Nature/Existence ($3 Special)

Excellent debut from this Venezuelan band. Echoes skirts the edge between progressive rock and metal. Clearly Dream Theater (and Rush to some degree) are an influence but the music isn't as heavy as most progressive metal bands. There are some great atmospheric parts that have more of a prog rock vibe. There are a number of guest vocalists that contribute to the album and they are all quite good. I'm surprised there isn't more of a latin influence going on - these guys could pass for a US band. I can see this easily appealing to fans of both prog rock and prog metal. Highly recommended.

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Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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Here's a candidate for album of the year..... from Venezuela, no less. Truly stunning and complex compositions that are just swimming in great melodic ideas. And, boy, can these guys play. The vocals are top notch courtesy of a number of guest singers who all speak English very well. Very, very highly recommended. Leyth
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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0
Agree with fellow reviewer, Leyth...Good album..Sits more comfortably at the heavier end of Prog rock than Prog metal..but should keep most fans of each genre happy. Good musicianship, good vocals and good compositions...Highly recommended.
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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0
So far my favorite cd of 2010. The vocals on 'Leaf Motif' really blow me away. 'Lullaby' and 'Bonfires' are some really great, powerful, emotional instrumentals. Reminds me of a mix of Riverside/Dreamscape/Dali's Dillema. A+
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
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0
A very refreshing release here. Very powerfull stuff going on here. All the elements are top notch, Vocals, And all intruments,, Good touch on the Sax on ""Winds of Dread""B.Ricci
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Product Review

Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
Here's a candidate for album of the year..... from Venezuela, no less. Truly stunning and complex compositions that are just swimming in great melodic ideas. And, boy, can these guys play. The vocals are top notch courtesy of a number of guest singers who all speak English very well. Very, very highly recommended. Leyth
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
Agree with fellow reviewer, Leyth...Good album..Sits more comfortably at the heavier end of Prog rock than Prog metal..but should keep most fans of each genre happy. Good musicianship, good vocals and good compositions...Highly recommended.
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
So far my favorite cd of 2010. The vocals on 'Leaf Motif' really blow me away. 'Lullaby' and 'Bonfires' are some really great, powerful, emotional instrumentals. Reminds me of a mix of Riverside/Dreamscape/Dali's Dillema. A+
Tue, 2010-06-08 10:00
Rate: 
0
A very refreshing release here. Very powerfull stuff going on here. All the elements are top notch, Vocals, And all intruments,, Good touch on the Sax on ""Winds of Dread""B.Ricci
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  • "The telling strikes of new power metal have been falling left and right this most righteous of autumns, and the Frenchmen of Operadyse have seen fit to lend their sword arm to the collective effort to bury us listeners utterly in a mountain of releases. The band’s debut release, Pandemonium, is a symphonic power metal affair that draws upon the considerable vocal talents of Frank Garcia (better known as the erstwhile frontman of Spheric Universe Experience), and boy do I ever like him in this setting!Drawing to mind similar recent projects like Fogalord and perhaps Galderia, I find Operadyse outstanding for its sheer buoyancy. This is not, as some may say, “yet another Rhapsody clone”. Please. If that statement were true of half the bands accused of it, we’d be dwelling in a cesspool of artistic stagnancy – and that is hardly the case. Pandemonium, the album’s title, should be interpreted in the most jubilant, energetic way possible. Often a generally uplifting, almost martial power metal beat (“Unfold Legend”), Operadyse nevertheless varies its formula more than you might think, featuring variety in the mystique of “Fairies Secret Garden”, a sudden black metal lapse in “Keeper Of The Flame”, and the absurdly joyful strains of “Nevermore”.A large part of what makes this work outstanding is its bombast. String samples, synth brass, rich choirs, lots of tom rolls from the drum kit, extremely good supporting female vocal work, and even some timpani and big crash cymbals in the background – Operadyse pulls out all the stops to make this as big and as ambitious a project as possible. While that’s true, this isn’t as ludicrously over-the-top as a band like Pathfinder. As explosive as the aural pyrotechnics are on Pandemonium, there’s also a noticeable sense of restraint. This tendency is best manifested in the sweeping breaks that take place