Between The Madness

SKU: 88450196023
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Private Release
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Guitarist/vocalist Clay Withrow is the heart and soul behind Vangough.  He's made some fine albums in the past but this is clearly his best as you can tell that he's exerting more of his own vision.  The previous albums were fine slices of progressive metal, bu they were clearly influenced heavily by Pain Of Salvation.  While there is some of that early PoS feel, Between The Madness has more of Clay than Daniel.  Its very angst driven music - from the vocals to the grinding guitar solos.  This is one pissed off band.  Its a non-stop prog metal roller coaster ride.  BUY OR DIE!

"Over the last two full-length albums leading up to this, the band’s most important release, one thing is strikingly clear: Vangough has been eating their Wheaties. Whereas the last album couldn't find its center of gravity despite merits and high replay value, "Between The Madness" bridges the gap between Vangough's left brain and right brain. Moreover, the band feels much more balanced with the addition of drummer Kyle Haws. Further, it sounds like mastermind Clay Withrow had pushed himself beyond his limits to expand the Vangough tone palate.

On the “Acoustic Scars” EP, Withrow developed a vocal technique that finds full maturation on "Between The Madness:” the rage-sing. Almost a yell, but neither a scream nor a simple vocal fry and free of any pitch interference, Withrow's rage-sing makes the lyrical intent as clear as it can be. The album offers bile to many parties, lyrically, and puts the listener behind a sometimes uncomfortable but necessary first-person perspective: any other perspective simply would not do justice to the intent. Vangough has always been more effective at conveying feelings than telling stories, but never before had the songs had such a natural novel-like flow to them. All the while, Withrow peppers his versatile clean singing with elaborate layers of harmony and polyphony, making for subtly different listening experiences each time.

The overall sound hasn't drastically changed, and even shows some musical nods to prior songs. In "Vaudeville Nation," a scathing condemnation of a track, a clever link is established with "Mannikin Parade" around 4:28. The main melody of the latter is re-introduced on guitars in a straight-played manner. Later in the song, a similar "Mannikin Parade" vocal melody emerges in the line "...and burn the circus to the ground," and up through the yell following it. Further, continuing the storyline started with "Road To Blighttown" on the “Acoustic Scars” EP, "Depths of Blighttown" adds a fitting dark and ominous chapter to the story.

The added input from Haws and bassist Jeren Martin have made the songs seem more logical, acting as balancing forces. The drumming style of Haws is noticeably organized, nuanced, and thought-out and could be accurately categorized as a blend of the styles of Lamb of God's Chris Adler, Opeth-era Martin Lopez, and Pain of Salvation-era Johan Langell. The mixing job by Sterling Winfield is a stunning step forward for the band as well, and the drum sound is particularly remarkable for its bright, punchy, but balanced character. Lead guitarist Jay Gleason makes several shred-tastic appearances to accentuate the technicality of Vangough's instrumentation, while Justus Johnston and Jose Palacios make appearances on strings to further amplify the feeling of the songs and add a superb creep factor touching on Resident Evil levels at times.

