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Agma (UK)

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Apocalypse Inside
Apocalypse Inside
Price: £33.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The music,... just like the artwork in front of it., 8 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Apocalypse Inside (Audio CD)
Canadian thrashers Sacrifice really pull out all the stops for this one. "Apocalypse Inside" was the fourth and last album before they're hiatus in the mid nineties and in my opinion remains they're high water mark. No surprise to learn then that it came out in 1993 and so qualifies as a cast-iron old school album. Sandblasted with a edge of rusty production, the music is heavy, raw and abrasive; and since they're formation 10 years earlier, these guys find a touch of something special to add to they're commanding interpretation of heavy thrash.

Whilst not a ground breaking album in any significant way. This is quite simply another classic thrash opus which is impecably molded around rock solid rhythms and solid riffs. The speed is rather on the slower side for the sub genre on the whole, but the high quality of musicianship and technical arrangement ensures that this is adds to the perfect musical setting. Scott's vocals here also a highlight and his modest provocations are a welcome addition to the set. Running time is fairly typical in that it hovers around the 40 minute mark, and within it, nine short songs waste no time in getting the point across.,

Without a weak track in sight, this is an old school gem of thrash metal perfection; and similarly with other canadian thrash metal titans Razor:- it was a wonder how Canada as a country didn't become far more recognised for they're contributions in this musical sector.

Second Nature
Second Nature
Price: £11.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Climbing the dizzying heights of subtlety!., 7 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Second Nature (Audio CD)
Well I think this new CD is a first class successor to the debut, and it is a clear step up on a multitude of angles. "Second Nature" is an enjoyable and modest album, that is ultimately bookended by two lengthy 10minute+ epics of "Open up you're eyes" and "Cosmic Symphony". The former, a blend of rock perplexed by a variety of neo-prog tendancies; and the latter, a rather more astute perspective In musical colouration.

The bulk of the album remains true to the tight and light hearted rock music they established on the first album. These efforts however, are perhaps less predictable and more refreshing. The influence of subtle pop sensibilities carry forward a vibrant undercurrent of keen motivation. The net result is an exciting and lavish album full of natural musical transitions and a daring edge of vulnerability. My favourite centerpiece tracks, would have to be the definitive rocker "Bombs away", the nifty "A place in your world", the aspect of "Lost without you"; and finally, the rich tapestries of "Peaceful harbor".

This one is an important release for music afficiados that appreciate the wide section of qualities and versatility present in non-commercial pop rock. This is a well thought through album, that avoids the cliches, pit-falls and 'insincere sounding' nuances you often hear in this style of music. To top it all off, is a consistent high quality of shifty and dynamic songwriting, that doesn't bleach over the impact and key moments.

In summary, this is a piece of light rock music done absolutely right, and under the competance and guidance of five musicially ept musicians. 5/5 ?!; certainly.

Train of Thought
Train of Thought
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A stream of DT consciousness.,, 3 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Train of Thought (Audio CD)
This outing for DT is a decent stab of progressiveness, and it was Dream Theater's attempt at a heavy, modern and clean-cut album. In almost all evident aspects, this functions very well as a album based on those qualities; the basis of which, is a template of extended-length metal songs with modest variation.

There is an obvious live opener in the form of "As I am", the ambitiously proggy:- "This dying soul", the rather lengthy metallic curtailments of "Endless sacrifice", and the deeply angled riff-fest of "Honor thy father". ""Vacant" is a pleasant and short piece, which is pursued by the fantastic instrumental "Stream of consciousness"; finally, the last song on the album is "In the name of god", which is the most sophisticated and progressive song on the album.

Overall this is a relatively well-accomplished success. The positives here are many, James labrie's vocal performance is good, John petrucci's guitarwork is good, Jordan's keyboard work is quaint and restrained, and Mike portnoy's drumming is great. Myung's bass is a little too much at times, but that isn't helped by a general cloudy-ness relating to the production.

Overall, this is quite a slip-streamed effort from Dream Theater that delivers a solid DT omnibus:- of progressive metal. Apart from a overdose in length within some of these curtailments, a little more presence of tidy musical nuances, and a more clearer production; this would have almost certainly levelled-out at the top star rating.

Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sideliners.,, 1 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hysteria (Audio CD)
'Hysteria' is the result of leftover material and re-workings, of a multitude of studio rejections, cuts and other material that didn't make it on to they're previous classic album of "Dare." It clearly shows that, with the quality of the songs up and down throughout the album leading to an ultimately uneven endeavor. Overall, taking account of the great performers and the more questionable throwaways, it seems only reasonable to reach the conclusion that "Hysteria" is a very, very average album.

