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Dafydd Jones "MetalliManic" (Aberystwyth, Ceredigion United Kingdom)
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Icky Thump
Icky Thump
Offered by Squirrelsounds
Price: £4.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An improvement on 'Get Behind Me Satan', 30 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
Let's clear one thing up. 'Icky Thump' is good. It isn't at the level of the first few albums, but 'Get Behind Me Satan' was so bad, I thought it could only improve. Thankfully it did.

'Icky Thump' starts off with the infectious title-track, with Jack White the Third's umistakeable guitar sounds and riffs, a wailing keyboard and Meg White's somewhat primal drums. It's catchy, it's clever, and it's very good. New single 'You Don't Know What Love Is' is slower, but still has that unmistakeable 'Stripes' sound. Other highlights of the album are the 'Catch Hell Blues', '300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues', 'Little Cream Soda', 'Bone Broke', 'I'm Slowly Turning Into You' and 'A Martyr For My Love For You'. 'Conquest' is fun, and enjoyable listening, but can't really hack it, whereas the bagpipes on 'St. Andrew' and 'Prickly Thorn (Sweetly Worn)' do not do the album any favours.

The Stripes try to do too much on a few occasions but their sound is back. A good effort, and album number seven won't be far away, I'm sure.


Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist
Price: £10.42

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bring the Sound, 30 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Zeitgeist (Audio CD)
This, it's fair to say is a pretty heavy album from a two-man band. Billy Corgan, and Jimmy Chamberlain are the people who provide the music and everything else. Chamberlain is the only other survivor from the original 'Pumpkins line-up, while Corgan has always been the frontman. Here, it's no exception as Chamberlain provides drums, while Corgan provides, well, everything else. Bass, Guitars (lead and rhythm), and vocals as well. He also writes the lyrics for the songs, for that matter.

So how does 'Zeitgeist' shape up? It's strong, and heavy, with the only weak point being Corgan's rather weak vocals in comparison to the aggression of the music. And that is felt throughout, as on all songs, with perhaps an exception of some sort on 'Starz' where Roy Thomas Baker produces, and gets a slight aggression from Corgan's vocals.

The centrepiece of the concept is no doubt the halfway point of the album, and the 10-minute epic, 'United States'. It rocks and it slows down, before exploding again towards the finish. 'Doomsday Clock' opens proceedings and is featured on the new 'Transformers' film soundtrack. A very good opener, it's then followed similarly by '7 Shades of Black'. Things are slightly softer on 'Bleeding The Orchid', with its Queens Of The Stone Age-esque 'aah's and the arena-rock feel it generates so easily. Track four is 'That's The Way'- a possible future release as it is not too heavy but still has a good melody, especially towards the choruses. Track five is one of the main highlights of Zeitgeist, a song called 'Tarantula'- where Corgan opens up with 'I don't wanna fight every single night, everything I want is in your life'. The song itself rocks, roars and rampages. It's very hard rock, bordering on metal, as the beginning of the album is.

Track six is 'Starz', with RTB's immaculate producing skills. The song is quite good, although some might see it as a bit cheesy. The music itself is very good and cannot be underestimated. Track seven is 'United States', and track eight is probably the weakest on the album. 'Neverlost' is soft, with a marimba (I think) or something similar as the focal instrument. It doesn't seem to fit in, although it suits Corgan's vocals better. The trouble is, by then, you're beginning to get used to them. Track nine is 'Bring the Light', which refers back to the heavy, chugging, almost metal sound which is by now a signature of the album's best work. Yet it maintains a melodic quirkiness which is uncharacteristic for such a heavy song. Next in line is (Come On) Let's Go!, a similar track to the previous one, just that it isn't as good. It starts with a solo, but that's as good as it gets really.

The final two tracks are 'For God And Country'- which is ok- it's softer, more melodic rock. 'Pomp and Circumstances' has a hint of Flaming Lips about it, which is good, but it doesn't seem to fit on the album very well. Don't get me wrong, if the album was too samey, it would get criticized for that, but it doesn't quite feel right. The solo at the end is very good, a bit Brian May-esque, but apart from that, I would consider it to be filler material really and a weak ending to an otherwise superb album.


Puzzle
Puzzle
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.94

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Puzzle has been solved..., 27 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Puzzle (Audio CD)
I am not new to Biffy Clyro's music as I have been following them ever since 'The Vertigo of Bliss'. That was a great album, as was its follow-up, 'Infinity Land', even if it was a little disjointed at times.

All these reviews which are saying that Biffy Clyro have sold-out and so on, I would disagree as they have just used a different approach. Fair enough, the screaming has gone, and the heaviness is turned down at times, but that doesn't mean that BC are the worse for it. In fact, I think they're better as they show more of a variation in their music.

The opener, 'Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies', is a great track. Filled to the brim with epic grandeur, complete with baroque orchestra and all, even if 90 odd seconds at the beginning are repetitive. "Time's what we don't have, everywhere I look someone dies; wonder when it's my turn.." Simon Neil asks in the chorus. 9/10.

