Aardvark

SKU: ECLEC2286
Label:
Esoteric Recordings
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Aardvark was a one and done band that recorded for Deram/Nova in 1970. Originally a vehicle for Simon Kirk and Paul Kossoff before they split to form Free, Aardvark evolved into a guitarless quartet. Led by the organ led keyboards of Steve Milliner, the band bore similarities to Egg and The Nice. Milliner owed a bit more to Jon Lord than say Keith Emerson but when he put his organ through a fuzz box it definitely will remind you of Dave Stewart. This reissue has been given the usual gold standard treatment from Esoteric.

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  • "The kings and queens of Scandinavian folklore are back! Thundering in on a north wind from the ancient forests and Scandinavian skies full of fire and mystery. Once lost inside ice and snowcapped mountains and forbidden islands, where you cannot remove a stone, lest you face the curse of bad tidings forever…returns the wonder of Kaipa, with their latest effort: "Vittjar". This time they return to inject wonder into the dog days of summer, much as they did for the springtime with their last album, "In the Wake of Evolution". Kaipa, in case you are new to the band, includes such well-known artists and composers as Hans Lundin, on electric and acoustic keyboards and vocals; Per Nilsson, from Scar Symmetry, on electric and acoustic guitars; Morgan Ågren, from Mats & Morgan and Zappa on drums; Jonas Reingold, from The Flower Kings and Karmakanic, on electric basses; Patrik Lundström, from Ritual; on vocals, and Aleena Gibson on vocals. Hans Lundin is the leader of the band and has been making music since 1965. The band's discography dates back to the mid – 1970s, so these are old pros venturing into new uncharted territory, with music that combines inspiration from the folklore of their past. It makes for a wonderful combination that will provide hours of listening pleasure. I didn't stop playing their last album until deep into the summer after receiving it in early spring. "Vittjar" will be available in the USA on August 28th, 2012. The opening, "First Distraction" is a Renaissance – like, triumphant march, full of flutes, keys, and later lead guitar and strong drums. You can almost visualize the musicians emerging from an opening in the forest to join the field of play. Off to a nice start. Then the action truly begins. "Lightblue and Green" opens with firepower from keys, heavy drums and power lead guitar…just like…yes…one of your favorite Yes songs from the past. Lundström begins the story, "painting my morning in light blue and green…a nice picture indeed. You can visualize early morning sunbeams and the feeling of awakening from some interesting dreams. The power drums, bass, and keys set an excellent tone and build a strong soundscape to surround Lundström's "visions". An awakening from winter and its frigid surroundings, into the fullness of spring. The heavier guitar licks and drums separate this album from the golden charm of the last, with its spring – tinged softness. "Our Silent Ballroom Band" is the epic and longest track at 22:11 minutes, on the album. Few bands can pull off the epics. And even fewer can do it well by adding a great story that raps you into the theme like Kaipa. This track brings the return of Aleena Gibson, reprising her role, singing as a little girl sharing her experiences and reflections of the world around her. The flutes that surround her take you right to Scandinavia and a field, where she is "dancing in the misty summer grass…in a deafening dance of her life". Lundström's vocals return to compliment Gibson's. The keyboard and guitar instrumentals add even more wonder to this, my favorite track." "Reach for the stars"… and they do. The Yes – like power of this journey – filled track will bring back memories of the power of the 70s. "Vittjar", the title track is up next and it features Lundström's vocals, in native language providing a violin filled, Renaissance – like track which is easily the second best track on the album. Even if you don't understand the lyrics you can feel the emotion in the vocals and the strings, guitars, keys, bass, and drums. The instrumentation helps create that magic environment we fans remember so well, from all of their albums. "Treasure House" is a good track full of amazing guitar."A Universe of Tinyness" is another of the best songs on the album. The violin work so compliments Gibson's careful vocal delivery that holds the listener spellbound to the story. "Tiny soldiers reach my shore"…"I'm moving back in time…in search of missing lines...I'm moving in reverse in my own universe". The violin is back in "The Crowded Hillsides", and this time it and the cool lead guitar play a major role. Simply spectacular music. The track is full of great Squire-like bass reminders that really help make this track an instant classic like some of the best tracks off "In the Wake". "All of the wonders that hide in the sky…the sky is the limit"…yeh! "Second Distraction" is a great closer full of fantastic lead guitar, bass, mysterious keys and explosive drums. This is a great follow up album to "In the Wale…" This band is expanding its abilities and delivering on the promise of mixing modern rock music with the folklore, music and traditions of the past." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $12.00
