Cornerstone

SKU: SOM293
Label:
Season Of Mist
Category:
Doom Metal
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Second album from this Swiss band draws very heavily from the Katatonia musical gene pool.  Melancholy metal that actually has a groove.  Some of the proggier bits remind of Tool.  

 

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  • ""Scattered Horizons" is the closest thing to a female-fronted Symphony X that the world will ever see—I don't think a sex change is on Russell Allen's to-do list. The album was penned by an Austrian group calling itself Siren's Cry, and they show a magical amount of coherent songwriting and surprising instrumental performances throughout what is their first full-length effort. Stylistically, Siren's Cry takes copious amounts of influence from early Symphony X (think "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" through "V") and some fellow Austrian exports such as Edenbridge, obviously including dazzling guitar work, elegant keyboards, and other authentic qualities of the progressive power metal regime. Fronted by one Katarina Bilak, "Scattered Horizons" makes the grass a little greener, the wings of tragedy a bit more divine.Bilak fronts the group excellently, though her tone and performance require some conditioning on the listener's end; this genre has much more Russell Allen-esque types and the like, so having Bilak rule the vocal realm might throw off some folks at first. However, she fits Siren's Cry's host of traits and techniques wonderfully, especially during the schizophrenic "A Controversial Mind," in which she flies all over the place and kicks a whole lot of rumps in the process. Many of the anthems are quite memorable and hooking, with several boasting stellar choruses, complicated guitar/keyboard leads that are done with care and precision, and noteworthy performances from the rhythm section as well. "Cold Amber & Scalding Tears," the ballad, is surprisingly decent, like most of the release; no track manages to misfire.And yes, they occasionally come off as a little too dependent on the structures of Symphony X, because they, you know, sound like Symphony X. The main riff from "Oratory & Sins," for example, is almost the same central guitar sequence of "Of Sins and Shadows," and Siren's Cry generally moves around like its primary influence. Well, I guess it's nice that I've been arrested at least four times for stalking Symphony X, otherwise I'd find it a little annoying. However, minor irritations like the unoriginal guitar work are few and far between; Siren's Cry proves itself to be a very unique and imaginary bunch. Tracks like "Elegy of R'lyeh" and its smooth jazz section are superb cuts of progressive metal at its finest, while explosive numbers such as "Serpents of War" and "Draconian Spectrum" display rapid themes and intensity kicked up a notch or two, clearly more in line with the power metal side of the coin.Other than the minor idiosyncrasies that the folks of Siren's Cry can call their own, a grand portion of the work within "Scattered Horizons" is somewhat of a special, unexpected treat for folks intrigued by the progressive power metal style that has been mastered by Symphony X and reproduced by many others. "Scattered Horizons" captures the grandiose themes and perplexing musical aspects of the identity without sacrificing admirable songwriting in the process, and Siren's Cry shows an ample amount of persistence and maturity at album one. I'm not calling this a masterpiece to acquire immediately, but it's worth a shot if you enjoy Symphony X. Nicely done." - antiMusic.com
    $12.00
  • Inside Out makes a now rare foray back into the realm of progressive metal with a signing from an unlikely place. Amaseffer is a project created by three Israeli musicians - drummer Erez Yohanan and guitarists Yuval Kramer and Hanan Avramovich. The trio have enlisted Edguy/Therion vocalist Mats Leven and Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow to front this first part of a trilogy based around the Old Testament story of Moses and the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. The music has an epic, cinematic feel - strikingly similar to Saviour Machine. Orchestral elements meld with Middle Eastern sounds and progressive metal. Think of Orphaned Land but with powerful, dramatic (and clean) vocals. Hold on...I think this one is gonna be big! 
    $15.00
  • For the completists out there we have decided to stock the new 2 CD version out in Europe on Inside Out. It features still more tracks not found on the US version (even with our bonus EP that we toss in).
    $12.00
  • BJH basically parallelled Genesis at this time - they lost a key member, streamlined their roster and sound and got even more popular. Recorded in 1979 it features the band sans Wooly Wolstenholme, the king of the Mellotron. The overall sound is a bit less prog and bit more commercial (just like Genesis). For me personally the band got a lot less interesting at this point but as I mentioned in the grand scheme of things they picked up a lot of fans - especially in Germany. This is a remastered edition courtesy of Eclectic Records and features their usual great job - 4 bonus tracks (singe edits no big deal really) plus more photos and new liner notes.
