The Raven That Refused To Sing

Steven Wilson's solo career apart from Porcupine Tree, is for this listener, far more interesting.  Whereas PTree currently skirts the line between rock and metal, his solo work fits squarely in the progressive rock arena.  The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) is easily his magnum opus.  The musicianship is stellar - he recorded with his touring band: Nick Beggs (Stick), Guthrie Govan (guitar), Adam Holzman (keys), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Theo Travis (flute, sax).  Mr. Wilson has also dug two things out of mothballs - King Crimson's Mellotron and Alan Parsons.  It was Steven Wilson's wish to one day work with Alan Parsons, who came on board as engineer.  I can't tell you who is responsibile for what but I can tell you that the production is impeccable.  The opening epic "Luminol" drips with the holy 'tron sounding like a cross-generation blend of King Crimson eras.  And so it goes through out the album.  Some utterly fierce playing on this album.  From beginning to end a stunning effort.  BUY OR DIE!

Product Review

Wed, 2013-02-27 10:26
Rate: 
0
One of the finest recordings in the last ten yeares. If your jaw doesnt drop after the first listen, its wired shut. mw
You must login or register to post reviews.

Product Review

Wed, 2013-02-27 10:26
Rate: 
0
One of the finest recordings in the last ten yeares. If your jaw doesnt drop after the first listen, its wired shut. mw
You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • "Originally released in 1974, Slow Motion was another classic album in the catalogue of Welsh rock legends, Man. Touring extensively to support the record, Man delivered a stunning series of concerts and made a triumphant return to the USA early the following year. As part of Esoteric s reissue programme of the MAN catalogue we are proud to present the re-mastered album and with a selection of studio out-takes and four previously unreleased live tracks recorded in California in May 1975. With superbly re-mastered sound and lavish booklet with notes by Man s Deke Leonard, this is yet another essential release for fans of Man."
    $10.00
  • A new release from Causa Sui is like money in the bank.  The new Live At Freak Valley is no exception.  The live milieu is where the band really shines.  If you are unfamilar with the band you should know that the band's origins date back to the stoner scene but they evolved into something different - something more psychedelic - more organic.  The quartet features Jakob Skott (drums), Jonas Munk (guitar), Jess Kahr (bass), and Rasmus Rasmussen (keyboards).  The band goes off on looooong instrumental jams.  Munk's guitarwork has a beautiful fluidity that plays off of Rasmussen's keyboards which tend to surge to the forefront like waves on the ocean - or sit back and become a nice supporting backdrop for Munk's lead work.  I love when Munk burst out with a chunk of heavy riffage that recalls their stoner days.  Reminds me of vintage Zeppelin!  Highly recommended.
    $35.00
  • "Anathema's 1995 emotional doom metal masterpiece, including bonus DVD featuring their legendary Polish gig from 1996, plus promo videos."
    $15.00
  • This new EP is a stop gap until the new full length release from the German symphonic metal band but its an interesting one.  Xandria present 3 new studio tracks, re-recordings of two vintage Xandria tunes, and covers of tracks by Sonata Arctica and Meatloaf (!)."Three brand new songs will be featured on the EP: "Voyage Of The Fallen", "Unembraced" and "In Remembrance". In addition, XANDRIA has re-recorded two all-time favorites of the band's fans, "Ravenheart" (originally recorded for the album "Ravenheart" in 2004) and "Now & Forever" ("India", 2005). Cover versions of SONATA ARCTICA's "Don't Say A Word" and Meat Loaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" will also be included on the effort.Regarding the decision to cover "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", XANDRIA said: "During the photo shoot for the 'Sacrificium' record, we were digging through our music libraries to find something appropriate for getting us in the right mood. At some point we got stuck with an artist every one of us had a crush on someone with and a story to tell about back then from our teenager days in the earlier '90s. We straight away started joking about doing a XANDRIA version of this particular song, but really forgot about it until the discussion of doing some remake for an EP came up again. With the biggest respect we started this operation of transforming one of our all-time faves, a real classic, into a XANDRIA hymn. Well, we think we quite did an 'okay' job and on July the 31st, it's your turn to decide whether you've got a favorite song or not.""
