Shadowlands (2CD)

SKU: 260070
Label:
SPV
Category:
Electronic
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Mr. Schulze has been having a bit of a renaissance lately.  Sadly the analogue years are long gone but within the context of the music, Shadowlands harkens back to the days of X.  Large scale symphonic electronics in the Berlin School tradition that he helped create.  Thomas Kagermann provides violin and flute as well as voice.  Lisa Gerrad, Chrysta Bell and Julia Messenger add vocals.  For the past few decades his releases have been a bit hit or miss but this one is definitely a winner.

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    $10.00
  • "Album art can certainly set the tone and expectations around an album.  A quick look at the cover for Enlighten by Sleeping Romance instantly sends my mind to a gothic, dark medieval setting and that is the right place to go with this release.  Recently signed to Ulterium Records, Sleeping Romance from Modena, Italy has released an epic symphonic metal album that is very impressive for a debut.Being from Italy, my first thought was that this may be an album similar to that from Mourn In Silence, which I really liked as it is a blend of gothic, symphonic, power and black metal, but that is not quite where the sound of Sleeping Romance is.  Those familiar with female-fronted symphonic metal bands like HB, Within Temptation, Delain and others know what to expect from this genre and it is all here.  This is symphonic metal that borders on hard rock and power metal at times.  At times, the songs do seem a bit too formulaic for my tastes as most start with an orchestral intro with beautiful clean vocals and then the “metal” parts of the song kick in with much of the verses consisting of just drums and bass with the vocals at the forefront.  There is nothing wrong with this formula especially when done as well as it is here, but this does introduce a bit of predictability to the album.Any review of this album simply has to have some lines devoted to the vocals of Federica Lanna.  Throughout the entire album, her vocals are one of the standout qualities of the album.  At times, quiet, at other times soaring, but always fully in control with a great range and tone, these are the vocals designed for this genre.  Now, given the implied darkness and gothicness depicted in the album cover, I was expecting a bit of a darker tone from the vocals but they are somewhat surprisingly bright, complementing the music very well.   Quite a few other bands choose to employ some unrestrained, strained screaming female vocals or employ some deep guttural male vocals to provide a contrast to the clean vocals, but Sleeping Romance have chosen to highlight Federica’s vocals.  I would have liked to hear the vocals move a bit more toward the edge of being out of control, but that’s just my personal preference.  With the lush orchestral arrangements often being in the forefront and dominating the sound, having the vocals remain restrained works well with the overall sound.In terms of overall sound on the album, the production quality is very high and the emphasis is definitely toward the symphonic and away from the metal.  In fact, I found myself thinking some was definitely more power metal influences at times as well.  Some of the songs instantly reminded me of Evanescence with the use of certain keyboard effects and those would be hard to miss for anyone familiar with that band.  Despite some similarities, the overall sound of Sleeping Romance is a bit brighter than Evanescence and others in the genre, not just the vocals as mentioned earlier, but also the instrumentation both the metal and symphonic.  More of a light of dawn feel than a darkness of sunset feel, if that makes any sense.  There were moments that surprised me a bit as well. For instance the song “The Promise Inside” starts out with some of the Evanescence sound and feel and then morphs into almost a power ballad in the chorus that sounds strikingly like that from the song “Alone” by Heart in terms of tone and phrasing.  Thankfully, the song has much more to it than that including a string section in the middle and later in this song I found myself liking how the drums by Francesco Zanarelli carried parts.  “Devils Cave” certainly starts out as the darkest and heaviest track on the album, and carries that feel through much of the song with a hammer-like  driving guitar, bass, and drum beat through the verses, which picks up to a gallop in later parts of the song.  Vocal tone is a bit darker here through the verses as well and is more along the lines of what I was expecting after seeing the cover.  All in all, this song is a good example of an epic symphonic metal song due to the seemless combination of orchestral and metal elements, seemless transition between them, and the back and forth shifts between styles.  For example,  midway through the song there is a symphonic interlude with some spoken word from Federica that shifts into some beautiful clean singing and the return of the metal elements and one of the few guitar solos on the album before returning to a true symphonic metal section.Despite some of the songs leaning toward the formulaic, Enlighten is a great debut album of symphonic metal that highlights both the phenomenal vocals of Federica Lanna but also the intricate symphonic/orchestral arrangements of Federico Truzzi and makes a great addition to the genre." - The Metal Resource
