Transformation

SKU: EANTCD1050
Label:
Esoteric Antenna
Category:
Progressive Rock
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"Transformation is a very apt title for Canadian Prog veterans FM, for not only has their music transformed numerous times over the years, so has their line-up. Joining bassist/keyboard player Cameron Hawkins this time round is drummer Paul DeLong (Roger Hodgson/Kim Mitchell), violinist/mandolin player Edward Bernard, who has performed with Druckfarben and violinist (yes, there are two violinists here) Aaron Solomon. The recording group being completed by legendary Rush, Dream Theater, Fates Warning producer/engineer Terry Brown, who does an excellent job.

So you'll gather then that the first proper FM album since 1987's Tonight still follows in its predecessors footsteps of placing violin front and centre. Yet while that may sound risky in today's often sanitised Prog world, Transformation sounds remarkably contemporary and, at the same time, true to this band's 70s roots. More beautiful than punchy, in places the songs on this album feel like Yes with copious amounts of violin strung over it, the air being light, melodic and captivating. DeLong is stunning throughout, his rare ability to be ridiculously busy and intricate, underpinned by a solidity which fixes everything in place. Nary a second goes by where the percussionist isn't whispering a ghost beat, paradiddling the toms to within an inch of their lives, or alternating between snare, hi-hat and cymbals at break neck speed. However, amazingly, he never interrupts the beautiful flow of the vocals provided by Hawkins, Solomon and Bernard; the trio causing another reason for celebration in the process. However no album was built on drums and voice alone, so the stunning, varied violin, viola and mandolin work which weaves and dances across Hawkins deep resonant bass and darting, lilting, pointed synth contributions, are as impressive as they are vital to the unbridled success of this album.

There's a real depth of sound and arrangement across the nine tracks on show, the likes of "Tour Of Duty" a journey from fragile art through fractured beauty, into controlled frenzy. "The Love Bomb (Universal Love)" and "Brave New Worlds" contrast this approach excellently, a sparse framework thriving on roaming bass, while gentle string stabs allow the vocals to express the emotions of melancholic introspection, but overriding hope and belief displayed in every one of the songs on this album. And it's that uplifting feeling which really infuses Transformation with the power to captivate and control your attention from start to finish, whether through the harsher attack of the bristling "Re-Boot, Reawaken", unsettling pulse of "Children Of Eve", the almost jauntily optimistic "Safe And Sound" or idyllic "Heaven On Earth".

Often when a band reappears from the past, as if by magic to reclaim their past glories, the results are safe and deflating. Transformation however falls far from that trap, instead announcing itself with a triumphant confidence which never fades once as its beauties unfold, and vitally it just gets better with each and every luscious visit to the land of hope and understanding it creates." - Sea Of Tranquility

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  • "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
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  • "SILENT VOICES is a relatively unknown band hailing from Finland, nevertheless they had already published many recommended albums such as their debut in 2002 “Chapters Of Tragedy” or 2006’s “Building Up The Apathy” or the great “Infernal” (2004), the line-up team is also composed by ex-members of REQUIEM and also share some musicians with SONATA ARCTICA like Henrik Klingenberg as keyboardist and bass player Pasi Kauppinen (WINTERBORN / KLINGENBERG SYNDROME). It’s been a while since the last SILENT VOICES album was out in the streets, it had occurred a lot of things in their lives, lots of turmoils, hassles -you name it-, the band was on deep winter sleep and they lost their vocalist, the great but rather inconstant Michael Henneken (SENTIMENT / ADAMANTRA) was gone for good.While they were in quest of searching for a new perfect singer they opted for the trick that consist to have different famous vocalists at the same time in order to increase their creativity and