Magnus Karlsson's Freefall

Magnus Karlsson's name might not be that familiar to you but if you are a fan of melodic metal you probably own an album or two he was involved in.  The Swedish guitarist's original band was Last Tribe.  After a number of albums for Frontiers he was the man behind the curtain for the two Allen/Lande albums as well as a bunch of other projects for the label.  Ultimately he became a member of Primal Fear and toured with this.

Freefall is his first solo album under his own name.  He plays all the instruments except drums which are handled by Danny Flores of Mind's Eye.  Calling in favors, Karlsson has enlisted a who's who of vocalists from the melodic metal realm: Russell Allen (Symphony X), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Tony Harnell (TNT), Rick Altzi (Masterplan), David Readman (PC69), Mark Boals (Malmsteen), Michael Andersson (Cloudscape), Rikard Bengsston (Last Tribe), and Herman Saming (A.C.T).  That's a lot of good pipes!

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  • New edition of the controversial 1986 album that featured both Steve Hackett and Steve Howe.  The music was a blend of AOR and prog rock.  Surprisingly they had a lot of commerical success with the album and a hit single with "When The Heart Rules the Mind".  I want my MTV!This new version includes a remastered version of the album with a few bonus tracks.  The second disc is a live recording from the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles on July 19, 1986.  Lots of liner notes from the appropriate culprits as well.
    $23.00
  • In our changeover in distributors we received back a quantity of copies of Specs. We need to bring our inventory level back to normal so we are going to temporarily blow out this title. Grab copies at below wholesale price while you can.
    $13.00
  • "Is it just me, or does it seem like every album I review this year comes from Italy? Hearing Fogalord’s debut album described as “melodic power metal” and seeing that that band was signed to Limb for the release was really all I needed to dive right in without a backwards glance.Well, it’s a darn good thing that I’m so steeped in the genre, or I might have become quickly disillusioned with Fogalord’s (more on that name, shortly) shamelessly energetic performance of what many would undoubtedly label “standard” Euro-power. You’ve heard this line at Black Wind a hundred times before, and you’ll hear it a hundred times again before I bury my brightly-colored fluttering power metal banner: there’s not much that’s original about A Legend To Believe In, but boy, is it ever a fun album to listen to!Grand orchestral synths (and a surprisingly varied number of keyboard sounds) support the multitalented lead singer/keyboardist Dany All in his support (I think?) of the Fog Lord’s name. That’s right, the core of the band is one ambitious fellow (and he’s also the keyboard player and programmer for Synthphonia Suprema, another old Italian heartthrob of mine. In fact, it turns out that 3 of the 4 members of Fogalord hail from that band). If I’m not mistaken, this is another cheesy fantasy concept album bent on either the victory or defeat of the Fog Lord (the lyrics aren’t always the most intelligible, and I have a promo copy). It doesn’t really matter, since no one listens to Italian fantasy power metal for its stories anyways (I’m looking at you, Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody Of Fire).Ok, as much as I’m avoiding taking this album seriously, there’s real talent here, and it isn’t only present in the swirling, masterfully atmospheric synths. The guitar work is really quite good. There’s a lack of real guitar focus, but once in a while Stefano Paolini rips loose a salvo or two before he smugly slips back into his supporting rhythm role. Drums and bass thunder on in good sync, but if Fogalord breaks the standard Italian power metal mold in some way, it’s that they show admirable restraint at some times. Sure, there’s a ton of charging double bass, but we’ve got a whole lot of material to break it up, and it never gets to the point where my musical nerves are rubbed raw by unceasingly high tempos.The best music on this album is well-spread. Opener “At The Gates Of The Silent Storm” is solid, but “The Fog Lord” is where the band rips things wide open. This might as well be the title track (because I don’t know what else “Fogalord” could mean) for all its grandeur and memorability, and I’ve been listening to it almost daily since this album came up for review. The anthemic title track (the actual one, this time) “A Legend To Believe In” and the crashing and varied “The Day Of Fire” help round out an album that’s really a great representation of quality key-focused Italian power metal.Though its predictability and disinterest in musical trailblazing will ensure that A Legend To Believe In won’t turn the heads of any non-Euro metal fans, there’s enough great headbanging content here to make it an excellent selection for fans of this very happy, melodic corner of the genre.  I recommend it highly myself for fans of Highlord, Rhapsody, Derdian, and, of course, Synthphonia Suprema. Ideal for birthday parties, baby showers, and funeral wakes." - Black Wind Metal
    $13.00
  • Second album of fine melodic metal from former Savatage member Zak Stevens, doesnt stray that far from his former bands path. Its not Savatage but its close enough.
