The Breaking Of The World

A new Glass Hammer is like a universal constant.  I can always expect exemplary old school prog rock.  For an old timer like myself Glass Hammer is right in my wheelhouse.  This is their 17th studio album (amazing!) .  If you are unfamiliar with the band you should know it revolves around the core of bassist Steve Babb and keyboardist Fred Schendel.  There have been a lot of musicians through the doors of their studio over the years but somehow they always seem to find an endless supply of them.  The line up seems to be fairly stable at the moment.  Salem Hill mainman Carl Groves handles lead vocals along with Susie Bogdanowicz returning as well.  Guitars are handled by Kamran Alan Shikoh and drums by Aaron Raulston.

Glass Hammer music is a reverential amalgam of Yes, ELP, Kansas and what the hell throw in a little bit of Genesis.  Steve and Fred proudly wear their influences on their sleeves.  Want wicked keyboard pyrotechnics?  Fred brings the thunder.  In fact they all do.  The Breaking Of The World arrives with epic length tracks and audiophile quality sound.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  BUY OR DIE!

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  • "The Roaring Wolves are back… On a strong wake of a surprising and a triumphal album in 2011, that was much simply called “Wolfpakk”, the turbulent duo of vocalists comprised of Mark Sweeney (ex-CRYSTAL BALL) and Michael Voss (MAD MAX/MSG / ex-CASANOVA) unleash the successor, named "Cry Wolf" , and again the choral all-star project shift is the trick to give a marketing format for this burning platter, by gathering a pack of many high-class guest musicians and a few full blooded terrific barking voices to produce another raving record in the same musical vein as the great and self-titled debut.Running and undaunted Guests on "Cry Wolf" are :Vocals: Amanda Somerville (AVANTASIA), Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR / ex-GAMMA RAY), Göran Edman (ex-RISING FORCE / ex-GLORY), Johnny Gioeli (A.R.P. / HARDLINE), Tony Mills (ex-SHY/ ex-SIAM / ex-TNT), Doogie White (ex-RAINBOW / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-CORNERSTONE / MSG), Blaze Baley (ex-IRON MAIDEN / WOLFSBANE), Piet Sielck (IRON SAVIOR / ex-SAVAGE CIRCUS).Guitars: Kee Marcello (ex-EUROPE / ex-EASY ACTION), Mandy Meyer (UNISONIC / KROKUS / ex-GOTTHARD / ex-COBRA), Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN / ex-HELLOWEEN).Keys: Don Airey (ex-OZZY / DEEP PURPLE), Tony Carey (ex-RAINBOW).Drums: Brian Tichy (SUN / ex-WHITESNAKE), Hermann Rarebell (ex-SCORPIONS), Roland Jahoda (ex-PARADOX / F.U.C.K.)Under the leitmotiv of “if isn’t broken don’t fix it”, the Duet of Alpha Wolves and the fantastic AFM Records are teamed again in order to reedit the successful experience in giving the full and wild creative responsibility to the werewolf duet: the champions of Melodic Metal -Mister Sweeney and Doctor Voss.They wrote all the songs together (minus one surprise cover version from RAINBOW “Run With The Wolf” featuring the participation of the iconic keyboard player Tony Carey) and they were also in charge once again, for production and mixing duty, and of course they performed some ferocious vocals. This is a work of art tremendously and carefully polished that put some lights in a brilliant manner to the songwriting talent of the savage binomial Voss / Sweeney.The highlights of the albums are , the beginning track "Moonlight” with Ralf Scheepers who provide a very typical high flux of screaming and yelling, embellished by a fast pace and an epic dimension somewhere between HEAVENS GATE and MIND ODYSSEY with a little something from GAMMA RAY.In the same melodic power frenzy, the solid "A Matter of Time" that sounds like VICTORY meets BONFIRE, boosted by a share of battling vocals between Sweeney and Johnny Gioeli with an uplifting performance, courtesy of Mr. Brian Tichy beating his drum kit."Palace of Gold" reveals a new heaviness and a dark density before transforming in a more pompous style than usual with the participation to the voice of Tony Mills and a massive multi-layer backing vocal section choir, like a symphonic version of DIO merged with a delicate and fragile Prog Rock melody.Another fast double kick power number is "Beast In Me" with the always classy singing of Goran Edman, recalling that he was the singer for RISING FORCE / SPACE ODYSSEY / STRATOSPHERE and for 1999’s third album “The Last Viking” by The JOHANSSON BROTHERS and a true Neoclassical expertise demonstration in the lead spot provided by Roland Grapow.Then it's time for a real entertaining Teutonic Metal with an Hard Rock touch cut named "Pressure Down" with the very distinctive voice of Doogie White which is highlighted in a mid tempo heavy rhythm , and a strong sing along headbanging refrain with a great gang backing vocal unit, like ACCEPT meets SINNER with an extensive ad lib howling final.The rest of the tracklisting is also enjoyable mixing a few gimmick True Metal tracks as a simple sing