Discovering James LaBrie (3CD Box Set)

"James LaBrie is renowned for being the vocalist of prog metal gods Dream Theater. His solo albums show a heavier facet of his creative output and profit immensely from his incredibly varied voice. Now, the albums "Elements Of Persuasion", "Static Impulse" and "Impermanent Resonance" are being offered as limited box set at discovery price."

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  • Andy Latimer goes Celtic!
    $16.00
  • Superb new collaborative effort between noted Israeli musician Aviv Geffen and Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson. Chris Maitland and Gavin Harrison play drums and there is also some orchestration. The music bears a strong resemblence to "In Absentia". It has an emotional inner space driven feel....mostly emphasizing serenity and melody but the occassional hard edge comes along to bite you in the butt. Easily recommended to fans of Porcupine Tree.
    $15.00
  • "Downtime doesn’t appear to be in this Swedish traditional group’s mindset, at least in this point of their career. Striking while the iron’s hot from their 2011 Heads Will Roll debut and touring with the legendary Lizzy Borden across mainland Europe, the quintet from Gothenburg set about writing the follow up, Storms of War rather quickly. With King Diamond guitarist Andy Larocque behind the production chair, Storms of War will either make Katana another worthy Swedish contender to the Wolf/Enforcer new brigade throne or may cast them into the land of bargain bins forevermore.The opening salvo of riff peeling from guitarists Patrik Essen and Tobias Karlsson on “Reaper” rivals the best 80’s Judas Priest with Accept for good measure- and the trade-off solos are pure ecstasy for all air guitarists worldwide. Sometimes the reference points get a tad obvious: Iron Maiden on “Wrath of the Emerald Witch,” Loudness on “The Samurai Returns,” but Anders Persson’s poised drumming and the multi-octave, high-octane melodies from Johan Bernspang more than make up for any similarities.Bernspang even shows off a lighter, lower playful side to his voice ala Bruce Dickinson during the shorter, gallop-worthy “City on the Edge of Forever.” The swirling wind effects and a slow moving bass line signal the start of the eight-minute epic “In the Land of the Sun,” the verse melody mirroring the open clean plucking before the tempo moves upward and you feel like you are experiencing another NWOBHM journey with a series of Egyptian point-counterpoint guitar refrains. And how about the Omen up and down guitar harmonies throughout “Modesty Blaise” circa Warning Of Danger?Since Iron Maiden feel that their fans desire more progressive rock-length arrangements over the classics they rendered on the first seven studio albums, Katana could fit that missing niche in your collection with Storms of War. Thank you gentlemen for bringing me back to my teenage years with this one. " - Blistering,com
    $14.00
  • Fourth album from this excellent Italian progressive rock band. Madame Zelle is a concept album based on the life of double agent Mata Hari. Plenty of solos from keyboards and flute without sounding dated. In fact this doesn't sound like 70s Italian prog at all - they achieve a contemporary sound that bears a striking similarity to White Willow's Storm Season period. I wish vocalist Simona Rigano sang in English. It would bring this band acceptance from a much broader audience. She has a nice voice that serves the music quite well. Overall an album with a nice flow to it. Highly recommended.
    $19.00
  • After the break up of art rock pioneers Orchestra Luna, guitarist Randy Roos changed gears and assembled the Mistral band. The resulting album, from 1978, features fusion stars Mike Stern, Neil Stubenhaus, Louis DeAndrade, and Alyrio Lima (Weather Report). Masterfully playing a variety of fretted and fretless guitars, Roos demonstrates why its time for this overlooked gem to be revisited. Mistral is pure high energy fusion that will appeal to fans of Jeff Beck and Return To Forever. It comes with liner notes from noted jazz journalist Bill Milkowski. Mistral has been remastered from the original analogue master tapes by audiophile engineer Bob Katz. It arrives in an old style mini-LP tip-on sleeve. Strictly limited to 500 copies!