No song feels out of place or unessential, with "Infestation," "Schizophrenia," "Vaudeville Nation," "Useless," and "Corporatocracy" as highlights. The dynamic growth between “Kingdom of Ruin” and “Between The Madness” makes this album out to be Vangough's “Blackwater Park,” what many will no doubt cite as the band’s seminal record. Put simply, there has never been a better time to jump off of whatever progressive metal train you've been on and ride with Vangough. "Into the dark I take you," Withrow jabs at us. Make sure your seatbelts are securely fastened." - Metal Underground

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    $12.00
  • "Powermad Finns Battle Beast are back and, it has to be said, sounding better than ever. Unholy Savior is their third full-length effort and, after the disappointment of second album Battle Beast, the pressure was definitely on guitarist Anton Kabanen and company to deliver the goods here.They’ve certainly done that. Unholy Savior is a satisfyingly ‘complete’ sounding album, an album where all the bits of greatness the band has hinted at in the past find themselves being woven together with gratifyingly high impact.Personally I felt the big drawback of the last album was the vocal performance of Noora Louhimo, who I felt failed to adequately replace the first album’s vocalist Nitte Valo in terms of power and personality. Well, those misgivings have been firmly dismissed on Savior… OpeNing the album in a sultry fashion reminiscent of the Metal Queen Lee Aaron herself, Louhimo reaches top gear quickly unleashing a truly magnificent scream at the end of the title track which is nothing less than an affirmation that she’s finally arrived as this band’s rightful vocalist. It’s a magnificent performance, and she keep it up throughout the album.There’s more variety on this album, too. The band no longer seem to feel bound to put the pedal to the metal all the time, occasionally easing off the gas and giving rein to their eighties fantasies with predictably encouraging results. Sea of Dreams, despite it’s faux-Celtic Nightwishesque intro, actually sounds like something Roxette might have come up with (and that’s no bad thing in my book);  At least until the end of the song, that is, when Louhimo unleashes those formidable pipes again and hits the song right out of the park – absolutely spine tingling stuff!After that interlude, the explosion of metal that is Speed and Danger sounds even heavier than it probably is. The song sounds like the sort of thrashy metal Judas Priest were experimenting with around the time of Ram it Down, especially the frantic soloing of Kabanen who manges to sound like both Glenn Tipton and KK Downing in the space of about four bars – no mean feat! – The parping keyboard solo by Janne Bjorkroth adds a bit of light relief before he and Kabanen then attempt to out-Stratovarius Stratovarius in a deliriously over the top instrumental break. All heavy metal life is here!Touch in the Night has an even more ludicrously eighties intro, sounding like something Laura Branigan might have released, before easing into an easy Euro Pop groove where Noora is allowed to highlight the softer side of her vocal range. It’s cheesy as all hell, but somehow it works, and it’s here that the true value to the Battle Beast blueprint of Louhimo is revealed – Nitte Valo could never have sung this little gem.So there you have it – easily Battle Beast’s most appealing and enjoyable outing yet, though songs like Touch in the Night are sure to lose them some of their more hardcore metallic following;  Unholy Savior finds the band finally finding their true niche, and sounding all the more impressive for it. " - Metal As F**K
    $11.00
  • "The last few years have been a turbulent time for British tech bands and their vocalists. Along with TesseracT and Aliases in particular, Monuments have had more than their fair share of strife in securing the right frontman. However, the recruitment of the multi-talented Chris Barretto last year seemed to reinvigorate the band’s live performance, and second album The Amanunensis gives us the opportunity to see whether the chemistry apparent onstage translates into the writing process.The short answer to that question, hinted at by the singles that have broken cover in the lead-up to the album’s release, is a resounding yes. Right from the first listen, The Amanunensis grabs the listener by the hair and demands their attention. With a number of the songs that comprised debut album Gnosis having existed in one form or another for more than two years before its 2012 release, The Amanunensis shows clearly how far the band have progressed, on pretty much every front.It is only natural, though, that the attention falls first on Chris, as the new guy. As well as his prodigious vocal talents (which we will return to in a moment), he has built the lyrical concept to The Amanunensis around a complex story that ties the whole album together, effectively turning the individual tracks into chapters. Rather than reprise that entire concept here, Chris helpfully outlined it in a recent interview with Noisefull, and we can probably expect to see it fleshed out further in the future.Drawing from various strands of spiritualism and science fiction, it seems that The Amanunensis - both in concept and execution – is best described by another eastern