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Agma (UK)

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Prodigal Sun
Prodigal Sun
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Cross-over Swedish death metal.,, 6 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Prodigal Sun (Audio CD)
This debut release surfaced in 1992, against a relatively large backdrop of musical extremity. As this genre has become such a treasure-trove stash of so many classic albums, "Prodigal Sun" ultimately did not receive the accreditations or recognition that it brought to the Swedish metal circuit. Combining a real progressive element of jazz, thrash and Swedish death metal, it helped ensure that "Prodigal Sun" comes across as a multi-dimensional album due to the band's open-minded qualities, and a "out-of-the-box" thinking with regard to the songwriting approaches.

In a few areas an over eager-ness is translated into a claustrophobic nuance:- but these are frequently kept down to a minimum. Thanks to producer "Tomas Skogsberg", and the Stockholm studio mold, we can familiarise quickly with the accustomed high quality production and mastering, that has come to be expected from extreme music in this part of the world. After the release of this album, the band returned less than a year later with "Dawn Of Glory":- which had pretty-much jettisoned a large part of the death metal sound with surprising results and smooth-ness in it's transition.

"Prodigal Sun" probably reflects the band's most poignant musical statement and it's an ideal introduction into the dark worlds of Swedish death metal.


My Favourite Headache
My Favourite Headache

4.0 out of 5 stars Rock with conviction!.,, 2 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Favourite Headache (Audio CD)
When Rush went onto hiatus in 1996, (partly due to Peart's personal life crisis's); Geddy Lee teamed up with a duet of two other players by the titles of "Ben Mink and Matt Cameron" for a solo rock album; and, as you would expect, it is heavily remanicent of 'Rush' albeit with a more casual and straight forward sheen. There are some unusual and differentiating numbers here though, "Window to the world" is an emotional pop sleaze, whilst the laidback-ness of "Still", and the truly beautiful acoustic of "The angel's share", do both need to be heard before believed!.

Other than that, compelling and invigorating rock is on the menu, with "Grace to grace" being the arguable highlight!. The only below-par invite here is probably "Moving to bohemia", which doesn't really know what it is or where it's turning. It just seems to just bumble along with no energy behind it', but it's brief, and it's far outclassed by the much stronger set of numbers surrounding it. Still, given the moderate leanings to Geddy Lee's full-time band, it is relatively hard to not try and compare it with "Test for echo" (which was Rush's last album before the hiatus), as they are so similar, structurally.

So this album probably would never had surfaced had it not been for the series of personal catastrophies that engulphed poor 'ol Neil in quick sucession. As a "Rush" cross-over album, or a rock album with conviction it both suffices indeed., 7.5/10


Rock Or Bust
Rock Or Bust
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £4.65

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock or Bust?..... I'd say rock, and it rocks hard!.,, 1 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Rock Or Bust (Audio CD)
After a six year wait since "Black Ice", (which was admittedly less than the 8 years before that with "Stiff Upper Lip"), the nice guys at AC/DC have sprung a new album on us just before christmas; and it's very very good!. We all know the absence of Malcolm Young, and the bad publicity, in-which a recent incident that involved Phil Rudd in New Zealand, could have all collectively conspired to derail this new offering; but not a chance!, this is simply the best album from AC/DC since "Ballbreaker". Timing-in at a haircut below 35 minutes; it is certainly short:- but the quality is there, including an energized, focused and inclusive sound. Party on!.

I'm not going to compare "Rock or Bust" with the surefire classics, (which we all know); these guys are getting on now, and have got relatively new hotshots like countrymen "Airbourne" tight on they're heels. Even so, the throne still evidently belongs to the electric-rock originators, with close to a 40year anniversary now hovering over the horizon., Who could deny the new singles of "Rock Or Bust, Play Ball" or the party invigorations of "Rock The Blues Away"?, or how about the pure heaviness of "Hard Times" and the classic riff of "Rock The house"?; these songs are pure undistilled AC/DC. Again there's little change here but this is a band on form, who cares!.

