Wild Opera (2CD)

SKU: KSCOPE269
Label:
KScope Records
Category:
Art Rock
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A deluxe 2CD edition of the classic No-Man album – now remastered and on Kscope with bonus disc, featuring mini album, b-sides and rarities including four previously unreleased tracks.

 

No Man is Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree).

Since releasing their first single in 1990, No-Man has produced a unique body of work that has developed from the band's proto trip-hop/ambient origins into something beyond easy categorisation.

After receiving ecstatic press reviews, indie top 20 hits and high profile contracts (with One Little Indian and Sony) in the early 1990s, the band has continued to evolve and has developed a loyal Worldwide cult following.

Redefining itself with a constantly changing musical palette, No-Man has most recently released material through celebrated post- progressive label Kscope, who have now released a deluxe edition of one of the band’s most sought-after albums.

Wild Opera, No-Man's third album, originally released in 1996, is regarded as the most inventive and unpredictable album in the band's catalogue.

Rapidly shifting from distorted grooves to sinister, jazz-inflected trip-hop and from choked rock riffs to more traditional ballad fare,Wild Opera represented a thrilling departure for the band and has since become seen as a classic one-of-a-kind statement of uncompromising creative intent.

Long out of print, the original CD is now a highly- collectable rarity, with copies changing hands for over £100 on Ebay.

Kscope’s remastered 2CD reissue additionally includes all of the Dry Cleaning Ray mini-album, alongside b-sides and exclusive rarities from the era, including four previously unreleased tracks.

The digi-book package features an essay from Richard Smith, the director of Mixtaped, the recent documentary about the band, and new artwork from long-time No-Man collaborator, Carl Glover.

CD1 - WILD OPERA

1 RADIANT CITY
2 PRETTY GENIUS
3 INFANT PHENOMENON
4 SINISTER JAZZ
5 HOUSEWIVES HOOKED ON HEROIN
6 LIBERTINE LIBRETTO
7 TASTE MY DREAM
8 DRY CLEANING RAY
9 SHEEPLOOP
10 MY RIVAL TREVOR
11 TIME TRAVEL IN TEXAS
12 MY REVENGE ON SEATTLE

CD2 - DRY CLEANING RAY

1 DRY CLEANING RAY (REMIX EDIT)
2 SWEETSIDE SILVER NIGHT
3 JACK THE SAX
4 DIET MOTHERS
5 URBAN DISCO
6 PUNISHED FOR BEING BORN
7 KIGHTLINGER
8 EVELYN (THE SONG OF SLURS)
9 SICKNOTE
BONUS TRACKS
10 HIT THE CEILING
11 WHERE I'M CALLING FROM
12 HOUSEWIVES HOOKED ON HEROIN (ALTERNATE VERSION)
13 MY RIVAL TREVOR (ALTERNATE VERSION)
14 TIME TRAVEL IN TEXAS (RADIO SESSION)
15 PRETTY GENIUS (RADIO SESSION)

 

