Original Album Series (5CD)

SKU: 81227965105
Label:
Atlantic Records
Category:
Thrash Metal
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5CD set in a slipcase collects the first five classic thrash albums from Testament:

The Legacy
The New Order
Practice What You Preach
Souls Of Black
The Ritual

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  • Latest studio album from this lethal German band.  SBE was formed by guitarist Christian Peters in 2007.  The quartet (twin guitar, bass, and drums) will deeply satisfy the musicial appetite of any fans of 70s psychedelia, space rock, and doom metal.  They may well be the ultimate stoner rock band.Revelation & Mystery finds the compositions a bit tighter than previous efforts but that's a relative term when the title track runs past the 12 minute mark. Vocals don't interfere too heavily with the acid laced space trippin' guitar work.  Peters sings a bit and then they get down to serious business jamming their way into the cosmos.  If you are fan of early Guru Guru, Hawkwind, and Black Sabbath, or even Deep Purple you need to hear this band.  I got high just looking at the cover art.  This album is a total lease breaker to boot.  BUY OR DIE!  "The second album from Samsara Blues Experiment in as many years, Revelation and Mystery (World in Sound) takes a surprising turn in approach from their Long-Distance Trip debut, distilling the jams of the first record into more structured, song-based material. The tracks of Revelation and Mystery almost exclusively follow verse-chorus-verse patterns, and while part of the joy of listening to a song like “Singata Mystic Queen” from the prior collection was meandering along with it, Samsara Blues Experiment don’t completely lose sight of the journey in favor of the straightforward. Right from its start, Revelation and Mystery sees the four-piece layering guitar effects and infusing their parts with swirls and a spaced-out feel. It’s not that they’ve completely changed their methodology so much as they’ve shifted the balance within their sound. These structural elements were certainly present on Long-Distance Trip, but a cut like the semi-acoustic “Thirsty Moon” shows that Samasara Blues Experiment are able to work within these parameters to grow their songwriting. One gets the sense in listening to opener “Flipside Apocalypse” (which follows a 17-second nameless intro track) that this process is just beginning and that the band are still finding out what they want their sound to be, but that only makes Revelation and Mystery a more immediate, direct experience; the linearity of the album unfolding gradually as the songs move from the straightforward into the more sublimely jammed.Fast-paced rumbling from the bass of Richard Behrens in the surprisingly punkish beginning of “Flipside Apocalypse” is an immediate clue to the changes the last year have brought about in Samsara Blues Experiment. The mood is more active, less calming and chilled out than last time around, and the guitars of Hans Eiselt and Christian Peters – who also handles vocals – seem to be more concerned with riffing out than stacking layers upon layers, though there’s some of that too, even as later in the song a riff straight out of the biker rock milieu shows up and carries the song through to its end. I don’t know if it’s the result in some change in the band’s songwriting process or just how things happened to come out this time, but the change continues through “Hangin’ on the Wire,” which is genuinely hooky and thoroughly in the realm of heavy rock. A crisp production during the solo section brings to mind some of Queens of the Stone Age’s finer moments, and drummer Thomas Vedder locks in with Behrens’ own excellent fills with a few of his own. Peters, though, emerges at the head of the song. His vocals confident and effected in equal measure, he works quickly to establish the verse and chorus patterns, both worthy of sing-alongs, so that by the end, “Hangin’ on the Wire” feels like its earned its handclaps, and though “Into the Black” starts out more ethereal, with extended solo sections and a long instrumental introduction, the shuffle soon takes hold and it proves to be more boogie than nod.But perhaps “Into the Black” is where the band begins their subtle shift into more esoteric sonics, because as the soft strums and plucks and interplay of electric and acoustic guitars take hold on “Thirsty Moon,” the song feels neither out of place nor especially unexpected, which it very well might have if placed earlier on Revelation and Mystery. Peters’ vocal line feels a little rushed during the verse – it’s almost as though there were too many syllables to fit in the line – but the interaction of his and Eiselt’s guitars in the instrumental break and the balance between the guitar and Vedder’s drumming in the mix makes up for any such hiccups. Another chorus feels delivered more appropriately, and the progression cycles