Universal Migrator Part 1 & 2 (2 CD)

New budget priced 2 CD set combines both halves of the Universal Migrator series: "The Dream Sequencer" and "Flight Of The Migrator".

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  • "There's no doubt that every genre has its leaders. Bands who through a confidence and display of ability, rise above the others who simply seem to follow in their wake. Primal Fear are one such band, leading the Euro Power Metal genre as if it is their own to do with as they please. In essence what they choose to do is, in truth, similar to countless other bands and still reliant on a blueprint created by the likes of Accept and Judas Priest many, many years ago. However with the class of Alex Beyrodt and Magnus Karlsson on guitars, PF already have a head start on the opposition, so when you add to that the bass bombast of Mat Sinner, drumming displays from Randy Black and the ultra powerful vocal viciousness of Ralf Scheepers, then immediately it becomes apparent why Primal Fear reign supreme.That line-up has been stable for some four years now and it shows on Delivering The Black, amazingly this band's tenth studio offering. What does it sound like? Well truth be told you know that already because Primal Fear do what they do so well, that tinkering with the sound would be merely to stray from a tried, tested and well loved formula. However the sheer energy and conviction behind the likes of "King For A Day", "Alive & On Fire" and "Inseminoid" ensures that what this Beyrodt produced monster of an album delivers, never falls short of fist punchingly good.However while each and every one of the ten tracks on show here (twelve and a "single" mix of "Death Comes Knocking" if you buy the deluxe version – and you know you really want to...) pulsates, gyrates and convulsates, the two which really stand out as the central pieces of Delivering The Black are the aforementioned, but full version of "Death Comes Knocking" and "One Night In December", both of which reach towards and beyond the seven minute mark. Orchestral embellishments are unobtrusively added and both tracks evolve through a variety of moods and atmospheres, while still sounding 100% like prime-time Primal. Add to that an acoustic based, but bombastically delivered slower number in the shape of "Born With A Broken Heart", where Leaves Eyes' Liv Kristine adds backing vocals and Delivering The Black stands out as an individual and ambitious album, while still being completely and utterly what this band have always been about. Something many acts have tried to do and failed.While a few new elements are successfully introduced here, the old adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" still springs to mind and rest assured that Primal Fear are in full, glorious, working order." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $19.00
  • A future classic of progressive metal. Totally unique sound of extreme complexity and power. This Swedish band draws from different sources like Faith No More and Dream Theater but put a totally original spin on it.
    $12.00
  • "Live In Tokyo is a live performance from November 14, 2012 at Zepp Tokyo for supergroup PSMS, which features drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Transatlantic), bassist Billy Sheehan (Talas, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth), guitarist Tony MacAlpine & keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Black Country Communion, Dream Theater, Billy Idol). This 95 minute concert showcases a wide range of instrumental performances from each of the members careers & collaborations. Included in the set are Shy Boy from Sheehan's band Talas, MacAlpine's The Stranger, Sherinian's Apocalypse 1470 B.C. and Dream Theater's A Change Of Seasons: The Crimson Sunrise."
    $14.00
  • Double live CD/DVD set from this long running Danish band. This was filmed in Switzerland on their Pandemonium tour.
    $18.00
  • This was formerly known as the Full Power release.At the moment Big Big Train are one of the best prog bands going.  This English crew take some of the best elements of old school Genesis and their ilk and marry it with something very contemporary and relevant.  The band was started years ago by Greg Spawton and Andy Poole.  There were a variety of iterations of the band and as the years went on they got better and better.  If you don't know, their vocalist Dave Longdon was a finalist to replaced Phil Collins in Genesis.  Rutherford and Banks obviously made the wrong choice, going with Ray Wilson instead.  Longdon's vocals remind very much of Gabriela and Collins making the Genesis connection quite easy.  Further on the band added Nick D'Virgilio on drums.  These guys totally grok prog.The band's most recent work was epic in nature.  English Electric was released about six months apart as two separate releases.  Further to this, there were 4 additional tracks which were left off and just released as the Make Some Noise EP."Originally released as two separate albums in 2012 and 2013, the English Electric CD's were subsequently brought together as a limited edition (and now out of print) double album called English Electric Full Power, a release which included four additional songs and a revised track listing from the separate album versions.This new double album version of the English Electric CD's retains the extended track listing of the Full Power release and has been remastered by Rob Aubrey to ensure the songs benefit from even greater dynamic range. It is presented in a softpack with a 40 page booklet."