    $9.00
  • "By titling their third album Fear of Music and opening it with the African rhythmic experiment "I Zimbra," complete with nonsense lyrics by poet Hugo Ball, Talking Heads make the record seem more of a departure than it is. Though Fear of Music is musically distinct from its predecessors, it's mostly because of the use of minor keys that give the music a more ominous sound. Previously, David Byrne's offbeat observations had been set off by an overtly humorous tone; on Fear of Music, he is still odd, but no longer so funny. At the same time, however, the music has become even more compelling. Worked up from jams (though Byrne received sole songwriter's credit), the music is becoming denser and more driving, notably on the album's standout track, "Life During Wartime," with lyrics that match the music's power. "This ain't no party," declares Byrne, "this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around." The other key song, "Heaven," extends the dismissal Byrne had expressed for the U.S. in "The Big Country" to paradise itself: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." It's also the album's most melodic song. Those are the highlights. What keeps Fear of Music from being as impressive an album as Talking Heads' first two is that much of it seems to repeat those earlier efforts, while the few newer elements seem so risky and exciting. It's an uneven, transitional album, though its better songs are as good as any Talking Heads ever did." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • "Always fond of conceptual storytelling, Ian Anderson goes himself one better with his latest prog-folk-metal concept album. The 15 songs of Homo Erraticus inhabit not one but two metafictional layers. The Gerald Bostock character, hero/anti-hero of the seminal Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick and its recent sequel Thick as a Brick 2, is back again, having now discovered a manuscript left behind in the 1920s by a malaria-ridden old British soldier delightfully named Ernest T. Parritt.Parritt's supposed writings range over northern European history from the Mesolithic era to his own - and on into his future, through the whole 20th century and into our own time and beyond. Winnowed into lyrics written by "Bostock" and set to music by the real protagonist of the story, Ian Anderson, these materials give Anderson - whose creative scope and energy remain robust even as his singing voice has thinned with age - a walk-in-closetful of pegs on which to hang a sequence of songs evoking nothing less than the history of mankind in his part of the world.The first track, "Doggerland," commemorates the area of the southern North Sea that used to be dry land connecting today's British Isles with the rest of Europe. Doggerland vanished under the waves as the last Ice Age ended but, as fisherman discovered not long ago, the sea floor retains much archeological evidence of human occupation. The succeeding songs address migrations, metalworking, invasions (from the Romans to Burger King), the arrival of Christianity, the Industrial Revolution, and so on. To appreciate the songs, you'll want to (at least once) follow along with the notes and lyrics in the accompanying 32-page booklet.The Foreword, in which Anderson discusses the history of Jethro Tull and why he hasn't used the band name for his last few recordings, will especially interest longtime Tull fans. The real question is, will the songs themselves? Some yes, some no. The gruff metal of "Doggerland" gives way to the sweet, plinking folk of "Heavy Metals." (I imagine Anderson chuckling to himself at the irony - no pun intended - of creating such a gentle-sounding song with that title, and on that literal topic.) Both satisfy my Tull craving. "Meliora Sequamur" (Let Us Follow Better Things), which paints a picture of 12th century schoolboys amid religious chant (and cant), does too, and "The Turnpike Inn" is a solid rocker, and the hard-Celtic style of "The Engineer" moves briskly.I like the instrumental track "Tripudium ad Bellum" (Dancing to War). It starts off with an echo of a theme from the original Thick as a Brick (there are others elsewhere on the album), then resolves into a 5/4 march, like a more insistent "Living in the Past." War's aftermath appears in the next track, the sad, deliberate "After These Wars," in which I really feel the lack of Anderson's full-strength vocals. While he was never among rock's greatest singers, that didn't matter - when he sang his songs, you always felt he was all there, and that's what mattered. But now, and not only in the harder songs that shade into old-school heavy metal, his voice just isn't always a match for his music's energy any more.On the other hand, his gift for crafting pleasing, original melodies, writing smart, clever lyrics in complete sentences and true rhyme, and setting much of it in non-traditional time signatures remains strong. The first verse of "After These Wars" reads:After battle, with wounds to lick andbeaus and belles all reuniting.Rationing, austerity: it did us good after the fighting.Now, time to bid some fond farewells andwalk away from empires crumbling.Post-war baby-boom to fuel with post-Victorian half-dressed fumbling.No one in pop music writes like that anymore.Listening to the album as a complete conceptual work, my overall feeling is that there isn't very much new here. Since the 1960s Anderson and Tull have explored countless different musical paths and styles. Some of these produced some of my all-time favorite songs and recordings. Others I hated. But he never seemed to be resting on his laurels. Here I feel like I'm reading a chapter that's not much different from the last chapter.But listening to the songs individually, I like a lot of them. As I write this I'm trying to count the beats of the off-time closer, "Cold Dead Reckoning," with its grim imagery of a future of lost souls navigating their way over a metaphysical Doggerland "amongst the ranks and files of walking dead." I hear crunching minor-key guitar-bass-piano unison figures, a sprightly flute solo. A hopeful verse about "angels watching over" at the end doesn't convince me, as the music continues to growl on as before. Yet there follow a sweet, gentle instrumental coda, reminded us that while things may not turn out well for humanity as we teem over and ruin our only planet, our capacity to create and to appreciate beauty will be with us as long as we live. So let's raise the cup of crimson wonder to Ian Anderson as he charges not-so-gently through his seventh decade." - Seattle Pi
    $9.00
  • This was the fourth studio album for the band and their last with EMI Harvest as it was considered to be somewhat of a flop. I'm not sure why as it sounds pretty damn good to me! Lots of Mellotron goodness. Remastered edition comes with 10 bonus tracks!
