Technicians Of The Sacred (2CD)

"Death.
Taxes.
Ozric Tentacles.

Since 1984 this loose collective have been releasing reliably great music from the mind of leader Ed Wynne. Their margin of error is enviably tiny – there is no such thing as a bad Ozrics album. Sure, some are better than others, but the body of work is as inescapably consistent as mortality and societal contributions. Technicians of the Sacred is their fifteenth studio album, second double album and the first release in this format since Erpland in 1990. It is also one of the best they have ever recorded.

The blend of electronica and inner-space rock is instantly recognisable with ‘The High Pass’. World music and gently undulating synths take their time to ease us back into the required frame of cosmic consciousness. It takes almost 6 minutes for the secret weapon, Wynne’s signature lysergic lead guitar, to be deployed and that is the modus operandi of the whole album – nothing is rushed, each track unfolds lotus-like.

‘Changa Masala’ distils all the band’s ingredients into a spicy side-dish. Sequencers, vocal samples and a reggae skank provide the base while acoustic guitar rips like a John McLaughlin solo, interjecting a nod to their past, a musical in-joke for the fans, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet heard it.
The Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7 and sometime Ozrics collaborator) influence is foregrounded in the first disc’s closer, ‘Switchback’. Tap-delay guitar slithers over a web of ambient keyboard washes. Portamento bass notes slide and glide their way through the patchouli-scented psychedelic haze.

f the first disc was an aromatic treat, then the second is manna. ‘Epiphlioy’ recalls the classic ‘Saucers’. Its serpentine twelve-string acoustic riffs employ Eastern modes to evoke a scene that is paradoxically earthy and otherworldly. Staccato strings conjure Kashmir while a celestial orchestra of whooshing keyboard pads threatens to levitate us into the stratosphere and beyond. We are back in the bizarre bazaar, folks. Brandi Wynne pins down the ethereal mix with a heavy dub bassline. The track changes constantly. This is the most compositionally complex music the band has ever produced.

While there are references to Ozric history and a more organic feel similar to early classics with the occasional use of non-electric instruments and ethnic voices, the album as a whole is a step forward. The painstakingly crafted symbiosis of synthesised sounds and rock instrumentation, coupled with a slick production, lend Technicians of the Sacred a holistic integrity not heard since Jurassic Shift (which incidentally entered the UK charts at a very respectable number 11 in 1993). The whole gels together and flows with the multi-layered sophistication of a symphony while retaining some of the jam-band aesthetic of the free festival days.

‘Smiling Potion’ features interlocking sequences even Tangerine Dream would be proud of and a tribal metronome-sense beat straight out of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ.
As ‘Rubbing Shoulders With The Absolute’ throbs along on a blissed-out dub rhythm artificially generated voices ensure the weirdness meter is kept firmly in the red.

Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende makes his first studio appearance and throughout the album he proves to be a superb addition to the group, whether approximating the tight programmed style of The Hidden Step era or, as on the closing track, ‘Zenlike Creature’, tackling elusive prog time signatures with ease and finesse. As Ed Wynne winds up a solo worthy of fusion maestros Mahavishnu Orchestra he introduces a shimmering Hillage-esque repeating motif that stays in the mind long after the music has stopped.

Technicians of the Sacred, for all its dynamic shifts and intricacies, is a very chilled-out release, one for relaxing to and for transportation to the other, wherever that may be. There are no jarring wig-out rock guitar hero sections or all-out sonic attacks like ‘The Throbbe’. Rather this is Ozric Tentacles’ most cohesive and accomplished effort in almost 20 years and a highlight of a long and peerless career." - Echoes And Dust

Product Review

Red Circle 1
Sat, 2016-04-02 14:57
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Ozrics go Bollywood. Who would have thought?
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Product Review