    $14.00
  • "While other musicians mostly vary their repertoire with nuances, every Klaus Schulze performance is hard to predict. His former bandmate Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream) once needed a nice image when describing his way of improvising on stage with electronic instruments, "This is like a parachute jump where one cannot be sure if the parachute will even open." This was particularly true during the time of the unpredictable, analog synthesizers- but Klaus kept this same work method throughout the years without making any changes. And with this he is one of the few musicians who saved this art of improvising, all during the transition from the analog to the digital era. This is also true according to Schulze's principle, "It is important that I do not have a clue when I should be going onstage." What appears to be a paradox or what smells like absolute randomness is quite the opposite; it is a reference to all factors of this deciding moment along with a full release as well as an arrival. The definite highest point however would be the Amsterdam concert. It may also be that it was the tour's third concert after Warsaw and Berlin and all those involved had perfectly played one after another. But this does not explain the magic and the breathtaking dramaturgy of the entire performance. The non-verbal and deeply emotional interaction between Klaus Schulze and Lisa Gerrard was seldom so homogenous, real union as it was here! - Vol. 2 of the series of 3 volumes "Big in Europe" - Electronic-pioneer Klaus Schulze meets Dead Can Dance-Singer Lisa Gerrard - Complex DigiPac contains 2 CDs and 2 DVDs, as well as a booklet with extended linernotes - "žA Moogumentary II", an exciting and fascinating documentary by french director James L.Frachon on DVD 2."
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  • Like Uriah Heep?  Deep Purple?  What about Black Bonzo?  Yeah???  Well we've got a band for you.  Tarot are a trio from Australia.  Using the pseudonyms of The Hermit, The Hierophant, and The Magician they whip up some awesome retro-hard rock/proto prog that will make you think you are listening to some recently unearthed archival album from 1972.  Heavy swirls of Hammond organ and analogue synths abound underpinning the old school guitar solos.  Is that a real 'tron?  No clue but it sounds close enough for me!!This CD is actually a compilation that pools together the bands previous cassette releases and adds on 2 new tracks.The spirit of Jon Lord wafts through the aether as you listen to this one.  Its got the vibe through out.  If they would have just added some flute I think they would have sent me over the edge but as is its a non-stop killer that pushes all the right buttons.  BUY OR DIE!"Here's a very intriguing release brought to us by Australian label Heavy Chains Records, the latest from psych/prog/hard rock act Tarot (not to be confused with the veteran Finnish metal band of the same name). The Warrior's Spell contains songs from various 2014 cassette & compilation releases and brings them all together on one CD. Tarot are comprised of The Hermit (guitar, organ, synths, vocals), The Hierophant (bass), and The Magician (drums)...not household names by any means, but their music is just as mysterious as their stage names. "The Watcher's Dream" and "Twilight Fortress" offer swirling, '70s styled prog rock keyboards, effects laden vocals, and heavy rock guitars, and the nightmarish "The Wasp" gives the listener a heavy dose of occult rock mixed with some serious Deep Purple & Uriah Heep influences. You'll hear some vintage Wishbone Ash on the soaring "Eyes in the Sky" as well as the title track, two majestic rockers with plenty of searing lead guitar, Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, and emotional vocals. Other highlights include the heavy "Street Lamps Calling", complete with irresistible harmony guitar work, the gritty blues/prog rocker "Mystic Cavern" (which could have been a leftover from Deep Purple's Machine Head), the evil sounding "Dying Daze", the lumbering psych/doom that is "Life and Death", and the dark yet groove laden "Vagrant Hunter".To be honest, there's not a weak track to be found here on The Warrior's Spell, an album full of surprises and more than a healthy nod to classic sounds of the '70s. Though a name change would probably be recommended to differentiate themselves from Finland's Tarot, either way this is a serious band with some serious talent, and this new release is going to get some major time in my CD player for the foreseeable future. Highly recommended, and a band to keep your eye on." - Sea Of Tranquility 
