Unloved Toy

Unloved Toy

BY Pinkroom

(Customer Reviews)
$13.00
$ 7.80
SKU: CFCD003
Label:
Creative Farm
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Its been almost 4 years since the band's phenomenal debut.  Since that time the duo of Mariusz Boniecki and Marcin Kledzik have expanded into a live gigging quartet.  I'm pleased to say that in terms of their music the band has not lost any momentum.  The same influences are still present - you will hear the imprint of Porcupine Tree and King Crimson.  The title of the album is a bit of a giveaway - this is not uplifting music.  It is filled with noir-ish, melancholy atmosphere.  Emotion filled vocals ride on top of Crafty guitarwork.  The technicality is there but you have to listen for it.  Think of a head on collision between In Absentia and Discipline and then take it one step beyond.  Clearly Pinkroom does it again.  BUY OR DIE!

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  • Crystal Breed is a new prog metal band out of Germany. While there is plenty of chops from hell on display there is also a very strong melodic side to the band. They constantly emphasize vocal harmonies. In an odd way I am reminded of Queen, Neal Morse, The Beatles, ELO, and Muse...and that's just all in one song. The band catches your ear with a pop element but then they hammer you with some killer solos. If I had to make a comparison it would probably be to A.C.T (and whatever happened to those guys anyway?). Clever catchy stuff. Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • Finally! First official CD release of the band's debut for Charisma Records. Originally released in 1975 the lineup featured Dave Brock, Robert Calvert, Nik Turner, Simon House, Simon King, Alan Powell, and Paul Rudolph. The album features "Steppenwolf" - one of the band's signature tracks. This edition comes from Atomhenge - a new offshoot label from Esoteric Records. It gets the full Mark Powell treatment - extensive liner notes and photos, 24 bit mastering and 4 bonus tracks. Essential.
    $17.00
  • "Renaissance of Fools is a Swedish band comprised of former members of some fairly known acts; guitarist Daniel Magdic (Pain of Salvation), drummer Magnus Karlsson (Leech/Machina), bassist Linus Carlsson (Kamchatka), and lead vocalist David Engstrom (Silent Nation). Spring is their sophomore release for Metalville Records, a label that is quickly making a name for themselves with a host of strong recent releases from a variety of new as well as veteran groups.Mixing hard rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock, Renaissance of Fools list bands such as Black Sabbath, King's X, Rush, Tool, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, and Mars Volta as influences, and while they don't necessarily sound like any of them per se, you can certainly hear little bits of all of them woven into their musical delivery. Engstrom is a very capable vocalist, his expressive, melodic vocal passages soar over the dense, at times atmospheric musical arrangements, giving some of these songs a feel not unlike perhaps a heavier Anathema mixed with a little Fates Warning, especially on the four part title suite, which is not only notable for his alluring vocals, but also the quirky interplay between the guitar & bass, with nimble drum work percolating underneath. Most of the tracks are fairly lengthy, and things never really get too heavy, with "Internal Carousel", complete with symphonic passages and complex rhythms, and the lumbering "Scars", perhaps the most aggressive tunes on the album.Spring is one of those albums where no one thing really stands out, but taken as a whole the results are quite pleasant and satisfying. Strong vocals, dreamy melodies, intelligent musical passages, plenty of atmosphere, and most importantly, memorable songs make up this very fine album, which is a true ensemble accomplishment. Remember the name Renaissance of Fools...you will be hearing a lot about them!" - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • Riverside's latest takes a bit of a swerve from their traditional sound.  Parts of the album bears the imprint of Mariusz Duda's solo work - its more laid back, more refined.  Other aspects of the album carry on with the sound that Riverside has developed over recent albums - chunky organ, trippy keyboard soloing and interstellar guitarwork.  This one is a grower.  