    $9.00
  • Deluxe digipak contains a bonus DVD featuring a "making of" documentary and the vaguely worded "bonus materials"."Karnataka are survivors. Since their inception at the tail end of the 1990s, they have most definitely had their ups and downs: they found some success fairly rapidly, helped in no small part by a scorched earth gigging mentality and some fairly prestigious support slots with the likes of progressive rock favourites Porcupine Tree and the much-loved, oft-lamented All About Eve. By 2004, it seemed nothing could prevent the band’s ascent to progressive rock favourites, and larger venues started to beckon.Sadly, their upward trajectory ran abruptly aground when internal relationships fractured and the band went their separate ways. One of the chief songwriters, founder member Ian Jones, decided to keep the Karnataka flame burning, however, and assembled a new-look band. Critics and fans were divided about the reborn band, but Karnataka forged ahead, delivering several well-received tours and their most successful album to date, 2010’s The Gathering Light – but just as the album finally appeared, the band found itself short-staffed once more as various members elected to pursue other interests.The Gathering Light possessed more of a progressive rock influence than any of the band’s previous albums: opening with two instrumentals, and possessed of three further tracks that all clocked in at over ten minutes in length, its sprawling atmospherics housed a haunting, soulful but introspective record which felt like a side-step from the Karnataka of old. Life had thrown many obstacles at chief writer Jones, and the album reflected them all, as Jones and the band overcame adversity to deliver a bruised but unbowed album of survivor anthems. The band’s new album, Secrets Of Angels, however, overflows with confidence: it’s not so much bruised as bruising. Here the band sound truly re-energised, thrumming with barely suppressed vitality. The progressive rock influence has for the most part been dialled back substantially, only really surfacing significantly on the epic, closing title track; the result is a much more immediate and focused album with more immediately hooky and memorable songs.Secrets Of Angels is the band’s first studio album with a new line-up, and it’s a testament to Jones’ deep understanding of the music he’s making that the new look Karnataka are so evidently a force to be reckoned with. The renewed emergy and sense of purposes within the band is exemplified by opener ‘Road To Cairo’, which fuses Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ with Jones’ fine ear for an anthemic chorus. Powered along by a relentless, powerful rhythm, it fair leaps out of the speakers, a sharp contrast with previous albums that tended to open far more gently. Incredibly, this energy level is maintained throughout the next four tracks with barely any let-up: ‘Because Of You’ opens as if it will be a gothic ballad, but soon delivers huge power chords, a dynamite vocal from vocalist Hayley Griffiths, making her first appearance – hopefully the first of many – on one of the band’s studio albums, and one of guitarist Enrico Pinna’s most outré solos to date, a cascading wail of rage and frustration that will pin you to the nearest wall. ‘Poison Ivy’ goes straight for the jugular, its chanted verses and soaring chorus underpinned by a crunching riff and elaborate orchestrations, a pattern followed by the instantly addictive ‘Forbidden Dreams’, a sprightly rocker with a hugely memorable chorus that is certain to become a sing-along favourite for fans.The album continues with ‘Borderline’, a track with two faces: after opening with another suitably gothic flourish, all wind and a tolling church bell, it reveals itself as a chugging riff-based rocker, with a grimly accusatory lyric; however, the mood is utterly transformed by the distinctly pop chorus. Catharsis and hope in the face of adversity is perhaps Karnataka’s bread and butter, and ‘Borderline’ is an almost perfect distillation of that duality. It’s followed by the highly dramatic ‘Fairytale Lies’, which is reminiscent of Within Temptation at their most balefully reflective, a glorious concoction of tumbling keys and a striking string arrangement, topped off by a lyric that is superb in its cynical acceptance of reality and Griffiths’ astonishing vocal, a masterclass in mood and atmosphere. Yet the mood lifts once again with the penultimate track, ‘Feels Like Home’, a pretty, touching ballad about discovering “the one” that happily avoids the trap many ballads fall into – the cardinal sin of over-sentimentality. The way it develops is compellingly cinematic: as the song goes on, more and more layers are added to the music and the vocal, as if the virtual camera is pulling slowly back to reveal