Street Lights Fail

SKU: PRC-CD-156
Label:
Prophecy Productions
Category:
Progressive Rock
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"With "Street Lights Fail", the Swiss Progressive eccentrics led by mastermind Fredy Schnyder introduce the first part of a concept comprised of two albums which is going to be completed in 2015 with "Neon Light Eternal".

After the "Nihil"/"Knell"/"Andromeda Awaiting"-trilogy and its subsequently released prequel "Golden Age", "Street Lights Fail" marks not only the start of a new concept, but also a radical aesthetical change. The album impresses with a contemporary, anti-nostalgic sound and takes a stand against the intolerable boredom of listening to predictable music. With qualities that have always been common to Nucleus Torn - expertise, creativity, bravery and the readiness to fail - the band has created an album of 40 minutes with a density which is, in terms of sound, style and emotion, unparalleled in Progressive Rock. A fair share of this can be ascribed to Anna Murphy (Eluveitie) as well, who for the first time acts as the only singer on an album by Nucleus Torn, thus leaving a distinct imprint.

Fredy Schnyder backs his new work more confidently than ever: "With 'Street Lights Fail' - and later on 'Neon Light Eternal' - Nucleus Torn make good on their great promise. The albums show the group's entire potential, are both peak and closure. If Nucleus Torn are to be remembered by anybody, then hopefully through these two albums.""

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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. 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  • "Back in the late eighties and early nineties I was a huge fan of that eras best thrash metal. Bands like Slayer, Testament, Death Angel, and Forbidden drew me in with machine gun double bass drums, lighting fast rhythms, and aggressive vocals. One Machine is the brainchild of guitarist Steve Smyth, best known for his stints in some of metals finest bands including Nevermore, Forbidden, Dragonlord, Vicious Rumours, and Testament, a stellar resume to be certain! For One Machine’s debut album, Smyth has formed a band that is compromised of a who’s who in the world of extreme/underground metal who were carefully selected by Smyth: Mikkel Sandager (Mercenary) on vocals, Jamie Hunt (Biomechanical) sharing guitar duties, rounded out by a powerhouse rhythm section with Tomas “O’Beast” Koefoed (Mnemic) on bass guitar and Michele Sanna on drums (although former drummer Raphael Saini of Italian progressive metallers Chaoswave played on the album). The Distortion Of Lies And The Overdriven Truth was recorded and produced by Steve Smyth. Mixing was handled by guitarist extraordinaire Roy Z (Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Halford), mastered by Alan Douches (Three Inches Of Blood, Firewind, Sepultura) from West West Side Music with artwork created by Niklas Sundin from Cabin Fever Media (Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy), complimented with photography from Anthony Dubois (Meshuggah, Mnemic).The songs harken back to the 80′s Bay Area thrash movement of bands like Early Metallica, Testament, Death Angel, Exodus, and Forbidden and melds it with the classic metal style of Painkiller era Judas Priest and the melody of Vicious Rumours. Lead vocalist Sandager sings clean for the majority of the album but can growl out some extreme growl vocals as well as ear piercing screams that would make Rob Halford proud. He also has a vocal similarity to Russ from Forbidden in places (Crossed Over). Unlike a lot of their thrash metal forefathers, the band has a penchant for writing choruses with melodic and catchy hooks (Armchair Warriors). The music is chaotic at times (Killing The Hope Inside) almost to the point of no return, only to transition into a melodic passage that brings things back from the abyss. The guitar solos are as frenzied and speedy as the songs, at times reminding me of classic Slayer. What you have here are ten no nonsense slamming brutally heavy tracks that will make you want to jump in the pit. The title track sets the tone for the album with neck snapping, whiplash inducing headbanging thrash metal. There are some lighter moments such as in Kill The Light Inside and most notably the dark and moody mid-tempo of Last Star Alights, but for the most part, each song on the album takes a turn pummeling the listener with heavy riffs and brutal rhythms (see Evict the Enemy).One Machine is a band with a tremendous upside and possible crossover potential in the mainstream metal market with the right promotional push. Fans of Smyth’s revious work in Testament, Forbidden, and Nevermore will find a lot to love about this band, while fans of more melodic fare might be surprised to find lots of catchy melodies and hook laden choruses to sink their teeth into!" - Lady Obscure
