The Twenty Seven Club (CD/DVD)

Magenta's latest finds them returning to an overtly progressive rock sound and the music is all the better for it.  The Twenty Seven Club is a concept album based around famous rock stars that died at the age of 27 (Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hedrix, Kurt Cobain, ao).  The core lineup is Rob Reed, Christina Booth, and Chris Fry.  For this album the band is rounded out by guest drummer Andy Edwards of IQ.  Reed's keyboard work is back in the fore and Fry's Howe-isms on guitar always bring a polish to the music (and grin on the face).  Christina Booth's voice is a real gift and she shines as always.  Overall the music makes some overt references to Yes and Genesis so you get that old school flavor that the band hasn't offered in many years.  The album arrives in a special edition with a bonus DVD.  You get the complete album in a 5.1 mix, documentary footage and a promo video for one of the tunes.  Highly recommended.

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  • "By titling their third album Fear of Music and opening it with the African rhythmic experiment "I Zimbra," complete with nonsense lyrics by poet Hugo Ball, Talking Heads make the record seem more of a departure than it is. Though Fear of Music is musically distinct from its predecessors, it's mostly because of the use of minor keys that give the music a more ominous sound. Previously, David Byrne's offbeat observations had been set off by an overtly humorous tone; on Fear of Music, he is still odd, but no longer so funny. At the same time, however, the music has become even more compelling. Worked up from jams (though Byrne received sole songwriter's credit), the music is becoming denser and more driving, notably on the album's standout track, "Life During Wartime," with lyrics that match the music's power. "This ain't no party," declares Byrne, "this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around." The other key song, "Heaven," extends the dismissal Byrne had expressed for the U.S. in "The Big Country" to paradise itself: "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." It's also the album's most melodic song. Those are the highlights. What keeps Fear of Music from being as impressive an album as Talking Heads' first two is that much of it seems to repeat those earlier efforts, while the few newer elements seem so risky and exciting. It's an uneven, transitional album, though its better songs are as good as any Talking Heads ever did." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • Al closed out this 70s with this great effort of Latino laced fusion. Lots of different players on this one so it has more of a "let's see Al trade licks with this other soloist" feel but who can complain when you have Jan Hammer or even Les Paul taking a solo.
    $5.00
  • Japan only release of the new live album from Anekdoten. Concentrating on material from "From Within" and "Gravity" it also features two unreleased tracks. This is pure fire. Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • Wholly appealing because of their oriental workaround on the female-fronted metal sound, France’s Arkan don’t quite have the panache of the buxom-beauty bands, but their songs are better. Definitely better. A tad on the difficult side to pin down when making sonic comparisons, the band has their feet somewhere near the present exotic-slanted territory of Tristania, and on the extreme metal side of the spectrum, the forceful moods of late-90s Septicflesh…back when they were called Septic Flesh. Regardless of where they’re getting their influences from, Sofia (the band’s third album) is very much a winner in the stacked deck that is chick metal.Per the subgenre norm, the focus falls upon singer Sarah Layssac, who is in possession of a luscious, well-toned voice. Her humming chorus choices on opener “Hayati” set the tone for the rest of the album, where upon she keeps the songs largely in check with either a daunting chorus, or lush harmony idea. Just go down the line – “March of Sorrow,” “Deafening Silence,” and “Wireless Angels,” each punctuate Layssac’s emotive, soul-bearing vocals, which are made all the more interesting thanks to the oriental flavor.Primarily because Sofia never goes overboard on the oriental instrumentation side, there’s a lot to gobble up here, particularly when the band peddles choice instrumental breaks (see: “My Reverence”) or blends gentle acoustic guitar touches with streamlined melodies (“Endless Way”). So point being, Sofia offers a lot of everything in the female-fronted, exotic metal field, none of which feels dumbed-down or forced. In fact, so advanced and interesting these compositions are, that Arkan makes more image-friendly bands seem quite useless at the moment. Highly recommended." - Dead Rhetoric
    $12.00
  • Fourth album from this Spanish progressive rock band led by vocalist Jesus Filardi. He continues to shuffle the deck, presenting us with a new cast of musicians including Twelfth Night's Andy Sears on backing vocals and master guitarist Jean-Pascal Boffo leaving his imprint all over the disc. On the first couple of Galadriel discs there was a distinct retro-Genesis sound. Starting with their third album, and carrying on with this one, there is a distinct modern sound. Peter Gabriel's solo work would be a guidepost as well as that of Fish but Galadriel still goes for the big epic length works. Fans of neo-prog should be salivating over this one.
