The Distortion Field

SKU: FRW-CD-US2000
Label:
FRW Music
Category:
Doom Metal
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"Chicago metal legends TROUBLE return with their first album since 'Simple Mind Condition', released in 2007. The album entitled 'The Distortion Field' features 13 tracks and will be released by FRW Music in North America on July 16th 2013 and in Europe on July 26th, 2013.

'The Distortion Field' makes history in the TROUBLE camp through the band's acquisition of a new lead vocalist, Kyle Thomas of Exorder and Floodgate fame.

Commenting on new vocalist Thomas, TROUBLE founder and guitarist Rick Wartell says, "Kyle is one of the most impressive singers I've ever heard, and by far the most extraordinary singer I've ever had the pleasure of working with. He's got incredible range, incredible power, and an incredible knowledge of TROUBLE, as he's been a fan for 20-something years. We've known him forever, and he innately understands what TROUBLE is about. He's like the perfect guy to come in and do this job. It's awesome."

Veteran Music Producer Bill Metoyer is once again lending his expertise, having previously worked with the band on 'The Skull' and 'Trouble', both Metal Blade releases.

"Musically, I think this album is a true TROUBLE record.", states Wartell. "In the early days, we used to just write what we felt and didn't really care about what anyone said. We just wrote heavy riffs and played our music our way. But outside influences can kind of get a hold of you and start telling you what to do. When we were writing this album, the thinking was, we don't care what anybody thinks. We're going to write what we write. So this is basically a return to our roots, while combining some reflections of our band's long history as well. With the two different music writers, Bruce and myself, we have a slight variation in our writing; Bruce has more of a '70s groove to his writing, and I'm more the old school doomy metal thing. And when you put it together, you get TROUBLE.""

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  • "As we’ve been chronicling all year long, 2013 has been a great year for Norwegian progressive metal with some excellent progressive power metal from Illusion Suite, Tellus Requiem and Pellek, the new album by the long-running prog metal band Divided Multitude, the fantastic new album by Leprous and the exciting debut by Withem (you can read our review here).  Now, into that great mix the young band Vicinity has just released their debut full -length album, Awakening and it easily stands with the best of what their countrymen have produced this year. The band works in a decidedly melodic and dramatic fashion anchored around the wonderful voice of Alexander Lykke, the multi-faceted guitars of Kim-Marius Olsen and the powerful drumming of Frode Lillevold.  Interestingly there are no keyboards on the album (except for a few background sounds for effects) which wasn’t readily apparent to me at first because the songs are so well written and the vocal melodies are so strong. Olsen multi-tracks soft and harder textures to really give the album a rich sound.  The album has a great full sound and was mastered by the prolific Jens Bogren.Awakening is an hour long album but only has six songs.  Three are in the 11-14 minute range and the other three are between 5-6 minutes. The longer songs are not really more complex, but just feel necessary to the structure of each song which is really a testament to the band’s composition style -- the band will do a long song if warranted but works well in both long and short song formats.  The album begins with Mass Delusion which starts as a high-energy rocker but has a great instrumental mid-section that propels the song to its energetic conclusion. Opportunities Lost is the longest song on the album at over 14 minutes and is a deceptively simple song that consistently builds tension throughout the piece, alternates between short instrumental interludes, both soft and hard, and has a great vocal melody that ends in a wonderfully dramatic finale. Again, it’s fairly simple in structure but is so well written that I couldn’t believe it was as long as it was.  I was reminded of what great neo-progressive bands like IQ often do so well -- take a great idea and vary and expand on it to great emotional conclusions.  Across The River is a shorter, five minute song and is mostly a ballad that builds in intensity throughout to a powerful finale.   Walk All The Way is an 11-minute song that’s easily my favorite on the album as its got some of the most beautiful vocals on Awakening, has the heaviest section on the album right in the middle (complete with some harsher vocals for contrast and intensity) before building to a wonderfully majestic finale.  