through again; solo section into chorus, solo section into chorus. And it’s not until Behrens’ highlight bass line begins “Outside Insight Blues” that it’s apparent just how much Samsara Blues Experiment put into the album’s flow. Added keys allow the guitars to go farther out into sporadic notes without sacrificing fullness of sound, but after about two and a half minutes, there’s a turn into riffier material that carries the groove through the next six. There are a few part changes, but things don’t really feel jammed out until the classic ‘70s boogie meets psychedelia of the last 90 seconds or so, blues harp and all. It’s a shift worthy of Siena Root, and the two-minute interlude “Zwei Schatten im Schatten” (in English, “Two Shadows in the Shadow”) follows suit with an appropriate marriage of Eastern and Western musical traditions with sitar and acoustic six-string. There’s something sweet and solemn in the intertwining melody, and it’s a passing thing on the way to the 12-minute closer, but worth paying attention to in a way that many interludes aren’t.Then, at last, comes the ending title cut. Worthy of its name, “Revelation and Mystery” caps the album with a sense of psychedelic majesty through which Samsara Blues Experiment show their ability to keep hold of a song no matter how deep into space they might also want to push it. The song winds. Its progression is at once driving and subdued, and of all the songs on Revelation and Mystery, it’s probably the best blend of all sides of what’s shown itself to be the band’s current sound. Of course, at 12 minutes, one could easily argue it has time to do and be all these things – with room left over for a bit of that sitar to show up as well among the guitar leads – but still, it’s another display of the maturity Samsara Blues Experiment have been able to take on in a relatively short amount of time (their demo gave first notice in 2008). Some bands need three years to learn and foster growth between their albums, and some bands need to play. If the jump between their first and second records is anything to go by, Samsara Blues Experiment would seem to be the latter. Wherever this stylistic form takes them, I don’t imagine it’ll be too long before we find out, but until then, the 47 minutes of Revelation and Mystery provide a varied and exciting listen worthy of repeat visits. Samsara Blues Experiment continue to progress, continue to impress." - The Obelisk
    $12.00
  • Michael Romeo doesn't work quickly.  The man takes his time and a new Symphony X album is ready when its been honed to perfection.  Underworld is the first new album in four years.  To get to the point its ridiculously great.  Up through V, the band were the modern agents of neoclassical/symphonic metal.  With The Odyssey the band took a left turn with Russell Allen's vocals being more agressive and a pervasive overall crunchiness, heaviness to the sound.  Perhaps a bit less symphonic sounding.  With Underworld fans of the "old style" will smile once again.  The band has found a way to balance both sides of their sound.  Its heavy but extremely melodic.  Russell's vocals are spot on and Mr. Romeo's solos have an organic flow that will sweep you through the tune.  Its a beautiful marriage of styles - not too much of either direction that the band has exhibited in the past.  Toss in a theme built around Dante's Inferno and you've totally sucked me back in to the fold.  BUY OR DIE!"A lot has happened with New Jersey-based progressive metal band SYMPHONY X since the Iconoclast album was released four years ago. Singer ‘Sir’ Russell Allen recorded and toured behind several releases with ADRENALINE MOB, toured with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and recorded the album The Great Divide with ALLEN-LANDE. Bassist Mike Lepond toured with HELSTAR and released his excellent solo album under the name SILENT ASSASSINS. Keyboardist Michael Pinnella released a solo album and guitarist Michael Romeo made guest appearances on some albums. Drummer Jason Rullo battled and successfully recovered from heart failure in 2013.Four years later, SYMPHONY X delivers another fantastic album, the band sounding just as powerful as Iconoclast, and amazingly never missing a beat. Titled Underworld, it is sort of a concept album, loosely based on Dante’s epic poem Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is not a totally original topic in the metal world; ICED EARTH featured an epic song based on it on their 1995 album Burnt Offerings and SEPULTURA wrote a concept album based on it with 2006’s Dante XXI, while SYMPHONY X themselves included references to it on their 1997 album The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. Several other metal bands have also been influenced by the poem.SYMPHONY X do not follow the tale word for word, but use it more as an inspiration. Michael Romeo is quoted as saying that the album has a theme of “going to hell and