Mob Rules ($6 SPECIAL)

SKU: 515959
Label:
Rhino Records
Category:
Doom Metal
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"1981's Mob Rules was the second Black Sabbath album to feature vertically challenged singer Ronnie James Dio, whose powerful pipes and Dungeons and Dragons lyrics initially seemed like the perfect replacement for the recently departed and wildly popular Ozzy Osbourne. In fact, all the ingredients which had made their first outing, Heaven and Hell, so successful are re-utilized on this album, including legendary metal producer Martin Birch (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, etc.) and supporting keyboard player Geoff Nichols. And while it lacks some of its predecessor's inspired songwriting, Mob Rules was given a much punchier, in-your-face mix by Birch, who seemed re-energized after his work on New Wave of British Heavy Metal upstarts Iron Maiden's Killers album. Essentially, Mob Rules is a magnificent record, with the only serious problem being the sequencing of the material, which mirrors Heaven and Hell's almost to a tee. In that light, one can't help but compare otherwise compelling tracks like "Turn Up the Night" and "Voodoo" to their more impressive Heaven and Hell counterparts, "Neon Knights" and "Children of the Sea." That streak is soon snapped, first by the unbelievably heavy seven-minute epic "The Sign of the Southern Cross," which delivers one of the album's best moments, then its segue into an unconventional synthesizer-driven instrumental ("E5150") and the appearance of the roaring title track. Side two is less consistent, hiding the awesome "Falling off the Edge of the World" (perhaps the most overlooked secret gem to come from the Dio lineup) amongst rather average tracks like "Slipping Away" and "Over and Over." Over the next year, the wheels fell off for Black Sabbath, and Dio's exit marked Mob Rules as the last widely respected studio release of the band's storied career." - Allmusic Guide

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  • "Anthrax's first album with vocalist Joey Belladonna is a huge leap forward, featuring strongly rhythmic, pounding riffs and vocals that alternate between hardcore-type shouting and surprising amounts of melody. Two tracks left over from the Dan Lilker days are here as well. The traditional metal lyrical fare is more original, while also introducing a penchant for paying tribute to favorite fictional characters and pop culture artifacts ("Lone Justice" and "Medusa" are prime examples). One of Anthrax's best efforts." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • While the Rising Force album was not Malmsteen's first entre into the metal world it certainly turned it upside down.  The Swedish guitarist was heavily influenced by Uli Roth and Ritchie Blackmore as well as classical composer/violinist Niccolo Paganini.  Essentially his extreme virtuosity defined the "neoclassical metal" sound and has remained a signature of his ever since.The Rising Force debut featured a killer lineup - Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull) on drums, Jens Johansson (keys), and Jeff Scott Soto (vocals),  Malmsteen handled all guitar and bass parts as well as the Moog Taurus pedals.  Very much a classic.  Highly recommended.
    $5.00
  • Debut album from this Czech technical death metal band very much influenced by Cynic. As is typical of the genre its a mix of clean and death/thrash vocals. Real tight playing. Not a lot of fresh meat in this genre - this one is quite welcome."Czech Mindwork is one of those rare bands who seek to channel the later career of Death, and in many ways this debut album mirrors that style of philosphic attunement. I was also reminded in spots of bands such as Spiral Architect, Watchtower and Psychotic Waltz through the band's rather circular, acrobatic riffing tendencies. The title is an apt one, as I found myself further along the record's playtime I became more engrossed in the compositions, which are genuinely riff-tastic, moreso than Death albums like Human or Individual Though Patterns.The band is characterized by their melodic, infectious hooks, busy bass playing and adventurous leads. The vocals can take a little getting used to, they have a filthy thrash tone to them which sounds a little crisp and unpolished in the mix (a little like older Voivod or Deceased), but you'll be paying so much attention to their riffs you will hardly notice. The band is not afraid to traverse a wide distance within a single track, for example "Parasite" is all over the place, part cerebral nightmare and part precision jam session. Other tracks are a little more reigned in, like "Inner Consciousness" and the melodic "Twisted Priorities". You will find very few bands that walk this path in recent years, and Mindwork has a great deal untapped promise even beyond what you hear on this debut. It's all in the name." - From The Dust Returned" blog.
