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Andy Wilson

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Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Excess Gaming
Price: £13.95

0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Addition To a Great Series, 20 Mar. 2012
The Mass Effect series has always prided itself on both a compelling story and immersive combat with Mass Effect 3 being no exception. The combat in Mass Effect 3 has been refined to the point were the third person shooter and RPG mechanics now work hand in hand. In short Mass Effect has never played better, the refined cover controls, weapon customisation and fleshed out skill trees leads to a satifying playing experience that will delight veteran Mass Effect players. The stroy is also every bit compelling with all of the loose plot threads from the previous two games. The game has a clear focus on putting the series to an end with you the player deciding the ultimate fate of most of the games cast. The amount of depth that is present within each stroy mission can only be matched in fellow Bioware RPG Dragon Age Oeigins. Along with a pletheroa of side quests and N7 missions the game has a healthy run time of roughly 24 hours which is fairly good value for money. The game also has a surprising decent multiplayer component that involves a survival/objective based co op missions,the multiplayer compliments the main game well and does actually have an impact on the campaigns ending.
To conclude this review I would like to address the controversial ending, whilst I understand why some have been upset by the ending i felt that it was decent and is certainly not worth giving the game 1 star or describing it as "soul destroying". Whilst more care and could have been put into making a intricate and 100% satifying ending I felt that it was still fitting. I welcome the opportunity for Bioware to possibly alter the ending to make it more satifying but I will not be crying into my Commander Sheperd cussion if they don't.
Overall I had a blast playing both the game and the series and would recomend it to any player looking to escape the world of bland FPS'


Human
Human
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Start of Something Great, 26 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Human (Audio CD)
Every truly great band has that one album that starts it all, an album that instantly defines them as well as paving a way for a very bright future. Take The Number of The Beast by Iron Maiden, their previous albums beforehand were great but it was that album that was the first truly great Maiden album and set the standard for future Maiden releases, it is the same for Death's Human. Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy and Spiritual Healing are all good albums but Human was the first Death album to successfully combined every component that made the band great. It was the start of something wonderful, Death would continue to evolve and grow from this amazing bench mark.
Human saw Death adapt a more technical death metal style than previous albums, this new style is apparent from the opening track Flattening of Emotions which opens with a short drum fill before descending into some great guitar riffing. From here on Human is a roller coaster ride for the next 35 minutes. From the crazy guitar solos and awesome drum work of songs such as Suicide Machine to unique ideas present in the brilliantly crafted instrumental Cosmic Sea, the album is fantastic on a instrumental and technical level. Death's founder and leader Chuck Schuldiner is also be notable for his great vocal work with his voice having more presence than ever, the very fact that he could pull off great vocals along with amazing guitar work is truly commendable.
However I believe Human as an album is summed up by one song, Lack of Comprehension represents everything that is great about this album as well as Death. It has unique ideas that show the band experiment with their sound whilst being as heavy as we would expect from a death metal album. It's the perfect balance that I look for in a band, they are willing to experiment whilst staying true themselves.
Human is not only a landmark Death album but is also a landmark metal album, it fully showed off the full potential that death metal had at the time and it's influence can be felt in progressive and technical death metal bands to this day. Is it my favorite Death album? To be honest I'm not sure, but is however a fantastic album that is well worth a listen.


Metal Hammer Presents: Unto The Locust
Metal Hammer Presents: Unto The Locust

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent follow up to an equally excellent album, 16 Oct. 2011
After 2007's The Blackening everyone wondered what Machine Head were going do next, how would they attempt to top an album that won the hearts of so many fans and was even called album of the decade by magazine Metal Hammer? The answer is simple, try something different. Unto The Locust is certainly not The Blackening Part 2 and is all the better because of this. Rather than simply recreate their previous album Machine Head have really challenged themselves as musicians creating one their most technical and complex album to date. With so much variety Unto The Locust never quite going in the direction you think it will and that's why it's brilliant.
Machine Head continue their proud tradition of starting the album with an amazing track, I Am Hell represents everything that makes Unto The Locust a great album. The song consists of three sections. Its first part is a soft opener with Robb Flynn gently singing in Latin before bursting into the brutal second part of the song. This part features almost doom metal riffing and some brutal singing from Flynn, who is drenched in reverb. Needless to say Machine Head have never sounded heavier. Before you can catch your breath I Am Hell descends from slow doom metal instrumentation into intense thrash metal for the last part of the song. This really kick starts the album as drummer Dave Mclain deals out some crazy blast beats as Robb Flynn and lead guitarist Phil Demmel play at speeds that are crazy even for thrash metal. From start to finish I Am Hell is an amazing listen and features a great amount of variety and ideas, an amazing start.

