Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus

Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus

BY Spirit

(Customer Reviews)
$12.00
$ 7.20
SKU: 485173-2
Label:
Epic Legacy
Category:
Progressive Rock
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"Spirit was formed with the intention to combine jazz, rock, classical, and folk with a mystical orientation. Led by the family duo of Hendrix-inspired guitarist Randy California and his uncle, jazz drummer Ed Cassidy (whose shaved head--some 20 years ahead of its time--was the band's visual focus), Spirit had a few idiosyncratic hits such as "I Got A Line On You." The band didn't reach its prime until Twelve Dreams, after which they promptly broke up. A loosely constructed sci-fi concept album, it contains the band's biggest hit, the ecological "Nature's Way" (complete with booming kettle drums), the surreal rock of "Animal Zoo," and the orchestral psychedelia of "Life Has Just Begun." Bristling with ideas, energy, and California's meaty guitar, Twelve Dreams exemplifies the best of the late '60s experimentalism."

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  • "Iced Earth are going through a bit of a renaissance period at the moment. While they do have many hardcore fans who would defend their back catalogue to the end, honestly the heavy metal titans haven’t made a truly exciting album in about twenty years; that is, they hadn’t, until the release of 2011’s Dystopia. After two decades of putting out stale and generally uninteresting meat and potatoes heavy metal, finally they had an album that managed to match up to their first few records, one with the power and energy to justify their continued status as metal heroes. Plagues of Babylon is its follow-up, and thankfully they have managed to take this momentum forward and release another great album.Opening with the title track’s marching drum beat (strangely similar to Dystopia in that regard) and ominous harmonized leads, as soon as the heavy, chugging main riff kicks in it’s clear that this album is going to be a worthy successor. Noticeably, the production is very good, giving the guitars a sharp razor edge that albums like the totally flat The Glorious Burden lacked. Mainman Jon Schaffer churns out some of the best riffs in his career on this album, especially on the raging and thrashy Democide. Some new blood is brought in with an all new rhythm section, bassist Luke Appleton helping give the album its low-end crunch while drummer Raphael Saini (who was sadly since left) punctuates the songs with intricate tom patterns and ride cymbal work while maintaining a constant driving power. Stu Block meanwhile, who debuted as vocalist on Dystopia, continues to make sure that fan favourite Matt Barlow is not missed too much, his gruff voice helping give the songs a darker edge while his highs are utilised when appropriate, never being over-used.This is hardly perfect though. Plagues is a bit front-loaded, the second half never quite managing to match up to the first, especially considering it contains two somewhat unnecessary covers. The first is Spirit of the Times by Sons of Liberty, a Jon Schaffer side project, and you can’t help but question the logic in covering your own material, especially as aside from the darker and heavier overtones it’s not massively different from the original. The second, Highwayman by Jimmy Webb, is hardly electrifying either.That said, many of the problems that plagued previous Iced Earth efforts no longer show up. The obligatory cheesy metal ballad only appears once in If I Could See You, which is one of the better ones they’ve done, and only a couple of songs have a clean guitar intro, unlike on The Dark Saga where they appear on nearly every song. Iced Earth are a band who are at their best when they’re firing on all cylinders, and that is largely what they stick to here. With it’s almost death metal cover art, Plagues is for the most part a balls-out thrill ride, and honestly might be Iced Earth’s most complete work to date." - Sound And Motion Magazine
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  • "Cricklewood Green provides the best example of Ten Years After's recorded sound. On this album, the band and engineer Andy Johns mix studio tricks and sound effects, blues-based song structures, a driving rhythm section, and Alvin Lee's signature lightning-fast guitar licks into a unified album that flows nicely from start to finish. Cricklewood Green opens with a pair of bluesy rockers, with "Working on the Road" propelled by a guitar and organ riff that holds the listener's attention through the use of tape manipulation as the song develops. "50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain" and "Love Like a Man" are classics of TYA's jam genre, with lyrically meaningless verses setting up extended guitar workouts that build in intensity, rhythmically and sonically. The latter was an FM-radio staple in the early '70s. "Year 3000 Blues" is a country romp sprinkled with Lee's silly sci-fi lyrics, while "Me and My Baby" concisely showcases the band's jazz licks better than any other TYA studio track, and features a tasty piano solo by Chick Churchill. It has a feel similar to the extended pieces on side one of the live album Undead. "Circles" is a hippie-ish acoustic guitar piece, while "As the Sun Still Burns Away" closes the album by building on another classic guitar-organ riff and more sci-fi sound effects." - All Music Guide
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  • I'm not familar with what is currently going on in the Venezuelan progressive rock scene but if this is any indication I want to hear more... Mojo Pojo's music is an amalgam of melodic prog rock and fusion with a smattering of metal tossed in for good measure. The music grooves and is extremely catchy. A good chunk of the album is instrumental and these guys stretch out and shred Morglbl style on some tracks and just straight up prog rock on others. Vocals are fine - a mix of English and Spanish. Oh yeah - James Murphy heavies it up with a guest guitar solo on one tune but if you are metal averse I wouldn't sweat it, you'll enjoy the tune as well. Overall the music has a real upbeat feel good vibe. Nice packaging courtesy of Hugh Syme (how the hell can they afford them? Life must be good in Venezuela!). Mojo Pojo offers much for all progressive rock interests and can be easily recommended.
