Motherland

SKU: FRCD593
Label:
Frontiers Records
Category:
Melodic Metal
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"Danish legends PRETTY MAIDS never achieved the success they rightfully deserve. They have been releasing amazing material since their inception in 1981. Their catalog is incredibly consistent and jaw dropping. Their records “Red Hot and Heavy”, “Future World” and 2010s “Pandemonium” ranks up there with some of the best material of the last 30 years in Rock and Metal. Their latest record “Motherland”, released through Italy’s Frontiers Records is another heavy melodic masterpiece.

2010s release “Pandemonium” was such an amazing record that the thought of following it up was a concern not only for the band but fans and critics alike. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief as they have done it again as “Motherland” captures PRETTY MAIDS at their best. Like all PRETTY MAIDS releases the songwriting is outstanding and every song is remarkably strong.

Ronnie Atkins is an amazing soulful singer who seems to get better with age. His unique blend of melody and raspiness is unmatched and his voice is one of a kind. Founding guitarist Ken Hammer blends acrobatic guitar playing with a sense of melody that fits his songs brilliantly and is another unsung hero that can play with precision and emotion.

Jacob Hansen’s production is crisp and jumps off the speakers. Returning to work with the band after the success of 2010s “Pandemonium” shows the partnership still is the perfect pairing. The mix is layered, separated and Hansen is quickly becoming the go to producer in Rock and Metal.

First single “Mother of All Lies”, “Why So Serious?” and the title track show the band perfecting their heavier side. The title track is an up-tempo pounder that grooves, crushes and the chorus is pure perfection. The keyboards incorporate a subtle arpeggio sequence that backs Atkins as he sings a melody that is infectious. “Why So Serious?” is a haunting captivating chugger that blends melody with syncopated riffing, the biggest headbanger on the record.

While “Sad to See You Suffer”, “Bullet For You” and the excellent “Wasted” is the perfect counterbalance and shows off their melodic essence. “Bullet For You” showcases a tender Atkins at his best. The harmonies are luscious and fill out the vocals beautifully. “Wasted” closes the record and does an excellent job of blending Morten Sandager’s keyboard playing into the songwriting. Again, the melodies dominate and paint the perfect landscape. All of these songs have amazing choruses that will stick in your head long after the record is over. Ever since their cover of John Sykes “Please Don’t Leave Me”; Pretty Maids are destined to play the rock ballad. They nail it.

30 years into their career, “Motherland” finds PRETTY MAIDS unbelievably at their creative peak. Not too many bands are writing some of their strongest material thirteen albums into their career. Surprisingly on par with the fantastic “Pandemonium”, it is time for PRETTY MAIDS to be catapulted into the spotlight and be rewarded for their remarkable career. Let's hope that they have another thirteen albums left in them to compose because they have found their creative groove. “Motherland” contains all of the attributes that make PRETTY MAIDS outstanding. I can only hope that now is the time for them to launch a proper North American tour." - Metal Temple

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    $14.00
  • Been some time since I've caught up with Eddy Antonini's band. Fairytales is their 7th album and it still features Antonini's ornate keyboards and classical influences but it's blended in with traditional speed metal. I noticed that a female singer is now featured prominently so you get male/female lead vocals. They stomp out a cover version of Mike Oldfield's "Moonlight Shadow".