the band’s polyvalence, it’s also a good marketing move but the risk is to weakened the impact, to have a dilution of the personality of the music with each guest singer's specificity but finally the idea works pretty well, I believe.Now the new permanent singer for SILENT VOICES is known as Teemu Koskela from WINTERBORN’s fame (their 2008’s release “Farewell To Saints” is warmly recommended). But the album contains, beside the impressive vocals of Mr. Koskela in the very first song (which is a killer), nothing more than four guest vocalists such as:Mats Leven (ex-TREAT / ex-SWEDISH EROTICA / ex-ABSTRACT ALGEBRA / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-SOUTHPAW / ex-THERION / ex-ADAGIO / ex-AT VANCE / ex-FATAL FORCE / ex-SABBTAIL / DOGFACE), Michael Vescera (ex-LOUDNESS / OBSESSION / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-FATAL FORCE / ex-DR SIN / ex-REIGN OF TERROR / ex-KILLING MACHINE / WARRION / ANIMETAL USA / SAFE HEAVEN / MVP), Tony Kakko (SONATA ARCTICA / ex-NOTHERN KINGS) and Mike DiMeo (PHENOMENA / THE LIZARDS / ex-RIOT / ex-ILLIUM / ex-MASTERPLAN).Swedish citizen Mats Leven is absolutely stunning within the songs “No Turning Back” & with “Burning Shine”, his vivid interpretations, his deep implication and his voice leaves no hope for another contender, his signature vocalizing are clearly unbeatable, he is the king. Those songs are very well composed , maybe a little more direct than before but with still some intriguing arrangements and great orchestrations plus as always some acrobatic playing.Mike Vescera from USA delivers also a very solid performance, within the third track that is quite reminiscent of the SILENT VOICES old style, with an amazing display of virtuosity in the solo section, that’s funny that they opted for the titled “Reign Of Terror” with Vescera singing on it. Tony Kakko is the weakest of all the hired vocalist, the track is quite good but don’t fit with the thin voice of the SONATA ARCTICA’s mastermind, I believe that Teemu Koskela could do a better job with that particular one.“Black Water” is an instrumental number that allows to each member to shine a little more, a fine demonstration of agility. New York City very own Mike DiMeo is doing a fine rendition of this song called “Through My Prison Walls” but I still think that Teemu is able to sing even better, the long epic cut itself  is a good mix of past and fresh Prog Metal , with some amazing musical parts and many twists and turns.Only little disappointment is the length of the disc itself, after seven years in the making I had wished for one more song with Teemu, a remake of an old song could have been a good ide. Maybe this is their best album, I don’t know only time will tell, but it surely can compete with their great back-catalogue, easily. " - Metal Temple
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  • "There are few bands, with a better than 25 years career, that have been as consistent in their sound and output as Denmark's Royal Hunt. Sure, they've had their share of personnel changes, significantly in the vocalist position, yet they carry on with increasing success. Recently, some of that success comes from one simple yet significant change. They brought Pennsylvania native D.C. Cooper back on the microphone. For my money, he'll always be the voice of Royal. He remains so, and the band records their thirteen album with Cooper, XIII - Devil's Dozen, his fifth on vocals for Royal Hunt.For those unfamiliar with Royal Hunt, which I doubt if you're reading this, the band performs melodic and symphonic heavy metal, with large emphasis on the first two descriptors. The symphonic element comes from founder and principal songwriter Andre Anderson's influence and keyboard presence. I'm presuming it's his synths that account for the large than life orchestration and not an actual orchestra. PR material was wanting on that information. Suffice to say, the symphonic layer provides two things. It provides a lush and lavish canvas and reinforces the melody of the arrangement, in every song. After this, Anderson offers keyboard solos throughout, sharing the limelight with the guitar leads. And those leads are as present and immense as everything else. Actually, I think the guitar presence is even larger on this album than most. Jonas Larsen is at the top of his game.Following these things, Cooper is also in top form, with