The Tower

SKU: SOM314
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Season Of Mist
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Now this stuff in weird and interesting...

Vulture Industries is a Norwegian metal band that has been around for almost 20 years but this is only their third album.  Apparently they were originally a black metal band.  That may be true but there are only vestiges of that in their current sound.  Vulture Industires play the weird metal card - I'd classify them as "avant garde metal", very similar to bands like Arcturus, Diablo Swing Orchestra and Devin Townsend.  Hey what the hell - toss in some Faith No More as well.  This is heavy, guitar driven music with some of that carnival atmosphere that these oddball bands some to love to throw in to keep you off kilter.  The real standout is vocalist Bjørnar Nilsen, who has a real commanding presence on this disc.  Lots of emotion and angst.  A fascinating band.  Highly recommended.

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  • Beautiful second CD from this Greek band formerly known as Will-o The Wisp.  The band continues their with their retro hard rock sound.  Heavy organ and guitar runs with a sombre, doomy vibe lends some comparisons to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.  The band still makes a prog move here and there for good measure.  Highly recommended.Manticore's Breath continue to torture retailers worldwide with their packaging.  The CD packaging is a rather fragile affair and quite gorgeous.  Its an embossed textured cover with beautiful artwork by Harry Clarke that will remind you a bit of Arthur Rackham.  Oh yeah - a limited number edition of 400 tops it all off. 
    $23.00
  • Riverside vocalist Mariusz Duda returns with his fourth Lunatic Soul project.  Duda plays all the instruments except drums which are handled by Indukti's Lawrence Dramowicz.  The last Lunatic Soul album, Impressions, was an all instrumental effort that explored ambient and post-rock territory.  Walking On A Flashlight Beam is a bit similar but Duda does provide vocals from time to time.  Like all of the Lunatic Soul albums that preceded it, WOAFB has a very dark and mysterious vibe to it.  Duda is moving away from exclusively using acoustic instruments.  Textural electronic keyboards predominate and I'm pretty certain he plugs his guitar in as well.  This is another one of his albums that will suck you in.  Highly recommended." I'll come right out and say that Lunatic Soul's new album "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" was my most anticipated album of 2014. Why? Well, Mariusz Duda (of Riverside fame) has created such a brilliantly natural sound in his side project that it has become one of my favorites, not to mention my family's, as well. We simply can't get enough of the acoustic, airy atmospheres combined with the dark, throbbing feelings that swing between transcendence and despair. Lunatic Soul's first three albums are masterpieces of emotion and epiphany, and so any follow-up would have to be something special. Duda, however, has delivered in the most unexpected, brilliant ways possible."Walking on a Flashlight Beam" (WOAFB) is an experience that is as much about lyrics and feelings as it is about music. You need the whole picture in order to understand it truly. Duda has been very forthcoming with theme for this album, as it seems to be rather personal. This album is about those people that prefer to shut themselves in their rooms/homes in order to immerse themselves in the creations of others: films, books, music, games, etc. I think it strays between this setting, however, and the same type of person that shuts themselves up, preferring to create art in private.Like I said, this theme is important to the music. WOAFB is full of bleak tension, cold sublimation, and beautiful simplicity. Duda was inclined to create this album with a wide variety of ethnic instruments, tones, and sounds; from cold trance beats contrasted against radiant acoustic guitar to world music influences combined with a new addition to the sound palette of Lunatic Soul: a subtle, heavily distorted electric guitar that crafts some charging, tumbling grooves. Duda has really expanded the sound of his pet project, and it impressed me to no end to hear the vast variety of sounds that were able to come together into a unified, cohesive mix. Sometimes it feels like Duda has gone post-rock, such as in the opener "Shutting out the Sun". Sometimes Duda simply sings a beautifully wrought melody, as in the spectacular "Treehouse" or one of my favorites, "Gutter" (the chorus will be in your head for weeks). Yet, sometimes Duda just wants to lay down an incredible bass-driven instrumental section, as in the winding, complex "Pygmalion's Ladder".Every track really feels just right. "Cold" feels, well, cold. It feels bare and desolate, with a simple melodic line added to enhance the stark feelings present. Duda is so good at expressing emotion in his music. Yet, this album has really impressed upon me how good he is at creating instrumental sections, as this album is full of them. The supremely subtle title track is an amazing example of this, as Duda builds and builds layers and layers of melody, harmony, tone, and effects. In the end, this album is so concentrated and makes so much sense from track to track that I can barely pick a favorite.This might be my album of the year. Don't be surprised if it is. I know I sound like a Duda fanboy (which I kinda am), but this album reaches the heights of the last three, and then expands on them. Incredibly catchy, wonderfully complex, and darkly eclectic, "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" is a journey into a confined consciousness of creativity, privacy, and enigmatic genius. Duda has once again proven his capabilities." - ProgArchives
    $12.00
  • 2LP white vinyl edition.Stunning second solo effort from Riverside frontman Mariusz Duda. Lunatic Soul explores the quieter, introspective side of the progressive spectrum. Duda plays most of the instruments himself, but he is also helped out by Indukti's Wawrzyniec Dramowic on percussion, and flautist Maciej Szelenbaum. The music has a definite Asian influence with a wonderful melodic flow. Think in terms of Riverside's quieter moments or Opeth's Damnation. It does rock out but not HARD since (once again) there are no electric guitars. This fact doesn't make the album any less intense. Album of the year candidate? Highest recommendation.
