The Freak Is Alive

The Freak Is Alive

BY Momentum

(Customer Reviews)
$12.00
$ 7.20
SKU: KAR089CD
Label:
Dark Essence
Category:
Post Metal
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"There’s something to be said for the willingness to change. Some bands get stuck in the mud, developing a signature sound and then finding that they are unable to shake free of it. Iceland’s Momentum is not one of those bands. The band technically started in 2002 as a one-man black metal act called Afsprengi Satans. The first transformation came a year or two later as drummer Kristján Gudmundsson began to add musicians that could help play his music in a live setting. Those early sounds ranged from black metal to death metal, and the Momentum moniker arose out of the realization that this wasn’t the same band that Gudmundsson had started.

As the band has progressed, from their first recorded demo Death to Christianity to their newest release The Freak is Alive, they have mutated into a three-piece progressive sludge/doom act. Kristján Gudmundsson is still playing drums, with bandmates Ingvar Sæmundsson and Hörður Ólafsson handling guitar and bass duties, respectively. With tinges of post-metal and deep clean vocals that are reminiscent of some kind of Gregorian chant, Momentum certainly does not rest on their laurels.

he Freak is Alive is an album I picked up simply because I thought both the title and album artwork were a little ridiculous. I had no prior experience with Momentum, but I was immediately taken with Holaf’s vocal stylings. The album’s lead off track ‘Bury The Eyes Once Gold’ is one of my favorites, and demonstrates the range in Holaf’s voice. His howls are intense and full of emotion, while his clean singing is low and haunting. The track starts off heavy and sets the tone for the rest of the record. ‘Between Two Worlds’ has opens with a clean, melancholy guitar progression. Other standout tracks include ‘Gauntlet’, a six-minute journey that makes use of a sitar, and ‘Creator of Malignant Metaphors’ with its intricate guitar lead. The record has a gloomy, heavy feeling that is well represented in the first two tracks and carried through final seconds of sound. Whether the guitars are clean or distorted, whether the vocals are clean or howling, The Freak is Alive stays heavy and a little sad.

Momentum makes good use of odd time signatures, strings and sitar, and melds progressive and post-metal with sludge in a really interesting way. My only issue with the album is that by the time I get to the final two tracks, ‘Undercover Imagination’ and ‘Depth of the Whole’, the melancholia is played out. The last two tracks don’t grab your attention the way the earlier songs do. It leaves the ending of the album weak. Overall though, I appreciate and enjoy what Momentum has done on this record. I’m very glad to have discovered this treasure from Iceland, and I certainly recommend you dive into their previous albums." - Echoes And Dust
 

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Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you’re anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård’s small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård’s last show prior to their 1994 breakup. 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While there’s nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I’ve ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård’s next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn’t kill anyone, I’ll start right off with the new song: ”Introvertus Fugu Part 1.” Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it’s our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that “Introvertus” shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif,  and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. 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The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as “Sorgmantel” takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful… even breathtaking.To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with “Kung Bore” and “Sista Somrar.” Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of “Sista Somrar’s” slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.In my opinion, Prog på Svenska—Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don’t want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there’s just something missing, or the band simply doesn’t offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of ‘had to have been there’ to get what’s so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård’s latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn’t a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård’s extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs." - Progulator
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  • AlieNatura is the second album from this superb band playing in the classic "rock progressivo italiano" style.  The band is led by keyboardist Elisa Montaldo, who is as impressive on the ears as she is on the eyes (pardon the sexist comment).  One of the strong points of the band's debut was the inclusion in the lineup of former Museo Rosenbach vocalist Lupi Galifi.  With MR reforming he's left Il Tempio Delle Clessidre.  The obvious concern is who could fill his shoes?  Apparently the unknown Francesco Ciapica.  Truth is he does a fine job.  The guy can sing.  He has that expressive style that fits this music so perfectly.  Beautiful symphonic keyboards, liquid guitar runs, phat Moog solos - this band has the sound down pat.  The Italian scene seems to be burgeoning with new RPI bands and I would classify Il Tempio Delle Clessidre right up there with La Maschera Di Cera.  That's saying something.  BUY OR DIE!