Olsen also really shines here as well with some great emotional soloing.  The Time For Change is next and it’s yet another amazing power ballad that shows, yet again how well this band can create drama and excitement.  The album ends with the 11 minute album title song that has a fairly heavy opening section but ends with a stunningly beautiful epic finish.  Honestly there’s not a weak moment on this album and if dramatic and emotionally affective progressive metal is your cup of tea, this album will hit you hard.Awakening is a really, really solid album that has so much going for it. It’s got a great, joyously youthful spirit and is decidedly focused on the emotional content instead of trying to wow the listener with technicality.   Vicinity is primarily a band of great melodic songwriters and they have the perfect vocalist in Lykke to carry out their vision of exciting  progressive music and if they continue on this path could really make some waves in this great genre." - Prog Metal Zone
    $15.00
  • "Don’t let the Appearance Of Nothing distract you from hearing A New Beginning, because, despite such deception, there’s a lot to be enjoyed from one of Switzerland’s few progressive metal bands. I’ve decided to adopt a policy of responding to stupid band names with stupid puns, and I won’t stop until they do. Appearance Of Nothing plays straightforward melodic progressive metal that’s heavy on the melodic. The band has been around for about ten years, and this is their third album. For fans of their first two albums, as well as fans of the more accessible forms of progressive metal, this is a very strong release.Expect synth and guitar heavy music. Every song is carried by crunchy rhythm guitars, and I’m happy to report that the recording and production is spot on to allow them to really shine. As far as distinct strengths of the album: look no further the choruses. Every single one, particularly on the daunting 14 minute title track, is remarkably catchy. This memorability, along with the consistently driving pace of the album, makes it a very easy and enjoyable listen. The lead vocal performance is also pretty great, and the songwriting even manages to accommodate interspersed harsh vocals. Usually throwing harsh vocals into melodic prog is a quick turn-off for me, but I applaud Appearance Of Nothing for pulling it off.Where drawbacks are concerned, I can’t point to any specific “problems”, but there are a few minor disappointments. For a pretty heavy synth presence, strong vocals, and ample songwriting diversity, I was disappointed with the overall atmosphere of the album. While the songs were certainly strong, they lacked a unique identity. This isn’t so much a drawback as it is lost potential for a band that’s got everything else they need to be really, really good.Certainly check out the single “Chains Of History”, as well as the title track. As common to great progressive music, it’s often that the longest song ought to be the best, and that’s certainly true here with the title track. I again applaud solid work from the studio to draw out a powerful performance so that it actually sounds powerful. Where technically proficient progressive metal meets great melodies and an excellent performance, you can’t go wrong." - Black Wind Metal
    $15.00
  • "Annysia is a Symphonic Power Metal band from Spain, led by lead vocalist, Rose Mack. The obligatory instrumental, The Essence Of A New Born Star is a well written one, that builds up tension in the beginning of the disc much like a movie soundtrack to an epic battle movie. The operatic stylings of Mack can be heard immediately over a harpischord-laden keyboard effect before the rest of the band kicks in. She definitely has a style of her own, and the music behind her is well played. The highest range of her vocals on this song, show her range, though I think an octave lower is more in her power range. The guitar solo on the other hand sounds out of place, but it may be the production of the song,. Nephilim starts out much in the same vein, though the vocals during the verses are a little more subdued and similar to Liv Kristine in Leave's Eyes. The growly/black metal vocals on this particular song don't do much for me here. The brief but arppegio-laden guitar solo is again well played, and a better fit here. Battle of Mystics is the first track I heard from the band, and honestly the vocal gymnastics in the beginning and during parts of the song, show Mack's talent, but they are done a little too much for my