Men Who Climb Mountains (2LP Vinyl)

SKU: MDF-LP-1035
Label:
Madfish
Category:
Progressive Rock
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2 LP vinyl edition in a gatefold sleeve includes an 8 page lyrics booklet.

"Its been three years since the last Pendragon album.  To be honest I hadn't checked in on them in quite some time so it was interesting to listen to their latest - it was very different from what I expected.  Guitarist Nick Barrett has gone all Roger Waters on us - he wrote all the music and lyrics - so this really has evolved very much into a personal vehicle for him.  The usual bandmates of Peter Gee and Clive Nolan are on board and now joined by new drummer Craig Blundell.  Men Who Climb Mountains is a concept album but Barrett isn't spelling it out - you're going to have to work at this one.  The musical mission of the band has clearly changed over the years.  Don't have any hesitation - its full on prog but much more contemporary sounding.  The symphonic flourishes from the old days aren't quite so obvious - which isn't to say you won't notice Clive Nolan's presence.  Its simply that this is a bit more of a guitar driven vehicle than decades ago and Barrett's mournful solos have that nice Hackett-esque feel that always draws my attention.  I have to say I'm impressed.  Highly recommended."

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  • Yet another brilliant work from this Norwegian prog band.  The Greatest Show On Earth is the band's third effort.  While the first album Identity delved into alternative/prog realms bearing similarity to Radiohead, their second album All Rights Removed was full on Pink Floyd worship.  This latest effort carries on in similar fashion.  There are parts of the album that were written with tracing paper.  It evokes the mood and feel of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and maybe even a bit of The Wall.  This isn't to say the band doesn't inject any personality of their own - they do.  There are contemporary elements, its just that when they go into full on Pink Floyd mode its so apparent and so well executed that it blinds you to everything else that is going on.  What Bi Kyon Ran is to King Crimson or The Watch is to Genesis, Airbag is to Pink Floyd.  Original?  Truth be told not really.  It doesn't matter, its so well executed that you will just immerse yourself in the listening experience.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Michael Romeo doesn't work quickly.  The man takes his time and a new Symphony X album is ready when its been honed to perfection.  Underworld is the first new album in four years.  To get to the point its ridiculously great.  Up through V, the band were the modern agents of neoclassical/symphonic metal.  With The Odyssey the band took a left turn with Russell Allen's vocals being more agressive and a pervasive overall crunchiness, heaviness to the sound.  Perhaps a bit less symphonic sounding.  With Underworld fans of the "old style" will smile once again.  The band has found a way to balance both sides of their sound.  Its heavy but extremely melodic.  Russell's vocals are spot on and Mr. Romeo's solos have an organic flow that will sweep you through the tune.  Its a beautiful marriage of styles - not too much of either direction that the band has exhibited in the past.  Toss in a theme built around Dante's Inferno and you've totally sucked me back in to the fold.  BUY OR DIE!"A lot has happened with New Jersey-based progressive metal band SYMPHONY X since the Iconoclast album was released four years ago. Singer ‘Sir’ Russell Allen recorded and toured behind several releases with ADRENALINE MOB, toured with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and recorded the album The Great Divide with ALLEN-LANDE. Bassist Mike Lepond toured with HELSTAR and released his excellent solo album under the name SILENT ASSASSINS. Keyboardist Michael Pinnella released a solo album and guitarist Michael Romeo made guest appearances on some albums. Drummer Jason Rullo battled and successfully recovered from heart failure in 2013.Four years later, SYMPHONY X delivers another fantastic album, the band sounding just as powerful as Iconoclast, and amazingly never missing a beat. Titled Underworld, it is sort of a concept album, loosely based on Dante’s epic poem Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is not a totally original topic in the metal world; ICED EARTH featured an epic song based on it on their 1995 album Burnt Offerings and SEPULTURA wrote a concept album based on it with 2006’s Dante XXI, while SYMPHONY X themselves included references to it on their 1997 album The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. Several other metal bands have also been influenced by the poem.SYMPHONY X do not follow the tale word for word, but use it more as an inspiration. Michael Romeo is quoted as saying that the album has a theme of “going to hell and back for something or someone you care about.” He also said that this album is more about “the song” instead of the album as a whole, allowing it to flow better from song to song. This doesn’t mean every song is an attempt at a single. Romeo’s intent when writing songs for Underworld was for people to be able to take in the whole album in one listening. (The total album length is just over an hour, compared to Iconoclast’s two discs that were around 83 minutes).To be honest, the last two SYMPHONY X albums, 2007’s Paradise Lost and 2011’s Iconoclast were my favorite albums released by the band so far. I refer to them as the “angry” SYMPHONY X, mainly due to Russell Allen’s vocal delivery and the aggressive music on those particular albums. So, I waited to see