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  • "Klaus Schulze - the master of electronic music - will release with ""La Vie Electronique Vol. 15"" recordings from the years 1997 to 2000. With this edition the series 'La Vie Electronique"" comes to an end for the present. On CD 1 is the last of the 25 CDs in the JUBILEE EDITION set in 1997. Klaus recorded it during April 1997 in his studio. This long track is, as Klaus puts it: ""...for playing along to. The listeners and fans can add their own melodies and sounds. Harmony is in C. They can play to it in c minor, g minor and f minor"". Disc 2: The first two tracks (L'opera aperta & La tolleranza) are the second part and the encore of Klaus' solo concert in Bologna, Italy, on the 15th of December 1998 at the ""Teatro delle Celebrazioni"". The third track was especially recorded by Klaus for the ULTIMATE EDITION box in late October 1999. Disc 3: These three tracks are a collaboration with an old friend, the cello player Wolfgang Tiepold. Most of the Schulze aficionados know (and love) Schulze's vintage albums with Wolfgang. He visited Klaus in his studio again in summer 1999, twenty years after the two did some good things in concerts and on some albums (mainly ""X"" on which Tiepold also conducted the small orchestra for the famous Ludwig track)."
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  • Withem is an up and coming Norwegian progressive metal band, inspired by the likes of Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind, Dream Theater and Circus Maximus.The band started to take shape in 2011 when Øyvind Voldmo Larsen (guitars) and Ketil Ronold (keyboards) met the gifted drummer Frank Nordeng Røe. Soon they were joined by the vocal talents of Ole Aleksander Wagenius and bass duties were taken care of by the special guest Andreas Blomqvist from Seventh Wonder.Withem’s debut offers varied sonic landscapes for the listener to explore, ranging from guilty-pleasure choruses permeated with memorable vocal hooks, to symphonic epic themes.  The unique vocal range of Ole Aleksander Wagenius gives the band a distinctive touch to tackle the overcrowded progressive metal scene.The passion and dedication put into the album is emphasized by the countless hours spent in studio perfecting each individual performance and making sure that the end result is a world class blend of progressive, symphonic and power metal.The Point Of You was mastered by Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Saga, Spock's Beard)
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  • "In 2013, Norway's ever mercurial Motorpsycho released Still Life with Eggplant, with second guitarist Reine Fisk added to the fold. It was a collection of "other songs," those written for previous albums but not recorded. Those five cuts, despite their random sources, did have another connecting thread: they reflected some of the band's earliest explorations into hard rock and neo-psychedelia as displayed on records like Demon Box and Timothy's Monster. The way forward for Motorpsycho was apparently through the lens of the past. Behind the Sun marks the band's 25th anniversary, and once again, they journey further into that back catalog of unrecorded material. Produced by bassist and vocalist Bent Sæther, Motorpsycho once more employs Fisk as well as violist Ole Henrik Moe and violinist Kari Ronnekleiv. These nine tracks are as focused as those on Eggplant and often more adventurous. Opener "Cloudwalker (A Darker Blue)" begins as something of a Baroque psych tune and unwinds into a taut dynamic rocker with the strings and multi-part vocal harmonies adding texture and force. "On a Plate" is furious, riff-driven guitar rock that recalls the unhinged energy of the band's earliest sound. Rumbling tom-toms and pulsing synths introduce the instrumental "Kvæstor (Incl. Where Greyhounds Dare)," but are quickly joined by the twin-guitar attack of Hans Magnus Ryan and Fisk. A throbbing bassline and strings drive the front as the guitars sing, churn, and shape-shift between intensity and melody. The "Hell, Pts. 1-3" is a suite that began on Eggplant. It continues here with "Hell, Pts. 4-6: Traitor/The Tapestry/Swiss Cheese Mountain." Over