Track two, 'Saturday Superhouse', could well have been written by the Foo Fighters, but it wasn't. That's not a bad thing, don't get me wrong. A lot of people think it is. This is a great track, and so what if BC have swapped complex prog rock for catchy hooks and a more melodic approach? I think it's just another avenue they explore. This is a great song. 10/10.

Track three, 'Who's Got A Match', is the shortest track on the album at under two and a half minutes. Not a standout but it's a good old stomp your foot rock number. Short and sweet. 8/10.

Track four is one of my favourite tracks on the album. It's called 'As Dust Dances', and it's epic, with its soaring riffs and the continued emphasis on the word 'bigger' in the chorus helps this. "Now, it's bigger than us...it's bigger than anything it decides to touch..." Neil sings. At the end of this song is a short interlude, referred to only as "2/15ths". It's a short(ish) piano riff, slightly progressive maybe, hinting at Pink Floyd possibly. It's a beautiful piece and an integral part of the album, as you will find out. 10/10.

Track five, 'A Whole Child Ago' has a slight element of punk in it, it must be said. It's great, and the chorus is naturally the pinnacle of the song. The lyrics are cryptic and often don't make much sense, maybe trying to be too clever- for example: "I'm the second avalon you're right, or left with an eyeball.....melting out the corner of my mouth...". That puzzles me slightly, but it might be part of the album anyway. 9/10.

Track six, 'The Conversation Is...', is a good track, probably specifically meant for release or otherwise I feel it is one of the weaker offerings on the album. That's not to say it's poor as the album's scope is such that no track is a bad track. It's so consistent. This song could very well be a future release as it has that single feel about it somehow. 8/10.

Track seven, 'Now I'm Everyone', is another great track, but hints at BC's progressive roots again. There is an interlude in the middle of the song with constant guitaring over and over for probably near a minute and you wonder where the song is going. However, it explodes into life soon after and an anthemic finale is guaranteed as the band sing in unison 'This is the one' repeatedly. Whatever 'the one' is is something that isn't very obvious. That's what makes this album so fascinating. 9/10.

Track eight, 'Semi-Mental' is clever. Very clever, in fact. Another part of the 'puzzle'. Another 'Foo-ish' track, with a great riff. The clever bit is the chorus. "You're trying to light up my life, now I'm just sentimental," is what Neil sings. He's playing on words. That is obviously done on purpose. 'Sentimental' sounds very similar to 'semi-mental', but he's created an anagram out of it. And even more ingeniously, the second interlude follows this as "4/15ths" is played as a piano comes in. The lyrics are clever as always, a sign of a good prog band. 10/10.

Track nine, 'Love Has A Diameter', is another anthem. The lyrics again are weird, but poetic at the same time. "I'm watching the radio...but it's the television looking at me." Neil sings. "Feathers will fly if you shoot a bulletful of bubblegum at my throat or my heart protected by a hummingbird...." are probably the most puzzling few lines in the song and maybe the whole album. 9/10.

Track ten, 'Get F***** Stud', is a great track again. This alum is overflowing with consistency. The opening riff is typical BC. My favourite line is on this song: "Oh my distorted smile will tighten its grip...'- I think it's brilliant. This, it must be said is a song which isn't for the over-sensitive as there are pretty explicit lyrics here, although it has to be said, it's the only song like that on the album. I don't think it makes a difference as in my opinion, it's one of the strongest tracks on the album. 10/10.

Track eleven, 'Folding Stars', is a contender for the song of 2007. It is outstanding in every way. Lyrically, musically, technically...it has it all. Possibly the most 'Foo Fighters-ish' track here, although it's unfair of me to compare, as the two bands are very different. It's just that this is one of the songs which has the Foos' sound. "I would do anything for another minute with you, 'cause it's not getting easier," Neil mourns as he sings about his mother. It's a poignant moment as the lyrics portray him as a vulnerable, raw person who talks like all has been taken away from him. And quite possibly it has. It's the song of a broken man. However the song is brilliant. 10/10.

Track twelve, and the final piece of the 'puzzle', is called '9/15ths'. Neil sings: "We're on a hellslide, help us, help us, we're on a hellslide..." constantly, accompanied by a baroque orchestra as towards the end it sounds dramatic and has a horror-theme to it. The lyrics from '4/15ths' are sung at one point, before the song builds to a dramatic crescendo and ends abruptly.

Track thirteen, 'Machines' portrays Simon Neil's feelings impressively. It's another poignant moment. He sings: "I've started falling apart, I'm not savouring life; I've forgotten how good it could be to feel alive,". Stripped to the bare bones in its musical form as an all-acoustic track, and has nothing except Neil's vocals accompanying the song, and a violin playing in the background towards the end of the song. This shows how BC have become such a great band, when they can write songs like this. Magnificent. 10/10.

So, 'Puzzle' is triumphant, and frankly, I'm perplexed how some people have missed the point of this album. Having lost his mother, Simon Neil obviously has a new perspective on life, and it has obviously affected his songwriting, for the better in my opinion.

So before slating this album, consider one thing. Think of how much of an impact the loss of Neil's mother has had, as it is clearly obvious in the lyrics.

However the album is a pleasant surprise...it is admittedly their most accessible album to date, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as BC maintain some of their originality while exploring further avenues.