taste, though the song itself is very good. Actually musically this is probably my favorite track on the disc Demontia is a track I could not get into, but musically is not a bad song. Fairysins though, features Mack and a soft piano. Her vocals on this song shows her unique tone, and her wheelhouse when it comes to her range. This song is actually quite beautiful. The epic-ness of Valkyrie is not just in its almost nine minute length, but the music as well. Mack commands her range throughout the entire song, and the twin guitar lead melody is well played. I am not sure if I like the lead tone of the guitar that much, its a little fuzzy for my taste, but the musicianship is definitely there. The previously mentioned death/black metal vocals make an appearance here, and again does nothing for me except take away from Mack's solid performance.Again the fuzzy guitar tone comes back on the beginning of Redemption though when it meshes with the symphonic parts it does not sound as bad. Straying from her operatic range for most the song, Mack shows that she can again, subdue her range, even on a much faster song. The ability for her to sing like this, without her sounding like she is singing in a monotone is a compliment to her abilities. Lost Soul is another piano song, showing the sweeping vocals of Mack. The expression “Less is more,” best explains her vocals on this song, and it was definitely the right call. The instrumental of Captain's Song shows her bandmates definitely have talent themselves, and it is a pretty damn good instrumental. Another standout song is the mid paced, Pirates Of The Sea. The male operatic vocals are too low in the mix to be heard clear enough, though they are much better than the “Blackened” ones of earlier. Nivek is next, and is another epic song in its song structure. For the seven minutes it runs, it pretty much hits all the right marks. With headphones on though, Mack's vocals could have been produced a little better,and be heard a little louder. Much like the disc begins, it ends with an instrumental track, an outro.While the imperfections do come to head when you hear the disc as a whole, Annysia's debut is actually a well written, if only inconsistently produced disc. The disc does have its highs, with strong songwriting and Mack's powerhouse vocals. I do believe in some songs, the band is trying to be as epic as possibly when possibly a little more restrain could have been used. Again most of this criticism is personal opinion, and every listener will have their own opinion. As a whole, this is a great start for a new band, who is obviously full of talented musicians. Let us hope for a label to find the band, and for stronger production values next time." - Metal Review
    $13.00
  • This was a long tune that was a staple of DT's early stage show but never recorded. They finally tracked it (when Derek Sherinian was in the band) and it may well be the most overtly prog thing they ever did. Comes with live bonus material recorded at the Marquee Club in which the band does a load of cover versions. Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • "Back in the late eighties and early nineties I was a huge fan of that eras best thrash metal. Bands like Slayer, Testament, Death Angel, and Forbidden drew me in with machine gun double bass drums, lighting fast rhythms, and aggressive vocals. One Machine is the brainchild of guitarist Steve Smyth, best known for his stints in some of metals finest bands including Nevermore, Forbidden, Dragonlord, Vicious Rumours, and Testament, a stellar resume to be certain! For One Machine’s debut album, Smyth has formed a band that is compromised of a who’s who in the world of extreme/underground metal who were carefully selected by Smyth: Mikkel Sandager (Mercenary) on vocals, Jamie Hunt (Biomechanical) sharing guitar duties, rounded out by a powerhouse rhythm section with Tomas “O’Beast” Koefoed (Mnemic) on bass guitar and Michele Sanna on drums (although former drummer Raphael Saini of Italian progressive metallers Chaoswave played on the album). The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth was recorded and produced by Steve Smyth. Mixing was handled by guitarist extraordinaire Roy Z (Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Halford), mastered by Alan Douches (Three Inches Of Blood, Firewind, Sepultura) from West West Side Music with artwork created by Niklas Sundin from Cabin Fever Media (Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy), complimented with photography from Anthony Dubois (Meshuggah, Mnemic).The songs harken back to the 80′s Bay Area thrash movement of bands like Early