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  • This was the fourth studio album for the band and their last with EMI Harvest as it was considered to be somewhat of a flop. I'm not sure why as it sounds pretty damn good to me! Lots of Mellotron goodness. Remastered edition comes with 10 bonus tracks!
    $13.00
  • Far From Forgot is the first part of a proposed trilogy from former Enid guitarist Francis Lickerish.  He left The Enid in 1981 and wasn't heard from again until the Secret Green project from a few years ago.  This is more or less an extension of that album.  The music is very similar to The Enid - epic scope symphonic music with a rock infusion.  Lickerish plays guitar along with Jon Beedle, Hilary Palmer sings and plays flute.  There are a whole range of musicians filling out the soundscape.  What Lickerish has created is something very much akin to Mike Oldfield's Celtic influenced period.  Quite a beautiful album.  Highly recommended.
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  • With new kid on the block, Mike Mangini, fully assimilated into the group, Dream Theater has come up with a stunning new album.  Expect nothing less than full on prog (with a nice tip of the cap to Rush in spots). Enigma Machine may be the best instrumental piece they've cooked up yet.  Highly recommended.This is the mega-deluxe box set.  It includes:Exclusive Artwork by Hugh Syme.Custom Box Set Holds:• Custom 2GB Majesty Symbol USB Stick containing:     - Isolated stems of "Behind The Veil"     - "Take This For The Pain (Mike Mangini Audition Improv Jam)" - 30 minute documentary.• Exclusive 7" of "The Bigger Picture" on clear vinyl, wrapped and sealed with a custom wax seal.• Gel-skin iDots of Majesty Symbol for iPhone.• 2-Disc embossed Deluxe Edition digi with bonus disc of 5.1 audio mix + expanded packaging.• 180-gram 2-LP embossed gatefold vinyl with high quality FLAC files of full album. 
    $99.00
  • "It only seems like a couple of weeks since Caravan announced in August 2013 that they were to record a new album that would be financed by money pledged by fans, and yet here it is already!What should have been a joyous time for the band and fans alike was sadly marred by the death of long-time drummer Richard Coughlan on December , however it is fitting that the digital download of the album was released to fans who had pledged on December 20, the day of Richard’s funeral!Musically this has classic Caravan stamped all over it. It is not, however, a hark back to the halcyon days of the 70′s and In the Land of Grey and Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, there are not anywhere near as many long instrumental sections in there for a start and the longest song I’ll Be There For You clocks in at a mere 6:14. What we do have here is a stripped down, and updated 2013 version of everything that Caravan fans look for. The classic songwriting is there, as is the excellent musicianship and whimsical lyrics, and let’s face it, with that instantly recognisable, trademark voice, Pye Hastings could re-record Never Mind The Bollocks and it would probably still sound like Caravan.All This Could Be Yours is a belter of an opener, and despite what I said above, this is one track that would not have been out of place on Grey and Pink or Girls Who Grow Plump! With an excellent, albeit short, viola solo from Geoffrey Richardson, and a great hook in the chorus, it skips along merrily in classic Caravan style.One of the ways of financing the album was to get people to pledge extra to go to the studio and get involved in the recording, I don’t want to pour cold water on anything but sadly I think this is where the band have shot themselves ever so slightly in the foot. Despite being a great song, I’m On My Way, has some awful, flat backing vocals in the chorus which almost ruin the song. The same applies to This Is What We Are where a slightly naff chorus comes close to ruining what is otherwise a very strong song, being slightly heavier than we are used to from Caravan including an infectious piano motif and an excellent, soaring guitar solo towards the end.The slower Dead Man Walking is the perfect pacer, leading into the very emotive Farewell My Old Friend. As an ode to the passing of a close friend, this song is made all the more poignant following the death of Richard Coughlan and brings a lump to the throat!In typical Caravan style, no-one is allowed to get too maudlin, as the next two songs Pain in the Arse with the vitriolic closing line ‘I don’t care if you sue me now, you are insane’, and Trust Me I Am A Doctor put the collective tongues firmly back in the cheek. Doctor takes an irreverent stab at a GP, who I’m quite sure, given the amount of names dropped in the song is a real person and should have no difficulty in identifying himself! But it is all done in good fun and I’m sure no umbrage will be taken!The album finishes on a mellow note with the wistful I’ll Be There For You and the title song Paradise Filter which kicks off  really slow and  melancholy with a late night jazz feel, before breaking out into a middle section that is very reminiscent of the instrumental break in