    $13.00
  • "Unbelievably, it’s almost 50 years since Fairport Convention and their followers – Steeleye Span, Trees, Dando Shaft, Mellow Candle and others – fashioned British folk-rock. Kent-based sextet Galley Beggar – who take their name from a mischievous spirit in English folklore – describe their mission as ‘to imagine the next phase of English folk-rock’ on their third album, Silence & Tears. “We’ve always loved English folk, but when we formed in 2009 it felt like nothing much was happening to carry the style forward,” says guitarist Mat Fowler, “so we thought, we love listening to folk-rock and we love playing it – why not try to write something in that vein?”The results can be heard on their earlier albums, Reformation House and Galley Beggar, and now onSilence & Tears. “Our first record was very folky,” reflects Mat, “but since then we’ve moved towards a more electric rock feel.” Indeed, the eight tracks on the new album span traditional song, Gothic balladry and peculiarly British acid rock, the mood alternately fragile and robust, with sweet vocal harmonies (led by Maria O’Donnell), lyrical guitar playing from Mat and his cohort David Ellis, and added texture from the violin of Celine Marshall (calling to mind Mr. Fox’s Carolanne Pegg), all anchored by Bill Lynn’s steady bass and Paul Dadswell’s deft drumming. The material spans reworkings of the ancient classics Geordie and Jack Orion, brooding ballads like Adam & Eve and the otherworldy Empty Sky, and the intense 9-minute epic Pay My Body Home, which triumphantly recalls folk-rock’s early 70s glory days.Silence & Tears may echo centuries of folk tradition, but its crisp, punchy sound is resolutely modern, despite calling on retro flourishes such as phasing, wah-wah and backwards guitar. Much of that is down to the fact that it was recorded at the profoundly analogue Toe Rag studios, where White Stripes, Tame Impala, the Zutons and many others have also worked with renowned producer-engineer Liam Watson. “We made our first two albums ourselves,” says Mat, “so this was the first time someone else has produced us. Recording at Toe Rag was just wonderful – to see all that incredible gear at work, and to have a tangible recording experience rather than staring at a screen, was amazing. And watching Liam at work is mesmerising – the sounds he gets onto tape are better than they are in real life!”In an era when bands such as Trembling Bells, Circulus and Wolf People have brought folk-rock to the fore again, the hypnotic interplay and inspired jamming on Silence & Tears is sure to find an enthusiastic audience. “We’ve already got a few festivals lined up this summer, including Leigh Folk Festival and Wessex Festival, and several other shows are still being arranged,” says Mat. “It’s an honour to be compared to other folk-rock bands – but we like to think we’ve got something of our own to offer too.”" 