    $21.00
  • The Diablo Swing Orchestra dates back to 1501 in Sweden, where history tells the tale of an orchestra that played like no other, with music so seductive and divine that the ensemble overwhelmed audiences all over the country. Their performances rapidly earned a reputation of being feral and vigorous and gained the orchestra a devoted crowd of followers. Their concerts attracted more people than High Mass in church and as a result the orchestra was accused of being treacherous and in league with the devil. The members were accused of being everything from heretics to the spawn of Satan. “The Devil’s Orchestra” was the epithet used by the church in it's attempt to halt the orchestra’s success. However, this eventually became a catchphrase that spread throughout the crowd, and before long it was the popular name of the orchestra. With the accusation of heresy a bounty was put on the orchestra, and as the hostilities from the church grew stronger the orchestra finally felt the need to flee. But they decided that if they were to disappear they should go out in style, by giving one last concert. Before doing so they all signed a pact saying that their descendants were given the task of reuniting the orchestra in 500 years, and that they should continue the orchestra’s work of spreading thought-provoking music. Six envelopes were sealed and given to trustees of the orchestra to pass on to family members. The final concert was a great success. Thousands of people came to see it, and the massive sing-along of the crowd made the performance the most talked about in history. Eventually, the armed guards arrested the orchestra. They were subsequently sentenced to death by hanging. Stockholm 2003. By mere accident two of the original orchestra descendants met in a music shop and began to discuss music. It later turned out that they both had received a strange letter from some ancient relative containing instructions on how to reunite The Devil’s Orchestra. By searching through archives and records they managed to track down the other ancestors. Daniel's sensibility for words and melodies made him the main composer. Annlouice's angelic yet powerful operatic voice gave a bombastic feeling to the music. Andreas swinging and energetic drumming provided the orchestra with a deep and solid foundation. And together with Andy's powerful finger style playing and funk-oriented slapping they made sure the songs had a steady groove. Pontus electronic and experimental influences proved useful as the orchestra wanted a contemporary sound. Johannes's emotive cello-playing, theoretical knowledge and stunning technique completed the orchestra. With reference to the old catchphrase they took the name Diablo Swing Orchestra and are determined to honor the legacy of their ancestors. Since the release of their debut “The Butcher’s Ballroom” in 2006/2007 the orchestra has gained a loyal fan base of their own. People have embraced their sound with open arms and they have been perceived as a fresh breath of air in a genre getting more and more stale and formulaic. The album was also well received among critics earning many rave reviews recognizing the new ideas the band brought to the scene. DSO’s sophomore effort titled “Sing-Along Songs for the damned & Delirious” proves that they are no one hit wonder but are here to stay. The new record set to be released in September 2009 is a smörgåsbord of different levels of musical insanity building on the foundation laid down on “The Butcher’s Ballroom”. Touring will begin in September starting with Progpower USA and will continue in Europe later in the fall.
    $13.00
  • "Keyboard player and mastermind behind Rhapsody of Fire Alex Staropoli says of Live from Chaos to Eternity, "We wanted to deliver a live album that can actually be called a LIVE album. Not one single part was re-recorded in studio as most of bands do. Personally I am always looking for perfection but in the case of this live album I truly believe it had to sound live and maintain both live playing and feeling at 100%." One thing Rhapsody of Fire don't provide is an authentic live sound. Do they carry a massive choir around with them at all times? Does Christopher Lee turn up and deliver his lines on cue? How genuine are the orchestral sections?It may seem that I'm riffing on Rhapsody (of Fire) but I'm not, I love them (admittedly their earlier stuff before the of Fire suffix mainly but that's not important now but let's get real shall we?) Rhapsody of Fire aren't the most stripped back group in the world. That said, this is a marked improvement on the Live in Canada release – it's got more songs on it for a start! Rhapsody have some of the greatest songs in the power metal canon - "Unholy Warcry", "Land of Immortals" and of course the utterly brilliant "The Village Of Dwarves" (betcha thought "Emerald Sword" would be next!) Yep, they're massively OTT and in many ways total Marmite (love 'em or hate 'em) but if you would like a place to begin to investigate their work here is as good a place as any to start." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00
  • Gomorrha was a German band from Cologne that formed in 1969.  Trauma was originally recorded with German lyrics in 1970.  Dissatisfied with the results the band re-recorded the album but with English lyrics.  The album was released by Cornet (a subsidiary of BASF).  The band's sound was rooted in the underground hard rock sound that was becoming more prevalent in Germany at the time - sort of like Hairy Chapter, Virus and Sperrmull.  The album mostly contains shorter tracks with nice organ/guitar interplay.  The show stopper (and the reason to own this) is the 13 minute title track.  This one is a real psychedelic brain blower - think Deep Purple meets Guru Guru.  Total awesomeness.  This reissue from Long Hair Music includes the entire original German vocal version as a bonus.   