    $12.00
  • Brief Nocturnes is the band's 11th album.  It marks their return to Inside Out and quite frankly its the best album they have released in a very long time.  Chalk it up to Ted Leonard handling vocals or Neal Morse contributing writing to a couple of tunes?  Not sure.  I am definitely hearing more vitality and overt progginess in the compositions.  Ryo is going off his nut here - keys are whizzing all around - organ/'tron/the whole schmear - and Alan's guitar runs are matching him step for step.  Maybe I haven't been paying attention as closely as I should have for the past few years.  I do know that I'm enjoying the hell out of this.  Highly recommended.Mediabook edition is essentially a fancier hardbound version fo the domestic release.  No additional music.
    $9.00
  • "Credited to the fictitious group Psychedelic Warriors, the album was recorded by DAVE BROCK, ALAN DAVEY and Richard Chadwick at Rockfield studios in November and December 1994, revealing another side of their musical nature, taking in influences from the UK Dance and Rave music scene, creating a unique record that was also undeniably Hawkwind.Issued on the Emergency Broadcast label in 1995 and deleted soon after, the album has remained elusive to Hawkwind fans for many years, making this reissue most welcome."
    $8.00
  • "One of the interesting and strangely rewarding things about being a power metal enthusiast in 2015 is the fact that, due to the general indifference shown by media outlets and the metal population at large, particularly within the United States, fans don’t really get hit over the head with an uninterrupted outpouring of releases 8 days a week as you might for, say, death and black metal. Perhaps that seems like a strange thing to celebrate, but during an age where glut has become the new standard, it’s refreshing to exist in a realm where you often don’t have much of a choice but to really get to know the releases you count as triumphs. To illustrate the point: While there have been a few noteworthy power metal releases in 2015, there haven’t been enough to completely overshadow what's still getting regular play from 2014's sufficient crop. In this sense, power metal is defying the "churn & burn" mandate that seems to govern much of music today.The shortage of a comprehensive power metal vogue also means that, for the most part, the bands that commit to the genre are by-God in it for a true love and obligation to the game. In other words, there’s little evidence of bandwagoning, which is equally refreshing.With that in mind, if you’re lucky enough to resonate with power metal and haven’t been paying attention to what’s been rumbling down the chute from the U.S. lately, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Releases haven’t exactly been dropping from the trees, per say, but a good portion of what we’ve gotten certainly qualifies for medal contention. To keep things pinned to 2015, consider Artizan’s The Furthest Reaches, Tanagra’s None of This is Real, and Judicator’s ludicrous At the Expense of Humanity. Three high-quality PM records from one country in one year might typically be sufficient, but St. Paul, Minnesota’s Chaos Frame apparently prefers to kick the festivities up to a deafening roar, because Paths to Exile, their sophomore effort, is nothing short of extraordinary.First of all, are you shittin’ me with this thing? Who? Wuh? Where’d?There's nary a bad tune to be found on this record. Seriously. That fact alone should be enough to inspire some of you to pound some samples into your ears and free the tight velcro grip on those wallets, but just in case it’s not: Chaos Frame shares current, ex- and guest members from Noble Beast, a band that released one of 2014’s most sublime examples of exhilarating, aggressive modern power metal. And while Paths to Exile certainly shares some of that band’s Blind Guardian-galvanized strut, particularly in those exquisitely stacked choruses, Chaos Frame is an entirely different beast altogether. An even more... noble beast, one might wager? Inconceivable. Just a more proggy, less dungeon-inspired incursion that shares the same level of skill in terms of first-string musicianship from a relatively unheralded act.Something a number of American progressive/power metal acts seem to be managing in excess lately is the idea that you can be uplifting without being overly bubbly, and Chaos Frame nails that notion home with a one-ton hammer. There are no “Heavy Metal Hamsters” or squirrelly circus jigs within a hundred miles of these dudes. Outside of the opening track, every song flashes moments where things seamlessly break off for a stretch of surprisingly dense or FAST execution that strikes with as much oomph as Brian Blessed charging atop a Clydesdale. For comparison’s sake, think Pharaoh, Falconer, Manticora and Spirit of Ukko era Kiuas all balled into one. Now add one of the better vocal performances this side of a Daniel Heiman-fronted Lost Horizon/Heed record and you’ve got the basic gist.Lofty praise, for sure, but Paths to Exile delivers, front to back. And as satisfying as the entire picture manages to be, the