Guiding Light

SKU: BSK064CD
Label:
Basick Records
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"As band histories go, Skyharbor‘s is somewhat unique. Debut album Blinding White Noise was a bit of a (nevertheless beautiful) Frankenstein’s monster – bolted together gradually onto the skeleton of guitarist Keshav Dhar’s home studio demos. With members spread across three continents, live performances have been few and far between, limited to one-off festival appearances and just a couple of short tours – probably fewer than twenty shows in total. With the line-up solidified and a very successful crowdfunding campaign under their belts, Skyharbor have delivered their second album Guiding Lights.

Right from the start it is clear that Guiding Lights is a more focused affair than its predecessor. Possibly with the benefit of having a better idea of what they are aiming for together as a band, it sounds much more cohesive and sure of its own identity.

Guiding Lights is also slightly more restrained than Blinding White Noise. The guitars are more driven by texture than out-and-out riffing, and there are fewer djentisms. There’s also barely a vocal scream to be heard throughout its duration, which may be a disappointment to those for whom that kind of thing is important.

Obviously, a significant chunk of the spotlight will fall on singer Dan Tompkins, especially because of his recent decision to re-join TesseracT – but Dan has used the time he spent apart from the band in which he really made his name to show how capable he is at managing multiple projects simultaneously. Since the summer of 2013 alone, as well as Skyharbor and TesseracT we’ve seen him record and perform with In Colour, White Moth Black Butterfly and Piano, not to mention a host of one-off guest appearances – yet it is clear that Guiding Lights received his undivided attention, and the result is potentially his most captivating performance to date. There is a shift in his approach in the direction of Maynard James Keenan, particularly in his phrasing, which both suits his voice and compliments the music.

This is especially apparent on “Halogen“. Falling around halfway through the album, the song is very probably the best Skyharbor have written. A genuine masterpiece, with no fewer than three sections vying for the position of chorus. It is one of those rare tracks that practically demands skipping back for a second listen the moment it has finished. Glorious.

Whilst there are some more uptempo passages, particularly in “New Devil“, the majority of the album is mid-paced. It carries a vibe that seems to draw inspiration from the likes of Tool, Karnivool and the dreamier parts of the Deftones‘ discography. Anup Sastry’s inspired drumming also has similar flavours to Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, which provides a subtle sense of urgency under Keshav and Devesh Dayal’s intertwining guitars.

Guiding Lights feels particularly well-named. It shimmers, glistens and sparkles throughout its near 70 minute run-time with an uplifting feel that is frequently close to euphoric. But more than this, Guiding Lights is Skyharbor coming of age. Blinding White Noise showed what enormous potential this collection of musicians had together, and the album is all the stronger for having them all working together on the material from day one.

Guiding Lights is an enthrallingly beautiful album that should help warm the hearts of progressive metal fans as the winter nights draw in. It would be easy to see Skyharbor as a kind of side-project supergroup, but that feels like it sells them short. We can only hope that with all the various commitments the members of Skyharbor have on their collective plates, they are able to carve out the time to keep the band as a going concern." - The Monolith

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Some of you stubborn lot will never shift from that point of view, no matter how many metal albums she releases, but it has become clearer than ever whilst listening to 'Colours In The Dark', that Tarja has found the beauty of orchestral metal just as captivating as Nightwish fans and her conviction is growing ever more powerful - if you don't believe it, check out the Romanticide-styled outro of 'Never Enough'. There's plenty more headbangs left in those raven locks - know that!'Victim Of Ritual' highlights the way Tarja commands a song vocally and suits it's position as opening track. The rolling 'R' in the title refrain and the silence she will inevitably conjure during live renditions of the accapella bridge stand to prove why she is such a beloved vocalist. Musically, the track deals in 'Phantom Agony'-era Epica, orchestra-lite and guitar heavy. It also has the most addictive refrains on the album, so it's position as single is proven correct. Likewise 'Never Enough' is instantly enjoyable - the chorus still sounds as vibrant and exciting as when it premiered. The real standout, surprisingly, is the Peter Gabriel cover though. 