a strong vocal presence. His skill comes from his natural ability to follow the melody and harmony of an arrangement, and then stay in range. Then there's the character of the songs, which has been alluded to by speaking of the particular musical elements.What's notable in those song arrangements is the importance of harmony and melody, but also the basic rock groove. This is where, from the band's inception, classic melodic hard rock has been as much a pillar of the musical foundation as the symphonic element. When these things dovetail together as with So Right So Wrong, How Do You Know, Way Too Late, and the quite catchy Hear On A Platte, Royal Hunt is a formidable melodic metal powerhouse. And that was only to mention four songs. They're all outstanding, all terrific and no filler. Once more, with XIII - Devil's Dozen, Royal Hunt's melodic and symphonic heavy metal is consistent, creative, and entertaining. Sweet stuff and strongly recommended." - Dangerdog.com 
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  • Deluxe 5CD overview of Anthony Phillips catalog."His extensive back catalogue is celebrated with the release of "HARVEST OF THE HEART” a 5CD deluxe boxed set, which celebrates Anthony’s rich musical heritage by featuring recordings made between 1969 and the present day, drawn from his many albums. In addition the set will include ten previously unreleased tracks, the unreleased 1973 recording "Silver Song” (featuring Phil Collins as vocalist) and the rare track "Compression” by Mike Rutherford, (previously unreleased on CD) which features Anthony and was the B-side to Mike’s 1980 single "Working in Line”."TRACK LIST:DISC ONE1.    F SHARP2.    SILVER SONG (1973 SINGLE VERSION) – WITH PHIL COLLINS3.    FIELD OF ETERNITY4.    WIND – TALES5.    WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS6.    HENRY – PORTRAITS FROM TUDOR TIMESi.    FANFAREii.    LUTE’S CHORUSiii.    MISTY BATTLEMENTSiv.    LUTE’S CHORUS REPRISEv.    HENRY GOES TO WARvi.    DEATH OF A KNIGHTvii.    TRIUMPHANT RETURN7.    GOD IF I SAW HER NOW8.    OLD WIVES TALES9.    SCOTTISH SUITE - I. SALMON LEAP10.    SCOTTISH SUITE – II. PARTING THISTLE11.    SCOTTISH SUITE – III. ELECTRIC REAPER12.    SCOTTISH SUITE – IV. AMORPHOUS, CADAVEROUS AND NEBULOUS13.    SCOTTISH SUITE – V. SALMON’S LAST SLEEPWALK14.    WE ARE ALL AS WE LIE15.    NOW WHAT (ARE THEY DOING TO MY LITTLE FRIENDS)?16.    PAPER CHASEDISC TWO1.    WISE AFTER THE EVENT2.    UM & AARGH3.    SISTERS OF REMINDUM4.    BLEAK HOUSE5.    NIGHTMARE6.    LUCY WILL (ORIGINAL MIX)7.    COMPRESSION – MIKE RUTHERFORD8.    POLY PIECE9.    ARBORETUM SUITE: IV. LIGHTS ON THE HILL10.    FROSTED WINDOWS (VARIATION I)11.    PRELUDE ‘8412.    ANTHEM 1984DISC THREE1.    FALLING FOR LOVE2.    THE BALLAD OF PENLEE3.    EXOCET4.    SISTINE5.    APRIL6.    SHE’LL BE WAITING7.    LET US NOW MAKE LOVE8.    PROMENADE9.    SUITE: SEA DOGS MOTORING: III. SEA AIR10.    TEARS ON A RAINY DAY11.    EXILE12.    CARNIVAL13.    ELEVENSES14.    TARKA – MOVEMENT I: THE FIRST YEAR15.    TARKA – POSTLUDE: THE ANTHEM16.    LUCY – AN ILLUSIONDISC FOUR1.    STRANGER2.    SLOW DANCE ("HARVEST OF THE HEART” EDITED VERSION)3.    UNHEARD CRY4.    AUBADE5.    SARAH BLAKELEY’S EVENING6.    CREATION7.    LA DOLOROSA8.    CATHEDRAL WOODS9.    SERENITA10.    LIFEBOAT SUITE11.    LAST GOODBYES (FROM "THE LIVING ROOM CONCERT”)12.    COLLECTIONS (FROM "THE LIVING ROOM CONCERT”)13.    SLEEPFALL (FROM "THE LIVING ROOM CONCERT”)14.    GYPSY SUITE – MOVEMENT I: FIRST LIGHT15.    GYPSY SUITE – MOVEMENT III: EVENING CIRCLE16.    CREATURES OF THE MAGIC WATER – OPENING THEME17.    ISLAND OF STONEDISC FIVE1.    MIDWAY: ISLAND OF LIFE OPENING THEME2.    ONZA – EATER OF SOULS3.    JURASSIC SHARK – OPENING THEME4.    FIGHT TO THE DEATH5.    FROM THE JAWS OF DEATH – TOUCHING THE FACE OF GOD6.    RAY’S SONG7.    I WISH THIS WOULD NEVER END8.    MAJESTIC WHALES9.    WILDLIFE FLOTILLA10.    WHITE SPIDER11.    KISSING GATE12.    NOCTURNE13.    KING OF THE MOUNTAINS14.    CIRCLE OF LIGHT15.    THE GOLDEN LEAVES OF FALL16.    COURTESAN17.    SPEAK OF REMARKABLE THINGS18.    RIVER OF LIFEPREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS19.    CITY OF LIGHT20.    NIGHTJAR21.    SLOW ROLLER22.    IMPERIUM23.    A SIMPLE TRUTH24.    VESPERTINE25.    FORGET-ME-NOT26.    THE STORM OF THE WINDHOVER27.    PAS DE DEUX28.    RINGER
