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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  • "Female fronted Symphonic Power Metal band AMBERIAN DAWN return with their new album “Magic Forest” on Napalm Records. Female fronted bands have always been a target for hate in the Metal community, but it’s nice to hear this powerful and lovely voice!The only way I can think to describe this band is imagine Children of Bodom, put a girl in front and make it Power Metal instead of Death Metal. Capri’s vocals are both beautiful and chilling throughout the entire album. These are over some strong instrumentals with a bunch of incredible guitar and keyboard solos, AMBERIAN DAWN bring Power Metal to a whole new galaxy!As much as I’d like to talk about and praise each and every song on this album for you, there is one main song that sticks out the most. “I’m Still Here” is the perfect song to show what AMBERIAN DAWN bring, catchy vocals, insane but not over the top instrumentals and a wicked keyboard to guitar solo. If there is any song to look up to decide if you are going to like this band or album this is it right here.“Magic Forest” is absolutely killer, if you’re not one of those people who hates female fronted bands without rhyme or reason. Symphonic Power Metal is a rare treat and it gets even better when you find an astounding band that does it right!" - Metal Temple 
    $13.00
  • "James LaBrie is renowned for being the vocalist of prog metal gods Dream Theater. His solo albums show a heavier facet of his creative output and profit immensely from his incredibly varied voice. Now, the albums "Elements Of Persuasion", "Static Impulse" and "Impermanent Resonance" are being offered as limited box set at discovery price."
    $18.00
  • Third album from this New Jersey symphonic rock band.  All of the band's albums are conceptual pieces based around literary works.  In fact the band's name is derived from a Ray Bradbury story.  On A Dark And Stormy Night is based on Madeleine L'Engle's fantasy novel of the same name.  The album is a wet dream for any fan of symphonic prog.  As I make my way through the album I'm frequently reminded of some similarities to Glass Hammer.  This is very keyboard driven music with a healthy amount of guitar leads.  There are even some nice Mellotron sounds popping up now and then.  These guys dream big and hit the mark.  Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • Limited edition digipak comes with a bonus track - a cover of The Tea Party's "Temptation".First studio album in five years from this revered band. Like a fine wine, Nevermore keeps getting better with age, improving their game along the way. For my personal taste they are the best of the US power metal bands going and probably the heaviest. This album was produced by Peter Wichers and Andy Sneap mixed.
    $5.00
  • According to the label's blurb this is "a must-have for all fans of Hammerfall, Sabaton, Helloween, & Iron Maiden". Believe it - record companies never lie.
    $15.00
  • "By titling their third album Fear of Music and opening it with the African rhythmic experiment "I Zimbra," complete with nonsense lyrics by poet Hugo Ball, Talking Heads make the record seem more of a departure than it is. Though Fear of Music is musically distinct from its predecessors, it's mostly because of the use of minor keys that give the music a more ominous sound. Previously, David Byrne's offbeat observations had been set off by an overtly humorous tone; on Fear of Music, he is still odd, but no longer so funny. At the same time, however, the music has become even more compelling. Worked up from jams (though Byrne received sole songwriter's credit), the music is becoming denser and more driving, notably on the album's standout track, "Life During Wartime," with lyrics that match the music's power. "This ain't no party," declares Byrne, "this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around." The other key song, "Heaven," extends the dismissal Byrne had expressed for the U.S. in "The Big Country" to paradise itself: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." It's also the album's most melodic song. Those are the highlights. What keeps Fear of Music from being as impressive an album as Talking Heads' first two is that much of it seems to repeat those earlier efforts, while the few newer elements seem so risky and exciting. It's an uneven, transitional album, though its better songs are as good as any Talking Heads ever did." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • After all these years, Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has finally released a solo album and frankly it isn't at all what I expected.  First off the album is all instrumental (not a bad thing frankly).  Don't expect insane shredding here.  Rothery presents a very refined symphonic rock album that, to these ears, owes a big debt to Pink Floyd.  Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson appear as guests and that is a nice plus but to be honest even without their contributions the album would satisfy anyway.  