Soul Temptation

SKU: 144372
Label:
Metal Blade
Category:
Power Metal
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Fine new release from this German power metal band featuring Andy Franck on vocals. The music is heavy but extremely melodic. This is real power metal but not in a slick Euro-way....it has an US power metal feel. So I guess the way to differentiate between Andy's two bands are this - Brainstorm heavy as hell, Symphorce melodic as hell.

Metal Blade is trying something new, pricing this full length release at a mid-price point.

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    $13.00
  • "There is definitely something in the water over in Gothenburg, Sweden that encourages the creation of superb music. Stratosphere is one of the latest in a long line of powerful Scandinavian bands, and will be releasing their debut CD entitled Fire Flight on Escape Music. Masterminded by well-respected keyboardist Jeppe Lund, Stratosphere blends elements of orchestral and progressive metal together with a huge dose of melodic rock to come up with a tight and polished sound that is sure to impress anyone who likes melodic metal. Fronted by the familiar and distinctive voice of Goran Edman (Malmsteen, Street Talk, John Norum), Stratosphere makes classically influenced metal that is not overly pretentious or highbrow and is easily accessible to the casual listener. The music from start to finish is dominated by vocals, guitar and keyboards, and each song is well crafted and well performed. The engineering is crisp and clear giving the entire album a polished and unified sound no matter the intensity or musical arrangement.The members of Stratosphere are all immensely talented and work together as a team. Goran Edman’s voice is as solid as ever whether singing softly or pushing the limits of his range. He gets to sing with varying levels of intensity across a broad range of rock styles and handles everything well. Guitarist Jonas Larsen is a fine classical player, but he is not a one trick pony. Larsen can lay down wonderful Malmsteen-esque classical fills, and just as easily blast out some super heavy but simple lines. He is a fine soloist and is not hung up on playing “fast” and adjusts his style to suit the music. Jeppe Lund’s keyboard work is awesome without doubt. His work is a solid counterpoint to Larsen’s guitars and is as important to the overall feel and structure of the music as any other member of the band. Jim McCarty (drums) and Anders Borre Mathiesen (bass) are both capable players as well, but are so overshadowed by the other members of the band that they only really get to shine during the band’s two instrumentals.“Russian Summer” opens the disc and sets the tone for the balance of the album. The keys dominate the intro while the guitars lay down a simple but hooky rhythm line. Once Edman’s vocals kick in there is no doubt that this is razor sharp Scandinavian metal. “The Battle Within” is a high-energy track with a very classical feel that provides an introspective look at a soldier’s post-duty life and the problems he may face. The intro to “Enemy Of My Soul” is a quiet and haunting symphonic passage that breaks out into a huge vocal chorus, but the band switches to a more conventional hard rock style when they visit the “Streets Of Moscow.” Edman’s vocals are particularly strong and expressive on both tracks. The instrumental “Rendezvous” gives Edman a breather and lets the other guys really show their chops. It is very classical and very intense, allowing everyone to blend together in layer upon layer of music.“Shining Star” opens the second half of the disc. It is a very arena friendly AOR love song – a bit syrupy and overly sentimental, but Edman’s vocals are at their best throughout, and Larsen lays down some great guitar fills. “China Girl” has a “pop metal” feel to it, not fitting in fully with the rest of the album, perhaps added as a time filler, but it does feature some nice guitar work. “Princess of the Night” is a very soft ballad built around the vocal but featuring amazing guitar and keyboard teamwork underneath it all. “VIP” starts off light and melodic, but quickly becomes a very gritty song that paints a less that flattering look at the “celebrity” lifestyle and gives Goran a chance to growl a little. The sweeping instrumental “Fire Flight” wraps the album in fine style – big keyboards, soaring guitar riffs, great bass and drum rhythm lines, and is musically the strongest track on the release.On the whole, Fire Flight should be on the “must have” list of every orchestral / classical / symphonic metal fan. The big hooks and catchy rhythms will easily appeal to any hard rock fan, and be instantly familiar to anyone who has ever listened to Yngwie. The quality of performance, solid teamwork and overall enthusiasm make Stratosphere’s debut a winner all around. Even though some of the elements of Fire Flight are a bit predictable, the plusses easily outnumber the minuses. A good listen from start to finish, and very highly recommended!" - hardrockhaven.com
    $8.00
  • This is so much better than the band's first album it's ridiculous. First off they axed Elisa Martin, who's accent-laden vocals never cut it for me. She was replaced by Max Leclerqe who also sings for Magic Kingdom. The production is way better as well. Basically this is epic fantasy symphonic metal bearing strong similarities to Rhapsody. Wuthering Heights comes to mind at times but this has more of a larger than life feel and none of their folk influences. I'm not always partial to this style since it's been done so often but I found this to be a solid album beginning to end. Highly recommended.