along hymn as "Wakken" in the HAMMERFALL / IRON  SAVIOR / RUNNIG WILD and obliviously ACCEPT's fashion (…"bang your head…Metal attack"…)  or the less catchy but energetic, epic, tortuous and poignant title track "Cry Wolf" that extend to ten minutes with atmospheric sequence, special FX surreal sounds like wind and rain plus a few narrative parts in with a very surprising vocal interpretation of Blaze Bayley and a ultra-fast shredding piece of lead guitar signed by the one and the only, the other Swedish maestro Mr. Kee Marcello himself for a big fat guitar lesson and a serious beating .Before that we had a ballad with Mrs. Somerville but I think it's just a flat and ordinary number, very caricaturish, in a not really inspired style, before that it was the moment for the WOLFPAKK's leaders to be left alone in the vocal department at least, Voss / Sweeney are dueling in the single, a quite regular Euro Metal cut under the moniker of "Dark Revelation"…Not my favorite.The cover version of a legendary classic rock track, is as always, a double edged sword but secured with the approval and the additional playing of the early RAINBOW's keyboardist Tony Carey, to keep it in the right path, in this case "Run With The Wolf" is a good revision lightened in its rhythmic cadence structure as a result we have a more pompous rendition, with obviously the Hammond keyboards quite upfront.Finally, the album is the perfect sequel of the highly acclaimed debut; this sophomore episode fulfilled the dangerous task, with maybe a less impressive guest list but with a real focus on bringing back, proudly and under one united flag, the old nature of the pure roaring Euro-Metal mania." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "Machine Men is a group of young Finnish men (all in their early 20’s) playing traditional melodic heavy metal. The band formed in 1998, and after some demo activity, finally recorded their debut album, Scars & Wounds in 2002 on Dynamic Arts Records in Finland. Earlier this year, Machine Men signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records. That brings us to the present, which sees Machine Men released their sophomore album, Elegies.Although they are from Finland, Machine Men have not followed the easy path of becoming another Stratovarius / Sonata Arctica clone. Instead, the band has chosen a more traditional metal flavor for its sound. A very obvious Iron Maiden influence flows through the entire album, yet the production gives the album a feeling more similar to Bruce Dickinson’s recent solo albums. Anthony, Machine Men’s lead vocalist sounds like Dickinson’s twin brother more than just a few times on this album. He doesn’t possess quite the range or power as the “Air-Raid Siren” himself, but Anthony is certainly an excellent vocalist that is perfect for this band. Just to make the Iron Maiden / Bruce Dickinson comparison more complete, I’ll point out that Machine Men (the band’s name) is also a song title from Dickinson’s Chemical Wedding album. That’s not all, check out the last track of Elegies. Yes, that version of Freak is a cover of the opening track of Accident of Birth!Well, after what you’ve read up to this point, you can surely guess that this album is not exactly original or groundbreaking. True. However, Elegies is an excellent album, proving that the band is great at what they do, and able to create songs that have a definite lasting value. Aside from the outstanding Dickinson vocal performance, strong guitar work is a key ingredient to the band’s music. Of course, the band loves to employ lots of dual leads and classy guitar solos. The rhythms forge ahead with a force and heaviness very similar to the heavier side of Accident of Birth. However, songs such as October and From Sunrise to Sunset see the band delve into slow and mid tempo territory, and they pull it off quite well. The guitar work is still crunchy and authoritative in both instances, which gives the songs a sense of urgency despite their slower approach. All around, the guitar sound is heavy, not sounding at all like a retro tribute to Iron Maiden. As I said earlier, the guitar sound is has a tone similar to Bruce Dickinson’s solo about, but technically executed in a way very similar to classic Iron Maiden. Having said that, Machine Men make no secret to hide their chief influences, yet they are able to add their own touch, and thus create an inspired and personal sounding album. Before I know it, 45 minutes is up, and the album comes to a close. That can only be considered a good thing, I suppose. Each of the songs is a keeper, no filler on this album at all. The guys add a nice, but not overpowering melodic quality to their music. A very nice balance is struck between heaviness, vocal prowess, and catchy, melodic parts. This all adds up to produce an album with lasting power that is sure to please. Although the Iron Maiden / Bruce Dickinson influence is inescapable, Machine Men are able to add just enough of their own touch to the music. Furthermore, the guys are just great songwriters.I hadn’t heard of this band before, but Elegies is enough for me to become a fan of Machine Men. This is the type of album that can easily stay in your listening rotation for weeks at a time and not get old. Obviously, fans of Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson’s solo work should check this album out. These guys certainly provide another dimension to the Finnish metal scene. As long as the guys keep coming up with quality songs and consistent albums such as Elegies, there’s no reason not to expect them to have a successful career." - Metal Reviews