Rothery has put together a nice band, drawing musicians from British neoproggers Mr. So & So and Italian symphonic band Ranestrane.  Expect  mellow parts that meld with sections that have an electrified smoldering intensity.  As long as you don't expect an instrumental Clutching At Straws I think you'll find a lot to dig your teeth into here.  Highly recommended."Steve Rothery is best known as guitarist for those whipping boys of the mainstream press, the progressive rock band Marillion. For over 30 years, Marillion have surprised and delighted fans old and new with some truly outstanding music. Musical fashions have come and gone, governments have formed and fractured… and Marillion are still here, not just unbowed but positively revelling in their role as eternal underdogs, having now delivered more than 15 studio albums of tremendously well-wrought and highly emotive music. The cornerstone of Marillion’s music, perhaps, is Steve Rothery’s elegaic guitar. Influenced by players such as Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Camel’s Andrew Latimer but with a style all his own, Rothery – as the longest-serving member of the band – is in many ways the core of the band and one of its chief writers.Yet in all those 30-plus years, Rothery has never released a solo record. He has enjoyed a largely-acoustic based side project in the shape of The Wishing Tree, who have now released two albums (1996’s Carnival Of Souls and 2009’s Ostara), but has never released an album under his own name. Until now. A strikingly successful Kickstarter campaign – for a brief time, the Ghosts Of Pripyat pre-order was the most successful Kickstarter project in the world – has allowed Rothery the time and supporting talent to produce something very different to his day job; yet familiar enough to fans of Marillion to forge a strong link to Rothery’s work in that band.Whilst The Ghosts Of Pripyat is a solo album in name, Rothery has assembled a strong band to record it. A reflection of the strength of the band is that two previous live albums that Rothery has released in the run up to the release of this, his first studio album, were billed as being by ‘The Steve Rothery Band’. The band form a next-generation progressive rock supergroup of sorts: Dave Foster (Mr. So & So, Panic Room) on guitars, Leon Parr (ex-Mr. So & So) on drums, Yatim Halimi (Panic Room) on bass and Riccardo Romano (Ranestrane) on keys & acoustic guitar. Throughout the album they add further colour and crunch to Rothery’s instrumental flights of fancy, giving it an appealing earthbound energy.The album opens in almost cinematic style with ‘Morpheus’. Marillion fans will delight in the way this track builds with an almost sensual slowness from barely audible ambient wash to a circling riff comprised of Rothery’s signature guitar sound, a crystalline chorused sustain that is powerfully evocative in its simplicity. ‘Morpheus’ is half over before the band puts its full weight behind Rothery’s playing, but this is one of this album’s strengths. It is not a ornate shred-fest, nor is it a somnolent none-more-authentic bore; the music – like Rothery’s playing – is effortlessly melodic and atmospheric, almost a film soundtrack without a film. It is here that Rothery’s fondness for the playing of Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is most evident, and it’s entirely fitting that Hackett himself makes a guest appearance on this track. The two veteran guitarists trade off against each other beautifully, as if they’ve been playing together for years.Like any good soundtrack, each part of the album is very different in tone. Where ‘Morpheus’ was dreamy and reflective, ‘Kendris’ toys with a rolling, almost African-style drum pattern. Romano’s keys are especially important to this track, colouring in the backdrop to a musical safari whose shimmering heat haze makes for a warm, feelgood part of the album. This contrasts wonderfully with ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’, which is in many ways the centrepiece of the album. A near 12-minute track, it covers a range of moods very effectively. Opening with wave sounds, whale song and a mournful, lonely guitar fed through a Leslie effects pedal, it sounds beautifully Floydian – an effect only magnified when Rothery’s more familiar signature sound emerges to pick up the story. From these tentative but wonderfully evocative beginnings, the track gradually builds in intensity, musically and emotionally until it becomes as powerfully elemental as the sea that is its muse. The closing section in particular is one of the feistiest things that Rothery has committed to tape recently, featuring some forthright riffing built on top of a powerful performance by the assembled musicians, notably the muscular rhythm section of Halimi and Parr. In mood and subject matter, ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ sits comfortably alongside Marillion’s epic ‘Ocean Cloud’. Steve Hackett makes another guest appearance at the end, as does progressive rock wunderkind Steven Wilson – with Rothery’s presence, there are essentially three generations of progressive rock’s finest all delivering some great playing; a rare treat.