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  • Special 2CD tour edition comes with a bonus Acoustic Sessions CD featuring 4 new interpretations, plus "Anathema" recorded at Liverpool Cathedral."It’s been quite a past few years for the incredible Anathema. Honors have been bestowed upon them, they’ve released an instant classic album in “Weather Systems”, and last year they released one of the best live concert films I’ve ever seen, “Universal”. Anathema is on top of the world, and they are only getting bigger. With all of this on their shoulders, they approach the world once again with their new album, “Distant Satellites”, a fitting name for a massive album. Again, with all of their recent success creating huge expectations, can this band meet such critical reception? Needless to say, Vincent Cavanagh on vocals, Danny Cavanagh on guitar, Jamie Cavanagh on bass, John Douglas on percussion, Daniel Cardoso on drums, and Lee Douglas with her wonderful vocals were all up to the challenge.“Distant Satellites” is a very different album from “Weather Systems”, or anything else they’ve done, for that matter. It is different, yet somehow instantly familiar. It includes everything that makes them Anathema, but adds new and exciting elements to their already excellent formula. If you’ve never heard Anathema, their formula (in their last few albums, anyways) includes soaring guitars, amazingly catchy melodies, spiritual lyrics, and emotional flow both vocally and structurally. They are the masters of melody, and they remain complex and progressive even while being simple and accessible. They are truly masters of their craft.This new album, then, is no different in those terms. The melodies return in force, such as the serene beauty of “The Lost Song” parts 1-3. And, yet, there is something different here. The melodic lines are somewhat more complex, less in-your-face, and more organic. This especially shows in the song lengths, most of them being over five minutes. This allows for more growth and more progression. Indeed, then, the melodies on “Distant Satellites”, while not being as instantly lovable or recognizable, are certainly more difficult and possibly will have a longer “shelf life” in my mind. Yes, the orchestrations seem to be lower key, as well, allowing the vocalists to express themselves more personally then ever.There are other improvements, too. I feel that the musicianship is more fervent and on a higher plateau of difficulty than Anathema has tried. Drummer John Douglas, especially, plays amazingly well from start to finish, accenting the music with awesome pounding and fills. The rest of the band are at their peak, too, with Vincent and Lee being especially great with emotional and meaningful vocal performances.“Distant Satellites” is different in more meaningful ways, too. Utilizing post-rock/metal structures is nothing new for Anathema, but they really do perfect them here, as on “Dusk”, a dark, climactic song. Yet, there is a sense of continuity between tracks, too. This is obviously the case between the three parts of “The Lost Song”, but it’s also apparent throughout the album, as if Anathema is telling us a story, convincing us of our true selves and our connection with the universe and with each other.This album is wonderful in the first half, but my excitement reached new heights in the second half. Anathema has taken it upon themselves to change things up a bit. They wanted to progress their sound, but make it all seem so natural. So, in the second half, the album climaxes with one of the best songs, simply called “Anathema”. But then, we are thrown for a loop somewhat, as “You’re Not Alone” features a hefty portion of electronic vibe. It’s great, but the best is still to come.Next, “Firelight”, a darkly ethereal instrumental track that is completely electronic, is thrust upon us, and is followed up by what may possibly be the best song Anathema has ever produced, “Distant Satellites”. This track combines everything that has ever made Anathema great: soaring melodies, climactic structure, gentle spirituality, amazing vocals, and now an electronic beat that is both complex and catchy. Vibrant, mesmerizing, and pure, this track elates me every time I hear it. It takes this album, and my heart, to new heights. The album finishes with a gentle ballad that just seems so fitting, yet it still has the strong electronic influence.So, is “Distant Satellites” a winner? In every way! Is it their best album? I don’t know; it has the potential, but it might take time, just like “Weather Systems” did. What I can tell you is that this new album is more mature, more progressive, more interesting and eclectic, and less formulaic then anything Anathema has crafted yet. It does sacrifice some accessibility and some instant likability for these things, but I respect their decision massively, and I fully expect to see “Distant Satellites” at the tops of many lists at the end of 2014." - Progulator
    $14.00