    $4.00
  • Latest studio album from this lethal German band.  SBE was formed by guitarist Christian Peters in 2007.  The quartet (twin guitar, bass, and drums) will deeply satisfy the musicial appetite of any fans of 70s psychedelia, space rock, and doom metal.  They may well be the ultimate stoner rock band.Revelation & Mystery finds the compositions a bit tighter than previous efforts but that's a relative term when the title track runs past the 12 minute mark. Vocals don't interfere too heavily with the acid laced space trippin' guitar work.  Peters sings a bit and then they get down to serious business jamming their way into the cosmos.  If you are fan of early Guru Guru, Hawkwind, and Black Sabbath, or even Deep Purple you need to hear this band.  I got high just looking at the cover art.  This album is a total lease breaker to boot.  BUY OR DIE!  "The second album from Samsara Blues Experiment in as many years, Revelation and Mystery (World in Sound) takes a surprising turn in approach from their Long-Distance Trip debut, distilling the jams of the first record into more structured, song-based material. The tracks of Revelation and Mystery almost exclusively follow verse-chorus-verse patterns, and while part of the joy of listening to a song like “Singata Mystic Queen” from the prior collection was meandering along with it, Samsara Blues Experiment don’t completely lose sight of the journey in favor of the straightforward. Right from its start, Revelation and Mystery sees the four-piece layering guitar effects and infusing their parts with swirls and a spaced-out feel. It’s not that they’ve completely changed their methodology so much as they’ve shifted the balance within their sound. These structural elements were certainly present on Long-Distance Trip, but a cut like the semi-acoustic “Thirsty Moon” shows that Samasara Blues Experiment are able to work within these parameters to grow their songwriting. One gets the sense in listening to opener “Flipside Apocalypse” (which follows a 17-second nameless intro track) that this process is just beginning and that the band are still finding out what they want their sound to be, but that only makes Revelation and Mystery a more immediate, direct experience; the linearity of the album unfolding gradually as the songs move from the straightforward into the more sublimely jammed.Fast-paced rumbling from the bass of Richard Behrens in the surprisingly punkish beginning of “Flipside Apocalypse” is an immediate clue to the changes the last year have brought about in Samsara Blues Experiment. The mood is more active, less calming and chilled out than last time around, and the guitars of Hans Eiselt and Christian Peters – who also handles vocals – seem to be more concerned with riffing out than stacking layers upon layers, though there’s some of that too, even as later in the song a riff straight out of the biker rock milieu shows up and carries the song through to its end. I don’t know if it’s the result in some change in the band’s songwriting process or just how things happened to come out this time, but the change continues through “Hangin’ on the Wire,” which is genuinely hooky and thoroughly in the realm of heavy rock. A crisp production during the solo section brings to mind some of Queens of the Stone Age’s finer moments, and drummer Thomas Vedder locks in with Behrens’ own excellent fills with a few of his own. Peters, though, emerges at the head of the song. His vocals confident and effected in equal measure, he works quickly to establish the verse and chorus patterns, both worthy of sing-alongs, so that by the end, “Hangin’ on the Wire” feels like its earned its handclaps, and though “Into the Black” starts out more ethereal, with extended solo sections and a long instrumental introduction, the shuffle soon takes hold and it proves to be more boogie than nod.But perhaps “Into the Black” is where the band begins their subtle shift into more esoteric sonics, because as the soft strums and plucks and interplay of electric and acoustic guitars take hold on “Thirsty Moon,” the song feels neither out of place nor especially unexpected, which it very well might have if placed earlier on Revelation and Mystery. Peters’ vocal line feels a little rushed during the verse – it’s almost as though there were too many syllables to fit in the line – but the interaction of his and Eiselt’s guitars in the instrumental break and the balance between the