    $27.00
  • "Every year since I have started listening to metal music I have always somehow got myself in the comforting grip of a brilliant solo album that doesn’t heavily rely on singing. Whether discovered or newly released, it’s nice for the instruments to do the talking when you see names like Steve Vai cropping up on the new releases shelf in HMV. Gus G is mainly recognised as the guitarist for Firewind, but he’s also the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and raised his profile even higher as a sensational guitarist. He finally gets to shred until he bleeds, and he has help from Jeff Scott Soto, Elize Ryd, Jacob Bunton and Mats Leven to lend their vocals to Brand New Revolution. With plenty of bands and experience, Gus G will have the spotlight shining upon his strong posture.The Quest already pumps you up for what is yet to come on the album. It’s absolutely incredible. An action-packed, energetic introduction that fades out softly into the album title track as Bunton sings on that as well as Burn and We Are One. All of these have a savage hard rock sound that stamps its way along the audio waves that are shooting through my headphones with excellent solos (what else would you expect?) that sizzle that brain of mine like bacon on a grill. Elize Ryd lends her vocals on What Lies Below, adding some aggression and crunch to the album, making way for the ballad Behind Those Eyes. Jeff Scott Soto provides his legendary voice on Gone To Stay, returning to the hard rock vibe Bunton provides along with One More Try. This song is sandwiched between ballads, decent ballads to be precise.Come Hell or High Water is the first song to feature Mats Leven, possibly one of my favourites on the album, along with his last two If It Ends Today and The Demon Inside. His vocals screeching through these songs something to behold, as it is with the vocalists on this album. If It Ends Today is added to the soft rock list, as the ballads on this album aren’t ‘80s glam cheesy it makes this album essential. Scott Soto has one last song with Generation G that is in between the latter two of Leven’s tunes, a song that has a similar vibe to Youth Gone Wild by Skid Row when it comes to uniting a group of people one way or another, it’s uplifting. The Demon Inside finishes this album with slow tempo and crunching riff and catchy chorus, fading out quickly.Brand New Revolution is a remarkable listen, for those guitar fanatics who are just expecting instrumental songs from a guitarists solo album will be hushed by The Quest as well as Gus G‘s incredible talent that shifts through the album. It’s blend of hard rock and ballads often made me think of Whitesnake, but only for the mix of moods, not the sound. The vocalists were an absolute treat to listen to and the production work from Jay Ruxton and Mike Fraser was just perfect. Brand New Revolution does everything perfectly to show that Gus G doesn’t fuck about, he has stuck to his guns and fired out this monstrous yet honourable album." - Heavy Magazine Australia
    $12.00
  • "Secret Voyage is another kaleidoscopic musical journey through time and space, incorporating and rearranging traditional melodies from all over Europe, blending the "old" and contemporary. The brilliant guitar stylings of Ritchie Blackmore, the enchanting vocals and lyrics of singer/songwriter Candice Night and the saturation of authentic Renaissance instruments woven throughout the melodies, create a unique style of music they call Renaissance/Folk/Rock. Secret Voyage consists of twelve new tracks, recorded by Candice Night, Ritchie Blackmore and their Band Of Minstrels. This musical journey is inspired by nature and incorporates acoustic and electric guitars, strings, renaissance instruments and Candice Night s ethereal voice and mystical lyrics."
    $15.00
  • New mini-lp sleeve reissue of the classic second album from this great Italian trio. Although keyboards play a vital part of their sound, the instrumentation is pretty well balanced. These guys were able to compete with the big guns - Banco and PFM - they were that good. Highly recommended.