At first listen it might not hit you but the more you scrape away at it the more you realize its dug deeper under your skin."For the past decade or so, Polish progressive rock/metal quartet Riverside set itself apart from their stylstiic brethren by offering distinguishing tones, mesmerizing atmospheres, and most importantly, remarkable songwriting. Sure, the band also infuses much of its music with the intricacy genre enthusiasts expect, but their melancholic, yet beautiful and earnest melodies and lyrics (credited mostly to singer/songwriter/bassist Mariusz Duda) have always come first. Perhaps nowhere in its discography is this more apparent than on their newest opus, Love, Fear and the Time Machine.Although it features a few complex arrangements, the record is by far Riverside’s most straightforward and accessible collection to date, showcasing a proclivity for upfront compositions like never before. While this may disappoint fans who adore the group’s more tangential, frantic instrumentation, rest assured that the album’s stunning emotionality and breathtaking arrangements more than make up for it. Without a doubt, Love, Fear and the Time Machine features some of the most gorgeous, tragic, and ultimately inspiring pieces Riverside have ever recorded, making it another exceptional entry in an invaluable catalog.According to Duda, the effort is a return to the softer, more ambient nature of Riverside’s debut, 2004’s Out of Myself. In fact, the foursome intentionally composed it “to combine the ‘70s and the ‘80s…[the songs] have never been so concise and to the point before.” Because of this new approach, the disc actually evokes Duda’s other project, Lunatic Soul, in subtle but substantial ways at times. Like almost all of Riverside’s previous works, Love, Fear and the Time Machine is also a conceptual record; specifically, it “talk[s] about transformation. About making an important, perhaps life-changing decision everyone has to make at some point in their lives…on the one hand, we’re excited by the change…[but] on the other, we fear the unknown.” Ultimately, the lesson to be learned from it is that “if we sometimes get lost in life, it is to go through something and be found again on the other side, to be reborn as someone better and more valuable.”Fittingly, then, the sequence starts with “Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened by a Hat?)”, which is arguably its best track. Duda begins by reciting a philosophical recollection over a delicate ether of keyboards and bass and guitar notes. Afterward, he launches into a catchy and charming chorus: “Come follow me / We’ll go down / Where the river flows / One day / Just you and I will find a bridge / To another land”. Duda layers his voices too, making it even more gripping, and in-between his passages, guitarist Piotr Grudziński issues his signature soaring accompaniment as the composition evolves. Drummer Piotr Kozieradzki keeps things steady throughout, while keyboardist Michał Łapaj gets the spotlight during the final seconds. Ultimately, “Lost” exemplifies the magnificent succinctness that makes Love, Fear and the Time Machine distinctive in the Riverside canon.Later on, “#Addicted” truly feels like a progressive rock take on the Cure in several ways, such as its dominant bass lines, starry guitar lines, and wistful singing which finds Duda channeling a silky falsetto he’s never really attempted before. There’s also a brief acoustic guitar arpeggio at the end that’s very enjoyable. Lyrically, it serves as a commentary on how social media can transform people into egocentric users who base their self-worth on their digital populiarty. In this way, both its lyrics and music find Riverside stretching slightly beyond its comfort zone, but the result is undeniably, well, addictive.“Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire” feels more traditional, with Duda’s sorrowful confessions and counterpoints perfectly complemented by sharp guitar riffs, aching solos, enveloping percussion, and a moving layer of synthesized splendor. Honestly, it’s like a heartbreaking and somewhat more colorful missing track from Shine of New Generation Slaves, whereas “Saturate Me” contains the sleek yet eccentric tones and virtuosic yet blunt balance that made up the best moments on Rapid Eye Movement. Of course, its sad ponderings, such as “Am I Invisible? / Or alive? / I don’t want to feel like I’m no one anymore”, are archetypal Riverside sentiments, and the interlocking musical patterns (especially near the end) are equally touching.The most commercial segment on Love, Fear and the Time Machine is surely “Discard Your Fear”; however, despite that typically negative connotation, the song’s approachability doesn’t get in the way of its worth. Rather, it’s uplifting message and relatively simple and familiar construction could earn Riverside an entirely new camp of fans. It’s actually quite cathartic, as is the dreamy and tasteful “Toward the Blue Horizon”, which begins and ends as a luscious ode (with lovely piano chords) while transforming into a progressive metal workout in the middle.Both of the record’s final two pieces—“Time Travellers” and “Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)”—are