Standout tracks: Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies, Saturday Superhouse, As Dust Dances, Semi-Mental, Get F***** Stud, Machines.

9/10.


Make Believe
Make Believe
Price: £3.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I believe in it, 17 May 2007
This review is from: Make Believe (Audio CD)
Excuse the cheesy review title, I couldn't resist :)

Anyway, this is a great, no, fantastic effort from Weezer. This album has something about it, something brilliant. It oozes quality throughout and brilliant songwriting (Rivers Cuomo is very under-rated for one thing) and great melodies. And they've had it produced by a living legend in rock music: Rick Rubin.

So, it starts. And that's with the party-rocking 'Beverly Hills'. Cuomo and co. chant, rather than sing: 'Beverly hills, that's where I wanna be!' And, if you've seen the video, you might agree.... 8/10.

Track two, 'Perfect Situation', is a song you will hear a lot of its sound during the album. I don't mean to say that all the songs sound like it, just that the structure is similar, with great melodies, solos and songwriting. 'Though I can't satisfy all the needs she has and so she starts to wander....can you blame her?' Cuomo asks. 9/10.

Track three, 'This Is Such A Pity', has a distinct 80s feel to it, where as that may seem a bad thing, it isn't here, because it is only the drums and there are a few keys thrown in. The song itself is pure class. 9/10.

Track four, 'Hold Me' is a lovely ballad, albeit a fairly rocky one at that. Cuomo's lyrics are captivating, and it makes for a great listen. 10/10.

Track five, 'Peace', typifies what Weezer are so good at doing...writing fairly heavy rock songs while maintaining a very melodic ethos during them at the same time. Brilliant. 10/10.

Track six has 'hit' written all over it. The curiously titled 'We Are All On Drugs' kicks off with a brilliant riff, before Cuomo opens into the first verse; 'You're out with your friends in your new Mercedes-Benz and you're....on drugs!'Maybe it's his general view of society, I don't know if he is that narrow-minded. Anyway, it's a hit. Brilliant. 10/10.

Track seven, 'The Damage In Your Heart', is another melodic number, and a ballad. This is one of my favourites on the album, I must admit. 'Let it go, the damage in your heart..' Cuomo sings. 10/10.

Track eight, 'Pardon Me', is a similar kind of song to the last one, in the sense that it ticks the same boxes. Catchy riff, yet melodic, rock ballad, and great songwriting. However one thing that sets this song apart from the last one is that it's more anthemic. Fantastic. 10/10.

Track nine, 'My Best Friend', in my opinion, is one of the weaker offerings here. I find it too boring in comparison to the other songs, and maybe it's a sign that Weezer are running out of ideas (?) 7/10.

Thankfully not. Track ten, 'The Other Way' is a return to the two previous tracks. I like this song a lot. I like the melodic yet heavy hooks that Weezer conjure up. I like Cuomo's songwriting and these kinds of songs are the kind that have propelled Weezer into the mainstream. 10/10.

Track eleven, 'Freak Me Out', is rather different. It begins rather creepily, if you like. It's nothing like the previous ten songs, but don't worry. It's still Weezer, just not as you know it. 8/10.

Track twelve, 'Haunt You Every Day', again is different. But it is more Weezer than the previous track. Firstly, a piano riff comes in along with guitar riffs, and it builds up to a great chorus. Yes, like the previous offering, it is creepy in parts. But the chorus transforms the song into what the rest of the album was. It's weird because the first ten tracks belong together, then eleven alienates itself from them, and twelve is trying to make its way back to what the rest were. It's a fantastic track, don't get me wrong. It is still very much Weezer. 9/10.

'Make Believe' has been out a while, and I have taken a while to review it, because I have so many albums I can't all review at once, I suppose.

Weezer are a top band. Make no mistake about it. And if anyone had any doubts about them before this album, this latest offering should put them to rest. 9/10.


The Boy with No Name
The Boy with No Name
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.53

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Under the spotlight, 9 May 2007
This review is from: The Boy with No Name (Audio CD)
This, the latest offering from Travis, 'The Boy With No Name', had many people thinking after their 'Singles' collection back in 2003. So, what was to be expected of this release?

A pleasant surprise.

The opening track, '3 Times And You Lose', starts off dreamily, before opening up into dreamy, hazy, melodic guitars and Fran Healy's soft, calm voice. A great intro. Classic Travis. 9/10.

Track two, 'Selfish Jean', is more in an early Coldplay-esque theme, and is arguably one of the best tracks on the album. It's Travis with the swagger that was only previously heard on their debut, 'Good Feeling'. This track has life, and feels more alive than anything they've done in years. 10/10.

Track three, 'Closer', was the first release off the album, and has quickly developed into a Travis classic. The video, incidentally, is worth watching as it features the comedy genius that is Ben Stiller. Yes, it is classic dreamy-guitar rock, but something Travis manage do oh so well. 10/10.

Track four, 'Big Chair', starts off with a piano/bass combination, and has a fresh-sounding drum beat to it. 'Here we go, fast and slow, on the big chair...' Healy sings. 9/10.

Track five, 'Battleships', is soft, and melodic, as you would expect really. Healy's voice is brilliant, and suits the music to perfection. I can honestly see this as a future release. 10/10.

