Mirror Place

SKU: SC133-2
Label:
Scarlet
Category:
Doom Metal
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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.

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  • Stunning reissue of the second album from Jacqueline Thibault aka Laurence Vanay.  To confuse issues more this was actually released under the band name Gate Way.  Perhaps a bit heavier than Galaxies, this treads similar ground.  Spacey prog with a Pink Floyd feel married to gorgeous, soft and wispy dreamlike folk.  Ms. Thibault is a hell of a keyboardist and she displays her wares through out the album.  This deluxe reissue arrives in a mini-lp sleeve, is loaded with bonus tracks, and has a great booklet with an interview with Ms. Thibault.  She's had an interesting life.  It would seem that the time period that Evening Colours was recorded was a bit of a train wreck for her - definitely a good read.  These Laurence Vanay release are clearly two of the best reissues of 2013.  Save yourself hundreds of dollars and hours trying to find an original vinyl copy.  This was transferred from the original master tapes and sounds wonderful.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • New album from Swedish true metal gods comes in a nice digipak design and a bonus track - a cover of Malmsteen's "Rising Force". I never noticed that Anders Johansson plays drums for these cats...
    $14.00
  • Utterly insane avant garde metal from The Netherlands.  A not so simple guidepost would be to think of Leprous meets Queen meets Mr. Bungle.  That's really just the starting point.  This one will keep you off balance and scratching your head in wonderment.  Brilliant and totally mesmerizing.  BUY OR DIE!!"You probably haven’t heard of Dutch Avante-garde prog metal band Schizoid Lloyd, which is a shame, as their two previously released EPs, Virus in 2009 and Circus in 2010, were incredible slices of metallic weirdness that blended the humorous stylings of Queen, Mr. Bungle and Frank Zappa, as well as a long and diverse list of more subtle influences (their Facebook page’s influences section is extensive and covers everything from Gorguts to Kanye West), resulting in something as unique as it is strange. This past year, the band finished work on their debut album and announced their signing to Finnish label Blood Music.The band’s debut, appropriately titled The Last Note in God’s Magnum Opus, is a monstrous slab of progressive metal that’s not afraid to go some very strange places, and while it can be cacophonous at times, the songwriting is good enough to hold together tunes that wouldn’t work if written and played by less skilled musicians. Songs like “Suicide Penguin” and “Avalanche Riders” careen from riff to riff while the rest of the band rides alongside. It’s all incredibly breathless and odd, but not without subtlety and emotional depth. The most surprising part of this record, in fact, is it’s ability to be catchy and emotional without losing an ounce of technical or compositional depth.That’s not to say that this is an album for casual listening or the uninitiated. The sheer amount of musical “stuff” going on at once can make your head spin if you’re not used to bands like Mr. Bungle or Diablo Swing Orchestra and their propensity for offbeat histrionics. Even so, going in with an open mind and no expectations beyond “Things are going to get weird” should allow almost anyone to appreciate the virtuosity on display. The multiple vocal stylings from three of the musicians are almost akin to Mastodon, if they spent way too much time listening to Queen and doing cocaine. Even at it’s most blisteringly odd, however, the compositions are rock solid and so tightly played it’s enjoyable to listen to even if you can’t get a handle on what’s going on, in much the same way riding a rollercoaster blazed out of your mind is enjoyable.Schizoid Lloyd wear their influences on their sleeves. Queen is evident in the vocal melodies and harmonies, Frank Zappa in the guitar compositions and Mr. Bungle in the song titles and bizarre atmosphere, but the band manages to take all these disparate pieces and craft an album that not only feels cohesive, but is both fun to listen to and possessive of a character all it’s own. These six Dutchmen are certainly no amateurs on their instruments or newcomers to the genre, and they manage to check all the boxes as well as go above and beyond and deliver something that feels fresh in a genre that can often feel burdened by it’s own strangeness and need to stay one step ahead of everything else. The Last Note in God’s Magnum Opus is fantastic, and it would be a shame if this was the last note from this band." - Heavy Blog Is Heavy
    $16.00