    $20.00
  • "Whereas certain metal splinter genres like sludge and doom have found their requisite bands experimenting in ways that are still decidedly metal – or at least "extreme" by any measure – other areas such as black and post-metal see their own representatives in a practical race to see who can shed their extreme proclivities altogether. Alcest is one such band.Flirting with 90's indie rock trappings is nothing new for this French duo – essentially the one-man project of multi-instrumentalist Neige backed since 2009 by the drumming skills of Winterhalter – but Shelter is their first complete abandonment of metal altogether… there is nary a blastbeat, growl, nor brutal riff to be found anywhere on the album's concise 45-minute running time.That's not to say that Neige is reinventing the wheel, though; Shelter is a straightforward mix of 4AD dream pop and the type of ethereal post-rock that Explosions in the Sky are best known for… not to mention the gauzy shoegaze overlay that such an alchemy implicitly guarantees, of course.It sounds derivative on paper, but somehow Neige transcends his cookie cutter influences and produces a work of heart-stopping elegance and profundity. "Voix Sereines", in particular, is hands down the most plaintive and delicate work of the man's already illustrious career, a despondent lullaby of music box melodies and wistful singing that is fittingly placed in the middle of the track listing… it's the soul of the album, and belongs as its nucleus.The twang at the end of the guitar lines on the title track could – if taken out of context – herald the introduction of a new Mazzy Star single, but Alcest aren't quite that predictable. Twang aside there is no further evidence of roots rock assimilation, no blues aside from the heartache rendered potently clear in Neige's understated vocals. Nonetheless, this would make a fine crossover single aimed at whatever constitutes indie rock radio in 2014.Then again, so would "Away", which many reading this will insist even more a graceful composition than my pick of "Voix Sereines" above (those who aren't chastising the band for "going soft" in the first place, that is). I can't really argue that point, but all it does is prove what a deep bench Neige is culling for inspiration this go round.Perhaps the best evidence that Neige is not beholden to the orthodoxy of his influences is the way he builds toward a crescendo on album finale, "Délivrance". Rather than the ringing chimes that have become the hallmark of tension-building in post-rock (Explosions in the goddamn Sky), Neige shows restraint by settling for a very gradually rising chorus with subtle percussive acceleration. The final 2:30 minutes of the song consists of an unnecessary reprise, but in spite of contributing minor bloat it's still a fitting tribute to Neige's classical ambitions here.The word "masterpiece" gets thrown around a bit too frequently – often in service of albums that will be forgotten altogether a few years down the road – but if you can wrap your head around the fact that Alcest are no longer a metal band in any way, shape or form, Shelter is deserving of whatever hyperbole you care to throw at it." - Metal Injection
    $15.00
  • 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
  • Riverside's latest takes a bit of a swerve from their traditional sound.  Parts of the album bears the imprint of Mariusz Duda's solo work - its more laid back, more refined.  Other aspects of the album carry on with the sound that Riverside has developed over recent albums - chunky organ, trippy keyboard soloing and interstellar guitarwork.  This one is a grower.  At first listen it might not hit you but the more you scrape away at it the more you realize its dug deeper under your skin."For the past decade or so, Polish progressive rock/metal quartet Riverside set itself apart from their stylstiic brethren by offering distinguishing tones, mesmerizing atmospheres, and most importantly, remarkable songwriting. Sure, the band also infuses much of its music with the intricacy genre enthusiasts expect, but their melancholic, yet beautiful and earnest melodies and lyrics (credited mostly to singer/songwriter/bassist Mariusz Duda) have always come first. Perhaps nowhere in its discography is this more apparent than on their newest opus, Love, Fear and the Time Machine.Although it features a few complex arrangements, the record is by far Riverside’s most straightforward and accessible collection to date, showcasing a proclivity for upfront compositions like never before. While this may disappoint fans who adore the group’s more tangential, frantic instrumentation, rest assured that the album’s stunning emotionality and breathtaking arrangements more than make up for it. Without a doubt, Love, Fear and the Time Machine features some of the most gorgeous, tragic, and ultimately inspiring pieces Riverside have ever recorded, making it another exceptional entry in an invaluable catalog.According to