construct; the Yin and Yang. The twin pairing of “I, The Creator” and “I, The Destroyer” that effectively bookend the album seem to be a nod in the direction of the Hindu god Vishnu, which together with the Buddhist concept of “Samsara” provide the spiritual yin to the yang of an album title inspired by David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas and other sci-fi influences.But, deeper than that, Chris’ angelic, Michael Jackson-inspired falsettos provide a light to contrast the shade of some pretty fearsome screaming. Equally comfortable in both extremes and at numerous points in between, Chris unabashedly stamps his identity on the band’s sound. The net result proves that whilst the path to finding the right vocalist for Monuments was at times difficult, it was definitely worth the effort.Comparisons to the yin-yang can also be found in the real driving force of the Monuments sound: the riffs of guitarist John Browne. 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Mike has spent much of the Monuments downtime as a key part of The Algorithm‘s headbending live performances, which have pushed out the boundaries of his already considerable skills even further, but once again the temptation to simply show off has largely been resisted, and his innovative beats and fills augment the songs rather than dominate them. Adam, too, seems to understand that the notes left unplayed are as important as those which are struck, and his understated basslines are deftly deployed, particularly on the verses of “Origin of Escape“.“Origin of Escape“, incidentally, is possibly the finest Monuments track to date, neatly encapsulating everything they have to offer in one four minute package that is both danceable and mosh-friendly. “Atlas” and “Horcrux” give free reign to strutting pop sensibilities, whilst “The Alchemist” and “Jinn” are blasts of lip-curling heaviness. Throughout the album, the choruses are huge and the hooks are numerous.With this combination of almost feral aggression and unashamed embrace of pop melody, The Amanunensis could almost lay claim to being ‘Angel Dust for the tech generation’. If anything were to stand in the way of that claim, it would be that it doesn’t quite have the same degree of diversity as Faith No More‘s magnum opus. Even with the yin and yang counterpoints discussed above, all of the songs rely on the key device of syncopated stabs interspersed with technical flourishes, so it will be interesting to see if the band can feel their way beyond that from time to time in the future.Nevertheless, The Amanunensis is bold, brash and thoroughly infectious. It delivers in full on the promises made by Gnosis and points to an even richer future ahead of the band, hopefully drawing a line under their somewhat tumultuous past.What we have here is the sound of Monuments coming of age. With this second album, their place in the pantheon of great British tech-metal bands is assured. Whilst there are hints that suggest there are still greater things to come from them in the future, there’s no reason not to see The Amanunensis as the must-have, feel-good metal hit of the summer." - The Monolith
    $12.00
  • "Gary Hughes established himself as one of England's premiere singer Melodic and Hard Rock songwriters. He was involved in Bob Catley solo albums (both as a producer and songwriter), Hugo's solo debut (as a producer) and not to mention his albums with the band Ten plus three solo albums and one rock opera in 2 chapters! ''Veritas'', his new solo album truly feels like the natural successor to ''Precious Ones'', Gary Hughes' last solo output dated 1998. Given the long awaited nature this album and the anticipation already beginning I have been working really hard to make this album the best I possibly can" says Gary. The stunning final result is guaranteed to cement the reputation of Gary Hughes as a songwriter and producer and shows the class and the immense quality of British hard rock school, heir of the tradition of such giants as Whitesnake, Rainbow, UFO and Thin Lizzy! Musicians on the album include: Gary Hughes himself on keyboards and orchestrations, TEN bandmates Chris Francis and John Helliwell, drummer Dave Ingledew and bass player Rick Stewart (Devil To Pay), Jason Robinson on drums (Absent Minds) and Simon Brayshaw on bass (Nightshift)."
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  • 1975's Warrior On The Edge Of Time finally sees a reissue courtesy of Esoteric Recordings.  This iconic album features the classic lineup of Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Lemmy, Simon House, Simon King, and Alan Powell.  The album was reissued on CD years ago and has been out of print for a couple of decades.  The band or their management never gave clear explanation at to why the album remained out of print.  One assumes a rights issue that remained unresolved.  This newly remastered version is transferred from the original analogue master tapes and features one bonus track - the b side "Motorhead".  In addition you get a second CD with a new stereo mix from Steven Wilson.  This also contains 5 bonus tracks - one of which is previously unreleased.  If that isn't enough you get a DVD with a 5.1 mix from Steven Wilson, as well as his new stereo mix in 24/96 AND the original stereo mix in 24/96.  Don't know about you but I'm keeping one of these for myself!