guitar and Vedder’s drumming in the mix makes up for any such hiccups. Another chorus feels delivered more appropriately, and the progression cycles through again; solo section into chorus, solo section into chorus. And it’s not until Behrens’ highlight bass line begins “Outside Insight Blues” that it’s apparent just how much Samsara Blues Experiment put into the album’s flow. Added keys allow the guitars to go farther out into sporadic notes without sacrificing fullness of sound, but after about two and a half minutes, there’s a turn into riffier material that carries the groove through the next six. There are a few part changes, but things don’t really feel jammed out until the classic ‘70s boogie meets psychedelia of the last 90 seconds or so, blues harp and all. It’s a shift worthy of Siena Root, and the two-minute interlude “Zwei Schatten im Schatten” (in English, “Two Shadows in the Shadow”) follows suit with an appropriate marriage of Eastern and Western musical traditions with sitar and acoustic six-string. There’s something sweet and solemn in the intertwining melody, and it’s a passing thing on the way to the 12-minute closer, but worth paying attention to in a way that many interludes aren’t.Then, at last, comes the ending title cut. Worthy of its name, “Revelation and Mystery” caps the album with a sense of psychedelic majesty through which Samsara Blues Experiment show their ability to keep hold of a song no matter how deep into space they might also want to push it. The song winds. Its progression is at once driving and subdued, and of all the songs on Revelation and Mystery, it’s probably the best blend of all sides of what’s shown itself to be the band’s current sound. Of course, at 12 minutes, one could easily argue it has time to do and be all these things – with room left over for a bit of that sitar to show up as well among the guitar leads – but still, it’s another display of the maturity Samsara Blues Experiment have been able to take on in a relatively short amount of time (their demo gave first notice in 2008). Some bands need three years to learn and foster growth between their albums, and some bands need to play. If the jump between their first and second records is anything to go by, Samsara Blues Experiment would seem to be the latter. Wherever this stylistic form takes them, I don’t imagine it’ll be too long before we find out, but until then, the 47 minutes of Revelation and Mystery provide a varied and exciting listen worthy of repeat visits. Samsara Blues Experiment continue to progress, continue to impress." - The Obelisk
    $12.00
  • Second album from this post-Santana lineup is a bit more commercial than the debut but there are still progressive overtones. Neil Schon shines again.
    $5.00
  • This is a companion set to Kompendium's Beneath The Waves album.  It contains over 2 hours of music, including demos, unreleased tracks, and instrumental versions of songs from the original album.ELEMENTS :Disc 11.Opening Narration (Original full length version)2.Exordium Part 1 (Strings only)3.Exordium Coda (Unused coda featuring Steve Balsamo)4.Exordium Part 2 (Strings Only)5.Stars (Unused track. Originally called Lilly, featuring narration)6.Lost (Strings only)7.Mercy Of The Sea (Full choir opening, extended second chorus with choir on end)8.The Storm Part 1 (Original opening and featuring Rob Reed vocal on sea shanty)9.The Storm/Reprise (Angharad Brinn solo vocal with orchestration and guitar)10.The Storm Part 2 (Featuring Mel Collins sax and original narration ending)11.Beneath The Waves (Extended version)12.Sole Survivor (Early mix with alternative vocal build with moog solo13.Alone (Vocal and orchestral mix)14.Il Tempo e Giunto (Strings only mix)15.A Moment Of Clarity (Sound FX opening, gospel vocal by Tesni Jones and moog solo in middle section)16.One Small Step (Piano and vocal only mix)17.Reunion V1 (Original opening, narration in middle section, and male/female opera duet)18.Stars V2 (Original version and different ending)19.Alone End V1 (Alternative instrumental ending)20.Lilly (Original mix with Steve Hackett and Angharad Brinn only)21.Reunion V2 (Featuring Shan Cothi opera section)22.Alone End V2 (Alun Rhys-Jenkins and Shan Cothi opera duet)23.Reunion V3 (African ending)24.Reunion V4 (Coming Home original demo)Disc 2Complete instrumental of the original album 
    $15.00
  • Third album from this talented Ohio based band arrives with some twists. They have enlisted Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals (kind of a wild card pick) and there is a definite Christian slant to the lyrics. My tolerance for bible thumpin' is pretty low. Syzygy comes close to the threshold but don't cross it - I guess because the music is so strong. The linchpin of the band is guitarist Carl Baldassarre who continues to be quite tasteful. He can get crunchy and heavy but displays roots in classical guitar. Have no fear - there is plenty of instrumental symphonic rock firepower as in the past. Oh yeah lots of tuneage here - over 77 minutes.
