Z2 (2CD)

SKU: 0686-2
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Inside Out Music
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"Devin Townsend - fully 30 records into an astonishing career - has now just raised the stakes in the form of a new double album combining Ziltoid The Omniscient’s triumphant return and the follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Epicloud!” Feasting upon Z2 is akin to immersing oneself in the arcane creases of the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT catalog, bludgeoning heaviness and angelic melodies living under the cathedral of Devin’s more contemplative solo vision. The effect is lush, full- range, cinematic, and expressive. Addressing the creative tension between the two discs, Devin explains “...it’s DTP...the ‘humans’ against Ziltoid, and it’s a battle of sorts...The DTP and Ziltoid side of my writing has evolved to where this statement was necessary and undoubtedly inevitable. The battle between the two seems like a great way to priced to the next chapter of my work. It’s a backdrop for something that hopefully engaging for people. I hope that the point that I’m trying to make with Ziltoid and the metaphor behind it, isn’t lost in just a sea of absurdity.” Guest musicians include Anneke Van Giersbergen (solo artist, ex-THE GATHERING) and Chris Jericho (WWE star, FOZZY) as Captain Spectacular! Also featuring the "Universal Choir", 2000 voices strong, the biggest choir on a metal record ever! "

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  • "It all begins at the end of one man’s life. He hangs on the noose, lit by a single spotlight as a viscous clot of blood gradually oozes from his mouth. Misshapen, deformed and attired in archaic garments he dangles, suspended in death, as dark ambient shamans Ulver are hidden below him on a blacked-out stage.A piano plays a fragile lament while rumbling effects and growling samples ebb and flow. And a song that is one man’s coda becomes redefined as a sunrise is projected upon the screen behind the band, and Kristoffer Rygg steps up to the microphone to begin “EOS”. Thus begins Ulver: The Norwegian National Opera, the mesmerizing and stunning beautiful live DVD release from Norway’s masters of avant-garde and enigmatic electronica.Ulver of course know a few things about redefining expectations. At one stage they were a celebrated black metal band, but in the late ’90s they dispensed with the traditional accoutrements of black metal and morphed into an entirely different beast. Traces of their metal past remain fixed in their DNA, especially in their desolate iciness and forever-questioning aesthetic, but for many years now the band has been releasing acclaimed works that blend progressive electronica and glacial neo-classical treatments with shimmering, hypnotic rock.Aside from one show in 1993, Ulver had always been a studio-based outfit. But in 2009 the band was lured onto the stage for Norway’s Festival of Literature, which in turn led to them play a series of sold-out shows in some of Europe’s most renowned venues throughout 2010. Ulver: The Norwegian National Opera was recorded in Oslo at the end of that touring cycle, not long before the band went into the studio to record 2011’s highly rated Wars of the Roses album. Captured by 6 HD cameras, the show features guest appearances by electronics guru Christian Fennesz and performance artist Ian Johnstone (who plays the aforementioned role of the late Mr. Ark Todd, and look out for his inscrutable resurrection to end the show on an enigmatic note).The DVD features material from throughout Ulver’s electronic and experimental years, with tracks from the Perdition City, Svidd Neger, Blood Inside and Shadows of the Sun albums, and the Silence Teaches You How to Sing and A Quick Fix of Melancholy EPs. It’s best to think of the DVD in terms of an all-encompassing experience. Breaking the show down into constituent parts defeats its purpose entirely. I could obviously explain to you how the band’s performances of “For the Love of God”, “Funebre” or “Let the Children Go” play out in regard to the overall set, but there’s a clue on the DVD menu to remind you that plucking fragments from the show is inadvisable—there’s no ‘play all’ choice here, just one word: witness. That, more than any of the words I’m about to type, sums the DVD up perfectly.Spectacular visual accompaniments are projected on a mammoth screen behind the band. Ulver’s set is built atop waves of oscillating and juxtaposing currents, and as the rhythmic pulse shifts the imagery evolves. Varying images of mankind’s atrocities, nature’s majesty and preternatural mystery mimic the cadence of the show perfectly. The vast array of metaphoric, allegorical or representative imagery bolsters or offers a stark counterpoint to the tracks, and as the show progresses it becomes impossible to separate the visual from the musical.That’s not to suggest that taken in isolation the music is somehow lacking, it’s not, and a CD release of the soundtrack alone would be incredible. The vintage synths, creeping effects, droning guitar, dulcet vocals, piano and percussion that Ulver wield all fuse into a singularly mesmeric force. The set-list has obviously been assembled with a cinematic vision (perhaps operatic is more apt), and the music alone sets you on a path where the idea of stepping off is unfeasible. For 90-plus minutes the band unhurriedly manipulates and