Metallica, Testament, Death Angel, Exodus, and Forbidden and melds it with the classic metal style of Painkiller era Judas Priest and the melody of Vicious Rumours. Lead vocalist Sandager sings clean for the majority of the album but can growl out some extreme growl vocals as well as ear piercing screams that would make Rob Halford proud. He also has a vocal similarity to Russ from Forbidden in places (Crossed Over). Unlike a lot of their thrash metal forefathers, the band has a penchant for writing choruses with melodic and catchy hooks (Armchair Warriors). The music is chaotic at times (Killing The Hope Inside) almost to the point of no return, only to transition into a melodic passage that brings things back from the abyss. The guitar solos are as frenzied and speedy as the songs, at times reminding me of classic Slayer. What you have here are ten no nonsense slamming brutally heavy tracks that will make you want to jump in the pit. The title track sets the tone for the album with neck snapping, whiplash inducing headbanging thrash metal. There are some lighter moments such as in Kill The Light Inside and most notably the dark and moody mid-tempo of Last Star Alights, but for the most part, each song on the album takes a turn pummeling the listener with heavy riffs and brutal rhythms (see Evict the Enemy).One Machine is a band with a tremendous upside and possible crossover potential in the mainstream metal market with the right promotional push. Fans of Smyth’s revious work in Testament, Forbidden, and Nevermore will find a lot to love about this band, while fans of more melodic fare might be surprised to find lots of catchy melodies and hook laden choruses to sink their teeth into!" - Lady Obscure
    $15.00
  • Digipak with one bonus track."The symphonic metal outfit from Germany, Voices of Destiny returns with a new singer Ada Flechtner (ex-Coronatus) and their 3rd album “Crisis Cult”; since changing vocalists is often one of the biggest decisions a band can make, you had better make sure that you have found the right one. Well, in listening to “Crisis Cult”, I couldn’t help but think to myself that Ada is the perfect choice to be the bands new female voice.“Crisis Cult” is basically a concept record. Lyrically it is perhaps the bands best and musically they straddle the line between head banging metal and a more melodic tone, but all of the songs have a bombastic element. The majority of the vocals are handled by Ada, but keyboardist Lukas Palme also contributes with his grunting vocals. The opening “Intro” seamlessly segues into the track “Wolfpack”. This is a heavy yet melodic track with the two differing vocal styles on full display. Songs like “The Easy Prey”, “To the Slaughter” and “21 Heroes” are all solid. The track “At The Edge” is a great big powerful ballad which features a duet between Ada and Manuela Kraller (ex-Xandria). The band returns to their bombastic best with the heavy melodicism of “Stormcrow”.With “Crisis Cult”  Voices of Destiny turn in a cool album featuring excellent performances from all of the members; if you are already a fan of the band, “Crisis Cult” will not disappoint." - Femme Metal Webzine
    $16.00
  • Finally - an official pro-shot DVD of the band's performance in Sao Paolo, Brazil from 2006. You also get a documentary filmed on the band's Rocket Ride world tour and 4 video clips.
    $17.00
  • "When cooking up one of your favorite old recipes, sometimes adding different spices and/or ingredients to the usual mixture will excite your taste buds, and in the end, bettering the original formula. The same can be said for music, and CRYSTAL BALL is a perfect example. As one of Europe’s hard rock mainstays for better than a decade, after the release of their 2007 album, “Secrets”, the band took a break from recording for a few years. They returned in 2013, after adding a new vocalist to the mix, with the album “Dawnbreaker”, and their musical recipe was perfected. And now in 2015, with renewed energy and passion, along with a brand new album, they are set to prove that some things only get better with time.On their 8th studio album, “LifeRider”, CRYSTAL BALL has masterfully blended in a bit more AOR presence with their usual dose of Melodic Heavy Metal and pounding Power Metal elements, creating a hybrid sound that is crafted to please the Metal masses. Consisting Scott Leach on guitar, Markus Flury on guitar, Cris Stone on bass, and Marcel Sardella on drums, and Steven Mageney on vocals, this seriously talented band is offering up, what I believe to be, their best album to date.The opening track, “Mayday”, is a true rock anthem, and with its big infectious