in the music from time to time. Mark my words – wherever Pathfinder would insert a shriek or spin up a brazen guitar solo, Operadyse is more than happy to draw back, lay off the guitars and vocals, throw in some deep brass, and let the scale of the compositions grow. As a result, we have a pronounced “peaks and valleys” feeling with this album – but I’m not addressing the quality of the music, which is universally good to great – but rather the dynamic and textural sensations. Further emphasizing this behavior is the tonality – so much of this album abounds in uplifting major key revelry that when anything discordant arises, it is very pronounced, and consequently that much more powerful.There are only a couple of very minor drawbacks to this otherwise very impressive album. The first is my sometimes back-and-forth relationship with Garcia – a singer who wasn’t remotely on my roadmap prior to this album. He has the typical French slur that affects his enunciation with much of the lyricism, and I feel that his softer vocals leave something to be desired. On the other hand, when he ratchets up to the high register and gives his voice a bit of a bite, he reminds me of Bill Makatowicz of Illusion Suite – which is a rather flattering comparison in my book. Secondly and finally, in terms of real criticism, and I’ll put this simply: I want more guitar. For all my talk of comparing this to Pathfinder and praising its subtlety, I miss some of the bright and flashy guitar work that that album featured. Operadyse definitely does not excel at “heavy” metal.Pandemonium is, however, a symphonic power metal lover’s blissful release, and a joy for anyone that craves the inspiring, feel-good brand of power metal that genre stalwarts Freedom Call and Power Quest once emphasized. This will get dismissed by those who don’t like “flower metal”, but the devil take them – this is exciting and not insubstantial material. Just one more banger on the books for 2013 to you and I, perhaps, but this album is an auspicious beginning to a career for Operadyse." - Black Wind Metal
    $15.00
  • "The fist album I heard from The Sound Of Animals Fighting was "The Tiger and The Duke" and I thought it was really good and made me think of The Fall Of Troy a little bit but with this album they completely difference themselves from that genre. Everything is so well structured! Every song is a masterpiece with their own "thing" that gets to you and keeps you hooked. The first listen won't get you addicted of course but this album really grows on you. The more you'll listen to it the more you'll like it or even love it.The band offers great experimentations and melodies. What I really like about the melodies on the album is that they are adapted to an "abnormal" structure and they fit perfectly. Some melodies extend to 5 measures and they are able to fit perfectly 9/8 and 7/8 time signatures one after another. Some bands use weird time signatures and the result plain sucks but not with this band. They really mastered the complexities that music can have and it shows.At first I thought the interludes weren't necessary but it's inevitably a part of the album. It was made this way for a reason and they add a certain feel to the whole thing. They take you from one track to another. They tell you about the band's philosophy. Even in some tracks there is some narrating in other languages than English like Arabic and French. I don't understand the Arabic but it's still beautiful t hear and it's a glimpse of another culture. I think that's what the band wanted to put in their album : unity." - ProgArchives
    $5.00
  • Second full length album - this one produced by Steve Albini has a more angular feel. The music is a little more towards the dissonant side and veers a bit away from the Crimson vibe that was on No Interference.
    $9.00
  • 2LP orange vinyl edition in a gatefold sleeve and one bonus live track.You know this band is like money in the bank. They don't get a lot of hype but they've never made a bad album. They change singers from time to time but they always come up with a great one. They tinker with the formula from time to time just to keep it fresh but you can always expect great harmonies, blistering leads of guitar and keys and melodies that stick in your head for days on end. Wounded Land was one of the first progressive metal albums I ever heard and really drew me into the genre. Critical Mass doesn't disappoint at all.
    $30.00
  • This is the classic album where the band began to define their progressive sound. Deluxe digipak reissue features 2 new bonus tracks recorded in 2010 by Jon Oliva.
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  • Second album from this New York based prog trio.  The band is heavily influenced by early period Rush but elements of Yes and Kansas pop up as well.  The album highlight is the near 18 minute epic "The Eternal Spring".
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  • Current version of ELP's 1992 reunion album. Not exactly their best work but the worst was yet to come.  In retrospect there are some pretty decent tunes here but don't expect Brain Salad Surgery. This Sony edition comes with 4 bonus tracks.
