Design Your Universe

SKU: NB2345-2-CL
Label:
Nuclear Blast
Category:
Gothic Metal
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The beauty and the beast wars are over and Epica has won. Until Floor Jansen comes through with her new project we have to consider Simone Simons the last woman standing. This is the band's fifth studio album and probably their most bombastic. Stunning female vocals mixed with death growls and a wall of synthesized orchestrations and power chords. You all know the drill by now. These guys are the masters of the genre.

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  • Despite a fracture between Andy Powell and Martin Turner, Wishbone Ash carries on - now in two different iterations. I guess Andy Powell retained the rights to the pure Wishbone Ash name and he's helming the ship on this release. Its just what any Ash fan would want - blues driven prog from a twin axe attack. That's the Wishbone Ash signature sound and if you are a fan you won't be disappointed.
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  • Its been quite some time since we've heard from Guy LeBlance and Nathan Mahl.  He's been busy touring with Camel and now having to deal with some serious health related issues.Justify finds Nathan Mahl with a reconstituted lineup.  Guy displays his prodigious keyboard abilities once again but this time he's also playing drums.  The new lineup features a twin guitar attack and bass.  For a keyboard player he sure as hell gives a lot of room for the two guitarists to stretch out and shred.  The album is split about 50/50 between instrumental and vocal oriented tracks.  You can tell his time in Camel has rubbed off on him - just check out the albums finale "Infinite Light".  It features a guest appearance on guitar and keys from none other than Andy Latimer!  Highly recommended.
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  • Limited edition digipak comes with a bonus track - a cover of The Tea Party's "Temptation".First studio album in five years from this revered band. Like a fine wine, Nevermore keeps getting better with age, improving their game along the way. For my personal taste they are the best of the US power metal bands going and probably the heaviest. This album was produced by Peter Wichers and Andy Sneap mixed.
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  • Stunning return by the Swedish/Danish outfit formerly known simply as Twilight. Keyboardist Finn Zierler has assembled a new lineup that features old members of Twilight as well as vocal God Jorn Lande (Ark, Malmsteen). This is epic symphonic metal with lots of intricacies to keep prog fans from chomping at the bit. A stunning album that features crystalline production from Tommy Hansen. Definitely one of the top 10 metal releases for 2001. Highest recommendation.
    $15.00
  • "This album was recorded soon after the band's legendary concert on the steps of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1980 and includes the emotive 'In Memory Of The Martyrs' and the hit 'Life Is For Living'.This reissue has been newly remastered from the original master tapes, includes two bonus tracks and features a booklet that fully restores all original album artwork with a new essay by BJH experts Keith and Monika Domone."
    $17.00
  • I'm not quite sure what a pictorial wand is but I know that at the very least it's an ambitious debut 2 CD set from Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Mattias Sorum. He has enlisted a number of musicians and vocalists on the album so it has a full band sound. This is a conceptual fantasy work which always seems to fit symphonic rock well. It's surprisingly guitar driven although keyboards, flutes and various classical instruments are used as well. If I have any specific complaint it would have to be the use of narration to move the story along. I hate narration on albums. Hated it on Journey To The Center Of The Earth and hate it to this day. Other than that Mr. Sorum has produced an interesting debut that touches on symphonic rock, neo prog, and whatever it is you call what guys like Arjen Lucassen are doing at the moment.
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  • Its been five years but The Flower Kings are back from their hiatus. Without missing a beat they offer up their signature epic length tracks of symphonic rock. Funny thing...I've gotten used to hearing Lalle Larsson play with Roine and Jonas over the past five years. I forgot how good Tomas Bodin! Disc two is set up as the bonus set. It includes 4 extra tracks as well as an interview.
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  • Clearly one of the great progressive rock albums of all time but believe it or not still not the pinnacle for Eloy. Full blown Pink Floyd space rock worship instilled into a concept album based around the fall of Atlantis. Digitally remasted...unbelievably great.
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  • "Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of a deluxe 2CD edition of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. The Psychedelic Rock classic burst forth in 1968, topping the albums charts on both sides of the Atlantic and spawning the hit single Fire. The rock world discovered the delights of rocks supreme showman Arthur Brown and his influence would be felt the following decade when Alice Cooper acknowledged his debt to Arthur’s genius. Produced by WHO manager Kit Lambert and Who guitarist Pete Townshend, this classic album has been re-mastered and expanded to a two disc edition by the inclusion of rare single tracks, a BBC Radio One session from April 1968, alternate Mono mixes from the album sessions, and a version of Nightmare from the 1968 film, The Committee . Lavishly packaged in a slipcase with an extensively illustrated booklet with new essay, this is the ultimate edition of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown."
    $20.00
  • Iron Mask is the power metal band led by Belgian guitarist Dushan Petrossi. You may know him from his other band Magic Kingdom, although I would hard pressed to understand the musical distinction. Petrossi worships at the feet of Malmsteen and Romeo - total neoclassical bliss for those interested in this sort of thing. Mark Boals is front and center solidifying the Malmsteen comparison. The dude can certainly blow that's for sure!