The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again!Overall this is an excellent return for a band that has been absent from the recording studio for too long (it is ten years since the release of The Unauthorised Breakfast Item in 2003). Not that they have been resting on their laurels as they have still been playing live gigs, but it is nice to know that they can still cut it and write well crafted, catchy and extremely listenable songs.It also proves that the pledging route is a very viable way of financing studio time and album releases, sadly, however, I doubt very much that would work for new bands as you would have to have a name for yourself in order to create the initial interest. Maybe extensive gigging and as the old saying goes ‘paying your dues’ would help. Now there’s an idea (take note potential XFactor and The Voice contestants)!" - jonb52
    $20.00
  • "When I say that they are near the gate of perfection and give it a 98% score would be considered this is a work of art. Well, putting it in simple words I’d have to be really picky to find what is wrong with this album. There are only little details that I could take into consideration for this album not being perfect, but it certainly is a truly grandiose masterpiece. Finally my friends, Skylark is on the way to the heaven church where the warriors are honored and upgraded to masters of the genre. It does not matter if they are not known worldwide or if they don’t have video clips to promote the songs. That is what makes them so great, because with pure musical skills they have truly achieved greatness.Currently, this is by far one of my favorite metal albums. For those purists who think metal is not supposed to be what this album offers they are pretty misguided. This is power metal, symphonic whatsoever, with a light atmosphere although heavier in my opinion than ‘Gate to Heaven’, no matter what elements they have thrown in they did it magnificent. All the ingredients for a good album are here: awesome vocals by Kiara, outstanding guitar solos, epic songs, speedy songs, mid tempo songs, good instrumentals, good background vocals, good riffs, good drumming, etc. I mean, what else do you need?Let’s begin with the obvious. I think this album is by far better in some aspects than the 2 Divine Gates albums. 1. Now the production and the now decent sound help a lot because the bass lines now are hearable. 2. The fact that there are more mid tempo songs helps because this way they avoid overwhelming speed that in long term will get you bored of. Actually, fast songs there are only: ‘The Scream’ and ‘Soul of the Warrior’ and the instrumental ‘Hurricane’ 3. Fabio Dozzo is no longer in the band and unfortunately for me since I like his singing style with the constant high pitched screams. I must recognize that very often he used to screw up because of the getting-out-of-range vocally but the good thing about the new backup singer is that they added some eco (like Edenbridge do with Sabine’s vocals) so it sounds amazing. 4. The bass lines have taken predominance and you can now hear them very well and man, this time they got it right. They are not only following rhythms but taking ownership of some of the songs. 5. There are no epic songs in here, at least not in the way they used to so the song writing has been simplified. This is neither good nor bad but just different. In my case, I like the old epic-lengthy style of songs but here this just rocks out. 6. Last but not least, the angelic vocal of Kiara, man, is she lovely! I will detail on her abilities later but the fact that she uses middle ranges makes her fit perfectly with the music without overbearing with high pitched screams.Alright, now that the improvements have been appointed, let me tell you why I think this is fucking great and just a step away of pure perfection. Kiara is by far the best choice they could’ve chosen. Her high notes are amazingly sweet and yet powerful. They are very similar to those of Saeko, but Kiara is sweeter and more pitched. Throughout the entire album she sings mostly in her middle range but when she screams man I get chills and orgasms just listening to her. Next is the choice of a backup vocalist who actually controls his vocal range. The fact that he is only accompanying Kiara makes the dynamics even more interesting and he sings in a more or less high range but avoiding veing Ralf Scheepers or Kiske. The juxtaposition of both singers creates a cool atmosphere and sung dialogs.On to the songs you get a little bit of everything but not ultra fast songs like Belzebu or the Triump. Actually, I’d say the instrumental ‘Hurricane’ is the fastest track. The rest are basically mid speed ‘The scream’ and ‘Soul of the warrior’. They are a little faster than the average mid tempo but are not that fast as the ones mentioned below. There are some progressive tempo changes here and there like ‘Soul of the Warrior’ where the changes of pace take you completely off your feet and I love them. This is the kind of things that make the songs interesting instead of just relentless speed. There is only one ballad in ‘Believe in Love’ and now we are talking. Previous ballads were good, not cheesy, which is one of the