Opera Sauvage

Opera Sauvage

BY Vangelis

(Customer Reviews)
$10.00
$ 6.00
SKU: 829663-2
Label:
Polydor
Category:
Electronic
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In the late 70s Vangelis was becoming quite prolific. This is an overlooked album that he recorded in 1979. It features Jon Anderson guesting on harp. It's a refined sound that pre-dates new age. Not a lot of pyrotechnic keyboards here - it has more of a dreamy, soundtrack quality.

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  • "Following the extremely warm reception given his self-named band's well-deserving debut album, Holy Diver, Ronnie James Dio figured there was no point in messing with a winning formula, and decided to play it safe with 1984's sophomore effort, The Last in Line -- with distinctly mixed results. Although technically cut from the same cloth as those first album nuggets, fist-pumping new songs like "We Rock," and "I Speed at Night" curiously went from good to tiresome after just a few spins (a sign that the songwriting clichés were starting to pile up...read on); and the otherwise awesome, seven-minute epic, "Egypt (The Chains Are On)," inexplicably lost it's strikingly sinister main riff halfway through, in what sounds like a mastering snafu of some kind. On the upside, more dramatic, mid-paced numbers such as the title track, "One Night in the City," and "Eat Your Heart Out" -- as well as the driving "Evil Eyes" -- delivered enough compelling riffs and melodies to outweigh Ronnie's once endearing, but now increasingly troublesome repetition of words like "rainbow," "fire," and "stone" in seemingly every song. Finally, the distinctly more commercial pairing of heavy rocker "Breathless" and the power ballad/single "Mystery" gave undisguised notice (along with the slightly sleeker production throughout and more generous keyboards from new member Claude Schnell) of Dio's intention to broaden their audience by tapping into the rising tide of pop-metal. This would bring dire circumstances on their next album, Sacred Heart, but despite the telltale signs of decline cited above, anyone who loved Holy Diver will likely enjoy The Last in Line nearly as much." - All Music Guide
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  • "What are we going to do with Angra? I don't really enjoy their early material that much – sure it's very well written, and technically sound at that, but it has not yet engaged me and the vocals of then-frontman Matos rub me the wrong way. Temple of Shadows was good but held back by a lot of things that made it hard to listen to all the way through – for instance, it was fruity as hell, and overloaded with too many ideas. Aurora Consurgens fixed those problems and delivered a great album of modernized power metal. But I still thought they could do better...and hence, Aqua.This album is just really awesome. It's proggy and dense – much more so than anything else they've ever done. This is not the kind of album that you would expect after hearing Temple of Shadows alone, and for that I think this is getting a lot of unwarranted bad press from the metal community. In reality this is the sound they seem to have been shooting for all along. Where on Temple they just tossed random elements into a melting pot and hoped it came out with some good hooks – succeeding only half the time – on Aqua, they condense their rumbling guitars, folksy melodies and epic vocal lines into full-throttle progressive metal without any apologies.The restraint on this album is just maddening, as when you think the song might explode into a high-flying chorus or screaming climax...it doesn't. And that's what's so good about it – they've managed to construct a bunch of tunes that never go for the obvious hook, rather choosing to try for a new twist – most of the time it works really well. Edu Falaschi's vocals are reigned in to a deeper, darker intonation than he's ever had, and his vocal melodies are just superb on here. They're slow-burning growers, but once they hit you, they really hit you, as on "Hollow" or "A Monster in Her Eyes." "Weakness of a Man" is just great with this, too.The guitars are always heavy and rhythmic, not always going for a straight-ahead metal attack, but always being complex and riveting – check out the blistering "Awake from Darkness" or the more straight-ahead power metal cruiser "Arising Thunder." There are some subtle folk elements on a few tracks like the excellent "Lease of Life" and the crushing, searing "Weakness of a Man," and a lot of slow, ballad-esque moments that allow Falaschi to stretch out his pipes and the guitarists to cook out some more emotive moments. "A Monster in Her Eyes" is absolutely stunning in this regard.Nothing on here is really done in a way you'd expect, and since the hooks are so angular and fresh, the songs never wear out their welcome, always sounding cool and innovative. There is a somber twinge to the melodies here at times, and at others, an angry, wrathful one, making this album sound somewhat like a journey through the raging, untamed wilderness – if not for the pristine sense of refinement in the songwriting, that is. With Aqua the band eschews more and more of what held them back in the early days and also brings closer the themes and motifs they always wanted to get down in their lyrics and atmosphere. This album is progressive, raw, subtle and a huge grower if there ever was one, revealing new layers with each spin. Angra has never sounded better." - The Metal Crypt