more and more of the stage. It ends in a cascade of harmony vocals, like embers from a firework display drifting back down to earth, and is possibly one of the best ballads the band have ever delivered.After all this drama, it would take something very special indeed not to be anticlimactic, but the title track itself – all twenty minutes of it – is certainly not that. Karnataka have shown themselves to be masters of longer pieces before, never falling into the self-conscious prog trap of simply pasting together a bunch of disparate pieces of music and hoping for the best. Although this magnum opus is comprised of seven separately numbered and titled parts – count ‘em! – it somehow manages to feel organically grown rather than stitched together in a lab. In many ways, it’s the ultimate distillation of what the new-look Karnataka are all about: we have folky, Celtic sections featuring guest appearances from Nightwish’s Troy Donockley; delicate balladry; a pounding symphonic metal interlude, and some outright prog courtesy of penultimate section ‘In The Name Of God’, which opens like Marillion in their pomp and steadily dials up the intensity. The effect is almost total sensory overload, and it will likely take many listens to unlock all the detail, musically and lyrically. Any piece of this length has to end strongly, and happily Karnataka have saved their ace in the hole for the dying moments of the album, as everyone pulls out all the stops for the grand finale. Pinna delivers one of his most devastating solos; Donockley serves up a Uillean pipe solo to die for, and the rhythm section get stuck in as Cagri and the assembled string section provide a backdrop of dizzying beauty for Griffiths to deliver possibly her finest vocal to date. It’s unspeakably moving, a beautiful lament for the losers on the battlefields of life and love that will quite likely require more than one handkerchief.It feels wrong to call current vocalist Hayley Griffiths the “new vocalist”, since she’s been touring with the band since very early in 2012. With a background in large musical productions (Irish dance spectaculars Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance both feature in her quite extensive CV), fronting a rock band was something completely new for Griffiths, and it isn’t perhaps surprising that the first batch of dates she undertook with the band – where the live release New Light was recorded – saw her nailing the demanding vocal parts without breaking a sweat, but looking slightly self-conscious on stage. As anyone who has seen the band recently will attest, any inhibitions that Griffiths may once have had on stage are long since gone, and that confidence has found its way onto the album, where she delivers a flawless, powerful performance. From fiery rock vocals to the lofty, operatic extreme of her range, Griffiths is perfectly on point throughout, as at home with riff-based rockers like ‘Road to Cairo’ and ‘Poison Ivy’ as she is with the gothic balladry of ‘Fairytale Lies’. It’s a bravura showcase for a highly gifted performer, and it’s practically impossible to come away from hearing her in action here not having reached the conclusion that she is the perfect foil for the band. Powerfully charismatic, hugely versatile and technically magnificent, her vocals on the closing title track in particular shame many better known female rock vocalists.Çağrı Tozluoğlu, on keys, is a similarly impressive recruit. Eschewing the more traditional progressive rock influences of previous keysman Gonzalo Carrera, Tozluoğlu brings a welcome modernity to the band. His soloing is sparsely used, but when it does appear (as on ‘Poison Ivy’), it’s wonderfully fluid. Where Tozluoğlu excels is in his shaping of mood and his orchestrations: his epic approach to arrangement means that this is the biggest-sounding Karnataka album to date. The danger of dialling up the drama is that sonically the music is weighed down until it sounds overwrought, but Tozluoğlu knows exactly when a bit more is too much. Nowhere is this more evident than in the expansive title track, where the gradual crescendoes and sudden juddering launches into explosive instrumental sections are handled with a very fine hand. Even as the song builds more and more layers upon Tozluoğlu’s musical architecture, it never feels like drama for the sake of drama; it all feels natural, logical.Last of the new arrivals is the most recent one, French drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi, whose performance here is frankly the stuff of future legend. With all the energy of progressive legends like Mike Portnoy, Pallagrosi’s explosive playing lends the material added potency and urgency whilst anchoring it to earth, playing a key role in giving it real weight and momentum. His Bonham-esque voyages around his kit