tweaks their sound. With many songs bleeding into one another, Ulver constructs a show that takes you on a skillfully paced, sweeping and euphonious voyage—where the pitch and sway, the crescendos and hypnotic undercurrents, guide you through a raft of emotive states.I had high expectations for Ulver: The Norwegian National Opera and I was not, for one second, anything less than enthralled. Expertly edited by Erlend Gjertsen, and mixed by the band at their own Crystal Canyon Studios in Oslo, the entire package is pristinely rendered, and is a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the ears. Ulver have always been a prime example of the transformative beauty of artists dedicated to producing work that is innovative and imaginative. And galvanized and inspired by celestial, terrestrial and otherworldly endeavors, Ulver: The Norwegian National Opera is a firm reminder of the transfixing (and yes, even transcendental) power of authentically progressive music. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough." - Hellbound.ca
    $15.00
  • "Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a deluxe 2CD edition of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. The Psychedelic Rock classic burst forth in 1968, topping the albums charts on both sides of the Atlantic and spawning the hit single Fire. The rock world discovered the delights of rocks supreme showman Arthur Brown and his influence would be felt the following decade when Alice Cooper acknowledged his debt to Arthur’s genius. Produced by WHO manager Kit Lambert and Who guitarist Pete Townshend, this classic album has been re-mastered and expanded to a two disc edition by the inclusion of rare single tracks, a BBC Radio One session from April 1968, alternate Mono mixes from the album sessions, and a version of Nightmare from the 1968 film, The Committee . Lavishly packaged in a slipcase with an extensively illustrated booklet with new essay, this is the ultimate edition of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown."
    $20.00
  • Remastered edition finally taken from the original master tapes and transferred utilizing 24 bit / 96 khz technology.
    $10.00
  • Volume 6 in this amazing series is a 3CD set that covers the time period 1976 through 1979. Arthur Brown appears on the performance culled from a gig in Brussels in 1979. Awesome!
    $13.00
  • Gatefold black vinyl edition features one bonus track as well as a CD of the album.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
    $22.00
  • "Originally released in 2002 on Hammerheart Records, Storm Before Calm marked Primordial’s fourth full-length release. Their mix of Celtic tradition and Nordic bleakness was fairly unique, with only Cruachan really even attempting to cover similar ground (with some success too, I highly recommend seeking their records out!).This reissue (on Metal Blade Records) is of the original version of the album, so we don’t get the UK edition’s extra track, The Burning Season, but that omission aside Storm Before Calm remains the essential, vital experience that it was back in 2002. Seamlessly welding elements of Irish folk music and Celtic lore to a spine of purest black metal, Primordial’s 11-year history as a band up to this point makes its presence felt throughout – songs of this length (4.57 and up, discounting the short instrumental piece “What Sleeps Within”) require a degree of skill in their crafting to hold the listener’s interest, something that the band had in spades by then.Although “The Heretic’s Age” is a fine opener, all blastbeats and shuddering melodic riffing relaxing into almost a swing feel, it’s when that track gives way to the sweeping dissonant doom of “Fallen To Ruin” and its spoken-word breakdown that the album truly reveals its intent and scope. From here on out, from “Cast To The Pyre” and its mournful yet spite-filled lyrical bent, to the scathing, full-bore assault of “Suns First Rays” and on through the folky paean to the Irish tri-goddess of battle “Sons Of The Morrigan”, to the closing salvo of “Hosting Of The Sidhe”, this is a most individual take on pagan metal, steeped in Irish legends and musical tradition.Epic in the truest meaning of the word, Storm Before Calm was Primordial’s last release strictly in this style, with 2005’s The Gathering Wilderness showcasing a bleaker, blacker feel which would become their calling-card from then onwards. If you don’t already have this, it’s more than worth your while to grab a copy of this reissue." - Alternative Matter
    $15.00
  • One of the great prog albums of the 70s finally given an official reissue although for the time being it appears that its vinyl only.Kvartetten Som Sprängde recorded one album for the short lived Gump label (only 4 releases on the label I believe).  What a killer.  The band was an instrumental trio consisting of Rune Carlsson on drums and percussion, Fred Hellman on C-3 organ and piano, and Finn Sjöberg on guitar and flute.Kattvals features massive phat swirling organ sounds, lethal guitar leads, and a killer groove.  Musically the band is equally rooted in prog, jazz rock, hard rock, and even latin rock.  The band is often comparted to Santana and to some degree that is true.  Hellman's organ work brings to mind Greg Rolie.  He is the perfect foil for Sjöberg's fluid soloing.  The music has a bit of a loose jamming feel to it without flying off the handle.Quite simply one of the best.  BUY OR DIE!