'Darkness' is not half as pop-ready as her take on 'Poison' and much more Tarja-friendly than 'Still Of The Night' - it shows just how successfully she can transform a cover and make it into her own. The thick strings and swooping instrumental wrap around her versatile vocals as Tarja switches between sinister and emotional at the drop of a hat.It can be a little taboo to mention the language problems, but the purity in which Tarja approaches her English lyrics is both a positive and a negative. Whilst there are the odd cringe-worthy blips throughout ('A conquest of fear, lonesomeness and dislike'), there is a richness to the lyrics of songs like '500 Letters' that simply tell a story, without killing it with too many pretence-laden metaphors. Tarja's infamous pronunciation also serves in her favour on the record - as minor as it may seem, her slightly peculiar delivery brings an unfamiliar flavour to the songs and possesses the ability to coat any banal lyrics with seductive and intriguing overtones just with a twist of a syllable.The record does have plenty of moments to excite you, as I mentioned, but it's not an entirely smooth ride. Too often, the songs feel a little lengthier than they should. I noted in my review of 'Never Enough' that the closing guitar riff went on for too long and a lot of the songs have a similiar fate. None of the tracks are skippable and every single one has it's merits, but it feels as if their strengths may be washed aside by a niggling thought in the back of your head, pondering whether you can bother to venture into a seven minute song for three minutes of beauty. 'Lucid Dreamer' is one such track that would have benefited from a little chopping. 'Mystique Voyage', too, could have seen a shorter track length further highlight the triumphant classical influence on the chorus.Though I exaggerate her operatic past, Tarja has spent most of her vocalist talent and career amongst metal music and it has really shown. What is both frustrating and rewarding, though, is that she is learning as much as the fans are. The music she has produced so far has been on a huge upward curve. The saccharine tendencies of 'My Winter Storm' pale in comparison to 'What Lies Beneath' and it's fantastic manipulation of orchestra, ambiance and metal. 'Colours In The Dark' comes as the next step up - slightly better than it's predecessor but, and this is where the frustration might set in, not quite as brilliant as you predict the next release will be. Editing the tracks a little more and emphasizing the true moments of beauty that linger within the songs is the next mission for team Tarja to take on.Watching an artist grow into the music that gave her the career she has  is not something you see everyday and Tarja is truly and deeply passionate, something many musicians don't retain after many years of the same old record-and-touring routine. She has eager ears and versatile lungs that want to explore. They want to learn and they want to become better. Listen to that aforementioned discography and you'll see how much Tarja has grown and become a force to be reckoned with in metal. 'Colours In The Dark' is nowhere near perfect but it's another chapter in the increasingly refined career of a woman that is, quite rightly, sticking her middle finger up at those who have written her off much too soon." - The Sonic Reverie
    $21.00
  • New budget priced 2 CD set combines both halves of the Universal Migrator series: "The Dream Sequencer" and "Flight Of The Migrator".
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  • This one is a real mindblower.  One of Italy's best bands, La Maschera Di Cera, has created a musical sequel to Le Orme's Felona E Serona.  I can't recall any band ever doing something like this.  Like all of the band's work it remains faithful to the "Rock Progressivo Italiano" sound.  Apart from cleaner sounding sonics it could have easily pass for somethining recorded in 1974.  The music does in fact pick up on some of the core themes and melodices from FeS.  You want 'tron?  You got it!  You want flute?  You got it.  To wrap the whole package together the band licensed the cover art from Lanfranco, the artist responsible for the art for FeS.  So it really does feel like a sequel.  Please note there are actually two versions of the album.  This is the English language edition - it features a slightly different mix than the Italian version.  Highly recommended.
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  • Gorgeous doomy Floydian metal. Super jewelbox reissue.