    $28.00
  • "Early pioneers of Norwegian black metal, the band have continually evolved throughout their career and now inhabit a place entirely their own, blending rock, pop, electronica, symphonic and classical traditions along with progressive and/or avant-garde forms to create ground-breaking material.Ulver returned earlier this year with their new album Wars of the Roses. Early pioneers of Norwegian black metal, the band have continually evolved throughout their career and now stand as living legends of the dark music industry, blending rock, electronica, symphonic and chamber traditions along with noise and experimental music to create ground- breaking material.Until recently however the band had remained exclusively within the studio. This changed in May 2009 when the band accepted an invitation to appear at the Norwegian Festival of Literature. The success of this gig lead to them embarking on a string of other gigs in 2009 and 2010, selling out prestigious venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Volksbühne in Berlin and La Cigale in Paris before they returned to their homeland for this landmark gig at The Norwegian Opera House.The 2 hour concert marries tracks from throughout the band’s catalogue to stunning visuals to create a spectacle fitting for such a grand venue. The evening was captured on 6 HD cameras and the audio has been mixed for this release in the band’s own Crystal Canyon Studios."
    $20.00
  • "On the success of their EP, Reflections, Italy's Cyrax returns with their first full-length album, Pictures. First impressions can sometimes be tricky and perhaps set aside for additional listens. But what can be said at the start is that Pictures offers some rather interesting progressive metal from some very talented and inventive fellows.While the "heavy metal" is apparent, it's not the first thing you might notice in Cyrax's musical equation. Notable is the extensive and varied use of keyboards, from quirky and innovative synths to the significant piano presence. Both can be found in the song Cyrax, which expresses the band's raison d'etre. However, the keyboard solo in the first half sounds like ducks farting underwater. The piano often adds a subtle even delicate nuance to a largely heavier number as in the later third of Shine Through Darkness Part I. Then at the start of Part II, the synths turn to the sound of harpsichord. If you're piano and synth fan, Larsen Premoli will give you a large and entertaining lesson in their creative use.A second thing of interest is the large use of classical music elements in nearly every song. I'm not talking about the huge use of keys to create some bombastic symphonic canvas (like Rhapsody of Fire, for instance). Cyrax uses both violin and cello, along with some choral vocals and piano, to steal lines traditional classical music. A superb example is These Greenvalleys where the strings are pronounced and female lead vocals stirring. The 7th Seal does much the same with piano line and choir vocals in the center of the song. Speaking more specifically to the vocals, the male lead vocalist Marco Cantoni quite the vocal wild card. His voice and sound is all over the place, screeching to screamo, cranky to gruff. It was hard to find him all that enjoyable.Alternatively, but also including many of the aforementioned aspects, several songs definitely put the heavy metal into Cyrax's progressive metal. Oedipus Rex, even with a generally subtle start, moves with some strong riffs and stinging guitar (against some of that piano). The three part Shine Through Darkness also has some very meaty parts, notable in the third part. But this trilogy, like all the arrangements, are diverse and varied showing the depth of Cyrax's creativity. Perhaps the best example of this might be the final instrumental track Phunkrax. Like the name implies it has some kind of funk, rock, and jazz fusion thing going on between the riffs, rhythms, and keyboards.Needless to say, Cyrax and their Pictures is not your ordinary, nor predictable, progressive metal, especially with the depths of it's classical music influence. It's definitely an album that's worthy of your attention and time. Easily recommended, just wish I had some music video to share at the end. (BTW: if you go to their web site you will find all the lyrics as well as the scores to the songs.)" - Dangerdog.com
    $13.00