‘White Pass’ was inspired by a treacherous icy path used by prospectors during the American gold rush, and its steadily rising tension is perfectly matched to its subject matter. A chugging, almost metallic riff crunches in midway through the track, the ideal accompaniment to this immersive tale of survival in a hostile environment. You can almost taste the icy chill of the howling winter winds. ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ also builds slowly, although the mood is almost antithetical to ‘White Pass': the track – a remembrance of Rothery’s late stepfather, a World War II veteran – forms a delicate and deeply emotive elegy that displays some of the most restrained playing on the album. Here, more than anywhere else, Rothery evokes the feel of mid-period Dire Straits, the gentle washes of keys and E-bowed guitar building to an affectionate but achingly sad solo that Mark Knopfler would have been extremely pleased with. This is the essence of Rothery’s playing, bottled in concentrated form: less is most definitely more. The closing two minutes display another marked influence, as the band dial up the blissful introspection into a dynamic gallop, accompanied by some very Latimer-esque playing, as Rothery tips his hat to another formative influence. Perhaps understandably the most intensely moving track, this is very special indeed.The penultimate track, ‘Summer’s End’, is another slow-burner, building from a sleepy, bucolic opening into an organ-driven hard rock riff that powers along, with a number of solos built over it, as Rothery trades some intense workouts with Foster, both of them clearly egging the other on to greater and greater heights. The magnificent atmospherics of ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ and the emotional intensity of ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ are hard to top, but if the restraint shown on the rest of the album leave you longing for heads-down rock and roll, here it is.The closing title track was inspired by photographs of the now deserted town of Pripyat in Chernobyl. After the nuclear accident there in 1986, the town was abandoned after radioactivity rendered the region uninhabitable. Reclaimed by nature, Pripyat makes for an eerie monument to those who died, and the displaced workers whose lives have never been the same. That same uncanny sense of loss and aftermath informs the track, which almost serves as an epilogue to the album. Rothery and Foster, joined by Romano on 12-string acoustic, build a slowly expanding web of limpid acoustic lines, almost like a musical round that becomes more ornate as it develops. The rest of the band arrive a few minutes later, developing the pattern of the round into a cyclical, almost Zeppelinesque riff. In five minutes the track goes from reverent near-silence into a muscular rocker, and you barely notice it happening; it feels effortless, utterly uncontrived.It’s striking, on an entirely instrumental album written and produced by a guitarist, how few solos there are on this album given its running time. Rothery’s economy is admirable in that it is never forced; this is just how he takes care of business. That in itself is one of the reasons he is so beloved as a guitarist: yes, he can be truly devastating when delivering a solo; yes, he can crank out a chunky riff with the best of them; but his playing is always in the service of the piece. His reliably deft hands deliver not riffs or solos so much as they paint with six strings. Here, freed from the constraints of delivering songs – as in Marillion and The Wishing Tree – those sound paintings are given centre stage 100% of the time, and it’s testament to Rothery’s abilities as a player and a writer that the results never fail to hold your attention.Those familiar with Rothery’s work in and out of Marillion have waited a long time for his first solo album, but it has most definitely been worth the wait. Richly atmospheric, dynamic, emotive and beautifully recorded and mixed, The Ghosts Of Pripyat is everything that those who waited for it with baited breath were hoping for. For everyone else, the album is a stunning showcase for one of the UK’s least-acknowledged guitar maestros; the perfect introduction to a talent whose indefatigable muse continues to serve up some truly extraordinary music." - Echoes & Dust
    $12.00
