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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  • "Released in 1988, Guitar may be the most important and ironically one of the least-known entries in Frank Zappa's voluminous discography -- which spans over seven-dozen LPs as of this writing. His proficiencies as a composer and instrumentalist have long been lauded. However, anthologies of this nature provide an outlet for the remarkable breadth and depth of Zappa's manual dexterity and improvisational scope, which can now be enjoyed on a myriad of levels. The casual enthusiast can revel in the seemingly endless personas and sounds summoned from the soloist and band alike. Devotees of the artist and/or instrument are presented with example upon example of Zappa's ability to create masterworks on the fly and often in the context of larger pieces. For example, "Which One Is It?" is an extraction from "The Black Page" in Munich, Germany, on June 26, 1982. Compare it to the likes of "Move It or Park It," which was likewise lifted from "The Black Page" two weeks earlier in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 11, 1982. Caveat emptor to those following the liner notes, as they are wrought with inaccurate dates. Interestingly, whenGuitar was prepped for CD, several of the mixes were altered. So, the original two-LP set -- despite containing 13 fewer cuts -- is preferred by some. That minutia aside, simply listening to Zappa as a primary player is always a treat for inclined parties and there are a few exceptional selections scattered throughout. "For Duane" -- a nod to fellow stringman Duane Allman -- is made all the more poignant for having been played before a (kinda) hometown crowd in Atlanta, GA, November 25, 1984. Other standouts include a pair of Joe's Garage-related cuts: "Outside Now" -- dating back to March of 1979 -- and the emotional immediacy infused into "Watermelon in Easter Hay," the latter taken from a Jones Beach show on August 16, 1984. On the whole, Guitar joins the Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar trilogy as a key component in unraveling the endless enigma of Frank Zappa as a major fretmeister." - Allmusic
    $21.00
  • "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
  • 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
  • "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
  • "Quite the misleading band name, ya know? Project Arcadia isn’t much of a “project” as it is a Bulgarian outfit fronted by the ever-awesome Urban Breed, he of Tad Morose, Bloodbound, and currently, Trail of Murder fame. Prior to Breed joining, the band released From the Desert of Desire in 2012 to rather muted results, as in, no one on this side of the pond gave a flying toss. Sure enough, add Breed to the fold, record a new album in the form of A Time of Changes, and viola, Nightmare Records takes care of the rest. Not a bad deal.Hovering around traditional power metal and 80s metal protocol (the accompanying bio cites MSG and the Scorpions, which there is scant correlation), Project Arcadia wisely focus on the considerable vocal talents of Mr. Breed. He’s given ample breathing room to allow for his superbly melodic and hefty pipes to get their kicks, like on the soaring chorus for “I Am Alive,” and the acoustic-led “The Ungrateful Child,” which sees the Swede go full-on tender. But for the most part, the band plays it muscular, hitting some brute riffs in stride on “Formidable Foe” or finding some double-bass happenings on opener “Here to Learn.”The addition of Breed is sure to bolster Project Arcadia’s profile immediately. However, being that Breed is also known for being a bit of metallic nomadic, one had to wonder how long he’ll stick it out with the band. But the songs are certainly here on A Time of Changes, suited perfectly for Breed, who ten years after his shining moment on Tad Morose’s Modus Vivendi, can still hang with the best of ‘em. If the Swede was smart (and he is), he’ll stick with this, and Trail of Murder and keep on being productive…" - Dead Rhetoric
    $12.00