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  • New progressive metal quartet led by Italian shred guitarist Francesco Fareri. He's supported by vocalist Titta Tani (DGM, Astra, Ashent) drummer Dario Ciccioni (Twinspirits, Empty Tremor), and bassist Emanuele Calvelli. Tani sings in a more aggressive style than I'm used to hearing. The focus of the music is alway on Fareri's guitar. This dude can shred with the best of them.
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  • "Sweden’s Bloodbound has returned with the fifth album “In the Name of Metal.” If you think this album is all about dripping anthems raging about the glory of metal and all related topics...you would be right. If you think you have heard it all before, well, perhaps you have. BUT....if you love "Franken-traditional" comprised of parts of Manowar, Accept, ancient Queensryche, Helloween, Skid Row, and oddly, old Bon Jovi, well you have a new master. What Bloodbound did was take the sum of those parts, add the slick 2012 production and put out one of the greatest true metal albums in memory. For every single solitary thing that Manowar did wrong with “The Lord of Steel,” Bloodbound did ten things right. If you will indulge me, let me impart a few words that apply: “Glory, majesty, unity Hail! Hail! Hail!”I often speak of songs of yore back in the great times of the beginning to mid-80's and how it evoked a spirit, a feeling...a metal brotherhood, if you will. I’ve pointed out many recent albums that evoked that spirit, and I am back to tell you that this is another of those, but the best of all - complete with the hair standing on the back of my neck. Only my favorite bands have the ability to do this, and Bloodbound was not in that realm up to this point. As far as an album that lives up to its name, “In the Name of Metal” is glaringly perfect. As an album that breaks new ground, it “falls flat.” As an insult, that last statement is completely the opposite.Having heard the song “In the Name of Metal,” it wet my appetite providing more Manowar than the aged egos of its members have since “Gods of War” (for some, much earlier). This is nothing compared to what follows: the Accept-ish “When Demons Collide” (a personal favorite), the “bonecrushing” sound of first album HammerFall on “Bonebreaker,” back to Manowar with “Metalheads Unite,” Bloodbound took every working formula and made it better. “Son of Babylon” had me head scratching wondering where I had heard that chorus and it dawned on me, if Bon Jovi made “In and Out of Love” a heavy song, it would be this. “Mr. Darkness” doesn’t just scream Helloween for nothing: it has “Mrs. God” all over it (or was that “Dr. Stein,” no...no “Mr. Torture,” wait, no “Mr. Ego”). “I’m Evil” has a chorus that echoes (linear wise) Queensryche’s “Breaking the Silence.” The comparisons here are merely meant to show the affluence of talent drawing influences from all over the metal spectrum.The most interesting combination is found within “Monstermind.” The verses present a riff right from Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood.” Then right before the bridge it grinds down with that brash riff from Ozzy’s “No More Tears” (complete with the Zack Wylde style). So many great styles meld to make “In the Name of Metal,” which works in terms of catchy head banging greatness. It helps that a band has a phenom on vocals in the form of Patrik Johansson (from Dawn of Silence, not to be confused with Nils Patrik Johansson), a brotherhood of guitarists (Tomas & Henrik Olsson), the absolutely non-buzzing bass of Anders Broman, and the perfect (not mechanical) drumming of Pelle Åkerlind (Morgana Lefay). Fredrik Bergh is one of those keyboardists that is unassuming, but who’s presence is notable when absent. Even he would agree, in Bloodbound it’s all about the guitar.So, when you are all done mocking power metal for its lack of originality, Bloodbound will still be there: totally unapologetic, balls to the wall, hail and kill, steel meets steel, bells of seven hells metal that makes you want to be a metalhead. Music doesn’t always require over the top orchestration or melodramatic progressive Malthusianism. Most days, it’s what makes you instantly feel great, even though the world laughs at you for being in a “pre-pubescent phase.” For the metal faithful, every achievement in life is all “in the name of metal.”" - Metal Underground
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  • Crystal Breed is a new prog metal band out of Germany. While there is plenty of chops from hell on display there is also a very strong melodic side to the band. They constantly emphasize vocal harmonies. In an odd way I am reminded of Queen, Neal Morse, The Beatles, ELO, and Muse...and that's just all in one song. The band catches your ear with a pop element but then they hammer you with some killer solos. If I had to make a comparison it would probably be to A.C.T (and whatever happened to those guys anyway?). Clever catchy stuff. Highly recommended.