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  • "I have often likened being an author for an online music webzine as similar to being a treasure hunter, we sift through hours of detritus trying to find that gem of music composition that strikes a chord and has meaning, unlike the bubblegum pop of the mainstream world where it is all about money and marketing. True, the music that we champion and review may have little commercial success but, for the artist, this is the culmination of many hours of soul searching and downright hard work.These little gems of music are what I live for as a reviewer and, when you get a surprise release from out of the blue that simply knocks your socks clean off then, it makes it all worthwhile and puts a huge smile on my face.  That sensation of the hairs standing on the nape of my neck started again when I first heard Anton Roolaart’s new release ‘The Plight of Lady Oona’. This time, it wasn’t my discovery, this record was sent my way by Lady Obscure herself and, upon seeing the album cover, I was immediately hooked, as you should know by now, I’m always a sucker for an impressive album sleeve (showing my age there). As I worked my way through multiple listens, it wasn’t just the cover that impressed me.Anton Roolaart is a Dutch artist who lives in America, he has one previous album release, ‘Dreamer’ in 2007. Anton’s music is said to portray the quintessence of melodic progressive rock accompanied with lush orchestration, and this new release is certain to capture the listener’s attention once again. He does this with the help of some talented friends and musicians including Vinnie Puryear, Kendall Scott, Pieter van Hoorn, Rave Tesar and Michael Frasche. Renaissance’s Annie Haslam provides additional vocals on the title track. All songs were composed and produced by Anton with the help of co-producer Rave.You are immediately drawn into Anton’s lush cinemascapes and soundscapes with the brilliant Gravity, gentle, lush instrumentation accompanied by a plaintive vocal infuses the music with a sci-fi feeling, future music if you like. The relaxed yet uplifting tempo is central to the pathos of the track, it is atmospheric with the textured keyboards central to everything. There are hints of 70’s progressive rock in the slow, measured moog solo but, to these ears, it is a song that is set in the stars and the emptiness of space.Stars Fall Down is introduced by a lilting piano and breaking vocal, when the keyboards and laid back drums slip into place it has a real synth pop ethos. That 80’s feel is emphasised by the organ and catching vocal that increases in power as the track runs on. Another song that is food for a healthy intellect, another nice touch is the pared back, distorted solo that gives a smooth, ambient haze to the proceedings. This guy has more than one string to his impressive bow.If you are after an atmospheric, multi-faceted prog epic full of wonderful melodies, plot turns and structures then, look no further than title track The Plight of Lady Oona. Flute and acoustic guitar drift in with the mist at the beginning of the song, a folk influenced vocal and piano carry on the ambience as the tale begins. There are multiple influences at play here that Anton moulds into his own unique sound around which, the addition of Annie Haslam’s dulcet tones is a clever touch. The mood take son a definitive 70’s Yes edge with the catchy guitar and expressive bass underscoring an urgent keyboard that ramps up the pace, a spiralling, complex guitar adds another layer of sophistication along with a fulsome organ and minstrel-like guitar. The interlude that follows, full of mystery and opaqueness, is leading the way for Annie’s refined and exquisite vocal. This part of the song is poignant and full of feeling as, eventually, Annie and Anton join forces to deliver an uplifting vocal experience followed by some delightful piano and exquisite guitar work which blossoms into an impressive instrumental section where church organ, soaring keyboards and chiming guitar all contribute to a smorgasbord of musical delight. That mediaeval minstrel effect returns at the end of the song with a short vocal and extended acoustic guitar section that John Williams would be proud of, this is a precise and complicated track that is delivered with verve and aplomb, sublime.There is a darker intensity to Standing in the Rain, it is ominous, evoking a dystopian spirit. The vocal delivery is heightened and impassioned, the guitar riffs are momentous and deep lying and the percussion is moody and profound. The violin touches are vivid and the song cuts through you like a knife, holding you in its hypnotic stare, unable to break free as the mesmerising guitar solo slowly works its way into your psyche.After the potent tension of the previous track, instrumental