if we would get a third album in this same vein from SYMPHONY X. The songs on Underworld seem to alternate between prog and aggression, but for the most part, the album is not as “angry” as Iconoclast. The album strikes a perfect balance between prog and power. Some songs are aggressive without being “angry”. There are definitely more classic SYMPHONY X elements here than on recent releases.The album is much more accessible than previous albums. The songs overall are shorter (most clocking in at around the 5-6 minute mark), and more to the point than on previous albums. For example, “Kiss Of Fire” is one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard by SYMPHONY X. It immediately became a favorite of mine on this album, with the verse, “Bring down the hammer, with serious anger – It’s me against the world!” section and the chorus becoming some of my favorite moments. This song probably represents the album to me more than any other, but the album is filled with classics, such as opener “Nevermore”, a ferocious track that is aggressive in the verses, while the chorus is more melody-driven. The title track follows, with many twists, turns and speed sections. “Without You” is a standout track. With its guarded delivery by Allen and acoustic guitar flowing in the background, it is probably the mellowest moment on Underworld, but that’s not a bad thing. The chorus is the focus of the track, with Allen performing some of his best work. The song probably has the most potential as a single. Another solid track, “Charon”, named for the ferry boatman of the underworld, follows. This track has a middle-eastern flavor to it.The longest track on the album (9:24 in length) follows, the excellent “To Hell And Back”. This song has so many great parts, it’s hard to pick a particular favorite, possibly Allen’s soaring vocal on the chorus or the “on and on and on / no quarter asked, no quarter given” section. “In My Darkest Hour” follows and is another favorite of mine, featuring speed riffing parts, mixed with a melodic chorus. Allen really shines on this song. “Run With The Devil” is even more up-tempo and another one of the more accessible songs due to the chorus. “Swan Song” finds keyboardist Pinnella taking the bulk of the spotlight with his piano flourishes. The album closes with the excellent “Legend”. Allen’s aggressive pre-chorus vocals and melodic chorus vocals make this an instant classic.I believe the playing on Underworld is at another level for the band. Lepond’s bass work is spectacular throughout and Jason Rullo makes a real statement with his drum performance. Fantastic work from keyboardist Michael Pinnella and of course guitarist Michael Romeo’s amazing riffs and solos are worth the price alone. But you get more, don’t you? You get one of the best singers in metal, Sir Russell Allen, making yet another classic album even better with his voice.The album’s exquisite cover artwork (once again by illustrator Warren Flanagan) features the return of the SYMPHONY X masks, around which are eight symbols that represent the circles of hell: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, and fraud. The symbol for treachery, the ninth circle, is underneath the masks, and hopefully will be revealed in full inside the album packaging.Underworld is a great album, which grew on me the more I listened to it. SYMPHONY X are masters of American prog metal, and have been for quite some time. Underworld further cements that reputation, and will undoubtedly please fans of all eras of the band." - KNAC.com 
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  • "Oh Wow!. That was my reaction and remains my reaction to this album every time I spool it up and listen to it. What surprises me here on PA is that the ratings for the Pendragon albums are as low as they are - 3.85 isn't low by any means however I would have expected to see average ratings in excess of 4 for many of the band's albums. For sheer musical beauty there is very little that equals these musicians in full flight. The lovers of two of the very favourite bands here being Genesis (up to Duke) and Marillion (Fish era) should be over the moon with Pendragon as this group of musicians encompass the feelings and musical emotions of those two iconic bands brilliantly. The melodies soar and the musicianship is top drawer. Nick Barrett's voice takes some getting used to at first but it by no means spoils the music and you do get used to it pretty quickly to the extent that you wouldn't want to hear anyone else on vocals with the band.This album soars with melodic brilliance and with emotion and all of the instruments go towards making up the sound - the highlights being Barrett's lead guitar and Nolan's keyboards which are backed by the brilliant drumming of Fudge Smith and the more than adequate bass of Peter Gee. I can't single out a single track which is out of place or doesn't belong - they are all huge. To discuss this album on a track by track basis would be futile and it is enough to say that the album is a full on adventure in melody - and how it is!" - ProgArchives
    $29.00
  • Private vinyl edition released by the band.Second album from this great French ensemble. Curiously their first album was released by Tzadik and had to be the most overtly "prog" album ever on that label. This new album is out on Altrock and is probably my favorite release on the label. The band creates a mesmerizing whirlwind of sax, keys, vibes, bass, flue, bass, and drums. There is a touch of Zappa in the compositions probably due to the vibes/marimbas that remind of Ruth Underwood. Some sexy Mini-Moog leads squiggle around the dual sax leads. All in all one killer release. Highly recommended.