    $11.00
  • "GAZPACHO was formed in 1996 by Jon-Arne Vilbo and Thomas Andersen and Jan-Henrik Ohme, later completed by the three others. They released six studio albums, which were well received. The Norwegian band is bringing out their seventh album, ‘March Of Ghosts’ which Vilbo describes as “a collection of short stories. The idea behind the album was to have the lead character spend a night where all these ghosts (dead and alive) would march past him to tell their stories. Characters include Haitian war criminals, the crew of the Marie Celeste, a returning American WWI soldier who finds himself in 2012 and the ghost of an English comedy writer who was wrongly accused of treason.” You might then expect quite a dramatic concept album with a lot of turbulent and heavy soundscapes or with the ghostliness some eerie and ethereal, thickly layered atmospheric songs, but with the mixture of ambient and folk elements into their post-art rock sound the music is more on the relaxing side. Though the layers and atmosphere are there, it’s rather straightforward and unpretentious and accessible. Many of the songs are dreamy, mostly evoked by Ohme’s vocal, take the first part of the ‘Hell Freezes Over’ songs, of which the second part, following the first, ups on the intensity, but it’s still pretty low key affair, reminiscent of MUSE. Added interest to this song comes with some bagpipe-y, Celtic sounds towards the end raising the oomph as it fades. ‘Black Lily’ is enhanced by some unimposing and non-bombastic orchestra parts. Some compare GAZPACHO to ANATHEMA, PORCUPINE TREE and MARILLION, yet the sound so many times reminds me of the band I’ve previously mentioned – MUSE, this track in some ways is the most representative of it - with the vocals and the way the melody sways, lets go and intensifies with that nearly MUSE-like music diction. Guitar details and folk-ish elements in the ‘Gold Star’ change this tack somewhat and earn rather the comparison with MARILLION. The violin and dreaminess in the third part of ‘Hell Freezes Over’ and its melancholy create the best moment of the album together with ‘Mary Celeste’ which has this precarious steering towards heavier sound with some wonderful detailing going on with piano, and darker, moodier strings. The lyrical narrative stands out more here too. ‘Golem’ has a most pronounced sense of experimentation woven together in an appealing way. Lyrically I especially enjoy how they’ve worked the legend of Golem into an interesting metaphor. The last part of ‘Hell Freezes Over’ is the hardest here, yet atmospheric and quite beautiful and the reference to ANATHEMA comes justified here. In fact within the last few sentences I have also written some of the adjectives that fit this album overall quite well - appealing, (very) interesting, beautiful, and also a multi-faceted and richly rewarding listen. " - Reflections In Darkness
    $16.00
  • "When Jethro Tull released Benefit in 1970, it signaled a new, more progressive musical direction for the English band. It also became one of the best-known albums of their career, which is going strong more 60 million records and 40 years later. The Grammy winning group is revisiting that pivotal album with a 2-CD/DVD-Audio collector s edition.The 2-CD/DVD collection comes loaded with a massive amount of music recorded by the band, which at the time featured: multi-instrumentalist frontman Ian Anderson, guitarist Martin Barre, drummer Clive Bunker, pianist John Evan, and bassist Glenn Cornick.The first disc contains the album s 10 original tracks, plus five bonus tracks that include both the U.K. and U.S. stereo versions of "Teacher. " All the songs are newly mixed by Steven Wilson and approved by Ian Anderson. The second disc includes newly remastered versions of rare tracks and singles recorded around the same time as Benefit, such as "Sweet Dream" in both stereo and mono.The audio-only DVD, which is available exclusively with this version, is packed with 58 tracks, including the album and bonus tracks in 5.1 surround sound. It also contains the U.K and U.S. versions of the album. The American version was sequenced differently and replaced the U.K. track "Alive and Well and Living In" with "Teacher. " In addition, the set also comes with a handsome booklet filled with rare photographs, an essay by Martin Webb, and interviews with band members."