  • It s nice to hear a band like Siena Root playing it for real in this overly-processed world that we live in. Power to them, and I wish them all the success in the world! - Mick Box (Uriah Heep)"Siena Root is an experienced live act and an experimental project with its roots in analogue old school rock music. The group was founded in Stockholm in the late 90s. The sound is classic but yet original, based on heavy organ, howling guitars, bass riffing and big drums. It is also often enriched with bluesy soulful vocals, various guest musicians and psychedelic vibes.Siena Root is well known for its unique spectra of appearances, its many great guest artists, its broad musical range and its different interpretations of rock music. Yet, with a foundation in a traditional quintet, and a sound rooted in late 60s analogue gear. Don't expect to experience the same Siena Root show twice.In the sense that blues is blue, hard rock is black, and reggae is pan African coloured, this music has the colour of siena. It is a warm colour, originally from the muddy roots of the earth. Because this sound has roots that go deep, it was also natural to let root be a part of the bands name.Four full length studio albums, one live album, one DVD and two 7 singles have been released so far, each one marking the development and refinement of the bands diverse style. Through touring the music has developed in such a way, that jamming and improvising has become an essential element, always keeping you on the edge of your seat. A Siena Root concert is dramatic and exciting, visually, as well as emotionally. It's a dynamic root rock experience.""The musical world is rich and powerful and that is also a correct description of Siena Root's music. This is a Swedish hard rock band which aren't very progressive but still play in a progressive spirit or a psychedelic mood, without being psychedelic thankfully. "Pioneers" which is totally new is their fifth record and all their records has got very high (but few) ratings on this site. Especially their first "A new day dawning" from 2003 and their third "Far from the sun" from 2008. 2014 year's record follows a five year spectrum of now records. Their record has a lovely cover with a yellow landscape and the sillouettes of the five band-members heads in the background sky. Left from former line up is Love Forsberg, the band's drummer and Sam Riffer, the band's bassist. Otherwise the lead guitarist and organist KG West is gone as well as the lead vocalist Sartez Faraj. They are replaced by the keyboardist Erik Errka Petersson(who has played with my choir actually), the new vocalist Jonas Åhlén and the guitarist Matte Gustafsson."Pioneers" is a record of very high standard music which will please folk who like the hard rock of the late sixties and early seventies. The music is straight and melodic, filled with heavy organ sound and a caressing hard rock vocal. The musicians themselves has beautiful beards and it's obvious they love what they are doing. The only shame is that they have chosen to sing in English, that makes their music less interesting. I compare with the Norwegian band Höst which did a better choice. But still this music is lovely and very pleasurable. I think almost every track is similarily good but "In my kitchen" is absolutely the best(9/10), calmer and more atmospheric than the others. "Between the lines" and "Root rock pioneers" are two other songs I recommend(8/10). The record is extremely even so you won't find any bad or uninteresting tracks. This is specially a band and a record for fans of classical hard rock such as the late sixties' Deep Purple. This record is definitely at least a four star record. Recommended!" - ProgArchives
    $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
  • Bulgaria doesn't immediately come to mind as a hot bed of musical activity but that is where Sensory made their latest discovery. In 2000, the band created their calling card to the progressive metal world a demo that was well received in the underground press. Affter a series of lineup changes the band set about recording their debut "Shade of Fate". The result is a tour de force of progressive metal that will appeal to fans of Dream Theater, Vanden Plas and Queensryche. Pantommind use gorgeous symphonic soundscapes as a backdrop for intricate keyboard solos, crunch-filled guitar riffs and pure soaring vocals. This is a band poised to capture the imagination of progressive metal fans around the world. Sensory's release of "Shade Of Fate" also features two exclusive bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • Third album from this Spanish power metal band. Solid if you cling to that overblown Rhapsody meets Symphony X style.
    $9.00
  • Here's one I never thought I would see... "The Battle" is marketed under the name Allen/Lande...those being Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (Ark, Masterplan). In actuality, the mastermind behind the project is Magnus Karlsson, the guitarist of Last Tribe and Starbreaker. He uses the singers individually and combined to interesting effect. Essentially an album of melodic metal it occassionally strays into the upper echelons due to the participation of these magnificent frontmen.