    $13.00
  • "Really superb debut album from this contemporary instrumental progressive rock band who sound completely contemporary but manage to do so while not using the metallic/crunchy overtones that so many contemporary progressive bands use. There's a certain dark, mysterious quality which is probably due to the strings, but it's not particularly avant-garde. It doesn't sound like anyone else and it doesn't sound old. Highly recommended." - Wayside Music Makajodama is the unusual name for this young instrumental quartet from Sweden. The band was formed by Mathias Danielsson, guitarist for the progressive rock band Gösta Berlings Saga. In the course of searching for another avenue to express his own musical ideas he met Mattias Ankarbrandt, the former drummer of The Carpet Knights. Their goal was to blend both written and improvised music. Through the walls of the cellar of Mathias' rehearsal studio, he could hear someone practice violin everyday, and since some of his new ideas included strings he decided to find out who the player was. After a month searching, they located their man Johan Klint who immediately joined Mattias and Mathias. As luck would have it Johan knew a cellist, Karin Larsdotter, who was also interested in improvisation as well and she came onboard, rounding out the quartet. The band invited Anekdoten’s guitarist, Nicklas Barker, to mix the album. Makajodama’s debut is a direct reflection of the quartet’s influences: Third Ear Band, Univers Zero, Swedish psych pioneers Älgarnas Trädgård, the kraut rock spirit of Can and Faust, and Swedish contemporary composers Karl-Birger Blomdahl and Allan Pettersson. The result is a unique collision of progressive and post rock that sounds like the musical offspring of early King Crimson and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The artwork and design of the digipak was created by noted Swedish artist Johan Björkegren. Get a taste of Makajodama here: Makajodama's MySpace Page
    $14.00
  • 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
    $9.00
  • "‘Idiosynchratically beautiful’. These are two words that have stuck with me for nearly 20 years and which I recall almost every time I hear or read the name Arcturus. These words were quoted on an advert for the Norwegian band’s 1997 release, ‘La Masquerade Infernale’ within an issue of either Terrorizer or Metal Hammer magazine; I can’t remember which. What I do remember was that I was deeply into a stage of black metal discovery at the time and this quote resonated with me for some reason. I took the punt and received the album as a Christmas present. It wasn’t love at first listen; instead it was a slow and steady slog that has ended in a lasting and deep love affair. It was the track ‘Ad Astra’ that was the catalyst for repeat listens. Full of drama, avant-garde vaudevillian oddness and a compelling crescendo, it impressed me and forced me to listen to the remainder of the album more than perhaps I might otherwise have done.It is arguable that in the intervening years, Arcturus have never managed to hit the heights of ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. Neither 2002’s ‘The Sham Mirrors’ nor ‘Sideshow Symphonies’ spoke to me in the same way and despite containing some outstanding moments, I came away both times with feelings of slight disappointment. And that, as they say was that. In terms of original studio albums, nothing has been released since; indeed after the release of ‘Shipwrecked in Oslo’ in 2006, the band called it quits with the individual members going on to do different things. And so it has remained until now.Rumours were rife from around 2011 when various members made comments that alluded to a resurrection of the band and later that year the rumours were confirmed. However, for one reason or another it has taken until 2015 for a new original recording to see the light of day, a development that has been greeted with great euphoria amongst the loyal Arcturus following.Arcturus version 2015 is comprised of Steinar Sverd Johnsen (keys), Hellhammer (drums), Knut Magne Valle (guitar), Hugh ‘Skoll’ Mingay (bass) and ICS Vortex (vocals). Together, they have created an album very much worthy of their lofty status and one that I would argue just about manages to match the quality of ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. The only reason I hedge my bets and say ‘just about’ is because I’ve only had about three days with ‘Arcturian’ as opposed to the 18 years I’ve had to enjoy ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. That said, I’ve listened to ‘Arcturian’ more times than I care to mention in recent days and it gives me chills on each and every listen. It is complex, quirky, brilliantly composed and professionally executed. I have no doubt that with even more time and attention, it’ll delight and captivate me even more than it does already.The one thing that perhaps I wasn’t expecting was the sheer amount of melody and accessibility that ‘Arcturian’ displays. It’s no exaggeration to say that for all of the complexity and raw heaviness, almost every track on the album contains a melody, lead vocal or some kind of hook that makes me sit up and take real notice. When I listen to new music, I have a tendency to make an ‘oooh’ noise and smile broadly if something excites me. I suspect that there will be some of you out there who do something similar. On ‘Arcturian’, I admit to ‘ooh’-ing all over the place.One of main reasons why this album feels so melodic and accessible is, I believe down to vocalist ICS Vortex. Yes he is an acquired taste but so unique is his delivery and so impressive is his range that seemingly very little is off-limits. He complements the music beautifully, managing sound both majestic but also a little unstable, as