Track six, 'Eyes Wide Open', is a more aggressive, driving riff, and certainly shows Travis from an edgier perspective, with a slight folky, and has a rawer feel to it. Brilliant. 10/10.

Track seven, 'My Eyes', is a return to the melodic, soaring soft guitar-rock that we have got used to over the years. Has a slightly sophisticated, bluesier feel to it at times, with the guitars, piano, and Healy's voice combining so well. 10/10.

Track eight, 'One Night', is typical Travis. Nothing different can be expected here, just the same meat and potatoes- the melodic guitars and Healy's calm voice. 9/10.

Track nine, 'Under The Moonlight', is slightly rockier than previous offerings. The verses are as melodic as ever, and even though Travis have been dismissed as boring by some for their music, this album is very consistent, and it shows how good they really are at what they do. 9/10.

Track ten, 'Out In Space', is more of a soft lullaby. It's nothing special in comparison to other tracks, but it's very melodic and moves along quietly. 8/10.

Track eleven, 'Colder', is very anthemic, reminiscent of Coldplay and Thirteen Senses. Has a similar tempo to the previous track, but this has more life in it. 9/10.

Track twelve, 'New Amsterdam', is a nice song. Not particularly brilliant, but it's good. For this track I would give 7/10.

But there are two hidden bonus tracks here as well. The first one, which is titled 'Sailing Away', is brilliant. Has a quite catchy feel with a slightly rocky edge to it. 9/10.

The second hidden track, 'Perfect Heaven Space', starts with a rather sophisticated piano riff before opening into a piano/acoustic track. It opens up into an anthemic sound eventually before returning to its acoustic verses. The same sophisticated piano riff closes proceedings. 9/10.

So my final verdict on 'The Boy With No Name' is that is is classic Travis, with a few nice surprises in there ('Selfish Jean', 'Eyes Wide Open'), and apart from that it just seems that Travis have picked up from the fairly disappointing '12 Memories' and gone back to the days of 'Good Feeling' and 'The Man Who'.

Well done guys. It's been a long time coming, but you're back on form.
9/10.


Send Away The Tigers
Send Away The Tigers
Offered by Bridge Media UK
Price: £3.90

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Send away the critics, 8 May 2007
This review is from: Send Away The Tigers (Audio CD)
I have been a fan of the Manics for many years now- and have many of their albums from the Holy Bible to Know Your Enemy. I didn't buy their previous offering, 'Lifeblood' as I was rather disappointed with what I heard.

It's reassuring to know, then, that 'Send Away the Tigers' is a welcome return to form.

The opening track, 'Send Away the Tigers' is vintage Manics, and they've rediscovered their harder, rockier sound. Soaring guitars and James Dean Bradfield's great voice make a great opener. 9/10.

Track two, 'Underdogs', has a raw, punk feel to it. The chorus soars above fairly average verses, although the track does have an accomplished sound to it. 8/10.

Track three, 'Your Love Alone Is Not Enough', and the first single off the album, is brilliant. It's catchy, and instantly memorable. The Manics, and Nina Persson of the Cardigans combine brilliantly, and it's not difficult to see why the Manics admire her vocal talents so much. 10/10.

Track four, 'Indian Summer', starts in quite a dreamy fashion, before opening into a top track. This is the beginning of the new-found anthemic Manics sound- driving guitars entwined with strings, maybe producing a sound somewhere between Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses. 10/10.

Track five, 'The Second Great Depression', is another top track. Anthemic once again, with chugging string sounds. The chorus is fantastic, reminiscent of Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses. JDB's solos are great, and very accomplished. One of the Manics' greatest songs. 10/10.

Track six, 'Rendition', carries on in the same vein of the previous track, in the sense that it's anthemic, and it rocks. The Manics haven't sounded so good since 1996's 'Everything Must Go'. A soaring chorus provides the pinnacle of the song. 10/10.

Track seven, 'Autumnsong' starts in a Guns N' Roses-esque, 'Sweet Child O'Mine' fashion with its opening riff, with a hint of Aerosmith in the lyrics. The chorus is fantastic and along with 'The Second Great Depression', one of the Manics' finest tracks, not here, but of their career. 10/10.

Track eight, 'I'm Just A Patsy', rocks hard. Yes, it's anthemic, but not on the same scale as the previous few tracks. Nothing as special here as the previous few times, but it's very good. 9/10.

Track nine, 'Imperial Bodybags', is excellent. This is another hard-rocking track, chugging along in the verses. Politically driven, it's obvious in the lyrics- something the Manics haven't been shy about in the past. However, this track is more punk-rock than the earlier anthemic offerings. The song however, is brilliant. 10/10.

Track ten, 'Winterlovers', is another anthemic track, with its 'na na naa' in the chorus. A song worthy of finishing a brilliant album in itself you may think. There is, however, a surprise to follow. After the track finishes, there is a cover of John Lennon's classic, 'Working Class Hero'. And the Manics cover it brilliantly. It goes along brilliantly, with a slight blues-hint in the verses. 9/10 for 'Winterlovers', and a unanimous 10/10 for 'Working Class Hero'.