If this is to be the final studio swansong from the band, I have no criticisms.
*The exploding AC/DC picture on the lenticular image, is a clever and neat little design on yet another well designed AC/DC digipak.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2014 8:27 AM GMT


The Divinity Of Purpose (Digipack)
The Divinity Of Purpose (Digipack)
Offered by zoreno-uk
Price: £10.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Punk-metal discharge!.,, 30 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Back with they're latest ultra aggressive template of masculine goal metal. 'Hatebreed' still utilise this restrictive musical area to the maximum extent; and with it, all the characteristics we can expect are alive and present:- from Jamey's intimidating yells, (complete with supporting band shouts), to groove heavy riffs and no solos:- prepare to be invigorated by positive self-belief themes based upon a bedrock of highly destructive anthems. Ultimately, this is nothing new but is perhaps presented with a small trimming of excess flab that weighed them down on the slightly more commercial self-titled CD.

This is a straight-up and honest metal CD, much in the same vein as they're earliest efforts; and with it, comes a set-series of indesputable live numbers such as "Put it to the torch, The language, Nothing scars me". This is a very strong CD and definitely they're best since "The rise of brutality", the metalness of this album is the driving force and rightly so... Unstoppable, unavoidable only acceptance. My digipack version is a gatefold CD with one extra track, "Idolized and vilified". The packaging is a cardboard cut out, with one solitary CD, complete with a booklet and a transparent sticker.

Metal fans! You all know what's on the table here!...


Nihility
Nihility
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Polish extremity at it's very best!.,, 29 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Nihility (Audio CD)
An album that have made fellow Polish countrymen "Vader" proud. This is a high crafted, tight and technical death metal masterpiece for no other word:- for a band still barely out of they're mid teens, the confidence and songwriting is still electric with energy and ideas. Whilst not quite as ept as they're incredible debut in 2000's "Winds of creation", this very much continues they're unpredictable death metal brand in a very similar vein. Differences probably include a more clearer vocal from 'Sauron' and a slightly less overall reliance on technical expression:- this is counterbalanced by an improvement in songwriting quality.

There are some real corkers on this album, from "Nihility" to the classic "Spheres of madness" to the closer "Symmetry of zero". These songs reek of deliverance and variation as each track structure is based upon a series of tempo changes, so prepare to be annihilated by hundreds of blast beats and guitar riff-heaviness overload. The result is a professional and articulate piece of work that confirms "Decapitated" as one of the best Polish exports out there. Minor drawbacks include a slight impersonal musical expression and a tense of industrial handling; however the positives still extensively outflak the minor drawbacks.

A death metal must have and a good introduction to the band/genre.


Same Difference
Same Difference
Offered by InfinityBuys
Price: £5.30

3.0 out of 5 stars Different difference.,, 27 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Same Difference (Audio CD)
"Same difference" is a distilled rock dressing from the top down and it is a rather bizzare musical turn for the Swedish buzzlords:- 'if only they kept up with the riffs and carnage that they started at the beginning' some will be humbly asking. In any case, the huge leap of progression from "To ride" continues, and the death and roll sound is further dilluted in favour of a pure 'death-rock and roll' slide. Fortunately, this has spared the quality control of the songwriting and a mostly enjoyable enterprise prevails.

There are some traces of metal apparant in the rather aggressive "High waters", however this is a drastic change from the crushing "Left hand path & Clandestine". Despite it's credit, "Same Difference" is simply not on the same turf as Entombed's classics. As you can see from the songs, the band are still finding they're feet within this new musical sector, and it shows. Certainly nowhere near as bad as some people would like to mention on the other hand; It's simply a good album in it's own right.

Decent sludgy tempo rock from such a versatile band. Not they're finest moment but a very important CD in the transitioning phase!.


Crowned In Terror
Crowned In Terror
Price: £10.64

5.0 out of 5 stars The sky's the limit!.,, 25 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crowned In Terror (Audio CD)
Crushing, precise, delicious piece of frenetic melodic death metal from these Swedish speeders. This is an aptly termed label for this dose of awesomeness, and is the result when everyone is firing on all cylinders; as this is a perfectly executed piece of madness which curtails a rich sense of prevailing melody. Some of the highlights include "Tomas Lindberg" stellar vocal roar and the drummer "Janne Saarenpaa" which conducts umbelieveable rolls and accuracy across the board.

The songs are melodic death metal perfection; fast, aggressive and tuneful. Admittedly, there is a small dose of metalcore for added measure, and a massive overload of pure thrash onslaught. Every single song delivers songwriting triumph from beginning to end with the "Satanist" a possible album highlight. On a very serious note, it doesn't get much better than this!; fans of the more red hot side of thrash-death metal might recall an associate Swedish band known as "Defleshed". This is somewhat along a similar sonic carriageway as this CD. Still, they will struggle to ever eclipse this beast that's for sure, it's simply incredible!.