problems of power metal but this with Kiara singing really soft and subtle giving textures to her voice plus the guitars in the upfront and the keyboards back grounded leave me hyperventilated. The guitar solo, by the way, is very 80’s very Poison, Cinderella, Bon Jovi alike. In here the bass lines are thick and the vocals are just flawlessly performed. The bass lines are more diverse this time such as ‘Time’ where the entire song is bass driven and I must say they just added a very nice melody to it. It is my favorite song here because of the exquisite bass lines and low male vocals making the perfect contrast with Kiara’s falsetto and then her high pitched screams give me goose bumps.The keyboards are very good balanced with the guitars and they are not overshadowed as such can be heard on ‘The Scream’ where they are perfectly mixed to listen to them clearly. What I find interesting the most is the awesome melodies since nowadays is very hard to come up with memorable melodies (let’s say ala Stratovarius) so I find this very good done.The guitar solos are very similar to those from D.G.II. The follow the same pattern and melodic sense but since the songs are better they sound better here. The riffing style has now been improved. The progression of the power chords are far more interesting and a little more ‘complex’ than those from the first D.G albums although they are yet rather simplistic, as normally in power metal.The re-arrangement made on ‘Heaven Church’ is obviously vocal driven to show off Kiara’s skills. Although the rhythm parts last for around two minutes and this one cannot be compared to the masterpiece the original is, it is still a good track and very enjoyable. But again, I only take 1 point for re-arranging a song that is perfect in its original form because it lost its crunch (ok, light atmosphere from the original but still heavier than this new version).Finally, Skylark is basically known for two things which they have succeeded at: 1. Atmosphere. 2. Epic sense. In this case they have sacrificed the traditional epic sense but the atmosphere is taking predominance which is ok for me since they are doing it perfectly, enhancing a good and positive vibe throughout the listening experience.Now I face a problem. I am well aware that Divine Gates I and II are NOT perfect, but since they are for sure two of my favorite all time albums and this one beat them, what score should I give to those on my reviews since I always thought they were almost perfect? What a predicament huh? Anyhow, I’ll have to listen to them over and over to try to come up with the most objective review I could to give them a fair opinion. Kiara, this is your fault because of this masterpiece of an album but I love you because you have become my princess!" - Metal Archives
    $10.00
  • "Steve Thorne returns with his fourth album, playing the majority of the instruments bar Nick D’Virgilio (Cirque Du Soleil/ex-Spock’s Beard) and Bob White on drums with Tony Levin and Gary Chandler (Jadis) also guesting. Also former IQ member Martin Orford pops out of musical retirement to play flute on two songs.What I like about Steve Thorne is his strong and topical lyrics, coupled with melodies that transcend the prog rock genre he is often lumped in. A bit like It Bites, Steve Thorne’s music can take in many musical influences to create an entertaining and enjoyable listen.‘Already Dead’ looks at modern culture and how modern technology can turn us into a nation of zombies. Good way to start the album with the heaviest and most aggressive song on the album. ‘Everything Under The Sun’ is a lovely piece of music, albeit rather sad as an older person looks back on their life and realises how alone they are now. The melodic vocal and subdued music add greatly to the song. ‘Distant Thunder’ is the nearest to classic Brit prog rock on the album, whilst Martin Orford’s flute expands the sound of ‘Moth To A Flame’ nicely. ‘Bullets & Babies’ again sees the heavier side of Steve Thorne’s work come to the fore tackling the subject of boy soldiers and how war affects people from an early age.An artist where you can start with any of his albums to date and not be disappointed. As mentioned previously Steve Thorne can appeal to the prog rock fans but also a wider audience who appreciate melodic rock with thought provoking lyrics." - Get Ready To Rock
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  • ONE OF A KIND TITLE FROM THE LASER'S EDGE ARCHIVE"Focus here featured virtuoso guitarist Jan Akkerman for the last time, not to work with his long-term writing partner Thijs Van Leer for another ten years. Mother Focus also sees Focus' highly skilled bass player Bert Ruiter try his hand in songwriting. The outcome includes the one of the finest funk tracks on the album -- the hilarious "I Need a Bathroom." The album begins with quite possibly the finest track on the album -- and maybe the most typical Focus -- the titular "Mother Focus." The funky theme underlying the number sets the mood for the rest of the LP with aplomb. Indeed, Mother Focus is far from the usual instrumental material. For this reason, Mother Focus may not appeal to the usual fans of the Dutch