back for something or someone you care about.” He also said that this album is more about “the song” instead of the album as a whole, allowing it to flow better from song to song. This doesn’t mean every song is an attempt at a single. Romeo’s intent when writing songs for Underworld was for people to be able to take in the whole album in one listening. (The total album length is just over an hour, compared to Iconoclast’s two discs that were around 83 minutes).To be honest, the last two SYMPHONY X albums, 2007’s Paradise Lost and 2011’s Iconoclast were my favorite albums released by the band so far. I refer to them as the “angry” SYMPHONY X, mainly due to Russell Allen’s vocal delivery and the aggressive music on those particular albums. So, I waited to see if we would get a third album in this same vein from SYMPHONY X. The songs on Underworld seem to alternate between prog and aggression, but for the most part, the album is not as “angry” as Iconoclast. The album strikes a perfect balance between prog and power. Some songs are aggressive without being “angry”. There are definitely more classic SYMPHONY X elements here than on recent releases.The album is much more accessible than previous albums. The songs overall are shorter (most clocking in at around the 5-6 minute mark), and more to the point than on previous albums. For example, “Kiss Of Fire” is one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard by SYMPHONY X. It immediately became a favorite of mine on this album, with the verse, “Bring down the hammer, with serious anger – It’s me against the world!” section and the chorus becoming some of my favorite moments. This song probably represents the album to me more than any other, but the album is filled with classics, such as opener “Nevermore”, a ferocious track that is aggressive in the verses, while the chorus is more melody-driven. The title track follows, with many twists, turns and speed sections. “Without You” is a standout track. With its guarded delivery by Allen and acoustic guitar flowing in the background, it is probably the mellowest moment on Underworld, but that’s not a bad thing. The chorus is the focus of the track, with Allen performing some of his best work. The song probably has the most potential as a single. Another solid track, “Charon”, named for the ferry boatman of the underworld, follows. This track has a middle-eastern flavor to it.The longest track on the album (9:24 in length) follows, the excellent “To Hell And Back”. This song has so many great parts, it’s hard to pick a particular favorite, possibly Allen’s soaring vocal on the chorus or the “on and on and on / no quarter asked, no quarter given” section. “In My Darkest Hour” follows and is another favorite of mine, featuring speed riffing parts, mixed with a melodic chorus. Allen really shines on this song. “Run With The Devil” is even more up-tempo and another one of the more accessible songs due to the chorus. “Swan Song” finds keyboardist Pinnella taking the bulk of the spotlight with his piano flourishes. The album closes with the excellent “Legend”. Allen’s aggressive pre-chorus vocals and melodic chorus vocals make this an instant classic.I believe the playing on Underworld is at another level for the band. Lepond’s bass work is spectacular throughout and Jason Rullo makes a real statement with his drum performance. Fantastic work from keyboardist Michael Pinnella and of course guitarist Michael Romeo’s amazing riffs and solos are worth the price alone. But you get more, don’t you? You get one of the best singers in metal, Sir Russell Allen, making yet another classic album even better with his voice.The album’s exquisite cover artwork (once again by illustrator Warren Flanagan) features the return of the SYMPHONY X masks, around which are eight symbols that represent the circles of hell: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, and fraud. The symbol for treachery, the ninth circle, is underneath the masks, and hopefully will be revealed in full inside the album packaging.Underworld is a great album, which grew on me the more I listened to it. SYMPHONY X are masters of American prog metal, and have been for quite some time. Underworld further cements that reputation, and will undoubtedly please fans of all eras of the band." - KNAC.com 
    $14.00
  • Mystery is the long running Canadian band led by guitarist/keyboardist Michel St.-Pere.  In its earlier incarnation the band had a heavily AOR sound but the band has been moving more and more into a straight on prog direction of the years.  Of course most people know the band because Yes plucked vocalist Benoit David from their ranks.  David has left Yes and rejoined Mystery.  St-Pere has added on Nick D'Virgillio on drums and Spaced Out basisst Antoine Fafard.  Now its hard not to hear the Yes influence but a touch of melodic AOR still filters through.  All in all probably the best thing I've heard from this band.
