The Twenty Seven Club (CD/DVD)

Magenta's latest finds them returning to an overtly progressive rock sound and the music is all the better for it.  The Twenty Seven Club is a concept album based around famous rock stars that died at the age of 27 (Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hedrix, Kurt Cobain, ao).  The core lineup is Rob Reed, Christina Booth, and Chris Fry.  For this album the band is rounded out by guest drummer Andy Edwards of IQ.  Reed's keyboard work is back in the fore and Fry's Howe-isms on guitar always bring a polish to the music (and grin on the face).  Christina Booth's voice is a real gift and she shines as always.  Overall the music makes some overt references to Yes and Genesis so you get that old school flavor that the band hasn't offered in many years.  The album arrives in a special edition with a bonus DVD.  You get the complete album in a 5.1 mix, documentary footage and a promo video for one of the tunes.  Highly recommended.

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  • "Having morphed--some would argue devolved--into a predictable ballad machine by the '80s, it's good to be reminded of Chicago's original artistic ethos and vibrant promise. And what better place to start than their spectacular 1969 debut? This digitally remastered edition compiles the double album on a single disc that retains the original LP artwork and features a 16-page booklet with a retrospective essay (based on new band member interviews) by David Wild. Chicago weren't yet the '70s hit-singles factory they would shortly become, and CTA showcases a band whose muscular musicianship and creative restlessness fostered two LPs worth of music that was as aggressive and far-ranging as its singles were friendly and inviting. Tellingly, the hits showcased here--"Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?" "Beginnings," "Questions 67 and 68," and their rhythmically pumped cover of the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man"--were often edited down from the original collection's suite-heavy structure. But those familiar cuts belie the downright progressive and angular nature of much of the rest, which fuses Terry Kath's neo-psychedelic guitar (which careens to noisy, feedback-laden Hendrixesque extremes on "Free Form Guitar") to one of rock's pioneering horn sections with enough experimentalism ("Poem 58") that it frequently overwhelms their undeniable genius with a pop song. Chicago would seldom sound so adventurous after this, one of rock's greatest debut albums." --Jerry McCulley
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  • Lethal third album from this German heavy stoner/psych quartet.  Waiting For The Flood clocks in near 50 minutes and consists of only four tracks (!).  While mixing in Eastern motifs and instrumentation(dig the sitar), the band explores some of their heaviest terrain.  Bass lines distort, drums pound away, and then the wah wah laced soloing blasts into the deepest realm of the cosmos.  Ocassionally some keys will crop up adding a nice effect.  The music effortless morphs from doomy Sabbath metal into Guru Guru sonic explorations that will definitely rattle your cage.  Think Masters Of Reality meets Hinten. A total mind blower that scores a 6 on the vaporizer scale.  BUY OR DIE! 
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  • This new EP is a stop gap until the new full length release from the German symphonic metal band but its an interesting one.  Xandria present 3 new studio tracks, re-recordings of two vintage Xandria tunes, and covers of tracks by Sonata Arctica and Meatloaf (!)."Three brand new songs will be featured on the EP: "Voyage Of The Fallen", "Unembraced" and "In Remembrance". In addition, XANDRIA has re-recorded two all-time favorites of the band's fans, "Ravenheart" (originally recorded for the album "Ravenheart" in 2004) and "Now & Forever" ("India", 2005). Cover versions of SONATA ARCTICA's "Don't Say A Word" and Meat Loaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" will also be included on the effort.Regarding the decision to cover "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", XANDRIA said: "During the photo shoot for the 'Sacrificium' record, we were digging through our music libraries to find something appropriate for getting us in the right mood. At some point we got stuck with an artist every one of us had a crush on someone with and a story to tell about back then from our teenager days in the earlier '90s. We straight away started joking about doing a XANDRIA version of this particular song, but really forgot about it until the discussion of doing some remake for an EP came up again. With the biggest respect we started this operation of transforming one of our all-time faves, a real classic, into a XANDRIA hymn. Well, we think we quite did an 'okay' job and on July the 31st, it's your turn to decide whether you've got a favorite song or not.""
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  • "Downtime doesn’t appear to be in this Swedish traditional group’s mindset, at least in this point of their career. Striking while the iron’s hot from their 2011 Heads Will Roll debut and touring with the legendary Lizzy Borden across mainland Europe, the quintet from Gothenburg set about writing the follow up, Storms of War rather quickly. With King Diamond guitarist Andy Larocque behind the production chair, Storms of War will either make Katana another worthy Swedish contender to the Wolf/Enforcer new brigade throne or may cast them into the land of bargain bins forevermore.The opening salvo of riff peeling from guitarists Patrik Essen and Tobias Karlsson on “Reaper” rivals the best 80’s Judas Priest with Accept for good measure- and the trade-off solos are pure ecstasy for all air guitarists worldwide. Sometimes the reference points get a tad obvious: Iron Maiden on “Wrath of the Emerald Witch,” Loudness on “The Samurai Returns,” but Anders Persson’s poised drumming and the multi-octave, high-octane melodies from Johan Bernspang more than make up for any similarities.Bernspang even shows off a lighter, lower playful side to his voice ala Bruce Dickinson during the shorter, gallop-worthy “City on the Edge of Forever.” The swirling wind effects and a slow moving bass line signal the start of the eight-minute epic “In the Land of the Sun,” the verse melody mirroring the open clean plucking before the tempo moves upward and you feel like you are experiencing another NWOBHM journey with a series of Egyptian point-counterpoint guitar refrains. And how about the Omen up and down guitar harmonies throughout “Modesty Blaise” circa Warning Of Danger?Since Iron Maiden feel that their fans desire more progressive rock-length arrangements over the classics they rendered on the first seven studio albums, Katana could fit that missing niche in your collection with Storms of War. Thank you gentlemen for bringing me back to my teenage years with this one. " - Blistering,com
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