The Metal Opera

SKU: CM8038-2
Label:
Century Media
Category:
Power Metal
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Super session put together by Tobias Stammet, vocalist of Edguy. Lineup reads like a who's who of power/speed metal: Kai Hansen, David DeFeis, Andre Matos, Oliver Hartmann, Sharon Den Adel, Rob Rock, Timo Tolkki on vocals. Musiciasn include Henjo Richter, Markus Grosskopf, and Alex Holzwarth. Basically an over the top power metal opera!

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  • 2CD live recording from the Paradise Theater in Boston.  Recorded on April 15, 1988.  If you don't know 3 was the one shot band that featured Keith Emerson, Carl Palmer, and Robert Berry.  Besides sporting mullets the band ran through a set list that relied heavily on their album as well as a little ELP, a little Emerson solo material, and even The Nice.  It seemed like a good idea at the time...
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  • At War With Self - sounds more like a psychological diagnosis than a band! This new group is an instrumental power prog trio leaping onto the progressive scene. The project is the brainchild of guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Glenn Snelwar. Torn Between Dimensions, the band's debut recording, features Snelwar on guitar, mandolin, and keyboards; Michael Manring on fretless bass and e-bow; and Fates Warning's Mark Zonder on drums and percussion. Zonders solidly tasty drumming firmly anchors the trio along with the melodically propulsive bass work of Manring, all wonderfully adorned by Snelwars fierce playing. The band serves up intense, emotional pieces in a wide variety of musical styles. Snelwars intention is to open doors to listeners who may be unfamiliar with progressive rock, classical guitar or metal. At War With Self have an equal passion for such diverse types of music as progressive and metal bands like King Crimson, Voivod and Pink Floyd; classical composers such as Bartok and Villa Lobos; as well as bluegrass and jazz. Torn Between Dimensions takes these influences and combines them into something undeniably progressive and strikingly original. The end result is a dense wall of sound, with different textures and feels within each number, one song flowing seamlessly into the next.Guitarist Glenn Snelwar is perhaps best known for his contributions to Gordian Knots eponymous debut, a project led by Chapman Stick player Sean Malone that featured guest performances by Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Sean Reinert (Cynic) & John Myung (Dream Theater). Snelwar helped co-write three of the songs for Gordian Knot, as well as contributing guitar work. Since his involvement with Gordian Knot, Snelwar has been incorporating mandolin, keyboard and string section programming into a foundation of classical, steel string and electric guitar arrangements to great effect. Michael Manring is a world-renowned, Grammy-nominated bassist who has appeared on over 100 studio projects, including recording and performing with Michael Hedges and Attention Deficit Disorder (with former Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander). Michaels fretless bass parts play a vital role on Torn Between Dimensions, melodic but never overwhelming. For over 15 years, Mark Zonder occupied the drum stool for progressive metal legends Fates Warning. As Zonders fans would expect, he continues to push new boundaries on Torn Between Dimensions. Marks playing on the disc covers a lot of territory - from double bass drumming and odd time signatures, to jazz and Middle Eastern flavors. Snelwar describes Torn Between Dimensions as a concept album, but not in the strict sense of the word. I wanted to create a collection of songs where each would stand on its own, but exist as part of a greater whole. I strived to create something that would impact the listener, and incorporate many stylistic influences. Torn Between Dimensions is a tour de force of powerful, fluid prog rock that should appeal to progheads and rock fanatics alike! Torn Between Dimensions is housed in a digipak and features stunning artwork from noted surrealist Travis Smith.
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  • Excellent US neoprog that will appeal to fans of Marillion and Iluvatar.
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  • Volume 6 in this amazing series is a 3CD set that covers the time period 1976 through 1979. Arthur Brown appears on the performance culled from a gig in Brussels in 1979. Awesome!
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  • "The proper follow-up to Among the Living was somewhat disappointing in its inconsistency. While there are some good moments -- "Be All, End All" is one of the band's most melodic moments, and several other tracks catch fire -- the best thing here is a cover of Trust's "Antisocial," and it doesn't bode well when covers outshine original material. The lyrics continue the self-consciously intellectual, PC approach begun on Among the Living, but about half of the album is surprisingly dull." - All Music Guide
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  • Limited first edition digipak of live recordings culled from Firewind's 2012 European tour as well as their 10th anniversary gigs in Greece from December 2012.