    $12.00
  • "To be in a band remotely related to the realms of Progressive and Power, is to be an immensely accomplished instrumentalist in your own right. However, it is all too easy for entire bands to be lost in the sea of generic driven mass, regardless of the title of 'progressive', swamped in unusual and atonal melodic progressions and multi-rhythmic drumming. Sometimes even the lyrics can become a drawl; who wants to hear about the same knight fighting the same dragon across 10 different bands? This is where Floridians SKYLINER come into play, ablaze with fresh ideologies, tried-and-true Power Metal establishments with Progressive embellishments, and very real lyrical philosophies.The intro track blew me away with its eerie soundscape and powerful vocal delivery, not unlike a cross between VOLBEAT's Michael Poulsen and ex-ICED EARTH vocalist Matthew Barlow. Pulling no punches is "Symphony in Black" delivering a speedy and uplifting cascade of riffs steeped in creative melodies. Jake delivers a unique vocal effort, sticking to an aggressive Heavy Metal approach with unusual, yet catchy inflections in his melodies. "Forever Young" is a powerful track that hits home with passages evolving in both speed and technicality, with abrupt crescendos marked by drastic blast-offs in tempo; an incredibly solid track with creative drumming and even more diverse vocal performances.I would devote a significant portion of my writing towards the epic "Worlds of Conflict", wherein the lads "pulled a DREAM THEATER" and wrote an enormous, 21-minute track. Rarely does one hear something of such epic proportions. Never stale, it seamlessly weaves in and out of passages of their own individuality that coalesce into powerful crescendos, or on the other hand may diverge into various sentient soundscapes. The bass work in this track is thoroughly impressive, going past a meat-and-potatoes approach to offer an astounding array of dynamics to add to a track that would ordinarily require a great amount of fleshing-out. I stress, this is not something you would chuck on to fit the mood. Absorb it, and embrace it.Individually, the tracks are excellent. The 21 minute monster is at a masterpiece level, I cannot get enough of it. If I had a single qualm it would be that each of the tracks are 'too' different from the next, that the album feels more like a collection of works as opposed to, well, an 'album'. But then, I could be wrong; I could be too used to listening to 2-hour, drawlish concept albums. It is my belief that the end product was their 100% intention. They have done this right." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • Its been some time since Michael Harris' Thought Chamber project made its debut.  The band consists of Michael Harris (guitars), Ted Leonard (vocals), Bill Jenkins (keys), Jeff Plant (bass), and Mike Haid (drums).  Ted Leonard and Bill Jenkins will be familiar to you from their membership in Enchant (Ted is also fronting Spock's Beard now).Psykerion is a sci-fi cybermetal concept album.  Harris plays with a lot of restraint compared to some of his solo albums.  In fact I would classify it as tasteful.  Leonard is one of the best vocalists in prog and he doesn't disappoint.  Lots of solos flying around on guitar and keys but it maintains a melodic integrity through out.  Hopefully we don't have to wait another 7 years for the follow up.  Highly recommended.This is the limited edition import version that comes with 2 bonus tracks.
    $14.00
  • "Almost two years after the suprising German chart success of "Hold On, Liberty!", The Intersphere return with a brand new studio album.  And instead of relying on formulas or formats, the band have relied completely on their hands an hearts.  That being said, The Intersphere are pushing the boundaries of rock music towards new horizons with a pace and precision seldom found in German bands in the last few years. Under the production acumen of Singer/Guitarist Christoph Hessler and co-producer/mixer Moritz Enders (whose credits include German indie powerhouses Casper, Kraftklub and Madsen), this fourth release in The Intersphere discography was recorded together with Wolfgang Manns at Toolhouse Studios."'Relations In The Unseen' is not a concept album, but there is definitely a purveying train of thought overall. We all communicate, not only directly, but also indirectly through gestures, body language, thoughts and connections that are unconcious at first," says Christoph Hessler.  Lyrically, the album concentrates on these unconcious things that influence our feelings, thoughts and reactions.  Every day we're offered countless examples of this - invisible, unknown - over distances, times and dimensions. With "Relations In The Unseen" The Intersphere have succeeded at a return to self - and to the really important things in music."