wonderful. The former is an exquisite acoustic ballad about past possibilities and the unforeseen future. Its winding melodies and spaciousness are the standout features, as the rest of the band lets Duda’s voice lead the way, resulting in a simple but commanding experience. In contrast, the latter is more elaborate, impactful, and conclusive, with a strong sense of closure and acceptance, as the speaker realizes the importance of his or her experiences, uncertainties, and decisions. The music builds with great pacing, adding more beautiful layers as the chorus (“It’s a lovely life / You have gone so far / Don’t give it up / Oh, it’s a lovely life / Gotta go with what you think is right”) repeats with sleek harmonies. By the end, listeners are left in awe, reevaluating their own sense of purpose and optimism.Love, Fear and the Time Machine is likely the most polarizing record Riverside has made, as it could be considered both the band’s strongest and weakest full-length effort. Fans hoping for virtuosic jams and unexpected sounds won’t really find them here, while fans looking for more of Riverside’s token elegant instrumentation, affective melodies, and poetic, rich singing will be satisfied beyond measure. Either way, Love, Fear and the Time Machine definitely finds its creators reaching for new, if marginally different, heights, which is commendable in and of itself. Roughly ten years on, Riverside remains as special as ever, and Love, Fear and the Time Machine is, in several ways, its truest work of art." - Pop Matters
    $12.00
  • Iced Earth's tenth album features a new vocalist - Stu Block, formerly of Into Eternity. This digipak comes with 3 bonus tracks a sticker and fold-out poster."Iced Earth's revolving door of vocalists continues on their newest release Dystopia. Matt Barlow's second go-around with the band ended earlier this year, and his replacement is Canadian singer Stu Block (Into Eternity).Over the years Iced Earth has cultivated a thrashy power metal sound, which is intact on Dystopia. The songs are dramatic and grandiose, packed with melody and potent riffs. The title track gets the proceedings underway in fine fashion, a very catchy and bold track. After a mellow start, “Anthem” kicks in and becomes appropriately enough, anthemic.Iced Earth has had a legacy of outstanding vocalists, including Barlow and Tim “Ripper” Owens. Block continues that tradition. He has a wide range, and really hits the high notes on songs like “Boiling Point.” He brings a varied performance, and delivers the lyrics convincingly no matter if it's an aggressive lower pitched section, traditional singing or belting it out. He is able to dial it back a notch when needed as well, such as on “Anguish Of Youth.”Like Block's vocal performance, Dystopia as a whole is a varied and diverse release. From ballads to bombastic power metal to harder edged material, Iced Earth covers a lot of bases. It's also much more streamlined than their last couple of albums, with 10 songs clocking it at about 45 minutes.Lineup changes can have a negative effect on a band, but Iced Earth has shown over the years it doesn't phase them at all. That's also the case with this CD. Block fits in extremely well, and Dystopia finds Iced Earth losing no momentum. It may have even given them a little boost." - About.com
    $6.00
  • First time on vinyl - now spread out over 6 sides of beautiful 180 gram vinyl.  Comes with the album on 2CDs as a bonus."A legendary band in their own right, The Flower Kings have been at the forefront of progressive rock since their formation in 1994 by guitarist, vocalist, composer, astronaut, chef and veteran nut head icon Roine Stolt. Dedicating themselves to producing a strain of prog they like to call symphonic rock‘, they incorporated classical music, movie soundtracks and both jazz, ethno, blues and seventies metal elements to much success - and building themselves a dedicated fanbase in the process over ten studio albums before taking a break.After a triumphant return to action in 2012 - following an almost 5 year hiatus, The Flower Kings released "Banks Of Eden" in the summer of that year to a brilliant reaction from fans and critics alike. In celebration they toured the world for the better part of a year, visiting locations including Europe, Japan, Russia, Israel & USA. The following year the band hit the road once again, this time with old friends Neal Morse & Mike Portnoy to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of label InsideOut Music, where they played a hugely successful prog extravaganza to packed venues across Europe and the US.Never ones to rest on their laurels however, The Flower Kings immediately entered Fenix Studio in Sweden to start work on the recording of a brand new album. Recorded "live" in this classic, but modern, studio