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  • Third album from a band that is essentially a mash up of members from Sieges Even, Sun Caged and Dreamscape.  Their music carries on very much in the style of the later Sieges Even albums.  In other words progressive rock that leans towards the heavier side of the spectrum.  Rush, Rabin-era Yes, Saga, and Dream Theater come to mind as influences.  Quite melodic and if you are so inclined you'll hear some incredible chops from guitarist Markus Steffen.  The band corraled Stream Of Passion's Marcela Bovio for a guest vocal appearance, dueting with Arno Menses.This is the deluxe 2CD edition.  It sports a really cool looking 3D cover.  The bonus CD is a live concert recorded in Mannheim in 2012.
    $19.00
  • Slipcase 5CD set containing all five Be Bop Deluxe studio albums:Axe VictimFuturamaSunburst FinishModern MusicDrastic Plastic
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  • Second in the series from this project band put together by guitarist Lars Eric Mattson. For this outing he brings aboard two accomplished vocalists - Bj√∂rn Jansson of Tears of Anger and Martin LeMar of Tomorrows Eve. Sphere of Souls guitarist Anand Mahangoe ups the shred factor. Mattson plays most of the guitar parts and also provides bass and keys. The very busy session "drummer" Eddie Sledgehammer appears throughout - no doubt programmed by Mattson. The music is a mix of melodic, AOR-tinged, hard rock and progressive metal.
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  • Fourth album from this Swedish power metal band finds them with a new lineup and new label. The music emphasizes melody and crunch with a good amount of galloping rhythms as well.
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  • "The debut recording from the Dixie Dregs (The Great Spectacular is considered a demo) stands as one fusion's high-water marks. This music is wholly original and played with a freshness and vigor that had begun to wane in a genre that was becoming a model in self-parody. The influences here are plentiful, but it is the country roots that provide the music with its vitality. Founder/guitarist Steve Morse proved to be an important new guitarist, offering an inimitable style with the technique the music demands. The music is complex and challenging, but that's easy to overlook due to the band's sunny approach. While they would go on to create more fully realized recordings, this one proved that fusion had a soul." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • "After the lack of success garnered by 1970's The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, Randy California (guitar/vocals) -- who had recently suffered a nearly fatal horse-riding accident -- split from the combo, leaving only Ed Cassidy (drums) and John Locke (keyboards) to carry on from the original lineup. They were joined by brothers Al Staehely (bass/lead vocals) and Christian Staehely (guitar/vocals), with the former supplying a majority of the album's solid material. His consistently strong songs were perfect for this seemingly hastily collected aggregate. Unlike Jay Ferguson (vocals) and Mark Andes' (guitar/vocals) boogie outfit Jo Jo Gunne, Spirit remained steeped in equal measures of pop, rock, and jazz. That said, "Cadillac Cowboys" could have just as easily passed off for Gunne, with the propulsive backbeat centered down the spine of the slightly syncopated rhythm, perfect for Cassidy's percussive inflections and innate sense of timing. Locke's instrumentals "Trancas Fog-Out" and "Puesta del Scam" also put the drummer in the driver's seat, as his compact interjections propel Christian Staehely's guitar and Locke's aggressive piano leads. Producer David Briggs captures these in an almost v rit manner, as each musician spontaneously reflects his counterparts la the band's 1968 debut -- and perhaps more pointedly Locke's ten-minute epic "Elijah." "Darkness" is another Locke side that is worth mentioning with regard to the interaction among the quartet members, as the noir waltz perfectly captures the strengths of this lineup. "
