 2003.Demon, the upcoming record, is a concept album based on the true story of a manuscript found in an apartment in Prague where the writer, a previous resident, had detailed his chase of an evil, “The Demon”. Demon is for sure full of emotion and humanity and the way the Norwegian band reproduces in music the diabolical story and the psychosis of the protagonist is wonderful.The story is told in four parts and it starts with 'I've been walking – part 1' and it couldn't start in a better low-key fashion way. There’s something disarmingly powerful about loud vocals from Jahn Henrik Ohme that add incredible depth to a song. The intermittent piano notes are just perfect and the delicate violin sound is like a nice shade of color you don't notice on painting but that painting wouldn't be the same without it. A great bonus.The second part of 'I've been walking' – that is the third track of the album – starts exactly where the first movement of the piece ends but adding a dark shadow to the overall atmosphere. There are still vocals but now are slower and they mix perfectly with the other instruments. The bass is gorgeous and the way the song turns into a more ambient and atmospherical dimension is great. It's such a damn good track and together, 'I've been walking' parts I and II, might be the best tunes that Gazpacho has ever written.The mix of sounds of the opening track changes completely in 'The Wizard of Altai Mountain' becoming electronic in the first part of the track and turning into a sort of gipsy or Yiddish sound in the second half. We are all crossing lands pursuing the demon.The story ends with 'Death Room' and the motifs of the 'The Wizard of Altai Mountain' come back like creating a circle with that song. Oriental sound, progressive rock and folk are all mixed together and the resulting fusion sound is incredible. I rarely make direct comparison among artists but this time I cannot avoid to think of Radiohead's music mixed with folk elements to create an intricate yet beautifully original tone. Other times they make me think of the Scandinavian prog-rock band Airbag but again Gazpacho find their way to be definitely unique.The story ends here and Demon too, a captivating and intriguing album that is absolutely brilliant. I like the way it flows song by song and the variety of sounds blended in it. Such experimentalism is the proof that the Norwegian guys are really talented and they deserve to be considered one of the best progressive rock bands on the scene today.Demon is an album that requires time and patience to be understood and to gain the listener's estimation and it will reward open minded audience. Play it in the dark to fully experience its great music." - Echoes And Dust
    $13.00