Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dave Martone and Glen Drover Live Webcast on September 25th

On Sunday September 25, 2011 at 3 PM EDT* Magna Carta Recording artists Dave Martone and Glen Drover will take part in an historic performance that will be webcast worldwide as part of the “Live At Metalworks” series from Mississauga, Canada. The webcast can be seen at:

Magna Carta has long been known for being a leading independent label producing and distributing some of the best talent on the contemporary music scene with an emphasis on musical virtuosity. Both Dave Martone and Glen Drover have produced critically acclaimed albums for the label, showcasing their world class talents as guitarists and composers. Dave and Glen individually have developed fans and followers throughout the world who have been impressed with both their technical abilities and emotional depth as artists. Both guitarists will be backed by their own group of outstanding musicians making this both a showcase of amazing talent and an informal “clinic” for musicians around the globe.

Now Magna Carta will break ground by presenting both artists in a manner in which very few independent label artists have been seen: live webcasting with superior audio and video capabilities at no cost to the audience who will be able to receive the webcast worldwide. One of the foremost webcasting companies in this field, Orchard TV, will be providing these technological services.

“Live At Metalworks” refers to the Metalworks group of companies including award-winning Metalworks Studios the most renowned and recognized recording facility in Canada for more than 30 years. The September 25 webcast of Dave Martone and Glen Drover will be presented from the facility's newly completed North Auditorium.

The webcast will also be available as an archive on the Magna Carta website as well as clips being available on Youtube after the live webcast.

We invite everyone that has a love for guitar, guitar players, great musicianship, rock'n'roll, cutting edge technology and history made in front of your eyes.

Peter Morticelli, President of Magna Carta, says “With Dave Martone from Vancouver and Glen Drover from Toronto, we not only have two of the greatest guitar talents that Canada has ever produced but we have two musicians that have made their mark internationally. The September 25 webcast will allow both of these great players to showcase their abilities to the world via the internet. Magna Carta is proud to be able to present a milestone event such as this.”

*12 Noon - Los Angeles, USA
*3 PM - Toronto, Canada/ New York, USA
*8 PM - London, UK
*9 PM - Paris, France
*4 AM - Monday -Tokyo, Japan

Friday, August 12, 2011

Glen Drover review from Progressive Rock Brazil

GLEN DROVER - "Metalusion"

The guitar player Glen Drover is well known by the Metal community for his work on bands like “Eidolon”, “King Diamond”, and “Megadeth”. But an unknown musical facet of Drover has been hidden from the Metallic audiences: aside from being a technical, powerful and angry metal-axe destroyer, Drover is also an appreciator of the Jazz and Fusion genres, with a penchant for names like “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Al Di Meola” and “Frank Zappa”. So, armed with his guitar axe, and counting with the help of the extraordinary musicians Jim Gilmore (keyboardist of “Saga”), Paul Yee (bass), and Chris Sutherland (drums), Glen Drover headed for a solo career. Supported by the Progressive Metal label Magna Carta Records, he released a fabulous debut album, titled “Metalusion” (April, 2011).

The album contains 10 instrumental tracks, half of which are covers of Drover’s favorite non-metallic musicians; and features special appearances of very special guests: the guitar players Vinnie Moore (“Vicious Rumors“, “UFO”), Fredrik Akesson (“Opeth”, “Talisman”), Chris Poland (“Ohm”, Megadeth”), Jeff Loomis (“Sanctuary”, “Nevermore”), and Steve Smyth (“Forbidden”). The sonority lays on the grounds of Metal-Fusion, paralleling the solo work of guitarists like “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony McAlpíne“, “Joey Tafolla“, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marc Bonilla”, and project-bands like “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Planet X”, and “CAB”.