  • 180g vinyl edition of the 2014 Steven Wilson remix.  Includes a 24 page 12x12 booklet with an article on the prepartion oand recording of the album, lyrics, the original album program and rare live photos."In 1972 Jethro Tull were riding high on the crest of a popularity wave. They sold out huge arenas on the back of their critically acclaimed fifth album Thick As A Brick. The question was, how do you follow a concept album comprising a single 44-minute piece of music? The answer was, with a double album of separate songs of course.For the first time in their five year career Tull went into the studio with an unchanged line-up. Founder member and undisputed leader Ian Anderson was still writing songs on flute, acoustic guitar and now saxophone, and he was again joined by guitarist Martin Barre, bassist Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, drummer Barriemore Barlow and keyboard player John Evans. But which studio to use?The first criterion was that it had to be abroad. The second criterion was that the studio of choice had to have a good reputation. The 18th century Château d'Hérouville near Paris had previously been used by Elton John to record Honky Château and by Pink Floyd for Obscured By Clouds. It contained living accommodation as well as studio facilities, and so seemed the ideal choice. What could possibly go wrong?The choice was a disaster. First up, there were technical problems with the studio itself. Then there was the accommodation... the band all slept in a dormitory, it was very basic which might have been tolerable, had they been the sole occupants of the rooms. Unfortunately, they had unwelcome company, of a bed-bug variety. And then to make matters infinitely worse everybody got food poisoning from the in-house catering.Unsurprisingly the band decided to go home and the decision was made to ditch the hour or so s worth of music recorded in France. They decided to start from scratch and write a whole new album, instead of trying to somehow regenerate everybody s interest and commitment to something that had already struggled.And so to A Passion Play, an album that evolved into a 45-minute piece of quasi-prog rock, with complex time-signatures, complex lyrics and, well, complex everything, really. With a mere nine days left in the studio before the next tour, the pressure was on to produce something quickly. The concept explored the notion that choices might still be faced in the afterlife. It recognizes that age-old conflict between good and bad, God and the Devil."
    $25.00
  • Yet another triumph from one of the most innovative forces in progressive music today. Another conceptual work that offers up elements of past works like "Entropia" and "Perfect Element". Crushingly heavy at times but always melodic. Enough time changes to knock any prog fan on their ass.
    $12.00
  • 2LP 180g vinyl in a gatefold sleeve."It’s been quite a past few years for the incredible Anathema. Honors have been bestowed upon them, they’ve released an instant classic album in “Weather Systems”, and last year they released one of the best live concert films I’ve ever seen, “Universal”. Anathema is on top of the world, and they are only getting bigger. With all of this on their shoulders, they approach the world once again with their new album, “Distant Satellites”, a fitting name for a massive album. Again, with all of their recent success creating huge expectations, can this band meet such critical reception? Needless to say, Vincent Cavanagh on vocals, Danny Cavanagh on guitar, Jamie Cavanagh on bass, John Douglas on percussion, Daniel Cardoso on drums, and Lee Douglas with her wonderful vocals were all up to the challenge.