nearly 13 minutes, it commences as airy, twisting prog rock with blended acoustic and electric guitars, synths, and strings, all buoying Sæther's urgent vocal. While a fingerpicked vamp holds the center, tension begins to ebb and flow as stinging guitar solos, dreamy keyboard interludes, and cymbal washes gradually erect an architecture of transcendent, anthemic rock. "Entropy" reveals Motorpsycho's more subtle dimensions. At over seven minutes, it gradually unfolds with a lyric bassline, lush, layered vocal harmonies, shuffling drums and skittering cymbals, and breezy keys and guitars, all contrasting sharply with its melancholy lyrics. "Hell, Part 7: Victim of Rock" closes the set with a screaming solo guitar and drum assault over a frenetic bassline. Unhinged sonic psych effects -- loads of reverb, backmasking, etc. -- frame this labyrinthine, careening rock ride that sends Behind the Sun off on stun. After more than 20 records, Motorpsycho remain inexhaustible in their creativity, fully, energetically, in command of a musical vision that is boundless." - Allmusic Guide
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  • Gentle Knife is a new band from Norway that will definitely bring a wide grin to the face of any prog fan.  This is a huge 10 piece ensemble that features both male and female lead vocals, tons of keys (yup - you get your Mellotron right here), reeds, guitar, bass and drums.  Male vocals seem to predominate but even still I'm reminded quite a bit of White Willow's debut Ignis Fatuus - even more so when the female singer comes on board.  There is a dark and mystical quality to the music.  Not surprising - I did say they are Norwegian.  When the instrumental jams kick in there are jazz overtones blending with Crimsonoid evil.  This just arrived at Casa Laser's Edge so it needs more plays to really sink in.  The first few times through the album I'm liking what I'm hearing...a lot!  Highly recommended."Gentle Knife is a Norwegian progressive rock band counting 10 members. With both male and female vocals, guitars, synths, mellotron, woodwinds and everything else you would or would not expect, the band combines the mood of the ‘70s with a modern take on the genre. The band has a clear visual identity based in the artworks of Brian Talgo. The band has a long time perspective.Gentle Knife’s eponymous debut recounts the tale of an ill-fated wanderer lost in the depths of a haunted forest. An 8-part suite rooted in the classic rock concept album. Recorded/premixedby Øyvind Engebretsen at Sound Lab Studioes, with final mix by Neil Kernon. Mastered by Morten Lund at Lunds Lyd."
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    $28.00
  • "I have often likened being an author for an online music webzine as similar to being a treasure hunter, we sift through hours of detritus trying to find that gem of music composition that strikes a chord and has meaning, unlike the bubblegum pop of the mainstream world where it is all about money and marketing. True, the music that we champion and review may have little commercial success but, for the artist, this is the culmination of many hours of soul searching and downright hard work.These little gems of music are what I live for as a reviewer and, when you get a surprise release from out of the blue that simply knocks your socks clean off then, it makes it all worthwhile and puts a huge smile on my face.  That sensation of the hairs standing on the nape of my neck started again when I first heard Anton Roolaart’s new release ‘The Plight of Lady Oona’. This time, it wasn’t my discovery, this record was sent my way by Lady Obscure herself and, upon seeing the album cover, I was immediately hooked, as you should know by now, I’m always a sucker for an impressive album sleeve (showing my age there). As I worked my way through multiple listens, it wasn’t just the cover that impressed me.Anton Roolaart is a Dutch artist who lives in America, he has one previous album release, ‘Dreamer’ in 2007. Anton’s music is said to portray the quintessence of melodic progressive rock accompanied with lush orchestration, and this new release is certain to capture the listener’s attention once again. He does this with the help of some talented friends and musicians including Vinnie Puryear, Kendall Scott, Pieter van Hoorn, Rave Tesar and Michael Frasche. Renaissance’s Annie Haslam provides additional vocals on the title track. All songs were composed and produced by Anton with the help of co-producer Rave.You are immediately drawn into Anton’s lush cinemascapes and soundscapes with the brilliant Gravity, gentle, lush instrumentation accompanied by a plaintive vocal infuses the music with a sci-fi feeling, future music if you like. The relaxed yet uplifting tempo is central