weight delivered in its midsection via “Terra Firma,” “Paper Sun” and “Giantkiller” is just staggering. Nimble acoustic picking blends with knotty riffing and ample time signature shifts; infectious choruses swirl into falsettoed, King Diamond-inspired “oh-ohhhs”; bolts of blast-beating drums run like hellfire; pretty leads split the sky without ever being overblown; and there’s even a bloody saxophone solo that winds up resting so perfectly within the overall scheme of things that you’ll wonder why more bands of this nature don’t work this oft-maligned instrument into their own blueprint. Embrace your inner Tim Cappello, heavy metal.It’s been a while since I’ve come across a prog/power metal record as altogether satisfying as Paths to Exile. In the end, however, one probably needs some level of appreciation for the style to fully acknowledge what’s going on here. It’s too bad, really, because above all else, Chaos Frame simply succeeds at delivering great heavy metal – energetic, exciting, empowering heavy metal that’s perfectly suited for those who appreciate impeccable musicianship, towering vocals and just generally feeling fucking fantastic after listening to one of the better records that 2015 has to offer." - Your Last Rites
    $12.00
  • Deluxe digipak contains a bonus DVD featuring a "making of" documentary and the vaguely worded "bonus materials"."Karnataka are survivors. Since their inception at the tail end of the 1990s, they have most definitely had their ups and downs: they found some success fairly rapidly, helped in no small part by a scorched earth gigging mentality and some fairly prestigious support slots with the likes of progressive rock favourites Porcupine Tree and the much-loved, oft-lamented All About Eve. By 2004, it seemed nothing could prevent the band’s ascent to progressive rock favourites, and larger venues started to beckon.Sadly, their upward trajectory ran abruptly aground when internal relationships fractured and the band went their separate ways. One of the chief songwriters, founder member Ian Jones, decided to keep the Karnataka flame burning, however, and assembled a new-look band. Critics and fans were divided about the reborn band, but Karnataka forged ahead, delivering several well-received tours and their most successful album to date, 2010’s The Gathering Light – but just as the album finally appeared, the band found itself short-staffed once more as various members elected to pursue other interests.The Gathering Light possessed more of a progressive rock influence than any of the band’s previous albums: opening with two instrumentals, and possessed of three further tracks that all clocked in at over ten minutes in length, its sprawling atmospherics housed a haunting, soulful but introspective record which felt like a side-step from the Karnataka of old. Life had thrown many obstacles at chief writer Jones, and the album reflected them all, as Jones and the band overcame adversity to deliver a bruised but unbowed album of survivor anthems. The band’s new album, Secrets Of Angels, however, overflows with confidence: it’s not so much bruised as bruising. Here the band sound truly re-energised, thrumming with barely suppressed vitality. The progressive rock influence has for the most part been dialled back substantially, only really surfacing significantly on the epic, closing title track; the result is a much more immediate and focused album with more immediately hooky and memorable songs.Secrets Of Angels is the band’s first studio album with a new line-up, and it’s a testament to Jones’ deep understanding of the music he’s making that the new look Karnataka are so evidently a force to be reckoned with. The renewed emergy and sense of purposes within the band is exemplified by opener ‘Road To Cairo’, which fuses Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ with Jones’ fine ear for an anthemic chorus. Powered along by a relentless, powerful rhythm, it fair leaps out of the speakers, a sharp contrast with previous albums that tended to open far more gently. Incredibly, this energy level is maintained throughout the next four tracks with barely any let-up: ‘Because Of You’ opens as if it will be a gothic ballad, but soon delivers huge power chords, a dynamite vocal from vocalist Hayley Griffiths, making her first appearance – hopefully the first of many – on one of the band’s studio albums, and one of guitarist Enrico Pinna’s most outré solos to date, a cascading wail of rage and frustration that will pin you to the nearest wall. ‘Poison Ivy’ goes straight for the jugular, its chanted verses and soaring chorus underpinned by a crunching riff and elaborate orchestrations, a pattern followed by the instantly addictive ‘Forbidden Dreams’, a sprightly rocker with a hugely memorable chorus that is certain to become a sing-along favourite for fans.The album continues with ‘Borderline’, a track with two faces: after opening with another suitably gothic flourish, all wind and a tolling church bell, it reveals itself as a chugging riff-based rocker, with a grimly accusatory lyric; however, the mood is utterly transformed by the