    $9.00
  • One of the great Vertigo releases and certainly one of the great folk rock albums of the 70s. Tudor Lodge was the trio of Ann Steuart, Lyndon Green, and John Stannard. They all sing and play guitar, with Ms. Steuart also playing flute. They are augmented by a number of musicians, including the great Danny Thompson on bass, Tony Coe on flute, and many others giving them a full band sound. Its a beautiful, upbeat and dreamy album focusing on the vocal harmonies of the trio which remind a bit of Peter, Paul and Mary but the music is far more developed. This new Esoteric edition comes with the usual detailed liner notes as well as one bonus track.
    $17.00
  • Double live set recorded at the Rites Of Spring Festival in Gettysburg, PA on May 20, 2011. Clever name. Wonder how they came up with it?
    $18.00
  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic 1975 self-titled album by KESTREL. Hailing from Newcastle, the band featured Tom Knowles (lead vocals), Dave Black (guitar, vocals), John Cook (keyboards, mellotron), Fenwick Moir (bass) and Dave Whitaker (drums), who had previously been with Newcastle trio GINHOUSE.Signing to Cube Records in 1974, Kestrel recorded their sole eponymously titled album in 1975, with the majority of the compositions written by Dave Black. A fine example of melodic Progressive Rock, the album featured some outstanding tracks, including the gorgeous "The Acrobat” and the stunning epic "August Carol”. Inexplicably the album failed to sell in significant quantities and within a short time Kestrel dis-banded, leaving just one album and a single as their recorded legacy.Four decades later, "Kestrel” is now rightly regarded as a true over-looked classic of the Progressive Rock era, with original vinyl copies being impossibly rare and changing hands for huge sums, particularly in Japan.Newly re-mastered from the original tapes, this reissue of "Kestrel” has been expanded to include six bonus tracks, with four of them previously unreleased in the UK, and also includes a booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay.""Obviously, prog does come in all shapes and sizes. There are the pompous ones, the low-key, the larger-than-life ones and the small, the complex and those easily likeable. Everything in between and all things put together makes up the world of prog. Sometimes prog can be sort of poppy aswell. Nothing wrong with that. It can be very enjoyable. I would like to put forth a likeness and draw inspiration from the pub. After several sturdy Guinesses (think of Magma or some other complex band as Guiness) the pallet craves something refreshing, like a cool lemonade or just a sip of water. In this case the lemonade is Kestrel. Light, refreshing yet with a bite to it.Kestrel is one of those obscure bands that did not make it. Not because they were bad, as often the case with some obscurities, but maybe because they simply fell through the net and escaped the record buyer's hands. Who knows? The fact, however, is that the sole album by Kestrel is a very enjobale mixture of pop and prog, sort of a Supertramp meets Chicago and has a child by Genesis and nursed by Nektar added. If that is not all I'd say that Chris Squire babysat at times, considering the sound of the rumbling bass. Or something like that. It holds enough keyboards to make me happy and that says something.The tracks varies in length, the longest being 7.31 minutes, the shortest 4.09. I like all of the songs but "Wind cloud" with it's beautiful and dreamy web is fantastic. So are "Last requests", the epic "In the war" or (the more accessible) Gentle Giant-ish "August carol". All of the tracks are very well produced, performed and thought through. Nothing is left to chance.I think prog is the greatest genre due to it's variety and width. The severely complex at the one end and the very accessible and poppy at the other. All that gives me as a listener the chance to really ease my muscial hunger. If you are looking for something british, something complex yet accessible I would recommend this little overlooked gem. I would not call it a masterpiece but it is a fantastic album, full of ideas and enthusiasm which I really enjoy listening to. Well worth checking out." - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • "Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena) returns with his new solo project - ‘Alchemy – a musical”, a Victorian adventure set in 1842. Next to Clive Nolan himself, the album feature the artists well known in the world of progressive rock including Tracy Hitchings (Landmarq, Strangers on a Train), Andy Sears (Twelfth Night), Paul Manzi (Arena), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Paul Menel (ex-IQ), David Clifford (Red Jasper) as well as the leading lady of Nolan's previous musical 'SHE', Agnieszka Świta and Noel Calcaterra - a Uruguayan singer/actress and the voice of Clive Nolan South American 'Otra Vida' project from 2010. The Caamora Company musicians - Clive Nolan (keyboards), Mark Westwood (guitars), Scott Higham (drums), Claudio Momberg (keyboards) and Kylan Amos (bass) will once more take charge of the instrumental part of the project. The core members of the company will be joined by special guests and a chorus. This release will be preceded by the world premiere of 'Alchemy' show at the famous Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland on February 22, 2013, where it will be recorded and released on a DVD by Metal Mind Productions in Autumn 2013."