  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • CD/DVD digibook.  The DVD includes a 5.1 and DTS surround mix."Prog is, at times, a strangely divided world. On one side are the true progressives, fiercely determined to push music forward into the future. On the other side stand the stuck-in-the-mud individuals whose primary objective is to cling tenaciously to the ways of the past.Cheating the Polygraph is guaranteed to ruffle the latter camp’s feathers. A collection of Porcupine Tree songs reworked using big-band instrumentation and a modern-minded approach to arrangement, calling this album quirky would be something of an understatement.Some are likely to struggle to get past the superficial level of instrumentation, timbre, and tone – but beneath it can be felt the pounding pulse of pure creativity. On Cheating the Polygraph, timeless prog-rock tunes such as The Sound of Muzak, Heartattack in a Layby, Futile, and this long-player’s title track are all given superficially jazzy makeovers that actually owe as much to the influence of Frank Zappa as they do to less batshit-crazy genius bandleaders of decades past.For me, the band-falling-down-a-spiral-staircase groove of The Pills I’m Taking is a definite highlight – but that does nothing to take away from the masterful musicianship on display throughout every last microsecond of Cheating the Polygraph‘s running time. This eight-track album took five years to make, and the labours and love that have been poured into its creation are as tangible as they could possibly be when communicated through ones, zeroes, and soundwaves. Unsurprisingly flawless, but also unexpectedly addictive and moreish." - The Musical Melting Pot
    $20.00
  • Bulgaria doesn't immediately come to mind as a hot bed of musical activity but that is where Sensory made their latest discovery. In 2000, the band created their calling card to the progressive metal world a demo that was well received in the underground press. Affter a series of lineup changes the band set about recording their debut "Shade of Fate". The result is a tour de force of progressive metal that will appeal to fans of Dream Theater, Vanden Plas and Queensryche. Pantommind use gorgeous symphonic soundscapes as a backdrop for intricate keyboard solos, crunch-filled guitar riffs and pure soaring vocals. This is a band poised to capture the imagination of progressive metal fans around the world. Sensory's release of "Shade Of Fate" also features two exclusive bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • "One of the interesting and strangely rewarding things about being a power metal enthusiast in 2015 is the fact that, due to the general indifference shown by media outlets and the metal population at large, particularly within the United States, fans don’t really get hit over the head with an uninterrupted outpouring of releases 8 days a week as you might for, say, death and black metal. Perhaps that seems like a strange thing to celebrate, but during an age where glut has become the new standard, it’s refreshing to exist in a realm where you often don’t have much of a choice but to really get to know the releases you count as triumphs. To illustrate the point: While there have been a few noteworthy power metal releases in 2015, there haven’t been enough to completely overshadow what's still getting regular play from 2014's sufficient crop. In this sense, power metal is defying the "churn & burn" mandate that seems to govern much of music today.The shortage of a comprehensive power metal vogue also means that, for the most part, the bands that commit to the genre are by-God in it for a true love and obligation to the game. In other words, there’s little evidence of bandwagoning, which is equally refreshing.With that in mind, if you’re lucky enough to resonate with power metal and haven’t been paying attention to what’s been rumbling down the chute from the U.S. lately, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Releases haven’t exactly been dropping from the trees, per say, but a good portion of what we’ve gotten certainly qualifies for medal contention. To keep things pinned to 2015, consider Artizan’s The Furthest Reaches, Tanagra’s None of This is Real, and Judicator’s ludicrous At the Expense of Humanity. Three high-quality PM records from one country in one year might typically be sufficient, but St. Paul, Minnesota’s Chaos Frame apparently prefers to kick the festivities up to a deafening roar, because Paths to Exile, their sophomore effort, is nothing short of extraordinary.First of all, are you shittin’ me with this thing? Who? Wuh? Where’d?There's nary a bad tune to be found on this record. Seriously. That fact alone should be enough to inspire some of you to pound some samples into your ears and free the tight velcro grip on those wallets, but just in case it’s not: Chaos Frame shares current, ex- and guest members from Noble Beast, a band that released one of 2014’s most sublime examples of exhilarating, aggressive modern power metal. And while Paths to Exile certainly shares some of that band’s Blind Guardian-galvanized strut, particularly in those exquisitely stacked choruses, Chaos Frame is an entirely different beast altogether. An even more... noble beast, one might wager? Inconceivable. Just a more proggy, less dungeon-inspired incursion that shares the same level of skill in terms of first-string musicianship from a relatively unheralded act.Something a number of American progressive/power metal acts seem to be managing in excess lately is the idea that you can be uplifting without being overly bubbly, and Chaos Frame nails that notion home with a one-ton hammer. There are no “Heavy Metal Hamsters” or squirrelly circus jigs within a hundred miles of these dudes. Outside of the opening track, every song flashes moments where things seamlessly break off for a stretch of surprisingly dense or FAST execution that strikes with as much oomph as Brian Blessed charging atop a Clydesdale. For comparison’s sake, think Pharaoh, Falconer, Manticora