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  • Fourth studio album from Leprous reinforces the fact that they are one of the most innovative and cutting edge bands working in the prog metal idiom.  The music of Coal has already kicked up a bit of controversy from the early listeners.  The music isn't quite as angular and frenetic as Bilateral.  Atmospheric passages similar to Tall Poppy Syndrome are perhaps a bit more prevalant as well.  All in all it's clearly identifiable as Leprous.  Ihsahn guests on one of the tracks - don't forget Leprous is his backing band.  Nice guys - great band.  Highly recommended."Considering Leprous‘s previous album Bilateral is considered by many to be a masterpiece of progressive metal; Norway’s Leprous had a tall order in front of themselves. Coming up with a followup to such a critically acclaimed and beloved album is no doubt a daunting task. Despite that, after two long years of waiting, Leprous have conjured the successor to Bilateral, and it’s called Coal. Usually, when bands release an album after their magnum opus, the result is either a “version 2.0″ of the previous album, or it’s a return back to the normal style of the band. Leprous have taken a bold turn instead, and they have reinvented themselves. Coal is clearly a Leprous album, carrying all their trademark touches, but it’s also very fresh and unique.With Bilateral, the band were clearly rooted in a sound that has been defined by the big names of progressive metal. By applying their characteristic syncopation, moody riffs and singer Einar Solberg’s haunting and powerful vocals, they were able to perfect an already existing sound. With Coal, the band have taken a different direction. The album is very dense, emotional, and quite avant-garde at times. While there are some more traditional songs similar to Bilateral, there’s also an air of neo-80s on some songs, while others carry some characteristics of modern Scandinavian indie bands. Longtime fans of Leprous will definitely see the direction that has been present since the band’s inception, but listeners who know of them only via Bilateral might be slightly confused. In the end, Leprous have always been about mood, and Coal is oozing with it.In terms of structure, Coal is more similar to Tall Poppy Syndrome than Bilateral (but not too similar to either in the end). The songs are slow burners, setting up a mood, then deliberately building on it until overwhelming the listener with the climax. Everything is very subtle, the production making every hit of every instrument matter. Each song is an exercise in building an atmosphere by slowly adding layers to form a very powerful sound. Einar Solberg is at his best here, he has taken his voice to the next level. He was already an amazing vocalist, but Coal sees him becoming a master of expression. There are many progressive metal bands nowadays with clean singers who can hit insanely high notes and execute amazing melodies. But what is often lost is the soft touch, the control over timbre that makes one’s voice special. Einar is a master of timbre, and he uses his abilities to their full extent in Coal. While this is an album about the big picture and constructing an ambiance with the convergence of all instruments, his unparalleled vocal skills definitely deserve a special mention, because he is what hammers down the emotions and makes this album so special.As mentioned before, Coal is a deliberate album, where attention is paid to every instrument. And the production, by Ihsahn (who also has a stellar guest appearance on the closing track), is perfect for this. Especially of note are the drums, they sound very real and quaint. The intimate feeling of some of the songs can directly be attributed to the unconventional drum sound. The drumming has also taken a turn for the more subtle, with small flourishes and cymbal runs building tension in the more atmospheric sections of some songs. The bass is also clearly audible and adds to the sound. The guitar work isn’t as flashy as Bilateral for the most part, but it also has more character because of that. It should come as no surprise to longtime followers of the band, but Leprous are masters of doing more with less, and all of the instruments reflect this. Another production detail worth noting is the presence of keyboards. The keyboard work is more prominent now. In Bilateral it was used mostly to add some extra layers to parts driven by the guitars, but here the keyboards form the building blocks of the sound. This is perhaps what sets the album apart from Leprous’s previous work, the heavier focus on atmosphere and a dense aural landscape. This might be disappointing to some who preferred the more direct approach of Bilateral, as Coal is less “metal”, but the more developed sound suits the band.In terms of songs, Coal is a very diverse album. The first three songs and the closer can be interpreted as a direct evolution of the band’s sound from their previous work, then there is the extremely moody and emotional masterpiece “The Cloak”. This is where the album takes a turn for the introspective, as the rest of the songs are quite experimental and ethereal. Overall, the album has a very clear journey with a defined start and end, and it works quite well. Some of the later songs can feel like they last half a minute too long, but the deliberate pacing of the album makes more sense as is.In the end, it’s hard to deny that Coal is yet another masterpiece by Leprous. The songs ooze character and deliberation. Coal is expressive, emotional and brave. It might not be what everyone expected after Bilateral, but Leprous have defied expectations and raised the bar again." - Heavy Blog Is Heavy
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  • Slimline set with CD wallets for A Change Of Seasons, Scenes From A Memory, and Octavarium.
    $15.00