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Clockwork Angels
Clockwork Angels

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What do you lack?, 30 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
That's a good question pedlar. It's the album that in my youth I would have liked to have followed Hemispheres, especially lyrically. But it wasn't and that was over 30 years ago; times have changed.

When I first heard Caravan and BU2B, I had no idea they would be part of a concept, the tracks (at the time) standing up as individual songs ... but now they don't. Having accepted the intro/verse - chorus - verse - chorus - solo - chorus Rush, going back to the open source concept Rush is not an easy transition for me. Although I never did get 2112, preferring Caress of Steel's diversity. Lyrically the songs sound odd taken out of the context of the album and also listened to out of sequence. But at least, unlike 2112, the main character chooses life - I like a happy ending.

Clockwork Angels is an album of vibrancy, colour, depth and variety, all songs performed with impeccable musicianship (taken for granted) and I do like the string arrangements for a change of direction. But I feel that Geddy has had a little too much influence in places, putting his foot on the break to slow tracks down rather than keeping the pace going and then sticking it to the floor for Alex to have a good old fashioned thrash at.

Is this a great Rush album? Yes. Is it a classic Rush album? No. There are moments of classic (Caravan and BU2B), moments of greatness (Carnies and Headlong Flight) and a moment of Tai Shan (The Wreckers). But it's The Garden that has taken me completely off guard and shown a side of Rush that I thought had long gone. Utterly infectious.

Looking back and with rose tinted glasses removed, if you were to truthfully rate each track from each album and then calculated the average score, you may be surprised at what you find. I only had one true classic score ... Permanent Waves, with Test for Echo superglued to the bottom for all eternity. As Rush fans we are allowed to be analytical and critical of our heroes (especially me), but even I would defend Dog Years as the greatest song of all time in the face of a non-believer.

Amazon star ratings only go as far as 5, so 5 it is. But Rush ratings go to 10 and for me this is a 7.5 ... maybe 8 in the fullness of time. So as an overall piece of work I am (after many plays) happy with the end result and happier still that Rush are still out there doing what they do better than any other band on the planet.

So what do I lack? I wish I knew. Maybe I will find out when I see them live.

Price: £13.94

5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tidal wave of indifference ... or whoops apocalypse!, 4 April 2012
This review is from: MMXII (Audio CD)
OK ... let's get the "I've been a fan since blah blah blah" stuff out of the way first. Yes I am a fan; I've been following them since cold nights at the Lyceum Ballroom, London, to the recent cancelled gig in Dublin. Bought the albums, still wear the t-shirts, yadda yadda yadda. So I do consider myself to be a fan and as a fan I think it is a really good album; great songs, excellent performances from all, well produced and with thought provoking lyrics. The riff in Colony Collapse even reminds me of Rush. So what's the problem?

It's not what I wanted from Killing Joke to rubberstamp the end of the world. It's more `post' global annihilation than `pre' ... and that's what's missing for me. There's no fight or spirit in it. It's as if Jaz believes it's all over for mankind and has rolled over to accept our fate. Well I don't.

The ingredients that were left out of this release were a pinch or two of `Hosannas' raw power and a large dollop of their 1st album's tribal passion. It has everything else, all stirred up from across their back catalogue and given the fullness of time, should we still be here after we've been hit by a storm of meteorites the size of Brazil on the same day as a dozen tsunamis, a global computer meltdown, twenty earthquakes, countless terrorist attacks, Godzilla, an alien invasion AND the second coming, I'm sure I'll love it.

But for now it's a near miss and we'll all sleep soundly having listened to Requiem knowing that come 2013 and Killing Joke are alive and back in the studio, we'll get the album to celebrate man's continued existence on planet earth. Kaboom! Whoosh! Splosh! Whatever.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2012 7:58 PM GMT

A Different Kind Of Truth
A Different Kind Of Truth
Price: £7.50

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% proof Van Halen, 6 Feb. 2012
Is this my favourite VH album ever? Oh I think so. It has the diversity VH II, the swagger of Women and Children First, the middle finger of Fair Warning, the coolness of Diver Down and the stadium-filling arrogance of 1984. It doesn't have the `Hey look at us!' of VH I, but then it doesn't need it and no offence to Messrs Hagar and Cherone, VH will always be Diamond Dave's.