So, I have come to the conclusion that 'Send Away the Tigers' is easily the Manics' best work since EMG over 10 years ago. There are a few classics on here, undoubtedly. The album starts as fairly average, but picks up as it goes along. The weakest track, in my opinion is 'Underdogs', and the best isn't a Manics track at all. It's a John Lennon track. However, 'Autumnsong', 'Imperial Bodybags' and 'The Second Great Depression' rank up as some of the Manics' finest work.

Welcome back, guys.

9/10.


Because Of The Times
Because Of The Times
Offered by Great Price Media EU
Price: £3.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The times are changing, 3 May 2007
This review is from: Because Of The Times (Audio CD)
It would be easy for me to make a statement about Bob Dylan judging by my review title. But maybe Caleb Followill will be as successful with his brothers and cousin over the next ten years or more. He has a somewhat similar voice to Dylan for one thing. Talent is another thing completely.

So we have the third effort from the brilliant Kings of Leon. I personally valued their debuts as one of the best debuts I had heard, where as the follow-up was good, but the spark was missing. Here, on 'Because of the Times', that spark returns.

This isn't just some stupid effort to sell-out. These guys are serious. You can tell right from the beginning that this is going to be something quite special. Collaboratng again with long-time producer Ethan Johns, these guys are looking for consistency and progression at the same time.

The opener, 'Knocked Up', is a slow-burning, seven-minute something track that opens proceedings. The music is excellent, and Caleb's lyrics and voice is brilliant. 'I don't care what nobody says, we're gonna have a baby', Caleb sings quietly but with a sense of defiance in there as well. 10/10.

Track two, 'Charmer', is, in my opinion, the best track, vocally, at least, on the whole album. The song begins with the bass guitar, and the other guitars kick in soon after with the drums. Caleb's unique vocals mix in with a high-pitched screech at the beginning of each line of each verse. This is good Southern rock n' roll. 10/10.

Track three, 'On Call', is the first single to be released off the album, and it's quite easy to see why. It's catchy, with the growling guitars of Led Zeppelin and a touch of Thin Lizzy, this is KOL, musically, at their best. Matthew Followill's solo is brilliant over the excellent 'I'll come out running...' pieces of the song. KOL are musically tighter than ever. Brilliant, even though sometimes the track can get rather repetitive. 9/10.

Track four, 'McFearless', sees the focus instantly on the drummer, and the eldest of the three brothers, Nathan Followill's brilliant drumming pattern. The song isn't the best, vocally on the album, but the music is brilliant, and includes a rip-roaring, yet anthemic chorus. KOL create a big, anthemic sound here, while maintaining their original sound at the same time. 9/10.

Track five, 'Black Thumbnail', is my favourite KOL track on the album. Caleb Followill's vocals are brilliant. The song has a somewhat 'swing' drumbeat to it, and the chorus is fantastic. The heaviest KOL track I think they've made. That chorus is furious, but brilliant. 10/10.

Track six, 'My Party', is probably the funkiest track on the album, and this is what makes this third KOL album the best of the bunch so far, the fact that it's so diverse. It's punchy, it's brilliant, it's infectious. 10/10.

Track seven, 'True Love Way', is where the KOL begin to slow things down, and is seen as the halfway point of the album, if you like. This, in my opinion, has the most anthemic opening of any track on this album, maybe it could be mistaken for an Arcade Fire intro, like into 'Rebellion (Lies)' on their 'Funeral' album. There's no taking away the brilliance of this track though, undoubtedly brilliant. 9/10.

Track eight, 'Ragoo', has a slight reggae vibe to it. Not my favourite track on the album, but nevertheless an excellent track. 8/10.

Track nine, 'Fans', is one of my real favourites here. Starts with an electric power chord before acoustic guitars come in. The verses are pure genius- coupled with Caleb's brilliant voice. 10/10.

Track ten, 'The Runner', is probably in truth the most anthemic track n the whole album. Another soft, acoustic track, and it makes for easy listening. All combine their voices at the end to sing the last few lines, to finish the song on an effective note. 8/10.

Track eleven, 'Trunk', has a creepy ambience to it, that being the delay effect being put on Caleb's vocals, as if he's in the middle of nowhere, although he does say 'I got one mile to go on down the road....'. The 'woo' chorus is quite anthemic once more, but the song does have a dark ambience to it. Could be dismissed as filler, as it is the album's weakest track, but it isn't that bad. 7/10.

Track twelve, 'Camaro', sees a return to form. Jared Followill's bass kicks in and the song turns into one of the best driving songs this year. 'She looks so cool in her new Camaro,' Caleb Followill sings with maybe a hint of envy, although I'm sure he can afford one or more himself! Probably the album's best track, musically, since 'On Call'. 10/10.

Track thirteen, 'Arizona', is just gorgeous. The solo guitaring is just brilliant. You can imagine driving down an open road on a hot summer's day with this song on. Five minutes of glorious guitar music. Absolutely brilliant. For that reason alone I'm giving this song 10/10.

What do I make of BOTT then?

Where as their debut was understandably hailed as one of the best of their category...their follow-up could be seen as rather disappointing, as it was predictable and too short. This offering ticks all the right boxes though. It isn't too short, neither is it too long at 52 minutes. The music has gone up a notch, as has the vocals. The songs are written better, and the KOL are back where they belong- at the forefront of American rock.