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  • The Italian band The Watch are probably the pre-eminent prog band to capture the classic Gabriel-era sound of Genesis.  While the band tours doing covers of Genesis tunes hey write original material that could easily have been lifted from Nursery Cryme.  Tracks From The Alps is their latest.  It includes all original compositions except their reinterpretation of "Going Out To Get You", a track from Genesis' debut album.  If you like "the sound" The Watch will be indispensible.  I consider them a guilty pleasure and have enjoyed all of their releases.  Highly recommended.
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  • First time on LP!  Gulaab is a German guitarist with connections to Peter Frohmader.  He's a bit of an enigmatic figure spending a number of years in Nepal.  Ritt Durch Den Hades was originally released on cassette back in 1979 and has built up a cult following over the years.Gulaab plays a variety of acoustic string instruments and percussion(he makes an emphatic point that there are no synthesizers involved).  The music has an obvious dark, mystical krautrock/folk vibe.  If you are a fan of Deuter and Popol Vuh you are going to burst a vein over this.  Had this been released on vinyl in 1973 you'd be paying $1000 for it.  Late night hookah music.  Highly recommended."Ultra-rare lost psychedelic Kraut-Folk from 1979. Taken from the original mastertapes! Gulaab means “rose” in Nepalese language. Gulaab is a German virtuoso on the acoustic guitar who has served three years as an after dinner musician in a luxury restaurant in Nepal to play for an amazing number of well known personalities of the 20th century during the early 70s. A strongly influential experience that shaped his musical expression big time but also let him become an open minded spirit. “Ritt durch den Hades” is the result of his experimentation with sounds, atmospheres and a multitude of styles in traditional music from Latin to Eastern Asian elements. It was first released in 1979, vanishing into obscurity soon after, waiting to be rediscovered by a more open minded generation of music lovers now. Traditionalists be forewarned : This mystic grail of 70s “kraut folk” stands far out from the average folk and singer / songwriter stuff combining guitar harmonies of the highest order with a cosmic drone that backs up the hypnotizing picking and trippy swirls of sounds. This album is in fact more like a musical journey than just a piece of music taking you from secret sacrificial altars in the Andes to the ceremonial places of the ancient Himalayan population with a short stopover for a little “joint venture” in the musical space centers of highly flown out German originators like ASH RA TEMPEL / Manuel Göttsching, POPUL VUH / Florian Fricke, WITTHÜSSER & WESTRUPP, BRÖSELMASCHINE, DOM or DEUTER. Now take a ride through Hades with GULAAB!"
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  • How many of you remember Tritonus?  Back in 1995, there was a Norwegian sampler CD called simply "A Gathering of 8 Norwegian Progressive Metal Bands".  Besides Spiral Architect, Trivial Act, and Manitou there were other bands that managed to score record deals.  Most of them disappeared.  Tritonus was on the sampler.  Despite having some of the strongest material on the CD the band never signed with a label, and despite years of trying, never released any material.  Band leader/virtuoso guitarist Carl August Tidemann would time to time mention that Tritonus was working on its debut, but after almost 2 decades everyone pretty much took it with a grain of salt.  Well...better late than never!If you've been listening to prog metal for a long time you know that the sound has changed a bit over the years.  Tritonus' debut turns back the hands of time.  This is a stunning example of prog metal the way we used to know it.  Stunning musicianship with plenty of jolts of technicality.  At this point, the lineup has changed over the years.  In addition to Tidemann, Tritonus now consists of Rolf Kristensen (vocals), Ole Devold (drums) and Thor-Axel Eriksen (guitars).  Lots of guests contribute (my guess is many of these were past members).  Keyboards (courtesy of Circus Maximus' Lasse Finbraten) tend to be put to good use - you hear the occasional solo but mostly its there for texture - the twin guitars weave together with incredible proficiency and dominate.  I have to point out the vocals of Rolf Kristensen.  This guy is amazing!Its a shame that its taken so many years for Tritonus to release this.  Its quite a great album and in a way it makes me a bit sad.  Had it come out 15 years ago, they could have easily risen through the scene.  We are lucky we have it.  Is it closure for Tritonus or the opening of a new era?  Let's hope for the later.  They deserve a better fate and damn I'd want to hear more music from them.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • Second album from this British project conceived by multi-instrumentalist Kevin Lawry.  He handles vocals, guitar, bass, and keys while Darin McCloskey in the drummer.  Lawry brought in Brian Anthony to handle all Mellotron parts.  The best way to describe this band would be "doom prog".  It has a clear 70s vibe - perhaps a bit like Atomic Rooster - but a band like Cathedral (the British one) come to mind.  There is a dark element present here.  The quieter, Mellotron-laden, parts could have easily been lifted off of Camel's Mirage album.  The songs tend to settle into a groove with loooong spacey parts ever present with outbursts of Iommi riffing cropping up at just the right time.  Great stuff.
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  • 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