    $9.00
  • "Like any respected underground band staging a comeback, Gorguts have a lot to live up to. In order to understand why expectations are unusually high for Colored Sands-- the first new LP since 2001 from this Quebec death-metal institution-- you have to look back to 1998'sObscura, one of the most pungently progressive albums ever made, in or out of metal.Obscura didn't just register as technical; it sounded downright excruciating, as if its shuddering blastbeats, doleful bellows, and deliriously inventive guitarwork were being torn straight from the chests of its makers.But as brilliant as Obscura was, and as wide as its influence has spread-- it holds a hallowed place not just among discerning death-metalheads, but in open-eared jazz circles as well-- it wasn't exactly a definitive Gorguts release. The band made their name playing in a very different style. Their first two LPs, 1991's Considered Dead and 1993's The Erosion of Sanity, demonstrated impressive tightness and a flair for involved composition, but they were very much of their time-- unrelentingly intense dispatches descended from the bulging-vein aggression of 80s thrash. Conceived as early as 93, but not issued until 98, Obscura shocked longtime listeners, who couldn't believe the madness the band's lengthy gestation had birthed.That chapter of Gorguts was short-lived, though, as guitarist/vocalist Steeve Hurdle-- a key co-architect of Obscura, who died tragically last year at age 41-- left the band in 1999. On the next Gorguts LP, 2001's sorely underrated From Wisdom to Hate, founder and sole constant member Luc Lemay streamlined Obscura's demented sprawl, yielding a less outlandish yet equally distinguished statement. This was a wise move; there would've been no way to out-weird Obscura.Fans have known for a while that the next Gorguts record was shaping up to be another fresh start. When Lemay revived the group in 2009, after a suggestion from Hurdle that he commemorate Gorguts' 20th anniversary, he took a new approach to bandbuilding. Gorguts had always been a locally sourced project, staffed by musicians from Lemay's Quebec home base-- including Hurdle, bassist Steve Cloutier and current Voivod guitarist Daniel Mongrain-- but this time, he set about assembling a North American progressive-metal all-star team. This band, which appears on Colored Sands, includes two NYC luminaries: bassist Colin Marston, of Krallice and Behold… the Arctopus, and guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, Marston's bandmate in Dysrhythmia. The drummer is John Longstreth, best known for his work in Kansas's hypertechnical Origin. It would be reductive to peg any of these players as members of a post-Gorguts generation, but their work during the past decade embodies the same spirit that drove Obscura: a conception of metal as art music, not in the Sunn O))) sense-- where the genre commingles with drone, noise and other abstracted forms-- but in the sense of a creatively restless pursuit, a union of unfettered imagination and rigorous virtuosity. Like Luc Lemay, Marston, Hufnagel, and Longstreth have each established themselves as master players driven to expand their idiom without assailing its core tenets.The highest compliment you could pay Colored Sands would be a simple description of what it is: a fully formed outing from an outstandingly pedigreed new incarnation of an already legendary band. Thanks to Lemay's trademark anguished roar and dark-prog riff savvy,Colored Sands feels unmistakably like a Gorguts record, but the compositions-- most by Lemay, with Marston and Hufnagel each contributing a single song-- don't mimic any particular chapter of the band's past. The record's greatest strength is its vast dynamic range. On one hand, it contains some of the thorniest, most aggressive death metal ever issued under the Gorguts name; on the other, it includes moments of stunning textural beauty. That duality is a perfect fit for the album's surprisingly specific lyrical theme: the way Tibetan culture encompasses both ancient majesty and modern despair.It seems odd to praise a Gorguts record for its prettiness, but some of the most memorable passages on Colored Sands are also the subtlest-- transitional sections that punctuate the band's signature gritted-teeth shred. Opening track "Le Toit du Monde" orbits a hypnotic, clean-toned motif-- a waltz-time riff marked by chiming harmonics-- and Hufnagel seasons his extraordinary "Absconders" with a dreamy interlude, an oasis of eerie calm in the middle of a churning epic. Other pieces thrive on adrenaline. Marston's "Forgotten Arrows" features a thrillingly complex central theme, which seems descended both from Dysrhythmia's intricate chiaroscuro riffs and the blastbeat-driven turbo-prog of Behold… the Arctopus. On the other hand, Lemay's title track-- a doomy plod that trades