    $9.00
  • 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
  • "In a society which continues to develop at breathtaking speed, racing through world history in seven-league boots, mercilessly trampling down anything unable to keep pace with this ruthless goose step, Riverside have composed an album which is a perfect reflection of our times. An offering full of symbolism – starting with the fact that the title of their fourth release consists of four words and that the album is precisely 44:44 minutes long – and an intelligent stocktaking of reality. Anno Domini High Definition is no concept album in the classic sense, although it features a central theme and a haunting message. “It’s a story about people who angrily state that such-and-such a device is no longer fashionable, before they`ve even learnt how to use it properly themselves. Even worse – it’s no longer usable, because there’s something better on the market now”, Mariusz Duda, vocalist, bassist, guitarist and lyricist of the four-piece explains. “For me, those are the thoughts of people who wake up every morning worrying that perhaps today their ‘sell-by date’ may expire.”Riverside was founded by guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, drummer Piotr Kozieradzki and Mariusz Duda in 2001. Immediately after the recording of their debut album, Out Of Myself, keyboardist Michal Lapaj joined the band, completing the current line-up which has impressed fans and media alike with the musicians’ great technical skills. Musically and in terms of its subject matter, Anno Domini High Definition marks a temporary climax in the quartet’s artistic work: “It’s an album about people who know they need to speed up or they’ll get left behind“, Duda summarises the tracks, adding: “About people who sometimes, despite themselves, will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. It’s an album about chaos, constant race, uncertainty, stress, and the struggle to survive.”This permanent inner restlessness, a constant search for the latest thing, is reflected in the band’s complex music. The five songs consciously keep up a high energy level, be it through a pounding groove, a turbulent bass line, cutting keyboard passages or haunting vocals. Anno Domini High Definition is a pulsating hybrid of a range of different stylistic means. Duda: “There’s more rock stuff on the record now. The new album has more balls, you could say, than anything we’ve done so far. But I think we kept all the nice melodies and traits that are characteristic to our music. It’s very energetic. There are longer, more complex compositions, but with more energy, power and ease. It’s been a long time since we had so much fun composing and recording, and I hope the listeners will also be infected by this atmosphere.”Anno Domini High Definition sees Riverside take another step in the evolution of their extremely significant sound, documenting a total focus on the here and now. “We don’t want to be one of these living-in-the-past prog bands,” Duda points out. “We feel that we have something new to say, and lots of moments on this album feature a fresh approach to some things. First of all, our main influence – our lives, or to be more precise, the speed of our lives. That’s why we had to cut an extremely dynamic and pretty short record, which suits the times we live in.”Experts have called Riverside a stylistic mix of Tool, Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater, but Duda reckons that other influences are more dominant on Anno Domini High Definition: “We wanted to reflect the energy of the early 70s and combine it with modern sounds. Now I think there is more of a Rush , Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple sound. But at the end of the day, this record ultimately sounds like Riverside.” 
    $14.00
  • Remastered edition. Although it's not my personal favorite of the Camel canon (that would probably be Mirage or Moonmadness) it is probably their most popular. This amazing long conceptual work is augmented by 5 bonus cuts.
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  • Ever wonder what Jasun Tipton does when he's not recording with Cynthesis and Zero Hour? Well apparently he forms a new project! Abnormal Thought Patterns is an instrumental project featuring Jasun on guitars, Troy Tipton on bass, and Mike Guy on drums. Essentially the core musicians of Zero Hour. Further they are augmented with Richard Sharman as the second guitarist. This is tech metal to the max - somewhere along the lines of Blotted Science and Spastic Ink but with that unmistakable Tipton Brothers sound. Its an EP and frankly I don't think you could digest any more in one sitting - lots of notes here. Guaranteed to have many moments where you will stop and ask yourself "how the hell did they do that?". Complex thinking man's metal at its best! Highest recommendation.
    $8.00
  • Once upon a time there was a brilliant Canadian composer musician named Franck Dervieux. In 1971 he recorded a great album of classically influenced progressive rock called "Dimensione M". Dervieux passed away at an early age due to cancer. The members of his ensemble essentially formed Contraction upon his passing. The main drivers behind contraction was vocalist Christiane Robichaud and bassist Yves Laferriere. While the self-titled debut didn't hit the lofty heights that their second album reached it's not without it's charms. The focus is on Robichaud's ethereal vocals with all the firepower a bit in the background. Start with "La Bourse Ou La Vie" first.