Any track could slide in easy to the aforementioned albums and yes Tattoo was a curious choice to 're-launch' the band, but in the context of the record it works perfect. There isn't a weak track to be found on what has to be the longest album they have made by far. There's something for everybody and the riff of Honeybabysweetiedoll proves they haven't taken their foot off the gas after all these year.

If VH I was Wild Turkey Bourbon, A Different Kind Of Truth is as smooth as a bottle of 25 year old Chivas Regal.

Stay frosty.

Price: £8.07

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why?, 26 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Comeblack (Audio CD)
If you're going to re-record songs, at least try and make them different, not just sound like badly mixed versions of the originals.

What a wasted opportunity, or as my old teacher would have written, '1 out of 5 - see me'

The Hunter
The Hunter
Price: £6.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hate Mastodon ... but I love this!, 23 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
Shorter tracks with no unfathomable jazz-timing mumbo-jumbo. Just good, honest rock'n'roll. Admittedly they sound more like Voivod these days, but that's not a bad thing. So if this is the future of Mastodon, give me more.

But if they return to their prog-metal ramblings of yore, its back to Opeth for me ... Heritage or not!

Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £10.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the strong came forth sweetness, 23 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
"Hey Doc, you must really like this album to give it 5 stars!" Actually no ... I don't, its boring. If anything, it got me scrambling through my attic to dust off my Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook and Monster Manual. Sorry Nightwish, the world has moved on and so should you, as Imaginaerum offers very little from their box of symphonic rock that they havent already bestowed upon us before. OK, so I do have a soft spot for the band, as I do my retired 16th level dwarven thief. But this is so so dated and devoid of creativity or passion, except for one ...

And there it was, four tracks in - `Slow, Love, Slow': a track worthy of 5 stars alone. This is Dark Lounge, oozing with sultry vocals, whispered snare and sassy trumpet. I was lost. My mind wandered through the rain-sodden streets of Manhattan and into the smokey jazz café, its crimson velvet drapes soaked with the stain of a thousand tears. A dusty mirrorball above the stage span slowly, sprinkling its shafts of hope across the lonely, while `Fat Joe' blew that horn as only Fat Joe can. I sat down at an forsaken table by the bar. The tall blonde waitress sauntered over and purred "What'll it be stranger?" She leaned forward seductively to light my Havana cigar, hand-rolled on the slender thighs of Cuban maidens. I smiled, ordered a bourbon on-the-rocks and stared into oblivion, as my heart yearned to be with the one I love.


Footnote: It may be stunning, but I am not sure about some of their Finglish - "Let down your guards, I love you's" ? Yeah ... me too's.

Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland [DVD]
Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rush
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.19

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but sometimes people love cr-p, 11 Nov. 2011
When I read all the negative reviews, I thought what a bunch of moaners. And then I put my DVD into the player. I got no sound either and was about to launch it out the window like my Test For Echo CD/Frisbee until I realized I had to change the audio settings ... and then all was well.

I then sat back and heard the perfect audio accompany the less than perfect visual. So this is what they meant about it being hazy/fuzzy/whatever. I must confess that it isn't HD, but was it supposed to be? It reminds me of '80s concerts that have been transferred from VHS to DVD and that is its charm. Even the intro video has an auditorium sound to it (all be it an empty one).

Time Machine has a 'being there' feel about it and yes its not perfect and yes although the camera angles are creative they do switch too much. But its warm and welcoming like a pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord at your local pub. Its not as clinical as S&A, nor badly mixed as R30: a bit like the 3 bears porridge; one was too hot, one was too cold, but this is one is just right.