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  • "The Difference Machine is a concept album - a 'small' story; the loss of loved ones as life progresses, set against a 'big' story; the death of a distant star.The main musical motif for the album is set out early on in the opening track - an instrumental called Hope This Finds You. Played on viola by Becca King, the theme is restated briefly in Pick Up If You're There before returning at the end of the album in the closing section of Summer's Lease.Other musical motifs abound, some buried deeply in the music, some combining with others to form new themes. For example, the main album theme on the playout of Summer's Lease is intertwined with a motif from Perfect Cosmic Storm which is initially set out in an understated manner on electric piano, before returning as the grand closing section of the song.Amongst the epic long-form tracks, there are some short ambient pieces, intended to add atmosphere to the album. Breathing Space is exactly that, a short interlude between two longer pieces, and From The Wide Open Sea is an excerpt from the track The Wide Open Sea, which was eventually released on the Far Skies Deep Time EP.The Difference Machine saw BBT’s first involvement with Nick D'Virgilio who subsequently became the band’s permanent drummer. Nick played drums on Perfect Cosmic Storm and Pick Up If You're There for what was intended to be a special edition of the album with alternative versions of some of the songs. However, Nick's performances were so strong that we decided to use them on the album versions.A number of other songs which didn't make it onto the album also came out of the writing sessions: Brambling, Hope You Made It and (in unfinished form) a 17 minute track - The Wide Open Sea."
    $12.00
  • "A new interpretation of a classic RPI title! This is quite an undertaking, but it comes off in an outstanding way, giving new life to old friends. In contrast to so many reworkings of old pieces that I've heard in recent years, this one does not leave me only wishing to listen to the original. Rather, the new work stands well on its own, not only helping me listen to the original with new ears, but also bringing new insights and experience.In 1972, Latte e Miele released their debut, an incredibly ambitious work based on the Passion of St. Matthew, "Passio Secundum Mattheum." This is one of the seminal titles of 1970s RPI and has rightfully stood the test of time. The band would never equal this album, although the subsequent title, "Papillon", came close. After that the band broke up for a time, until drummer Alfio Vitanza reformed the band, with new members including bassist Massimo Gori. Their only album, "Aquile e Scoiattoli", has its moments but is inferior to the first two, and the band disbanded a few years later after moving toward more commercial music.In 2008 the band reformed, including all three original members (Vitanza and songwriter/keyboardist Oliviero Lacagnina, as well as guitarist Marcello Giancarlo Dellacasa) and Massimo Gori, bassist from the second generation of the band. The quartet released "Live Tasting", an excellent live album that portended of the good to come. Their time together also produced a wonderful new album, "Marco Polo: Sogni e Viaggi" in 2009.Over the years, Lacagnina never stopped composing his masterpiece, his "Passio". Now the quartet has recorded anew their masterpiece, adding those "new" compositions into the narrative. For example, "Il Pane e il Sangue dell'Alleanza" has been inserted right after "Ultima Cena", and "Il Rinnegamento di Pietro" and "Il Prezzo del Sangue" between "Il Pianto" and "Giuda". Also, the ending has been fleshed out significantly, with four new songs, and the final song, "Come un Ruscello che..." includes the final themes previously entitled "Il Dono della Vita". Also of note, a solo organ piece entitled "Toccata per organo" is placed just before "Calvario"--this is special, as it is an original take from 1972!The instrumentation is true to the spirit of the 1972 piece, although with an updated sound. Ditto the choir, which sometimes on the 1972 version is muted and thin--here the choir parts are strong, lush, and vibrant. The majority of the pieces that were rerecorded for this edition also maintain their compositional structure, although there are a few changes inserted (notably in "I Falsi Testimoni", the new version of "I Testimoni" parts 1 and 2). There is nothing that violates that spirit of the original work, though it is impossible to duplicate