    $18.00
  • "A Hauntingly Beautiful and Dark Sophomore Effort. Get it before the darkness comes...Anais Nin said "we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are".That is the absolute truth - in life and in great art, literature, and music. It speaks to you in a deeply personal way. The artist's specific intent, the story behind the story, matters not. What does matter is that when you interact with what the artist has wrought, you feel something. You feel as if it was created especially for you, about you, your life, your life experience. It speaks to you. It makes you stop in your tracks and forces you pay attention. It touches something deep in your soul."The Final Breath Before November" is that album. Edison's Children is that artist. Artists is more accurate. This masterwork showcases vocalists and multi-instrumentalists and Eric Blackwood and Pete Trewavas, drummer Henry Rogers, and backing vocalist Wendy Farrell-Pastore, who also designed the release's haunting artwork. The album was mixed by a virtual Who's Who of Progressive Rock including King Crimson's Jakko Jakszyk, Marillion's Mike Hunter, It Bites' John Mitchell, Robin Boult, and Pete Trewavas.Yes. It is a ghost story. But, that is the most simplistic view of what it is.It is a love story. It illustrates the power of love. It drives us to do crazy things. It endures after death. It endures across time and space. It reminds us that people never really leave you. They linger in the ether, in your heart, in your mind. Their essence stays behind to watch over you.It is also a cautionary tale. It is a warning not to act harshly or rashly. Don't do things that you can not come back from. Don't make mistakes you can not fix. Once things have been done (or said), you can never take them back. You can never get back to the place where you once were. You can never go home again. No matter how much you want to. No matter how hard you try. You just can't.It is a reminder that we have to let go of the pain, hurt, anger, regret and whatever else we have pent up inside ourselves. If we don't let go of all those things, we become stuck and can't move on. We remain in the same place all of our lives. The same physical place. The same emotional place. The same spiritual place. Stuck. Never growing. Never changing. Never becoming who or what we were supposed to be. We remain a shadow of ourselves, forever trapped in a darkness of our own making.It is a reminder that we have to face our demons. They will come at us over and over again until we do. If we don't, they will be back and they will try to pull us down to even darker places. Over and over again. We will be stuck in the mire for our lifetime, for eternity if we don't.What this album says to me is that love is a powerful thing. The most powerful thing in the Universe. But, in the end, you have to let go of those you love. People change. People die. Relationships change. Relationships end. If you keep holding onto someone who is no longer with you, then you can't move on. Not until you let go. You can't be truly happy. You can't feel the sunshine. You can't walk into the light. You destined to live in a hell (or a purgatory) of your own creation. Unless you let go." - ProgArchives.com
    $12.00
  • "The tangled history of Imaginos, Blue Oyster Cult's last (1988) album for Columbia, has passed into legend for BOC fans. The name and concept comes from late-'60s sci-fi/fantasy writings by band manager/producer Sandy Pearlman that inspired the original band name; they then became the basis for a planned trilogy of solo albums by BOC drummer/songwriter Albert Bouchard, who had been working on the material since the early '70s with Pearlman. After Bouchard was fired from the band in 1981, he recorded a 90-minute album with such sidemen as Aldo Nova and the Doors' Robbie Krieger, but this version of the album was rejected by Columbia execs in 1984. After the release and commercial disappointment of BOC's Club Ninja, Pearlman then resurrected the idea and began production in 1986, adding vocals by BOC's Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom and guitar parts by Joe Satriani among many others. The result was no surprise BOC's most controversial album (and ironically, the first in years to feature the original line-up), probably their heaviest and most proggy outing, and an appropriately complex swan song for a complex band. Our Real Gone reissue features a new 2012 remaster and new notes by BOC expert Scott Schinder, along with the original album and inner sleeve art."