    $15.00
  • "Having morphed--some would argue devolved--into a predictable ballad machine by the '80s, it's good to be reminded of Chicago's original artistic ethos and vibrant promise. And what better place to start than their spectacular 1969 debut? This digitally remastered edition compiles the double album on a single disc that retains the original LP artwork and features a 16-page booklet with a retrospective essay (based on new band member interviews) by David Wild. Chicago weren't yet the '70s hit-singles factory they would shortly become, and CTA showcases a band whose muscular musicianship and creative restlessness fostered two LPs worth of music that was as aggressive and far-ranging as its singles were friendly and inviting. Tellingly, the hits showcased here--"Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?" "Beginnings," "Questions 67 and 68," and their rhythmically pumped cover of the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man"--were often edited down from the original collection's suite-heavy structure. But those familiar cuts belie the downright progressive and angular nature of much of the rest, which fuses Terry Kath's neo-psychedelic guitar (which careens to noisy, feedback-laden Hendrixesque extremes on "Free Form Guitar") to one of rock's pioneering horn sections with enough experimentalism ("Poem 58") that it frequently overwhelms their undeniable genius with a pop song. Chicago would seldom sound so adventurous after this, one of rock's greatest debut albums." --Jerry McCulley
    $6.00
  • Devin Townsend continues to be a true cutting edge progressive artist. Synchestra straddles the prog rock world as well as that of his agressive metal band Strapping Young Lad. The music stops and turns on a dime going from quiet acoustic interludes to a firestorm of shred, acidic vocals and blast beat rhythms. Long time buddy Steve Vai appears, contributing a solo on one track. This one is a challenging listen which is what progressive music is supposed to be about.
    $15.00
  • Limited edition digipak with three bonus tracks."What can we say about Liv Kristine, a beautiful Scandinavian enchantress, who has been one of the most prominent figures of gothic metal for the past 20 years and was a part of pioneering the beauty and the beast vocal style of singing? We first got to know her more than unique, angelic soprano when we met her as one of the front figures in a legendary gothic metal band Theatre Of Tragedy, but meanwhile she also set herself a solo career in 1998, with her romantic and beautifully gloomy debut Deus Ex Machina. She continued in a bit lighter manner, with following three releases Enter My Religion, Skintight and Libertine being slightly goth influenced pop-rock records, full of upbeat and catchy tunes, in which she still managed to radiate a crestfallen feel and evolve more and more vocally with each and every release. Now she presents us with her 5th full length album, which carries its title after a potent herb, which is known as one of the greatest weaknesses of vampires: Vervain.With Vervain, Liv Kristine decided to return to her roots and take us on a beautiful journey through dark rock with so many various influences; ranging from gothic metal, doom metal and even pop. Her first single, "Love Decay", which features Michelle Darkness from End Of Green on vocals, is a wonderful drive down the memory lane, as their duet and dreamy keyboards - especially at the very ending of the song - nostalgically take us more than a decade in the past - in the era of Theatre of Tragedy's marvelous creation Aégis. Their voices couldn't fit together more perfectly, as they create an amazing, emotional and heartbreaking atmosphere just by singing. It's not a coincidence Liv Kristine has collaborated with so many musicians, since she knows just how to entwine two different voices and voice colours to exist in perfect symbiosis.  Another duet, this time with the legendary vocalist Doro Pesch, is presented in a song "Stronghold Of Angels" and the very beginning of the song goes even further in the past, as its slow and doom-esque intro reminds of Theatre Of Tragedy's earliest works - the eponymous debut and Velvet Darkness They Fear. And you can imagine, with two strong vocalists such as Liv Kristine and Doro nothing can go wrong and Doro's powerful and slightly raspy voice again creates the ambivalent feel alongside Liv's crystalline soprano. "My Wilderness", "Vervain" and "Elucidation" are at the same time gracious and strong, slightly harsher songs, which will please the fans of Leaves Eyes. Their dense and rich song structure, alongside Liv's fierce vocals and guitars, which are flirting with alternative metal, certainly bring an unique ambiance to it, being at the same time romantically frail and glamorously dark. While "Lotus" is the fragile ballad and "Creeper" the power ballad of the album, "Two And A Heart" and "Oblivious" again present the colours of early Theatre Of Tragedy; "Oblivious" with doom oriented guitars and "Two And A Heart" with Liv's more than perfect vocal performance and additional piano tune, creating a doleful and sombre sound.It's more than enjoyable to once again hear Liv Kristine peering into the depths of gothic metal and including the typical romantic, yet saddened ambient into the songs, subsequently creating - well - a small theatre of tragedy inside each and every track.  All songs carry a very strong and dramatic structure; starting gently and building suspense to a peak of a story and then ending with a memorable crescendo, either by changing the tempo or adding more guitars; each and every track has a story of its own. While the rhythm section is gentler on Vervain, the guitars and keyboards alongside emotional, layered vocals create the core of the album. Ranging from upbeat and powerful melodies, through heartsore and gloomy tracks to fragile ballads, Vervain offers a wide array of highly captivating and intense sounds, evoking an extensive spectre of emotions and veils the whole album in a melancholic atmosphere, which will undoubtedly please the old and the new fans of Liv Kristine." - Terra Relicta