and on reel to reel tape, the album features a glut of grand vintage keyboards such as Hammond B3, Mellotron M 400, Fender Rhodes, Minimoog and a whole host of Tube amps.The band even decided to try a new approach to writing and recording, assembling music on the spot and arranging it as a team.The result of this wonderfully collaborative effort is an epic 10 song cycle entitled ‚Desolation Rose‘; an album that revolves around some of the more disturbing observations of mankind's failure to create the paradise they once hoped for – and the greed, fear and ignorance that caused that failure. The scenario is an observation by an angel who resides in a mysterious tower, looking down on all this ongoing perpetual insanity, yet unable to reach out and help.The band is very much back to their cinematic and melodic symphonic rock best, but with a heavier edge no doubt honed while on tour for the past year. The 10 songs contained within are to be heard as a sequence and the lyric thread is wonderfully cinematic, but again it is more of an observation that works both as a whole or as separate parts. It might be considered one of their most focused efforts to date, such is the impact the tracks have on the listener from the very beginning. From the opening 14-minute tour-de-force that is ‚Tower‘, right through the moody swagger of ‚White Tuxedo‘ and beyond, this album sees the band crafting what might be their most varied album yet.The Flower Kings are truly back where they belong, at the beating heart of the modern day progressive rock scene, and ‚Desolation Rose‘ is testament to their continued vibrancy, sonic potency and determination to keep the music driving forward."
    $32.00
  • This one is a real mindblower.  One of Italy's best bands, La Maschera Di Cera, has created a musical sequel to Le Orme's Felona E Serona.  I can't recall any band ever doing something like this.  Like all of the band's work it remains faithful to the "Rock Progressivo Italiano" sound.  Apart from cleaner sounding sonics it could have easily pass for somethining recorded in 1974.  The music does in fact pick up on some of the core themes and melodices from FeS.  You want 'tron?  You got it!  You want flute?  You got it.  To wrap the whole package together the band licensed the cover art from Lanfranco, the artist responsible for the art for FeS.  So it really does feel like a sequel.  Please note there are actually two versions of the album.  This is the Italian language edition that will satisfy any RPI purist.  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • "If you think back to bands such as SixTh then this genre of ultra tech/ djent has been around for some time, however, with bands such as TesseracT, Periphery and Meshuggah perhaps bringing it more to the public eye and out of the groove Metal shadows, it can be no real surprise that more and more bands are coming forward with their own take on what, at the end of the day can be a very difficult style of music to get right.Nothing wrong with that I hear you say, and providing it’s done well, I quite agree.Monuments début album “Gnosis” nails it in a number of ways, yes, we have the jarring riffs that really set this genre apart from most others but we also have that increasingly rare commodity called melody. You can sometimes be technical for technicalities sake but Monuments deliver an album that strikes a near perfect balance between an overriding ambition to push the boundaries even further, and maintaining a level of accessibility for the listener.Tracks such as “Doxa” for example really encapsulate the bands sound in a nutshell, “Blue Sky Thinking”, with its beautiful mix of aggressive and clean vocal, and my personal album highlight “97% Static”, which lends a fantastic, dreamy, atmospheric feel to the ear.Lyrically, the album is quite political in it’s content, with the overall message of think for yourself and not to follow other peoples train of thought, which in a way could easily describe the band themselves.A début release this may be but it has been many years in the concept forming and song writing to get to this stage.Guitarist, John Browne has assembled a fine group of musicians together to realise his dream, non more so than Matt Rose on vocals who has an unnerving gift of moving from the hard edge sound and then to meander seamlessly across the spectrum to deliver some really uplifting melodies.Top of the tree they may not be just yet but on the showing of this highly impressive work, it must surely only be a matter of time." - Planet Mosh
    $12.00
  • 24 bit remastered reissue in deluxe packaging at a budget price. A masterful blending of progressive metal and rock, "Empire" features two of their best known songs - "Silent Lucidity" and "Jet City Woman". Comes with 3 bonus studio tracks.