    $13.00
  • "Legendary Swedish Power/Folk metal band Falconer has brought upon us a new album, Black Moon Rising. This is an album full of epic sounding riffs, folk-tinged yet melodic and powerful metal vocals, and tunes that should keep you happy for quite a while!Locust Swarm kicks things off with a mighty barrage of riffs; there’s a lot going on in a very short period of time here, it works really well, lots of melodic riffs and some heavy moments blending very well. The vocal approach is very different to what you may well expect if you haven’t heard the band before. There is quite a folky and theatrical feel to the vocals, almost Blind Guardian-esque yet there’s plenty of power in there too suitable to the barrage of guitar riffs going on underneath and it works quite well and gives the band quite a different sound! There are lots of cool moments in the song, the main riff is pulled off very well and some more technical sections later only serve to add to the song as a whole, with some nice guitar harmonies later on too!Black Moon Rising really offers quite a lot as an album. Halls And Chambers is fairly straight ahead, with speedy riffage, a nice melodic chorus soaring above and some cool moments to get heads banging. Wasteland is another track that brings some blistering musicianship to play, with some snaky guitar licks and pounding drums. At the Jester’s Ball offers an almost “jolly” sound, with a bit more of a mid-tempo feel that gets a bit faster at times too, offering a nice dynamic overall sound. The Scoundrel And The Squire feels like a ballad in the more traditional sense of the word, telling a story through the medium of song, and this works really nicely with the vocal approach of the singer Mathias Blad, with some nice vocal harmonies later on too.There’s A Crow On The Barrow is probably my favourite from this album, as it feels like the song that captures the essence of the album. The heavy riffs meet perfectly with the vocals here, with a really great chorus and some fantastic musicianship overall, all topped off with great songwriting and sense of structure. This one was closely met by the track that immediately follows it however, Dawning Of A Sombre Age which is a real rocker, with some straight ahead drumming and some awesome melodic riffs met by a really great feeling lead vocal.The Album closes with The Priory, which opens with a really folky sounding lead guitar and a nice stabbing riff underneath, before harmonising and then opening up into some awesome chuggy guitars and some more cool vocals too. The song finishes on some awesome melodies before aptly closing the sound of a distant bell.The production is nice and tight on the album, the drums and guitars in particular work very nicely together, the bass keeps the low end solid and the vocals work quite well overall.This is a great album from Falconer with plenty of attitude, and what makes it worth a listen is that it blends heavier riffs very nicely with more melodic chorus and sections in their music. Definitely worth a look in for fans of the band, and also if you’re looking for some power metal with a bit of a folk edge to it, for something a little different!" - Metal Temple
    $12.00
  • My Soliloquy is a British band formed in 2002 by multi-instrumentalist Pete Morten.  Since then the band has released a number of demos, gaining traction in the metal underground. The band had a number of notable support shows with Pagans Mind, Power Quest, Oliver and Rick Wakeman, and Threshold, as well as a second-to-headline set at Bloodstock 05 and a showcase at 2007’s ProgPower UK II.Since 2007, Morten has been an active member of British prog metal legends Threshold.  His membership has raised awareness (and created anticipation) for My Soliloquy’s long awaited debut.The essence of My Soliloquy is pure forward thinking metal – symphonic keyboards, shredding guitar leads, soaring vocals – all finely woven together with a blend of intricacy and melody.  The Interpreter was mixed and mastered by Rob Aubrey who has been a mainstay of Marillion’s camp for many years.
    $5.00
  • "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
    $8.00
  • Chamber ensemble from Hell led by Daniel Denis and Roger Trigaux. Extremely dark music sounds like a cross between Bartok and King Crimson. This is the new edition which has been remixed and remastered by Daniel Denis. The album is commonly known as "1313" because that was the catalog number of the original vinyl release. Included is a history of the band, rare photos...oh yeah...an unreleased 28 minute bonus track.