    $32.00
  • THE BAR HAS JUST BEEN RAISED!Symphony X's fifth effort is an over the top epic conceptual work that finds the band exploring the more progressive territories of The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and then some. Guitar virtuoso Michael Romeo once again reaffirms why he is one of the best guitarists in metal today. Russel Allen's vocals have never sounded better or bigger. The input of keyboardist Mike Pinella is not to be overlooked. In fact I think it is his symphonic interludes that make this Symphony X's supreme musical statement.Easily in my top 2 or 3 albums of the year.
    $15.00
  • "A couple of years ago, the band decided the time had come to reach out to the US industry, starting with bringing in a name producer to do the third album. A call to legendary producer, Ben Grosse (Marilyn Manson, Megadeth, Slipknot, Disturbed, etc.) and sending him samples of their music was enough for Grosse to travel to see the band live, and to agree to work with them on their third album, Destructive Device. Using a lot of what they had learned from working with Grosse, the band continued recording new material even after the Destructive Dev ice album was finished and started to release tracks one at a time through their website. When an offer from Nightmare Records came, the band decided to combine their favorite tracks from the Destructive Device album and what would have been a 4th release, the already online released tracks called 365. Their new album, With Bare Hands combines the best of both these newer albums and showcases the band’s progression into a top-notch musical entity. It serves as a testament to the band’s ability to keep themselves relevant while refusing to compromise their musical style and taste. On songs like “Break me Out” which opens the album, the vocals lead the song, but the subtle instrumentation and mix showcase the band’s ability to use substance and style to put a song over while so many other bands have to depend on sheer volume to accomplish the same thing. On “Breakthrough” and the title track, “With Bare Hands” the band’s pop, almost commercial abilities create hook-laden and riff-laden potential radio singles. And yet the band’s hard rocking rhythm section never ceases to be the thread that holds all the songs on the album together no matter how different they each may seem on the surface. “Thrust Into This Game” pays homage to the band’s hardcore influences taking old school metal instrumental and vocal stylings into the modern day. This track showcases the individual band members’ mastery of their respective instruments as the rhythm section pushes it to the brink of exploding while the guitar leads are flashy without being overdone. If there were one word to describe the band’s approach to its songwriting and playing it would have to be “tasteful.” They don’t depend on showy instrumentation because their natural abilities are enough just as they are."
    $9.00
  • "Andy Tillison, the mastermind behind The Tangent, isn’t a wet-behind-the-ears newbie when it comes to the world of prog rock. He knows he’s taken a risk with the band’s new album, Le Sacre Du Travail, but ten years of leading the band on its journey and seven albums to show for it have given him the strength and courage to present something decidedly different in today’s world of prog.Spurred on by the growing resurgence of progressive rock to do something unexpected that stands outside the box, he zeroed in on the idea of creating an orchestra suite in the spirit of artists like Camel and Deep Purple’s dearly departed Jon Lord. The naysayers might consider the new album to be too far afield from what’s considered prog rock these days, but The Tangent enjoys a broad international fanbase that respects the fact their heroes are bent on being as big and bold and as adventurous as the people who originally started the progressive rock movement off in the late ‘60s.“Big and bold” i this case doesn’t mean loud and in-your-face. On the contrary, Le Sacre Du Travail serves up everything from ‘70s rock to smoky blues to jazz to classical music. Given the conceptual nature of the record, Tillison sees it as a soundtrack without a film.