    $5.00
  • Collection of previously unavailable live recordings of this seminal Danish prog band that was a precursor to Secret Oyster. Source material varies in quality but the performances are stellar.
    $15.00
  • "Early 2012 the Welsh progressive rock band Karnataka embarked on a fifteen- date tour across the UK. Under the name New Light Tour 2012, the band reached as many areas of the country as possible; in particular those towns and villages they missed on previous tours. The band performed at some of the most unique and beautiful venues in the country, from traditional theatres and art centres to a stunning fourteenth century converted barn. Yet they couldn't perform in all places and therefore many fans − especially those from abroad − couldn't see how the new line-up managed to perform the band's back catalogue. So New Light Live In Concert, Karnataka's latest double album and DVD has been recorded for those people who missed them live on stage. However, it's by all means a great souvenir for people who attended their live shows as well. On this almost two-hour live album, DVD and Blu-ray you can witness and listen to an entire live performance.The live performance has been recorded at the start of their New Light Tour at the Met Theatre in Bury, England on February 23, 2012. This tour marked the first live show for a line-up featuring the new lead singer Hayley Griffiths. For those who aren't familiar with the band's third female singer an introduction is in place. She's a classically trained soprano who has achieved global recognition and critical acclaim for her role in the international phenomenon Riverdance and Michael Flatley's  Lord Of The Dance. She has sung for the emperor of Japan in Tokyo, at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow and for an audience of 20,000 people in Taipei Arena. Moreover, in 2010 her debut album Silver Screen won the Best Classical Crossover Artist Award. Her second album Celtic Rose was released in 2011; it's her first complete Celtic album composed of traditional and contemporary Irish and Scottish songs.Other new members in the band are the Turkish keyboard player Cagri Tozluoglu from Istanbul and the talented multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold, who was the driving force behind the folk rock band Kara. During the tour Mold played additional lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, violin and he did some backing vocals. The fourth new member is drummer Matt McDonough. Last but not least Karnataka's new line-up still consist of founding member Ian Jones on bass and bass pedals and Enrico Pinna on guitars and backing vocals. The latter made his debut on the band's latest studio album The Gathering Light (2010, see review).When you watch and listen to New Light Live In Concert you'll soon notice that the performed songs differ from the original album versions. This is mainly due to the fact that Hayley Griffith's vocals strongly differ from Karnataka's prior singers Rachel Jones (pre-1998-2004) and Lisa Fury (2008-2010). Her soprano voice provides the music a rather new sound that I like a lot. In my opinion a live album shouldn't be a copy of a studio album. I think it should sound differently and this is something in which Karnataka succeeded very well. However, not only the vocals differ from the original versions. Take for example The Calling, an instrumental piece from their latest studio album. It featured the Uillean pipes played by guest musician Troy Donockley. Since he wasn't available during the New Light Tour, the electric violin replaced the pipes. This worked perfectly and made the song still very enjoyable. The addition of several new violin parts on the older songs suited these songs quite well.Also the addition of twin guitar parts throughout the concert is a real treat to the ears. The combination of Enrico Pinna and Colin Mold playing both the same guitar parts makes the music sound very melodic. However, it's mostly Pinna who steals the show with his great electric guitar playing. His talent for playing excellent solos can be especially heard on the superb piece Forsaken. The band must have known that  Hayley's voice couldn't always shine during the songs from their back catalogue. Therefore she got a special solo spot. This way she got the chance to show all of her vocal talents on tracks that aren't original Karnataka songs. So they also included two Hayley Griffith's tracks on this album that demonstrate her vocal talents. Lagan Love from her Celtic Rose album was performed brilliantly. She sings it wholeheartedly and only accompanied by some beautiful string synthesizer parts. It's followed by Our Love from her Silver Screen album. This time her voice sounds rather operatically. It fits in perfectly to Karnataka's new arrangement which includes fine playing on the violin as well. Besides Griffith's skills as an amazing singer she also proves to be a real entertainer who can keep the audience focussed during a concert. To mention any highlights is rather difficult, because in my opinion the entire