its wonderful innocence.Another unique feature of this album is the presence of several prominent figures from RPI providing the spoken Evangelist parts. These include Alvaro Fella (Jumbo), Lino Vairetti (Osanna), Silvana Aliotta (Circus 2000), Paolo Carelli (Pholas Dactylus), Aldo de Scalzi (Picchio dal Pozzo), Sophya Baccini, Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio delle Clessidre), Giorgio D'Adamo (New Trolls), Max Manfredi, Simonluca, and Paolo Griguolo (Picchio dal Pazzo). It's a nice touch that really rounds out the album.The CD comes in a jewel case with a lyric booklet. I'm told that the pending Japanese version will contain a newly recorded composition as a bonus track. But don't wait for that one--go out and grab this one. You won't be disappointed. Four plus stars (Gnosis 13/15).Edit: I can't stop listening to this! Though it's not quite as good as the original, it's very close. I'm bumping it up to Gnosis 14/15, which is five stars on PA." - ProgArchives
    $25.00
  • "CRYSTAL VIPER are Poland s most promising Heavy Metal act. The band from Katowice has earned a fabulous reputation in the Metal underground with their previous releases and have recently played the Keep It True, Swordbrothers and many others major festivals. Singer Marta Gabriel is the centre point of the band, and implies a nice and charismatic appearance with a powerful Metal voice. Heavily influenced by the 80´s Metal of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, early Manowar and the like, Crystal Viper draw immediate comparisons to the legendary WARLOCK (with Doro Pesch on vocals) but hold their own with their unique stylings. Crimen Excepta is their highly anticipated fourth album and features guest appearances by David Bower of Hell and Piotr Wiwczarek of Vader." Comes with 2 bonus tracks.
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  • After all these years, Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has finally released a solo album and frankly it isn't at all what I expected.  First off the album is all instrumental (not a bad thing frankly).  Don't expect insane shredding here.  Rothery presents a very refined symphonic rock album that, to these ears, owes a big debt to Pink Floyd.  Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson appear as guests and that is a nice plus but to be honest even without their contributions the album would satisfy anyway.  Rothery has put together a nice band, drawing musicians from British neoproggers Mr. So & So and Italian symphonic band Ranestrane.  Expect  mellow parts that meld with sections that have an electrified smoldering intensity.  As long as you don't expect an instrumental Clutching At Straws I think you'll find a lot to dig your teeth into here.  Highly recommended."Steve Rothery is best known as guitarist for those whipping boys of the mainstream press, the progressive rock band Marillion. For over 30 years, Marillion have surprised and delighted fans old and new with some truly outstanding music. Musical fashions have come and gone, governments have formed and fractured… and Marillion are still here, not just unbowed but positively revelling in their role as eternal underdogs, having now delivered more than 15 studio albums of tremendously well-wrought and highly emotive music. The cornerstone of Marillion’s music, perhaps, is Steve Rothery’s elegaic guitar. Influenced by players such as Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Camel’s Andrew Latimer but with a style all his own, Rothery – as the longest-serving member of the band – is in many ways the core of the band and one of its chief writers.Yet in all those 30-plus years, Rothery has never released a solo record. He has enjoyed a largely-acoustic based side project in the shape of The Wishing Tree, who have now released two albums (1996’s Carnival Of Souls and 2009’s Ostara), but has never released an album under his own name. Until now. A strikingly successful Kickstarter campaign – for a brief time, the Ghosts Of Pripyat pre-order was the most successful Kickstarter project in the world – has allowed Rothery the time and supporting talent to produce something very different to his day job; yet familiar enough to fans of Marillion to forge a strong link to Rothery’s work in that band.Whilst The Ghosts Of Pripyat is a solo album in name, Rothery has assembled a strong band to record it. A reflection of the strength of the band is that two previous live albums that Rothery has released in the run up to the release of this, his