Painted Reality

SKU: ATL20041
Category:
Metal/Hard Rock
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Kick ass progmetal band from Brazil. Atlantida was originally know as Atlantis and had released a 4 track CD. This collects this material with an additional 6 tunes. The standout part (for my taste) is the way they utilize keyboard leads. It reminds me quite a bit of Eldritch and Empty Tremor. Some notable guests appear including Kiko Loureiro and Renato Tribuzy.

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  • "To avoid any lingering confusion right from the outset,  you may already be aware of this band because AudioPlastik began life under a different name or names to be more precise. Both Alpha Flood and Brave New Sky were trialled before the trio settled on the name AudioPlastik. Whatever the name though, it’s a musical collaboration which will more than prick the ears of fans of progressive rock or metal music. The trio is fronted none other than Dec Burke, the vocalist for Darwin’s Radio and Frost* as well as being a well thought of solo artist in his own right. Dec also plays the guitar and is joined by the impressive duo of Simon Andersson (Darkwater, ex-Pain Of Salvation) and Threshold’s keyboardist Richard West. Being a fan of all of the names mentioned in the preceding sentences, I have naturally been very excited to hear the final product ever since a debut album was announced to see the light of day early this year.The album is due out in the very near future and goes by the title of ‘In The Head Of A Maniac’. With a title like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the content of this record might be a bizarre, challenging or even a wild schizophrenic beast. However, you’d be wrong, at least to a certain extent anyway. This is progressive music and as such, it does blend many ideas into its collective whole. But it is far from being impenetrable or a difficult listen.To be honest, the most difficult thing is to accurately describe the musical direction on ‘In The Head of a Maniac’. In itself it’s an absorbing listen full of wondrous aspects, one that is instantly likeable but ever more addictive as the number of spins increases. But to be more exact in order to offer a worthwhile review? Ok…If I was to try and sum this album up in a few words, I’d say it’s an absorbing blend of melodic progressive rock, metal and pop with rich cinematic overtones.Dealing with the latter aspect first, the cinematic, symphonic flavour can be heard right from the outset via the relatively brief instrumental opening. This is Richard West at his best, creating a piece of music which is subtly dramatic, emotive and pure film soundtrack fodder. In fact, much the same can be said of the even more dramatic ‘Traveller’ which is equally as enthralling and which could easily fit a suspense or action thriller.That said, West’s stamp is all over each of the thirteen compositions, bringing a rich elegance to proceedings just like he does with Threshold. Whether it’s via more subtle layers of atmospheric synths or more in-your-face modern-sounding embellishments, of which there are several (‘John Doe’) it always fits the song perfectly, providing a foundation of real depth and richness upon which all else is built.Next there’s the guitar playing of Burke and Andersson which is actually surprisingly heavy. Occasionally it is reminiscent in tone of numerous djent artists, particularly when the riffs chug in step with a rumbling bass (also courtesy of Andersson) and powerful drumming. ‘It Matters So Much’ illustrates this perfectly and is also a track that also greatly benefits from a rare and decadent lead guitar solo. This being prog, naturally many of the riffs play around with interesting, complicated tempos and time signatures but they are never complex for the sake of it and never detract from the essence of the songs. A prime example being ‘The Sound Of Isolation’ which contains a riff which befuddles my brain but which works in and around the simpler aspects of the song.One of the biggest strengths on this record however is its melodic sensibility. I mentioned earlier about the pop influences and its in the choruses that this is most noticeable. Just about every song has a hook or a melody that’s memorable. Some are immediate and others take a bit longer to work into the psyche. Regardless, they are there and many of them, alongside those modern programmed flourishes, lend the music that more mainstream feel. ‘Leave Me Here’ and the beautiful ‘Now’ for example, might not be out of place on mainstream popular radio. Elsewhere, ‘Bulletproof’ offers one of the most gorgeous choruses I’ve heard in recent times, ironic given that it’s also one of the heavier, busier tracks that packs a lot of light and shade as well as apparently disparate elements into its relatively short length. Oh and then there’s the stunning