proggers. The number of feel-good tunes making up the album's core makes up for the lack of a rocking single in the style of "Hocus Pocus." A mellower, happier aura permeates the recording as a whole, particularly noticeable in the soothing "Tropic Bird." Undoubtedly, though, Mother Focus is let down by the lack of Akkerman's and Thijs' presence. The whole album cries out for one of them to jump out and take center stage for a while. Instead each track is filled with numerous melodies and rhythms, with only the occasional jaunt from Akkerman. Mother Focus is a fine album in its own right, but maybe not what one would be expecting when taking into account the progressive rock features of their earlier albums. Funk predominates in the last respectable Focus LP. RIP Focus." - ALLMUSICNOTE: Dutch Red Bullet pressing - long out of print
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  • Now here is a killer prog metal release from Australia.  Mechanical Organic is a new band led by former Vauxdivhl keyboardist Eddie Katz and ex-Neue Regel/Fracture vocalist David Bellion.Its the second part of a conceptual work.  If you are familiar with Bellion's voice you know he bears an uncanny resemblance to vintage Geoff Tate.  Katz has had other projects since Vauxdivhl, mostly in the experimental metal realm.  This Global Hive is an incredible marriage of different aspects of prog.  The result is a band that has created a sound that sounds like a mash up of Zero Hour and Queensryche.  Within the context of Mechanical Organic, Bellion has toned down the Tate-isms but the similarities are there.  He's a bit of a vocal chameleon - add in some Erik Rosvold and Chris Salinas and you'll get the overall picture.  Think Towers Of Avarice meets Operation: Mindcrime.  The music is melodic and atmospheric and full on prog metal.  Highly recommended.
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  • Mother's Ruin is the second album from the band formed from the ashes of Black Bonzo...and its a sprawling 2 disc set.  The agenda is the same - to recreate the sound of 70s hard rock.  The Swedes nail it in spades.  When the keys are out front you'll immediately think of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.  The guitar driven songs are a bit more reminiscent of Humble Pie and Rolling Stones.  Vocalist Magnus Karnebro (ne Lindgren) is the perfect front man.  I'd love to hear from him more often.  If I didn't tell you otherwise I could easily convince you this album was recorded in 1974 (and I think that was the objective).
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  • "Coming right out of nowhere Love.Might.Kill really made an impact in the summer of 2011 with their Brace For Impact album, which perfectly combined the enthusiasm of a debut with the experience of a long songwriting career. And a look at the lineup soon proved: there are no newcomers here. And it did not really surprise anybody that Love.Might.Kill proved their success with their debut already. One year later now Love.Might.Kill return with their mighty 2nd effort 2 Big 2 Fail showing everybody that the success of the debut was not by purpose. With the addition of keyboarder Sascha Onnen (ex- Mob Rules ) the band is on the verge of breaking right through. Their first tour already has been booked and will accompany the release date in October. The album was again produced by Michael Ehré, being around for years as drummer in bands like Gamma Ray, Firewind, Metalium or with artists like Uli Jon Roth, Matt Gonzo Roehr, Vinnie Moore and Kee Marcello he made his strong impact in the national and international scene. The album was mixed and mastered by Markus Teske at his Bazement-Studios."
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  • "As suggested by its title, 'II' is the second album by multi-national band Corvus Stone. They continue with their merry blend of various musical influences, for an explosive cocktail of colours and sounds. Drummer Robert Wolff is now an official member of the band, while vocal duties were shared between several recording artists of Nick Katona's label, Melodic Revolution Records (later shortened in MRR). Sonia Mota, the biggest David Bowie fan on earth, was involved again for the artwork, as enchanting as on the first album.As announced in preamble of this review, this album is a festival of musical sounds, as diverse as the origin of the musicians involved. While music in general is in the field of progressive rock, it's easy to notice that the band doesn't care about labels. Progressive rock is a means to sublimate their influences rather than an end in itself. Therefore, you will hear pop (the baroque echoes of the harpsicord in the opener with beatlesque vocal harmonies, the pastoral accents of "Eternal universe"). Other popular forms of music are also represented. Let's start with blues-rock. First with the cover of Murky Red's "Boots for hire", where the virile voice is provided by none other than Murky Red's frontman, Stef Flaming, yet in a context slightly different from the original version, through its spacey keys and arabesques. Then, the blues influence is also obvious in the languid "Mystery man", with its