Memoires is a musical breath of fresh air, dainty and enchanting. The acoustic guitar dances around your mind before a luscious piano makes your heart sing. The heavenly keyboards and ululating guitar join forces to bring a lustre of hope to all around, a real ‘feel good track’ to my ears.This piquant treat for aural receptors comes to a close with The Revealing Light and, at the beginning it is rather enigmatic and secretive and a very slow burner. The flute sound signals the start of something as the cryptic vocals begin, ardent and fervid, backed by a distorted, acid guitar. Lush, electronic keyboard notes envelop you in their embrace as the song takes a psychedelic turn, all Sgt Pepper in its tone. Things change with a twisting, coruscating note delivered by a melancholic guitar  and the solemn drum beat giving a sober feel to the track as a sombre voice over closes out the album with just about the right feel.‘The Plight of Lady Oona’ is an album that gives up its delights bit by bit, there is no instant gratification on offer here, if you are prepared to invest time in the music it will deliver a cornucopia of musical delights. Anton Roolaart is a name to look out for, my first introduction to his music has been an intensive and incredibly impressive one and, it won’t be my last." - Lady Obscure
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  • "The kings and queens of Scandinavian folklore are back! Thundering in on a north wind from the ancient forests and Scandinavian skies full of fire and mystery. Once lost inside ice and snowcapped mountains and forbidden islands, where you cannot remove a stone, lest you face the curse of bad tidings forever…returns the wonder of Kaipa, with their latest effort: "Vittjar". This time they return to inject wonder into the dog days of summer, much as they did for the springtime with their last album, "In the Wake of Evolution". Kaipa, in case you are new to the band, includes such well-known artists and composers as Hans Lundin, on electric and acoustic keyboards and vocals; Per Nilsson, from Scar Symmetry, on electric and acoustic guitars; Morgan Ågren, from Mats & Morgan and Zappa on drums; Jonas Reingold, from The Flower Kings and Karmakanic, on electric basses; Patrik Lundström, from Ritual; on vocals, and Aleena Gibson on vocals. Hans Lundin is the leader of the band and has been making music since 1965. The band's discography dates back to the mid – 1970s, so these are old pros venturing into new uncharted territory, with music that combines inspiration from the folklore of their past. It makes for a wonderful combination that will provide hours of listening pleasure. I didn't stop playing their last album until deep into the summer after receiving it in early spring. "Vittjar" will be available in the USA on August 28th, 2012. The opening, "First Distraction" is a Renaissance – like, triumphant march, full of flutes, keys, and later lead guitar and strong drums. You can almost visualize the musicians emerging from an opening in the forest to join the field of play. Off to a nice start. Then the action truly begins. "Lightblue and Green" opens with firepower from keys, heavy drums and power lead guitar…just like…yes…one of your favorite Yes songs from the past. Lundström begins the story, "painting my morning in light blue and green…a nice picture indeed. You can visualize early morning sunbeams and the feeling of awakening from some interesting dreams. The power drums, bass, and keys set an excellent tone and build a strong soundscape to surround Lundström's "visions". An awakening from winter and its frigid surroundings, into the fullness of spring. The heavier guitar licks and drums separate this album from the golden charm of the last, with its spring – tinged softness. "Our Silent Ballroom Band" is the epic and longest track at 22:11 minutes, on the album. Few bands can pull off the epics. And even fewer can do it well by adding a great story that raps you into the theme like Kaipa. This track brings the return of Aleena Gibson, reprising her role, singing as a little girl sharing her experiences and reflections of the world around her. The flutes that surround her take you right to Scandinavia and a field, where she is "dancing in the misty summer grass…in a deafening dance of her life". Lundström's vocals return to compliment Gibson's. The keyboard and guitar instrumentals add even more wonder to this, my favorite track." "Reach for the stars"… and they do. The Yes – like power of this journey – filled track will bring back memories of the power of the 70s. "Vittjar", the title track is up next and it features Lundström's vocals, in native language providing a violin filled, Renaissance – like track which is easily the second best track on the album. Even if you don't understand the lyrics you can