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Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.50

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wondrous album, 19 Jan 2008
I had been aware of The Flaming Lips for at least a year, but I only decided to buy one of their albums about three weeks ago. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots was the one that I chose. My initial reaction to the album was very positive, but it has continued to grow on me for the last three weeks.
The Flaming Lips are a weird but wonderful pop/rock band from America, who have constantly challenged themselves throughout their career, releasing many great albums, so I'm told. To describe this album's sound, I would say that it has a fairly poppy sound mixed with large amounts of psychadelia and space rock. I consider this album to be too experimental and complex to be called pure pop. The production is flawless and the band creates a wide sonic palette using synthesisers, electric and acoustic guitars, basslines, strings and drum machines. The effect is that the album sounds symphonic in an electronic way, the various electronic sounds lifting these heartfelt, endearing songs into space.
As soon as the opener Fight Test kicked in with its wonderful vocal melodies and acoustic guitar backed up by squelchy analog synths to create originality and a more psychadelic sound, I was blown away. The production made all of these beautifully crafted and layered sound very clear. However, the album then changed direction in the more subtle and almost ambient One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21, which uses ominous digital noise and relaxed piano chords to build a large amount of atmosphere, but also makes use of tempo changes for the song's optimistic chorus. This particular track has lyrics that ask the question, can robots learn to feel emotions? The album is packed with lyrical meanings, sung in an always heartfelt and whimsical way by singer Wayne Coyne. On a similar theme, there is the fairly daft but metaphorical tale of fighting evil machines in part 1 of the title track. This is an extremely catchy pop song with a chopped up acoustic guitar riff and bouncy drum machine. Part 2 of the Yoshimi suite is a noisy instrumental, meant to symnolise Yoshimi defeating the pink robots, as crazy sythesizer licks are placed alongside crashing drums and piercing shrieks.
After this, the album seems to shift gears lyrically, encouraging listeners to live life for the present and enjoy it while they can. This is most obvious in Do You Realize?? This is the album's biggest hit, which has a very grand symphonic sound and moving lyrics. However, I actually prefer the preceding song It's Summertime, the album's most beautiful and perhaps moving song, where Coyne sings, "Look outside, I know that you'll recognize it's summertime". This is perhaps telling us when we are depressed to realise that we are in fact living in our golden years (and yes, I do like Iron Maiden). In the Morning of the Magicians is a semi-epic with many beautiful sounds and a more complex song structure thrown in to make give the song a wistful, shifting feel, similar to its vocals and lyrics. There's also Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell, which has a great bassline, wonderful expansive synths, insectide rhythm and beautiful vocals. This then segues into the moody expansiveness of Are You a Hypnotist? This song has a very spacey feel and is another of my faves. All We Have Is Now is the album's weakest song, but it is by no means bad, and adds to the album's message of living life for the present. The closing instrumental, which won a grammy award, is incredible. The layering of sounds which both contrast and compliment each other make the perfect dreamy atmoshpere to end the album. In this track,and throughout the album, the bands ability to be so strange and creative but also accessible is astounding.
All in all, I am very glad I bought the album. The symphonic layering of electronic sounds, wonderful melodies, heartfelt vocals and lyrics and excellent songcraft make Yoshimi a truly brilliant and inventive album that no one should miss out on. Compare it to just about any pop on mtv today and you'll understand.
By the way, the album covers, both front and back are very cool.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 15, 2009 7:23 PM BST


Awake
Awake
Price: 6.60

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proper progressive metal, 10 Dec 2007
This review is from: Awake (Audio CD)
As you probably already know if you're reading this, Dream Theater are perhaps the biggest and most influential progressive metal band on the planet. I'll say right away that this is a great album, one of the band's best (which is really saying something). It is slightly heavier and darker than it's preceeding album Images and Words (Amazing album). However, it's still the same old Dream Theater sound, merging 70s progressive rock with heavy metal, containing lots of complex song structures and incredible musicianship. If you're new to the band, this is as good a starting point as any, especially for a metal fan.
Dream Theater are amazingly skillful musicians. John Petrucci, one of the most impressive shredders of the 90s, is at his best here. Just listen to his soaring, mind-blowing solo on Voices and you'll see what I mean. Mike Portnoy drives the songs with his excellent, complex drumming. One cool thing about his drums is that he removed the triggers for his drums on this album, which allows his to show more dynamics on his instrument. Kevin Moore's keyboards are woven throughout the songs, adding a great deal of atmosphere and often trading solos with John Petrucci. Mike Myung's complex basslines underly each track, even though he is often not very audible. Finally, there's singer James LaBrie. His powerful voice has a truly incredible range. On this album, his vocals are sometimes quite snarly, to fit with the heavier music. His powerful delivery makes the album's dark lyrics even more convincing.
This album is incredibly varied. There's the heavy, stomping metal of Caught in a Web, Lie and the especially heavy The Mirror. There's gentler songs including Lifting Shadows Off a Dream, Innocence Faded (this song has an amazing ending) and even a full acoustic ballad, The Silent Man. There's a great instrumental entitled Erotomania which features incredible band interplay and highly unusual time signatures. However, the album's centerpiece tracks are the two epics, Voices and Scarred. Voices is a brilliantly structured, emotional epic with one of the most powerful choruses I've heard. Scarred, builds from its bluesy beginning to an intricate epic with heavy riffs, atmospheric keyboards and amazing trade-off solos between Petrucci and Moore. This was Kevin Moore's last album with the band, and he left his greatest composition on this album, Space Dye Vest. Its a very beautiful, personal piano-driven epic that sounds unlike anything else ever recorded bny the band. It has to be heard.
Overall, this album is a very powerful album of great prog metal. It has everyhing: amazing playing, excellent and varied songs, complex song structures, great vocals and lyrics far better than most metal bands. So, where does it stand? I can never decide which DT album is best. I think its either this or Images and words. Although no song quite matches Pull Me Under or Learning To Live from Images, several come very close. Besides, this is actually an even more consistent album, every song is as important to the album as the next and none are bad or even average. If you're a fan of prog, metal or both, this album is essential. It's truly magnificent.