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  • "Iced Earth are going through a bit of a renaissance period at the moment. While they do have many hardcore fans who would defend their back catalogue to the end, honestly the heavy metal titans haven’t made a truly exciting album in about twenty years; that is, they hadn’t, until the release of 2011’s Dystopia. After two decades of putting out stale and generally uninteresting meat and potatoes heavy metal, finally they had an album that managed to match up to their first few records, one with the power and energy to justify their continued status as metal heroes. Plagues of Babylon is its follow-up, and thankfully they have managed to take this momentum forward and release another great album.Opening with the title track’s marching drum beat (strangely similar to Dystopia in that regard) and ominous harmonized leads, as soon as the heavy, chugging main riff kicks in it’s clear that this album is going to be a worthy successor. Noticeably, the production is very good, giving the guitars a sharp razor edge that albums like the totally flat The Glorious Burden lacked. Mainman Jon Schaffer churns out some of the best riffs in his career on this album, especially on the raging and thrashy Democide. Some new blood is brought in with an all new rhythm section, bassist Luke Appleton helping give the album its low-end crunch while drummer Raphael Saini (who was sadly since left) punctuates the songs with intricate tom patterns and ride cymbal work while maintaining a constant driving power. Stu Block meanwhile, who debuted as vocalist on Dystopia, continues to make sure that fan favourite Matt Barlow is not missed too much, his gruff voice helping give the songs a darker edge while his highs are utilised when appropriate, never being over-used.This is hardly perfect though. Plagues is a bit front-loaded, the second half never quite managing to match up to the first, especially considering it contains two somewhat unnecessary covers. The first is Spirit of the Times by Sons of Liberty, a Jon Schaffer side project, and you can’t help but question the logic in covering your own material, especially as aside from the darker and heavier overtones it’s not massively different from the original. The second, Highwayman by Jimmy Webb, is hardly electrifying either.That said, many of the problems that plagued previous Iced Earth efforts no longer show up. The obligatory cheesy metal ballad only appears once in If I Could See You, which is one of the better ones they’ve done, and only a couple of songs have a clean guitar intro, unlike on The Dark Saga where they appear on nearly every song. Iced Earth are a band who are at their best when they’re firing on all cylinders, and that is largely what they stick to here. With it’s almost death metal cover art, Plagues is for the most part a balls-out thrill ride, and honestly might be Iced Earth’s most complete work to date." - Sound And Motion Magazine
    $12.00
  • Finnish supergroup play an excellent and interesting mix of progressive rock and death metal. If it wasn't for the death vocals a lot of this would pass for old school prog. Plenty of clean vocals as well but do expect a free pass. In many ways there are similarities to the older Opeth albums and I'll bet there is a large contingent of their fans that wished they sound like this. Conditionally recommended."Gaining a huge buzz in the underground for the sextet’s previous work in groups like Amorphis, Moonsorrow, Swallow The Sun, and Kreator among others, this Finnish progressive death metal act return for their second full-length album The Devil's Resolve. Fortunate enough to expose myself right from the critical start with their 2009 Our Twilight EP, one can easily be drawn to the multiple clean, atmospheric and growling vocal approaches and the equally expansive musical sounds, drawing from a multitude of doom, pagan, progressive rock, and death genres.Keyboardist Kasper Martenson throws down some 70’s Jon Lord organ parts against pagan rhythms and dual clean mystical vocals and death roars on my first highlight “The Rains Begin” and then ramps up the proceedings with some classic Dennis DeYoung inspiration during the chorus and solo section of “As it is Written." Fret not all guitar aficionados as Sami Yli-Sirnio and Janne Perttila showcase a number of distinct and colorful riff and harmonic moments, almost as if transporting the best in American and UK progressive rock to fuel Barren Earth’s heavier, underground orientation motives, especially on the exotic, fluid “Oriental Pyre."There’s something very Pink Floyd-meets-Nektar-like