feel the emotion in the vocals and the strings, guitars, keys, bass, and drums. The instrumentation helps create that magic environment we fans remember so well, from all of their albums. "Treasure House" is a good track full of amazing guitar."A Universe of Tinyness" is another of the best songs on the album. The violin work so compliments Gibson's careful vocal delivery that holds the listener spellbound to the story. "Tiny soldiers reach my shore"…"I'm moving back in time…in search of missing lines...I'm moving in reverse in my own universe". The violin is back in "The Crowded Hillsides", and this time it and the cool lead guitar play a major role. Simply spectacular music. The track is full of great Squire-like bass reminders that really help make this track an instant classic like some of the best tracks off "In the Wake". "All of the wonders that hide in the sky…the sky is the limit"…yeh! "Second Distraction" is a great closer full of fantastic lead guitar, bass, mysterious keys and explosive drums. This is a great follow up album to "In the Wale…" This band is expanding its abilities and delivering on the promise of mixing modern rock music with the folklore, music and traditions of the past." - Sea Of Tranquility
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  • "The amazing musicians from Uzbekistan are back with “Sodom and Gomorrah,” a concept CD that features the acclaimed original FROMUZ line-up of Vitaly Popeloff (guitars), Albert Khalmurzaev (keyboards, guitars, vocals, harmonica), Vladimir Badirov (drums), and Andrey Mara-Novik (bass), plus Evgeniy Popelov (keyboards, vocals).“Sodom & Gomorrah” was originally composed by multi-instrumentalist Albert Khalmurzaev as the soundtrack for a theatrical musical production of the same name at the Youth Theatre of Uzbekistan. Reinterpreting the Biblical tale of “Sodom and Gomorrah” as a conceptual foundation, it tells the story of our modern world, ravaged by global addictions and vice that can only be remedied through a change from within the very heart of the human condition.This concept is conveyed through the well-established passion and incendiary musicianship that has become the hallmark of FROMUZ.  This is modern progressive rock at its very finest.FROMUZ originally performed “Sodom and Gomorrah” live over the course of three years, starting in 2004, actively working with the Youth Theater in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as well as performances at prestigious theater festivals in St. Petersburg, Russia, the International Chekhov Festival (Moscow, Russia), and more.  The band recorded the soundtrack during this time-frame, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the decision was made to return to those tracks, editing, mixing, and mastering them for an official release."
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  • Guitarist/vocalist Clay Withrow is the heart and soul behind Vangough.  He's made some fine albums in the past but this is clearly his best as you can tell that he's exerting more of his own vision.  The previous albums were fine slices of progressive metal, bu they were clearly influenced heavily by Pain Of Salvation.  While there is some of that early PoS feel, Between The Madness has more of Clay than Daniel.  Its very angst driven music - from the vocals to the grinding guitar solos.  This is one pissed off band.  Its a non-stop prog metal roller coaster ride.  BUY OR DIE!"Over the last two full-length albums leading up to this, the band’s most important release, one thing is strikingly clear: Vangough has been eating their Wheaties. Whereas the last album couldn't find its center of gravity despite merits and high replay value, "Between The Madness" bridges the gap between Vangough's left brain and right brain. Moreover, the band feels much more balanced with the addition of drummer Kyle Haws. Further, it sounds like mastermind Clay Withrow had pushed himself beyond his limits to expand the Vangough tone palate.On the “Acoustic Scars” EP, Withrow developed a vocal technique that finds full maturation on "Between The Madness:” the rage-sing. Almost a yell, but neither a scream nor a simple vocal fry and free of any pitch interference, Withrow's rage-sing makes the lyrical intent as clear as it can be. The album offers bile to many parties, lyrically, and puts the listener behind a sometimes uncomfortable but necessary first-person perspective: any other perspective simply would not do justice to the intent. Vangough has always been more effective at conveying feelings than telling stories, but never before had the songs had such a natural novel-like flow to them. All the while, Withrow peppers his versatile clean singing with elaborate layers of harmony and polyphony, making for subtly different listening experiences each time.The overall