  • “Known/Learned’ is the third album from this thought provoking progressive band from Brisbane, Australia.  It’s a sprawling 2CD collection of themes and moments, captured between recurring characters. While never explicitly told in the traditional vein of the ‘concept album’, the imagery of Known/Learned depicts fragmented moments in the lives of a father and his daughter, their loss, their love, their journey. A bittersweet love song for life.Occupying a unique place in the Australian progressive music scene, Arcane’s transcendental live performances and 2009’s critically acclaimed, dark and enigmatic concept album 'Chronicles Of The Waking Dream' have earned them a inimitable reputation as one of Australia’s premier progressive rock bands.Sharing stages with artists as diverse as Anathema (UK), Soilwork (Swe), Queensryche (USA), Dead Letter Circus, Ne Obliviscaris and hundreds more, Arcane's live show, often accompanied by a backdrop of staggering visualizations, is a vast sensory experience.Arcane's immersive sound, and the vocals of Jim Grey quickly found favor throughout Australia, headlining the annual Progfest tour, providing touring support for Ne Obliviscaris, and performing to capacity crowds at Sonic Forge Festival in Melbourne. A crowd funding campaign in July, 2013 heralded the 2015 release of 'Known/Learned' a 16 track conceptual double album. Arcane blends the technicality of progressive metal with the atmospheric intensity of bands like Tool, Riverside and Anathema.  The world is about to discover what their Australian fan base already knows – that Arcane is a rising star in the world of progressive music.
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  • "My first experience with Edge Of Paradise dates to 2011. I've listened to a lot of music since then, so my recollection is a little cloudy. That may be a good thing as I approach the band's first full-length album, Immortal Waltz, now signed to Germany's Pure Rock Records.Largely what I do recall is that the focus of Edge Of Paradise revolves around guitarist Dave Bates and vocalist Margarita Monet. He works with layers of dense sharp riffs coupled with leads that vary from neo-classical to pure rock. Monet has a nearly Olympic vocal approach. She's not one of those operatic singers. Yet she can voice the same, along with rock to something more atmospheric and ethereal. For the music EoP works from the base melodic heavy metal infused with a rock groove, and then adds the former elements for this large bombastic presentation. To be fair, four of the songs are from the Perfect Shade of Black EP released in October 2014: the title track, In A Dream, Ghost, and Break Away. But unless you have that EP, this tidbit matters little. The band also covers the Sabbath song, Children of the Sea, with some success.There's a lot to like about this album, simply because of the Bates/Monet approach to songwriting. I can honestly say I enjoyed every song here, thanks to the ease which heaviness and groove are blended together. Yet several songs stood out more than others. First, there's the pair of It's My Show and Immortal Waltz where EoP brings this feeling of theater, possibly some side show, and a little burlesque to their sound. The latter song may even suggest a waltz theme or motif to your ears. Another fine tune is In A Dream, which has this combination of riff density and soaring atmosphere thanks to the vocals.Also, a favorite was Ghost; it's not unlike In A Dream, but more ethereal at the start, only to become massive in riffage in crescendo. Finally, Rise For The Fallen, an anthem of sorts, seemed the song with most groove with Bates' riffs blasting throughout. But this song, like so many others here, displays the chink in the EoP's armor. For all her vocal calisthenics, Monet is difficult to understand. Her voice and style certainly compliment the EoP sound, but you'll want to have the lyrics handy if you want do understand anything she sings. Nevertheless, and overall, Edge Of Paradise's Immortal Waltz is interesting and entertaining melodic heavy metal that will keep you listening. Recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00
  • The Studio Albums 1992-2011 collects the first 10 studio albums from Dream Theater s groundbreaking two-decade-plus career, from 1992 s RIAA gold-certified classic debut, Images & Words to 2011 s GRAMMY® Award-nominated milestone, A Dramatic Turn of Events.With total sales exceeding 10 million albums and DVDs worldwide, Dream Theater have long stood among the upper echelon of hard rock giants. Albums such as 1992 s RIAA gold-certified classic Images & Words (featuring the breakthrough top 10 single, "Pull Me Under") and 2002 s double album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance have earned the Long Island-based band countless accolades for their visionary synthesis of melodic power and virtuosic experimentation, including being named as one of Rolling Stone s top 10 "Best Prog Rock Bands of All Time."
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