  • When Worlds Collide is the latest release from Portuguese prog metal band Forgotten Suns.  When the band first burst onto the scene they were very much in the neoprog camp.  Their sound evolved over time with guitarist/founder Ricardo Falcao taking the band into more metallic territory.  With his chops from hell its no wonder.  This is squarely prog metal in the Dream Theater style.  Vocalist Nio Nunes doesn't go for the stratosphere.  He sticks to the midrange and there even some growls in spots.  Apparently keyboardist Ernesto Rodrigues collaborated on the writing.  The results seems to be the band's heaviest work.  While the keyboard work is more than fine the defining sound of the band is guitarist Falcao.  He's the focal point and really delivers the goods.  Forgotten Suns amps up the tried and true prog metal formula and comes up with something quite memorable.  The album runs 79 minutes and is packed with epic length tracks through out.  By the time the album is over you will be exhausted!  Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • If you love that classic hard rock sound of the 70s and 80s you will go crazy over this album plain and simple.  Alex Beyrodt reined in the neoclassical overtones just a bit, David Readman shines as always (LOVE this guy's voice).  The result is an album that evokes the spirit of Rainbow, Whitesnake, and Deep Purple.  I thought the last VC album was excellent - this one is even better!  Highly recommended.Limited edition digipak with two bonus tracks and one video clip.
    $17.00
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    $18.00
  • 30th anniversary edition of the last album from the 80s lineup. This album is a bit hit and miss - it has some extremely adventurous material but also seems like a band about to fracture (no pun intended). This features six bonus tracks and is HDCD compatible.
    $15.00
  • "The Netherlands are a fertile ground for bands that are strongly influenced from the heavy sounds of the early 1970's, and Orange Sunshine and Wallrus may serve as good examples here. New to that bands is DEWOLFF, founded in 2007 in a Southern part of the Netherlands (Limburg) called Geleen. The band consists of three very young guys between the ages of 14 and 18, but they sound as if they were playing music since twenty years. Here, we have their debut album, released at the end of 2009 by REMusic Records and I'm surprised in a positive sense about the quality of their music. Even though the riffage, harmonies, guitar leads are reminiscent of all well-known classic rock bands - Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster, Groundhogs, Cream - this album distills it all and still manages to sound totally different. It's all there with smokin' guitars and bellowing organs that summon the gods back to the days of 1970's hardrock. Despite this, the production is modern which makes sure that the band isn't on a complete musical retro trip. What also strikes me is the variety of 'Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants'. You can find heavy organ-based songs such as the opener 'Mountain' or 'Don't You Go Up In The Sky' which convinces with powerful rippin' leads that are guaranteed to rock your ass.In contrast to the aforementioned tracks, 'Birth Of The Ninth Sun' is a soulful ballad with additional piano. In the middle section is a sinister psychedelic segement which reminds me to The Doors. But not only there are strong doses of psychedelia. 'Parloscope' awakens the spirit of 1960's psych with the help of intense melodies - interspersed with heavy organ. With 'Red Sparks Of The Morning Dusk' DEWOLFF displays their talent to combine psychedelic pop with organ-based hardrock and jazz. Especially the saxophon in the last quarter is simply excellent. What I also like very much are the clear vocals of organist Robin Piso that fits in beautifully with their sound. Moreover, he also takes on the function of a bass player with his organ just as Ray Manzarek (The Doors) had done years before. Well, to put it simple: all songs are packed with great memorable riffs, cool arrangements and superb musicianship. I can assure that 'Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants' will please every fan of classic/retro hardrock. Oh yes, not to forget, that the LP has a different cover artwork, but the packaging of the CD is also very tasteful." - Cosmic Lava
    $15.00
  • Italian band featuring soulful strong female vocals and deep male vocals that remind me of Sebastian from Braindance. Broadly speaking this band will be lumped into the gothic metal category but in actuality the music sits closer to the doom camp but it's not slow moving. The band uses lots of chunky riffing and keyboards - with hooks and melodies to spare. Excellent stuff.
    $7.00