and Spirit of Ukko era Kiuas all balled into one. Now add one of the better vocal performances this side of a Daniel Heiman-fronted Lost Horizon/Heed record and you’ve got the basic gist.Lofty praise, for sure, but Paths to Exile delivers, front to back. And as satisfying as the entire picture manages to be, the weight delivered in its midsection via “Terra Firma,” “Paper Sun” and “Giantkiller” is just staggering. Nimble acoustic picking blends with knotty riffing and ample time signature shifts; infectious choruses swirl into falsettoed, King Diamond-inspired “oh-ohhhs”; bolts of blast-beating drums run like hellfire; pretty leads split the sky without ever being overblown; and there’s even a bloody saxophone solo that winds up resting so perfectly within the overall scheme of things that you’ll wonder why more bands of this nature don’t work this oft-maligned instrument into their own blueprint. Embrace your inner Tim Cappello, heavy metal.It’s been a while since I’ve come across a prog/power metal record as altogether satisfying as Paths to Exile. In the end, however, one probably needs some level of appreciation for the style to fully acknowledge what’s going on here. It’s too bad, really, because above all else, Chaos Frame simply succeeds at delivering great heavy metal – energetic, exciting, empowering heavy metal that’s perfectly suited for those who appreciate impeccable musicianship, towering vocals and just generally feeling fucking fantastic after listening to one of the better records that 2015 has to offer." - Your Last Rites
    $12.00
  • Brilliant classically influenced Italian prog album. Pierrot Lunaire was a trio led by keyboardist Arturo Stalteri.  Delicate music that easily fits into the "Rock Progressivo Italiano" movement.  One of the great ones.
    $15.00
  • Hey - don't be a chump! This cheap version from Asia comes with a bonus cut.
    $11.00
  • "What do you get when you take a rough and ready Germanic power metal band and add two members of Blind Guardian? You get a better rough and ready Germanic power metal band. Sinbreed is that band and features the talents of Blind Guardian guitarist Marcus Siepen and drummer Frederik Ehmke, which gives them some instant musical credibility and clout. Their 2009 debut When World’s Collide was a rock solid slab of slick, but angry metal in the vein of modern Accept, Herman Frank and Paragon and Shadows improves on that template with even more raspy, Udo-like vocals and thrashy guitar lines. These cats don’t go in for the frilly aspects of Euro-power and prefer to pummel and attack with aggression while maintaining enough melody to hook you in. That makes Shadows a feisty, ill-tempered collection of speedy riffs, catchy choruses, and pissed off attitude, and when power metal is done this well, it’s pretty hard to resist. Not revolutionary, but it sure satisfies that need for edgy power sans pirate shirt.If you loved the last two Accept albums, songs like “Bleed” and “Call to Arms” will go down gangbusters. Lots of fast, in-your-face riffs and the excellently raspy roar of Herbie Langhans combine for some headbanging good times with all the Germanic flair you expect from acts like Grave Digger, but this is much better and more jacked up. It’s one speedster after another, each with a more than adequate chorus and ample nutsack. Sometimes they remind a bit of Steel Attack (title track), others times there’s a distinct Steel Prophet feel to the songs (“Leaving the Road”). Regardless of what influences they borrow from, they keep things straight-ahead, simple and rocking.Tunes like “Reborn,” ”Black Death” and “London Moon” have simple, memorable refrains and manage to be catchy without dialing back on the aggression. Most songs ride along on simple, but heavy riff patterns and rely on Herbie’s vocals to do the heavy lifting, pausing only for some satisfying, if typical power metal solos. It’s a simple approach, but it works for them, though there isn’t much difference from song to song and things do start to bleed together a little on the album’s back-end.Speaking of Herbie’s vocals, he’s a helluva good front man for this type of music. He has the raspy, gravely style down pat and reminds me a lot of new Accept singer Mark Tornillo. He has quite the powerful range and can hit all sorts of interesting notes when he so desires. He also has a bit of Bruce Dickinson’s flair and swagger hiding between his harsher approach (especially on “Standing Tall”) and it helps put the music over and make an impression. Marcus Siepen and Flo Laurin deliver the badass riffage required for this style and their solo work is pretty nifty (especially on “Broken Wings”). Nothing they do will make you fall out of a chair, but they manage to keep things moving for all ten songs and the album feels like it goes by quickly, which is a good thing.A typical dose of Teutonic terror, but a very good one, Shadows blasts away with all barrels, stays very consistent and checks all the required boxes on Yea Olde Power Metal Checklist. These guys are one of my favorite bands of this ilk and between them, Accept and Herman Frank, I get all the Germanic rage I can handle at my advanced age. If you need more muscle in your power metal, these guys have the iron injection ready to go. Go heavy or go home." - Angry Metal Guy
    $16.00
  • 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.