    $13.00
  • "Next To None is the band of four young guys that are from Lehigh Vallay in Pennsylvania. Their names? Max Portnoy (d), Thomas Cuce (key/v), Ryland Holland (g) and Kris Rank (b). Portnoy, Portnoy, Portnoy? Yes, Max is the son of Mike Portnoy who some of you know from his time at Dream Theater or many other projects.The boys began already at the age of 12 and 13 to write own music. Additionally they also could gain already some live experience by being on tour with Adrenaline Mob and The Winery Dogs.The music of Next To None has many influences. There is the harder stuff that Max brings in and on the other hand the classic rock component that comes via Holland. The result is an interesting metal cocktail that is very entertaining.The diversity of sound comes back in songs like the melodic "Runaway" which is a straight-forward one. It includes a heavy riff, but also a keyboard-based middle part that give the tune a slightly new expression.The opener "The edge of sanity" instead is an nine minutes long epos that start with pouring rain, thunder and a chiming bell. It builds up to an dark prog metal track that reminds to Dream Theater not a big surprise. Their are two more of those extraordinary long tracks on "A light in the dark". "Control" is another nine minute long tune while the closer "Blood on my hands" is with eight minutes a bit shorter. Also those two numbers are more complex prog metal that shows the musical quality of the guys.Next to these extralong tracks it's the different influences that enables Next To None to numbers like "You are not me" too. Here we are talking about a raging metal track with a brutal verse. The chorus is more melodic, however, it is one of the heaviest tunes on the album. And it still fits into the context.But it also shows the wide vocal range of singer Thomas Cuce. He can handle the angry screams like on the before mentioned track as well as some soulful vocals that are need for e.g. "A lonely walk". The classic rock influences are very present in this song and I had to think about the good old Rainbow times. Cool stuff.There are maybe a few smaller parts that sound a bit unfinished but it's amazing how far the four guys got already. Still being in their teenage days the boys write already excellent songs and their musical talent is amazing. If these guys continue we can expect something very special for the coming years.These boys did a great album that has for sure a 'Wow'-factor." - Markus' Heavy Music Blog
    $13.00
  • Obsidian Kingdom is a fascinating band from Barcelona that released Mantiis in 2012 in a limited run of 500 copies.  It's now picked up for worldwide distribution via Season of Mist.  This is definitely progressive metal - real boundary pushing stuff.  The band is categorized as post-metal and that is just one of the guideposts they touch on.  I hear more of a musical connection to Leprous and Arcturus.  If you are inclined towards the more avant garde side of metal you need to hear this band.  With the right push they could become massive.  Highly recommended."Cutting right to the chase, Obsidian Kingdom‘s latest release, ‘Mantiis‘ could very well be the most equivocal album I have reviewed to date. What this five piece post-metal band from Barcelona has put together with their latest genre-crossing, boundary pushing release is something few other bands can lay claim to accomplishing. I can’t even began to describe the number of different genres represented throughout this 47 minute monstrosity of an album.“Not Yet Five” is the album’s opener and starts things off with looming bass, light distortion, piano work and sporadic beeps and buzzes that all blend together to create an eerie ambiance that sets the mood for things to come. From here the album progresses forward with “Oncoming Dark” and “Through the Glass” which start off which crisp clean vocals and electric-accoustic guitar work before evolving into a wanderlust of heaviness that borders between post-metal and progressive death metal. Keyboards play on in an evil manner and when combined with chugging guitars and persistent drumming a doomsday like atmosphere forms. As the album moves forward through the short tracks, it gains in intensity through it’s evolving