Shadowmaker (CD/DVD)

"Deluxe two disc (CD + PAL/Region 0 DVD) edition includes bonus DVD that contains a "making of documentary plus track by track commentary by Rock N 'Rolf. 2012 album from the reunited German Pirate Metal band. Captain Rock'n'Rolf has written 10 new tracks for Shadowmaker, among them are the midtempo opener 'Piece Of The Action', the uptempo number 'Shadowmaker' ("roughly the same pace as 'Angel Of Mercy'") and the monumental eight minute track 'Dracula', based on Bram Stoker's novel and the Christopher Lee movies. "To me, Shadowmaker is a very special album because there was no pressure, time wise or otherwise. I feel it's clearly audible that this relaxed attitude helped me to write one of the strongest Running Wild recordings of all time.""

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  • New album from this Austrian symphonic metal band.  The band has been a bit of a revolving door with vocalists but Maxi Nil has settled in nicely.  The music is based in the traditional female fronted gothic style with clean male vocals trading leads back and forth.  This time around I hear more of a poppier, catchy sound - somewhat like the direction Delain is moving towards.  Highly recommended to fans of the genre (I wave my hand proudly).  Digipak edition with one bonus track.
    $12.00
  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • "As of late, at least with their previous album, and the current Pariah's Child, Finland's Sonata Arctica has been throwing their faithful some musical curve balls. Putting them in the category of traditional Scandi power metal is no longer fitting, although they do play the same and often.No, their sound is much more diverse, enterprising, these days. A good example is the song Half A Marathon Man. It's opening strokes of guitar, keyboards, then drums could lead to most any sound. But it delivers this huge rock grooved melodic metal monster, with hooks galore, from vocals to lyrics to riffs. Then there's the power metal romp of X Marks the Spot, disguised as a rock tune, and wrapped in the motif a religious revival. It's familiar, but strange; clever and a whole lot of fun. Also of note is What Did You Do In the War, Daddy which merges the feel of classic heavy metal anthem with the bluster of power metal in places.Yet something more familiar comes with the longest number, Larger Than Life, which sounds like old school Sonata Arctica, where they draw upon their symphonic progressive power metal roots. Perhaps still more straight forward Sonata Arctica is the first half of the album. Notably The Wolves Die Young or Take One Breath are classic Scandi melodic power metal tunes, straying little from the foundation from which the band was built. Yet, fans should know that it is no less interesting than the aforementioned more crafty pieces. Once more I think Pariah's Child represents Sonata Arctica as a band being carefully faithful to their roots, yet always moving forward in their creativity. Easily recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $14.00
  • Second album of fine melodic metal from former Savatage member Zak Stevens, doesnt stray that far from his former bands path. Its not Savatage but its close enough. Comes with one live bonus track.
    $11.00
  • "David T. Chastain has gained a reputation over the last 25 years as a powerful, progressive guitarist whose music has been centered around his melodic and technically fluent fret board mastery. For Those Who Dare, the fifth CHASTAIN album and originally released in 1990, showed David forging into new territory with the finest group of musicians he had ever worked with creating not only the most accessible metal record of his career but also the most inventive.While David did remain the principle songwriter, he admitted that the band’s sound on For Those Who Dare wouldn’t have been the same without David Harbour (bass) and John Luke He’bert (drums) supplying their own individual trademark performances. Besides David’s virtuoso style the other major attribute to CHASTAIN’s instantly distinct sound is vocalist Leather Leone’s superior and ultimately commanding presence.Originally brought together by Shrapnel Records’ Mike Varney, Leather quickly established herself as one of the greatest female heavy metal vocalists of all time appearing on all four previous and critically acclaimed CHASTAIN albums - Mystery Of Illusion (1985), Ruler Of The Wasteland (1986), The 7th Of Never (1987) & Voice Of The Cult (1988). Ever since his recording debut in 1983 David Chastain has been wowing fans with his innovative and technically superb guitar playing. For Those Who Dare is a perfect example that David Chastain was not just a great player, but also a talented songwriter and band leader with an exceptional group of collaborators to help make his melodic visions a reality."