Favourite Worst Nightmare
Favourite Worst Nightmare
Offered by WarehouseDirectUK
Price: £6.22

5.0 out of 5 stars No Monkeying around, 29 April 2007
This is the second album release from the popular Sheffield lads, the Arctic Monkeys. Love them or hate them, you simply cannot ignore them. Their second offering really is something special.

This thirty eight minute performance flies by before you know it, and Alex Turner and the gang really seem to step up a gear this time around. So, the opening track, curiously titled 'Brianstorm', is a three-minute punk thrash, and it should be noted that the plaudits should be given for the rather outstanding musicianship on show here, especially the furious drumming throughout. And this track is named 'Brianstorm', after the ex-East 17 man, Brian Harvey, so I'm told. However, that is irrelevant here, and the track itself, which is the album's first release, merits a 10/10.

Track two, 'Teddy Picker', is a catchy one. Combining a distinctive Monkeys sound with Turner's unique lyrics and sound (as is always on an AM album), this is probably a future release. Again, a rather punk feel is in the song while maintaining a solid, modern beat. 'Who'd want to be men of the people when there's people like you?' Turner asks. 10/10.

Track three, 'D Is For Dangerous', is the weakest song on the album in my opinion. It's a bit too flat, maybe, and similar all the way throughout. It's a step back from the first two tracks, which were stormers. Nevertheless, it's catchy, and the witty lyrics are as prominent as always. I'll give it 7/10.

Track four, 'Balaclava', is different, and that's why I like it. It has a melodic guitar sound before exploding into a heavier rock sound, and alternating on a pendulum scale. It's very good music. I especially like the end- the last fourty seconds or so with the bass and effective percussion. This, in my opinion, is a future release. Don't bet against it. 10/10.

Track five, 'Fluorescent Adolescent', will possibly also be a future release. I can see it as a future Monkeys' classic. The lyrics are brilliant, and Turner really proves his pedigree here. 10/10.

Track six, 'Only Ones Who Know', is a lovely, drift-away ballad. The softest song the Monkeys have written, and quite possibly one of the best, as it shows their diversity as a band, which is a telltale sign of a band's maturity, which is baffling, as this is only their second full-length album. 'They made it far too easy to believe that true romance can't be achieved these days,' Turner croons melancholily. This is a sad song in all honesty, and the music and lyrics are so gripping, that you have no choice but to agree with Turner's lyrics. 10/10.

Track seven, 'Do Me A Favour', is slightly heavier to begin than the previous offering, but it speeds up and livens up both in tempo and in style. 'Do me a favour and break my nose,' Turner says rather wearily, as if he's lost patience with whoever he's talking to in the song. 9/10.

Track eight, 'This House Is A Circus', is where the Monkeys start to grit their teeth and show some of their Sheffield steel in their music. This track and the next track also sees the Monkeys flexing their musical muscles by unleashing a few darker, heavier numbers. This one sees the Monkeys in a rather experimental mode, and it's excellent. 10/10.

Track nine, 'If You Were There, Beware', sees the Monkeys carrying on from where they left off last time, more or less. A simple, unassuming riff repeats itself before the rest of the music is unleashed in a barrage of riffs and drum beats like a proverbial hailstorm. The melodic pieces are melodic, and the heavier pieces are, well...heavy. Very heavy. With about two minutes remaining of the song, it develops some sort of an anthemic grandeur before Turner's muffled vocals cover dreamy, yet dark music. 'I don't know what it is that they want, but I haven't got it to give,' he wails. One of the best tracks on the album. 10/10.

Track ten, 'The Bad Thing', is slightly reminiscent of The Smiths, in my opinion. Some might disagree, but I see it as The Smiths with more of a punk twist to them, possibly Clash-esque with a hint of The Jam. The song itself is very catchy; prominent bass-lines, dominating vocals, punchy guitar riffs, and great drumming. 9/10.

Track eleven, 'Old Yellow Bricks', begins with a rather White Stripes riff, before the drums inject more of a punk spark a la Razorlight into the music. The chorus is dreamy yet effective, and signals a very strong ending towards the album. 10/10.

Track twelve, '505', is a brilliant album closer. While there is something dark about the song, there remains a romantic ethos as well here. The song builds up slowly to a crescendo. This is most definitely one of the best songs on the album, and an excellent album closer, as I have already stated. 10/10.

So, the conclusion is that FWN is a true sign of the Monkeys growing up as individuals and as a band. Where as the first offering was more raw, this album has a more accomplished sound to it. Alex Turner has also come up with better lyrics this time than he did 15 months ago on the debut. The debut might have been more of an instant hit, but this offering is more of a grower. Turner famously declared: "Don't believe the hype," back in 2005, but you'd better well had by now. 9/10.


Blood Mountain [U.S. Version]
Blood Mountain [U.S. Version]
Price: £5.99

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold and brilliant, 24 April 2007
'Blood Mountain' by Mastodon is a brilliant, monster of an album. The sound is massive, the ideas and riffs are unlike anything you've heard of before....think Tool but ten times better. Yeah, its prog-metal, but combining harmonic passages and harmonized twin-guitars as well and you have a very accomplished sound.