layers. By the time the album reaches its fourth track, “Cinnamon Balls” it has already spiraled into a dark, twisted place filled with harsh demonic vocals and djent style guitar work.A short piano interlude leads into “Answering Revealing” which brings the album full circle as clean vocals emerge as does a short but sweet return to Obsidian Kindgom‘s softer side. “Last of the Light” is where the album completely goes off of the tracks. While the beginning and end of the track are highlighted by violent vocals and double bass action, bookended between it is a several minute long section that features a classical guitar and with a very bluesy saxophone solo. You heard me right. This is without question one of if not the most unique song I have heard in years and definitely one of the most unusual combinations of instruments. From here ‘Mantiis‘ takes a stark transition to “Genteel to Mention”, a short track that opens with piano and clean vocals  that only last for a short while before the album returns right back to its doom and gloom heavier ways with the intro to “Awake Until Dawn”. The track does come to a crawl as it progresses when piano work mixed with synths present yet another unheard element to the album.‘Mantiis‘ moves forward with “Haunts of the Underworld” showcasing the best guitar work to be found on the album  and “Endless Wall”, which feels like the closest thing to a post-metal track found on the album despite the hints of more djent guitar work. Clean vocals amidst swirly ambiance make up “Fingers in Anguish” and demonic vocals and downtuned guitars return in “Ball-room”, both short tracks that barely cross over the five-minute mark combined. “Ball-Room” does a fantastic job setting the table for the closing track “And Then It Was”. Stark, aggressive drumming leads the way as everything the album has built itself up for comes to a head in this epic finale.One album I do think that compares particularly well to ‘Mantiis‘ is Crippled Black Phoenix‘s ‘Mankind, The Crafty Ape’. The two albums share many similarities in how they flow, how they use music as a journey to tell an album spanning story and also how they infuse many different genres into their sound while never delving down too far into a particular one. While CBF opted for a more psychedelic, bluesy infusion, Obsidian Kingdom chose a much darker, louder progressive death metal meets doom metal approach.While fantastic in its storytelling, the album isn’t without its shortcomings. I found myself wishing the album flowed a little bit better as some of the transitions seemed a bit awkward. There are also times where I wished the clean vocals would have had a stronger presence throughout the album as the band’s softer material is among their strongest work. Still, I can overlook these minor nuances as I continually find myself coming back to this album time and time again. ‘Mantiis‘ is one of the more captivating albums I’ve heard all year and is without question a breath of fresh air. " - PostRock Star 
    $12.00
  • This was the second album with this lineup assembled by Chick Corea - the first one being released on ECM. Members consisted of Corea (electric piano), Joe Farrell (tenor sax, flute), Stanley Clarke (bass), Airto (drums), Flora Purim (vocals, percussion). This is not the high intensity electric fusion to come. Instead this fits more into the kosmigroov jazz realm. It's electric but without the rock elements instead relying more on Corea's latin heritage.
    $12.00
  • Domestic release. One of two new albums released by Edguy's Tobias Sammet under the Avantasia moniker. Similar to what Arjen Lucassen does with his Ayreon projecdts, Sammet brings together some of the best vocalists and musicians from the metal world to create an over the top symphonic power metal concept album. Featured vocalists include Russell Allen (Symphony X), Jorn Lande (Masterplan), Michael Kiske (Helloween), Tim Owens , Klaus Meine (Scorpions), Andre Matos, Bob Catley and others. Featured performers include Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer (Kiss), Oliver Hartmann, Alex Holzwarth. Curiously, the second volume is called Angel Of Babylon and is not yet scheduled for a US release. We hope to have the import in stock soon.