Pleasure and Pain
Pleasure and Pain
Offered by Disco100
Price: £13.40

1.0 out of 5 stars The dustbin:- where it belongs!,, 24 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Pleasure and Pain (Audio CD)
Something's are black - something's are white, and "Pleasure and the pain" is truly terrible. Off the back of "Generation 13", (an excellent conceptual album it was too), alternative - crossover prog is the order of the day and the vast majority of it bombs' spectacularly. The redeeming points here, (and there aren't too many of them), are the sub-average grunge metal perspective of "Welcome to the zoo", the just about passable "You're not alone" and the only excellent effort "Gonna give it to ya".

The rest is a minefield of failed experimentalism such as the techno rock disaster of "Where's my money" and the metallic scratches of "How do you feel?". Brash, heavy-handed and inconsiderate songwriting wrecks the experience considerably, especially where unnatural transitions glaringly run into a brick wall:- giving an acute air of uncomfortable-ness about it. The ideas are forced together with seemingly no focus or ambition which is all very strikingly laid bare:- in the exposures of it's demo-like production.

Despite "Gonna give it to ya", I've got to settle with the solitary star rating. I can't believe the band released this level of tedium without a second glance. Artwork sucks, and nine out of the ten songs do too:- Avoid!.


Wounded
Wounded

4.0 out of 5 stars A land of no wounds.,, 23 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Wounded (Audio CD)
Prog rock icons 'Enchant' release "Wounded" in 1996 as they're successor to their debut CD, making this they're second album. This outing continues the workman-like outstandingness that was achieved on "Blueprints". This effort is a complimentary one which cruises along a similar slipstream as it's excellent predecessor. Although it does become quickly apparant that "Wounded" isn't quite up to the same level of songwriting quality as on that album; it is certainly an excellent album however, in it's own individual right.

Boasting the usual dynamism from one of my all-time favourite vocalists "Ted Leonard", this is a rather reflexed abertoire of superb progressive rock of the more subtle' kind. Within are the shining elements of tapestric keyboards and the somber guitarwork to-which together radiates an authentic and transient atmosphere; (something that Enchant have always been very exceptional at). Whilst the production feels abit 'cloudy & flat' at times, overall the picturesque of the album emerges as we progress through the album, though revealing the truly progressive leanings in it's wake.

The tempo of this album is largely within the more relaxed camp, but occasionally in tracks like "Hostile world" we are greeted to a robust and compelling - initiating riff. Needless to say, the more slowboat areas are where some of my other choice cuts can be found, like:- "Broken" which is a fantastic Enchant song, and prior to that is the beautiful "Pure" of which an acoustic (reprise) can be found as a bonus track on the end of the album. "Missing" is the final and delicious ender of this lavish album which closes the affair on a relatively high note.

Overall, another excellent album from the legendary Enchant. My edition contains two bonus songs off the back of disc one:- a demo of "Fade to grey" and another acousitc reinterpretation of the ballad "Pure". Highly recommended!.


The Singularity: Phase 1 - Neo Humanity
The Singularity: Phase 1 - Neo Humanity
Price: £13.07

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi calypso., 22 Nov. 2014
"Neo Humanity" is the sixth studio album from these melo-death aficionados and the beginning of a new trilogy surrounding the concept of "Artificial intelligence"; this difficult subject surrounds the aspect's of pro and against such technologies, and the major social considerations that surround them. "Neo humanity" is a typical blend of the ultra melodic choruses and the contrasting soundscapes of 'darker' death metal we have become used to. This time however, a greater influence of progressive metal is added to the mix on two songs which 'more or less' bookend the album.

This is quite a good CD indeed, apart from the acute and severe boredom that commences from the extensive and awkward nine minute excursion of 'Neo-human', easily the worst track here; this is a fine assortment of new Scar Symmetry cuttings. For me, the only drawback with 'Neo-Humanity' is that the band are not quite 100% ept at submerging the progressive metal tag' within the soakings of they're ultra-acute, melo-death brand. Admittedly, the final song "Technocalyptic Cybergeddon" is a much more accomplished effort than NeoHuman and this continues the strength of quality from the third track "Limits to infinity', (my favorite song!).

This ultimately shows that 'Neo humanity' still rates as a great effort, and if it wasn't for the 2nd track I may well have awarded this the full wack; but be that as it may:- I still recommend this new album as the uncomfortable nuances are relatively scarce and most of the time, the same varied high quality is the order of the day.


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