    $12.00
  • "If Metallica and Slayer invented speed metal, Anthrax brought it to the East Coast and imbued it with the attitude and excitement of New York hardcore. Among the Living is, without a doubt, their finest hour--a roaring, adrenaline-pumped collection of flailing beats, precise, razor-edged riffs and shout-along refrains. Unlike most full-throttle metal vocalists of the era, Joey Belladonna chose to sing as well as shout, giving songs like "Among the Living," "Indians" and "Efilnikcufecin" ("nice fuckin' life" spelled backwards) a decided melodic edge. Yet Scott Ian and Dan Spitz's buzzsaw guitar flurries, and Charlie Benante's insistent drumming, prevented the songs from ever degenerating into the run-of-the-mill heavy metal they so despised. "
    $5.00
  • "Eden must be rumbling, its ground beginning to shatter as it is being constantly sliced by the profanity of an intense music heading closer and closer. Mankind was assumingly banished from the enchanted lands of upstairs without an option of returning, but the curse will be forever remembered, reminisced by those expatriated for generations, thus the creation of a sonic boom, a symphonic echo forged by the ancient sin, in order to redirect it back to where it came from. The creators have been quite proficient in their deeds, escalating their abilities for the shaping of the perfect “Symphony Of Sin”, this multinational formation is called EDEN’S CURSE. Actually, this isn’t the first time I was touched by the band’s enhanced multiformity as I had the chance to review their previous “Trinity” release. But with the upcoming “Symphony Of Sin”, again via AFM Records, EDEN’S CURSE underwent a slight change of figures. With vocalist Michael Eden out of the game, along with keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio, the remaining members sought out and found the Serbian soulful bliss of the young Nikola Mijic and the experience and abilities of Steve Williams (ex-POWER QUEST / ex-MERCURY RAIN / ex-DSG). Even with their reorganization, EDEN’S CURSE maintained their same sensitivity towards the melodic crust of both Rock and Metal, and I might even add that they enriched it this time around.The materialization of “Symphony Of Sin”, signified a slight change of proceedings within EDEN’S CURSE music. Nothing much a substantial impact of sorts, yet I felt as that this album tends towards the boundaries of AOR and Hard Rock rather towards the clutches of Heavy or Power Metal, thus making it less heavier or piercing, yet not without a lesser quality. Other than the classic influence of DIO, BLACK SABBATH and DOKKEN, particularly within Thorsten Koehne’s rocking riffery, it appears that the band took a closer step towards the catchy vibes of BALANCE OF POWER, PINK CREAM 69, SHAKRA, HOUSE OF LORDS, JADED HEART, COLDSPELL, EVIDENCE ONE and POWERWORLD. On the other hand, I found the energetic flex of STRATOVARIUS and Koehne’s guitar wizardry orientation of ex-STRATOVARIUS’s Timo Tolkki. Additionally, Mijic’s exquisite voice pattern, like a mixture of Jon Lynn Turner, Ian Gillian and Tony Martin seems to fit well with rockier songs and therefore the songwriting the musical direction was accordingly. “Symphony Of Sin”, in comparison to “Trinity”, consists of a fairly harmonic vibe, especially demonstrated on the choral vocals that were amazingly produced, which garnered the listening experience a fine edge of smoothness. There is nothing too cheesy or cheap, but a polished form of Hard N’ Heavy with a clear 80s ambiance, leaning on softer margins.“Unbreakable” and “Wings To Fly” are the opposite of modern day breakers, hook laden emotive rockers exercising the arts of old AOR, along with Pete Newdeck’s robust drumming efforts, taking on smoother turns, creating an anthem driven feel with such a fine elegance full of grace. “Devil in Disguise”, fulfilling the lust of those looking for a bite of intensity and exuberant guitar riffery, yet will find out that within this Heavy Metal chugger there is a sweet peak moment with an enticing chorus and sharp edged soloing. “Turn The Page” and “Where is the Love?” inflamed with its melodic sensation, riff revelations, corresponding between Hard Rock and Metal, and another enchanting display of Mijic’s soaring vocals. EDEN’S CURSE established a profound position for themselves, finding the right voice to lead them forward, and the exact musical vibe to follow through the next steps of their career. “Symphony Of Sin” is a quality product of an 80s admiration and fascination, yet also upgraded by the features and goods of a well attributed crew." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • Note this is not a 2 on 1.  Its a 15 track compilation of the albums Balls To The Wall and Restless & Wild.
    $5.00
  • San Francisco's Orchid has been kicking around a bit, jumping around a bunch of small labels.  A buzz has been developing around the band so it was only a matter of time before they stepped up to the big time - they got snatched up by Nuclear Blast.  I would say that NB scored a major coup here.  Orchid's reputation has been built upon a doom metal sound that draws heavily from the early Black Sabbath canon.  Plain and simple.  These guys have the retro sound down pat and the look as well.  If you are into doom its not going to come any better than this.  Highly recommended. 