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  • Digipak deluxe edition with 5 bonus tracks and a DVD with a documentary and live footage."Fans of musical subtlety and cerebral introspection may struggle with DragonForce's remorselessly preposterous, high-velocity take on traditional heavy metal. In fact, plenty of metal fans – let alone anyone predisposed to disliking something that sounds like Eurovision: the crystal meth years – struggle with their sound. To embrace the band's startling blend of ultra-cheesy melody, fret-melting technical lunacy and quasi-futuristic, videogame bleeps requires an insatiable appetite for self-indulgent, bombastic silliness.Six albums into their career, DragonForce should really be running out of steam. Yet Maximum Overload is as wickedly infectious as their high point from 2006, Inhuman Rampage, and more exciting and substantial than their two subsequent albums. There are more than enough anthemic choruses, startling detours and flashes of ingenuity lurking within the adrenalised bluster of The Game, Tomorrow's Kings and Symphony of the Night to counter the notion that the London-based crew are a one-trick power-metal pony, and an endearingly ludicrous, hyperspeed cover of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire brings the whole demented enterprise to an explosive close" - The Guardian
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  • Latest from Germany's melodic metal Gods.
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  • "Dio was at the peak of his popularity with the release of "Sacred Heart". Both of his first two LPs had gone platinum in the U.S. (1,000,000 + in sales) and were successful across the globe. Some sort of backlash was inevitable. Many were quick to pounce on the album for being inferior to "Holy Diver" & "The Last In Line". This is true. Whereas, those other albums had no filler "Sacred Heart" had it's share of mediocrity ("Shoot Shoot", "Fallen Angels", etc..). Additionally, the production is slicker and it's obvious the band was gunning for a hit. Most likely it was record company pressure. The Dio band's first two LPs were big sellers- going Gold within a year and eventually certified platinum as already mentioned- so likely record execs though if they could get a mainstream radio hit they could better the numbers. At the time it was in the insipid, sappy power ballad. Well, Dio wasn't going there thank goodness. I wonder if they tried to get him to write one?The pop metal "Hungry For Heaven" had appeared on a movie soundtrack ("Vision Quest") and achieved heavy airplay on Rock radio. If ever there was a Dio song (along with "Rainbow In The Dark") that should've made the Billboard Pop chart it was this but no dice. It's just appalling that utter crap like Twisted Sister could get a pop hit but Dio couldn't. Actually, it's to Dio's credit- he was just too metal and history now looks back with disdain on TS and bands like Quiet Riot while the Dio albums still get respect.That's the U.S. In The U.K., Dio was charting but it was a different single, "Rock And Roll Children", that was the hit. It managed a #26 placing on the pop chart. So, yeah, "Sacred Heart" and the following album "Dream Evil" were the closest Dio ever came to the cliche' "selling out". So perhaps there was more keyboard and more melody but that is not selling out. Just think of how nauseating Poison was/is and you'll release that Dio never strayed that far from his signature sound. He always had a sense of melody, not just songs with memorable guitar riffs (like the overly-esteemed "Iron Man" from Ozzy/Sabbath days)Initially, this slightly more polished strategy worked as this became Dio's biggest selling album worldwide. But, for some reason Dio's fanbase began to dwindle shortly after it exited the charts. It wasn't grunge, which killed metal's popularity years later. It wasn't that Dio's songwriting skills wen't bankrupt ("Dream Evil" was a step up from this album). It's true the EP, "Intermission", wasn't well received but that's not it. What was it then? MTV's parade of photogenic Hair Band "Rock" bands plain and simple. Crappy bands like Poison, Winger, Warrant, Europe took up all the air space until Nirvana put an end to glam metal the way punk crushed disco." - Metal Archive
    $9.00