The opening tracks “Ground Zero” and “Frozen Dream” were co-written by Drover and Gilmour.
“Ground Zero” is an effervescent piece divided in two sections: the first one is heavy, dynamic and metallic, and the second one leans to a hard Prog-Fusion, with amazing participation of keyboards, bass and drums. This piece is crowned by two awesome guitar duels - first of Drover against Chris Poland, and later of Drover against Vinnie Moore.
“Frozen Dream” has a stronger Prog-Fusion lean than the preceding, and features Steve Smyth as second demolition guitar player. This piece reminds me of the solo works of both “Vinnie Moore” and “Joey Tafolla”, but with a stronger keyboard contribution.
Driven by breath-taking technical expertise, “Egyptian Danza” (“Al Di Meola’s” cover) gains in rage and lust, without loosing its essence. Paul Yee on bass is especially destructive here, exchanging incredible phrases with Drover, and making this track one of the best reinterpretations ever written for that classic.
The following track, “Colors of Infinity”, is light, calm and melodic, like a jazz-ballad in the style of “Vinnie Moore” and “Vai”, but containing a middle incursion of dark progressive keyboards.
The intro of “Illusions of Starlight” (co-written by Yee) brings “Rush” to mind, but this piece contains much more variation; including cool fusion passages on keyboards, and guitar riffs reminiscent of “John Petrucci’s” solo work.
The following two tracks are covers of “Jean-Luc Ponty”: “Don’t Let the World Pass You By” (featuring Fredrik Akesson) and “Mirage” (featuring Jeff Loomis). “Don’t Let…” is busted by the opulent duel of guitars and energetic keyboard solos, switching the original jazzy atmosphere for a metallic raging spirit, being supported by a still faster and powerful Heavy-Fusion rhythmic section.
On “Mirage”, in contrast, the Jazz-Fusion quality of the original piece was retained due to the perfect transmutation of the violin solos into guitar solos by means of the use of vibratos and modulation effects.
On “Ascension”, a soaring layer of pianos and beautiful synthesizers support a slow and melodic guitar theme, creating a dreamy and spiritual, mood.
The two last tracks of the record are covers of “Frank Zappa”, reinvented by Drover. “The Purple Lagoon” is short, slow, and heavy. It is the intro for “Filthy Habits”, transformed into a Heavy-Metal piece thanks to the slow tempo, dark atmosphere, heavy guitar riffing, perfect shredding technique, and exquisite elaboration of the main theme, sounding like a meeting of “Zappa” with old “Black Sabbath”.

Extraordinary and brilliant, Glen Drover’s “Metalusion” is one of the greatest releases of its kind, worthy of figuring in any collection of Neo-Classical or Metal-Fusion, being indispensable for fans of “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony McAlpine“, “Joey Tafolla“, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marc Bonilla”, “John Petrucci”, “Scott Henderson”, “Alex Skolnick“, “Greg Howe”, and so on.

Band members and collaborators involved in Glen Drover are: Glen Drover – Guitars; Jim Gilmore – Keyboards; Paul Yee – Bass; Chris Sutherland – Drums. Guest guitarists: Vinnie Moore, Fredrik Akesson, Chris Poland, Jeff Loomis, and Steve Smyth... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)

XOpus review in Progressive Rock Brazil

X OPUS - "The Epiphany"

The Symphonic Progressive Metal band X Opus comes from Plano, Texas (U.S.A.) The band is headed by multi-instrumentalist James Williams (guitar, bass, keyboards, backing vocals, and compositions). Williams is a talented and skilled musician that loves both Heavy Metal and Classical Music. As a guitarist, he was inspired by names like “Hendrix”, “Robin Trower”, “Gary Moore”, “Uli Jon Roth”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Al Di Meola”, and “Shawn Lane”. As a composer, his sources are “Bach”, “Orff”, “Mozart”, “Stravinsky”, and “Paganini”.

The combination of his musical passions resulted in an explosive blend of Symphonic Metal, Power Metal, Prog-Metal, and Neo-Classical Metal that sounds much as bands like “Malmsteen”, “Angra”, “Adagio”, “Stratovarius”, “Queensrÿche”, “Helstar”, “Fates Warning”, “Iron Maiden”, “Apocrypha”, “Halloween”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Morifade”, “Mind’s Eye” and “Symphony X”. Through his sole efforts, and with help of two vocalists - Brian Dixon and David Crocker – Williams worked between December 2009 and September 2010 at his “X Opus Studios” to record the songs that would make the core of his debut album, called “The Epiphany”. The material was written, arranged, produced, and mixed by Williams and mastered by Jim Brick at “Absolute Audio”, New Jersey. “The Epiphany” was released in May, 2011 by specialized Progressive label Magna Carta Records, and contains 10 tracks.