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  • "Let’s welcome a new and extremely promising progressive rock act from Israel whose songs stand for a successful balancing act between traditional elements and the future of the genre. The band is called Ephrat, has found renowned supporters in Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), who mixed their debut album No One´s Words, and guest vocalists Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain Of Salvation) and Petronella Nettermalm (Paatos), and delivers a colourful mix of European influences and the atmospheric tone sequences of the Middle East - the benchmark data of a new group could hardly be more promising.Mastermind, guitarist, flutist, keyboardist and sole composer of the quartet is Omer Ephrat, who describes his creative visions as follows: “It’s sophisticated progressive music that’s driven by a rock’n’roll feel. But I really think that my music sometimes slips from those definitions and creates a new entity. The main influences range from the progressive rock groups of the Seventies, such as Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and King Crimson to newer metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater and many more.” In addition, there are cross-references to the band’s native country. “The Mediterranean and ethnic characters that this country holds are alive and well in my music, whether I like it or not,” says Omer Ephrat. “I think the contrast of a European country mixed with an ethnic one – that’s the way I see Israel – is exactly what’s happening on this album. It’s not a bad thing, it’s one of the things that make the music original and special.” Alongside Omer Ephrat, the band consists of Gili Rosenberg, vocalist Lior Seker and drummer Tomer Z, whom experts of the genre know from his collaboration with Blackfield. Then there are two high-carat guests who add additional specks of colour to this diverse album. The most renowned of them is Daniel Gildenlöw, boss and chief visionary of Swedish elite prog rock act, Pain Of Salvation, who recorded the lead vocals of the almost 10-minute ‘The Sum Of Damage Done’. “Before the first note was composed for this album, I knew I wanted Daniel to be on it,” Omer Ephrat confesses. “Apart from being a very talented musician and gifted vocalist, I think that he’s something very unique in the progressive genre and to me symbolizes the endless possibilities of the progressive genre to evolve. It was great working with him, and I think he adds a new aspect to the album. He did a great job writing the lyrics for his song, and of course recording the vocals.”By no means less impressive is Petronella Nettermalm’s melancholy voice on ‘Haze’, which lends an interesting Björk/Portisheadesque flair to the track: “This match was initially suggested by Steven Wilson, who suggested that I should listen to her band Paatos and consider adding her to the project. So I did, and it was love at first listen. She has a unique voice and feel that I just had to have on this album. After hearing her voice, I wrote ‘Haze’ in less than five minutes, inspired by the collaboration that could be. Our collaboration was so successful that Petronella added her voice to a second song, ‘Real’, along with the main vocalist, Lior Seker.”The cherry on this cake consisting of haunting tracks is the warm, transparent mix courtesy of Steven Wilson, whom Omer Ephrat contacted for the first time by e-mail two years ago. “Not long after, he got back to me and was very excited about what he had heard, wanting to meet me in Tel-Aviv. Steven offered to mix and master the album. His mix makes the album what it is. He understands music and knows how to handle it to get it where it belongs.”"
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  • We've had a hell of a time getting our hands on this album but its finally here and more than worthy of your attention.  In fact this is an album that is going to ride high on many 2014 top 10 album lists.This is the first full length release from this six piece band based out of Bergen, Norway.  The core sound of the band is rooted in classic progressive rock.  Think in terms of the aggressive side of Van Der Graaf Generator and King Crimson.  But there is more at play here.  A strong jazz element is at play as well.  I'm reminded of Jaga Jazzist and perhaps a bit of Frank Zappa and Mr. Bungle.  There is no doubt we are going to hear quite a bit from this band in the future.  BUY OR DIE!"An impressive album of refreshingly unique music that crosses many sub genres, including space-psychedelia, symphonic, heavy prog, avant-jazz and experimental/post metal. Wonderful vocals, very tight interplay among all band members with no one member or instrument really standing above any other--though the presence and performance of the saxophone is highly notable. This is complex music played so tightly. And the astonishing 14- minute epic, "God Left Us for A Black Dressed Woman," must be heard to be believed.1. "Oh My Gravity" (9:49) starts as a jazzy stop-and-start piece that picks up in intensity in the second minute before shifting to a melodic ballad in the vein of the heavier side of FROGG CAFÉ. The male vocalist sounds to me like something between RADIOHEAD's THOM YORKE and TODD RUNDGREN. Around the six minute mark the spiraling, swooning music sounds a lot like some of the louder stuff from MOTORPSYCHO's The Death Defying Unicorn. This feel continues into the seventh minute when organ and horns take turns embellishing the staccato music. The bare-bones, bluesy final 45 seconds is bizarre but so cool! A powerful and surprising opener to this unusual album. Very high marks for compositional prowess and instrumental performance. (9/10)2. "Wind Shears" (6:32) opens in a very