chorus, this one will be stuck in your head for days. “Eye To Eye” (featuring the great Noora Louhimo from BATTLE BEAST) is a track that displays all of the elements that have made this band great; power metal guitar chords, massive melody, and powerful lead vocals. On the song “Hold Your Flag”, I picked up a lot of DIO influences; heavy rhythmic guitars and dark melodies, and Mageney’s vocals really shine, summoning a strong “Sacred Heart” vibe. Speaking of Ronnie Jame Dio, they’ve included two songs made a famous by the great one himself, “Sacred Heart” (DIO) and “Sign of the Southern Cross”(BLACK SABBATH), and to be honest, these classic covers gave me chills. But by far, my favorite song on this album is “Gods of Rock”. Opening with a bluesy groove riff, this is one of the heaviest Traditional Heavy Metal songs on this offering (along with “Rock of Life” and “LifeRider”) and will definitely leave you with a stiff neck after just one listen. They do show their softer side on “Bleeding”, an AOR style ballad that showcases Mageney’s lower register to perfection. Great song! There is not a weak moment anywhere to be found on this 15 song release and should, without question, solidify CRYSTAL BALL’s headliner status.“LifeRider” was one of the releases I looked forward to the most in 2015, and it did not disappoint. CRYSTAL BALL will definitely gain traction with this release and should be playing to massive crowds whenever they take the stage. Sometimes there are questions when a successful band changes faces, especially the lead singer, but with two great albums under their belt, and “LifeRider” being one of the best I’ve heard this year, the future looks brighter than ever for this amazing band. If you’re a fan of AOR, Melodic Heavy Metal, or Power Metal, this album comes highly recommended." - Metal Temple
    $16.00
  • Epic, bombastic, crazy over the top, power metal from Italay a la Rhapsody Of Fire."Somewhere in Italy there lies a well. In that well, there exists a special water that most Italian musicians drink from to obtain the gifts that few possess in the music world. After hearing Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody reach the sky with “Ascending to Infinity,” I thought it was nearly unattainable for any band to come close to it ever, let alone within months after its release. In fact, I thought the only band with a shot to match it would be Rhapsody of Fire....until now. Suddenly up from the fires of Hades...er, the former Olympic city of Turin, rumbles Sound Storm with its sophomore effort, “Immortalia.” Rather than presenting its form of symphonic power as “Rhapsody straight up,” Sound Storm serves it up as “Rhapsody and Wuthering Heights with a twist of jalapeño.” With its own modus operandi, Sound Storm expands the sound by adding a touch of extreme, which to me spells pure excitement.Like Parmigianino painting a beautiful landscape in the 1500's, Sound Storm paints its own masterpiece with each band member adding broad strokes to the soundscape of "Immortalia." Melody upon melody, the album is relentless in its ability to wrangle the imagination of the listener. The mesh of masterful guitar work from Valerio Sbriglione and the perfect atmosphere cast by keyboardist Alessandro Muscio, amid the thundering rapid fire drumming of Federico Brignolo and bass work of Massimiliano Flak, set up the devastating vocals of Phillippe D’Orange (a/k/a Filippo Arancio). The huge standout is the band’s use of harsh vocals a la Sbriglione, which accent D’Orange’s soaring “Fabo Lione meets Nils Patrik Johansson” range in a way that surpasses the male/female “beauty and beast” style.With Sound Storm’s unique approach, there is something for everyone within this 58 minute opus. Here the band covers an element sorely missing on many European power metal releases - a nod to the extreme. After witnessing Fabio Lione screeching near black metal on Rhapsody of Fire’s dazzling “Reign of Terror,” it hit me that symphonic power acts could add this little touch and change the very complexion of an album. It certainly doesn’t need to be overpowering or draw any attention away from the pageantry. On “Immortalia,” Sound Storm employs this tool as a secret weapon on songs like “Call Me Devil,” “The Curse of the Moon,” and “Faraway,” the latter of which is one of the finest on the album. It took some time to pick the winner when every song shines, but the rapid fire riff reminiscent of Rock N Rolf on “Wrath of the Storm” completely satisfied an undying hunger for speed.One of the things I really appreciate about this album is meticulous attention to the smallest of details. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the sweeping majestic symphony of the album, but there are tons of little sounds, time changes, and little inflections that come out from nowhere to grasp the listener. Few albums gave me so much enjoyment from start to finish because of this. Right then, you want examples: how about the stunning duet of D’Orange and guest vocalist Ilaria Lucille on both “Blood of Maiden” and “Call Me Devil” with Sbriglione’s evil grunts circling them both like a serpent. Or perhaps the “modern day Beethoven” composition in the middle of “The Curse of the Moon,” or the little psychotic guitar whips on the main verses of “Promises.” Add to those the beautiful piano interlude at the start of “Faraway,” and the heavily Middle Eastern influenced “Seven Veils.”“Immortalia” quite simply puts the band’s debut “Twilight Opera” to shame. The song writing and compositions are truly remarkable. There is no doubt “Immortalia” will top my list for 2012, as it has already crept into the same company as some of my all time favorite releases...just like that.Highs: Some of the most breathtaking compositions in symphonic power metal.Lows: Fans who desire less orchestration will find this gaudy.Bottom line: Sound Storm's sophomore effort is undoubtedly "Immortalia."" - Metal Underground
    $15.00
  • "A Hauntingly Beautiful and Dark Sophomore Effort. Get it before the darkness comes...Anais Nin said "we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are".That is the absolute truth - in life and in great art, literature, and music. It speaks to you in a deeply personal way. The artist's specific intent, the story behind the story, matters not. What does matter is that when you interact with what the artist has wrought, you feel something. You feel as if it was created especially for you, about you, your life, your life experience. It speaks to you. It makes you stop in your tracks and forces you pay attention. It touches something deep in your soul."The Final Breath Before November" is that album. Edison's Children is that artist. Artists is more accurate. This masterwork showcases vocalists and multi-instrumentalists and Eric Blackwood and Pete Trewavas, drummer Henry Rogers, and backing vocalist Wendy Farrell-Pastore, who also designed the release's haunting artwork. The album was mixed by a virtual Who's Who of Progressive Rock including King Crimson's Jakko Jakszyk, Marillion's Mike Hunter, It Bites' John Mitchell, Robin Boult, and Pete Trewavas.Yes. It is a ghost story. But, that is the most simplistic view of what it is.It is a love story. It illustrates the power of love. It drives us to do crazy things. It endures after death. It endures across time and space. It reminds us that people never really leave you. They linger in the ether, in your heart, in your mind. Their essence stays behind to watch over you.It is also a cautionary tale. It is a warning not to act harshly or rashly. Don't do things that you can not come back from. Don't make mistakes you can not fix. Once things have been done (or said), you can never take them back. You can never get back to the place where you once were. You can never go home again. No matter how much you want to. No matter how hard you try. You just can't.It is a reminder that we have to let go of the pain, hurt, anger, regret and whatever else we have pent up inside ourselves. If we don't let go of all those things, we become stuck and can't move on. We remain in the same place all of our lives. The same physical place. The same emotional place. The same spiritual place. Stuck. Never growing. Never changing. Never becoming who or what we were supposed to be. We remain a shadow of ourselves, forever trapped in a darkness of our own making.It is a reminder that we have to face our demons. They will come at us over and over again until we do. If we don't, they will be back and they will try to pull us down to even darker places. Over and over again. We will be stuck in the mire for our lifetime, for eternity if we don't.What this album says to me is that love is a powerful thing. The most powerful thing in the Universe. But, in the end, you have to let go of those you love. People change. People die. Relationships change. Relationships end. If you keep holding onto someone who is no longer with you, then you can't move on. Not until you let go. You can't be truly happy. You can't feel the sunshine. You can't walk into the light. You destined to live in a hell (or a purgatory) of your own creation. Unless you let go." - ProgArchives.com
    $12.00