    $17.00
  • Import special edition comes with:Download code for studio version of “Into The Sun”40-pages picture booklet"Imagine this - you're thrust into the metal world and, as a classical singer, it's pretty alien. But you do your job, sing your songs and the money comes in. And your name gets bigger. And the band become enormous and before you know it - you're literally singing for your supper. Your ultimate passion becomes your job. But is the world of metal really a place for a classical singer? Many thought that, once ousted by Nightwish, Tarja Turunen would soon return to her classical roots. Not quite. She began producing symphonic tinged material that, dare we say it, took the same path as the band that brought her success.The cynics are always going to be around, and I admit, I had the tendency to be one of them - Tarja is clearly only sticking with the guitars because it pays the bills, right? If it was up to her, she'd be singing 'Ave Maria' until the cows came home, right? Some of you stubborn lot will never shift from that point of view, no matter how many metal albums she releases, but it has become clearer than ever whilst listening to 'Colours In The Dark', that Tarja has found the beauty of orchestral metal just as captivating as Nightwish fans and her conviction is growing ever more powerful - if you don't believe it, check out the Romanticide-styled outro of 'Never Enough'. There's plenty more headbangs left in those raven locks - know that!'Victim Of Ritual' highlights the way Tarja commands a song vocally and suits it's position as opening track. The rolling 'R' in the title refrain and the silence she will inevitably conjure during live renditions of the accapella bridge stand to prove why she is such a beloved vocalist. Musically, the track deals in 'Phantom Agony'-era Epica, orchestra-lite and guitar heavy. It also has the most addictive refrains on the album, so it's position as single is proven correct. Likewise 'Never Enough' is instantly enjoyable - the chorus still sounds as vibrant and exciting as when it premiered. The real standout, surprisingly, is the Peter Gabriel cover though. 'Darkness' is not half as pop-ready as her take on 'Poison' and much more Tarja-friendly than 'Still Of The Night' - it shows just how successfully she can transform a cover and make it into her own. The thick strings and swooping instrumental wrap around her versatile vocals as Tarja switches between sinister and emotional at the drop of a hat.It can be a little taboo to mention the language problems, but the purity in which Tarja approaches her English lyrics is both a positive and a negative. Whilst there are the odd cringe-worthy blips throughout ('A conquest of fear, lonesomeness and dislike'), there is a richness to the lyrics of songs like '500 Letters' that simply tell a story, without killing it with too many pretence-laden metaphors. Tarja's infamous pronunciation also serves in her favour on the record - as minor as it may seem, her slightly peculiar delivery brings an unfamiliar flavour to the songs and possesses the ability to coat any banal lyrics with seductive and intriguing overtones just with a twist of a syllable.The record does have plenty of moments to excite you, as I mentioned, but it's not an entirely smooth ride. Too often, the songs feel a little lengthier than they should. I noted in my review of 'Never Enough' that the closing guitar riff went on for too long and a lot of the songs have a similiar fate. None of the tracks are skippable and every single one has it's merits, but it feels as if their strengths may be washed aside by a niggling thought in the back of your head, pondering whether you can bother to venture into a seven minute song for three minutes of beauty. 'Lucid Dreamer' is one such track that would have benefited from a little chopping. 'Mystique Voyage', too, could have seen a shorter track length further highlight the triumphant classical influence on the chorus.Though I exaggerate her operatic past, Tarja has spent most of her vocalist talent and career amongst metal music and it has really shown. What is both frustrating and rewarding, though, is that she is learning as much as the fans are. The music she has produced so far has been on a huge upward curve. The saccharine tendencies of 'My Winter Storm' pale in comparison to 'What Lies Beneath' and it's fantastic manipulation of orchestra, ambiance and metal. 'Colours In The Dark' comes as the next step up - slightly better than it's predecessor but, and this is where the frustration might set in, not quite as brilliant as you predict the next release will be. Editing the tracks a little more and emphasizing the true moments of beauty that linger within the songs is the next mission for team Tarja to take on.Watching an artist grow into the music that gave her the career she has  is not something you see everyday and Tarja is truly and deeply passionate, something many musicians don't retain after many years of the same old record-and-touring routine. She has eager ears and versatile lungs that want to explore. They want to learn and they want to become better. Listen to that aforementioned discography and you'll see how much Tarja has grown and become a force to be reckoned with in metal. 'Colours In The Dark' is nowhere near perfect but it's another chapter in the increasingly refined career of a woman that is, quite rightly, sticking her middle finger up at those who have written her off much too soon." - The Sonic Reverie
    $21.00
  • "Presenting radio with one of the best rock ballads ever, Cornerstone gave Chicago's Styx their big break with the number one single "Babe," which held that spot for two weeks in October of 1979. "Babe" is a smooth, keyboard-pampered love song that finally credited Dennis De Young's textured vocals. While this single helped the album climb all the way to the number two spot on the charts, the rest of the tracks from Cornerstone weren't nearly half as strong. "Why Me" made it to number 26, and both "Lights" and "Boat on the River" implement silky harmonies and welcoming choruses, yet failed to get off the ground. De Young's keyboards are effective without overly dominating the music, and the band's gritty rock & roll acerbity has been slightly sanded down to compliment the commercial market. The songs aren't as tight or assertive as their last few albums, but Shaw's presence can be felt strongly on most of the tracks, especially where the writing is concerned. Outside of "Babe," Cornerstone tends to sound a tad weaker than one would expect." - Allmusic guide
    $8.00
  • Live acoustic album from the duo of Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius, Cain's Offering) and Jani Liimatainen (Sonata Arctica, Cain's Offering).  The disc consists of them performing cover tunes as well as a couple of tracks taken from Kotipelto's solo work.