first studio album, were billed as being by ‘The Steve Rothery Band’. The band form a next-generation progressive rock supergroup of sorts: Dave Foster (Mr. So & So, Panic Room) on guitars, Leon Parr (ex-Mr. So & So) on drums, Yatim Halimi (Panic Room) on bass and Riccardo Romano (Ranestrane) on keys & acoustic guitar. Throughout the album they add further colour and crunch to Rothery’s instrumental flights of fancy, giving it an appealing earthbound energy.The album opens in almost cinematic style with ‘Morpheus’. Marillion fans will delight in the way this track builds with an almost sensual slowness from barely audible ambient wash to a circling riff comprised of Rothery’s signature guitar sound, a crystalline chorused sustain that is powerfully evocative in its simplicity. ‘Morpheus’ is half over before the band puts its full weight behind Rothery’s playing, but this is one of this album’s strengths. It is not a ornate shred-fest, nor is it a somnolent none-more-authentic bore; the music – like Rothery’s playing – is effortlessly melodic and atmospheric, almost a film soundtrack without a film. It is here that Rothery’s fondness for the playing of Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is most evident, and it’s entirely fitting that Hackett himself makes a guest appearance on this track. The two veteran guitarists trade off against each other beautifully, as if they’ve been playing together for years.Like any good soundtrack, each part of the album is very different in tone. Where ‘Morpheus’ was dreamy and reflective, ‘Kendris’ toys with a rolling, almost African-style drum pattern. Romano’s keys are especially important to this track, colouring in the backdrop to a musical safari whose shimmering heat haze makes for a warm, feelgood part of the album. This contrasts wonderfully with ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’, which is in many ways the centrepiece of the album. A near 12-minute track, it covers a range of moods very effectively. Opening with wave sounds, whale song and a mournful, lonely guitar fed through a Leslie effects pedal, it sounds beautifully Floydian – an effect only magnified when Rothery’s more familiar signature sound emerges to pick up the story. From these tentative but wonderfully evocative beginnings, the track gradually builds in intensity, musically and emotionally until it becomes as powerfully elemental as the sea that is its muse. The closing section in particular is one of the feistiest things that Rothery has committed to tape recently, featuring some forthright riffing built on top of a powerful performance by the assembled musicians, notably the muscular rhythm section of Halimi and Parr. In mood and subject matter, ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ sits comfortably alongside Marillion’s epic ‘Ocean Cloud’. Steve Hackett makes another guest appearance at the end, as does progressive rock wunderkind Steven Wilson – with Rothery’s presence, there are essentially three generations of progressive rock’s finest all delivering some great playing; a rare treat.‘White Pass’ was inspired by a treacherous icy path used by prospectors during the American gold rush, and its steadily rising tension is perfectly matched to its subject matter. A chugging, almost metallic riff crunches in midway through the track, the ideal accompaniment to this immersive tale of survival in a hostile environment. You can almost taste the icy chill of the howling winter winds. ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ also builds slowly, although the mood is almost antithetical to ‘White Pass': the track – a remembrance of Rothery’s late stepfather, a World War II veteran – forms a delicate and deeply emotive elegy that displays some of the most restrained playing on the album. Here, more than anywhere else, Rothery evokes the feel of mid-period Dire Straits, the gentle washes of keys and E-bowed guitar building to an affectionate but achingly sad solo that Mark Knopfler would have been extremely pleased with. This is the essence of Rothery’s playing, bottled in concentrated form: less is most definitely more. The closing two minutes display another marked influence, as the band dial up the blissful introspection into a dynamic gallop, accompanied by some very Latimer-esque playing, as Rothery tips his hat to another formative influence. Perhaps understandably the most intensely moving track, this is very special indeed.The penultimate track, ‘Summer’s End’, is another slow-burner, building from a sleepy, bucolic