Leviathan
Leviathan
Price: 9.98

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So amazing it's not even funny, 9 Dec 2007
This review is from: Leviathan (Audio CD)
In the new millenium, the American metal scene has become clogged up with far too many stale, indistinguishable metalcore acts, such as Killswitch Engage and the DREADFUl Atreyu. However, a certain band called Mastodon stands out in that sea of mediocrity like the white whale on the album's cover. Why? Good question. That's partly becuase Mastodon mangaged to fuse together so many different subgenres of metal to create their own intense, utterly original sound. You may hear elements of Stoner's massive heaviness, thrash's intensity and prog rock's extreme complexity in their sound. Like their band name would suggest, Mastodon's sound is absolutely huge and unstoppable, but it is also very rhythmically complex and dexterous. This is mainly due to Brann Dailor's fill-heavy, jazz fusion-esque drumming. He underlies every song with drumming more complex than almost any other metal drummer could comprehend. The band made this unique style evident on their brutal debut album Remission. That was definitely a great album, but it pales in comparison to this.
Leviathan, the band's second album, is a loose concept album based on Herman Melville's classic book Moby Dick, a fitting story to base a heavy metal album on. However, Mastodon managed to create the PERFECT match for this book in their sound on Leviathan. The clear but dense production gives Leviathan a sound as bottomless and huge as an ocean. The vocals, although slightly more melodic and varied than on Remission, are still mostly harsh, aggressive barks to carry the intense nature of the songs. However, the vocals are occasionally eerie singing, as on the menacing, progressive Seabeast and the harmonic Naked Burn. Yet one of the album's main tricks is that the vocals aren't mixed to the very forefront like on most albums. Instead, they are less dominant and almost act as another instrument, so to speak.
As my description of Mastodon's sound may have suggested, Leviathan is absolutely mind blowing musically. The band are clearly highly skilled and show plenty of comlex chops. For example, opener Blood and Thunder gets underway with its thunderous, unstoppable riff and abrasive-but-cool vocals. It has one hell of a chorus and then the song moves into a stunningly technical, prog metal-style guitar bridge which brings the song to a great hight before it comes crashing back down again like a tidal wave. Other songs such as I Am Ahab contain brilliant intrumental breaks to add to the sense of tight band interplay. the band displays songwriting that borders on genius as songs morph from eerie clean guitar lines to violent riffing to complex guitar harmonies with ease and tempos often change. The complex song structures are part of what make this intense album brilliant. The album, however, is not always intense and quite diverse. The crunchingly heavy Iceland, Iron tusk and Megalodon are places alongside the calmer but still ominous Seabeast and Naked Burn and the acoustic/electric instrumental Joseph Merrick. My personal fave is the thirteen minute monster Hearts Alive. I wont spoil is but it contains one of the best riffs I've ever heard.
All in all Leviathan is more intense, focused and even accessible than Remission. Even with Blood Mountain released last year, I'd still say this is their best so far. The unique, complex and heavy sound of Leviathan is just mind-blowing and makes it one of the best metal albums of the last few years in my book. Modern Prog Metal at its very best, this is essential for any metalhead bored with the modern metal trends.