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  • Remastered with 2 bonus tracks."Judas Priest's major-label debut Sin After Sin marks their only recording with then-teenage session drummer Simon Phillips, whose technical prowess helps push the band's burgeoning aggression into overdrive. For their part, K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton employ a great deal more of the driving, palm-muted power-chord picking that would provide the basic rhythmic foundation of all but the most extreme heavy metal from here on out. Sin After Sin finds Priest still experimenting with their range, and thus ends up as perhaps their most varied outing. Yet despite the undeniably tremendous peaks here, the overall package doesn't cohere quite as well as on Sad Wings of Destiny, simply because the heavy moments are so recognizable as the metal we know today that the detours stick out as greater interruptions of the album's flow. The proggy ballad "Last Rose of Summer" is the biggest departure here, with florid lyrics and "red blood/white snow" imagery that would be fully at home on any goth rock band's most depressing bedsit dirges. "Here Come the Tears" is musically dissimilar, with heavy guitars and Halford's downcast wailing, but it's just as lyrically mopey. These two sit rather uneasily against the viciousness of the more metallic offerings. Classic opener "Sinner" is packed with driving riffs, sophisticated guitar interplay (including a whammy-bar freakout during a slower middle section), a melody that winds snakily upward, and nifty little production tricks doubtless inspired by Queen. A galloping, fully metallic reimagining of the Joan Baez folk tune "Diamonds and Rust" is a smashing success, one of the most effective left-field cover choices in metal history. "Starbreaker" is the first of many "alien monsters from the sky!" tunes in the band's catalog. Proggy, churchy guitar intro "Let Us Prey" quickly leads into the speed-burner "Call for the Priest," which may just be the earliest building block in the construction of speed metal, and features some of Tipton and Downing's most impressive twin-guitar harmonies yet. "Raw Deal" is a less immediate metal offering that faintly recalls the band's blues-rock roots, though it may be most interesting for the blatant lyrical references to S&M bars and gay haven Fire Island, not to mention an unmistakable endorsement of gay rights. Things close on a high note with the utterly stunning "Dissident Aggressor," one of the heaviest songs in the band's catalog, so much so that it was covered (and not outdone) by Slayer. Once the bludgeoning main riff abruptly kicks in, Halford screams at what must be the very top of his range; a completely manic Phillips offers some of the earliest double-bass drumming in metal; and the crazed guitar solos prove that Tipton and Downing had more than just pure technique at their disposal. It's not a stretch to say that at the time of its release, "Dissident Aggressor" was probably the heaviest metal song of all time. It's the biggest sign here that as good as Judas Priest already was, they were on the verge of something even greater. In what must seem like a much bigger oddity now, the inaugural American tour that ensued found them opening for REO Speedwagon and Foreigner." - Allmusic Guide
    $8.00
  • This is the fifth and last in Ian Parry's Consortium Project all star project. Returning vets include Stefan Lill (Vanden Plas), Kristopher Gildenlow, Casey Grillo (Kamelot) among others. Parry is front and center but also augmented by female vocalists Lena Petersen and Ani Lozanova (Ani Lo Project).