during ‘Road to Cairo’ are a joy to hear; at the same time, his restraint on some of the quieter pieces – such as ‘Fairytale Lies’ – demonstrates a keen musicality and a knowledge of where to leave space for the music to breathe. In a world seemingly filled with drummers who appear to treat every song as a drum solo, Pallagrosi’s keen sense of dynamics is both refreshing and exactly what the material needs. He is, in short, the right drummer at the right time.Secrets Of Angels is a triumph. Wonderfully melodic, hugely dramatic without being in any way corny, varied in feel yet somehow effortlessly cohesive, beautifully recorded and mixed, and very sympathetically mastered, it is fairly easily the best-sounding album the band have made. The material is fabulously strong, and managed to both tread new ground and sound like ‘classic’ Karnataka at the same time – no mean feat, especially with all the new blood involved in its writing. As the epic title track draws to a breathless close, the listener may find themselves exhausted – drained by an album that runs the full gamut of emotions and leaves no stone unturned in its quest to powerfully move anyone who takes the time to sit down with it and listen. Hands down, the band’s finest hour, and a validation of the belief and skills of the new-look band. The only difficulty Karnataka now face is how to top it." = Echoes And Dust
    $21.00
  • Peculiar but interesting band from Belgium. Oceans Of Sadness mix progressive, death and doom metal influences freely and even incorporate some 70s flavors as well. The music is a bit off-kilter in the same way that Pain Of Salvation used to be. Vocals are a mix of clean and coarse. The odd use of Hammond organ in places is a weird stylistic choice that just helps to set these guys apart from the norm. If you like your prog metal to the left of center check these guys out.
    $8.00
  • Remastered edition with two bonus tracks."Searching for a way to retool their sound, Judas Priest attempted to accentuate their melodic side on Turbo by incorporating synthesizers and '80s pop-metal stylings ("Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days" sounds more like Poison, albeit with synths). The restrained songcraft sometimes pays dividends, especially on the synth-driven leadoff track, "Turbo Lover," easily the best song on the record and a successful reimagining of the Priest formula. But often, the band simply sounds directionless, unsure of exactly which path to accessibility it should follow; moreover, the synth-guitar backing and overly polished production give the album an oddly mechanized, processed feel. It certainly doesn't help most of the material, which is often at least competent but rarely inspired enough to make much of an impression. That's unfortunate because Turbo's best moments indicate that with a clearer focus, the album could have been a creative success; however, it's overall Judas Priest's weakest release since Rocka Rolla." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Norwegian goth metal legends The Sins Of Thy Beloved have been dormant since 2000 - following the release of their second album “Perpetual Desolation” - and after years of a rumored reunion, Stig Johansen and Anders Thue have instead risen from the ashes with a new band, SAVN, and a new vision.The seeds for SAVN (translated: Deprivation) officially took root when multi-instrumentalist Stig contacted Midnattsol vocalist and long-time friend Carmen Elise Espenæs about singing one song for the planned SAVN album. Carmen agreed, and Stig and Anders (keyboards) were so pleased with the final result they invited her to sing on the entire record. With Midnattsol rendered inactive for the time being due to personal commitments within the band, and her new role as a singer, as well as a mother of an adorable daughter, the Norwegian powerhouse found herself with enough time and refueled with energy to take part in this new musical journey.And, how did all this come together as a band?“In the beginning they just wanted me here and there in parts of the songs”, Carmen reveals, “but I became more and more involved as we worked. There were some parts that I asked if we could change them because I had a chorus or melody line that needed to be in there. They decided that it would be best to say that I'm part of the band. I loved the music when I first heard it, and working with them in the studio was a great experience.”SAVN is uncharted territory for the trio in that the music is unlike anything created by The Sins Of Thy Beloved or Midnattsol.There are obvious metal and goth influences within the music - very reminiscent of early Theatre Of Tragedy in places (‘The Demons In Me’, ‘Now Or Never’) - and prominent folk elements (‘Musical Silence’, ‘All I Want’, ‘I Am Free’), but it’s also surprisingly