psychedelia/spacey 1960s way. Then at the one minute mark it settles into a jazz groove with first sax and then jazzy guitar and Hammond organ filling the lanes over the rhythm section. Clavinet is added for a GentleGiant-like bridge before a polyrhythmic KING CRIMSON "Discipline"-like weave appears to support a brief ghost-like vocal. At 3:20 the sound gets much heavier over the same arpeggiated weave, nearly drowning out the still-soloing sax and organ. This is just like TOBY DRIVER (Kayo Dot/Maudlin of the Well)! At 4:05 things get quiet and sparse again, with the music vacillating from soft and delicate to heavy and abrasive. A very melodic kind of psychedelic big band section plays out for the final minute. Again, bizarre but so cool! (9/10)3. "Eschaton Hero" (8:29) opens with some guitar, keys & sax riffs repeated over latin percussion. At 1:00 everything settles down into another quiet section with a delicate vocal in Stian Økland's upper register. Beautiful chorus/bridge at 1:47 gives way to an unpretentious bass solo before settling back into the delicate vocal music. Same awesome bridge at 2:49 leads into a heavy section into jazzy chaos--all performed over the most simple, calm drum play. At 4:52 it gets even heavier as it plods along for a minute in support of a fuzz guitar solo. Finally the drums start to play--to match the frenzy of the rest of the band--then everything stops so the band can yell "Yay!" Then a variation on the previous frenzy picks back up until 7:05 when everything settles back down into the soft groove of the initial vocal section for a dirty sax solo before letting Stian finish the song out in his high voice. Well conceived and performed, just not my favorite. (7/10)4. "Extraction" (6:34) begins with another odd intro of two or three parts before settling into the vocal support section--which begins heavily before falling into another RADIOHEAD-like bluesy section. At 2:20 a neat Hammond section leads back into the heavy full band section that opened the vocals, then, again, drops off for the beautiful support of a multi-voice- supported section. At 3:45 a very smooth, stripped down electric guitar solos, until there is a full return to explosiveness at 4:20. A bouncy "O Yo Como Va"-like Hammond section at 4:40 gives way to a kind of Latin weave before falling back into the heavier rock weave from the first vocal section to end. (8/10)5. "God Left Us for A Black Dressed Woman" (14:12) opens with another KC "Discipline"-like weave that morphs and flows, polymorphs and grooves for two and a half minutes before decaying into a simplified form for a bluesy ROBERT PLANT-like vocal section. This song's amazing vocal performance could also be compared to some of the finest MATTHEW PARMENTER/DISCIPLINE works. Some incredibly powerful sections in this song--especially the multi-voice vocals in the eleventh minute and the following heavy full-band part. A very DISCIPLINE-like soft section then ensues with a slow build to an awesome crescendo and frizzed finish. The song evolves, shifts, twists and turns and surprises throughout. Again there are several parts that remind me of MOTORPSYCHO's Unicorn. Without question this is one of the best prog "epics" of the year! (10/10)Aside from the above references to Motorpsycho, King Crimson, Radiohead, Toby Driver, Matthew Parmenter/Discipline, the overall impression this album leaves me with is similar to that of DIAGONAL's eponymously titled debut album from 2008. SEVEN IMPALE's City of the Sun is a wonderful collection of masterfully composed, executed and recorded songs.A 4.5 star album that I can't see giving anything less than five in that it is a treasure for the ages!" - Prog Archives
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  • Tony Bank's first solo album, originally released in 1979, is given a fresh breath of life with a new stereo mix courtesy of Nick Davis. This was done at the same time that Rutherford and Collins recorded solo albums as well - between the time of And Then There Were Three and Duke. Musically it pretty much fits into that gap as well. Its a concept album that sounds a bit like the lighter side of Genesis. One cool piece is the opener - "From The Undertow". It opens the album and was composed as the intro the the Genesis tune "Undertow". I remember seeing the British film "The Shout". Weird flick but that track was featured in the soundtrack and it was moody and creepy and un-nerved the hell out of me."Esoteric Recordings are proud to announce the release of 30th Anniversary editions of the album “A Curious Feeling” by Genesis founder member and keyboard player Tony Banks on Monday October 19th 2009. This classic album, inspired by the novel “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, was first released in October 1979 by Charisma Records. Recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm, whilst Genesis were on a brief hiatus following the “And Then There Were Three” tour, this majestic work featured contributions from drummer Chester Thompson (a member of GENESIS for concert appearances) and vocalist Kim Beacon.Stylistically the album is equal to anything Banks composed for Genesis and includes the evocative instrumental “The Waters of Lethe” and the song “For a While” (released as a single in 1979 and issued as a Download single via iTunes on October 19th) among its highlights. Significantly, this new edition of “A Curious Feeling” has been remixed from the original master tapes by Nick Davis (who also remixed the entire Genesis catalogue in 2007) and Tony Banks, resulting in a more dynamic sounding album."
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