    $14.00
  • "Oh Italy, will you ever stop delivering kick ass metal? Now don’t get me wrong folks, I love the San Francisco Bay Area I’ve called home for the majority of my life, and am very pleased with the area’s contributions to heavy metal, namely the thrash era of the 1980’s, but at the present moment, no country has been consistently delivering like Italy has, especially when it comes to just buckling down and busting out some no holds barred, guitar crunching, drum smashing, vocal chord tearing heavy metal. And when it comes to metal that is blunt and to the point, Astra pretty much nails it on their album Broken Balance.Astra began their journey in Rome in 2001 as a four piece instrumental band, three of which are still in the band today, Andrea Casali (vocals and bass), Silvio D’Onorio De Meo (lead guitar), and Emanuele Casali (keyboard and rhythm guitar), and after a few changes, settled on drummer Filippo Berlini. According to their bio, they cut their chops on Dream Theater covers, and managed to win the first Italian Dream Theater Tribute Contest, leading them to a show with the Wizard Rudess himself for the Italian fan club’s 10 year party. From that point, they followed the tried and true path of releasing albums and touring. In 2005 they released About Me: Through Life and Beyond, and followed that with the 2007 release of From Within. Now, it’s time for that ever crucial third album, so let’s take a look at Broken Balance….Now, unlike a lot of the music I’ve been reviewing in recent days, there is no genre bending, no quirks or hidden aural agendas. From note one of the opening track, Losing Your Ego, Astra makes it crystal clear that they just want to rock the fuck out. The song, and the whole album for that matter, is a catchy riff fest with a strong hard rock/metal vibe. It’s the type of music that would have taken a very high place in the annals of late eighties metal, with the searing high vocals of Casali, the constant double bass of Berlini, and the relentless guitar riffs and solos. They do mix it up a bit, throwing in a few time changes here and there, some subdued moments, and a growl or two, just to add some flare and color to the overall product. Hole in the Silence picks up right where the opener drops off, without skipping a step. The third track, Sunrise to Sunset, has a slightly balladesque touch to it, with a soaring and catchy chorus that really showcases the vocals of Casali. Buried in the midst of the soaring vocal work is a brilliant instrumental section and a jaw dropping solo. It’s surely my favorite on the album, a song that will be listened to many times, me singing at the top of my severely under qualified lungs.From there they go right back to the metal. Song after song they are relentless, one of those albums that screams “LIVE SHOW PLEASE!!!!!!”.  Too Late has yet another catchy chorus, something of a standard throughout the album actually. The title track, Broken Balance, opens with a sultry tone, something else they are rather adept at, and delivers a fairly complex song afterwards, teasing at exploding out multiple times before restraining themselves, working the listener into a furious sense of expectation as to what’s going to come about. Then comes the instrumental, where they let loose in a fury of notes scattered around before the guitars take control. Six more tracks follow, delivering a good variety on their version of solid metal. Another ballad comes in the form of Mirror of Your Soul. Risk and Dare is a crushing and rather dark number on an album that is overall fairly uplifting. Three more rockers lead into the closing track, You Make Me Better. This one opens on the heavy notes, and then settles into ballad zone. It’s a love song of course, with all the requisite cheesiness lyrically and the solid climactic moments.Astra gives at the core of this album a polished sound for sure. Though there are very few mistakes on it, they also don’t break down any barriers. It is altogether a good, fun rocking album, the kind that is meant for cranking up and punishing your neck and your neighbors. Their tightness as a band is clear on every song, and the catchiness of the album should ensure a good deal of longevity for yet another addition to the growing pantheon of Italian metal." - Lady Obscure
    $15.00
  • Superb upbeat power metal drawing influences from Angra, Rhapsody, and even Queen! This is a new 8 piece band from Spain that features a fantastic singer in Nacho Ruiz that is one part Andre Matos and one part Freddie Mercury. The band isn't shy in their use of keyboards either which is always a plus for me. It seems obvious to me that this band is going to get a lot of recognition. This is the Japanese edition that features 3 bonus tracks. Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • Prog metal rock opera put together by Trent and Wayne Gardner of Magellan. Featured vocalists include, James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Josh Pincus (Ice Age), Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery), Robert Berry, Steve Walsh (Kansas), and Chris Shryack (Under The Sun).
    $8.00