  • "What are we going to do with Angra? I don't really enjoy their early material that much – sure it's very well written, and technically sound at that, but it has not yet engaged me and the vocals of then-frontman Matos rub me the wrong way. Temple of Shadows was good but held back by a lot of things that made it hard to listen to all the way through – for instance, it was fruity as hell, and overloaded with too many ideas. Aurora Consurgens fixed those problems and delivered a great album of modernized power metal. But I still thought they could do better...and hence, Aqua.This album is just really awesome. It's proggy and dense – much more so than anything else they've ever done. This is not the kind of album that you would expect after hearing Temple of Shadows alone, and for that I think this is getting a lot of unwarranted bad press from the metal community. In reality this is the sound they seem to have been shooting for all along. Where on Temple they just tossed random elements into a melting pot and hoped it came out with some good hooks – succeeding only half the time – on Aqua, they condense their rumbling guitars, folksy melodies and epic vocal lines into full-throttle progressive metal without any apologies.The restraint on this album is just maddening, as when you think the song might explode into a high-flying chorus or screaming climax...it doesn't. And that's what's so good about it – they've managed to construct a bunch of tunes that never go for the obvious hook, rather choosing to try for a new twist – most of the time it works really well. Edu Falaschi's vocals are reigned in to a deeper, darker intonation than he's ever had, and his vocal melodies are just superb on here. They're slow-burning growers, but once they hit you, they really hit you, as on "Hollow" or "A Monster in Her Eyes." "Weakness of a Man" is just great with this, too.The guitars are always heavy and rhythmic, not always going for a straight-ahead metal attack, but always being complex and riveting – check out the blistering "Awake from Darkness" or the more straight-ahead power metal cruiser "Arising Thunder." There are some subtle folk elements on a few tracks like the excellent "Lease of Life" and the crushing, searing "Weakness of a Man," and a lot of slow, ballad-esque moments that allow Falaschi to stretch out his pipes and the guitarists to cook out some more emotive moments. "A Monster in Her Eyes" is absolutely stunning in this regard.Nothing on here is really done in a way you'd expect, and since the hooks are so angular and fresh, the songs never wear out their welcome, always sounding cool and innovative. There is a somber twinge to the melodies here at times, and at others, an angry, wrathful one, making this album sound somewhat like a journey through the raging, untamed wilderness – if not for the pristine sense of refinement in the songwriting, that is. With Aqua the band eschews more and more of what held them back in the early days and also brings closer the themes and motifs they always wanted to get down in their lyrics and atmosphere. This album is progressive, raw, subtle and a huge grower if there ever was one, revealing new layers with each spin. Angra has never sounded better." - The Metal Crypt
    $15.00
  • New album clocks in near 80 minutes. No insanely long epics and the album is probably all the better for it. About as proggy as these guys have ever gotten.
    $6.00
  • Love the Mellotron?  Well have we got an album for you...Many years ago we reissued the 1971 release from this British progressive band.  Originally released on the RCA Neon label it achieved mythic status because there were 3 Mellotron players listed (turned out to be one Mellotron and a few of the band members played it).  Prices for original albums soared into the stratosphere.  We set out on our quest to bring Spring into the digital age.  As it turned out it was actually quite easy and we had the full participation of the lead singer Pat Moran.  For many years it was one of our most succesful releases but ultimately went out of print.  Since then it has reappeared on various labels - all using our CD as their source materials.Now we have a new visitiation by Esoteric Recordings who have not only gone back to the original source tapes but have successfully done what we were unable to - they have uncovered the tapes for the unreleased second album.The second album featured a slightly different lineup.  The Mellotron was gone and largely subplanted with organ.  Even still it was obviously Spring through and through.  So you now have the complete works of Spring: the first album, three non-lp tracks, plus a complete second album.  Of course expect the usual great booklet filled with all kinds of unknown facts culled from the late Pat Moran's diaries.Highest recommendation.  BUY OR DIE! 