Mastodon are like a combination of Slayer, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Tool all wrapped up in one, plus their own distinctive furious sound.

So, the opening track, 'The Wolf Is Loose', is an absolute beast of a track. Thrash-metal all the way, echoing the brutal riffs of Slayer with the occasional harmonizing Thin-Lizzy-esque guitars. Timing in at just over three and a half minutes, this is a rip-roaring opener to an unbelievable album. 10/10.

Track two, 'Crystal Skull', continues in a similar vein as the opener, so not much change, except the track is slightly shorter in its time, but the standard of the music is quite extraordinary. 10/10.

Track three, 'Sleeping Giant' really slows things down, and this is where we hear the slight 'Black Sabbath' influence and the Ozzy-esque vocals. This is a slow-burner, timing in at six minutes, but never is it boring because it has long passages of instrumental guitars. Brilliant. 10/10.

Track four, 'Capillarian Crest' is a furious, thrash-metal piece once again. Timing in at four and a half minutes, it snarls along with its meaty riffs. 10/10.

Track five, 'Circle of Cysquatch' is another really heavy, prog-metal track, as you would expect. Not quite as furious as the previous track, it still maintains that brute force. Crunching guitars and screaming vocals over quick drumming. 9/10.

Track six, 'Bladecatcher', starts off at a raucous, Slayer-esque pace. It then slows down, producing huge guitar riffs, before speeding up again. The change in tempo and maintaining the musical quality is rather brilliant. For me, this is the best track, musically, on the album, as it changes tempo at such a speed. 10/10.

Track seven, 'Colony of Birchmen', starts off with vocals over heavy guitar riffs, at times even sounding quite Queens of the Stone Age-esque. I could be forgiven for thinking that because Josh Homme, QOTSA's frontman is a guest on this album, although I'm uncertain where he actually features. This is definitely the most anthemic song on the album so far. It clocks in at just over four minutes, although that's not incredibly important. The important thing is that this song is excellent. No doubt about it. 10/10.

Track eight, 'Hunters of the Sky' is distinguishable as a prog-metal piece right from the beginning. However, the raw drumming and riffs bring up the ever-present Slayer influence once again. Mastodon are no ordinary metal band- they are extraordinary. The song clocks in at just under four minutes, but with the raw pace of the song it feels longer than it actually is. 9/10.

Track nine, 'Hand of Stone', is furious right from the beginning. Break-neck drumming, guitaring and just about everything else is present here. It touches on prog-metal occasionally, before unleashing a rip-roaring riff about a minute from the end. The solo is excellent, as you would expect. 9/10.

Track ten, 'This Mortal Soil', begins rather experimentally. The guitars are relatively low, but you just know somehow, the song is going to explode into life. And behold, about a minute in, it does exactly that. This song is probably one of the most progressive on the album, meaning it's more like Tool than Slayer really. On first listen, it does seem to be a bit of a bits-and-pieces song, however, that it is not. 10/10.

Track eleven, 'Siberian Divide', is the longest track on the album, clocking in at five and a half minutes. However, this does not mean that it is a slow and laboured song at all. It is still as fast and furious as all the previous songs. The drumming is absolutely brilliant, the guitaring is excellent and the vocals are a huge presence in the power of the song. 10/10.

Track twelve, and the final track, 'Pendulous Skin', begins softly enough with a dreamy acoustic guitar. It becomes slightly heavier, and more Sabbath-esque, before the presence of the acoustic comes back in over fuzzy vocals. Eventually an electric guitar solo comes in over the acoustic guitar, giving it a more rock feel, not a metal one as all of the previous tracks have been. 10/10.

Overall, then, this album is a great album. Filled with great guitar riffs, drumming passages and harmonic solos, this album has everything. It combines the raw thrash-metal of Slayer with the slower prog-metal of Tool, with the harmonized guitaring of Thin Lizzy, as well as Mastodon's own distinctive sound. Believe you me, Mastodon are the best Metal band out there at the moment. 10/10.


Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour - Live With the Octavarium Orchestra [3CD Set]
Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour - Live With the Octavarium Orchestra [3CD Set]
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £8.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, 18 Mar. 2007
I bought this 3CD set really because Amazon had recommended it to me at the time. I have always liked Dream Theater, but was slightly unwilling to buy the CDs, despite holding an admiration for the guitar genius who is John Petrucci.

So what can one make of Score, 20th Anniversary World Tour, Live with the Octavarium Orchestra? Well, I'll start at the start then. The first CD is Dream Theater performing as a band, and nothing else. And they are excellent, although James LaBrie's vocals can be a bit annoying after 137 minutes of listening. But that's later on.

The first CD opens up with 'The Root Of All Evil', and it rocks hard. Nine minutes long, and it features some outrageous solos and great riffs. A super album opener. 10/10.

Track two, 'I Walk Beside You', is another great DT track. Softer than the previous track, and also more atmospheric. The quality is excellent. 'I walk beside you, wherever you are...' LaBrie wails. Petrucci takes more of a back seat role in this song although it must be said DT are at their best with Petrucci at the forefront. 10/10.