closer, ‘Distant Skies’ which pushes ‘Bulletproof’ very close, almost beating it depending on my mood when I listen.Then, to top things off, you’ve got the vocals of Burke. Those familiar with his other work with Frost* or Darwin’s Radio will know exactly what to expect and he doesn’t disappoint. Burke has a tone that’s very melodic and almost soothing but which also has a slightly rough, gritty edge to it that I really like. It means that the vocal delivery can fit both the softer, more introspective parts but which can also do justice to the heavier moments that require something a bit edgier vocally.As you can probably tell, I’m completely enamoured by this album. Almost imperceptibly, it has burrowed into my head and my heart and it refuses to let go. If your tastes dictate that you enjoy music that is rich and varied, deep and thoughtful, beautiful and genuinely unique, look no further than ‘In The Mind Of A Maniac’ by AudioPlastic. You won’t be disappointed." - Man Of Much Metal  
    $16.00
  • Yet another brilliant work from this Norwegian prog band.  The Greatest Show On Earth is the band's third effort.  While the first album Identity delved into alternative/prog realms bearing similarity to Radiohead, their second album All Rights Removed was full on Pink Floyd worship.  This latest effort carries on in similar fashion.  There are parts of the album that were written with tracing paper.  It evokes the mood and feel of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and maybe even a bit of The Wall.  This isn't to say the band doesn't inject any personality of their own - they do.  There are contemporary elements, its just that when they go into full on Pink Floyd mode its so apparent and so well executed that it blinds you to everything else that is going on.  What Bi Kyon Ran is to King Crimson or The Watch is to Genesis, Airbag is to Pink Floyd.  Original?  Truth be told not really.  It doesn't matter, its so well executed that you will just immerse yourself in the listening experience.  Highly recommended.
    $17.00
  • "This is my favorite album of 2014 so far! I've been a fan of the Swedish solo artist FreddeGredde's proggier compositions since his early YouTube releases, and while his debut album had some great material, there were also many uninteresting tracks that I wouldn't consider prog at all. This has certainly been adjusted with this second album, because what we get is only seven tracks, no fillers, and they are (almost) all very prog, very creative, and just a pleasure to listen to. I can hear similarities with Moon Safari, Frost*, A.C.T, IQ and early Dream Theater, but also classics like Gentle Giant and Genesis, and it all lands in something entirely unique.Songs by song:1. Welcome the Bright Skies A very welcoming opening track for sure! I notice many similarities between FreddeGredde's first album and this second one, and one is the structure and feel of the opening tracks. "Lonely Starlight" on the debut was full-on prog, but was still accessible and had a coherent flow throughout the track, and most of it was in a 13/8 time signature. All the different themes came back together at the end, making a very tight composition. This new opening track has a very similar structure, with a lot of different themes that flow together, mostly in 15/8 this time, and it's all tied together with the majestic "it all comes together" ending. Both albums have very strong openings, and I like them equally but in different ways. My rating: 5 stars2. The Autotelic Self This is the rocker of the album, the most "prog metal" one. But it's still warm and full of synths and layers, separating it from most other modern prog metal, which tends to feel generic and forgettable. But this one is far from that! Clocking in at a little more than 11 minutes, it goes through a wide range of moods and styles, from crazy instrumental sections reminiscent of Images & Words era Dream Theater, to beautiful piano and acoustic guitar breakdowns, to mandolin based "folk" sections. This track has it all, and it all flows extremely well! It might be the highlight track of the album. My rating: 5 stars3. Your Life After two mostly up-beat and intense tracks, this is a welcomed breather. Based on classical guitar and mandolin, it gives a folk/Irish vibe, with almost sing-along qualities, except that there is no repetitive chorus that sticks with you on a first listen. Despite its soft and accessible sound, there's some "prog" to be found here, with 5/4 and 7/4 time signatures and a longer solo section that's alternating between the guitar and the mandolin. The solos are accompanied by an increasingly powerful choir, which creates a pretty powerful climax considering the type of song it is. It's a little odd among the other tracks on the album, but on it's own, it's a pretty little track. My rating: 4 stars4. This Fragile Existence