eerie keys and reminiscences of The Beatles' "I want you (she's so heavy)" in the closing section. Rock'n'roll is there as well with the hellish "Purple stone" and a short wink to Deep Purple's "Highway star". Folk music, highlighted by the use of finnish in the lyrics ("Campfire"), has also its place in this monumental album. On the other hand, "Uncle Schunkle" with its groovy rhythms and its vintage hammond, recalls the golden age of jazz-funk. And obviously, since Corvus Stone are regarded as a progressive rock act, the instrumental "A stoned crow meets the rusty Wolff" is a piece that goes in this direction, with many rhythm changes and colourful keys. The title of the song is a pun on the drummer's name but might also be a reference to Happy The Man's humorous piece "Stumpy Meets the Firecracker in Stencil Forest". Besides those influences, some dances are honoured throughout the record: salsa ("Scandinavians in Mexico"), cha cha cha ("Mr Cha Cha"), waltz ("Early morning call" with echoes of Stranglers' "Golden Brown"), bolero ("Camelus bactrianus"), flamenco (Colin's guitar opening to some tracks). Moreover, some neo-classical interludes intersperse the album, be it in a mozartian way ("Lisa has a cigar"), or romantic fashion ("Dark Tower"). More surprising is the pastoral symphony in four movements "Moaning Lisa" (two movements in the tradition of british songs of the elisabethan era, separated by a mouth organ-lead boiling instrumental movement, and a final waltz closing the symphony).Besides the lack of interest for any specific label, the band deals with a lot of humour, never grotesque, always delivered with profesionalism. This is made possible thanks to a wide range of keyboard sounds and versatile guitar soloing, among other factors. In fact, keyboard sounds are very diverse, ubiquitous and tasty. While guitar gently weeps with touching short spastic licks, it can also turn aerial, fiery or even delve in a classical spanish realm as seen before. The presence of drummer Robert Wolff on all tracks is an improvement over the previous album. In fact, his play blends the elegance of Barriemore Barlow and the punch of John Bonham, and is instrumental in the support of the music's humorous and eclectic flavours. Vocals are diverse this time, as singers from several MRR acts were invited for the project. Blake Carpenter's high-pitch and sense of derision is tempered by more seriously delivered vocals from his mates of MRR, the whole adding to the versatility of the work.Corvus Stone are a band that don't take themselves seriously, and this aspect should be taken into account when reviewing their works. Thanks to their experience in music, a great musicianship and a sense of humour, they deliver a music that is heartfelt, not dictated by any trend of the moment, and that will put a smile on your face and certainly make your day." - ProgArchives
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  • "Founding members of the original "Rock In Opposition" [R.I.O.] movement and the inventors of "chamber rock", Univers Zero have continued to change and grow and develop over their entire career, while still keeping a ensemble sound and spirit that is easily recognizable. Clivages is their first studio album in over five years, but much more importantly, it is their first studio release since 1986's Heatwave to feature the energy and sound of a working, rehearsing, live ensemble performing in the studio! It features the current line-up of the group who have been playing concerts and working together for quite some time now: Michel Berkmans (bassoon, English horn, oboe), Kurt Budé (clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax), Pierre Chevalier (keyboards), Daniel Denis (drums, sampler), Dimitri Evers (bass), Martin Lauwers (violin) and guest Andy Kirk (guitar and percussion). Univers Zero are rightly famous for finding the perfect balance between classical and rock influences and drawing on musicians from both worlds. In terms of this, Clivages is possibly their best-balanced release , featuring a couple of small chamber works for the trio of strings, reeds and double reeds of the group. The rock side has not been ignored in any way, however and in addition to contributions from band members Denis, Budé and Berckmans, Clivages features Andy Kirk's 12' piece "Warrior", which harkens back to the sound of the band circa Heatwave!"
    $15.00
  • Amorphis really have it dialed in. They have been consistently releasing great albums for years. Their last album of all new material, Skyforger, was masterpiece material. The Beginning Of Times carries on from there. The band's musical themes are deeply steeped in Finnish folklore. As has been the case for some years now, vocals are primarily clean but with some coarse growls as augmentation. The music has a melancholy feel but would not be categorized as doom. Lots of progressive elements, in fact the guitar and keys work have a real 70s feel with lots of tasty soloing versus crunchy riffing. Simply put this is brilliant. Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • Rare UK progressive folk songstress with a bewitching voice. Features 5 unreleased tracks.
    $8.00