    $12.00
  • For reasons beyond my comprehension this German six piece band is being lumped in with Graveyard and Witchcraft.  Yes this is a retro sounding band and hard rock is one of their primary influences and yes there is an occult theme running through the album.  I hear much more of a 70s hard rock sound.  Think in terms of Uriah Heep, Lucifer's Friend and Deep Purple but also some undercurrents of bands like The Devil's Blood.  There is Iommi-type riffing that turns up so I guess that's the Sabs influence and the connection to those Swedish bands.  I'm digging the swirling organ sounds. "Orcus Chylde are a band with a sound that is very hard to categorize. Parts Doom, Pysch, Prog Rock, Proto-Metal mixed in with a delicious 70's Occult Rock feel.They are part of the new breed of Doom Rock/Metal that is starting to make waves through the rock world. They have just released their astonishing debut S/T Debut album. An 8 song and 48 minute blast of out of this world psychedelic riffs.The album is expertly produced and played by everyone involved.If your a fan of 70's Hard Rock Bands such as Led Zep, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple then your going to love this. It takes the music from that era but adds some cool modern Doom Rock riffs to truly stand out from the crowd.This album feels like a greatest hits collection of this great band rather than their debut album. All of the songs  are great especially - The Day The Seventh Angel Came, Valley Of Thorns, Over The Frozen Rivers.All showing what this great band does so well. Paying homage to great bands past and present but putting their own spin on things. Such as the sublime vocals of vocalist Tobias and the Organs. The organs add a dream like quality to their music. Some times unsettling but altogether original and fucking superb.This album is receiving a whole lot of praise all over the place. And rightly it should. As it's Orcus Chylde's callling card to the world of Hard Rock/Doom Metal that a truly important band has arrived on the scene. And that they are here to stay for a long, long time.Long May It Continue. An outstanding album by a great band from our German Brothers.If you want a truly operatic theatrical doom rock/metal album full of original ideas and riffs then I recommend you check this excellent band now. You would be mad to miss out this excellent album." - The Sludgelord Blog
    $15.00
  • "Cricklewood Green provides the best example of Ten Years After's recorded sound. On this album, the band and engineer Andy Johns mix studio tricks and sound effects, blues-based song structures, a driving rhythm section, and Alvin Lee's signature lightning-fast guitar licks into a unified album that flows nicely from start to finish. Cricklewood Green opens with a pair of bluesy rockers, with "Working on the Road" propelled by a guitar and organ riff that holds the listener's attention through the use of tape manipulation as the song develops. "50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain" and "Love Like a Man" are classics of TYA's jam genre, with lyrically meaningless verses setting up extended guitar workouts that build in intensity, rhythmically and sonically. The latter was an FM-radio staple in the early '70s. "Year 3000 Blues" is a country romp sprinkled with Lee's silly sci-fi lyrics, while "Me and My Baby" concisely showcases the band's jazz licks better than any other TYA studio track, and features a tasty piano solo by Chick Churchill. It has a feel similar to the extended pieces on side one of the live album Undead. "Circles" is a hippie-ish acoustic guitar piece, while "As the Sun Still Burns Away" closes the album by building on another classic guitar-organ riff and more sci-fi sound effects." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • Formed at the beginning of the nineties, Wuthering Heights emerged from the Danish metal scene and began to draw attention of the rest of the world. Their brilliant epics of symphonic speed/power metal with progressive and folk roots became the trademark of their entire discography. Their previous albums were very well-received by fans and media worldwide and solidified Wuthering Heights' status as one of the most interesting bands to emerge on the international heavy metal scene. At last, after 3 years of silence, the time has come for the 5th album, ‘Salt’, to be released. Featuring the same line-up as seen on their last album ‘The Shadow Cabinet’, guitarist/songwriter Erik Ravn and the boys have created another epic album which is undoubtedly their strongest to date. While writing its lyrics, Erik discovered that the imagery of the sea was a perfect setting for his dark tales of personal and global Armageddon. Consequently the music has traded some of its Celtic delicacy for the rawness of the sailor’s tunes. Never before has the end of the world sounded so uplifting!
    $8.00