sound hasn't drastically changed, and even shows some musical nods to prior songs. In "Vaudeville Nation," a scathing condemnation of a track, a clever link is established with "Mannikin Parade" around 4:28. The main melody of the latter is re-introduced on guitars in a straight-played manner. Later in the song, a similar "Mannikin Parade" vocal melody emerges in the line "...and burn the circus to the ground," and up through the yell following it. Further, continuing the storyline started with "Road To Blighttown" on the “Acoustic Scars” EP, "Depths of Blighttown" adds a fitting dark and ominous chapter to the story.The added input from Haws and bassist Jeren Martin have made the songs seem more logical, acting as balancing forces. The drumming style of Haws is noticeably organized, nuanced, and thought-out and could be accurately categorized as a blend of the styles of Lamb of God's Chris Adler, Opeth-era Martin Lopez, and Pain of Salvation-era Johan Langell. The mixing job by Sterling Winfield is a stunning step forward for the band as well, and the drum sound is particularly remarkable for its bright, punchy, but balanced character. Lead guitarist Jay Gleason makes several shred-tastic appearances to accentuate the technicality of Vangough's instrumentation, while Justus Johnston and Jose Palacios make appearances on strings to further amplify the feeling of the songs and add a superb creep factor touching on Resident Evil levels at times.No song feels out of place or unessential, with "Infestation," "Schizophrenia," "Vaudeville Nation," "Useless," and "Corporatocracy" as highlights. The dynamic growth between “Kingdom of Ruin” and “Between The Madness” makes this album out to be Vangough's “Blackwater Park,” what many will no doubt cite as the band’s seminal record. Put simply, there has never been a better time to jump off of whatever progressive metal train you've been on and ride with Vangough. "Into the dark I take you," Withrow jabs at us. Make sure your seatbelts are securely fastened." - Metal Underground
    $11.00
  • "Showtime, Storytime" contains NIGHTWISH's entire August 3 performance at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany. The show, which was played in the front of 85,000 screaming metalheads, was directed by Ville Lipiäinen, filmed with seventeen cameras and has a total running time of 85 minutes. The second disc consists of a 120-minute tour documentary, "Please Learn The Setlist In 48 Hours", also directed by Ville Lipiäinen, with no shortage of drama or overall madness. Also, there is a 16-minute NIGHTWISH Table Hockey Tournament, filmed on tour. In addition, there are two music clips: "I Want My Tears Back" (live at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland) and "Ghost Love Score" (live in Buenos Aires).The Wacken Open Air appearance was the first of the three final shows of NIGHTWISH's "Imaginaerum World Tour", which saw the band and their Dutch singer Floor Jansen (REVAMP, ex-AFTER FOREVER) playing 104 concerts in 34 different countries, with a total audience of over 1.5 million fans around the globe.Commented NIGHTWISH mastermind and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen: "Our darling flying Dutchwoman, Floor Jansen, has been nothing but incredible during her time in NIGHTWISH on this tour, so this is a perfect opportunity to immortalize the current vibe of the band on film!"NIGHTWISH's setlist for the Wacken Open Air performance was as follows:01. Dark Chest Of Wonders02. Wish I Had An Angel03. She Is My Sin04. Ghost River05. Ever Dream06. Storytime07. I Want My Tears Back08. Nemo09. Last Of The Wilds10. Bless The Child11. Romanticide12. Amaranth13. Ghost Love Score14. Song Of Myself15. Last Ride Of The Day16. Outro (Imaginaerum)
    $33.00
  • Fourth album from this outstanding jazz metal band from Hungary getting outside exposure with their signing to IQ's Giant Electric Pea label.  Special Providence started out their career as a pure fusion band - not unlike Tribal Tech and Return To Forever.  With their third album, Soul Alert, the band injected a heavier metal presence primarily in the guitarwork.  Essence Of Change carries on from Soul Alert in terms of heaviness and the use of distortion but at the same time there is clearly more of a jazz/fusion emphasis in the writing.  This gives us a nicely balanced sound that has a lot of cross over appeal.  Liquid Tension Experiment and Morglbl fans will love this and I expect open minded fans of RTF and Mahavishnu will enjoy hearing the young kats update the sound they developed in the 70s.  Expect a non-stop assault of laser beam synth solos and blistering distortion laced guitar solos.  Yeah this one hits the sweet spot and after many future spins I suspect this will sit at the top of their already impressive discography.  BUY OR DIE!!