rock-oriented and heavy that it can’t be pigeonholed as a “typical” female fronted goth/metal. The music is warm and upbeat while the lyrical concepts are inviting you on a journey and touching your soul.SAVN is unique, not simply following trends. SAVN have composed the music and Carmen wrote all the lyrics. Carmen was given complete creative freedom, including re-writing existing lyrics to suit her own ideas of what the songs should sound like. The trio also wrote some songs as a group.”It's fantastic”, Carmen says of exploring new musical territory with SAVN, “I feel it brings me back to who I am. If I go for a really long time not making music I lose something of myself. Getting into doing SAVN really makes me feel alive. And I have absolutely no clue why, but all the ideas for the song melodies came so fast. I have to say I've never been so satisfied when making a new album, and I think the vocal melodies on this one are the best I've ever done. They're catchier, I think, probably because the song structures are simpler so that people will want to sing along and listen to the songs over and over.”SAVN’s self titled debut album, recorded, mixed and produced by Alex Krull (Atrocity, Leaves' Eyes) at Mastersound Studios in Germany, features several guest performers. Carmen’s sister Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes) appears on ’I Am Free’, while Michelle Darkness (End Of Green) turns up on ’The Demons In Me’. On the musical side, fiddle players Dag Bjørkedal and Lillian Hodne play a large part in rounding out the SAVN sound. And, additional strings were provided by the famed Lingua Mortis Orchestra on ‘Sorrowful’ and ‘Lengselens Hånd’, directed and recorded by composer and Rage guitarist Victor Smolski.All the guest appearances on the album are important; all of them special, but Carmen is particularly fond of ‘I Am Free’ that is featuring her sister, Liv Kristine. It marks the first time the siblings have recorded one of Carmen’s songs together.“I don't remember if it was Liv that asked me about doing a song or if I asked her, but we talked about it and thought it would be a great idea. And we didn't just take any song. There was a part in ’I Am Free’ that I felt was perfect for Liv”, says Carmen.And in fact, perhaps Liv Kristine describes SAVN best from the point of view of an observer and participant of the album recordings: “If you like the early Theatre Of Tragedy, you'll enjoy SAVN”, says Liv, “it's very down to earth. Stig was in The Sins Of Thy Beloved and there are things he really loves about that period of bands like Sirenia and Tristania. He’s always been influenced by these bands and what he put together with SAVN is like a dream come true”. And she comments: “I love the album. It's an excellent piece of art”."
    $16.00
  • Blowout price on the 2CD 24 bit remastered version. Track list:1. Splintering heart (6:54)2. Cover my eyes (Pain and Heaven) (3:54)3. The party (5:36)4. No one can (4:41)5. Holidays in Eden (5:38)6. Dry land (4:43)7. Waiting to happen (5:01) v 8. This town (3:18)9. The rakes progress (1:54)10. 100 nights (6:41)Total Time: 48:17Bonus disc (1997 release)1. Sympathy (single) (3:30)2. How can it hurt (single) (4:41)3. A collection (single) (3:00)4. Cover my eyes (acoustic single) (2:34)5. Sympathy (acoustic single) (2:30)6. I will walk on water (Alternate '98 mix) (5:14)7. Splintering heart (live) (6:42)8. You don't need anyone (Moles Club demo) (4:04)9. No one can (demo) (4:51)10. The party (demo) (5:45)11. This town (demo) (4:16)12. Waiting to happen (demo) (5:31)13.Eric (Video o.s.t.) (2:32)14. The epic (Fairyground) (demo) (8:31)Total Time: 63:06
    $13.00
  • "New live album from Swedish prog rock sensation Moon Safari. Recorded at the band's performance at the classic Baja Prog festival in Mexicali, Mexico. The album features some of their classic tunes as well as pieces from their latest studio release Himlabacken Vol. 1. Drumming on this release is Mikael Israelsson from Swedish prog rock band Black Bonzo. Recommended for all fans on melodic prog rock."
    $16.00
  • After the break up of art rock pioneers Orchestra Luna, guitarist Randy Roos changed gears and assembled the Mistral band. The resulting album, from 1978, features fusion stars Mike Stern, Neil Stubenhaus, Louis DeAndrade, and Alyrio Lima (Weather Report). Masterfully playing a variety of fretted and fretless guitars, Roos demonstrates why its time for this overlooked gem to be revisited. Mistral is pure high energy fusion that will appeal to fans of Jeff Beck and Return To Forever. It comes with liner notes from noted jazz journalist Bill Milkowski. Mistral has been remastered from the original analogue master tapes by audiophile engineer Bob Katz. It arrives in an old style mini-LP tip-on sleeve. Strictly limited to 500 copies!