On a more positive aspect, (and there are a few), is the excellent trio of 'The Lebanon, louise and Don't you know I want you'; and had much of the mediocre chaff elsewhere, like 'Rock me (x6) and Life On You're Own' were axed, the album as the EP would have been met with a much better reception I'm sure. I most definitely disagree that this is an underrated album, the songs are not there, 'The Lebanon' is the only real classic that could sit anywhere alongside the material of "Dare'

This CD does showcase some competency and merit here and there, but in my opinion ranks one of the league's weakest albums and would probably only be of extensive value to the more committed fans of the band.

Beyond Sanctorum
Beyond Sanctorum

5.0 out of 5 stars Cthulhu!.. are you there?.,, 30 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Beyond Sanctorum (Audio CD)
Early nineties Therion is a completely different beast to the format that we have today. That said, I find only the period of 1990-1995 of any interest; "Lepaca Kliffoth" was the point that had been crossed, where the operatic tingling and the gothic elements, replaced the metal aspects of the band. Still, many years on, I understand that there will be no return to the tappings of the early music, and that is fine by me. Of the four earliest CD's, "Beyond Sanctorum" is the best album by a long way.

The progressive, thrash and gothic elements work together with the severity of the death metal, to result in a truly dark and varied album. Many of the songs showcase different quantities of those elements which does give the album the recipe for an original sounding experience.

Out of what's here:- the most extreme is the vicious opener "Future Conciousness", the gothic heaviness of "Cthulhu", the quite crushing "Enter the depths of eternal darkness, Tyrants of the damned"; and the thrashing riff-fest of "Illusions of life". The other half of the album explores the dark tapestries of melodic and operatic darkness, and there's even some room for a semi-progressive classic with:- "The way". This CD is certainly executed with a really old, raw production and the band's technical performance is tight and focused.

The open-mindedness and experimentalism here works very much within it's favour, and I'm pretty sure that the band will never again scale the absurd heights of greatness they achieved here. This is a progressive, death metal classic up there with the very best of 'em!.

Hymns For The Broken (Limited Double Digipack)
Hymns For The Broken (Limited Double Digipack)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £13.30

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A much, much better effort this time!., 29 Sept. 2014
This new album right from the start, smashes the rabid excursions the band had taken-on with gusto since 2004's "The inner circle". On "Monday, Morning Apocalypse, Torn and The Glorious collision", they all seemed to come accompanied with a fall in quality surrounding the songwriting too. It's good to see the heaviness submerged within the dark melodies the band used to be so proficient at. This time nothing seems to be sat at the forefront hogging all the airtime, the Evergrey qualities I love are given a widely varied and equal element of space and measure, for impact.

Not quite a fully fledged return to the days of Pre:- "In search of truth". The transitions are not quite as tight as on that album or on anything before that. Heaviness does seem to chop and change at times with some of the quieter moments, but for me the summary of Evergrey at this point:- is this album, and it is an extraordinarily good CD after a decade of very unattractive albums. Songwriting is considerably better as I say but it still remains slightly below the incredible standards they set on they're first five CD's.

I still find the crushingly heavy guitars a distraction at times, but at least on "Hymns" there is some element of restraint. I didn't find any standouts in particular here but I would certainly recommend fans of old Evergrey to not loose the faith just yet!. The deluxe version of this CD comes as a paperback double 2CD digi with the bonus CD of just two piano versions of two songs on the album and a bonus track in the form of "These scars". The digipack, thankfully; is not a cheap cardboard cut out, but a fixed hub digipack with decent fixtures.

Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2014 9:21 AM BST

The Great Divide
The Great Divide
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £10.77

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchant return with a solid staple of new music., 29 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Great Divide (Audio CD)
Enchant have been away now for more than a decade, and this would be they're first release since 2003's "Tug of war". "Circles" is the very first song on the album and it is an upbeat and smooth opener; but probably not the most suitable opener as it is slightly laid back and somewhat lacks a bite of punch or a statement of intent. "Within an inch" is a better song as the Enchant chorus and the accompanying melodic, tinged vibe and atmospheric transitions are right out there.

"The great divide" further ratches up the momentum, and it brings us closer to the Enchant aspects as we have known., It is simply a fantastic song and of that I am in absolutely no doubt. The next track "All Mixed up" is a new metal 'edged' song and it is probably an experimental chuck-in. It's quite short at only four solitary minutes but I find it doesn't suit the Enchant esque, and as a result, find it a plain and unspectacular song.

"Transparent Man" starts with conviction and has the addition of vocal overtones at the start of it, in-which I am a little bit sceptical about. It is certainly a flowing number and it does have a tuneful atmosphere with it. "Life in a shadow" is a candidate for one of the best tracks of the CD, as the songwriting again is in a very accomplished setting. The chorus is also another strongpoint too.

"Deserve to feel" is another excellent slide into progness, the hard rock aspects intertwine with tidy musical corridors and a chorus to raise a glass to. "Here and now" is the final track if you have the standard issue; It is another enjoyable semi-epic with lots of sparkling sounds and vibes. The bonus track "Prognosticator" is a pretty good song but probably not quite as good as the main cuts on the album, so perhaps a fitting bonus inclusion.