    $13.00
  • "After what has been a rather public and unseemly split from Nightwish (déjà vu anyone...?), onetime Alyson Avenue front-lady Anette Olzon returns with her first solo album, Shine. For anyone expecting something akin to the Nightwish bombast and bluster, it is an album set to surprise, possibly shock and ultimately disappoint. However, for those willing to simply take this album at face value, the surprise will be of an altogether different variety; a classy mix of Pop hooks, grandiose arrangements, intimacy and a sprinkling of the eccentricity which marked Kate Bush out, creating a quite beautiful, confident record that really does indeed shine very brightly indeed. What Shine also allows Olzon to do, is to illustrate a voice that soars, whispers, commands and seduces, revealing far greater facets and variety than her previous musical situation could ever have allowed. Put simply, like the music here, or not, there's absolutely no denying that Anette Olzon is mightily impressive.Thankfully, it is also extremely easy to give in to the music's charms, Olzon surrounding herself with a crack team (Stefan Orn, Johan Glossner, Johan Kronlund) of songwriters, producers and mixer-masterers, to craft a set of songs that are reasonably simple, memorable and thoroughly captivating. The likes of "Lies" hits like a shimmering Evanescence, "Invincible" is a string and voice (and plaintive guitar as the song builds) masterclass of stark melancholia, "Moving Away" a Scandi-folk tinged piece of adult Pop which works tremendously well. Add to that opener, "Like A Show", which fuses strings to slow electro-beats and a fragile vocal; "Falling", which I could imagine a stripped back Scorpions attempting, and the wonderful, soaring, is it Pop, is it Rock of the album's title track and not only do each and every one of the songs hit their mark, but they do so with enough eclecticism to stand up to repeat listens. And I haven't even mentioned the Kate Bush "Army Dreamers" clone "Floating", which while landing possibly too close to this particular Bush, is still a highlight. Factor in the commercial nous of Abba in places, and Shine really becomes a rare beast. An intelligent, yet utterly accessible and singalongable Pop come Rock album.Some may have thought that Anette Olzon's departure from Nightwish signalled the beginning of the end of her career in the limelight. On the strength of Shine, it is only just the beginning." - Sea of Tranquility
    $8.00
  • "Temperance is back with the sophomore release “Limitless” and as predicted/foreshadowed, the album takes a more distinctive directional turn towards Amaranthe, but fortunately, with enough Delain and Italian songwriting/musicianship to balance. Over the year since the release of the debut from the musicians who were once known as Bejelit, I began padding my mind with enough psychic cushion to soften the distraction of glitzy "popcore" keyboards while straining to hear what lies beneath. Pushing aside the glitz will reveal the heart of Italian power/progressive still beating – one that produces excellent songwriting, fantastic solos and a vocalist who can actually sing rather than belt out "Cavalleria Rusticana." If you can bear the glamour and core style vocal distractions, in many ways “Limitless” is superior to its predecessor. Unfortunately, even a strong will may not be able to overcome.Let's get one thing straight - a band should not be faulted for trying to make a living. What many call “selling out” is akin to deciding that every band must cater to the whim of every listener, with no care towards the lives musicians try to lead – especially in this day and age. Temperance has molded its sound in a way to make itself globally appealing, keeping an ear to the trends that will allow the group to circle the globe and realize a dream. This doesn’t mean everyone has to like that style, just look around – there are thousands of bands that can garner one’s attention. The same can be said for Amaranthe, which has cracked the U.S. market, sadly something that Olof Morck’s incredible fantasy power metal act DragonLand has yet to do. Temperance recently cracked the U.S. market and “Limitless” will only widen the door to hopefully an east coast run.What “Limitless” presents is a formula that is currently hot: the three singer mold – one female, two male (harsh/clean) - and elements of symphonic, pop, core, Scar Symmetry-esque modern metal, all creating a symbiotic relationship. It all boils down to whether you find it palatable or not. Apparently, this works and finds appeal with a large fanbase – where fans can bounce and have their fun. I’m sure hordes of teenage fans will fall for tracks like “Here & Now” and “Save Me.” Temperance plays it so well and is actually superior to bands like Amaranthe because rarely do the Italians completely abandon their roots. Patience and endurance will reveal that the heart of Bejelit still beats. You may take the renaissance out of Italian metal, but you can never take away that neo-classical