math-metal daredevilry for hard-grooving 4/4-- is one of the most straightforwardly headbangable tracks in the Gorguts discography.Diverse approaches aside, all the songs here share a rare coherence: they're as info-packed as the pieces on Obscura or From Wisdom to Hate, but their construction feels especially logical. While not the most extreme compositions Gorguts have issued, they might be the richest and most memorable; the patiently unfolding arrangements-- complemented by a spacious, full-bodied production job that contrasts sharply with the harsh, brittle sound of Obscura andFrom Wisdom-- give each idea room to really sink in.There's also a strong band unity at work here, honed onstage over the past several years. No Gorguts album has grooved harder than Colored Sands, a fact that has a lot to with John Longstreth, who excels at making dauntingly proggy riffs feel sprightly and pliable. His rapid-fire snare/hi-hat stutter on the verse sections of "Ember's Voice" and the chopsy yet remarkably relaxed post-fusion fills he busts out during the "Absconders" outro exemplify how technical flourishes can enhance a song's momentum rather than hinder it. During moments when the full quartet digs into a meaty pattern-- the sci-fi thrash episode in the middle of "Forgotten Arrows," the lurching slam breakdown in "Enemies of Compassion"-- you're hearing four expert players uniting with Voltron-like purpose: not just a provisional assemblage but a real band at work.At the same time, Colored Sands is, like each of the four Gorguts albums that precedes it, a personal statement from Luc Lemay. For those inclined to read liner notes and follow a lyric sheet, there's a hefty amount of thematic data in the margins of this record that gives it a very different feel than any of the band's prior efforts. The first two Gorguts albums dealt with standard-issue death-metal topics (disease, corruption, madness); Obscura turned inward, tackling depression and spiritual crisis; From Wisdom to Hate was a topical grab-bag, covering religious delusion, political megalomania, and the fascination of antiquity. Here, simply put, Lemay has Tibet on the brain. An admitted outsider to the culture, he nevertheless taps into some profound emotions, touching on the deep spirituality of Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as well as the region's purgatorial struggle with Chinese rule.The idea of a death-metal vocalist howling about sand mandalas and snow lions might look iffy on paper, but the concept sticks, thanks to the dynamism of the music and the conviction Lemay brings to every line. The frontman isn't holding Tibetan culture at arm's length; his seething bellows on tracks such as "Reduced to Silence" come off as a kind of rigorous method acting, as though he were revisiting personal trauma in an effort to comprehend the Sisyphean ordeal of the culture he's depicting. It's admirable that just as Lemay has regularly renovated the Gorguts sound, moving ever further from death-metal orthodoxy, he's also worked to find fresh thematic approaches like the one that unifies Colored Sands.Lemay also shows off his creative breadth on "The Battle of Chamdo", an instrumental piece for string ensemble. Previous Gorguts albums have featured classical-style intros and interludes, cluing fans in to Lemay's training as a violinist and composer, but "Chamdo" is the first full-length stand-alone track of this type issued under the band's name. The composition's strident, martial rhythms and mournful melodies give it a distinct soundtracky quality, as though Lemay were narrating rather than simply evoking China's 1950 invasion of Tibet. "Chamdo" appears at the album's midpoint, and while the piece isn't as arresting as the metal-oriented material that surrounds it, it serves as a smart palate cleanser.Obscura found Gorguts reemerging in bizarrely mutated form; Colored Sands represents a subtler yet similarly striking evolution. Just as he did on Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate, Luc Lemay has chosen expert collaborators here and given them the freedom to leave their mark on the band's legacy. With Colored Sands-- an album of breathtaking detail and scope-- he, Marston, Hufnagel and Longstreth pay fitting tribute to Gorguts' remarkable history. Instead of reclaiming the past, they've pooled their resources to create a new present." - Pitchfork
    $12.00
  • Fifth album from the Polish prog band led by former Collage guitarist Mirek Gil.  The band clearly goes for a contemporary sound.  There are overt similarities to Riverside but the music has a more symphonic rock side.  I've always enjoyed Gil's guitar tone.  He plays with quite an expressive style.  In this case its nicely augmented by violin and keys.  Lots of prog coming from Poland.  Believe is one of the better bands to emerge from that scene.