    $15.00
  • "Listening to Cardiacs, I get the mental image of a deranged gerbil in a hole somewhere composing music. Although at one point he may have been content to write jingles and fine- tuned pop ditties in exchange for sunflower seeds, Cardiacs represents everything past the point where the gerbil loses his grasp on reality and becomes wrapped up in creative fervor. Now unabated by mundane rodent things, the gerbil and his music fall deeper into madness. Although this may not do well to describe Cardiacs’ manic mix of punk rock and avant-prog, it should give a good indicator of the feeling “Sing to God” gives me as a listener. It’s catchy, experimental, and about as close to the peppy end of a manic depressive episode as I imagine music could aptly depict. Really, it’s pop music beyond words or sense, and I can’t seem to get enough of it.Among other things, punk music arose as an opposition to the bombast and overcomplexity of progressive rock. In lieu of this, it’s quite the irony to see Cardiacs not only fusing the two styles together, but doing so as if prog and punk were made for each other. “Sing to God” runs the gamut in terms of styles: a sense of symphonic bombast comparable to Yes is mixed with Beatles-esque baroque pop sensibilities and injected with the venom of pub- dwelling punk rock. These sounds- which would often conflict with each other in the ‘real’ world- are all fused with a viciously tongue-in-cheek attitude pleasantly reminiscent of Frank Zappa. I could also compare the band’s overdubbed vocal harmonies to Queen, or the general ‘what-the-hell-am-I-listening-to’ atmosphere to Mr. Bungle, but Cardiacs ultimately stand on a ground of their own. Did I forget to mention that the band manage to make this experimental chaos as catchy as the plague?Many of the songs on “Sing to God” rest on a tightrope between order and chaos. Many of the songs enjoy a level of comfort in catchy instrumental hooks and quaint vocal melodies. With the exception of a few tracks (most notably the cinematic-worthy “Dirty Boy”, the unsettling soundscape “Quiet as a Mouse” and some of the shorter musical sketches), the majority of “Sing to God” boasts a foundation in good old fashioned songwriting. Vocalist and mastermind Tim Smith has a zany and wildly charismatic voice that would have even fit comfortably into British alternative rock canon, were it not for the extent Cardiacs take their basic elements and contort them. Although some elements are best kept as a surprise for fresh listeners, be sure to expect everything from ‘chipmunk vocals’ to film score flourishes, classically-influenced pianos, circus music, hyperpunk rhythmic energy and everything in between. Of particular note are the extra-wacky tunes “Dog-Like Sparky”, “A Horse’s Tale” and “Dirty Boy”, a longer piece that gets remarkably profound and damned near celestial by the end of it. Tim Smith’s lyrics are a world of their own, and though there’s not often the sense that there’s an explicit meaning behind the absurdity, they’re absolutely fascinating within the context of such a chaotic album. Although- at an hour and a half- the album may be a little long for one comfortable sitting, there is no filler to speak of, although the first half is decidedly better than the latter.In spite of the zany effects, absurdly surreal lyrics, wall-of-sound production and mile-per- second flow of ideas, Cardiacs remain- at their core- a pop band, and “Sing to God” remains a pop album. In the end, it’s the interplay between the hyper-weird and catchy elements therein that makes the album so bloody fascinating. Depending on where your mental state may be at the time of listening, it will either be a trip through the most euphoric hyperparadise dreams could forge, or a reality-distrupting soundtrack to nightmares. Whatever way it may strike, “Sing to God” is pretty unforgettable, and it just may be the greatest experimental rock record I have ever had the strained pleasure of listening to." - Prog-Sphere
    $34.00
  • UK band Touchstone take a surprising (at least to my ears) turn in a heavier direction.  While I would never call this full on metal, mixing engineer John Mitchell decided to turn their guitar up a notch.  Some good crunchy guitar bits through out the album.  The band was never a complex prog band.  Touchstone always had a melodic sensibility touching on AOR and neo-prog.  There is a symphonic element that keeps the music rooted in the prog world but you can tell that this is a band that is looking to cross over into other genres.  Their strongest asset remains vocalist Kim Seviour , who along with Leslie Hunt is one of the best female vocalists in the prog world."Returning once more to confound listeners and music reviewers alike, such as yours truly, with their ever evolving and pleasing neo-prog is England's Touchstone with their fourth long player, Oceans Of Time. Dare say, for their benefit, it's hard to pigeonhole Touchstone's sound. Is it hard rock? AOR? Progressive rock? Yes and then some, and it's not necessarily all that confounding really.However, I might say that Oceans Of Time could be their most 'proggy' album to date. If anything, the songs are quite varied, visiting old territory and exploring the new. Touchstone also returns to some familiar themes. The title track continues the Wintercoast story, and Shadow's End wraps up the Shadows trilogy begun on Discordant Dreams.These songs are also good examples of the strong progressive nature of the album, with Touchstone throwing curves to your ears. Yet Oceans Of Time will also sound more like familiar Touchstone as well. The musical canvas is quite grand lavished with layers of instrumentation, notably Hodgson's guitar and Cottingham's keyboards. Flux is another fine example of Touchstone's exotic musical brew. It's got some hard rock chops mixed with the prog, and then, about the three minute mark, it calms down. Synths stir, then Kim Seviour's vocals arrive, and the arrangement swells to sweet crescendo. It's one of best moments of the album.Other highlights include the bass and drum lines of Contact, a moody piece where Seviour's voice is alluring and graceful; the clever drumming within Fragments, possibly the closest thing to straight melodic rock song here; and, Spirit of the Age, a song with balancing lighter moments with heavier ones, and Seviour at her most sublime. Touchstone is band that keeps evolving and getting better, and so is always interesting and entertaining. Oceans Of Time is well recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $5.00