if he could spiral out of control at any moment. I mean, at times, he sounds like he’s yodelling for heaven’s sake; it’s superb.Onto the compositions themselves, they are all dense, multi-layered affairs that contain an abundance of richness. There are no songs that tend to extend over six minute mark and yet, such is the ambition of Arcturus that it feels like a million different ideas are injected into each composition, testing the listener and toying with them at every turn. I strongly suspect that this has been done with a certain playful, yet mischievous intent. Those strong Vaudervillian overtones of the band’s past make a welcome return, as do a number of various influences that pull Arcturus away from being simply discarded as a black metal band. As they demonstrate on ‘Arcturian’, there are elements of black metal to their underlying sound but they deliver so much more that to pigeonhole them in such a way would be inaccurate and disingenuous.Opening track, ‘The Arcturian Sign’, starts off somewhat disconcertingly with weird electronic noises and sounds. It’s a typically eccentric beginning which soon gives way to those unmistakable vocals of ICS Vortex and, at its core, a black metal meets prog composition. Dominated by powerful synths and relentless double pedal drumming, those odd sounds like laser guns nevertheless re-surface throughout. But within the tumult and idiosyncrasies is a really catchy, hook-laden chorus.‘Crashland’ has a light and breezy feel to it, taking in influences from space rock, folk music and more extreme climes. The sweeping synths are immediately reminiscent of the ‘La Masquerade Infernale’ era, as they are during my personal standout track, ‘Game Over’ with its addictive melodies and the way it builds and morphs so elegantly from one guise to another almost imperceptibly, ending in a crescendo of sorts that elicits another ‘ooh’ from my lips.‘Angst’ is a powerful and more extreme slab of metal, dominated by a blistering tempo, tortured screams atop another strong synth melody and the threat of a descent into chaos on more than one occasion. ‘Warp’ on the other hand introduces more electronic influences but has such an imposing and catchy melody that it’s impossible to ignore. ‘Demon’ has demonstrable Gothic synth pop overtones whereas ‘Pale’ delights with a marvellous driving central riff, a great chorus of sorts and some of the most varied and brilliant vocals on the entire record. The album ends with ‘Bane’, a track that further backs up the gorgeous ‘The Journey’ by providing amongst other things, some truly beautiful and subtle acoustic guitar playing which is a real joy.For all that, I have to say that ‘Arcturian’ is an album that’s best enjoyed in its entirety rather than picking and choosing individual songs. The album has a distinct flow and overall feel that helps to make it as special as it is, something that could be lost if listened to in a piecemeal manner.For the sake of balance, my only small gripe relates to the production which I think is a little on the weak side and robs some of the aforementioned richness from the music. Occasionally, the layers of music come together is a slightly messy muddle of impenetrable white noise which is a bit disappointing. But then again, there’s a certain ‘old-school’ charm to the mix too, reminding me of their heyday more than once. Maybe therefore, the production is entirely deliberate, those naughty scamps.It’s almost impossible sum up ‘Arcturian’ in a concise manner and do it the justice it deserves, except to say that if you’re a fan of Arcturus at their most original, challenging, audacious and quirky, prepare to take ‘Arcturian’ straight to your heart." - Man Of Much Metal
    $16.00
  • "“Memories Of An Ancient Time”represents the second chapter of the trilogy start with "Countdown to Revenge" two years ago. HOLLOW HAZE has recently parted ways with singer Fabio Lione ( RHAPSODY, ANGRA, KAMELOT), But luckily the Italians, in person but shortly after it announced that Mats Leven (Y. MALMSTEEN, THERION, CANDLEMASS), Rick Altzi (MASTERPLAN, At VANCE) and Amanda Somerville took part in the recording sessions as very special guest singers. Their new and sixth album, that is set to be released on upcoming June’15 by Scarlet Records.This second saga will take you on an epic journey through the desert of Egypt, meeting the aliens, special mention to the amazing artwork realised by Stan W. Decker. This “Memories Of An Ancient Time” has been mastered by Mika Jussila (NIGHTWISH, APOCALYPTICA, CHILDREN OF BODOM) at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and as usually, Mika has done a good job, the production is magestic.“Memories Of An Ancient Time” is a mix of progressive meets power meets symphonic meets heavy metal, fast guitar riffs, neat double bass, magical and orchestral arrangements, big and beautiful choirs in the chorus, you can easily sing along all the songs, especially due to that the songs are relatively short compared to the first album of this trilogy.All the duets between Mats Leven & Amanda Somerville are all well done, Rick is mostly heard in the background, all the lead vocals are on the Mats‘s shoulders. As usual, Mats Leven has often proven, in the past, that he can carry an complete album. Whether by Y. MALMSTEEN or with THERION (even if i prefer his vocal performance with the guitar hero), he always convinced me with his charismatic voice, and he does this time again. HOLLOW HAZE has done the best choice with Mats for sure. Note the female choirs by Amanda & Claudia are just so sweet and touch your heart with their tender melodies. Everything else is fine, there is plenty of tunes (especially in the choruses), as know so well the Italian bands in this style.Its a bombastic album, but you need to hear the first part of the saga to understand, where the band wants to take you,  so you need also to buy the CD with the booklet included to jump into the lyrics and not download MP3! To finish his review, if you’re a fan of this style of metal, you still take pleasure to listen to this “Memories Of An Ancient Time” in a few years.This is already a classic! An emotional masterpiece!" - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • Second album from this early Italian band with close ties to New Trolls.  