training. It still shines…just buried beneath overbearing modernization.You can hear it in songs like “Side By Side” and “Burning,” two of the best songs the band has written, the former being the favorite. Marco Pastorino is among Italy’s best guitarists (with a voice to boot) and his riffs, solos, and melody lines are as great as ever, even if they are completely slathered by techno/dance style keys. Chiara is as uber talented as she is super attractive. However, if it were up to me, nixing the keyboards completely along with the harsh core vocals would allow the real music to breathe, but surely that would undermine what the band is trying to accomplish here. Bottom line…we don’t always get what we want. Other notable tracks include the Delain inspired tracks “Amber & Fire” and “Stay," "Mr. White," and the gorgeous piano driven “Goodbye.”As far as production, “Limitless” sounds top notch and expertly mixed. You can take Simone Mularoni’s name as your stamp of auto-perfection. For fans seeking bands with supercharged pop, core, modern influenced styles along the lines of Amaranthe, Temperance plays it with more style and grace than all of them. For fans of the classical influenced power/progressive style of Bejelit – it really is still there, only entombed behind a wall of glitz for which it will take “limitless” concentration to block the distractions." - Metal Underground
    $15.00
  • Three Fates Project is a collaborative effort from the Keith Emerson Band and the Munchner Rundfunkorchester conducted by Terje Mikkelsen.  The material is drawn from the ELP catalog but also covered are pieces by Marc Bonilla, Alberto Ginastera as well as Emerson's solo work.  Its an all instrumental orchestral interpretation of the compositions augmented by the Keith Emerson Band.  Surprisingly its rather refined.  Emerson does play a variety of synthesizers but they don't really jump out strongly in the mix, instead piano seems to dominate his playing.  The centerpiece of the album is Tarkus.  Its the track where the band lets their hair down - Bonilla gets a bit heavy handed with his guitar distortion, Emerson gets a bit nuts with the Moog, and the rhythm section goes all Carl Palmer on us.  All in all its a true integration of band and orchestra and not just the band being backed by the orchestra.  I'm not one for mucking around with the classics but this is really tasteful and is a fun listen.  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • "You know how it is. You’re the Daughter of Satan, you fall in love, your lover dies, you kill some nuns, and then you destroy the world.All in a day’s work for Demon Lung, whose new album ‘A Dracula’ is the gleeful retelling of a gruesome story inspired by the 1977 horror film Alucarda.‘A Dracula’ is bigger, faster and more spectacular than its predecessor, the band’s excellent debut ‘The Hundredth Name’, and while it may not be a huge creative gamble for the Las Vegas quintet, it’s a step up in every department.Clad in white gown and sorrowful expression, singer Shanda Frederick in undoubtedly the band’s focal point. She particularly enjoyed writing the lyrics for this album, and that relish oozes through in her performance.Frederick’s voice sways and lilts with a delicately-controlled strength. It is at once tragic and snarling, dreamy and yet decisive. For all her gloomy power and vampiric passion, it would be great to hear even more variety from Frederick’s distinctive voice. She persists with a trademark slide at the end of almost every line, which becomes distracting.On the song ‘Raped By The Serpent’, she demonstrates that when her vocals are more positive and invigorated, then the song can really come to life. Other standout tracks include ‘I Am Haunted’, which is a slow and patient triumph, and the gloriously understated epic ‘Gypsy Curse’.Big, metallic riffs pummel and crash as the narrative proceeds to its striking conclusion, the guitars working in perfect partnership with Frederick’s Medusa-like charms.Demon Lung draw upon a sludgy heaviness and apocalyptic drumming to create a thunderous, stirring sound. And yet some songs stubbornly refuse to burst into life, as was the case on the band’s previous album. These Nevada wizards prefer to downplay their own epicness in order to maintain a relentless state of tension.‘A Dracula’ is consistently engaging and mesmerising work of creative misery from these stylish Las Vegas doomsayers." - Doom Metal Heaven
    $14.00
  • "Rafał Paluszek, band’s keyboardist comments: “Our new album, just like it was with Particles (2013), is not a concept album. We abandoned that as a creative method. And when we came up with the title ‘The After-Effect’, it was partly as a joke. An after-effect is a consequence, the result of all that's going on in our lives. Every album sums up a certain episode in your life. It crowns a certain creative process, which is, after all, brought about by something, and which is a lasting phenomenon. We experience certain things, every event has some influence on what we do. Why shouldn't that apply to the music we create? In a relatively short period of time, 2/5 of Osada Vida's lineup has changed. Such changes are like a tsunami - there are losses, but there's also a reason to build something new, something we wouldn't dare to build back in the untroubled days. We don't know what effects today's events will have. Looking at it from a mathematical perspective, there's an infinite number of paths, each branching out into an infinite number of paths as well, and so on. That's what The After-Effect (2014) is.”"
    $15.00