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
Rate: 
0
Ozrics go Bollywood. Who would have thought?
You must login or register to post reviews.

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.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Yet another brilliant work from this Norwegian prog band.  The Greatest Show On Earth is the band's third effort.  While the first album Identity delved into alternative/prog realms bearing similarity to Radiohead, their second album All Rights Removed was full on Pink Floyd worship.  This latest effort carries on in similar fashion.  There are parts of the album that were written with tracing paper.  It evokes the mood and feel of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and maybe even a bit of The Wall.  This isn't to say the band doesn't inject any personality of their own - they do.  There are contemporary elements, its just that when they go into full on Pink Floyd mode its so apparent and so well executed that it blinds you to everything else that is going on.  What Bi Kyon Ran is to King Crimson or The Watch is to Genesis, Airbag is to Pink Floyd.  Original?  Truth be told not really.  It doesn't matter, its so well executed that you will just immerse yourself in the listening experience.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Airbag is a new young prog band from Norway. Their music has a dreamy quality that will have you floating in the clouds. If you are fan of Riverside's lighter moments you will spooge over this. Definite references to Radiohead and Porcupine Tree will spring to mind as you listen. The music never explodes - it takes the slow fire approach creating constant tension. Lots of beautiful melodies wafting through your skull from the first listen. The disc comes with a really cool die cut sleeve and booklet (check out the jpeg). Highly recommended. These guys could potentially break big.
    $15.00
  • "Love it or hate it, Over-Nite Sensation was a watershed album for Frank Zappa, the point where his post-'60s aesthetic was truly established; it became his second gold album, and most of these songs became staples of his live shows for years to come. Whereas the Flo and Eddie years were dominated by rambling, off-color comedy routines, Over-Nite Sensation tightened up the song structures and tucked sexual and social humor into melodic, technically accomplished heavy guitar rock with jazzy chord changes and funky rhythms; meanwhile, Zappa's growling new post-accident voice takes over the storytelling. While the music is some of Zappa's most accessible, the apparent callousness and/or stunning sexual explicitness of "Camarillo Brillo," "Dirty Love," and especially "Dinah-Moe Humm" leave him on shaky aesthetic ground. Zappa often protested that the charges of misogyny leveled at such material missed out on the implicit satire of male stupidity, and also confirmed intellectuals' self-conscious reticence about indulging in dumb fun; however, the glee in his voice as he spins his adolescent fantasies can undermine his point. Indeed, that enjoyment, also evident in the silly wordplay, suggests that Zappa is throwing his juvenile crassness in the face of critical expectation, asserting his right to follow his muse even if it leads him into blatant stupidity (ironic or otherwise). One can read this motif into the absurd shaggy-dog story of a dental floss rancher in "Montana," the album's indisputable highlight, which features amazing, uncredited vocal backing from Tina Turner and the Ikettes. As with much of Zappa's best '70s and '80s material, Over-Nite Sensation could be perceived as ideologically problematic (if you haven't got the constitution for FZ's humor), but musically, it's terrific." - Allmusic
    $12.00
  • Intense new band fronted by former Zero Hour vocalist Fred Marshall. The focus of the band is the dual guitars of Marc Pattison and Christian Wentz. The formidable rhythm section consists of Sadus members Jon Allen and Steve DiGiorgio. Marshall sings in a purely clean style and it mates very well with the speed/tech/thrash compositions. Don't look for too much in the way of keyboard action here. Guitars are the focus. Many played in unison, Pattison and Wentz are super tight. Plenty of nice soloing as well. This one will make many Top 10 lists at years end. Oh yeah - nice to hear Fred singing again after the stint with the Tiptons. Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • The Journey Continues!"To Travel For Evermore," the second album from the Danish metal band Wuthering Heights, is the sequel to their celebrated debut "Within". This second part of a projected musical trilogy finds the band with a new and stronger lineup. Main composer/guitarist Erik Ravn is reunited with ex-Tad Morose vocalist Kristen Andren but the lineup now also includes Time Machine bassist Lorenzo Deho and guitarist Henrik Flymann of Zool. With twin lead guitars the band has expanded their musical vision to encompass neoclassical metal as well as symphonic speed metal. Wuthering Heights will appeal to fans of Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, Angra and Yngwie Malmsteen. The album was produced by Tommy Hansen who cut his teeth producing Helloween, Pretty Maids, and Iron Fire.