distinctly pop chorus. Catharsis and hope in the face of adversity is perhaps Karnataka’s bread and butter, and ‘Borderline’ is an almost perfect distillation of that duality. It’s followed by the highly dramatic ‘Fairytale Lies’, which is reminiscent of Within Temptation at their most balefully reflective, a glorious concoction of tumbling keys and a striking string arrangement, topped off by a lyric that is superb in its cynical acceptance of reality and Griffiths’ astonishing vocal, a masterclass in mood and atmosphere. Yet the mood lifts once again with the penultimate track, ‘Feels Like Home’, a pretty, touching ballad about discovering “the one” that happily avoids the trap many ballads fall into – the cardinal sin of over-sentimentality. The way it develops is compellingly cinematic: as the song goes on, more and more layers are added to the music and the vocal, as if the virtual camera is pulling slowly back to reveal more and more of the stage. It ends in a cascade of harmony vocals, like embers from a firework display drifting back down to earth, and is possibly one of the best ballads the band have ever delivered.After all this drama, it would take something very special indeed not to be anticlimactic, but the title track itself – all twenty minutes of it – is certainly not that. Karnataka have shown themselves to be masters of longer pieces before, never falling into the self-conscious prog trap of simply pasting together a bunch of disparate pieces of music and hoping for the best. Although this magnum opus is comprised of seven separately numbered and titled parts – count ‘em! – it somehow manages to feel organically grown rather than stitched together in a lab. In many ways, it’s the ultimate distillation of what the new-look Karnataka are all about: we have folky, Celtic sections featuring guest appearances from Nightwish’s Troy Donockley; delicate balladry; a pounding symphonic metal interlude, and some outright prog courtesy of penultimate section ‘In The Name Of God’, which opens like Marillion in their pomp and steadily dials up the intensity. The effect is almost total sensory overload, and it will likely take many listens to unlock all the detail, musically and lyrically. Any piece of this length has to end strongly, and happily Karnataka have saved their ace in the hole for the dying moments of the album, as everyone pulls out all the stops for the grand finale. Pinna delivers one of his most devastating solos; Donockley serves up a Uillean pipe solo to die for, and the rhythm section get stuck in as Cagri and the assembled string section provide a backdrop of dizzying beauty for Griffiths to deliver possibly her finest vocal to date. It’s unspeakably moving, a beautiful lament for the losers on the battlefields of life and love that will quite likely require more than one handkerchief.It feels wrong to call current vocalist Hayley Griffiths the “new vocalist”, since she’s been touring with the band since very early in 2012. With a background in large musical productions (Irish dance spectaculars Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance both feature in her quite extensive CV), fronting a rock band was something completely new for Griffiths, and it isn’t perhaps surprising that the first batch of dates she undertook with the band – where the live release New Light was recorded – saw her nailing the demanding vocal parts without breaking a sweat, but looking slightly self-conscious on stage. As anyone who has seen the band recently will attest, any inhibitions that Griffiths may once have had on stage are long since gone, and that confidence has found its way onto the album, where she delivers a flawless, powerful performance. From fiery rock vocals to the lofty, operatic extreme of her range, Griffiths is perfectly on point throughout, as at home with riff-based rockers like ‘Road to Cairo’ and ‘Poison Ivy’ as she is with the gothic balladry of ‘Fairytale Lies’. It’s a bravura showcase for a highly gifted performer, and it’s practically impossible to come away from hearing her in action here not having reached the conclusion that she is the perfect foil for the band. Powerfully charismatic, hugely versatile and technically magnificent, her vocals on the closing title track in particular shame many better known female rock vocalists.Çağrı Tozluoğlu, on keys, is a similarly impressive recruit. Eschewing the more traditional progressive rock influences of previous keysman Gonzalo Carrera, Tozluoğlu brings a welcome modernity to the band. His soloing is sparsely used, but when it does appear (as on ‘Poison Ivy’), it’s wonderfully fluid. Where Tozluoğlu excels is in his shaping of mood and his orchestrations: his epic approach to arrangement means that this is the biggest-sounding Karnataka album to date. The danger of dialling up the drama is that sonically the music is weighed down until it sounds overwrought, but Tozluoğlu knows exactly when a bit more is too much. Nowhere is this more evident than in the expansive title track, where the gradual crescendoes and sudden juddering launches into explosive instrumental sections are handled with a