“Distant Satellites” is a very different album from “Weather Systems”, or anything else they’ve done, for that matter. It is different, yet somehow instantly familiar. It includes everything that makes them Anathema, but adds new and exciting elements to their already excellent formula. If you’ve never heard Anathema, their formula (in their last few albums, anyways) includes soaring guitars, amazingly catchy melodies, spiritual lyrics, and emotional flow both vocally and structurally. They are the masters of melody, and they remain complex and progressive even while being simple and accessible. They are truly masters of their craft.This new album, then, is no different in those terms. The melodies return in force, such as the serene beauty of “The Lost Song” parts 1-3. And, yet, there is something different here. The melodic lines are somewhat more complex, less in-your-face, and more organic. This especially shows in the song lengths, most of them being over five minutes. This allows for more growth and more progression. Indeed, then, the melodies on “Distant Satellites”, while not being as instantly lovable or recognizable, are certainly more difficult and possibly will have a longer “shelf life” in my mind. Yes, the orchestrations seem to be lower key, as well, allowing the vocalists to express themselves more personally then ever.There are other improvements, too. I feel that the musicianship is more fervent and on a higher plateau of difficulty than Anathema has tried. Drummer John Douglas, especially, plays amazingly well from start to finish, accenting the music with awesome pounding and fills. The rest of the band are at their peak, too, with Vincent and Lee being especially great with emotional and meaningful vocal performances.“Distant Satellites” is different in more meaningful ways, too. Utilizing post-rock/metal structures is nothing new for Anathema, but they really do perfect them here, as on “Dusk”, a dark, climactic song. Yet, there is a sense of continuity between tracks, too. This is obviously the case between the three parts of “The Lost Song”, but it’s also apparent throughout the album, as if Anathema is telling us a story, convincing us of our true selves and our connection with the universe and with each other.This album is wonderful in the first half, but my excitement reached new heights in the second half. Anathema has taken it upon themselves to change things up a bit. They wanted to progress their sound, but make it all seem so natural. So, in the second half, the album climaxes with one of the best songs, simply called “Anathema”. But then, we are thrown for a loop somewhat, as “You’re Not Alone” features a hefty portion of electronic vibe. It’s great, but the best is still to come.Next, “Firelight”, a darkly ethereal instrumental track that is completely electronic, is thrust upon us, and is followed up by what may possibly be the best song Anathema has ever produced, “Distant Satellites”. This track combines everything that has ever made Anathema great: soaring melodies, climactic structure, gentle spirituality, amazing vocals, and now an electronic beat that is both complex and catchy. Vibrant, mesmerizing, and pure, this track elates me every time I hear it. It takes this album, and my heart, to new heights. The album finishes with a gentle ballad that just seems so fitting, yet it still has the strong electronic influence.So, is “Distant Satellites” a winner? In every way! Is it their best album? I don’t know; it has the potential, but it might take time, just like “Weather Systems” did. What I can tell you is that this new album is more mature, more progressive, more interesting and eclectic, and less formulaic then anything Anathema has crafted yet. It does sacrifice some accessibility and some instant likability for these things, but I respect their decision massively, and I fully expect to see “Distant Satellites” at the tops of many lists at the end of 2014." - Progulator
    $30.00
  • Trillium is the new project from Amanda Somerville. You may not be overtly familiar with her but you've heard her work. In addition to the Aina album, she has collaborated with Avantasia, Kamelot, and Epica among others. In fact she filled in for Simone Simons on one of Epica's US tours. In addition to being a songwriter she is a prominent vocal coach.Trillium is a collaboration with Sander Gommans (ex-After Forever) and noted metal producer/musician Sascha Paeth. Musicians from the Paeth universe are featured through out. Most notable are duets with Jorn Lande (!) and Matt Sinner. The music is an amalgam of hard rock, symphonic metal, and perhaps even a smidgen of gothic metal. Ms. Somerville is a great singer and is adaptable to all the styles she presents. Shockingly good!
    $7.00
  • Second album from this Italian band that actually goes back to the 70s although they didn't record until recently.The roots of the band's sound is quite obvious.  Il Cerchio D'Oro are proponents of "Rock Progressive Italiano".  With the necessary Italian vocals in place, the music has a nice balance of keys and guitar but there are plenty of guests introducing flute, sax, mandolin.  It should be noted that these guests are sourced from classic bands The Trip, PFM, and Delirium.  Dig the 'tron?  Its here!  The synth work in particular is going to remind you of Flavio Premoli.  