opening into an organ-driven hard rock riff that powers along, with a number of solos built over it, as Rothery trades some intense workouts with Foster, both of them clearly egging the other on to greater and greater heights. The magnificent atmospherics of ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ and the emotional intensity of ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ are hard to top, but if the restraint shown on the rest of the album leave you longing for heads-down rock and roll, here it is.The closing title track was inspired by photographs of the now deserted town of Pripyat in Chernobyl. After the nuclear accident there in 1986, the town was abandoned after radioactivity rendered the region uninhabitable. Reclaimed by nature, Pripyat makes for an eerie monument to those who died, and the displaced workers whose lives have never been the same. That same uncanny sense of loss and aftermath informs the track, which almost serves as an epilogue to the album. Rothery and Foster, joined by Romano on 12-string acoustic, build a slowly expanding web of limpid acoustic lines, almost like a musical round that becomes more ornate as it develops. The rest of the band arrive a few minutes later, developing the pattern of the round into a cyclical, almost Zeppelinesque riff. In five minutes the track goes from reverent near-silence into a muscular rocker, and you barely notice it happening; it feels effortless, utterly uncontrived.It’s striking, on an entirely instrumental album written and produced by a guitarist, how few solos there are on this album given its running time. Rothery’s economy is admirable in that it is never forced; this is just how he takes care of business. That in itself is one of the reasons he is so beloved as a guitarist: yes, he can be truly devastating when delivering a solo; yes, he can crank out a chunky riff with the best of them; but his playing is always in the service of the piece. His reliably deft hands deliver not riffs or solos so much as they paint with six strings. Here, freed from the constraints of delivering songs – as in Marillion and The Wishing Tree – those sound paintings are given centre stage 100% of the time, and it’s testament to Rothery’s abilities as a player and a writer that the results never fail to hold your attention.Those familiar with Rothery’s work in and out of Marillion have waited a long time for his first solo album, but it has most definitely been worth the wait. Richly atmospheric, dynamic, emotive and beautifully recorded and mixed, The Ghosts Of Pripyat is everything that those who waited for it with baited breath were hoping for. For everyone else, the album is a stunning showcase for one of the UK’s least-acknowledged guitar maestros; the perfect introduction to a talent whose indefatigable muse continues to serve up some truly extraordinary music." - Echoes & Dust
    $12.00
  • “Known/Learned’ is the third album from this thought provoking progressive band from Brisbane, Australia.  It’s a sprawling 2CD collection of themes and moments, captured between recurring characters. While never explicitly told in the traditional vein of the ‘concept album’, the imagery of Known/Learned depicts fragmented moments in the lives of a father and his daughter, their loss, their love, their journey. A bittersweet love song for life.Occupying a unique place in the Australian progressive music scene, Arcane’s transcendental live performances and 2009’s critically acclaimed, dark and enigmatic concept album 'Chronicles Of The Waking Dream' have earned them a inimitable reputation as one of Australia’s premier progressive rock bands.Sharing stages with artists as diverse as Anathema (UK), Soilwork (Swe), Queensryche (USA), Dead Letter Circus, Ne Obliviscaris and hundreds more, Arcane's live show, often accompanied by a backdrop of staggering visualizations, is a vast sensory experience.Arcane's immersive sound, and the vocals of Jim Grey quickly found favor throughout Australia, headlining the annual Progfest tour, providing touring support for Ne Obliviscaris, and performing to capacity crowds at Sonic Forge Festival in Melbourne. A crowd funding campaign in July, 2013 heralded the 2015 release of 'Known/Learned' a 16 track conceptual double album. Arcane blends the technicality of progressive metal with the atmospheric intensity of bands like Tool, Riverside and Anathema.  The world is about to discover what their Australian fan base already knows – that Arcane is a rising star in the world of progressive music.