“Terrified” opens the album with terrific Neo-Classical guitar solo in “Malmsteen” style, descending later to a heavy cadence that reminds me of the pre-Prog-Metal bands of the Eighties, like “Helstar”.
It is followed by “On Top of the World”, a plain song formatted for live presentations that counts on the strength of its chorus.
Far better is “Pharaohs of Lies” – a symphonic Power-Metal with the vibration and energy of “Malmsteen“, “Adagio”, and vocals like “Judas Priest” – the middle section, with ultra-fast arpeggios, is breath-taking.
The fourth track is “I’ll Find the Truth”, and features the first appearance of Crocker on vocals, recalling me of bands like “Nocturnal Rites” and “Mind’s Eye”.
One of the best tracks is “In The Heavens”, which opens with Classical acoustic guitars, followed by a malevolent slower pace that reminds me of early “Malmsteen” and, again, of “Helstar”. The amazing guitar solo blends elements of Jazz-Fusion with Neo-Classic, showcasing a skillful Williams on the instrument.
“The Epiphany (Opus Benedictus Interlude)” is a symphonic interlude that reflects an “Orff-Stravinsky” inspiration. It marks the beginning of a sequence of killer tracks that go from the seventh (“I Will Fly”) to the last (“Never Forgotten”).
“I Will Fly” begins with Middle Eastern chords that open the way for an astonishing Symphonic Power-Metal, including malevolent vocals of David Crocker, torrents of guitar solos, and tons of razor-edged keyboards; all blending influences of “Adagio”, “Malmsteen”, “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, and early “Fates Warning”, especially on the final sequence, with piano and operatic vocals.
The destruction caused by “I Will Fly” is only surpassed by the apocalyptical “Forsaken (Requiem of the Forsaken)”, a 10-minute long Power-Prog piece with cataclysmic guitars, gloomy symphonic arrangements, and locomotive-breath rhythm, like the most raging moments of “Symphony X” and “Stratovarius”, on which volcanic sequences of beautiful guitar solos erupt from insane synthesizers; until the abrupt end with a portentous epic choir – an inspiration from “Mozart’s” Requiem – that represents the final celestial ascension through glassy Stairway to Heavens.
The album could end here, but there is still time to open the "Pandora’s Box" on “Angels of War” – a whirlwind Power-Metal track driven by Crocker’s “Halford”-like vocals. The fury released on “Angels…” is peacefully quenched by the instrumental chords of “Never Forgotten” – this one a gorgeous symphonic piece with angelical choirs, classical guitars, Fusion keyboards and Neo-Classical guitar solos – the ultimately closing track for this surprising album.

Regarding the fact that “The Epiphany” was supported by the individual talent of Williams and the two guest singers, it has resulted anyway in an impressive and extraordinary debut – capable of keeping veteran Metal-Heads banging on. With the support of Magna Carta, and the ingression of new integrants Jesse Gallegos (bass), Corbett Tucker (drums) and Matthew Bowers (keyboards), I am sure that the next X Opus’ album will be a classic of the genre. X Opus is highly recommended for fans of Symphonic Power-Metal, Neo-Classical Metal and Progressive-Metal.

Band members and collaborators involved in X Opus are: James Williams – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Brian Dixon – Lead and Backing Vocals; David Crocker – Lead and Backing Vocals (tracks 4, 7, 9); Jesse Gallegos – Bass; Corbett Tucker – Drums; Matthew Bowers - Keyboards... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)

Android Meme track by track review

Android Meme
Ordo Ab Chao

Review by Gary Hill in Music Street Journal

there are some prog moments and prog elements at various times on the disc. I’d consider it closer to Tool than just about anything else.

Track by Track Review

The Machine Stops
Keyboards bring this in, then it seems about to fire into some metallic prog, but it settles into something closer to fusion. The metallic elements do rise up from there, but they drop it to a more stripped down techno meets prog arrangement for the verse. The cut runs through with that sound and the heavier ones bouncing off one another.

While in some ways this piece is far more metal than the opener had been, it’s also got a lot of real progressive rock built into it. At times it’s not that far removed from something by Dream Theater.

Polar Rose
Mixing nu-metal with progressive rock, this is another tasty tune. This one does get a lot more into the pure metal side of things.

This one is definitely almost all heavy metal. Sure, there are some prog elements here, but really this is not that far removed from the bulk of nu-metal out there. That said, it’s a great tune.

Ordo Ab Chao
Serious metal, including extreme vocals, bring this one out.

Left Right Parasite
Coming in extremely heavy, the vocals come with a real death metal scream. There are some prog keyboards and some weird timings here, but overall this is extremely creative and very tasty modern metal. It’s nothing close to generic or predictable, though, and is one of the coolest tunes on show here. There is a nearly pure progressive rock movement that appears later. The piece is one of the most dynamic on show and certainly one of the highlights.

Extremely heavy and dense, this is a powerful piece of music. It’s very much in keeping with something like Tool.

The main motif is heavy and hard rocking, but there is a drop back to mellower tones later in the piece.

Incredibly heavy with major gothic textures, this is a real killer. There are definitely hints of shoegaze music here. Around the two and a half minute mark it fires out to a jam that’s quite prog-like.

While this is extremely heavy and Tool-like, it does have some definite progressive rock-like tendencies. It turns extremely heavy later.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Glen Drover review in Stormbringer

A rough translation from the German website:

The mixture can be probably best described as prog-metal. There's renowned support abound. Among other things, access Jeff Loomis (NEVERMORE), Fredrik Akesson (OPETH), Vinnie Moore (UFO) and Steve Smyth (FORBIDDEN) in the strings. Interestingly, we come full circle with Chris Poland (ex-MEGADETH).