Is the title possibly a reference to "This Falling World" from his previous album? Musically, they have similarities as they both feature large contrasts and breakdowns, and swiftly go through several moods and ideas (maybe more so than usual, even by FreddeGredde's standards). The stand-out features of this track are the complex vocal harmonies, which at times remind me of Queen and other times of Gentle Giant. It's overall a very playful composition, and the adventurous nature of it always manages to make me smile. My rating: 5/5 stars5. The Tower This is the second calmer track of the album, and is more ambient and cinematic than anything he has done before. Starting with only piano and accompanying synth pads, it gives off a cold and wintery vibe, but as the song goes on, it slowly changes back and forth between positive and sad in a very tasteful way. It's prog and it's got the high amount of variation that FreddeGredde is known for, but it's more atmospheric and slower paced. The ending is just extremely beautiful, probably the highlight of the entire album. My rating: 5 stars6. Shining Another shorter song in-between the epics. It's probably the most pop on the album, with a very catchy chorus that you can sing along to even on the first listen. It's got some prog moments though, some interesting time signature changes, and a cute mandolin based bridge. A solid track, but one more for a casual audience rather than the hardcore prog fans. My rating: 3-4 stars7. Ocean Mind And finally, the 18 minute epic. This one is difficult to process, because there is so much going on, and though I love a majority of it, there are some sections that don't grab me entirely. The instrumental sections are the highlights for me, as they are VERY adventurous and crazy, going from jazzy sections to metal to I-can't-even-describe-it. Again, I think the closest resemblance is early Dream Theater. My rating: 4 starsAll in all, definitely warmly recommended to fans of prog!" - ProgArchives
    $14.00
  • Second full length studio album from this British band finds them with new vocalist Ashe O'Hara replacing the great Dan Tompkins.  This shouldn't be inferred that O'Hara is any less a vocalist than Tompkins - he's excellent as well.While the core djent sound is there the band has moved a bit more into a prog rock direction.  In general its less metal and more rock.  O'Hara's vocals don't go in the screamo direction that a lot of djent bands prefer.  The instrumental parts are still stupifyingly crazy but crazy in a King Crimson meets Tool way.  I'm not sure what the djent metal community will think of this shift in course but I like this new direction.  The old was good - to my ears this is better.  Highly recommended.
    $9.00
  • Second album from this Sieges Even offshoot/rebranding. Touchstones is a bit heavier than the debut as Markus Steffens struts his stuff again. Mid-80s Yes is an obvious influence on the band's direction. On some of the material vocalist Arno Menses sounds like a dead ringer for Jon Anderson. The music sits on the fence between the prog rock and metal realms. If you like the post-reformation Sieges Even albums you'll find much to sink your teeth into. Further - if you found the first Subsignal a bit on the light side you'll find this one has a bit more heft and frankly its better for it. Highly recommended.
    $19.00
  • It becomes a convenient crutch to describe every band emerging from Poland as sounding like Riverside.  In the case of Retrospective its actually true.  Lost In Perception comes 4 years after their debut Stolen Thoughts.  Granted this sophomore effort shows much more individuality.  Vocalist Jakub Rozsak doesn't sound anything like Mariusz Duda but the one thing they share in common is a great ability to sing with emotion.  You believe it.  There is a spacey vibe that does in fact sound like the earlier Riverside albums.  The good news is that while Retrospective isn't unique sounding, what they do they do extremely well.  This one is sneaking in at the end of 2012 as one of the better prog efforts we've heard in awhile. Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • "Having existed in some shape or form since 1990, Greece's Black Fate is another band that has been seeking consistency and stability in their career for better than twenty years. Returning to life after a five year absence, the band offers their fourth album, Between Vision & Lies. And they've made a small coup d'etat by adding fellow Greek, guitar wunderkind Gus Drax (ex Biomechanical, Paradox, et al), another musician in search of a stable band.While not necessarily novel or to say that their sound is unique, Black Fate's sound is definitely something of interest and for explanation. It's a hybrid of various metal genres. The foundation is a division between traditional power metal and classic melodic heavy metal, probably