    $27.00
  • Who would have believed that Greece has one of the strongest and most fervent markets for heavy metal in the World. Not only is it a required destination for any band touring Europe but many home grown bands achieve attention from fans and the local metal media. It is from this hot bed that Wastefall emerged to create two superb progressive metal albums for the Greek label Sleaszy Rider Records. Sensory Records has now signed Wastefall world wide for the release of their third album Self Exile.While Wastefall has often been compared to Swedens Pain Of Salvation their music is much more aggressive and dynamic. The bands desire to take their music to the next level led them to Denmark to work with noted producer Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids, Wuthering Heights). The results are quite evident Self Exile retains all of the bands trademarks but the music is heavier and more immediate. When you hear Self Exile Pain Of Salvation will instantly spring to mind but also Pantera, vintage Metallica, and Nevermore as well. This is an album that has more than enough complexity and passion for the prog fan but is also heavy enough for any metal fan.Wastefall will be making their North American debut appearance at the world renowned ProgPower USA festival on September 16, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia. 
    $5.00
  • "When I say that they are near the gate of perfection and give it a 98% score would be considered this is a work of art. Well, putting it in simple words I’d have to be really picky to find what is wrong with this album. There are only little details that I could take into consideration for this album not being perfect, but it certainly is a truly grandiose masterpiece. Finally my friends, Skylark is on the way to the heaven church where the warriors are honored and upgraded to masters of the genre. It does not matter if they are not known worldwide or if they don’t have video clips to promote the songs. That is what makes them so great, because with pure musical skills they have truly achieved greatness.Currently, this is by far one of my favorite metal albums. For those purists who think metal is not supposed to be what this album offers they are pretty misguided. This is power metal, symphonic whatsoever, with a light atmosphere although heavier in my opinion than ‘Gate to Heaven’, no matter what elements they have thrown in they did it magnificent. All the ingredients for a good album are here: awesome vocals by Kiara, outstanding guitar solos, epic songs, speedy songs, mid tempo songs, good instrumentals, good background vocals, good riffs, good drumming, etc. I mean, what else do you need?Let’s begin with the obvious. I think this album is by far better in some aspects than the 2 Divine Gates albums. 1. Now the production and the now decent sound help a lot because the bass lines now are hearable. 2. The fact that there are more mid tempo songs helps because this way they avoid overwhelming speed that in long term will get you bored of. Actually, fast songs there are only: ‘The Scream’ and ‘Soul of the Warrior’ and the instrumental ‘Hurricane’ 3. Fabio Dozzo is no longer in the band and unfortunately for me since I like his singing style with the constant high pitched screams. I must recognize that very often he used to screw up because of the getting-out-of-range vocally but the good thing about the new backup singer is that they added some eco (like Edenbridge do with Sabine’s vocals) so it sounds amazing. 4. The bass lines have taken predominance and you can now hear them very well and man, this time they got it right. They are not only following rhythms but taking ownership of some of the songs. 5. There are no epic songs in here, at least not in the way they used to so the song writing has been simplified. This is neither good nor bad but just different. In my case, I like the old epic-lengthy style of songs but here this just rocks out. 6. Last but not least, the angelic vocal of Kiara, man, is she lovely! I will detail on her abilities later but the fact that she uses middle ranges makes her fit perfectly with the music without overbearing with high pitched screams.Alright, now that the improvements have been appointed, let me tell you why I think this is fucking great and just a step away of pure perfection. Kiara is by far the best choice they could’ve chosen. Her high notes are amazingly sweet and yet powerful. They are very similar to those of Saeko, but Kiara is sweeter and more pitched. Throughout the entire album she sings mostly in her middle range but when she screams man I get chills and orgasms just listening to her. Next is the choice of a backup vocalist who actually controls his vocal range. The fact that he is only accompanying Kiara makes the dynamics even more interesting and he sings in a more or less high range but avoiding veing Ralf Scheepers or Kiske. The juxtaposition of both singers creates a cool atmosphere and sung dialogs.On to the songs you get a little bit of everything but not ultra fast songs like Belzebu or the Triump. Actually, I’d say the instrumental ‘Hurricane’ is the fastest track. The rest are basically mid speed ‘The scream’ and ‘Soul of the warrior’. They are a little faster than the average mid tempo but are not that fast as the ones mentioned below. There are some progressive tempo changes here and there like ‘Soul of the