The next song Be Still And Know has a very Iron Maiden like riff sounding almost like a mix between Wasted Years and Back In The Village. From the chilling riff to the epic lyrics this is another great track and clocking in at 5:43 it's also the albums shortest song. Yet its dynamics and structure help make it a stand out track with the last chorus being insanely epic. There's not much to really say but it's a brilliant song.
Locust was the first song released from the album as an advanced mix, if you're a fan of Machine Head you've probably already heard it. It's notable however that the album mix sounds way better, it seems more whole and complete as a mix goes. The song itself is defiantly melodic and has a great opening riff and drum beat. From the chorus to great guitar solo the song really shows off how effectively the band can craft songs. The song also shows off Robb Flynns improved vocal range from his normal voice during the chorus to the small breakdown and then to the short, soft segment you really get to see that he's been working hard these past four years to become a better singer and quite frankly has never sounded better. Overall this is an another great song, if you didn't really care for the advanced mix than listen to the album version trust me it's a lot better.

This Is The End starts out with a classical guitar intro, I was instantly reminded of Rush's a Farewell To Kings and wasn't surprised at all to learn Rush have had an influence on Machine Head. From this quiet piece comes a great, very fast riff that descends into full on thrash as Fylnn lets out an epic cry. This is yet another song with a plethora of ideas from the cool sounding chorus to the slow distorted guitar section this is another song that shows off how far Machine Head come in terms of musicianship. An awesome song.
The next track is the biggest departure on the album, Darkness Within is as, as it is brilliant. Starting with a gentle acoustic section as Flynn softly sings some of his most passionate lyrics to date. Soon though the other instruments kick in and song really comes alive with the solo by Phil Demmel being one his finest since his time with the band. The lyrics themselves help make the song though, they are beautifully personal and really sends a power message. I am aware that this song has divided some Machine Head fans as has the last song on the album and I can see why they are a stretch away from any of the songs from Burn My Eyes but then again this natural progression is what makes Machine Head such a compelling band.

The next song Pearls Before The Swine took quite a bit of time to sink in with me, it's my least favourite song on the album and its strange structure let me a little underwhelmed at first. However as I've really listened to it I can now appreciate much more and think it's a great song, up to par with the rest of the album? Maybe not but it's still better than 90% of modern music at moment. If you're looking for a solid metal song to features a great chorus a number of head bangable moments than you can't really go wrong with this song.

Finally the last song Who We Are features singing children something I'd never thought I'd hear on a metal album let alone a Machine Head album. However much to my surprise it just seems to work. This is another passionate song that really demonstrates how metal and rock goes against the grain resilient, even if we are divided by sub genres and pre conceived notions. The song has great lyrics and vocals along with great guitar, bass and drum work, something that is constant throughout the album. With lyrics such as "into glory we will ride" Who We Are is an empowering song and really makes me proud to be apart of the metal community. From its excellent instrumental work to the epic closure that gently ends with some nice string work this is an amazing closure to the album and is a song I would never expect to come from the band.

So after all my praise does this album top the The Blackening? Well I'm not really sure to be honest it will have to take more time for the album to really sink in. I would say is that whilst this album is shorter than the previous one it features more interesting ideas and the band have never sounded tighter and more comfortable with themselves. It end up not being quite as good as The Blackening but Unto The Locust is still a bold and brilliant album that shows that Machine Head never compromises to anybody's expectations. Now the question is what will they do next?


Heritage
Heritage
Price: £5.80

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brave New Direction, 9 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
Trying something new is something that is often looked down on in the world of metal, don't get me wrong we metal heads can be open minded to new styles of music but the moment Opeth announced that their new album would feature no growled vocals more than a few people raised their eyebrows. Some people even went as far as writing off the album upon hearing this information, the first single released The Devils Orchard didn't help matters with its unique sound dividing old school Opeth fans. If you were still behind the band you couldn't help but feel almost worried, god knows I was. I couldn't help but worry that maybe the band had gone too far sacrificing their trademark style of contrasting their heavy sound with their clean progressive sound. Thankfully I was totally stupid for ever doubting the band, not only is Heritage a great album but it's also a perfectly natural progression from 2008's Watershed.
From the opening piano track Heritage you clearly hear that Opeth have lost none of their ability to create an album that oozes atmosphere. It is important to note though that Heritage sounds completely unique to the bands discography whilst being feeling strangely familiar. Tracks such as I Feel The Dark and Haxprocess continue to demonstrate that Opeth are still at the top of their game in terms of musicianship and quite frankly have never sound tighter as a band. From clearly the audible bass lines to the great key board/piano sections, Heritage feels like a more collaborative effort with the mixing of the album allowing all of the instruments fully breathe rather than being smothered by the distorted guitars. Don't get me wrong I'm not knocking any of Opeths previous albums and I have the feeling Blackwater Park and Watershed will still remain my favorite Opeth albums, but as a fan of progressive music it's really great to hear instruments such as the keyboard really coming into their own on this release. The album also features a great amount of variety never staying in one place for too long or becoming predictable. Tracks like the almost upbeat Slither perfectly contrasts tracks such as Nepenthe.
From the great title track to its last instrumental Marrow of The Earth, Heritage displays Opeth at their most brave and challenging. Undeniably I was sceptical at first, after my first listen I was unsure what I thought of the album all I knew was that I had listened to something genuinely special. Now that I've had time to take it in I can't help but praise the band, not only have they defied modern metal trends they have allowed themselves to stay fresh whilst never betraying their fans. It may take a while to sink in but Heritage is a brilliant listen that will challenge as well as delight even the most hardened Opeth fan


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