    $11.00
  • "I was first exposed to Cardiacs’ oddly compelling world when the video to ‘Tarred And Feathered’ aired on The Tube on April 17 1987. Six musicians wearing old-fashioned vaguely military-style uniforms, covered in badly applied make-up and cranking out the most eccentric music I had ever heard broadcast on TV, against a backdrop that looked as though it had been stolen from a 70s children’s show. I had no idea what to make of it but it certainly made an impression. A friend of mine said he liked it, until he realised that the seemingly chaotic nature of the tune was in fact scripted mayhem, written down as notes and not improvised at all. This had the opposite effect on me. I wondered how someone could write such music and what on earth their influences could be.When I briefly moved to Cambridge aged 18, my best friend there was a Cardiacs obsessive who used to terrorise his poor live-in-landlord by constantly screening their Seaside Treats video at full-throttle volume. There was something about those films - the childish petulance of the musician’s behaviour, the industrial surrealism of Eraserhead transposed instead to the garish English seaside - that I found irritating. But after a few listens, splinters of melodies had embedded themselves in my brain (abetted no doubt by the eruption of electronic mayhem that follows the command "take it Sarah" on ‘To Go Off And Things’) and resistance was no longer an option. I went out into the city centre and bought my first Cardiacs album, A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window. Although subsequent releases by the band would mean I was forever revising which was my favourite, it was to mark the beginning of a lifelong love of their music.Perhaps their best known recording, ALM&AH&TWWW was Cardiacs’ fourth album and the first to be recorded in a proper studio - The Workhouse in the Old Kent Road in London, which was gutted by a fire soon after. Three cassette only albums, The Obvious Identity, Toy World and The Seaside, had preceded it, along with the Big Ship mini-LP. The classic line up of brothers Tim and Jim Smith on lead vocals/guitar and bass/vocals respectively, Sarah Smith on saxophones and clarinet, William D. Drake on keyboards and vocals, Tim Quay on marimba and percussion, and Dominic Luckman on drums, was expanded to include strings and a brass section. Ashley Slater added tenor and bass trombone, Phil Cesar brought trumpet and flugelhorn, while Elaine Herman completed the picture on violin. The band’s main creative force Tim Smith produced the album, which contained the nearest thing they ever had to a hit single, ‘Is This The Life?’ Tim once told me that demand for the single far outstripped stock from the initial pressing and although he tried to get more pressed up as quickly as possible, the plant where they were being made was also pressing copies of Kylie Minogue’s ‘I Should Be So Lucky,’ and was already at maximum capacity cranking out copies of her massive breakthrough hit. A quick look at the timeframe suggests the story could have been true, but as this was exactly the kind of self-penned apocryphal tale that Tim could never resist indulging in, I’m still unsure as to whether I believe it or not." - The Quietus
    $18.00
  • "Refreshing, powerful, and extremely melodic – the adjectives I’d use at a push to describe Teramaze‘s 5th album. I have to admit I pretty much consider this their sophomore release as I was not party to their releases throughout the 90′s, with my first introduction to the band with their 2012 powerhouse ‘Anhedonia’ which quite ironically generated feels of anything but anhedonia. There has been an undeniable buzz around this release and I have found it virtually impossible to escape the widespread word and hype around this album anywhere I look online; generally I wouldn’t necessarily see this as categorically positive as it can taint your expectations unintentionally. Thankfully for the most part, my expectations and hopes with this album have been realised to the point that I welcome any melodic, thrash, progressive or otherwise metallically inclined music fan to check this 79-ish minute thematic conceptual monster.The initial impressions I have when comparing this with ‘Anhedonia’ is a development away from the slightly more thrash-oriented direction that I suspected was the impact of the members growing up in the era where that particular sub-genre beared its greatest fruits. I use the term development as I believe it has very much naturally progressed as compared to what I would consider a departure. The addition of