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  • "Two years ago, a virtually unknown Russian band released a debut with chamber classical orchestration, gorgeous multi-layered vocals, and the occasional modern rock touch. Very few initially noticed it, but eventually by word of mouth, it became an unexpected favorite 2012 album in progressive rock, despite the scarcity of progressive rock elements. Listeners there mainly rated on songwriting and enjoyment.Now, we have a second iamthemorning album, expanding on the elements from the first album. A confident, mature album that will likely bring rave reviews all over the place given the band is not as obscure as in 2012.The music is once again heavily influenced by classical music. Vocals and piano continue creating the foundation of the music, with orchestral instrument, drums, and modern rock sounds adding layers whenever needed. Even the modern rock sounds are used in a very classical, 'iamthemorning' way.The added complexity of the music was a risk. After all, the debut's instantly rewarding melodies and its safe, if brilliant, songwriting approach made it very difficult for many listener to honestly hate such an album. Now, we're dealing with complexity levels more to the tune of classical music and progressive rock. This is now easily categorized as progressive rock, with less direct melodies, knotty musical ideas, occasionally long songs, more in-depth instrumentation and lyricism. The risk is that I enjoyed the first listen less than the first listen of the debut. However, I cannot decide which album I prefer now. I feel like this one has a few minor flaws based on the risk-taking approach, compared to the near-perfection pop of the debut. However, there are even more 'WOW!' moments here in my opinion, some of the very best musical passages I perceive to come across.Flaws? I seem to only gripe about the slow development of their last full song, the samples in 'Howler' and the beginning of 'K.O.S' with a repetitive, awkward drum beat and one-chord guitar riff. Luckily, the latter two songs are overall highly interesting and dynamic songs otherwise, which is why I said the flaws are not severe as they involve a small fraction of two songs.Strengths? It's hard to name them all. The intermissions remain impressive. The first one has such a captivating atmosphere, I can't imagine anyone being hard-pressed to say 'nah' and stop playing the album. The fourth intermission (titled XII) almost reaches song-like status in length, starting with classical violin and continuing with mesmerizing piano. The last intermission is almost transcendental in a spiritual sense.And then you have the songs and they are so, so good. All those subtle melodies and exciting instrumentation in 'Howler', the beautiful 'To Human Misery' with a very captivating main melody yet also with a lot of subtle instrumentation. I should try not to overuse the phrase 'subtle complexity', but I think that word really describes this album. Subtle complexity is what makes this album work so well: you latch on into some obvious melodies on first listen, but then all those little details won't make you lose interest. Every instrument plays melodies, sometimes simultaneously.'Romance' and '5/4' sound a bit like more intricate version of Tori Amos music. They are whimsical, enchanting yet quite complex in instrumentation. Those little details like the muted violin melodies and brief 'shredding' electric guitar that somehow sounds mellow. The '5/4' song is mostly in 6/4 actually, but when it shifts to a 5/4 meter playing a carnival-like atmosphere, it's pure genius, even if it sounds like a horrible idea at first listen. It's an odd choice for a single. I thought it would be 'The Simple Story' which is more instantly recognizable with its melodies and the great piano line near the end. 'Crowded Corridors' is possibly their most accomplished composition to date and also their longest by far at nearly 9 minutes. It begins relatively subdued with their typical instrumentation and vocalizations, if more haunting than usual. Something else going for it is the more 'epic', dramatic moments that work incredibly well. It'd be interesting if they revisit this approach to songwriting in later albums. A particular highlight, besides the obvious piano solo in the latter half, is a slow melody at minute 3 being revisited at the very end at a faster pace.By the way, most of these songs deviate from a typical song structure to help make it more impactful and dynamic. The song 'Gerda' starts very soft and delicate but later sounds very empowering and grand: it's yet another great song. 'Os Lunatum' starts as an outstanding piano + vocal duet, both at their very best, especially during the song's main hook. Guitars later become dominant on the song's instrumental section. The song concludes with a full band sound, the progression from the very beginning being very natural.'K O S' may be marginally a less enjoyable song here because of that first minute which sounds repetitive and lacks what I like about the band. The rest is an interesting experiment as they veer towards a progressive rock / alternative rock sound without fully losing their trademark vocals, pianos, and subtle way to adding melodic layers. I love the way it ends, reprising the intro in such a way that almost redeems it. The 'Reprise of Light no Light' is another lesser favorite, developing in a slow fashion that sometimes tests my patience. I do love that it, along with the last intermission, ends with peaceful, abstract noise.In the end, they have accomplished a very difficult feat, given the high standard the set themselves with their debut. This second album is very intelligent music as well as very deep, emotional music. It touches me. In the end, despite the occasional flaw, it's a masterpiece and I anticipate it being consistently among my favorite pieces of music regardless of genre alongside their debut." - ProgArchives