    $16.00
  • Expanded CD/DVD edition. The CD comes with 5 bonus tracks.  The DVD contains a 5.1 surround mix and a ton of documentary/interview footage.Without abandoning the sense of melody and dynamics that remain the Magenta trademark, Metamorphosis sees the band taking a darker, more intense path with powerful, sometimes disturbing subject matter."I think this album is going to surprise a lot of people," says keyboardist Rob Reed "It will challenge many people's preconceptions of what Magenta are, and what we are capable of musically. Most of it was written on guitar, so some of the material is heavier than before, whilst retaining most of the elements of the Magenta sound."The album also marks the band's return to long-form pieces of music, with two 20 minute-plus songs, and a new, richer sound with the addition of strings. "Watch out for some brilliant performances on the record." Reed says. "Christina Booth's vocals are just astonishing, Tim Robinson delivers a virtuoso performance on drums and Chris Fry has pushed the bar even higher than usual with some amazing lead guitar. I have no doubt that this is, by far, our finest album to date."Magenta was formed in 2001, quickly capturing the attention of progressive rock fans around the world with a sound influenced by the icons of the past. Over the years the band has performed at virtually every major progressive rock festival in the world including gigs at Rosfest, BajaProg, and Nearfest. Year after year, the band has received awards from various progressive rock publications. In 2007, the band won two awards from the esteemed British Classic Rock Society including Best Band and Best Female Singer.The album was mastered by Grammy winning engineer Bob Katz. To further enhance the package, Metamorphosis features startling artwork from the noted graphic design house Killustrations.
    $15.00
  • "Alice Cooper's third album, Love It to Death, can be pinpointed as the release when everything began to come together for the band. Their first couple of albums (Pretties for You and Easy Action) were both largely psychedelic/acid rock affairs and bore little comparison to the band's eventual rip-roaring, teenage-anthem direction. The main reason for the quintet's change was that the eventually legendary producer Bob Ezrin was on board for the first time and helped the Coopers focus their songwriting and sound, while they also perfected their trashy, violent, and theatrical stage show and image. One of the band's most instantly identifiable anthems, "I'm Eighteen," was what made the album a hit, as well as another classic, "Is It My Body." But like Alice Cooper's other albums from the early '70s, it was an incredibly consistent listen from beginning to end. The garage rocker "Caught in a Dream" as well as the ass-kicking "Long Way to Go" and a pair of epics -- the Doors-esque "Black Juju" and the eerie "Ballad of Dwight Fry" -- showed that Alice was easily in league with other high-energy Detroit bands of the era (MC5, Stooges). Love It to Death was the first of a string of classic releases from the original Alice Cooper group." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • Second album from this California based prog metal band with ties to Redemption. The Tragedy Of Innocence is a far more mature and developed release than their debut. It's a conceptual work dealing with a very heavy subject - Valerie Quirarte (wife of drummer Chris) and her experience with child abuse. The music is a reflection of the story - its darker and more intense. All in all Prymary are a progmetal band. You can expect some serious complex arrangements and stand out playing. Kudos to the band for tackling a difficult subject and also jumping up to the next level musically. Recommended.
    $2.00
  • Only for true metal freaks (you know who you are). If Manowar is too wimpy for ya check 'em out.