about Mikko Kotamaki’s softer, tranquil clean melodies, and it’s a wonder he doesn’t destroy his larynx with some of his acidic underwater bellows from opener “Passage of the Crimson Shadows” or the medieval marching macabre mood throughout “Vintage Warlords." Overall, the seasoning on the road both in Europe and on the Finnish Metal Tour 2 with Ensiferum and Finntroll improves the band’s attention to maintaining memorable hooks amidst the winding riffs, tempo changes, and nuances in roller coaster emotional atmosphere.With Opeth charting their own 70’s laden path on Heritage to mixed reception, I believe Barren Earth can scoop up a wide throng of their castoffs who desire a metal foundation amongst the progressive, creative think tank. Scandinavia rules again." - Blistering
    $8.00
  • "It's a strange thing, but hardly uncommon in the Internet age. I had to find out about Pennsylvania's Mindaze through a German promotion outfit distributing promotional packages for Swedish label Inner Wound Recordings. Mind you, Mindmaze's roots are in Allentown, a mere hour drive from Dangerdog HQ. Here we have their sophomore effort Back From The Edge, soon to get more and better interest thanks to this international promotion.Mindmaze works from the roots of traditional melodic heavy metal, and then throws in female lead vocals with a good mixture of progressive power metal. The band is essentially a trio, led by siblings Jeff and Sarah Teets, with guests filling the bass guitar chair. For the album session recording that duty fell to Symphony X's Mike LePond. They get additional support from Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson (Moment of Flight), Pharaoh guitarist Matt Johnsen (The Machine Stops), and Lord guitarist Lord Tim (Onward Destiny Calls II).Keeping good company with talented musicians is one thing, but delivering the heavy metal goods is another. And Mindmaze does. I was particularly impressed at the depth of the songwriting and arrangements. All the songs are thick with groove, harmony, and melody, yet sufficiently intriguing thanks to shifts and twists from tempo to instrumentation. Significant to the latter is Jeff Teets' impressive guitar lines. His riffs and leads are rather rather large, rousing and entertaining. So much so, one might call this a guitar-oriented metal album. If you like sharp guitar work, you will definitely enjoy this album. As for sister Sarah's voice, her vocals are essentially straight foward, easily in the range of hard rock and heavy metal. What she's not is some crazy operatic singer trying to impress you with her range and pierce your eardrums. She reminds me of A Sound of Thunder's Nina Osegueda, but not as screamo. With that reference, I would suggest that, if you like ASoT, you're going to love Mindmaze.As for individual songs, I won't bore you with minutae. You can listen to a few tracks below. I was immediately pleased with Dreamwalker, Moment of Flight, and The Machine Stops. The latter two having perhaps the most 'proggish' moments of the album. Not so much for Consequences of Choice. It's not a bad song, but just seems more riff driven and even-handed, with little intrigue. But it in no way diminishes the strength of the whole as Back From The Edge a fine listen from start to finish. Easily recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00
  • "For their fourth album (the first I’ve heard), Finland’s Five Fifteen continue their tradition of long psychedelic titles. Gong fans don’t be fooled, the mention of the French cheese does not bode any resemblance. Five Fifteen are a hard rock band with progressive and psychedelic leanings, not really of the metal variety. Obvious referents might include Deep Purple and Golden Earring, but the presence of two lead vocalists, male and female, really sets the band apart from any comparison I can think of. The lyrics are all in English, sung with slight accents, and a bit on the goofy side, though not embarrassingly so. Lyricist Mika Järvinen has a strange sense of reality. Perhaps he sums it up best himself in “I Don’t Remember”: “I’m the psychedelic redneck, a progressive punk / A bebopalula with a freaky funk / .. / I’m a second generation of the electric warriors / A flowerblues child of the space cowboys.” What really strikes me are the band’s arrangements, going from a delicate acoustic section with flanged singing into a blues stomp with a killer electric riff, then a guitar solo over a tricky 11/8 rhythm. Very inventive and full of surprises. The disc ends with an strange uncredited story about a guy who meets three Martians and takes them to Las Vegas." - Expose
    $7.00