So for those of you that still think its poor quality, just pretend you're down the front at the gig, watching the show through a haze of sweet smelling concert smoke, whilst clutching your over-priced t-shirt and already creased program. Because it is more than just a concert, it is a show ... and a mighty fine one at that!

A Dramatic Turn Of Events
A Dramatic Turn Of Events
Offered by Hardliner-music
Price: £8.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its 1991, 4 Oct. 2011
'A Dramatic Turn Of Events' is the superb follow up to 'When Dream and Day Unite', the debut album from Drea ... hang on a minute, somebody is trying to tell me something ...

What's that? [Its their 11th studio album and they've been together for 25 years]
Then what about all those half-baked albums in between? Maybe that was a different band that spelt their name 'Theatre'.
[It's the same band] Then how come it sounds so much better?
[What ... Mike Portnoy left?] But he's the second best drummer in the world!
[You felt he was stifling the bands musical creativity] That's crazy talk ... get outta here!

Sorry about that. As I was trying to say, this is a superb return to form and is Dream Theater's best album since 1989.
I think these boys could go far!

Price: £9.29

28 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No No and thrice No!, 13 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
Is it me or are my heroes deliberately out to upset me? If it wasn't bad enough that Queensryche released a total stinker of an album in Dedicated to Chaos, then Primus ... by beloved Primus presented us with their latest patchy (at best) offering Green Naugahyde. Now the mighty Opeth have raised my blood pressure by going so prog, that it can only be enjoyed sitting on a raffia mat in the lotus position surrounded by lava lamps and the aroma of stale petula oil! In fact it's so 70s' prog that after just one listening I was dreaming about Ford Escorts, Man about the House and Pan's People!

So Michael has finally gone and done it, realizing his fantasy by obliterating any traces of Opeth's Death Metal origins, fusing together the sounds and styles of prog rock legends such as Camel, King Crimson, early Yes, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant into one big pair of purple loon pants.

Heritage is not for faint hearted readers of MetalHammer. It is slow, meandering, trippy, self-indulgent codswallop. The album starts and finishes with lifeless instrumental dirges, the tracks in between merging into one globular nonentity with tracks like 'Folklore' merely an Andy Latimer reject.

The album's only glimmer of hope is 'Slither', but even this is dashed when the ghost of Blackmore appears to drag it back to pre-decimalization. Now I'm not some leather-clad, white-face painted death metalhead and I do like the aforementioned bands, especially Camel ... but not on a damn Opeth album! It's that light and shade that made Opeth ... Opeth.

I suppose I could see it coming on Watershed, but not to the extent that I am left with a load of well produced, well recorded, well packaged ... tosh.

Talking of Tosh, if I read an interview that says he's now listening to reggae I'm outta here!
Comment Comments (31) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2012 11:55 AM BST

Dedicated To Chaos (Special Edition)
Dedicated To Chaos (Special Edition)
Offered by Hardliner-music
Price: £13.49

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Chaos? What chaos?, 1 July 2011
When I saw the title of the new album, I really thought that we were going to get a 21st century Rage For Order or Empire or even Promised Land. But instead (and sadly) its a very light-weight offering that packs no punch, drive or soul. This album really saddens me.

I have followed Queensryche religiously since their first EP, through peaks ... and lesser peaks (Q2K). So to hear such a weak album from such a dominant force in rock music for so long, especially after the excellent American Soldier, is simply tragic.

Opener 'Get Started' is ... a good start. But you expect more than just a good start from Queensryche. Tate's amazing voice is completely wasted as the album drifts aimlessly from start to finish. And as for 'Broken', I admire bands trying something different, but No! No! No! No! No!

This is Queensryche's Test For Echo and if they [Rush] had ended their career with that abysmal album, it would have undermined a truly outstanding career. Thankfully Vapor Trails, Snakes and Arrows and the forthcoming Clockwork Angels have put Rush back at the top.

I can only hope that Queensryche have another Rage For Order in them before it's too late.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2011 10:13 PM BST

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