In addition to all that:- the deluxe version is a double hardback digibook with plastic hubs to hold the discs. Another quality product from the always reliable folks at Inside out. There is a decent booklet in the middle and finally a very inclusive bonus CD with a variety of covers and live songs. It's all a very comprehensive package and I am now glad that I went for the bonus deluxe version.

In conclusion I feel that this new CD demonstrates the Enchant songwriting qualities and musicianship in a very solid fashion; sure it probably doesn't ultimately surface as high as most of they're previous albums, (they were), after all; all very fantastic CD's; (especially the last two). This is a welcome return of the band and apart from a few tracks that don't quite cut it, the musical execution and delivery are all certainly worth the conservative rating of four yellow stars.

Headless Cross
Headless Cross

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the land of owls, ghouls and witches!.,, 28 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Headless Cross (Audio CD)
This album has to be one of the finest efforts from Black Sabbath out of all of they're widely varied incantations;/ over the years. From this perspective, it had many of the typical Sabbath orchestrations, in-combination with a looser and more flowing style of songwriting than many of the contemporary, earlier albums. The musical productivity of the band:- likely aided by the arrival of the very proficient drummer Cozy Powell and the evident re-invigoration of Iommi, helped ensure that the conditions were right for an energised re-birth of an ailing and drifting identity.

The highlights from Headless Cross are many and compelling. "Headless cross, When death calls, & Nightwing," are simply mandatory classics. Elsewhere, the riff-fest of "Black Moon" is a compelling addition to balance the compensation for the very enjoyable and catchy trio of:- "Devil & daughter, Kill in the spirit world, & Call of the wild". The brief interlude at the very start of the CD "At the gates of hell" sets the scene for a dark tingled musical journey.

This is certainly a very well executed album indeed. One of the star commendations here however, must surely be due for the exceptional vocal delivery of Tony martin; this was arguably his finest ever performance on a studio template and the results of his work here leave no doubt with as to why. Iommi, also creates a colourful picturesque with some excellent chops and guitar sound, has he has always and reliably done. Ultimately, this all adds up to the backdrop of a strongly slanted 80's production and sound.

Being in-addition to an exceptionally undervalued musical recognition; Headless cross, (like all of the Tony Martin fronted IRS albums, has been allowed to slip into obscurity.) Time is now surely due for a proper re-appraisal, and a much needed uplift in distribution.,
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2015 8:31 AM BST

On Every Street
On Every Street
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Closing the curtains.,, 26 Sept. 2014
This review is from: On Every Street (Audio CD)
'On Every Street' was the final swansong for this fantastic band, and it in many ways, equalises the incredibly popular predesessor of 'Brothers in arms'. Overall, 'On every street' was never quite as immediate as that album was, but it lays down a theme of typical DS convigorations. The starter "Calling elvis" is a great and enjoyable opener:- followed in quick succession of the "title track" which has to be one of they're finest and most progressive achievements.

Elsewhere, the country infused "When It Comes Back To You" is a pleasant arrival, as is the even more relaxed entoire of "Fade To Black". The charged, energized sound of Mark's guitar is back with "The bug":- the only real criticism I have on anything in the entire album, is just a despicable spat of lyrics on the energetic and catchy tune of "Heavy fuel". Mark's guitar work and vocals are stunning as always with a tightness and vigor rarely heard in rock music, his presence once again dominating the exceptionalism.

Ultimately, a tight and impressionable album. They had no doubt, done slightly better work in the past, but this CD is a Dire Straits gem, and it's a fairly solid note to go out on.

For The Journey
For The Journey
Price: £14.30

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly impressive return of the prog maestros., 22 Sept. 2014
This review is from: For The Journey (Audio CD)
Threshold are a band with 9 full length albums under they're belt, and all of them were very masterful works of the highest order. "For the journey" is the 10th and next installment, and it is absolutely no different. This new opus now progressively entrenches the band sound further within the post mac era. The album is transitory, fluid and remarkably varied within the camber of Threshold's natural prog leanings. Significant air time is given to the familliar Threshold aspects of:- delicate choruses, crunchy riffs and the atmospheric melodies; it all adds up to make this one a superb journey to be embarking on.

The star of the show is frankly the entire band and all the input combined. Karl Groom's guitar work/sound, in particular, on this CD is really, absolutely stunning. Damien also gives another stellar performance to what he aptly demonstrated on "March of progress". So the album is everything I hoped for and then some. The star tracks are probably the very confident opener "Watchtower on the moon", the beautiful epic "The box" and the headbanger of "Turned to dust". This is quite possibly they're best album yet, and it could prove to elbow-out many candidates for metal album of the year.

I would recommend all progressive metal fans to look into new this album with a modicum of high confidence.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2015 8:50 PM GMT

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