    $14.00
  • "Inevitably, I find myself coming across bands that I "wish I had found all those years ago". WHILE HEAVEN WEPT is one such band. Born in 1989 in Virginia, US, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Tom Phillips, the current line-up is a strong and long-standing one; 2014 sees the release of "Suspended At Aphelion", which is essentially a single, 40-minute track split up into 11 parts. This is one of those bands that seemingly woke up one day, and decided to do a complete 180 on their tried-and-true style, and recent albums see Progressive, Epic… I'm not even going to try and name just how many genres the band's style fits into. Sufficed to say, the new album is big; very, very big. One needs only to glimpse the cover art to know that one is set on course for a cosmic journey.I must put this out there immediately; it is imperative that you listen to this album from start to finish, because the flow from piece-to-piece is what sets this album on its axis. From the haunting, classical guitar introduction provided by guest Christopher Ladd, the sweeping ambiance experiences a momentary decrescendo, and "Icarus And I" makes its grand entrance. For the most part, it is kept at a light-hearted and airy marching pace, with intricate melodic arrangements courtesy of the band's 3 keyboard players and stringsmen, taking the place of metallic riffs, beginning to sound like a graceful amalgamation of BORKNAGAR, ARCTURUS and ANGRA. In dramatic moment of panic and surprise, the track picks up in speed and heaviness, impacted by a delivery of coarse vocals. Now, the band's primary vocalist, Rain; I'm a little shocked that he has not yet become a world-renowned vocalist, because the man's talent is phenomenal, seemingly borrowed the genes and vocal powers of SERENITY's Georg, SEVENTH WONDER's Tommy Karevik, with even a few ROY KHAN moments thrown in. You can see where I'm going with this: a voice that varies markedly in intensity, with a massive range capable of emotive singing at either end of the pitch spectrum.There is no doubt that individual tracks in this 'song' are part of a grand thematic design, but they manage to stand out on their own. For one, "Indifference Turned Paralysis" tantalises us with exquisite Progressive Power musings with Neoclassical flourishes, and many a KAMELOT moment here and there; entirely instrumental, the instruments sing us their song. "Souls In Permafrost" is one of my favorite moments on the record, with melodic harmony the focus of the arrangement, but this time Rain's vocals are even more powerful and less restrained, delivering both memorable and unpredictable vocal progressions; at times, the band's Doom roots began to show; those will never fully disappear. "Lifelines Lost" is the part to wait for, to best experience the excellent guitar work of helmsman Tom, but additional beauty is found when closely examining the ambiance and atmospherics in the background.Time and time again this record washes us over with inescapable pleasantries and harmonies that resonate infinitely in the mind. I'm genuinely having difficulty getting my head around the scope of this creation, and it's doing my head in because I cannot coherently describe its grandeur in entirety. I might never be able to, no matter how many times I loop it; what a deliciously excellent excuse to have it on repeat.Remember: start to finish, and no skipping. You won't regret it." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "Seduce The Heaven are similar to other impressive female fronted metal groups in that they take the beauty and the beast vocal path. Though in reality there is much more to this group on their debut album than just this popular vocal combination. Seduce The Heaven successfully incorporate a multitude of styles like symphonic, progressive, power, melodic death and metal core varying from the lightness of the final song "In Quite Distance" to a prominent collection of intense metal tracks.Fields Of Dreams is Seduce The Heaven's first full length release and one that gets off to a promising start via the vibrant "Reflection" which they dive straight into. "Walls Of Oblivion" is up next sounding like what may come about if a group like the awesome metal powerhouse Scar Symmetry were to bring a female vocalist on board, Seduce The Heaven have created such a crushing metal track where the band display their technical prowess. "Leave Me Alone" is a great lively track that has such a gripping feel to it, next is "Fields Of Dreams" which is slower and still so very potent. A cool bass only introduction feeds into "Ignorance" another catchy well constructed crusher with animated drumming and inviting riffs.Whilst Seduce The Heaven have impressive competition I see no reason what they can't increase their own fan base, thanks to an impressive debut like Fields Of Dreams." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00