  • "These guys might be late to the party, but deserve every bit of your attention regardless. This album really took me unawares, being my first experience with this fairly new yet incredibly accomplished sounding female fronted Australian unit. Their seemingly auto-generated band name may not inspire a lot of confidence, but nonetheless, on Liberator, Divine Ascension serve up progressive power metal of the highest rank. Really any power metal fan craving something heavy and guitar driven is urged in the strongest possible terms to have a look.Vigorous and eager to prove itself at every turn, this is a very full-bodied, attacking presentation, almost bringing Outworld to mind in its all-out directness. For prog/power, Liberator is a veritable ass-stomping of ripping riffs and lead runs, and a metal album first and foremost. Think Mercenary's crunching, at times Gothenburg-flavored axework and you're close. Neck muscles aching, airguitar strings breaking; not what I typically look to this sub-genre for, but there you have it. Keyboards and symphonic elements are given no less priority, being remarkably well arranged and produced and naturally composed in harmony with the metal. Orchestral arrangements in the vein of Rhapsody and Nightwish are employed, as are more electronic strains of bands like Pagan's Mind and Edenbridge. There's a lot going on on top of the already busy guitar work, but every piece of it is complementary, making for music that is constantly epic, and constantly heavy as bricks without the need to sacrifice one for the other. Sit back and soak in the chorus of "Stronger": total Within Temptation-style bombast and grandeur ala "The Howling," but made even more intense by big, riffy guitars that chug and harmonize along with some truly serene keyboard arrangements. It's one of the most stirring, spine-chilling metal moments I've heard in years.The label "progressive" in metal is elusive and subject to debate, but these guys I think make a decent claim for it, other than through sheer genre trappings (i.e. sounding more like Symphony X than Helloween). Key and time changes abound, keyboards and guitars play off each other in creative ways, and individual riffs and whole song structures both often detour from paths conventional. The band is confident in their ability to draw in the listener by piling on cool instrumental parts, and so the songs on Liberator often take a minute or so to establish before the vocals start doing their part, without ever feeling slow in getting to the point. So much going on and so much of it good: between all instruments, most songs here carry enough good ideas to provide for two songs for other bands. This is not as restrained and subtle an affair as something like The Black Halo (although Kamelot's heavier bits are at times not a far off comparison for style), but there's nary a sense of overreaching or a "more is less"-kind of effect. The intro of "Hideaway", by Gods go jam that shit: somber yet lush ambience straight out of a movie score, then razor sharp Children of Bodom-like axe ripping ("Black Widow" is a good point of comparison for the whole intro) that twists and mutates a bit until SMASH descend the fast double bass drums interlocked with another rousing riff that just leaps from the speakers – so much is accomplished within the first minute, and hey, there's the splendid remaining 80% of the song waiting to greet you beyond that! The album as whole is truly an exhilirating but also dynamic and not at all wearying listen.Vocalist Jennifer Borg is a somewhat unconventional but expert choice, as she delivers a more restrained performance than the rest of the group. Not weak or unenthusiastic; restrained, like the best kind of actor who knows to best serve the movie or play at hand by stepping into and becoming a character without feeling the need to draw attention to oneself by "putting on a show." Big vocal acrobatics or soothing, "angelic" stylings expected of female vox in a symphonic metal band are not what she's about, and needn't be. Utilizing a lower and narrower range than usual for the style and putting aside excessive drama, Borg's vocal lines give off so much soul, power and depth with subtle elements. All in all, a mature (horribly cliché word in music critique, but I insist) and dignified effort that contributes a good deal of artistry and uniqueness to the package.Throughout the album's 64 minute filler-free runtime, it amazes me how many typical genre pitfalls the Aussie sextet manages to sidestep. Excessive and confusing technicality for the sake of being "prog" that just kills the flow? Nope. Dragging "atmospheric" sections where nothing happens just to have variation? Also not here. Aiming for "epic" but arriving at "pretentious?" Look elsewhere! At least the closing acoustic ballad is an insufferable cheesefest, right? Actually, power/prog's poignant answer to "More than Words" is more like it, what with its percussive guitar slapping bringing that one to mind. If I'm going to dock the album for SOMETHING, well, "The Final Stand" does feature a real pet peeve of mine: that gimmick where the sound mix goes from demo/wet towel on speakers at its onset, to proper studio quality at a flip of a switch (e.g. Slayer - Ghosts of War). I find it overused and generic to the point of befitting the band moniker, but it doesn't hurt the song much and I've heard it done worse.Prog/power is rarely where I look for new metal these days; the genre's heyday is long gone and that may be for the best. That's not to say I'll disregard an island of brilliance like this one though. Good art is good art and while Liberator may sound a decade old, it still exhibits an identity of its own, cool chops aplenty and little triteness. Could Australia simply be a decade behind on this brand of metal, and thus less mined for talent than Europe or South America? Oh, I do hope. For the follow-up, I'd be curious to see how DA can expand their sound from here; perhaps adding elements from more modern metal would help revitalize the genre some? Until then, this is one shining example of tried-and-true that I wouldn't want my worst enemy to miss out on." - Metal Archives
    $17.00
  • "Symphonic Power/Progressive metal group Wind Rose are sure to impress with this epic new album Wardens Of The West Wind. If you appreciate groups like the rousing metal bands Fairyland and Blind Guardian then I do suggest that you give Wind Rose a go.This is their second full-length album, and although I haven't heard Wind Roses's first Shadows Over Lothadruin from what I have read as impressive as that album was the Italian band has stepped up their game with Wardens Of The West Wind. That very cool cover art is by Felipe Machado Franco his other work can be seen on metal albums by the likes of Blind Guardian, Brainstorm, Rage and Rhapsody Of Fire. Bass player/producer Cristiano Bertocchi a former member of the prominent Italian metal groups Labyrinth and Vision Divine had also spent time working with Wind Rose and he joined the band in 2014.Folk ingredients are present and with the inviting sounds of traditional instruments and male chants on "Where Dawn And Shadows Begin" this is the precursor to some rather spirited metal on "Age Of Conquest". "Heavenly Minds" is very memorable with a touch of Symphony X in the chorus. Though the band is inspired by Symphony X and also Blind Guardian and Dream Theater. Wind Rose's songs really captivate, Francesco Cavalieri's excellent lead and those male group vocals are very likeable and they are integrated to great effect. The musical side of Wind Rose is also riveting with a fair degree of complexity, power and that symphonic charm plus while yes it's present Wind Rose's songs aren't constantly locked in rapid metal mode.The longest track a potent epic called "Skull and Crossbones" is just over seven minutes, but there is no need for those over extended songs on Wardens Of The West Wind when the ten on offer should more satisfy your epic musical needs. Wardens Of The Wind should go a long way to ensure a steady increase in the number of Wind Rose fans." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00
  • Groundbreaking 1981 album features Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford joined by Tony Levin and Adrian Belew. Amazing interlocking guitarwork between Fripp and Belew foreshadows Crafty Guitar.
    $15.00
  • "UNARMED Best Of 25th Anniversary is Helloween's thank-you to millions of fans old and new and will prove their exceptional position on the international metal scene. Instead of putting together a regular greatest hits compilation featuring their most successful tracks to celebrate this anniversary, the five band members completely rearranged the greatest melodies they had written in the course of their career to date. The album features Supercharge s exceptional saxophonist Albie Donnelly, Hellsongs s vocalist Harriet Ohlsson, pianist Matthias Ulmer, plus the 70-piece Prague Symphonic Orchestra and the choirs of the Gregorian singers!As a special surprise, Helloween have come up with 'The Keeper´s Trilogy,' a stunning 17-minute medley of the songs 'Halloween,' 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys,' and 'The King For A 1000 Years,' recorded in cooperation with the Prague Symphonic Orchestra and likely to send shivers of delight down the spine of every Helloween fan."
    $13.00