    $14.00
  • German import digibook comes with 3 exclusive bonus tracks. "All eyes are on Gus G., especially from the casual mainstream heavy music follower who probably just discovered this axe-slinger’s skill set taking over for Zakk Wylde as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitar man. Those of us stalwart metal maniacs know Gus from his work in Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage, and Dream Evil through the years, but Firewind has always been his main original productive act, releasing five power metal albums prior to Days of Defiance. Does this latest album deserve wider adulation and popularity? I would safely say that following the 35-second acoustic opening to “The Ark of Lies”, Gus comes out of the gates with a fireball riff attack and vocalist Apollo Papathanasio delivers the complementary blues based melodic metal pipes you expect much like the old Dio/Blackmore or Coverdale/Sykes days. As a band, Firewind prefer to keep the emphasis on catchy verse/chorus oriented material, leaving most of the shake and bake instrumental flexing for the solos or brief interludes like the keyboard galaxy event “The Departure” or the 5-minute plus sans vocals “SKG” where keyboardist/guitarist Bob Katsionis puts on a speed finger play clinic of the neo-classical kind. Those who love faster numbers that showcase drum work fueled by hurricane arm/leg movement, a firm keyboard underpinning and the back and forth chemistry that classic singers and guitarists feed off of should delight in the Rainbow-like “Heading For the Dawn” and “When All Is Said.” Contrasting that material you can count on a few tracks with definite commercial potential- such as the Riot-meets-Maiden dynamic within “Chariot” or the quieter power ballad “Broken” where Apollo’s bluesy charm shines. Days of Defiance contains the desired balance between the average Firewind follower’s expectations and the five piece’s insistence to challenge themselves in terms of technique and songwriting ability. If pushed correctly, Gus G and Firewind could get used to a hefty touring cycle and bigger sales as this clearly is their most accomplished album to date. - Matt Coe/blistering.com
    $17.00
  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of the first ever boxed set celebrating the solo work of Genesis founding member Tony Banks. A CHORD TOO FAR is a deluxe 4 CD set comprising 48 songs and pieces, all personally selected by Tony. Many tracks have been remixed exclusively for this collection and have been drawn from his seven solo and two orchestral albums; A CURIOUS FEELING, THE FUGITIVE, THE WICKED LADY (film score), SOUNDTRACKS , BANKSTATEMENT, STILL, STRICTLY INC. and his orchestral albums SEVEN – A SUITE FOR ORCHESTRA and SIX PIECES FOR ORCHESTRA.A CHORD TOO FAR also includes four previously unreleased tracks, three of which are keyboard demos of his orchestral suites. The fourth is a piece originally written for the album STILL. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 as a member of Genesis, Tony is one of the most respected songwriters and keyboardists in the world. His career spans almost 50 years and has seen him sell in excess of 130 million albums . His body of work is as innovative as it is eclectic. Genesis’ avant-garde style made them one of progressive rock’s founding fathers in the 1970s, creating an experimental style of rock music never before seen. They went on to produce music with a greater pop sensibility in the 1980s that saw them become one of the biggest selling bands of the decade, and play stadiums throughout the world.Tony Banks’ solo work has continued in the same vein. His rock albums have included collaborations with some of the world’s most respected musicians including singers Toyah Wilcox, Fish and Nick Kershaw , bassist Pino Pallodino , and drummers Steve Gadd and Vinnie Colaiuta , as well as long time Genesis collaborators Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson . He has composed original scores for four films The Shout (1978), The Wicked Lady (1983), Starship (1985) and Quicksilver (1986) and most recently his orchestral albums, Seven: A Suite for Orchestra and Six Pieces for Orchestra, that were performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra."
    $55.00
  • Andy Latimer goes Celtic!
    $20.00
  • "Right from the start, a vastly different Weather Report emerges here, one that reflects co-leader Joe Zawinul's developing obsession with the groove. It is the groove that rules this mesmerizing album, leading off with the irresistible 3/4 marathon deceptively tagged as the "Boogie Woogie Waltz" and proceeding through a variety of Latin-grounded hip-shakers. It is a record of discovery for Zawinul, who augments his Rhodes electric piano with a funky wah-wah pedal, unveils the ARP synthesizer as a melodic instrument and sound-effects device, and often coasts along on one chord. The once fiery Wayne Shorter has been tamed, for he now contributes mostly sustained ethereal tunes on soprano sax, his tone sometimes doubled for a pleasing octave effect. The wane of freewheeling ensemble interplay is more than offset by the big increase in rhythmic push; bassist Miroslav Vitous, drummer Eric Gravatt, and percussionist Dom Um Romao are now cogs in one of jazz's great swinging machines." - All Music Guide
    $7.00