    $15.00
  • "Crystal Palace are a progressive rock band from Germany. In the band are Yenz (vocals, bass), Frank K√∂hler (keys), Frank Brennekam (drums) and Nils Conrad (guitars). Also included are some well-known guests; Colin Edward (Porcupine Tree) and Yogi Lang and Kalle Wallner of RPWL fame.The band has been around since the mid '90s and System Of Events is their sixth studio album. With a name like Crystal Palace one would expect progressive music and that is exactly what you get although this batch of tunes is as melodic as it gets. That is what makes this music so utterly enjoyable; these guys know how to write a good tune. A case in point is the album's fourth track "Green Way". The guitar rhythms are some of the catchiest on the disc, a major earworm in every way. The album also ventures into art rock/prog territory. Just listen to the twelve minute "Beautiful Nightmare" to hear the band's proggier side. Chiming guitar chords and understated vocals lead to a dynamic instrumental break of squelching guitar/effects and tasty keys. This is not about playing as fast as you can but more about texture and ambience reminding me of bands like Porcupine Tree. The lead vocals have a slight accent but you need not worry as Yenz has a good voice, well suited to the band's slightly melancholic sound. The title track at over thirteen minutes is the longest song and also my favourite. Its moody and forlorn beginning of stark piano notes and vocals to match leads to a mid tempo groove and some ear candy guitar soli. The instrumental break of voice samples, delicate acoustic guitar and winding keyboard lines hearkens of '70s Pink Floyd. The vocals are outstanding as well.The System Of Events has turned into a another great find. Judging by the quality of this release their back catalogue should be well worth exploring as well. Highly recommended." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00
  • "Italy's Odd Dimension burst on the progressive metal in 2011 with their surprising and entertaining debut album Symmetrical. Most of the intrigue came from both from their creativity and accessible complexity of their prog, generated from prior experimentation with various metal and rock genres.Their sophomore release, The Last Embrace to Humanity continues to reflect some of that experimentation. The album might even be a tale of two discs. The previous release, generally, was more heavier prog metal and so is this one, notably at the start. The Unknown King, Under My Creed, and Dissolving into the World are a rush of ambitious and blistering prog. You find this at the end as well in Far from Desires.But what's in between is a bit different. Not everything here is always heavy; it's more subtle and nuanced when it comes. It's So Late, which features Michele Luppi (Vision Divine, Secret Sphere), nears more melodic, though heavier, progressive rock. Another Time and Fortune and Pain, which follow, seems to want to invoke heavy metal but in the end turns on a stirring metal-rock fusion. The latter third of Fortune and Pain, notable in the guitar, sounds like metal-jazz fusion. The New Line of Times takes all these things, abandons the aggressive metal, and develops an epic song of pure melodic prog metal.Not dismissing the other songs, but these four songs are strength and surprise of The Last Embrace to Humanity. They also show once more the impressive talent and creativity of Odd Dimension. But we knew that already, didn't we. Easily recommended." - Danger Dog
    $14.00
  • Second album from this Swiss band draws very heavily from the Katatonia musical gene pool.  Melancholy metal that actually has a groove.  Some of the proggier bits remind of Tool.   