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  • Remastered with 2 bonus tracks."The last quality album from Judas Priest's commercial period, Defenders of the Faith doesn't quite reach the heights of British Steel or Screaming for Vengeance, in part because it lacks a standout single on the level of those two records' best material. That said, even if there's a low percentage of signature songs here, there's a remarkably high percentage of hidden gems waiting to be unearthed, making Defenders possibly the most underrated record in Priest's catalog. Musically, it follows the basic blueprint of Screaming for Vengeance, alternating intricate speed rockers with fist-pumping midtempo grooves and balancing moderate musical sophistication with commercial accessibility. It's a craftsmanlike record from a band that had been in the game for a full decade already, but was still vital and exciting, and decidedly not on autopilot (yet). The record opens high-energy with the terrific "Freewheel Burning" and "Jawbreaker" before moving into lost anthem "Rock Hard Ride Free," the more complex "The Sentinel," the cold, oddly mechanized single "Love Bites," and the slightly darker "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll." Coincidentally (both were released the same year), there's a bit of Spinal Tap creeping into the band's approach on side two -- not just in calling a song "Heavy Duty," but also in the ridiculous rough-sex ode "Eat Me Alive," which comes off like an S&M-themed "Sex Farm" (albeit without the tasteful subtlety). It wound up getting the band in trouble with Tipper Gore's PMRC, though one wonders if it would have helped or hindered their cause that the song's sexual aggression was, in hindsight, not directed at women. At any rate, Defenders of the Faith charted only one spot lower than its predecessor, and was certified platinum. Hereafter, Priest would have significant difficulties adapting to the fast-changing landscape of heavy metal in the latter half of the '80s." - Allmusic Guide
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  • Quite fine new album from Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Knight. If you haven't heard Blackmore's Night before, essentially it's Blackmore's English folk/Renaissance meets rock band with his wife's gorgeous vocals on top. There are a few cover tunes sprinkled through out including a cover of Deep Purple's "Child In Time", Ralph McTell's "Streets Of London" but my fav is their reworking of Rainbow's "Street Of Dreams". This is the US edition which basically takes the bonus tracks from the more expensive Euro deluxe edition and includes them as well. One of the 3 bonus cuts is yet another version of "Street Of Dreams" but with Joe Lynn Turner. I'm a Blackmore fan and really enjoyed the disc - highly recommended to the similarly inclined.
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  • New edition of this wonderful third album from one of Canada's best progressive bands. Originally released in 1976, Ni Vent...Ni Nouvelle is classic Maneige - a sumptuous blend of keys, reeds, guitar, bass and percussion. The instrumental sextet is augmented by a string section. The music is a bit reminiscent of Camel and Gentle Giant with more than a touch of jazz rock thrown in. This new version features four bonus live tracks. Highly recommended.
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  • "By titling their third album Fear of Music and opening it with the African rhythmic experiment "I Zimbra," complete with nonsense lyrics by poet Hugo Ball, Talking Heads make the record seem more of a departure than it is. Though Fear of Music is musically distinct from its predecessors, it's mostly because of the use of minor keys that give the music a more ominous sound. Previously, David Byrne's offbeat observations had been set off by an overtly humorous tone; on Fear of Music, he is still odd, but no longer so funny. At the same time, however, the music has become even more compelling. Worked up from jams (though Byrne received sole songwriter's credit), the music is becoming denser and more driving, notably on the album's standout track, "Life During Wartime," with lyrics that match the music's power. "This ain't no party," declares Byrne, "this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around." The other key song, "Heaven," extends the dismissal Byrne had expressed for the U.S. in "The Big Country" to paradise itself: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." It's also the album's most melodic song. Those are the highlights. What keeps Fear of Music from being as impressive an album as Talking Heads' first two is that much of it seems to repeat those earlier efforts, while the few newer elements seem so risky and exciting. It's an uneven, transitional album, though its better songs are as good as any Talking Heads ever did." - Allmusic Guide
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