    $13.00
  • "Alternative Rock is not a genre that graces my ears very often, but as always, they are open; as is my mind. The funny thing is, any time I am exposed to something I wouldn't normally find myself listening to, there is always something about that band that has my wanting attention for one reason or another, be it the sound of the vocalist, the mixing, or those infectious hooks in the chorus. For its genre, the ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN (formerly AGUA DE ANNIQUE) is perfectly postulated and is a leading act, with their non-repetitive writing (something I hear too often in commercial rock), excellent vocals and songs leaving you burning with an urge to sing along.Their latest release, "Drive", is no exception; as an album, it proves to be versatile, with no two songs sounding identical, but every song keeping the rhythm and mood to make the album fit piece by piece. "We Live On" feels like a typical pop-rock track, upbeat and driving, with an extremely powerful vocal performance in the choruses by Van Giersbergen. "Treat Me Like A Lady" does not want to be treated like a lady, and takes a noticeably heavier tone, brimming with attitude. "She" begins ever so modestly, making us think we're brought back to some level of calm, but explodes into an incredibly fast-paced chorus for such a Rock band, and includes yet another infectious chorus; something that is fast becoming an obvious highlight. "Drive" – I adore the sound of the bass in this song, the way it is dislocated from the drums, adds another dynamic. Van Giersbergen's even more stellar performance in the chorus demonstrates her large vocal range and versatility. Save for electric bass, "My Mother Said" is an entirely acoustic song and is the softest, most heartfelt song on the album; the band's namesake flawlessly demonstrates her ability to fit her voice around any song to emote any mood wants. "Forgive Me" is especially different, demonstrating unusual chord progressions, totally different instrumentation, and revealing even more, the extent of control that Van Giersbergen has over her range. "You Will Never Change" is upbeat and punchy, through-and-through with an – okay, let us just assume that every song on this album has an infectious chorus; definitely one of my favorites on the album. "Mental Jungle" begins with a strange, Arabic-sounding vocal melody, also featured on the chorus; I do indeed also love this chorus, as well as the interesting chord progressions. Quite easily the most unique song on the album, it strays from the pipeline rock sound that this record has been purveying. "Shooting for the Stars" takes the cake for the 'radiorock' track on the album, where every note, every beat, every lyric, screams commercialism and airtime. Not necessarily a bad song, but not the most interesting on the album. The album closes with "The Best Is Yet To Come" which makes me thing, Anneke has even better music to offer us in the future? The song itself takes first place on the album for me; the presence of the overdriven guitars and bass compliment her voice perfectly to create a powerful and catchy, yet Heavy Rock track, with interesting and unpredictable licks and hooks.Van Giersbergen and her band are quickly cementing themselves as one of Europe's currently most powerful and gorgeous-sounding rock groups, whom don't necessarily always cling to the commercialized, radio cliché sound, although no doubt perfectly suited to long air time. Coming from a metal head who listens to a fair share of female singers, I believe she could sing anything she wanted to, and the band of musicians that have got together and recorded this organic album with her have done so masterfully, and I'm not sure if the best is yet to come." - Metal Temple
    $7.00
  • OK I don't know who thought this was a good idea but someone let Billy Sherwood run wild again.  Your move."From the producer of The Prog Collective comes a new supergroup of unparalleled musical virtuosos who cut loose on this jazz-rock fusion album!Features performances by members of the biggest names in fusion including Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yellowjackets, Brand X, Soft Machine, and Spyro Gyra PLUS Yes, Dream Theater, King Crimson, Tool, Porcupine Tree, Hawkwind and more!"Track Listing:1. Random Acts Of Science - Rick Wakeman (Yes) Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra) Nik Turner (Hawkwind) Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets / Alan Holdsworth)2. Stone Cold Infusion - Steve Stevens Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater / Liquid Tension Experiment) Mel Collins (King Crimson) Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra)3. Molecular Breakdown - Jay Beckenstein (Spyro Gyra) Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai) Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) David Sancious (The E Street Band)4. Particle Accelerations - Larry Coryell Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater / Black Country Communion) Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea Elektric Band) Chester Thompson (Genesis / Brand X)5. At The Edge Of The Middle - Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs) Jim Beard (Mahavishnu Orchestra) Randy Brecker (Blood, Sweat & Tears) Percy Jones (Soft Machine / Brand X)6. Atom Smashing - John Etheridge (Soft Machine) Tony Kaye (Yes) Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa)7. In The Spirit Of... - Steve Hillage (Gong) Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech) Theo Travis (Steven Wilson Band) Justin Chancellor (Tool) Asaf Sirkis (The Orient House Ensemble)
    $14.00
  • In 1974, Jethro Tull announced plans for WarChild, a multi-faceted project that was to encompass a feature-length film, a soundtrack album, as well a new album from the band. In October of that year, Tull released a 10-song album that would climb to #2 in the U.S. and the top 15 in the U.K., but the film and accompanying soundtrack were shelved. To commemorate the 40-year anniversary of this ambitious experiment, Parlophone revisits WarChild.WARCHILD: THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY THEATRE EDITION will be available as a limited edition 2-CD/2-DVD set on November 25 2014.Highlights from the set include:- Original album and bonus tracks (three previously unreleased), remixed in 5.1 surround and stereo by Steven Wilson.- 10 orchestral pieces (nine previously unreleased) written for the film s soundtrack, 4 of which are remixed in 5.1 surround and stereo by Steven Wilson.- Flat transfers of the original LP mix at 96/24, and the quadrophonic version (with 2 bonus tracks) in 4.0.- The Third Hoorah promo footage, and footage from a January 1974 photo session/press conference where the WarChild project was announced.- An 80-page booklet featuring an extensive history of the project, a film script synopsis, track-by-track annotations by Ian Anderson, plus rare and unseen photographs.