"Every song should sound as if he were destined to land on the plate. Nothing should act inappropriately. "- Said Glen Drovers. I think that is exactly what he succeeded. The compositions need not be behind the cover to hide anyway. Although with "Filthy Habits" FRANK ZAPPA is my favorite of the entire disc is very consistent, never saves with exciting melodies and offers within the stylistic framework also enough variety.

I'm not a huge fan of instrumental albums, "Metalusion" can still inspire me. Honestly, I almost feel guilty about Glen Drover MEGADETH times have not been adequately addressed. Mega Dave had - as so often - a good hand. Glen makes both the shredding, as well as the jazzy and soulful sounds an excellent figure.

Glen Drover review in Zicazic online

A rough translation of this review from Zicazic in France:

"the desire to bring the immensity of his talent to masterpieces such as "Egyptian Danza" (DiMeola), "Don't Let The World Pass You By" (Ponty) or "Filthy Habits" (Zappa) the guitarist is at every moment the very balance between the technical demonstrations and feel, delivering very inspired instrumentals like "Illusions Of Starlight" and "Ascension" and managing to make this album a progressive updating of this classic fusion. Would recommend to all lovers of beautiful guitars and beautiful sounds!"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

James Williams: X Opus debut release on Magna Carta

G E A R - M O N S T E R S —

Sure to be a big hit with fans of progressive metal, Dream Theater, Queensryche. The Epiphany, the debut CD from the symphonic metal band X Opus , is a celestial blend of enigmatic lyrical threads and layered neoclassical metal. Tracks such as “Terrified”, “Forsaken” “On Top of the World”, “Pharaohs of Lies” and “In The Heavens"

X OPus review from Shred Knowledge

X Opus "The Epiphany" is a New Debut Album by metal-prog multi-instrumentalist James Williams out of Texas, and I must say this is one album for the neo-classical music books.

The music is a master stroke of very heavy, melodic and progressive reverbnations .

The talented composer takes you on a fast paced, multi-faceted journey thru colorful symphonic keyboard rich settings and celestial landscapes. Each song on this CD is an Opus in it's own right.

The songs showcase James' talent and musical craftsmanship. The metal laden operatic vocals by Brian Dixon and David Croker are perfect for this type of music in the style of Ronnie James Dio, Geoff Tate and Apollo Papathanasio from the Greek band Firewind.

The music and impeccable guitar playing reminds me of Yngwie Malmsteen's muse ala his album Trilogy and others. The theme-matic headbanging compositions take you thru harmonious hills and dales all the while pushing the listener onward to sense-stimulating hamlets of azure. “You always hear about the healing powers of music,” says guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and X Opus leader James Williams.

“The Epiphany CD really sums up many of the trials and tribulations of my life and even my own belief system. Really, it’s the record I’ve waited my life to make.”

In a nut shell, X Opus can be described as an amalgamation of metal, rock, and classical mixed together to present a diverse style that is unique and appreciable. I highly recommend this majestic production to those who can't get enuff of their much needed neoclassic fix.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Glen Drover Review on Power Of Metal

Following a distinguished career with bands such as Eidolon, Megadeth and King Diamond, guitarist Glen Drover makes his solo debut with the instrumental “Metalusion”. Besides a number of guests that appear throughout the album, the core members of Glen’s band are: bass player Paul Yee, keyboardist Jim Gilmour (also of Saga) and Chris Sutherland (himself an ex-Saga session player) on drums.

The title is a reference to the Jazz Fusion covers that make up half the album and also reflects the genre-crossing inspirations of the original numbers. It’s an interesting format, even though “Metalusion” is essentially a Metal album.

The quality of the original numbers varies but on the whole this is one of the more satisfying instrumental guitar albums. ‘Colours Of Infinity’, for example, contains a bluesy vibe interweaved with some impressive shredding. This composition in particular exposes the exceptional ability of all the band members. ‘Ascension’ is another original number – one that reflects Glen’s admiration for Jean-Luc Ponty.

Speaking of whom, I felt one of the album’s best tracks is ‘Mirage’, a Ponty cover. The band members don’t seem excessively concerned with sounding note-by-note faithful to the original as much as they strive to convey the original version’s magical feel. Similarly, Glen’s version of Al DiMeola’s ‘Egyptian Danza’ is a spirited display of a complex but ultimately tender composition.

“Metalusion” is an excellent album that should be particularly appreciated by Metal fans into technically proficient music. Rest assured that the covers within it could be enjoyed even if the listener is not familiar with the original versions.