    $13.00
  • Iced Earth's tenth album features a new vocalist - Stu Block, formerly of Into Eternity."Iced Earth's revolving door of vocalists continues on their newest release Dystopia. Matt Barlow's second go-around with the band ended earlier this year, and his replacement is Canadian singer Stu Block (Into Eternity).Over the years Iced Earth has cultivated a thrashy power metal sound, which is intact on Dystopia. The songs are dramatic and grandiose, packed with melody and potent riffs. The title track gets the proceedings underway in fine fashion, a very catchy and bold track. After a mellow start, “Anthem” kicks in and becomes appropriately enough, anthemic.Iced Earth has had a legacy of outstanding vocalists, including Barlow and Tim “Ripper” Owens. Block continues that tradition. He has a wide range, and really hits the high notes on songs like “Boiling Point.” He brings a varied performance, and delivers the lyrics convincingly no matter if it's an aggressive lower pitched section, traditional singing or belting it out. He is able to dial it back a notch when needed as well, such as on “Anguish Of Youth.”Like Block's vocal performance, Dystopia as a whole is a varied and diverse release. From ballads to bombastic power metal to harder edged material, Iced Earth covers a lot of bases. It's also much more streamlined than their last couple of albums, with 10 songs clocking it at about 45 minutes.Lineup changes can have a negative effect on a band, but Iced Earth has shown over the years it doesn't phase them at all. That's also the case with this CD. Block fits in extremely well, and Dystopia finds Iced Earth losing no momentum. It may have even given them a little boost." - About.com
    $5.00
  • Second album of collaboration between vocalists Jorne Lande and Russell Allen. Once again the album is fueled by the writing and guitar playing of ex-Last Tribe guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Last Tribe - was that a band that was overlooked or what?). I thought the writing on this one was better than the debut - it sounded more integrated and less forced. It was also tipped more towards the metal end of the spectrum. Great vocal performances goes without saying - recommended for that alone.
    $15.00
  • "Album number four for New York metal thrashing extraordinaire's Anthrax. Persistence of Time used to be my favorite Anthrax album, and even though I give the edge to Spreading the Disease I still rate this one highly, and I prefer it to the likes of Among the Living.Persistence of Time has the distinction of being Anthrax's most accomplished release, well, as far as musicianship and performances go. The band decided to take themselves seriously here and this album feels right at home amongst the Victims of Deception, Years of Decay, Twisted Into Form crowd. A lot of the bands slight crossover element is largely missing, with the exception of the "Got The Time" cover, which serves as highly beneficial to the release.The tracks are quite a bit longer than usual here, with the opening four numbers swimming a see of six - seven minute tracks. Anthrax really deliver over the longer time periods and the songs are given a lot more room to grow. When concerning production I feel that by todays standards Persistence of Time happens to stand up the best amongst the bands work with Joey Belladonna. The mix is fantastic, and the bass has a great prominent sound which as a result leaves this album sounding the heaviest of the Anthrax backlog."Time", "Blood" and "Keep it in the Family" are all massive in scope as far as Anthrax goes, and these songs are among some of the best the band have done. From the darker edged riffs, to the build up and dynamics this is all good. "Keep it in the Family" is a particularly awesome example of Anthrax ala Persistence of Time. Not to blow their wad in the first half of the album we have the awesome "Gridlock" which houses some of Anthrax's most menacing work, and the bad-ass "Belly of the Beast". Proabably the catchiest track on the album (not including the cover), this was actually the first Anthrax song I ever heard, and has some fond memories attached to it.Persistence of Time is a really cool release, and is reflective of its given genre at the time. Thrash was pushing forward in quite an exciting way, yet somehow it all went wrong. Even now when we have a fuck load of caricature thrash bands, none of them try to progress like Anthrax did here. Despite the niggling "Got The Time" the rest of the album is awesome and is of interest of any thrash fan, especially those with interest in the later releases around the late 80's early 90's." - Metal Archives
    $5.00
  • "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
  • Super session put together by Tobias Stammet, vocalist of Edguy. Lineup reads like a who's who of power/speed metal: Kai Hansen, David DeFeis, Andre Matos, Oliver Hartmann, Sharon Den Adel, Rob Rock, Timo Tolkki on vocals. Musiciasn include Henjo Richter, Markus Grosskopf, and Alex Holzwarth. Basically an over the top power metal opera!
    $13.00