    $5.00
  • "Following the success of their debut ‘Vitriol’, Symphonic metallers Evenoire have announced the release of their sophomore album ‘Herons’. The band combines Gothic and Symphonic Metal with a very distinctive Medieval/Folk approach, with a special mention to extraordinary lead vocalist Lisy Stefanoni, whose ethereal and powerful voice and evocative flute add an extra dimension to the melodies and make her one of the most promising female singers around. And if ‘Vitriol’ was centered on “water” themes, this new album focuses on “fire” and all those mythological creatures that represent it. The music is heavier than ever before although the lyrical side of the band is still prominent. ‘Herons’ was recorded at Dreamsound Studios in Munich, Germany, with Mario Lochert, Dejan Djukovic and Daniel Rehbein (Emergency Gate, Graveworm, Visions of Atlantis) behind the consolle. Mastering and Mixing duties were handled by Jan Vacik (Dreamscape). The band has also announced the collaboration with keyboardist/producer Riccardo Studer (Stormlord, Hour Of Penance). A very special guest appearance by singer Linnéa Vikström (Therion) is also confirmed."
    $15.00
  • "Formed in 1979, Sky brought together the worlds of rock and classical music in a highly successful and inspiring way. Featuring the gifted talents of guitarist JOHN WILLIAMS, percussionist TRISTAN FRY, legendary bass player HERBIE FLOWERS, former Curved Air keyboard player FRANCIS MONKMAN and guitarist KEVIN PEEK, Sky recorded their debut album at Abbey Road studios in the early months of 1979. The band’s self-titled debut reached the UK top ten in May 1979 and went on to achieve Platinum status in the UK and was also a major hit in Europe and Australia. Also a huge live attraction, SKY released this, their second album (a double LP), in April 1980. "SKY 2” was a fine achievement featuring the classic tracks "Hotta”, "Sahara”, "Vivaldi” (a re-working of the Curved Air piece), the epic side-long "Fifo” and the hit single "Toccata” and topped the UK album charts upon its release, becoming Sky’s most commercially successful album.This Esoteric Recordings edition has been newly re-mastered and includes a DVD (NTSC / Region Free) featuring all of Sky’s surviving BBC TV appearances in 1980, all previously unreleased on video or DVD – namely the highlight’s of Sky’s concert at Hammersmith Odeon in 1980 as broadcast by the BBC on "Rhythm on Two” and Sky’s performance of "Toccata” on "Top of the Pops” in April 1980.The original album artwork is fully restored and the booklet features a new essay."
    $19.00
  • Ambient/prog reworking of Dead End Kings arrives in a limited edition 2 disc digibook.  You get the CD version as well as a DVD featuring a 5.1 and 24 bit hi-resolution stereo mix."After last year’s successful release of their 9th full-length Dead End Kings, Katatonia have returned with a special release entitled Dethroned and Uncrowned. This album is special for two reasons. Firstly, it was brought to life with the help of the so-called ‘Katatoniacs’; that is, the fans were the ones who financed this project through a pledge campaign the band had set up where fans could pledge for various album formats and other items such as drumsticks, lyric sheets, posters, backdrops and even one of Anders’s old guitars. Needless to say, the pledge campaign was highly successful and reached its goal in four days. Secondly, the album is special music-wise, as it contains the same tracks that were found on Dead End Kings, but all of them have undergone a major makeover. As Katatonia wrote on their website: ‘the drums will be dethroned and the distorted rhythm guitars will be uncrowned’. What they have basically done is that they have kept the vocal lines intact but have experimented with the rest of the music, creating stripped-down, semi-acoustic versions of the songs with the focus on ambience and atmosphere, showcasing the band’s progressive song-writing talent. Katatonia have masterfully and rather elegantly transformed the songs into totally different entities and have given themselves as well as the listeners the opportunity to discover different aspects of each track, by adding little interesting details or emphasizing some parts that were not as noticeable as in the previous version, like the Jan Johansson-esque piano touches in ‘Leech’, or the 70s prog vibe in ‘Dead Letters’. All in all, Katatonia have managed yet again to create a beautiful, melancholic and touching piece of work that will certainly fulfill the expectations of the majority of their fans. Those who were not very keen on Dead End Kings (if such people exist), might enjoy some of the songs in their new versions, and, who knows, they might even appreciate that album a bit more after listening to this." - Metal Recusants
    $9.00
  • "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
  • Second album from this interesting Danish band incorporating elements of thrash, death and even melodic metal in an usual way. Curiously enough this was created as a binaural recording and should be listened to with headphones. Recommended to fans of Meshuggah and Soilwork.