Red Circle 1
Sat, 2016-04-02 14:57
Rate: 
0
Ozrics go Bollywood. Who would have thought?
You must login or register to post reviews.
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  • "Veterans in the Power/Progressive Metal scene, Brazil’s ANGRA set the world on fire right out of the gate on their debut album “Angel’s Cry” – at the time in 1992 a throwback to the classic Kiske-led HELLOWEEN era with its “Keepers of the Seven Keys” uplifting melodies and speed/ guitar harmony attack. Since that time they’ve blazed their own trail, surviving key member changes in the vocal and drummer departments as well as expanding their musical template into more of an original, Progressive Metal sound. Their eighth studio album “Secret Garden” will be another barometer test for their fans, as RHAPSODY OF FIRE vocalist Fabio Lione steps in the singer slot – and drummer Bruno Valverde slides into the percussion position. What does this mean overall for ANGRA? Will it be a step into the past- or a move into the future?After a solid 20 playbacks, this will probably be one of the favorite ANGRA records in their discography due to the quality and dynamic diversity for these 10 tracks. Those who expect Fabio to soar to high heavens solely on this record, well expand your minds because he truly delivers one of the best performances of his career – stretching out his lower and middle registers more so on this record than ever before. Check out opener “Newborn Me” and the serene ballad “Silent Call” for new facets to his range – emotionally connecting like never before. Musically you can hear a lot of the South American nuances plunging head first into more New Age/ jazz-like Progressive textures on highlight “Upper Levels”, something I would appreciate more from DREAM THEATER and helps ANGRA achieve that surprise element necessary beyond their obvious instrumental talent level.Those who desire the fast paced, double bass, scream to the sky Power anthem material, well “Black Hearted Soul” or “Perfect Symmetry” should give you the fist-pumping adrenaline workout you crave. Special guests include EPICA’s Simone Simons on the dramatic, Symphonic-laden title cut ballad and early Metal icon Doro Pesch who does a vocal duet with Guitarist Rafael Bettencourt on the heavier, bouncier “Crushing Room”. Add in a conceptual storyline that features a fictional account of a scientist seeking happiness after dealing with the tragic loss of his wife in an accident and stunning production values where all parts shine (including the bass heroics of Felipe Andreoli) and I’m sure this 49 minute record will receive consistent airplay for not just 2015, but an eternity as the best albums should.“Secret Garden” could be ANGRA’s best album to date: rich in Progressive Metal highlights but also remembering the right balance in terms of individual songwriting and melodic/hook aspects, this should be a benchmark for other bands to study and up their creative game. A great start to 2015 for sure." - Metal Temple
    $11.00
  • "You've got to give Signum Regis founder and bass player Ronnie Konig some credit. He keeps trying to up his game with each new Signum Regis album. With his third album, Exodus, he tackles another concept album: the slavery in and exodus of the Israelites from Egypt from the Biblical book of the same name. Additionally, rather than a single lead vocalist, namely Goran Edman, Konig brings in no less than nine notable vocalists. (See the list below.) Whether this amounts to a good thing will be in the ear of listener.Something that has not changed is Signum Regis' sound, remaining traditional European melodic heavy and power metal. Considering the nature and significance of the Biblical story, some properly composed power metal could give the listener a lively interpretation of that story. Often it does.For instance, in pace, lyrics, and vocal arrangement there's a feeling of urgency within Let Us Go!, as the Hebrews seek release from their Egyptian masters. If you recall your Biblical history, you'll remember that Pharaoh was not to happy with Moses, becoming royally pissed and stubborn. Wrath of the Pharoah gets some of that with it's heavy and raging sound and piercing vocals. Of course, Pharaoh and all Egypt was warned of what would happen if they did not comply with Yahweh's wishes. The Ten Plagues offers some bracing straight power metal, with some ripping guitar work, to emphasize the drama of the event.Curiously, I would have thought the song Last Days in Egypt, which would have included the first passover ceremony (and foreshadowing Christ's atonement later), to be a more somber and introspective piece, perhaps acoustic guitar driven. Rather, it's basically electric guitar driven instrumental. There's some drama to the centerpiece song, Exodus, as it has a marching feel, thinking of the Israelites marching to their freedom.Finally, but not the final song, Song of Deliverance, based on Moses' song after crossing the Red Sea from Exodus 15, is likely the best and clearest reference to this profound and true story. It's also one of the better songs on the album because it's not all charging power metal. No, there's rather light breakdown just before the middle and also at the end that adds a reflective character to the story and song.The album comes with a bonus track, Mountain of God. Though the lyrics are hard to define, this song may have something to do with Israel arriving at Mount Sinai and the giving of the ten commandments.While this is probably the best Signum Regis album to date, some might find it too familiar, and there for redundant, thanks to the predictable, or typical, as the case may be, European power metal throughout. Nevertheless, it's also still very good melodic heavy power metal from some talented fellows who know how to get it right. Recommended." - Dangerdog.comExodus Guest VocalistsLance King [ex. Pyramaze, Balance of Power], Michael Vescera [Obsession, Animetal USA], Matt Smith [Theocracy], Daísa Munhoz [Vandroya, Soulspell], Eli Prinsen [Sacred Warrior, The Sacrificed], Samuel Nyman [Manimal], Thomas L. Winkler [Gloryhammer, Emerald], Göran Edman [ex. Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum] and Mayo Petranin [Castaway].
    $14.00
  • Reissue of the band's long out of print album from 2001, originally released on Monster Zero.  The band's sound at this point is a bit more primitive and raw in a way - its definitely guitar freak out psychedelia but there is a desert/stoner rock feel.  More overly like Monster Magnet and Kyuss.  The brain blower is the near 20 minute "Elektrohasch" in wich guitarist Stefan Koglek really lets it all hang out.
    $16.00