This one is a bit more refined and progressive sounding than In The Beginning."NUOVA IDEA came from Genova and their roots lie in a 60's band called ''Plep'' (from its members names).By 1970 they were renamed to NUOVA IDEA and even participated at the Viareggio Pop festival the next year,having a grea success.The same year they release their debut ''In the beginning'',a decent proto-prog/psychedelic album,but not of particular interest for prog fans.After the album guitarist Marco Zoccheddu leaves to form ''Osage tribe'',replaced by Antonello Gabelli for the recordings of their second work ''Mr. E Jones'', released in 1972 on Ariston (as their debut), re-released on CD by the Italian Mellow Records.Far from the familiar symphonic sound of most of the Italian prog bands of the time,NUOVA IDEA developed their early melodic style in a more intricate form,mixing their music with elaborate vocal harmonies.The closest comparisons might be early NEW TROLLS with a more demanding musicianship, 70's DELIRIUM, even BLOCCO MENTALE on their lighter side.The songs in this album differ so much,twisting from beautiful ballads (containing nice percussions and symphonic keys) and rockin' attacks with dated guitars (fuzzy-sounding at moments) to demanding instrumental passages,featuring complicated organ,delicate piano,sudden breaks and even some jazzy lines.What is of great notice is the vocal work in here,as all members contribute,resulting tons of attacks by melodic harmonies, recalling NEW TROLLS.Despite the mixed sounds,the album grows in you with each listening and all compositions are nicely executed with good melodies and a fair amount of complexity.''Mr. E Jones'' won't ever be among my favourites listenings out of Italy,but certainly I will return to it from time to time,as it's definitely one of the most balanced Italian releases I have ever heard.Recommended for lovers of rock music with an artistic flavor." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • Here is what Century Media has to say about it:"Once again Nevermore invite you into their world of desolate metal. On their sixth release, Nevermore blend elements of speed, power, progressive and even death metal to make for a unique listen. With the addition of Steve Smyth to the ranks, this band is prepared to deliver an impending wave of doom over the land. Comes with enhanced features for your computer.
    $8.00
  • "This album was recorded soon after the band's legendary concert on the steps of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1980 and includes the emotive 'In Memory Of The Martyrs' and the hit 'Life Is For Living'.This reissue has been newly remastered from the original master tapes, includes two bonus tracks and features a booklet that fully restores all original album artwork with a new essay by BJH experts Keith and Monika Domone."
    $17.00
  • Upstart Finnish label Svart Records has undergone a licensing program with the legendary Love Records label for an ongoing series of vinyl releases.  Many prog reissues are on the horizon.Tabula Rasa cut two albums for Love and this is their second.  Strong Camel influence - guitarist Heikki Silvernnoinen sounds quite a bit like Andy Latimer in tone. The use of electric piano, string synthesizer reminds me of Mirage.  While it doesn't quite hit the heights of their debut its a very nice slice of mainstream prog.This is a limited edition of 300 copies on black vinyl.
    $28.00
  • The progressive elements are in full force and many of the band's signature pieces appear here. Highly recommended.  Remastered edition.
    $5.00
  • Fifth album from this (apparently) popular power metal band from Romania. The band is fronted by Ana Mladinovici, who has a very nice voice albeit with a slight accent. She doesn't have the range of Tarja - her voice is more along the lines of Sabine Edelsbacher of Edenbridge. Musically speaking the band sticks strictly to power metal. Definitely will appeal to Nightwish fans.
    $15.00
  • ""It is a rare thing these days for a post-metal band to break the mold. So many bands play sludgy, lurching, epic metal that it can be hard to tell what band is trying to sound like Isis this time. This brings me to the breath of fresh air that is Secrets of the Sky.The Oakland based sextet takes what is a great but tired genre and adds a dash of black metal and a bit of prog. Imagine if you tossed Neurosis, more recent Immortal, and Porcupine Tree into a blender. Sounds like a fucked up mix, right? It's an awesome fucked up mix though.The Sail Black Waters consists of 4 tracks that are rooted in sludge, that manage to take twists and turns throughout it's all-too-short forty-one minute run-time. There are moments of dreamy soundscapes, harmonized clean vocals, and crescendos aplenty.A band they bring to mind is the Australian black-metal-with-a-violin band Ne Obliviscaris. They don't necessarily sound alike, especially because Secrets of the Skysimple aren't playing as fast, but their progressions are quite similar. Also, Secrets happen to employ a violin as one of the several talents of vocalist Garett Gazay. Their use of it is much more subtle than Ne Obliviscaris to the point where it becomes a game listening for it.In short, a phenomenal debut." - Metal Injection
    $14.00