    $15.00
  • Justin Greaves continues to churn the lineup but the core sound of Crippled Black Phoenix remains the same.  Vocals are now helmed by Daniel Änghede and he's quite good.  Not sure why no one can hold down the fort at the microphone for more than one album but Greaves keeps finding quality voices.The sound of CBP is a modern twist on vintage Pink Floyd.  A mash up of post rock and old school prog rock.  No Mellotrons here but lots of splashes of organ at just the right time that will remind you of Richard Wright.  Contemporary but old all at the same time.  That's the enigma of Cripple Black Phoenix and what keeps me coming back for more, album after album.  Highly recommended.(Oh - apologies about the price.  The band is signed to Mascot Records, who for reasons unknown to either the band or their management, do not give CBP's albums a US release.  This is an expensive imported digipak)
    $21.00
  • "What could be a better title for your sophomore album than Next Level? It suggests progress and growth in development of a band. For Sweden's Fullforce, at the very least, it implies that they're increasing or advancing the strengths delivered on their debut One.Fullforce remains a very skilled, expert, melodic heavy metal band. They can be quite heavy and assertive, adding power metal to their arrangements, as on Whispers or Karma. Of course pure metal finds its way in Mysterious Way. Yet they also seem to up the groove in their metal on Next Level, something familiar from the previous work, now accentuated on tunes like Broken Dreams, Visions, Back to Life.Sometimes the groove really rocks as Fullforce generates what some may hear as simply melodic heavier rock as on Course of Life and Awesomeness. Then combining that solid groove with arena accessibility, Fullforce can offer anthems like Visions and A Night to Remember, which nearly borders on a metal ballad. And, unlike One, there are ballads here, two of them, in Smile at the World and Strongest Thing of All, both with some nice acoustic guitar.Fullforce's Next Level is another solid effort from the band, perhaps more an advance of their signature melodic heavy metal sound than a progression into new territory. Recommended." - Danger Dog
    $15.00
  • Long promised second album from this stellar Norwegian symphonic band is now with us. Before the release of Hinterland, the band had made available (through their website) two lengthy demo tracks that garnered a lot of buzz. These tracks "Imperial Winter White Dwarf" and "Leprechan Behind The Door" appear here is re-recorded versions. The rest of the disc consists of material drawn from the band's past as well as one of the tracks from the Hinterland sessions that never got finished. Its not a long disc but its definitely a matter of quality over quantity. If you like Mellotrons, Hammond organds, flutes, retro sounding guitars....look no further. Essential listening for any symphonic rock fan.
    $16.00
  • "It has been an eventful year or so in the world of Haken. In September 2013, the sextet released what can only be described as a masterpiece of progressive music in the form of their third album, the magnificent ‘The Mountain’. This album received almost universal critical acclaim upon its release and even led to interest from the likes of Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Transatlantic) and Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess. In the case of the former, it led to an invitation to play the inaugural ‘Progressive Nation At Sea’, but thanks to both ringing endorsements, the door to the American market has opened more widely of late. And if that wasn’t enough, Haken recently received no less than three nominations in the Progressive Music Awards, quite an achievement for a band so relatively young.However, with the smooth, also comes the rough and almost immediately following the release of this ‘breakthrough’ album, bassist Tom MacLean announced his departure from Haken. An apparently amicable split, it was nevertheless a hurdle that had to be overcome at a point when the largest wave of the band’s career was about to be crested. An international audition invitation was extended and, following an extensive search, a young American by the name of Conner Green was assimilated into the Haken collective. Welcome sir!In many ways, ‘Restoration’ a three-track EP is as much a bedding-in of their new colleague as it is an opportunity to maintain the momentum created by ‘The Mountain’ whilst a new full-length album is brought to life. That said, to consider ‘Restoration’ a stop-gap is disingenuous in the extreme. It may only contain three tracks, but when the three tracks last well over half an hour and sound this good, who cares?The three compositions that make up this EP are very loosely based on tracks from the bands 2007/08 demo days, thoroughly re-envisioned, re-worked and re-produced in order to reflect the changing personnel and the experience gained since the demos were originally written. The result is, frankly, stunning.Whilst it took me a good many spins and many hours of effort to get fully submerged into the world of ‘The Mountain’, the music on ‘Restoration’ is much more immediate to these ears. No less complex and challenging of course, but for some reason, the music has ‘clicked’ much more quickly here.The EP opens up with ‘Darkest Light’, (Official video below) an energetic track that ably demonstrates the up-tempo and powerful side of Haken well. It’s an agile composition too that alters pace and timing signatures seemingly at will and pulls in influences from everyone from Dream Theater to Meshuggah. The latter is primarily due to the impressive combination of Ray Hearne’s powerful drumming, the chunky guitar tones courtesy of Charlie Griffiths and Richard Henshall and Green’s intricate bass work. Importantly however, the song is never derivative and contains everything you now expect from a band at the height of their powers. It’s a piece of music that oozes class but also offers that touch of playful cheekiness that has become synonymous with the Haken sound.