Duda, the effort is a return to the softer, more ambient nature of Riverside’s debut, 2004’s Out of Myself. In fact, the foursome intentionally composed it “to combine the ‘70s and the ‘80s…[the songs] have never been so concise and to the point before.” Because of this new approach, the disc actually evokes Duda’s other project, Lunatic Soul, in subtle but substantial ways at times. Like almost all of Riverside’s previous works, Love, Fear and the Time Machine is also a conceptual record; specifically, it “talk[s] about transformation. About making an important, perhaps life-changing decision everyone has to make at some point in their lives…on the one hand, we’re excited by the change…[but] on the other, we fear the unknown.” Ultimately, the lesson to be learned from it is that “if we sometimes get lost in life, it is to go through something and be found again on the other side, to be reborn as someone better and more valuable.”Fittingly, then, the sequence starts with “Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened by a Hat?)”, which is arguably its best track. Duda begins by reciting a philosophical recollection over a delicate ether of keyboards and bass and guitar notes. Afterward, he launches into a catchy and charming chorus: “Come follow me / We’ll go down / Where the river flows / One day / Just you and I will find a bridge / To another land”. Duda layers his voices too, making it even more gripping, and in-between his passages, guitarist Piotr Grudziński issues his signature soaring accompaniment as the composition evolves. Drummer Piotr Kozieradzki keeps things steady throughout, while keyboardist Michał Łapaj gets the spotlight during the final seconds. Ultimately, “Lost” exemplifies the magnificent succinctness that makes Love, Fear and the Time Machine distinctive in the Riverside canon.Later on, “#Addicted” truly feels like a progressive rock take on the Cure in several ways, such as its dominant bass lines, starry guitar lines, and wistful singing which finds Duda channeling a silky falsetto he’s never really attempted before. There’s also a brief acoustic guitar arpeggio at the end that’s very enjoyable. Lyrically, it serves as a commentary on how social media can transform people into egocentric users who base their self-worth on their digital populiarty. In this way, both its lyrics and music find Riverside stretching slightly beyond its comfort zone, but the result is undeniably, well, addictive.“Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire” feels more traditional, with Duda’s sorrowful confessions and counterpoints perfectly complemented by sharp guitar riffs, aching solos, enveloping percussion, and a moving layer of synthesized splendor. Honestly, it’s like a heartbreaking and somewhat more colorful missing track from Shine of New Generation Slaves, whereas “Saturate Me” contains the sleek yet eccentric tones and virtuosic yet blunt balance that made up the best moments on Rapid Eye Movement. Of course, its sad ponderings, such as “Am I Invisible? / Or alive? / I don’t want to feel like I’m no one anymore”, are archetypal Riverside sentiments, and the interlocking musical patterns (especially near the end) are equally touching.The most commercial segment on Love, Fear and the Time Machine is surely “Discard Your Fear”; however, despite that typically negative connotation, the song’s approachability doesn’t get in the way of its worth. Rather, it’s uplifting message and relatively simple and familiar construction could earn Riverside an entirely new camp of fans. It’s actually quite cathartic, as is the dreamy and tasteful “Toward the Blue Horizon”, which begins and ends as a luscious ode (with lovely piano chords) while transforming into a progressive metal workout in the middle.Both of the record’s final two pieces—“Time Travellers” and “Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)”—are wonderful. The former is an exquisite acoustic ballad about past possibilities and the unforeseen future. Its winding melodies and spaciousness are the standout features, as the rest of the band lets Duda’s voice lead the way, resulting in a simple but commanding experience. In contrast, the latter is more elaborate, impactful, and conclusive, with a strong sense of closure and acceptance, as the speaker realizes the importance of his or her experiences, uncertainties, and decisions. The music builds with great pacing, adding more beautiful layers as the chorus (“It’s a lovely life / You have gone so far / Don’t give it up / Oh, it’s a lovely life / Gotta go with what you think is right”) repeats with sleek harmonies. By the end, listeners are left in awe, reevaluating their own sense of purpose and optimism.Love, Fear and the Time Machine is likely the most polarizing record Riverside has made, as it could be considered both the band’s strongest and weakest full-length effort. Fans hoping for virtuosic jams and unexpected sounds won’t really find them here, while fans looking for more of Riverside’s token elegant instrumentation, affective melodies, and poetic, rich singing will be satisfied beyond measure. Either way, Love, Fear and the Time Machine definitely finds its creators reaching for new, if marginally different, heights, which is commendable in and of itself. Roughly ten years on, Riverside remains as special as ever, and Love, Fear and the Time Machine is, in several ways, its truest work of art." - Pop Matters