larger on the latter. There's also some slight symphonic nuances. Perhaps, the most intriguing element is the inclusion of a solid rock groove in many songs, stealing something from both traditional melodic hard rock and metal.By arrangement, then, these elements are blended in such a way that may suggest progressive metal. You certainly will find this current in many songs including The Game of Illusion, Weight of the World, or State of Conformity. But that last song, along with the following Without Saying a Word, share some of that aforementioned melodic rock accessibility, while still being metal. I would say that Without Saying a Word, an anthem, is the most soaring song here, even stirring the emotions. It's definitely a fine platform for Vasilis Georgiou's strong vocals.Alternatively, songs like Perfect Crime, Weight of the World, and Into The Night can be a thorough thrust of heaviness, borne mostly from the riffage and rhythm section. But these, also, are not without the strength of melody and groove. And no song here is without Drax's terrific guitar wizardry, a strong fusion of traditional rock, neo-classical, and metal fret work. Between the skilled musicianship and versatile arrangements, Black Fate's Between Vision & Lies offers some intriguing music, hybrid heavy metal that suggests more than one listen to enjoy both the creativity and nuances. Here's hoping the band stays stable and returns with more in the future. Recommended." - Dangerdog
    $15.00
  • Deluxe digibook edition with one bonus track.  Please note - other versions will be available shortly."Previewing their tenth album "Beyond the Red Mirror" with the previously-released "Twilight of the Gods" EP, German power-symphonic metal maestros BLIND GUARDIAN capitalize on a long break with an encompassing and magical effort. For "Beyond the Red Mirror", the band worked with three different worldwide choirs from Budapest, Prague and Boston, along with two full-scale orchestras bearing 90 members apiece. The results are as larger-than-life as the band intended, fleshing out a sci-fi and fantasy piece bridged to their 1995 album, "Imaginations from the Other Side".As "Twilight of the Gods" (one of only two songs to clock in beneath five minutes) proved to ring like a broad-scoped, QUEEN-esque musical sonnet, the rest of "Beyond the Red Mirror" is simply massive. Beginning and ending with two epics that roll at 9:29 each, this album plays like BLIND GUARDIAN's reach for a masterpiece, and they practically hit it.You couldn't ask for a more breath-stealing intro with the gusting chorus opening the expansive "The Ninth Wave", a song stuffed as much with electronica buzzes and defined guitar lines as there are swarming voices. Hansi Kürsch, one of the best metal vocalists in the business, is nearly secondary to the enthralling choral tides that introduce and conclude the track. This could've been a near-ten-minute EP unto itself, that's how conclusive and meticulous the song is structured.The decorative harpsichord setting off "Prophecies" is a delicious intro for André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen to plow through successions of IRON MAIDEN-derived chords and marching progressions. Why BLIND GUARDIAN gets away with it is due to the incredible vocal outpourings around them. Again, the majestic theater aspect of QUEEN plays into this track as much as IRON MAIDEN and it's the proficiency behind the delivery that makes "Prophecies" sing instrumentally on top of the wondrous voices around it. Equally enchanting is "At the Edge of Time", which keeps a frolicking back beat and spritely orchestral accompaniment behind Frederik Ehmke's gradual stamp. The delicate measures BLIND GUARDIAN puts behind the thrusting march of "At the Edge of Time" are astonishing to behold, no matter how many symphonic metal albums you've been exposed to.The swift "Ashes of Eternity" gusts on the heels of Frederik Ehmke's fluid pounding, the breezing guitars and Hansi Kürsch's vocals, which toughen to full snarls at times, but never fail to exhale with full conviction. The gorgeous backing vocals add to "Ashes of Eternity"'s tireless drafts. Even more vigorous is "The Holy Grail" thereafter, which does HELLOWEEN and GAMMA RAY proud, much less HAMMERFALL and MANOWAR with its hurricane-speed tale of valor. Let the musical echoes of battle always sound this powerful.The 7:56 "The Throne" is a metal opera unto itself while serving the album's overall goal in sweeping the listener from one riveting plane to another, transitioning the twenty years between "Imaginations from the Other Side" and this album. "The Throne" works a little harder to find its spark as the band and orchestral pieces thicken up the longer the piece rolls, but Hansi Kürsch valorously leads the way and put to the stage, this piece should sound even bigger, so long as all of its recorded parts