‘Earthlings’ is a completely different proposition entirely. For my money, its closest reference point would be ‘Deathless’ from ‘Visions’ in so far as it is a much more introspective track with real atmosphere and a quiet, brooding intensity that is utterly beguiling. The melodies are much more immediate, much more pronounced and the whole thing builds beautifully and stubbornly towards a fulfilling climax that pushes all the right buttons.The undisputed star of the show however, is ‘Crystallised’. At over 19 minutes, it offers a return of the Haken ‘epic’, joining the likes of ‘Visions’ and ‘Celestial Elixir’ in an already formidable armoury. If anything, ‘Crystallised’ may be even better than the aforementioned, thereby easily taking its place among the very best that Haken has ever created.First and foremost, the sheer ambition is staggering. The composition begins unassumingly enough but quickly reveals a more grandiose underbelly thanks to some lush orchestral arrangements. From then on, the gloves well and truly come off and Haken take us on a wondrous journey full of twists and turns, light and shade, lengthy and dextrous instrumental segments and gorgeous melodies that stay with you long after the music has ended.There are echoes of those Gentle Giant influences and nods towards ‘Cockroach King’ et al in some of the a capella segments as well as hints of ‘Pareidolia’ at other times, thanks to that by now familiar delivery of vocalist Ross Jennings. Never once do the extended instrumental passages, led by the flamboyant keys of Diego Tejeida feel contrived or out of place; they are full of those classic progressive overindulgences, further reinforcing the importance of the likes of Yes, early Genesis and many others, but crucially, they fit in with the core of the composition and seamlessly segue from one to another perfectly.And then, everything comes together in what I can only describe as a stunningly epic finale, the kind where the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and you find yourself grinning from ear to ear, enveloped in a musical utopia. The melodies are so uplifting and gorgeous that, coupled with the grandiose return of the orchestral embellishments, mere words find it hard to adequately express just how good it makes you feel.The bones of these songs may have been written many years ago in the band’s infancy. However, they have been brought back to life in the most brilliant way possible; taking everything that’s been good about the band in recent years and applying them to their early past to create something truly special. I only wish that ‘Restoration’ was six, seven or eight songs long. Mind you, if it were, I think I might have fainted from bliss before reaching the conclusion." - Man Of Much Metal blog
    $14.00
  • "Hi Fiction Science comprises former members of Suncoil Sect and Fuzz Against Junk. Guitarist James McKeown is also known for his solo work released by Fruits de Mer and Reverb Worship. Following their self-titled debut album on own label Negative Drive and a 7" on Fruits de Mer, Hi Fiction Science have signed to Cherry Red offshoot Esoteric Antenna. Curious Yellow, their first release on this label, is a truly amazing synthesis of late 60s/early 70s-style electric folk, psychedelia, and electronica. Think Trees, Liege and Lief era Fairport, Pentangle, or any number of bands on the Erewhon History of UK Underground Folk-Rock compilation albums, combined with vintage electronica and ambient music; as bizarre as that description may sound, it really is a winning formula. Elsewhere they introduce elements of angular art-rock and intense psychedelic guitar work (Vapour), wordless vocal and electronic soundscaping (Komorebi), and in Curious Yellow they set a medievalesque song to mesmerisingly repetitive psychedelic instrumentation. This is a really exceptional album from a band I will definitely be looking out for more from in future." - Bliss/Aquamarine
    $17.00
  • "A more ruminative effort than Sanguine Hum’s well-regarded 2010 debut, The Weight of the World is post-prog in both the most “post” and the most “prog” sense of the words.Recorded at Evolution studios in Oxford, The Weight of the World finds Joff Winks, Matt Baber, Brad Waissman and Andrew Booker absorbing, and then brilliantly modifying, some of the best of what’s come before, imbuing The Weight of the World with the impressive gravitas of very familiar antecedent influences.For instance, dreamscape reminiscences associated with Radiohead (“System For Solution”) find a home here. There are whispers of Steven Wilson (“From The Ground Up”), too. You’ll recall the wonders of Gentle Giant (“Phosfor”), and the mesmerizing sound collages of Boards of Canada (“Day of Release”), as well. Yet, on free-form, ambient-meets-jazz-meets-math rock moments like “In Code,” Sanguine Hum never sounds like anything so much as itself.That holds true even when the band swerves into the murkier waters of epic songcraft, though — like much of this project — the title track takes shape slowly, or at least more slowly than Diving Bell. As it does, however, there is a lot to recommend about The Weight of the World — so much that reveals itself, so much that rewards repeated listenings.Even as its most complex, Sanguine Hum retains an approachability that steers these proceedings well away from any polyester-era excesses. In other words, The Weight of the World remains all proggy, but also all post-y — in the very smartest of ways." - Something Else! Reviews
    $15.00