concert is just one highlight.Both the CD and the DVD versions benefit from a tremendous production and capture the details of the vocal performances as well as the arrangements without one musician over-powering the other. Also the camera work has been done well capturing the musicians at close range and from a distance showing the whole band in action. They perform material from The Storm (2000), Delicate Flame Of Desire (2003) and The Gathering Light in the best possible way and in 5.1 surround. In addition to the concert they included interviews with all musicians. They were asked about their background and musical influences and about the future and the past of the band. Finally a tour photo gallery can be enjoyed. New Light Live In Concert is a real must to listen to and to watch. Especially people who like bands as Iona, Mostly Autumn and Clannad are advised to check out this great new live release of Karnataka! " - Background Magazine
    $18.00
  • "Some albums are immediate while others take a little longer to work their way into your subconscious. Blues rockers Kamchatka fell into the later category as, on first listen, I enjoyed ‘Long Road Made Of Gold’ but it was in a pile of stuff (If you can have such a thing as a digital pile) that was competing for my attention.  I’ve learnt over the years that the immediate album can burn out and fade away very quickly while the slow grower can stay with you for many years. This may well turn out to be the case as I find myself returning to the album on a regular basis, hence this belated review.‘Long Road Made Of Gold’’ is the sixth full length album from Kamchatka in a career that dates back over a decade. The Swedish power trio comprises Thomas ‘Juneor’ Andersson (guitar / vocals), Tobias Strandvik (drums) and bassist (Per Wilberg). Wilberg is best known for his time playing keyboards for  Metal act Opeth alongside stints in Spiritual Beggars and Candlemass which is pretty amazing as his bass work here is superb and very much an integral part of the Kamchatka sound. A rock trio will always require the rhythm section to stretch out and fill the sound when the guitarist takes a solo, if not; the result is empty dead air. Sonically the band draws on a range of influences with obvious power trio comparisons to Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience but mould this with a range of progressive and stoner influences. This range of influences found the band touring with highly respected blues / stoner act Clutch in Europe and the USA.Opener ‘Take Me Back Home’ throws the listener for an immediate loop with a banjo intro that leads into a heavy, intricate progressive blues workout blessed with a solid bottom end that brings to mind prime early Kings X. The complex ‘Made Of Gold’ is another winner with inventive musical dexterity as the song shifts 360 degrees for the solo section. The importance of the rhythm section I mentioned earlier is highlighted on ‘Rain’ where Wilberg steps up to double Andersson as the guitarist takes an extended solo. The quality of the musicianship might be lost without the clear warm production which was mixed and mastered by Russ Russell better known for extreme metal acts such as Napalm Death.The band seem equally happy with the infectiously catchy, both lyrically and musically, ‘Get Your Game On’ which was chosen as the first single from the album with its driving rhythm and short but sweet solo from Andersson. ‘Long Road’ shows yet another side of the band as Andersson adds slide guitar to the mix over rock solid, tribal drums from Strandvik with more than a little amusement to be had with the use of percussion.Kamchatka strove to make a record that owed much to their musical influences but was relevant in 2015 and with ‘Long Road Made Of Gold’ they have succeeded." - Red Guitar Music
    $12.00
  • Superb jazzy progressive rarity from Italy. Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • Withem is an up and coming Norwegian progressive metal band, inspired by the likes of Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind, Dream Theater and Circus Maximus.The band started to take shape in 2011 when Øyvind Voldmo Larsen (guitars) and Ketil Ronold (keyboards) met the gifted drummer Frank Nordeng Røe. Soon they were joined by the vocal talents of Ole Aleksander Wagenius and bass duties were taken care of by the special guest Andreas Blomqvist from Seventh Wonder.Withem’s debut offers varied sonic landscapes for the listener to explore, ranging from guilty-pleasure choruses permeated with memorable vocal hooks, to symphonic epic themes.  The unique vocal range of Ole Aleksander Wagenius gives the band a distinctive touch to tackle the overcrowded progressive metal scene.The passion and dedication put into the album is emphasized by the countless hours spent in studio perfecting each individual performance and making sure that the end result is a world class blend of progressive, symphonic and power metal.The Point Of You was mastered by Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Saga, Spock's Beard)
    $13.00