    $45.00
  • "US band ODIN'S COURT have been around ever since 2001, with a good handful of productions to their name so far, and in terms of full length albums they have released six of them so far. Their most recent one, "The Warmth of Mediocrity", was issued through US label The RecordLabel.net's Progrock Records division towards the end of 2013.While this is a full length album, I guess the majority would really sort this one as a compilation rather than a bonafide studio disc, as the greater majority of the songs have been pulled from old releases. But as these songs have been both remixed and to some extent remade as well, due to the addition of Dimetrius LaFavors as lead vocalist, this really is a new album even if much of the material have been available in other versions previously.As far as style is concerned, Odin's Court is among those bands that venture back and forth across the border between the rock and metal part of the progressive universe, although the main emphasis appears to be on the latter of these. They explore, at least in recent years, a brand of progressive metal that explore the contrasts between grimy, gnarly dark toned guitar riff constructions and light toned, subtly exotic sounding keyboard textures, with ample room for movements of a more careful nature to alternate between the harder edged and more intense ones. The piano is employed for an additional delicate touch on several occasions, and what I presume to be digitally crafted orchestral backings also have their place in the material of this band. The dulcimer is also used to good effects to convey effects of a more careful nature within this landscape.From what I can recall of their older material, it would appear that their new vocalist is a good addition to this band. There are still some issues with the vocals however. That there are songs here not written with the new vocalist and his particular voice in mind is a fact, and that some of the vocal parts comes across as somewhat odd in structure and execution both is a detrimental detail at times. As is the band's slight tendency to hit off in a dramatic, technically oriented run with quirky staccato riff bursts in asynchronous patterns, although this latter aspect probably has more to do with personal taste and not quite as much to do with stylistic expression and structure as such.Personally I found the band to be most interesting when exploring territories of a more regular nature, with the remade version of Utopian Rust and the following instrumental Paradise Lost: Chapter 1 to be clear album highlights. The former a fairly traditional progressive metal creation sporting a fairly smooth, dark toned guitar riff and a fairly predictable but effective keyboard contrast as the dominant elements, with compelling harmony based guitar soloing and a nifty bass motif beneath that fits this song in this guise very well indeed. The latter of these two songs appears to be a case of progressive metal inspired by classical music, using orchestral details to supplement the guitars and organ that otherwise sets the mood and atmosphere. Opening and title track The Warmth of Mediocrity also warrants a mention, and again we're dealing with a more common variety of progressive metal with strong and distinct contrasts between guitar riffs and keyboards, majestic themes and a harmony based song in general expression and instrumental solo runs both.All in all a somewhat uneven production as far as I'm concerned, where the most experimental numbers also comes across as the least inspired of the lot. But when Odin's Court starts exploring a more common and predictable variety of progressive metal, then they are going strong with all cylinders firing in a fitting, majestic manner. A band and an album worth taking a look at if you're curious of a band that are at their best exploring traditional progressive metal Dream Theater style, while also having a go at assembling compositions of a more challenging nature that may not be quite as appealing - all of this very much depending on personal taste admittedly." - ProgArchives
    $3.00