    $15.00
  • "Oh Italy, will you ever stop delivering kick ass metal? Now don’t get me wrong folks, I love the San Francisco Bay Area I’ve called home for the majority of my life, and am very pleased with the area’s contributions to heavy metal, namely the thrash era of the 1980’s, but at the present moment, no country has been consistently delivering like Italy has, especially when it comes to just buckling down and busting out some no holds barred, guitar crunching, drum smashing, vocal chord tearing heavy metal. And when it comes to metal that is blunt and to the point, Astra pretty much nails it on their album Broken Balance.Astra began their journey in Rome in 2001 as a four piece instrumental band, three of which are still in the band today, Andrea Casali (vocals and bass), Silvio D’Onorio De Meo (lead guitar), and Emanuele Casali (keyboard and rhythm guitar), and after a few changes, settled on drummer Filippo Berlini. According to their bio, they cut their chops on Dream Theater covers, and managed to win the first Italian Dream Theater Tribute Contest, leading them to a show with the Wizard Rudess himself for the Italian fan club’s 10 year party. From that point, they followed the tried and true path of releasing albums and touring. In 2005 they released About Me: Through Life and Beyond, and followed that with the 2007 release of From Within. Now, it’s time for that ever crucial third album, so let’s take a look at Broken Balance….Now, unlike a lot of the music I’ve been reviewing in recent days, there is no genre bending, no quirks or hidden aural agendas. From note one of the opening track, Losing Your Ego, Astra makes it crystal clear that they just want to rock the fuck out. The song, and the whole album for that matter, is a catchy riff fest with a strong hard rock/metal vibe. It’s the type of music that would have taken a very high place in the annals of late eighties metal, with the searing high vocals of Casali, the constant double bass of Berlini, and the relentless guitar riffs and solos. They do mix it up a bit, throwing in a few time changes here and there, some subdued moments, and a growl or two, just to add some flare and color to the overall product. Hole in the Silence picks up right where the opener drops off, without skipping a step. The third track, Sunrise to Sunset, has a slightly balladesque touch to it, with a soaring and catchy chorus that really showcases the vocals of Casali. Buried in the midst of the soaring vocal work is a brilliant instrumental section and a jaw dropping solo. It’s surely my favorite on the album, a song that will be listened to many times, me singing at the top of my severely under qualified lungs.From there they go right back to the metal. Song after song they are relentless, one of those albums that screams “LIVE SHOW PLEASE!!!!!!”.  Too Late has yet another catchy chorus, something of a standard throughout the album actually. The title track, Broken Balance, opens with a sultry tone, something else they are rather adept at, and delivers a fairly complex song afterwards, teasing at exploding out multiple times before restraining themselves, working the listener into a furious sense of expectation as to what’s going to come about. Then comes the instrumental, where they let loose in a fury of notes scattered around before the guitars take control. Six more tracks follow, delivering a good variety on their version of solid metal. Another ballad comes in the form of Mirror of Your Soul. Risk and Dare is a crushing and rather dark number on an album that is overall fairly uplifting. Three more rockers lead into the closing track, You Make Me Better. This one opens on the heavy notes, and then settles into ballad zone. It’s a love song of course, with all the requisite cheesiness lyrically and the solid climactic moments.Astra gives at the core of this album a polished sound for sure. Though there are very few mistakes on it, they also don’t break down any barriers. It is altogether a good, fun rocking album, the kind that is meant for cranking up and punishing your neck and your neighbors. Their tightness as a band is clear on every song, and the catchiness of the album should ensure a good deal of longevity for yet another addition to the growing pantheon of Italian metal." - Lady Obscure
    $15.00
  • Yet another brilliant work from this Norwegian prog band.  The Greatest Show On Earth is the band's third effort.  While the first album Identity delved into alternative/prog realms bearing similarity to Radiohead, their second album All Rights Removed was full on Pink Floyd worship.  This latest effort carries on in similar fashion.  There are parts of the album that were written with tracing paper.  It evokes the mood and feel of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and maybe even a bit of The Wall.  This isn't to say the band doesn't inject any personality of their own - they do.  There are contemporary elements, its just that when they go into full on Pink Floyd mode its so apparent and so well executed that it blinds you to everything else that is going on.  What Bi Kyon Ran is to King Crimson or The Watch is to Genesis, Airbag is to Pink Floyd.  Original?  Truth be told not really.  It doesn't matter, its so well executed that you will just immerse yourself in the listening experience.  Highly recommended.
    $17.00
  • Wow! This Swiss band sounds so much like Tool it's ridiculous. The material isn't bad but it sounds like they wrote it with tracing paper. If you are fan of Tool, Riverside, or any emo-metal band you might enjoy this. They are obviously talented but I hope they come up with something more original next time.
    $16.00