    $13.00
  • "Heavy metal dudes and fools! Prepare to kneel down in obedience. Benedictum returns with the fourth album, expecting you to Obey. Yet the new album comes with some changes and also revisits earlier albums. The band introduces to new members with drummer Rikard Stjernquist (Jag Panzer) and bassist Aric Avina (ex-Tynator). Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Dio, Foreigner), who produced the first two Benedictum, returns to the nobs for this one.What has not changed one iota is Benedictum's commitment to classic American heavy and power metal. The character of their metal has always had a heavy and dark feeling due mostly to the lyrical content, deep rhythm section, and Peter Well's thick, working class, riffage. Yet these things are balanced by Benedictum's natural bent to weave melody and harmony into each song.Then, of course, there's vocalist Veronica Freeman's vocals which can range from somberness as on Cry (featuring Tony Martin (Black Sabbath ,et al)) to raging metal as on the title cut or Scream. That last song is a good example of where Freeman's vocals are on point becoming the pivot on which everything turns. Another is Evil That We Do, where the vocal arrangement has a choral quality. It's also a song where Benedictum brings more rock groove and general catchy accessibiliity.Otherwise, Obey is pretty much straight American heavy metal from the start to finish. Most time the pace is swift as with Apex Nation or Fracture; sometimes more moderate as with Die to Love You, likely my least favorite song here, and the finishing longer epic feel of Retrograde. Fundamentally, it you liked everything about their previous releases, especially the first two, you'll dig Obey and should add it to your collection. If you expected something more novel or progressive, rather than constant, then you'll be disappointed. Recommended to 'true metal' dudes everywhere." - Dangerdog.com
    $18.00
  • "I’ve been waiting for the release of “Endgame” for some time now, this is honestly the first time I have been excited about a Megadeth album in years and this is due partially to the hiring of the incredible Chris Broderick, but mainly due to Dave Mustaine’s change of attitude toward the writing process with the album. Dave has been quite open during the recording process regularly updating his fans on the Megadeth forums and his latest venture TheLiveLine where he has been posting audio messages. I’m not sure if this was a conscious effort to restore some respect but it seems to have worked, there has been a lot of praise for Mustaine and the new Megadeth lineup over the last few months and has helped elevate not only Megadeth’s public profile but apparently Dave Mustaine’s songwriting abilities back to a level we haven’t experienced for some time. Before I go any further I want to point out that I have managed to avoid reading any reviews of this album as I wanted to approach Endgame without any kind of outside influence before writing about it.Dave Mustaine has always made good choices when it comes to hiring new talent and although he is probably sick of hearing it the appointment of Chris Broderick was the most exciting news since Marty Friedman joined the band. Don’t get me wrong though, Chris certainly won’t be taking all the glory, Dave’s brutal rhythm playing is as crisp and perfectly timed as ever. There is a lot of texture on this album such as the excellent “44 Minutes” with its machine gun verse riffs and layered guitar melodies over the chorus and trademark Megadeth solo trading. The outro on this track has some jaw droppingly terrifying playing from Chris Broderick.The first track on Endgame is an instrumental which I was surprised about but it is almost like Dave is saying, check out how awesome my band are! It is a great double-bass pedal thumping track with solos galore, a nice way to introduce Chris as the new Mega-Shredder™.“1,320” is another classic sounding Megadeth song, the lyrics are a bit cheesy (is it about drag racing?) but the riffs are brutal, the solos are harmonised, Dave sounds angry and the ending is double-time, always a winner!Other highlights including the chugging rhythms of “Bodies“, the fierce audio assualt that is “Head Crusher” which was released as a teaser track a while back. This was a great marketing idea to get people interested because it is probably the most “Thrash” sounding track on the album with “Holy Wars…” kind of punch you in the face riff except with much bigger and better sounding production.The production on this album is up there with United Abominations (which takes some beating) for quality. Everything has a lot more space compared to United Abominations, although I did like the in-your-face dry guitar sounds on that album, the reverb on Endgame does push the solos into the background a little more.The only part of this album that I don’t like is the ballad “The hardest part of letting go – sealed with a kiss“… ballads on a Megadeth album? Dave singing a love song really sounds wrong to me, especially the whispered “goodbye” toward the end of the track. The only thing that saves this song is that after 1:40 the acoustic love song turns into a galloping metal riff for 1 1/2 minutes where the song is much more Megadeth and less Def Leppard, then it returns back to the power ballad. A small blemish on an otherwise brilliant album.If you are an old school Megadeth fan you are going to love this album, I actually finished listening to it the first time wanting more tracks. If you are new to Megadeth you couldn’t have discovered them at a better time, Dave Mustaine has firmly taken hold of the reigns in order to re-establish Megadeth as one of the greatest Metal bands in history with an album that will be talked about for years to come." - Guitar Noize
    $10.00
  • "Following their independent leap from the music industry in 1980, the band's audience continued to grow with the release of 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' which far outsold it's predecessors. For the first time in Enid history some of the tracks are vocal lead, producing anthems still chanted by fans today."
    $16.00