very fine hand. Even as the song builds more and more layers upon Tozluoğlu’s musical architecture, it never feels like drama for the sake of drama; it all feels natural, logical.Last of the new arrivals is the most recent one, French drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi, whose performance here is frankly the stuff of future legend. With all the energy of progressive legends like Mike Portnoy, Pallagrosi’s explosive playing lends the material added potency and urgency whilst anchoring it to earth, playing a key role in giving it real weight and momentum. His Bonham-esque voyages around his kit during ‘Road to Cairo’ are a joy to hear; at the same time, his restraint on some of the quieter pieces – such as ‘Fairytale Lies’ – demonstrates a keen musicality and a knowledge of where to leave space for the music to breathe. In a world seemingly filled with drummers who appear to treat every song as a drum solo, Pallagrosi’s keen sense of dynamics is both refreshing and exactly what the material needs. He is, in short, the right drummer at the right time.Secrets Of Angels is a triumph. Wonderfully melodic, hugely dramatic without being in any way corny, varied in feel yet somehow effortlessly cohesive, beautifully recorded and mixed, and very sympathetically mastered, it is fairly easily the best-sounding album the band have made. The material is fabulously strong, and managed to both tread new ground and sound like ‘classic’ Karnataka at the same time – no mean feat, especially with all the new blood involved in its writing. As the epic title track draws to a breathless close, the listener may find themselves exhausted – drained by an album that runs the full gamut of emotions and leaves no stone unturned in its quest to powerfully move anyone who takes the time to sit down with it and listen. Hands down, the band’s finest hour, and a validation of the belief and skills of the new-look band. The only difficulty Karnataka now face is how to top it." = Echoes And Dust
    $21.00
  • "After CYNTHESIS and its amazing second recording, the pertinently titled album, “ReEvolution”, the ultra talented Californian geminis Brothers, Troy & Jasun Tipton (ex ZERO HOUR), are back with another chapter in their instrumental project discography…ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS and once again the expansion of their genuine style and the maturated development is terrific, the release date is set for late June…The band broad universe is so extended that the term "limitless" seems underrated and non-representative of their extraordinary and unstoppable musical dominion!The young Guitar God Jasun Tipton, owner of a great fat tone, perform in his finest way as you would have expected, fluid, majestic and without effort (“Blindsight”), quite easy to understand why this man is worshiped by Guitar enthusiasts everywhere, but more than ever, it seems that his brother the Bass maestro Troy Tipton takes a even bigger role, while playing his typical two hand tapping licks, also some more ambitious melodic lines and sharing some hallucinating unison amazing arpeggios between Bass & Guitar (“Distortions Of Perception”)!This instrumental trio is apparently becoming a quartet with the recruit guitarist Richard Shardman, still featuring the former ex ZERO HOUR's drums expert Mike Guy (ex DEATH MACHINE), is providing everything, from stripped down ambiance to a flurry Shredding parts (“Delusions”), in a complementary unreal association, a syncronization similar to something that is identical to the special and unique twin brothers spirit/relationship (“Subliminal Perception”).The Bass guitar realm of low frequencies is honored with the superb track “Synesthesia” (An awareness of synesthetic perceptions that varies from person to another with confusion of colors/numbers and shapes, born from a neurological phenomenon that leads involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway to a disinhibited feedback triggered by specific sounds) where Troy is duelling with two other Bass monsters, namely the legendary Fretless player Michael Manring and the criminally undervalued John Onder (remember the great Shrapnel’s releases like “Infra Blue” by Joey Tafffola (???)/”Extreme Measures” by Vitalij Kuprij or 2000’s “Machine” by ARTENSION and even MSG’s “Adventures Of The Imagination”) another patented mix of elusive etheral soft moments that develops before entering again in a frenzy of note under a Neo-Classical style, built in total opposition with the hypnotic middle break in a new age approach!To prove their absolute artistic freedom ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS dare to break the all instrumental rules by adding some harsh lead vocals performed by the BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME singer Mike Rodgers, in the detuned “Nocturnal Haven”…But at the slot N°6 they offer us another superb rendition of the same theme, but this time in a fully instrumental version with some additional solo spots by Canadian citizen Tim Roth from INTO ETERNITY, however both tracks contains some lava sweeping avalanche by seven strings rising star Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY/ex SANCTURAY/ex NEVERMORE)!While their latest CD “Manipulation Under Anesthesia” was more extreme and ferocious than hell, pushing the intricacy at the maximum with some almost bio-mechanism rhythmic method and improving in the ultra-hi-tech reaches onto stellar and virgin territories: “Altered States Of Consciousness” is a concept album centered around neurobiologic sensations, in coherence it's a more enriched atmospheric disc, more spacey, groovy, layered with organic textures and full of emotional sequence, with still plenty of sudden bursting of agressive triplets-staccatto-trick, but clearly more accessible and not restricted to please a bunch of Guitar-Fretboard geeks, obviously the talent and the technical ability of the virtuoso musicians involved here, is still head and shoulders up above the level of the average new generation of Prog Metallers…The abnormal musical thoughts are welcome!" - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "When Gregg Allman was asked why Dickey Betts was kicked out of the Allman Brothers Band in the spring of 2000, he is reported to have suggested the answer lay in the tapes from the group's two-week stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York. That makes it surprising that the Allmans would turn to those tapes to assemble their first new album release in five and a half years, Peakin' at the Beacon. Happily, however, there is no evidence of Betts' alleged shortcomings on the disc, though it must be admitted that, since he is one of two lead guitarists (the other being Derek Trucks, making his recorded debut with the band), it isn't always easy to tell who is playing. There is plenty of guitar work, and it is up to the Allmans' usual standard. Following the instrumental opener, Gregg Allman sings lead on seven straight songs, all of which come from the band's first three studio albums. Betts finally appears as a vocalist on the ninth track, the 1990 folk-country tune "Seven Turns." Finally, there is a 27-and-a-half-minute version of the 1975 Betts instrumental "High Falls," a typical extended workout complete with jazzy interludes and a lengthy percussion section. the Allmans may not have been due for another live album (two of their last three releases being concert recordings), but the series of Beacon shows has become an annual event, and the disc serves as a souvenir from the March 2000 shows. Fans who attended those shows, or who just want to be reassured that the Allmans sound much the same as ever, may enjoy the album; less devoted listeners probably shouldn't bother." - Allmusic
    $5.00
  • Limited edition digipak features 2 bonus tracks on the CD as well as a bonus live DVD."There has always been something about Orden Ogan that has made the band step out from the prototypical “Euro-power” boundary…a darkness, if you will. Perhaps it’s the post-apocalyptic “Road Warrior” look of the stage outfits, which ironically fit perfectly with serrated riffs that emote with an industrial edge. Better yet, it is the overall sound combining the beauty of fantasy with a jagged gritty blue collar delivery, as if to laugh in the faces of power purists who demand everything be so “squeaky clean.” Perfection comes in many shades….especially black. I’ve been guilty of calling Orden Ogan the second coming of old Blind Guardian, but that really isn’t fair. Orden Ogan has evolved into so much more, having immersed a trademark sound with elements of the ever influential Blind Guardian and Running Wild, but one that has become so unique it appeals to more than just the average fan of European power metal. With “Ravenhead,” the band has reached its defining moment.When “To the End” was released, there was a distinct separation from the holy trinity of “Easton Hope,” “Vale,” and “Testimonium A.D.,” both in terms of sound and production qualities. It elevated the band to a different level. As classic as the first three albums were, the full effect took some time to grow with multiple listens. I can almost see some of you shaking your heads thinking “Are you kidding? ‘Nobody Leaves,’ ‘We Are Pirates,’ ‘Farewell,’ ‘To New Shores of Sadness,’ ‘The Lords of the Flies’ were ‘instant classics.’” Sure…hindsight and multiple listens would make any of those "correct." In fact, it took “Vale” and much of “Easton Hope” a lot more time to resonate at the time they were released. “To the End” was truly an instant classic and nothing the band wrote before that had such staying power. Now with “Ravenhead,” fans can expect even more of the same – starting immediately with the “masculine humming” of the eponymous intro track.