“Hopefully that's what I'm getting across with this music,” says Tillison. “I want to give the music the excitement I felt when I first started hearing classical music. That’s why I got into progressive rock music; hearing classical music as a child, I used to be off and away imagining pictures and scenes and telling myself stories to go along with it. What I wanted to do was tell those stories to somebody else with my own music.”Le Sacre Du Travail is, in brief, a story about 7 billion people that all have the same name; “You”. The Tangent wanted to put the listener into the picture, having decided that if they were going to present this story, it had to be something that absorbed everyone on a familiar level.Tillison: “We avoided the concept album idea for a really long time, and finally we’ve done one. Most of the lyrics came pretty easily; I never wrote them down, I just sang what I felt, lots and lots of different things. I had many takes and many ideas, so I had to go back and pick out the best ones, and eventually I got the idea of what I wanted to sing about. It came out very naturally.”Looking back on The Tangent’s catalogue, Tillison – who started his musical career writing punk songs and pays tribute to that era on a the bonus track ‘Hat (Live At Mexborough School 1979’ – admits that The Tangent’s evolution is something of a surprise. At the same time, given that he’s had a decade to refine his craft as a prog artist, “I knew this was coming.” Looking back on his roots, Tillison knows exactly what influenced the outcome of Le Sacre Du Travail“The obvious influence is one of the very first progressive rock albums ever made: The Days Of Future Past by The Moody Blues. They had the idea of breaking a day into pieces and running through it on the album. It must have been there in the back of my mind, although I must say I probably haven't listened to that album in 30 years. I never really thought about it while I was recording, but at some point I realized I was doing the history of a day with an orchestra and a rock band. Deep Purple’s Concerto For Group and Orchestra was a big influence, and at the same time Roger Waters' Amused To Death album is definitely in there.”“We know we’re taking a risk,” Tillison adds. “Some people will go ‘What the hell is this?’ because it’s a big piece of music to get into and you have to find your way around it. But that’s where I want to be; on the leading edge of progressive rock music.”"US jewel box edition with 3 bonus tracks. 
    $10.00
  • Brilliant classically influenced Italian prog album. Pierrot Lunaire was a trio led by keyboardist Arturo Stalteri.  Delicate music that easily fits into the "Rock Progressivo Italiano" movement.  One of the great ones.
    $15.00
  • "This is the 1st album by a French band whose sound & compositional style are firmly rooted into Zeuhl and who features a line-up of vocals, guitar, bass, drums, synths, & flute.Vak started in 2008, centered around the prog/zeuhl compositions of drummer Vladimir Mejstelman : repetitive patterns, asymetric measures, crafted melodies and emphatic moments. After several musicians changes over the years, further influences completed the melting pot, from the rhythmic progressive metal influences reminiscent of Tool or some of Mike Patton's projects, to experiments echoing the Rock in Opposition scene, such as Guapo.Vocalist Aurelie Saintecroix does a great job, her wordless vocals strongly evoking Eskaton's early works. This first album has been recorded between 2011-2014, originally planed to be issued as 2 EPs (6 long tracks) - which never happened!Vak is currently heading towards a new kind of zeuhl with broad perspectives and influences, notably including metal & space-rock touches; a second album which will features more of this sound will hopefully be issued in 2016, but now, finally, you can hear all they have accomplished up to now!"
    $17.00
  • Remastered edition finally taken from the original master tapes and transferred utilizing 24 bit / 96 khz technology.
    $10.00
  • In recent times there has been very little new music coming from the Magma camp.  "Slag Tanz" is a new composition that the band has been performing and its finally been recorded in the studio.  Its got the classic Magma sound and if you are a zeuhl fan this is indispensable.Funny that their new label is referring to this as jazz metal.  Perhaps they should try a different marketing ploy."Powerful, hypnotic, unclassifiable, incomparables. MAGMA are in a class of their own. Finally, music to set the cat among the pigeons... Magma are the dynamite that will explode the conventions of a music scene that is becoming rather too self-satisfied with its own beauty... Magma are unlike anything that has gone before...So people were saying in 1970.In 2015, nearly half a century later, this is truer than ever and the new mini-album Slag Tanz (pronounced schlag tanz), this veritable symphony of jazz metal that has erupted from nowhere, radiates with all Magma s singular intensity!"Slünd AImëhntösz - Alerte ! (2:19)Slag (3:03)Dümb (2:57)Vers la nuit (3:30)Slünd BDümblaë - Le silence des mondes (2:58)Zü Zaïn ! (2:16)Slag Tanz (2:29)Wohldünt (1:23)Lyrics & Music : Christian VanderStella VANDER : voiceIsabelle FEUILLEBOIS : voiceHervé AKNIN : voiceBenoît ALZIARY : vibraphoneJames MAC GAW : guitarJérémie TERNOY : pianoPhilippe BUSSONNET : bassChristian VANDER : drums, piano, voice on "Wohldünt"Recorded and mixed between september 2013 and september 2014 at UZ Studio by Francis LINON
    $13.00