    $15.00
  • Special edition arrives with a bonus DVD of the band performing material from Concrete Gardens filmed at EMGTV."Sound: Tony MacAlpine was one of the Shrapnel label guitarists of the '80s, and also played keyboards for the debut releases of Vinnie Moore and other Shrapnel artists. Tony's debut solo album, "Edge of Insanity," came iout in 1986 - the same year as his first side project, M.A.R.S., with release of the album "Project: Driver." Since that time Tony MacAlpine has released numerous solo albums, participated in collaborations, made live guest appearances, and even acted as part of Steve Vai's backing band. "Concrete Gardens" is Tony's twelfth solo studio album, and is entirely instrumental like the vast majority of Tony's solo work. The album has been in the works since 2013, but took a while to release due to Tony's numerous collaborations and other projects. Jeff Loomis provides a guest guitar solo on the album on the track, "Square Circles." The album contains 12 tracks with a total runtime of just under sixty minutes. The album differs from Tony's previous work by having more of a progressive metal flavor to it, while I think of most of his previous releases as just being straight instrumental rock.The album opens up with the track "Exhibitionist Blvd," with some seriously flanged guitar and a major key melody that builds into something a little different as the track goes on. There is a specific passage that shows the influence that Vai has had on MacAlpine, though I would rank them close to equal in the virtuoso racket. "The King's Rhapsody" opens up with a keyboard intro, played by Tony, of course. Heavy guitars come in and takes the song to a few unexpected places, and actually gets my foot tapping, too - which is an accomplishment for instrumental rock! "Man in a Metal Cage" has some interesting note choices, with some mildly middle-eastern sounds for a few brief moments in the track mixed in with some obligatory sweep tapping. Otherwise, there are several passages working to create several moments of extreme tension. There are a few arpeggiated parts that are reminiscent of some other song that I can't quite place. "Poison Cookies" has a weird jazz-fusion funk feeling going on with it that I definitely appreciated - if for nothing else it changed gears long enough to shake off any monotony I thought the album might be working towards."Epic" was both a more laid back song, but also was very cerebral - the keyboard and guitar parts built on each other in a weird/cool way. "Napoleon's Puppet" very briefly reminded me of some material written by Brendan Small for his album, "Galaktikon," but it had that rhythm part to it that definitely separated it by giving it some incredibly strong groove. "Sierra Morena" is played on piano/keyboard in the intro but guitar, bass and drums come in pretty quickly. The song is named after a mountain range in Spain with the same name. I can't quite connect the music as being descriptive of a mountain range unless they're being written about the context of flying over them. "Square Circles" has some moments in the track that remind me a little bit of King Crimson, though the sense of melody is still a tad more traditional. Jeff Loomis guests on this track for a guitar solo, and it is a fairly outstanding solo in the context of the song, having a good balance of being emotive and twisted."Red Giant" is a pretty intense track, with some more middle-eastern vibes going on, and one of the most engaging and vocal-like melodies from the album, to my ears. "Confessions of a Medieval Monument" definitely grabs a certain type of vibe from the opening, with a cool (but fairly simple) bassline running behind it. This is definitely one of those songs that creates a fertile atmosphere for a little mind movie to play along to it. The way the dynamics are used on this song, as well as the recurring melodic theme, make this easily one of the strongest tracks on the album. The title track, "Concrete Gardens," is interesting with a heavy rhythm guitar and a (initially) much cleaner lead part. Something about this track reminds me of Frank Zappa, which is absolutely a good thing. The album closes out with a song called "Maiden's Wish," which is played on keyboard/piano as a solo piece. It is a fairly light-hearted song to end the album with, and I enjoyed it. If you just listen for the crazy guitar, then you can stop short of "Maiden's Wish." // 8Lyrics: There are none. // 8Overall Impression: I have always been extremely impressed with Tony MacAlpine, and this album just reinforces my opinion. While he may not be quite at the technical/speed level of some other virtuoso guitarists, especially the whole Shrapnel bunch, he makes up for it in a strong sense of feel and musicality. I especially enjoy the melodies he uses as recurring themes in many of his songs. I highly recommend this album to anyone who's a fan of instrumental rock or metal. // 8" - Ultimate-Guitar.com
    $15.00