  • So here is a weird but engaging album.  Jane Weaver is a British freak folk singer that is also one of the principals behind the eclectic Finders Keepers label.  The Silver Globe is her sixth solo album and finds her venturing off into a wildly different direction.  Its a concept piece and draws very heavily from the space rock genre.  Although pop oriented it has the undeniable influence of Hawkwind.  I'm even hearing influences like Julian's Treatment (well maybe that's just me).  She has a host of guests on the album including influential synthesist Suzanne Ciani.  Ms. Weaver even had the temerity to resurrect the dudes from Cybotron.  When wasa the last time anyone heard from Steven Maxwell von Braund?  If you enjoy late 60s freakbeat and early 70s space rock you should check this out - its not heavy handed but it has a vibe that I found engaging."The latest album from Widnes singer-songwriter Jane Weaver sees her continuing to fly in the face of convention. A loose concept album of the most cosmic order that appears to concern itself with allegorical tales of an unreachable planet, The Silver Globe matches its lyrical ambition with a bold mix of krautrock by way of the North West: synth-heavy woozy prog ballads and DayGlo pop.Central to this are Weaver’s vocals, veering from the icy and dread-filled Argent to the gleeful falsetto of Don’t Take My Soul. These two tracks illustrate her strengths perfectly: the former conjures an irresistible mechanical groove that lures the listener into thinking that they’re in store for a heavy, apocalyptic record, while the latter, all goofy keyboard licks and bouncy bass, wouldn’t be out of place soundtracking a long-forgotten and beloved children’s television programme.Elsewhere, Mission Desire is a flawless slice of acid-folk with a tangible darkness, reminiscent of prime Jefferson Airplane, and Stealing Gold is a rough around-the-edges waltz. An album full of ideas and which rewards with repeated listens, it’s wholly recommended." - Record Collector
    $18.00
  • Here's another one of those great German bands that fell through the cracks but thanks to Long Hair Music, their music is available for us to hear.  For Example was a large scale ensemble HEAVILY influenced by Chicago Transit Authority.  Notice I mentioned CTA as opposed to Chicago - this was not commercial music like the later incarnations.  For Example also utilized a horn section to excellent effect but also like their US counterparts there is killer guitar work all over this material.  Vocals are present but the music is predominantly instrumental.  So basically excellent jazz rock with killer guitar leads.This set consists of a session the band recorded for SWF Radio in 1973 as well as unreleased demos from 1972 while they were shopping for a record deal that never came.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • 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! 
    $15.00
  • This was a pleasant surprise and frankly a return to form. "Room V" is actually a sequel to 1998's "Tyranny" and in many ways betters it. I find the album to be a bit laid back - by Shadow Gallery standards. I would say that this leans more towards the prog rock side rather than metal reminding me of a heavier version of Glass Hammer although lots of similarities to Dream Theater are evident. The album is filled with warmth, perhaps due to the emphasis at times on keyboards. So this one straddles the line between symphonic rock and progressive metal doing both with panache - this one is easily recommended.
    $12.00
  • Obsidian Kingdom is a fascinating band from Barcelona that released Mantiis in 2012 in a limited run of 500 copies.  It's now picked up for worldwide distribution via Season of Mist.  This is definitely progressive metal - real boundary pushing stuff.  The band is categorized as post-metal and that is just one of the guideposts they touch on.  I hear more of a musical connection to Leprous and Arcturus.  If you are inclined towards the more avant garde side of metal you need to hear this band.  With the right push they could become massive.  Highly recommended."Cutting right to the chase, Obsidian Kingdom‘s latest release, ‘Mantiis‘ could very well be the most equivocal album I have reviewed to date. What this five piece post-metal band from Barcelona has put together with their latest genre-crossing, boundary pushing release is something few other bands can lay claim to accomplishing. I can’t even began to describe the number of different genres represented throughout this 47 minute monstrosity of an album.“Not Yet Five” is the album’s opener and starts things off with looming bass, light distortion, piano work and sporadic beeps and buzzes that all blend together to create an eerie ambiance that sets the mood for things to come. From here the album progresses forward with “Oncoming Dark” and “Through the Glass” which start off which crisp clean vocals and electric-accoustic guitar work before evolving into a wanderlust of heaviness that borders between post-metal and progressive death metal. Keyboards play on in an evil manner and when combined with chugging guitars and persistent drumming a doomsday like atmosphere forms. As the album moves forward through the short tracks, it gains in intensity through it’s evolving layers. By the time the album reaches its fourth track, “Cinnamon Balls” it has already spiraled into a dark, twisted place filled with harsh demonic vocals and djent style guitar work.A short