    $19.00
  • Fantastic 2 CD set of their complete performance at Progfest '97 as well as a new 1 minute studio track.
    $24.00
  • "This was the first U.S.-released CD-5 from Kate Bush, assembled from parts of three prior U.K. CD single releases (the additional tracks can also be found on This Woman's Work). It includes the album mix of "The Sensual World," as well as an instrumental version (she's avoided the extended remixes and rethinks this time), which, the video and other work considered, comes off as a wonderful pagan ditty, despite the rather flat and slightly muddy mixing job. In addition, there's also "Be Kind to My Mistakes" from the Nicholas Roeg-directed Castaway (an otherwise dull and disappointing film, despite Oliver Reed and the lead actress spending most of her onscreen time in a state of undress), "Ken" (from the mini-movie G.L.C., released only in the U.K.; she also contributed the incidental score), and "I'm Still Waiting," which, with "Be Kind to My Mistakes," graced the CD-5 release of the U.K. remix of "This Woman's Work." "Be Kind to My Mistakes" and "I'm Still Waiting" are good examples of a Kate Bush song -- full tilt percussion, almost jazzy vocal arrangements that sometimes seem unconnected to the rhythm, and other times seem part of it; "I'm Still Waiting," unfortunately, also has a little of Bush's tendency to shriek histrionically for emphasis. "Ken" is an outright crowd-pleasing stomp of a piece, not so much arranged as bashed together -- basically a theme for one of the major characters of G.L.C., and performed with unabashed enjoyment with drums, bass, voice, and Fairlight strings. The only real negative here is that Columbia chose to leave out two other tracks released in the U.K.: "The Confrontation" and "One Last Look Around the House Before We Go...," both on the U.K. 12" version of "Love & Anger."" - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • 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
  • You don't own this? Shredfest quartet of Tony Levin, John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, and Jordan Rudess.
    $14.00
  • "Slowly becoming famous in my book for cooking up some excellent traditional-yet-novel power metal with heavy and thrash influences (Black Majesty, Pegazus, Knightmare, Taberah, Dungeon/Lord, Empires Of Eden, etc.), Australia delivers yet again with power/thrashers Damnations Day who, after 8 years, have kicked out a debut full-length with the stimulating title Invisible, The Dead.True to the formula of most bands that merge power metal hooks with thrashier riffs, Damnations Day keeps the focus neatly divided between solid vocal melodies, charging rhythm hooks, and some very good screams courtesy of singer Mark Kennedy. Kennedy may not have the most fine-tuned pitch control, and his softer clean vocals are sometimes (see below) lacking a certain conviction and warmth, but he’s really on the top of his game when he gets screaming. The vocal work on the ripping “I Am” and “Carried Above The Sun” is top-notch, and, along with the tight guitar work, a commanding asset for the band.The guitars are a serious propelling force on Invisible, The Dead. Despite the occasional sparseness of sound here, the variety of riffs, licks, and lead melodies consistently do not fail to entertain throughout the entire album (well, on the quick songs, anyway). Dean Kennedy (Brother of vocalist Mark, if I’m not mistaken) of Teramaze fills the drum seat and, if I may be permitted to say, he often sounds as if he may be performing beneath himself. There are a few spots where the drums kick into overdrive however, and the listener is treated to punishing percussion.Curiously enough, the album ends with a rather capable acoustic serenade in “A World To Come”, which features a dreamy melody, abrupt tenderness from Kennedy, and rich backing vocals that enliven the soft track and engage the listener up to the end. The net result is another of those rare ballads that properly captures my attention and may even be my favorite track on the album. Unfortunately, I don’t find the other acoustic track (“A Ghost In Me”) to be nearly so impressive, and it’s only effect is to break the momentum right in the middle of the album.With the excellent closer and several other very strong tracks throughout (especially “I Am” and “Reflections”), Invisible, The Dead is a very encouraging first bout of metal. I can’t cite the band’s soft tunes as stumbling blocks, with as much as I enjoy “A World To Come”, but I feel that the groups’ strengths lie more reliably in their uptempo tunes and allowing the guitars to cut loose. I recommend this album to any that enjoy an accessible fusion of power and thrash metal, and anyone looking for some very good high-pitched vocal work. Invisible, The Dead is a professional, powerful, and accomplished debut that paves the way for a bright future." - Blackwind Metal
    $14.00
  • "For Flotsam and Jetsam, the heavy metal highway has been sprinkled with nails. First, the band's frontman Jason Newsted quit to seek his fame and fortune with Metallica. Then, after securing a major label deal, Flotsam and Jetsam were cajoled into toning down to appeal to the masses. Eleven years after releasing its classic album Doomsday for the Deceiver, the band returned to the label that signed it, writing more aggressive material than it had in years. High is a declaration of hate, brimming with full-fisted guitar riffs and head-bobbing beats--an unrestrained battle cry from a band that refuses to lay down and die." --Jon Wiederhorn
    $4.00