more progressive structures and more varied layering works exceptionally well in Teramaze‘s favour to create a soundscape of in your face riffs, contemplative and brooding moods, earworm choruses, and timeless unity across the entire album.Without doubt one of the things that will grab listeners’ attention is the astonishing fretboard wizardry of band leader and Dean Well’s who treats us to undeniably wondrous smorgasbord of head nodding animosity (special mention to the riff at 2:02 in ‘Line of Symmetry’ – that will get you nodding with the mania of Jack Black), and emotive, creative, delicious lead playing that is akin to guitar heroes aplenty (Petrucci, Sfogli, Skolnick – just to name a few). The balance of great lead playing and rhythm work is a pleasure with nothing inappropriately overstated like one can sometimes expect of the genre. As a special addition, the tones are simply incredible on this album and it is glued perfectly with the bass and bonded by the fairydust keyboards that emerge to keep the sonic palette interesting (courtesy of Circadian Pulse keyboardist Dave Holley).The production is another point of veritable quality with all the instruments presented in a crystal clear state whilst maintaining vibe and not losing out to sterility which is a sad by-product of the self-produced musical climate of 2014. The only complaint I really have is that the mastering is a little hot which is noticeable after the first track (which was mastered in my ideal sweet spot). It sits at DR6 across the whole album on average which is nothing out of the ordinary for this day and age but it occasionally gets fatiguing especially over such a long record. Thankfully moment of distortion are kept to a minimum, however there are some trace elements of weakened transients and the occasional buried vocal that loses intelligibility.Vocalist Brett Rerekura is a joy to listen to and I am appreciative of the fact although his voice pushes the aggressive edge to fit the setting of the music, it is rich in melody and characteristic timbre and is not sabotaged with growls. Long live the singer in a metal band, I say! I detect glimmers of Layne Staley, Sebastian Bach and the rhythmic phrasing of James Hetfield. My only beef is the occasional “Aussieisms” I hear in some inflections which I am hyper-sensitive too (even though I’m Australian myself), however this doesn’t detract too much from what is a splendid vocal performance across the board. There are moments of supreme delicacy especially in ‘Bodies of Betrayal’ which I would have liked to have heard more of as well as a bit more of that delicate side to the band overall to give this album the dynamic curve it deserved. This is of course only a minor criticism.The album’s concept, while not narrative based centres around the experiential nature of deception; especially by that of governing bodies and the powers that be. I think the title of ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ is perfectly apt as this is not the viewpoint or mindset of everyone and best kept as the worldview of a particular minority of people. I think for some the lyrical approach could border on conspiracy but I like the exploratory nature of them and what is truly the harm in questioning some of the taken-for-granted “truths” we hold in this ever-changing world. Kudos to Teramaze for honestly and whole-heartedly fusing their beliefs with such hard-hitting music in a way that I see as completely lacking pretence.For me the standout tracks are ‘Bodies of Betrayal’, ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ (6:53 in this gives me goosebumps), and ‘viii In Vitro’ as I believe they hold the most profound emotional connection with me due to the individual moods they build. I have to admit the only track that I am not particularly keen on is the one with the guest vocals as I feel as though it breaks the flow of the album in a way that was superfluous to requirements. It came across as guests for guests sake which is probably my most direct criticism of the record.This is an exceptional release that stands up to my extremely critical ear and was only let down by perhaps a slight lack of expression with regards to dynamics (mastering and songwriting) across such a long album. Its length to some may indeed be a bit hard to swallow in single listens, however this is par for the course for me as a fan of long form writing. For fans of Metallica, Dream Theater, Alice in Chains and anyone who wishes to have a boot up the bum and an electrode to the brain from an ambitious and highly satiating album." - Metal Obsession
    $12.00