    $12.00
  • "The Contortionist are really speaking my Language (PUN!) on their first full-length with Last Chance to Reason's Michael Lessard on vocals.Last year I went to see Between The Buried and Me and one of the openers was The Contortionist. I knew of them vaguely from my college radio days, but couldn't recall much. I was mainly interested in seeing them because Michael Lessard of Last Chance To Reason had just been announced as their permanent vocalist, and I fucking LOVE(D?) Last Chance To Reason. The set was mostly (if not entirely) from their album Intrinsic and was pretty solid, but I felt like Lessard was a little out of place. He wasn't quite at his full potential. This brings us to Language, and this is Lessard and existing Contortionist members at their best.Language opens with a melodic piece comprised almost entirely of vocal layers that I could really only compare to something on the level of Imogen Heap. The album keeps the melody going on the following track "Language I: Intuition" and it is fucking gorgeous. With the exception of a few parts the song suppresses the metal, instead opting for a rhythmic post rock feel. The heaviness does pick up as the album progresses, but there is definitely and ebb and flow (an idiom that appears a lot in the album) happening that favors the prettier side of the band, and I don't have a problem with it. There is still quite a bit to headbang to with the very next tracks, "Language II: Conspire," "Integration" and more.  So don't fret, they haven't gone soft by any means.It's unclear to me how much of the album is the added influence of Lessard, and how much is natural growth here. The band was able to progress their sound enough while staying grounded in who they are. I find this is rare for a band in general, but especially rare for a band often lumped into the "djent" category. This record is a lot more of everything that worked. It is heavier when it needs to be, it is bigger when it needs to be, it is prettier when it needs to be, etc. For example, "Thrive" could have easily fit anywhere into Intrinsic for about the first minute or two, but then Lessard soars and the song crescendos into pure atmospheric metal glory to a level they hadn't achieved before.I realize much of this review is praising Michael Lessard's vocal abilities, and if Level 3 didn't already cement him as one of the best voices in modern metal/rock/whatever, this album should (I mean, just listen to him on "Ebb & Flow"!). However, this band is really tight and unique regardless of who is the voice. Often bands in the rhythmic, atmospheric, progressive blah blah blah, genre will give in to tropes of the genre, The Contortionist either avoids them or spins them enough to make them seem outside of the box. So many bands will have one guitarist chugging along in wacky rhythms with the bassist and drummer while the other guitarist noodles over the top, and it's just so overdone. These guys will either have everyone noodling in a cool way interweaving with one another, or they just go different directions completely. This could be said about previous records as well I'm sure, it's just especially notable here.This album is not everyone. If you're quick to lazily label any rhythmic progressive band out there as "djent" and dismiss them accordingly, you should probably just not bother here. This album is for fans of progressive music, atmospheric metal, theory nerds, and especially the previous work of either LCTR or The Contortionist.I was a much bigger Last Chance fan going into Language, but this has really turned me on to The Contortionist more. This is a fantastic release that is best digested as one long piece." - Metal Injection
    $13.00
  • With their departure from the label, AFM Records has seen fit to release this lavish compilation. The 2 cd set is 130 minutes worth of 24 bit remastered album material, videos, unreleased live and studio material.
    $14.00
  • In 1991 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso inexplicably decided to revisit their first two albums. The band completely re-recorded the albums and in fact expanded on some of the earlier versions of some of the songs. Shockingly it worked really well. There wasn't an attempt to do radical rearrangements or modernize anything other than the instruments they used. Perhaps just for sentiment I prefer the warmth and nostalgia of the original version but this an interesting attempt to revisit the material and add a bit of polish. Highly recommended - even if you have the original.
    $11.00