“Orden Ogan” starts off like that opening scene out of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” with that gang chorus of “Hoist the Colours” (minus the kid). It has a real pirate feel, even more so than Running Wild has ever conjured…only it has nothing to do at all with the age of piracy. “Ravenhead” – the song – kicks in and the band never looks back….saw-toothed riffs from Sebastian Levermann and Tobias Kersting overlay Levermann’s distinctively clean, yet gleefully abrasive, vocals. The chorus jumps out immediately, with no surprise. Orden Ogan has become one of the best at impact choruses and they come no better than what you will hear on “F.E.V.E.R.” This one sticks in the mind so well I’ve found myself subconsciously humming it as I awake each morning. Encircling the chorus is a riff (not too far removed from “Land of the Dead”) and a subtle, but impressive bagpipe. The sheer number of times you'll hear “False believer…true deceiver…she’s the F.E.V.E.R….stealing the life from you” may seem repetitive within in the 4:24 minute track, but it sure is effective!At this point, we get into the real meat of the album, “The Lake” and “Evil Lies in Every Man,” the two best tracks not named “A Reason to Give” (more on this in a bit). “The Lake” starts with a riff like a handsaw to steel…complete with broken teeth and sparks flying everywhere backed by Dirk Meyer-Behorn’s tommy-gun drum strength. “Evil Lies in Every Man” takes the now uneven barbed saw and buzzes through panel board….against the grain! Both songs are deliciously rough in stature, though the album is phenomenally produced (by Levermann himself, who has quickly become one of the best producers in Europe). “Evil Lies in Every Man” has a creepy vibe right from the start as an old woman sings the chorus in an equally craggy voice, a chorus that is the best on the release. The best part, though, is the sudden eruption into a “Prelude to Madness” style with dramatic orchestration at 3:31.“Here at the End of the World” (featuring a guest appearance by Grave Digger’s Chris Boltendahl) ends the torrid and brilliant first half of the release, with a chorus not far removed from Turisas' "The Great Escape." The second half of "Ravenhead" never quite reaches the same stratosphere of energy as the first five songs. “A Reason to Give,” a personal favorite, is another emotional tear-jerking power ballad a la “Take this Light” or “Ice Kings.” Like Blind Guardian, Orden Ogan's ballads are as much a staple as the album's heaviest tracks. That being said, it doesn’t detract an iota from the perfection of this album…it just goes at a more deliberate and “cleaner” pace. “Deaf Among the Blind” is the speediest on the second half and it even has a little tinge of Evergrey (you’ll know it when you hear it). “Sorrow is Your Tale” features a guest vocal appearance from HammerFall’s Joacim Cans and features yet another outstanding chorus in an album chock full of them. Rounding out the album is the instrumental “In Grief and Chains” and the ballad “Too Soon.”“Ravenhead” has it all, with odes to the band’s past and major influences, but a straight line up from the direction of “To the End.” It has even more insanely catchy choruses anchored by saw-toothed riffs and Seeb’s patented clean, yet gnarly vocal style. For Orden Ogan, it gets no better than this. For music, its another victory for songwriting and the right amount of hooks. Germany prevails yet again…and Orden Ogan has the formula to erect a tower that stands eye to “eye of Sauron” with Blind Guardian." - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • When the vinyl came in I proclaimed this as one of the frontrunners for album of the year and nothing has changed since.  Stunning album.Agusa is an instrumental quartet from Sweden.  The band is derived from members of Sveriges Kommuner & Landsting, Kama Loka and Hoofoot.  This is a VERY retro sounding album that will appeal to fans of Kebnekajse, Pink Floyd, and perhaps even Anglagard.  No symphonic elements - just straight up organ, guitar, bass, and drums ripping it up over four long tracks.  Very dynamic sounds going on - shimmering echoey guitar leads that will remind you of Kenny Håkanson or Achim Reichel battling it out with undercurrents of organ that erupt into solos.  Overarching the music is a mystical psychedelic vibe - like this whole thing was cooked up in an Arab hashish den.  BUY OR DIE!!
    $15.00
  • Amazing new solo album from Keith Emerson in collaboration with guitarist Marc Bonilla. Easily the best thing he's done outside of ELP/The Nice. He's playing his standard arsenal of grand piano, Hammond C3, the modular Moog, pipe organ plus assorted other synths. Handling drums is Greg Bissonette and Bob Birch is on bass. The album kicks off with the 35 minute suite "The House Of Ocean Born Mary". From the first note you hear the unmistable imprint of Keith Emerson. The album is littered with trademark organ solos - enough to give you flashbacks. Bonilla is a more than satisfactory vocalist, sounding closer to John Wetton than he does Greg Lake. He tends to shy away from shredding, keeping guitar in a supporting role and leaving the spotlight to the keyboards. The album includes "The Art Of Falling Down" which is a reworking of a piece that ELP played on their last tour called "Crossing The Rubicon". Of course you get one of Keith's expected classical interpretations. This time it's "Malambo" taken from Alberto Ginastera's Estancia Suite. This digipak set comes with a bonus DVD featuring live footage of the band as well as interviews. Highest recommendation.
    $15.00