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  • Sanctuary "Expanded De-Luxe Edition" remaster released in 2003. First album plus the following bonus tracks:1. Bird Of Prey (US album version) 2. Born In A Trunk (prev. unreleased alternate version) 3. Come Away Melinda (prev. unreleased alternate version) 4. Gypsy (prev. unreleased extended mix) 5. Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (prev. unreleased version) 6. Born In A Trunk (prev. unreleased instrumental version) 7. Dreammare (BBC live version) 8. Gypsy (BBC live version)
    $13.00
  • "It's a strange thing, but hardly uncommon in the Internet age. I had to find out about Pennsylvania's Mindaze through a German promotion outfit distributing promotional packages for Swedish label Inner Wound Recordings. Mind you, Mindmaze's roots are in Allentown, a mere hour drive from Dangerdog HQ. Here we have their sophomore effort Back From The Edge, soon to get more and better interest thanks to this international promotion.Mindmaze works from the roots of traditional melodic heavy metal, and then throws in female lead vocals with a good mixture of progressive power metal. The band is essentially a trio, led by siblings Jeff and Sarah Teets, with guests filling the bass guitar chair. For the album session recording that duty fell to Symphony X's Mike LePond. They get additional support from Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson (Moment of Flight), Pharaoh guitarist Matt Johnsen (The Machine Stops), and Lord guitarist Lord Tim (Onward Destiny Calls II).Keeping good company with talented musicians is one thing, but delivering the heavy metal goods is another. And Mindmaze does. I was particularly impressed at the depth of the songwriting and arrangements. All the songs are thick with groove, harmony, and melody, yet sufficiently intriguing thanks to shifts and twists from tempo to instrumentation. Significant to the latter is Jeff Teets' impressive guitar lines. His riffs and leads are rather rather large, rousing and entertaining. So much so, one might call this a guitar-oriented metal album. If you like sharp guitar work, you will definitely enjoy this album. As for sister Sarah's voice, her vocals are essentially straight foward, easily in the range of hard rock and heavy metal. What she's not is some crazy operatic singer trying to impress you with her range and pierce your eardrums. She reminds me of A Sound of Thunder's Nina Osegueda, but not as screamo. With that reference, I would suggest that, if you like ASoT, you're going to love Mindmaze.As for individual songs, I won't bore you with minutae. You can listen to a few tracks below. I was immediately pleased with Dreamwalker, Moment of Flight, and The Machine Stops. The latter two having perhaps the most 'proggish' moments of the album. Not so much for Consequences of Choice. It's not a bad song, but just seems more riff driven and even-handed, with little intrigue. But it in no way diminishes the strength of the whole as Back From The Edge a fine listen from start to finish. Easily recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00
  • The Japanese East Wind label was active in the 70s and into the early 80s.  This was a jazz label that focused on Japanese artists but also covered many popular US players.  While not as overtly audiophile as Three Blind Mice, the East Wind label was always noted for immaculate reference quality production.Universal Japan has released 72 titles from the East Wind catalog in extremely limited editions.  We've cherry picked those titles that we think are of interest to our customer base.Masahiko Togashi is a wheelchair bound percussionist who has had quite a prolific career.  Much of his output would fall into the free jazz/improv category.  Spiritual Nature is a bit different.  While its probably the most "out" recording on East Wind it holds together and is quite a beautiful work.  The album features a large size ensemble of musicians, the most notable being Sadao Watanabe (reeds) and Masahiko Satoh (piano).  You need to think of the album as one continuous organic work.  The music has a definite Japanese feel in sound and lives up to its title - its quite spiritual sounding.  Taken as a whole it has a cosmic, spaced out vibe.  OK some skronking here and there but overall quite powerful.  Definitely a late night listen with the lights out.  Superior recording to boot!  
    $16.00