    $13.00
  • This is the first North American release for Move, the fifth album in the Freak Kitchen discography.  Freak Kitchen is led by renowned guitarist/vocalist Mattias Eklundh. The band describes Move as "More metal, more experimental, more fascinating… will please the fans and will without any possible doubt convert the newcomers." It is also the first album to feature drummer Bjorn Fryklund.  Intense guitar driven music that blurs the fine line between progressive rock and metal.  Essential for fans of Frank Zappa, Bumblefoot, and Steve Vai."Freak Kitchen return with their fifth album, a new drummer and bass player. The first noticeable difference is the inclusion of double kick drums at the beginning of the opening track "Propaganda Pie." They definitely add an extra metal "oooomph" to Freak Kitchen's sound.Of course Eklundh fills the album with crazy, off-the-wall, impossible to play solos and licks. His playing alone is worth the price of the album. But that is not even the best part, as basically every song on the album is extremely catchy and memorable. These are the type of songs that get stuck in your head for hours.The lyrics generally deal with real world issues, such as sweatshops ("Logo"), divorce ("Seven Days In June"), and drug addiction ("Herion Breakfast"). The topics are serious, but generally the music is upbeat; they are addressed in a somewhat sarcastic way, although a few songs could be considered 'depressing.' Probably "Seven Days In June" and "Razor Flowers." The latter track is sung by the bassist, and he does a great job.Move is definitely not 100% TR00 METUHL, but it rocks, and it has the high quality of musicianship that metal fans enjoy, so it should appeal to many a listener." - Metal Archives
    $14.00
  • Brief Nocturnes is the band's 11th album.  It marks their return to Inside Out and quite frankly its the best album they have released in a very long time.  Chalk it up to Ted Leonard handling vocals or Neal Morse contributing writing to a couple of tunes?  Not sure.  I am definitely hearing more vitality and overt progginess in the compositions.  Ryo is going off his nut here - keys are whizzing all around - organ/'tron/the whole schmear - and Alan's guitar runs are matching him step for step.  Maybe I haven't been paying attention as closely as I should have for the past few years.  I do know that I'm enjoying the hell out of this.  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • "Founded in 2011 by music composer an lyricist Luca Gagnoni with the intent of creating epic, powerful music with a peaceful message, Astral Domine have signed a deal with Bakerteam Records for the release of their debut album ‘Arcanum Gloriae’. Produced by the band itself, with mixing and mastering duties held by Andrea De Paoli (Labyrinth, Vision Divine) at Multimedia Sound Studio, ‘Arcanum Gloriae’ features special guest appearances by renowned singers Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire, Vision Divine, Hollow Haze) in the song ‘Where Heroes Die’ and Giuseppe “Ciape” Cialone (Rosae Crucis) on the song ‘Falsi Dei’. Inspired by fantasy themes and landscapes, Astral Domine’s music is perfectly depicted by the ‘evocative album artwork, which recalls the epic scenery of the Game Of Thrones series.After the epic-intro, comes the first big moment of the album; "Holy Knights" is an impressive epic and powerful metal song that combines the melody with the heaviness in such a unique way. The acoustic mellower parts give to the song the extra flavor and make this song an ecstatic moment. With "Moonlight" the band delivers a really heart-full tune filled with some amazing guitar lines. Brilliant stuff! "Where Heroes Die" is yet another highlight from this debut release. The appearance of Fabio Leone in this one takes the whole track into a higher dimension! "I'm The King" recalls some Malmsteen's earlier works while in "My Lord" the theatrical-movie elements along with melancholic vibe are making this tune a true highlight!All in all, this is an extremely interesting release all the way. This is not the ordinary epic power metal band; ASTRAL DOMINE delivers a solid record with a 'clever' way that finally achieve to fascinate the listener from start to finish! " - Heavy Paradise
    $12.00