    $10.00
  • Evergrey are back and better than ever!  I think the general consensus is that as the band became more and more popular the music became a bit more commercial and the production slicker.  Tom Englund has gone back to the basics and its clearly the right move.  Jonas Ekdahl (drums) and Henrik Danhage (guitars) have returned to the fold and production has been handed over to Jacob Hansen.  This is a return to the "classic" Evergrey sound - that perfect balance of melody and heaviness with the right amount of "prog" injected when necessary.  COMEBACK ALBUM OF THE YEAR!  BUY OR DIE!"One of the leading names in the power/progressive metal world is the Swedish five-piece, Evergrey. Forming in 1995, the band has released eight full length albums, with number nine releasing this fall. The band has been known for relatively dark lyrics and concept albums since their debut, and because of this fact, it was very difficult for me to get into their music. I can easily count the amount of times I thought “I should listen to Evergrey” on one hand. Though I wasn’t well versed in their discography, what I had heard was moving quite slowly, was downright melancholic, and just couldn’t catch my attention. That was until the Hymns for the Broken album landed in my inbox.First off, the notable changes in the lineup, with the return of Jonas Ekdahl (drums) and Henrik Danhage (guitar) grabbed my attention immediately. Though the band briefly spoke about the addition of the two previous members on their Facebook, “What can we say? We missed each other.” I truly believe that this decision, and the amazing mixing by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe, Primal Fear) and production quality are what set this album up for its coming success.The album kicks off with a very eerie intro track, then jumps into the first single and video, “King of Errors”. Even without being an Evergrey fan in particular, I have always known who Tom Englund was, as his voice is so unique and legendary in the industry that I couldn’t ever really escape it. This song is a great display of the power and ability he has as a vocalist to truly bring a wonderfully written song to an entirely new level. The blend of the guitar riffs and keyboard work is perfection to say the least, but when the awe-inspiring guitar solo hit, I knew this album had me by its teeth.Immediately following is another one of the strongest tracks on the album, “A New Dawn” with a strong and hard-hitting guitar and bass riff that doesn’t ever really let go throughout the song. This song features one of the more beautiful keyboard solos on the album, but yet again that guitar solo just comes out of nowhere and destroys any solo I have ever heard this band release. “Black Undertow” is another perfect example of why Englund is so well-respected in the music world. It begins with his chillingly lower vocal range, but builds back up to where he truly shines. This song not only features another soaring and strong chorus, but the rhythm work between all instruments keeps it dark and eerie, though the keyboard lightly dances above it all.The title track to the record explodes into this phenomenal musical intro, but fades just as quickly as it hits. Boasting some of the strongest, most emotional lyrics on the album, the song hits a chord in many personal ways. “Scream loud, these hymns are for the broken,” are just some of this crowd enticing chorus that Englund sings flawlessly throughout. Bringing the album to a close is the over seven minute song “The Aftermath” which begins in a ballad-like fashion, but builds to a very strong finale. The tempo remains slow, but the flawless movement in the instruments keeps it absolutely enthralling. The last half of the song is entirely instrumental, and the conversations between keyboard, bass, and drums is something that I could listen to on repeat for hours, especially when the haunting lead melody soars above it all.If you can’t tell, I can’t think of a single moment on this album I don’t absolutely love. As someone who could never get hooked by an Evergrey album, I can assure you this is not just ‘fandom’ talking. Hymns for the Broken is a perfect album that even after weeks of constant play, I can not get enough of. Perhaps it is indeed perfection, or perhaps it just hit me at the right time in my life, either way I am in love. Easily a current contender for album of the year, it’s so full of beautiful melodies and amazing arrangements that any fan of power or progressive metal will absolutely love. I don’t doubt that all previous fans of the band will appreciate this album as much as I do, but I sincerely hope that new listeners give this record a fair and objective chance as well.This is definitely their most ambitious release yet, and they absolutely nailed it!" - Metalholic 
    $15.00
  • Jeff Beck developed an interest in fusion and blew 'em all away! Features the classic "Freeway Jam". One of the great 70s fusion discs - remastered edition.
    $8.00
  • Hand Made was a transitional album in the sense that it marked the change in personnel leading up to the "classic" lineup. This is high wattage progressive fusion from Klaus Doldinger, Curt Cress, Wolfgang Schmid, and Frank Roberts. Roberts was subsequently replaced by Kristian Schulze. Highly recommended.
    $14.00