  • Daevid Allen is back with a reconstituted version of Gong.  Part of the new lineup features Kavus Korabi (Knifeworld, Cardiacs) and Dave Sturt (Jade Warrior).  There is a great vibe to the album and it doesn't stray from the classic sound."The enduring legend that is Gong multi National, multi dimensional Psychedelic combo enters yet another new phase on their four decades plus journey with I See You, a brand new album to be released on the Madfish label.The current incarnation of Gong comprises vocalist / lyricist Daevid Allen, who, even at the age of seventy five, still radiates an incandescent creativity, the original anarchic vibe that was born out of counter culture revolution in the Paris commune in 1968. His co conspirators on I See You comprise Orlando Allen on drums, new guitarist Kavus Torabi (formerly of The Cardiacs) and the latest guitar incumbent in a band whose ranks have included the likes of Steve Hillage and Mark Hewins, horn player Ian East Wind , sinuous bass propulsion provided by Dave Sturt (the sonic manipulator), and Brazilian Fabio Golfetti who weaves his own lysergic patterns on guitar. This collective create an impressive, multi layered and irrepressible sound that creates its own world and then populates it with a series of dazzling musical gems, melodically rich, lyrically engaging and musically refreshed.I See You is both timeless and timely, a welcome antidote to an increasingly homogenised musical mainstream. Tracks such as This Revolution, a spoken piece which name checks Gil Scott Heron and picks up on the vibe of his The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, articulates the kind of concerns and theories that have always inspired Daevid Allen and informed the Gong worldview, contrasts with the ferocious inter stellar Funk of You See Me, which is sure to be a live favourite. Thank You is a heavy slab of Psychedelicised Blues, whilst Shakti Yoni Dingo Virgin is a moody, melodic instrumental piece that serves to illustrate the immense musical firepower and musical diversity that lurks within the current line up of Gong."
    $8.00
  • Reissue of the band's first album.  Fantastic progressive power metal with a strong spiritual message. Normally I'm not a big fan of the one-man-band concept but composer/singer/multi-instrumentalist Matt Smith really blew me away with this first time effort. Elements of Savatage, Queensryche, Symphony X and even Kansas pop up. Long epic sweeping tracks with lots of power and melody. Matt's proves he's got the voice and the chops to go far. Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • Digipak edition - limited to 5000 for the world."Prophets Cynic are not, yet they did see the writing on the death metal wall around the mid-90’s, so that counts for something. At that particular point in time, the death metal scene was swelling to uncontrollable proportions, with creativity at an all-time low and labels signing anyone who could mimic Cookie Monster and palm-mute some diminished chords. Pair that with the then-burgeoning black metal scene, and death metal circa 1994 to 1997 essentially had no chance. As it stands, Cynic officially broke up in 1994 and formed the short-lived Portal, which is the point of discussion for this review.Comprised of the core members of Cynic’s Focus lineup (drummer Sean Reinert, guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal, guitarist) Jason Gobel, bassist Chris Kringel), Portal added vocalist/keyboardist Aruna Abrams, who was the benefactor of the band’s new-found “trippy” sound. And that’s really the defining term when it comes to Portal – they’re very light, not so metal or technical…just trippy and highly atmospheric.One could see where Cynic wanted to go with Portal for their eventual reformation album, 2008’s Traced In Air. The lush dynamics of “Endless Endeavors,” “Costumed in Grace,” and “Road to You” demonstrate the band’s ability to take prog rock and make it flow like a river, a cerebral river at that. Abrams’ vocals are suitably poised and reserved, blending in seamlessly with supple keyboard strokes and ambient uh, ambience. There’s a dearth of the progressive metal flair the band showed on Focus, as the songwriting mode of “Karma’s Plight” and “Crawl Above” showcase a jazzier, more free-form side to Cynic that was practically itching to come out a few years prior.Cynic’s new-age crowd might find something of value with The Portal Tapes, as it’s a direct reflection of Traced In Air and last year’s Carbon-Based Anatomy EP. The old death metal crowd that helped break the band won’t have anything to do with this, and methinks had they heard something like this in 1995, then they’d be running back to their Broken Hope and Monstrosity albums almost instantly." - Blistering.com
    $15.00