Track three, 'Another Won' is a heavier DT track, combining keys, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Probably the weakest track heard so far but by everyone else's standards it still stands out. There are still Petrucci solos, and that can't be a bad thing. 10/10.

Track four, 'Afterlife' starts strongly with soaring riffs by DT. The only thing that lets this album down is LaBrie's vocals which are suspiciously similar to Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson occasionally. I suppose on the whole that isn't a bad thing. 9/10.

Track five, 'Under A Glass Moon', starts off with the guitars, bass and keys in rather anthemic fashion before the drums and then finally the vocals come in after a brilliant heavy riff by Petrucci and super drumming. This song is eight minutes long. This is a typical DT track, where all the band members use their talents to the best of their abilities. 10/10.

Track six, 'Innocence Faded' immediately begins with Petrucci ripping out one of his trademark guitar solos before LaBrie begins to sing. Not the strongest song, admittedly, but due to the standard of this live recording as a whole, it has to be considered as deserving a 9/10.

Track seven, 'Raise The Knife', is a 12-minute epic, and the penultimate track on the first CD of the live recording. Petrucci is at his brilliant best here once more, ripping out some heavy hooks once more and some great solos. DT really write some fantastic music, whether it's instrumental or whether it's featuring LaBrie singing. This song is a perfect example of that. 10/10.

Track eight, the final track of the first disc, is a wonderful ballad, called 'The Spirit Carries On'. It lasts 10 minutes and is one of my favourites on the set. Petrucci plays a lovely solo to begin with, one of many heard not just on the 3CD set but on this song. This is DT at their very best, a glorious anthem in more ways than one- it's LaBrie's vocal range and Petrucci's guitar technique who really make this album, although the other band members play a very important role as well, because the music wouldn't be the same without them. Glorious. 10/10.

Track one of the second disc, is something which is not only surprising, but rather a piece of musical genius. The song, played live with the Octavarium Orchestra, called 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence', is, as you may have guessed, a song which has been split into six different parts. This song lasts a whopping 42 minutes in length which means each part lasts nearly seven minutes on average! The orchestra begin proceedings, and then DT take over and then they take turns to play various parts. I think part 2 begins after 7 and a half minutes, where DT come in, with anthemic riffs and very heavy hooks. I think part 3 begins after 15 minutes or so, with the synthesizers and heavy hooks. After that barrage of heavy hooks and riffs, the orchestra takes over and part 4 begins roughly halfway through the song, and it's a smooth sound with lovely strings. On 27 minutes, we hear a change in musical direction once more. I take it this is part 5. Roughly 33 minutes in, we hear another change in direction, and presumably, this is the 6th and final part of this rather astonishing song. The guitaring is excellent. The orchestra has been wonderful listening.10/10.

The second CD isn't finished yet though. Track two of the second CD, 'Vacant', begins with the orchestra and LaBrie's voice. A soft song, and all it is is simply LaBrie singing with the Octavarium Orchestra. 8/10.

Track three, 'The Answer Lies Within', is another lovely song by DT. The atmosphere from the crowd is good as well, clapping along. This song has great harmonizing, and wonderful guitaring (would you expect any less?) from none other than John Petrucci, truly one of the best living guitarists today. Six minutes of brilliance. 10/10.

The final track off the second disc, 'Sacrificed Sons', is 11 minutes long. It's epic, it's dramatic, it's majestic. I know I'm focusing more on LaBrie and Petrucci as the standout musicians on show but it's true. They really do stand out. DT set New York City alight with this concert and it's not hard to work out why. 10/10.

If you thought 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' was a treat, you haven't heard anything yet. CD3 is the real highlight, and yes, it does only have 2 tracks. That doesn't matter. This will blow your mind, and if you're not already convinced, you soon will be.

The opening track, 'Octavarium', is brilliant. There is no other word for it. You need to listen to this track on your iPod or whatever when you watch the red sun rise. Seriously. John Petrucci proves he's one of the best here and it's hard to think why he isn't. It's only him ripping out a solo and the keys in the background. It creates a phenomenal noise. Haunting? Yes. Beautiful? Definitely. Effective? Affirmative. It's seven minutes until the song bursts to life, but I could listen to that opening bit all day. It's phenomenal. Then there's still 20 minutes of the song left to be played. Like 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence', there are lots of stages to this song. I would guess at least four parts, but I'm not entirely sure. What I am sure is that you need to hear this song if you're a fan of guitar music, and DT and John Petrucci in particular, steals the show here. 10/10.

Track two of CD3, 'Metropolis', is 11 minutes long. Featuring the Octavarium Orchestra once more, this song is excellent, as you would expect nothing less from a band of DT's stature. Anthemic as always, with huge instrumental bits and Petrucci solos, this song has to be given a 10/10.

This is a unique album. Yes, 'Live at Budokan' was also a 3CD set, but this album is truly exceptional. Never have I truly heard such a wonderful album for a long, long time, and pieces like 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' and 'Octavarium', especially that opening seven minutes of the latter, are mesmerising.

If you call yourself a fan of music, or a fan of metal, you need this album. I can't recommend it highly enough. 10/10.


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