piano interlude leads into “Answering Revealing” which brings the album full circle as clean vocals emerge as does a short but sweet return to Obsidian Kindgom‘s softer side. “Last of the Light” is where the album completely goes off of the tracks. While the beginning and end of the track are highlighted by violent vocals and double bass action, bookended between it is a several minute long section that features a classical guitar and with a very bluesy saxophone solo. You heard me right. This is without question one of if not the most unique song I have heard in years and definitely one of the most unusual combinations of instruments. From here ‘Mantiis‘ takes a stark transition to “Genteel to Mention”, a short track that opens with piano and clean vocals  that only last for a short while before the album returns right back to its doom and gloom heavier ways with the intro to “Awake Until Dawn”. The track does come to a crawl as it progresses when piano work mixed with synths present yet another unheard element to the album.‘Mantiis‘ moves forward with “Haunts of the Underworld” showcasing the best guitar work to be found on the album  and “Endless Wall”, which feels like the closest thing to a post-metal track found on the album despite the hints of more djent guitar work. Clean vocals amidst swirly ambiance make up “Fingers in Anguish” and demonic vocals and downtuned guitars return in “Ball-room”, both short tracks that barely cross over the five-minute mark combined. “Ball-Room” does a fantastic job setting the table for the closing track “And Then It Was”. Stark, aggressive drumming leads the way as everything the album has built itself up for comes to a head in this epic finale.One album I do think that compares particularly well to ‘Mantiis‘ is Crippled Black Phoenix‘s ‘Mankind, The Crafty Ape’. The two albums share many similarities in how they flow, how they use music as a journey to tell an album spanning story and also how they infuse many different genres into their sound while never delving down too far into a particular one. While CBF opted for a more psychedelic, bluesy infusion, Obsidian Kingdom chose a much darker, louder progressive death metal meets doom metal approach.While fantastic in its storytelling, the album isn’t without its shortcomings. I found myself wishing the album flowed a little bit better as some of the transitions seemed a bit awkward. There are also times where I wished the clean vocals would have had a stronger presence throughout the album as the band’s softer material is among their strongest work. Still, I can overlook these minor nuances as I continually find myself coming back to this album time and time again. ‘Mantiis‘ is one of the more captivating albums I’ve heard all year and is without question a breath of fresh air. " - PostRock Star 
    $12.00
  • Supersister are one of Holland's finest and obscurest experimental Prog Rock bands from the early '70s. Especially their first three albums are revered by Prog fans around the world for the innovative song structures, their virtuosity and humour. Keyboardist Robert Jan Stips would later join Dutch pop formation Nits. Music On Vinyl is honored to unveil Dreaming Wheelwhile, a one-of-a-kind compilation of the band's early period. Songs like "A Girl Like You", "Dreaming Wheelwhile" and "No Tree Will Grow (On Too High A Mountain)" are presented on two 10" records, packed in a gatefold sleeve. The first pressing will see the daylight as a limited numbered edition of 500 copies on coloured vinyl. Don't sleep on this one! A must-have for fans of Caravan, Zappa and another Dutch progressive rock institution: Focus.2 x 120 gram audiophile viny10" Gatefold sleeveFirst 500 cps on a mix of black, gold and blue vinyl!Not available on CDTracklisting: A1 Dreaming Wheelwhile A2 No Tree Will Grow A3 She Was Naked B1 Mexico B2 A Girl Named You C1 Corporation Combo Boys C2 Judy Goes On Holiday D1 Memories Are New D2 Higher D3 Missing Link D4 Radio
    $36.00
  • "Captain Beyond's second album must have confused the diehards. Where their self-titled debut had upheld the basic progressive heavy rock blueprint of lengthy instrumental explorations, constant tempo changes, and opaque, yet cinematic lyrics, Sufficiently Breathless downplays them for a subtler, song-oriented production. The predominant mood is snappy and businesslike; no track runs over five and a half minutes. This newfound conciseness certainly benefited such heavy-rocking efforts as "Distant Sun," even as the band stuck to their diverse guns on the moody, acoustic title track and the sleek Latin funk rock of "Bright Blue Eyes" and "Everything's a Circle." The results were intelligent and self-assured, yet the band's never-ending bad luck again intervened when vocalist Rod Evans quit in late 1973, leaving the album adrift. The band would proffer a markedly different style on their return four years later, but anyone dismissing progressive heavy rock as an oxymoron should definitely check out this album first." - All Music Guide
    $5.00