are presented live.What can be safely assumed is that the album's carnival-esque finale, "Grand Parade" will make it to their live forum. Cited by André Olbrich as the best song BLIND GUARDIAN has ever written, there's substance to this claim as it rolls, romps and cascades with all the gala these guys can load up. "Grand Parade" is a cheerful promenade for much of the ride with a thundering chorus ushering it along until a dramatic change in tone arrives with the first guitar solo, altering the course toward a valiant and clamorous bang. A return to the battle front with power metal thrusts and cinematic orchestration ram the song back to its original celebratory cavalcade for a triumphant finale. Indeed, this is the best song BLIND GUARDIAN has conceived. Phenomenal.With no disrespect intended to their contemporaries, BLIND GUARDIAN delivers symphonic metal of the highest art on "Beyond the Red Mirror". How far these guys have come since "Battalions of Fear" is not only remarkable, it's tremendous. As Hansi Kürsch has described the story behind this album, the red mirror is a representative, lone-standing portal to purported salvation and it must be found at all costs. What BLIND GUARDIAN has found with this album is inspirational and it's inexcusable the Grammy committee has long kept a sightless eye toward these virtuosi of metal music." - Blabbermouth
    $19.00
  • "There is plenty of excellent melodic Metal to come out of Italy; RHAPSODY OF FIRE, TRAGODIA and ELVENKING, but upon closer inspection of the more progressive side of the scene, we have a band like CHRONOS ZERO. An ambitious project with grand lyrical and musical aspirations, they have finished their debut piece, “A Prelude to Emptiness”, and it is by no means empty. The thing I love about brand new modern bands is how I'm always surprised at the sheer quality of the debut release, and this band is no exception. They adapt Progressive Metal from the masters such as SYMPHONY X and NEVERMORE, add the melodic flourishes of KAMELOT and an aggressive, yet melodic singer such as Gustavo of ADAGIO.The album has one monster of an opening track in “Spires”, which is completely instrumental, but is unrelenting in progressive riff artillery, not so dissimilar to MESHUGGAH in heaviness. Woven under this neck-snapping guitar playing is innovative, high-end bass playing and foreboding keyboard atmospherics. The MESHUGGAH vibe is noticeably carried on in “Breath of Chaos”, where the mixing of the extremely down-tuned bass adds a much deeper dimension to the album's already crunchy guitar work. The particular riff that characterises most of this song instantly made it one of my favourite tracks on the record. Here we also first hear a taste of the vocals, and it appears to take great skill to pull off a convincing combination of aggressive raucousness and grasp of melody, and the hitting of high notes, which Gianbattista does unquestionably. In addition, there are also featured seductive female vocals, which add a further, interesting dimension to the already-deep music.Parts I and II of “Lost Hope, New Hope” are exemplary of true progression in heavy metal music; two parts to a story, they are both very different, but intelligently interwoven tracks. Part 1 is very much so up-tempo and more aggressive, thrashing about that glorious riff sound I have come to love from this band, and experiences sudden mood swings to jazzier, quieter sections; here, the neo-classical influences are shining throw, as does a blistering guitar solo. Part II contains no vocals, but leans much more to the atmospheric side, but contains even more complex riff mastery, the sheer heaviness and stunted rhythm of which is brain-addling.  “Sigh of Damnation” marks a subtle change to a more melodic sound, dominated by a greater presence of interwoven male and guest female vocals, and the range of the main vocalist is fully explored here, proving that he is most capable of tender pieces in addition to his powerful bellows. The final track, “Sorrowful Fate”, begins with an effective minor scale acoustic trill, and features almost solely female vocals by Claudia; it is about time she and her beautiful voice had almost a whole song to itself. Expectedly, yet unexpectedly, it features a drastic change from a settled, yet foreboding sound, to an explosive and punching beat down, characterised by a further, small performance from Gianbattista, perhaps hitting his most powerful notes yet.I found this an extremely enjoyable album to listen to. An issue that sometimes brings down some Prog albums is the overuse of instrumentals, but I found this to not be the case, because of the sheer musicianship purveyed here. This is exactly what I look for in Progressive Metal." - Metal Temple
    $13.00
  • California based heavy prog band on the Magna Carta label. Musically influenced by Rush, modern Yes, and Kansas.