to the pathos of the track, it is atmospheric with the textured keyboards central to everything. There are hints of 70’s progressive rock in the slow, measured moog solo but, to these ears, it is a song that is set in the stars and the emptiness of space.Stars Fall Down is introduced by a lilting piano and breaking vocal, when the keyboards and laid back drums slip into place it has a real synth pop ethos. That 80’s feel is emphasised by the organ and catching vocal that increases in power as the track runs on. Another song that is food for a healthy intellect, another nice touch is the pared back, distorted solo that gives a smooth, ambient haze to the proceedings. This guy has more than one string to his impressive bow.If you are after an atmospheric, multi-faceted prog epic full of wonderful melodies, plot turns and structures then, look no further than title track The Plight of Lady Oona. Flute and acoustic guitar drift in with the mist at the beginning of the song, a folk influenced vocal and piano carry on the ambience as the tale begins. There are multiple influences at play here that Anton moulds into his own unique sound around which, the addition of Annie Haslam’s dulcet tones is a clever touch. The mood take son a definitive 70’s Yes edge with the catchy guitar and expressive bass underscoring an urgent keyboard that ramps up the pace, a spiralling, complex guitar adds another layer of sophistication along with a fulsome organ and minstrel-like guitar. The interlude that follows, full of mystery and opaqueness, is leading the way for Annie’s refined and exquisite vocal. This part of the song is poignant and full of feeling as, eventually, Annie and Anton join forces to deliver an uplifting vocal experience followed by some delightful piano and exquisite guitar work which blossoms into an impressive instrumental section where church organ, soaring keyboards and chiming guitar all contribute to a smorgasbord of musical delight. That mediaeval minstrel effect returns at the end of the song with a short vocal and extended acoustic guitar section that John Williams would be proud of, this is a precise and complicated track that is delivered with verve and aplomb, sublime.There is a darker intensity to Standing in the Rain, it is ominous, evoking a dystopian spirit. The vocal delivery is heightened and impassioned, the guitar riffs are momentous and deep lying and the percussion is moody and profound. The violin touches are vivid and the song cuts through you like a knife, holding you in its hypnotic stare, unable to break free as the mesmerising guitar solo slowly works its way into your psyche.After the potent tension of the previous track, instrumental Memoires is a musical breath of fresh air, dainty and enchanting. The acoustic guitar dances around your mind before a luscious piano makes your heart sing. The heavenly keyboards and ululating guitar join forces to bring a lustre of hope to all around, a real ‘feel good track’ to my ears.This piquant treat for aural receptors comes to a close with The Revealing Light and, at the beginning it is rather enigmatic and secretive and a very slow burner. The flute sound signals the start of something as the cryptic vocals begin, ardent and fervid, backed by a distorted, acid guitar. Lush, electronic keyboard notes envelop you in their embrace as the song takes a psychedelic turn, all Sgt Pepper in its tone. Things change with a twisting, coruscating note delivered by a melancholic guitar  and the solemn drum beat giving a sober feel to the track as a sombre voice over closes out the album with just about the right feel.‘The Plight of Lady Oona’ is an album that gives up its delights bit by bit, there is no instant gratification on offer here, if you are prepared to invest time in the music it will deliver a cornucopia of musical delights. Anton Roolaart is a name to look out for, my first introduction to his music has been an intensive and incredibly impressive one and, it won’t be my last." - Lady Obscure
    $12.00
  • CD/DVD in a digibook.  The DVD is the complete show and the CD maxxes out due to the time limitations."In May 2012 Anathema released Weather Systems, the most acclaimed and successful album of a career that has spanned over two decades. The album scored high in numerous critics end of year polls around the world and cemented their reputation as one of the most exciting and progressive bands around. Following the release of the album, the band embarked on a lengthy world tour. The European leg of the tour opened with a triumphant one-off show at the ancient Roman theatre of Philippopolis with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2012. Directed by celebrated filmmaker Lasse Hoile, Universal captures the magic of the event ."
    $17.00