Warrior’ where the changes of pace take you completely off your feet and I love them. This is the kind of things that make the songs interesting instead of just relentless speed. There is only one ballad in ‘Believe in Love’ and now we are talking. Previous ballads were good, not cheesy, which is one of the problems of power metal but this with Kiara singing really soft and subtle giving textures to her voice plus the guitars in the upfront and the keyboards back grounded leave me hyperventilated. The guitar solo, by the way, is very 80’s very Poison, Cinderella, Bon Jovi alike. In here the bass lines are thick and the vocals are just flawlessly performed. The bass lines are more diverse this time such as ‘Time’ where the entire song is bass driven and I must say they just added a very nice melody to it. It is my favorite song here because of the exquisite bass lines and low male vocals making the perfect contrast with Kiara’s falsetto and then her high pitched screams give me goose bumps.The keyboards are very good balanced with the guitars and they are not overshadowed as such can be heard on ‘The Scream’ where they are perfectly mixed to listen to them clearly. What I find interesting the most is the awesome melodies since nowadays is very hard to come up with memorable melodies (let’s say ala Stratovarius) so I find this very good done.The guitar solos are very similar to those from D.G.II. The follow the same pattern and melodic sense but since the songs are better they sound better here. The riffing style has now been improved. The progression of the power chords are far more interesting and a little more ‘complex’ than those from the first D.G albums although they are yet rather simplistic, as normally in power metal.The re-arrangement made on ‘Heaven Church’ is obviously vocal driven to show off Kiara’s skills. Although the rhythm parts last for around two minutes and this one cannot be compared to the masterpiece the original is, it is still a good track and very enjoyable. But again, I only take 1 point for re-arranging a song that is perfect in its original form because it lost its crunch (ok, light atmosphere from the original but still heavier than this new version).Finally, Skylark is basically known for two things which they have succeeded at: 1. Atmosphere. 2. Epic sense. In this case they have sacrificed the traditional epic sense but the atmosphere is taking predominance which is ok for me since they are doing it perfectly, enhancing a good and positive vibe throughout the listening experience.Now I face a problem. I am well aware that Divine Gates I and II are NOT perfect, but since they are for sure two of my favorite all time albums and this one beat them, what score should I give to those on my reviews since I always thought they were almost perfect? What a predicament huh? Anyhow, I’ll have to listen to them over and over to try to come up with the most objective review I could to give them a fair opinion. Kiara, this is your fault because of this masterpiece of an album but I love you because you have become my princess!" - Metal Archives
    $10.00
  • "It started in 2000 with "Down with the Sickness." Disturbed's thick, rhythmic take on alt-metal was perfect music for stalking bloody zombies, and vocalist David Draiman's jaw-snapping Pavlovian grunts made the trigger fingers of first-person shooters itch. There were threads of other groups in the sound -- Pantera's wrenching power, Slipknot, the ill-lighted parlor games of Tool -- but Disturbed held their own from the start. If 2002's Believe downplayed Draiman's guttural responses a little, that tact's long gone for 2005's Ten Thousand Fists. From Todd McFarlane's evocative wronged misfits artwork -- Suicide Girls stand fists upraised next to ghoulish fiends and disenfranchised truckers -- to the rousing staccato of the title track and the "Sickness" rewrite "Stricken," Disturbed solidify their stance as the black knights of gaming-console rock. Creepy electronics slither behind Dan Donegan's guitar, and he mostly forsakes soloing to concentrate on the visceral groove. When he's not hacking like a chained-up pit bull, Draiman emotes from the valley of reverb (that's next to the valley of death), and his moments of epic roar make the songs' choppier parts more effective. Now, "Overburdened" takes the epic stuff a little too far. Draiman starts off the song in narration, muttering "Fate is so unkind" like a monster who's been given the power to feel. But even in its swirling pretentiousness, you can't deny his intensity. Luckily the majority of Fists sticks to mid-tempo punishers that pound back anger-gritted teeth and no anesthesia. (Remember, Disturbed's tours are underwritten by Jägermeister, the black licorice firewater that punches Saturday night in the face.) "Deify" rails against blind devotion to political leaders and "Sons of Plunder" stalks at a faster, more aggressive faster heart rate, while "Decadence" and "Sacred Lie" drop into the rhythmic grip that by mid- to late album is almost comfortable in its gloomy thump. (Disturbed's ill-advised cover of Genesis' "Land of Confusion"? No comment.) Ten Thousand Fists does start to sound the same after a while. But those bloody zombies aren't going to stop pouring though the doorway, so it's a good thing it has at least 12 burly alt-metal rockers. Fire!" - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00