    $9.00
  • "The successor to "Obsessions" (2011) was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen at Hansen studio in Denmark (Volbeat, Pretty Maids, Amaranthe a.m.m.)Beside band leader Samuel Arkan, the following vocalists and musicians contribute to"Fantasmagoria": Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) Henning Basse (ex-Metalium, ex-Sons Of Seasons, Mayan) Ida Haukland (Triosphere) Matt Marinelli (Borealis) Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence) Mike LePond (Symphony X) Léo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation) Julien Spreutels (Ethernity) Simone Mularoni (DGM)The quite unusual thing is that all these guests came to the Noise Factory studio (Belgium) to track down their parts. Nobody recorded his/her parts at home, like with some many other projects."I wanted the whole thing to get a real "band" feeling", Arkan says. "Therefore having all vocalists and musicians here was very important to me. We got to know each other better and better while spending time together. The new material sounds very fresh, dark, heavy, modern and "true" with "straight in the face" guitar riffs, intense voices and melodies, massive work on progressive atmospheres and orchestral parts. All the artists who participated in this album gave their soul to it, gave their best, they travelled deeper into sensitivity and sincerity. That's probably the best words which define this next album... sincerity & spontaneity! This album comes from the heart of each musician and vocalist who worked on it, and you can feel it when you listen to this new EPYSODE album."Compared to the debut "Obessions" the new material is a step forward in every way, with even better songwriting, a massive sound, powerful production and an intensity you rarely find these days.With the top notch vocalists that are gathered here (a.o. Evergrey’s Tom S. Englund, who is contributing to 5 songs) the "Fantasmagoria" concept story comes to life in a very intense and thrilling way, with lots of facets, expressive singing, deep & dark emotions. Englund’s duet with Ida Haukland (Triosphere) on the album’s title track especially gives goosebumps to the listener. There is also a plot to the "Obsessions" album and many fans of concepts will have their pure delight in discovering the story behind the story.The "Fantasmagoria" recordings took place from December 2012 to end of April 2013. Responsible for all keyboards, piano, arrangements was again Julien Spreutels, "my brother in crime, without him Epysode would not be as it is", Samuel says. "He did one more time an outstanding job and gives magic to Epysode, It's always a pleasure and very inspiring to work with him". "
    $15.00
  • Obsidian Kingdom is a fascinating band from Barcelona that released Mantiis in 2012 in a limited run of 500 copies.  It's now picked up for worldwide distribution via Season of Mist.  This is definitely progressive metal - real boundary pushing stuff.  The band is categorized as post-metal and that is just one of the guideposts they touch on.  I hear more of a musical connection to Leprous and Arcturus.  If you are inclined towards the more avant garde side of metal you need to hear this band.  With the right push they could become massive.  Highly recommended."Cutting right to the chase, Obsidian Kingdom‘s latest release, ‘Mantiis‘ could very well be the most equivocal album I have reviewed to date. What this five piece post-metal band from Barcelona has put together with their latest genre-crossing, boundary pushing release is something few other bands can lay claim to accomplishing. I can’t even began to describe the number of different genres represented throughout this 47 minute monstrosity of an album.“Not Yet Five” is the album’s opener and starts things off with looming bass, light distortion, piano work and sporadic beeps and buzzes that all blend together to create an eerie ambiance that sets the mood for things to come. From here the album progresses forward with “Oncoming Dark” and “Through the Glass” which start off which crisp clean vocals and electric-accoustic guitar work before evolving into a wanderlust of heaviness that borders between post-metal and progressive death metal. Keyboards play on in an evil manner and when combined with chugging guitars and persistent drumming a doomsday like atmosphere forms. As the album moves forward through the short tracks, it gains in intensity through it’s evolving layers. By the time the album reaches its fourth track, “Cinnamon Balls” it has already spiraled into a dark, twisted place filled with harsh demonic vocals and djent style guitar work.A short piano interlude leads into “Answering Revealing” which brings the album full circle as clean vocals emerge as does a short but sweet return to Obsidian Kindgom‘s softer side. “Last of the Light” is where the album completely goes off of the tracks. While the beginning and end of the track are highlighted by violent vocals and double bass action, bookended between it is a several minute long section that features a classical guitar and with a very bluesy saxophone solo. You heard me right. This is without question one of if not the most unique song I have heard in years and definitely one of the most unusual combinations of instruments. From here ‘Mantiis‘ takes a stark transition to “Genteel to Mention”, a short track that opens with piano and clean vocals  that only last for a short while before the album returns right back to its doom and gloom heavier ways with the intro to “Awake Until Dawn”. The track does come to a crawl as it progresses when piano work mixed with synths present yet another unheard element to the album.‘Mantiis‘ moves forward with “Haunts of the Underworld” showcasing the best guitar work to be found on the album  and “Endless Wall”, which feels like the closest thing to a post-metal track found on the album despite the hints of more djent guitar work. Clean vocals amidst swirly ambiance make up “Fingers in Anguish” and demonic vocals and downtuned guitars return in “Ball-room”, both short tracks that barely cross over the five-minute mark combined. “Ball-Room” does a fantastic job setting the table for the closing track “And Then It Was”. Stark, aggressive drumming leads the way as everything the album has built itself up for comes to a head in this epic finale.One album I do think that compares particularly well to ‘Mantiis‘ is Crippled Black Phoenix‘s ‘Mankind, The Crafty Ape’. The two albums share many similarities in how they flow, how they use music as a journey to tell an album spanning story and also how they infuse many different genres into their sound while never delving down too far into a particular one. While CBF opted for a more psychedelic, bluesy infusion, Obsidian Kingdom chose a much darker, louder progressive death metal meets doom metal approach.While fantastic in its storytelling, the album isn’t without its shortcomings. I found myself wishing the album flowed a little bit better as some of the transitions seemed a bit awkward. There are also times where I wished the clean vocals would have had a stronger presence throughout the album as the band’s softer material is among their strongest work. Still, I can overlook these minor nuances as I continually find myself coming back to this album time and time again. ‘Mantiis‘ is one of the more captivating albums I’ve heard all year and is without question a breath of fresh air. " - PostRock Star 
    $12.00
  • This version is not getting a US release.  It will only be available as an import (Yes we know its expensive).  Hardbound mediabook with 28 page booklet and a bonus 4 track EP.Killer UK spacerock/post-progressive hybrid."Less than three years after their magnum o(ctop)us, Amplifier return with an altered line-up (former Oceansize guitarist Steve Durose is now a permanent fixture) and another hefty dose of spaced-out space rock. After the longest fade-in history (beyond even the intro to the first Psychedelic Furs album), a heavily chorused guitar starts the gently meandering ‘Matmos’. Then, around seven minutes in, it all explodes with a shredding guitar and you know that Amplifier are once again firing on all cylinders. With just eight tracks and a running time of 61 minutes, they’ve produced a work that’s much more succinct than its predecessor. That isn’t to say ‘Echo Street’ is any less ambitious or epic than the sprawling ‘Octopus’. ‘Between Yesterday’ is the shortest track at 5:18: the 12-minute ‘Extra Vehicular’ is a prog rock monster of monumental proportions and is not so much a song as a journey through time and space. The title track is a high-octane slice of swirling space rock, and as a whole, ‘Echo Street’ is expansive and cinematic and, in short, classic Amplifier." - Shout4Music
    $20.00
  • "Germany's Mob Rules hit an absolute home run in 2010 with their album Radical Peace, and the band is back with the equally stellar Cannibal Nation. Don't let the title fool you into thinking that the veteran power/prog metal act has gone all horror on us, as Cannibal Nation is another sizzling collection of melodic, heavy, power & progressive metal songs. With a singer as good as Klaus Dirks, Mob Rules already has a step up on the competition, and he once again delivers a stunning performance here. "Tele Box Fool", "Lost", and the brilliant opener "Close My Eyes" all feature his confident, powerful vocals amidst plenty of catchy melodies and challenging metal arrangements. "Ice and Fire" has been picked as the first single from the CD, and it's a hook laden slice of melodic power metal with Dirks' soaring vocals over tasty guitar riffs & solos from Matthias Mineur & Sven Lüdke with just the right amount of keyboards courtesy of Jan Christian Halfbrodt. The CD has its share of heavy thumpers too, like the headbanging "Soldiers of Fortune" and the crunchy, harmony guitar laden title track. For those that like the more proggy side of Mob Rules, there's the atmospheric "Scream for the Sun (May 29th 1953)" and the textured "Sunrise", both heavily melodic and dripping with emotion.Cannibal Nation is another fine, classy release from Mob Rules, a band that consistently delivers one winner after another without relying on traditional European power metal or progressive metal characteristics." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00