Ministry - Psalm 69
Ministry - Psalm 69
Price: 7.61

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of industrial metal, 4 Nov 2007
This review is from: Ministry - Psalm 69 (Audio CD)
After beginning their career with a sound more like synth-pop than the loud industrial metal that they are known for, ministry developed a more and more heavy sound. The band's metal influences culminated with Psalm 69, the ultimate blend of industrial stylings with thrash metal. Psalm 69 contains pounding drum machines, distorted vocals, samples and fairly repetitive song structures with intense thrash metal riffs and the occasional guitar solo. As a result, Psalm 69 makes for a fairly abrasive and always exhilarating listen. To match the pounding music, Al Jourgensen's lyrics generally seem to be an outcry against a society in decay.
The album kicks off with N.W.O, a mid-paced, politically charged track that mocks President George Bush's leadership (he was president at the time of the album's release). It makes use of riot samples and speeches to ram home its point, and numbs the listener with its repetition and heavy power chords. A great start to the album. The listener is then brought into JUst One Fix, a faster song with a brilliant thrashy riff and heavily distorted vocals. The song makes enough changes to not be too repetitive and is perfect headbanging material. The next song, TV 2, is even faster. It cuts between blastbeat drumming with a lightning-fast riff and a capella sections of Jourgensen screaming vocals at the top of his lungs. The lyrics are about Al's experiences with drugs. It is the harshest-sounding track on here. Next up is Hero, one of my favourites. It has another great thrash riff and packs a huge amount of intensity. This time, lyrics are about blind patriotism and has such great lines as "It's not a matter of rights, it's just a matter of war!" There's also great little guitar solo in the middle. Overall, this song is a rush. The intesity doesn't let up with Jesus built My Hotrod, the most famous song on the disc. It features Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers on vocals. His trademark gibberish vocals are used to great effect over fast, churning riffs. It also has two guitar solos, one of which is played on a slide guitar. Fun and exhilarating, this song has to be heard to be believed. To contrast with that song, number six is a slow, eight minute trip through hell. It kind of sounds like a more harrowing version of When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin. Since that is an amazing song, this one is too. The sound effects add a lot this monster of a track, as do the distorted vocals and bleak chorus of "SCARE CROW!!" The title track is up next. It has atmospheric sections featuring a background choir and voice samples of christian preachers, and other sections featuring the album's best riff and very anti-religious lyrics, made more convincing by the samples. This is another great song. The disc closes with Corrosion and Grace, two crushing industrial soundscapes with no vocals. The former has excellent drum machines creating a propulsive rhythm and is the musical equivalent of being in an avalalanche. It's hard to the describe because it's so well made. Grace is less good, but it still makes a creepy vortex of noise featuring background screams and creepy voice samples. It makes a good closer.
All in all, Psalm 69 is a great album from the pioneers of industrial metal, packed full of inventive, memorable and exhilarating songs. Highly recommended to fans of industrial or trash or both. It is so good that I can't wait to buy more Ministry albums.
P.S. On the cd box, the only hints of an album title are some Greek letters, which makes one wonder why it is offficially called Psalm 69.


Train Of Thought
Train Of Thought
Price: 6.45

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream Theater's heaviest, and one of their best., 21 Oct 2007
This review is from: Train Of Thought (Audio CD)
First of all, I'd like to urge potential buyers to ignore the low scores given to this album by some reviewers. This truly is a great album. The one and two-star reviewers seem to give the album those scores just for the sake of it. One person even said that this was the worst album ever, without even giving a reason why. They complain that it just a simple metal album and a total abandonment of Dt's sound. Sure, this is their heaviest album, but the key dream theater sound still mostly remains.
On Train of Thought, Dream Theater decided to make a turn for a darker, heavier but very ambitious sound. John Petrucci's guitar has become the most dominant instrument, providing the perfect musical background for darker lyrics. If it's a showcase for any one member of the band, it is John Petrucci. His amazing, technical solos and heavy riffs have never been better. Some may prefer the lighter sound of previous albums, closer examination will reveal this album to be one of the band's most mature, powerful and just enjoyable albums to date. Lyrically, it is arguably their best. While the lyrics have been more poetic before, these lyrics are truly deep and meaningful. The album is still pretty diverse as before. There is Vacant, a soothing and peaceful song which uses cello. Also, the first half of Endless Sacrifice is a ballad as beautiful as anything they've ever done. Now, an overview of the songs.

As I Am: The opener is actually one of the biggest departures here. It is a pretty straightforward metal song, influences by metallica. Still, it's a superb song. After a slow build, it launches into some great riffs. James LaBrie is on top form here and Portnoy's drumming is superb as always. It has a great chorus and a killer shred solo by Petrucci. Not one of the album's best, but still a perfect opener and great song.
This Dying Soul: This is where the Dream Theater sound really comes in. Opens with more thundering guitars and bass and thrashy riffs. Petrucci and Rudess both get solos in the intro. Soon the song's main riff, which has a great middle-eastern vibe, comes in and gives the track a really epic feel. It's a very complex song, with loads of different riffs, guitar harmonies and vocal parts. John Petrucci's lyrics about alcholism are perfectly got across by LaBrie. It all builds to a climax with a stunning, lighning-fast Petrucci solo that lasts for almost two minutes. Perfect!
Endless Sacrfice: Another masterful song which begins as a gentle ballad with LaBrie's voice at its best and beautiful lyrics. The chorus is louder and agrressive, and almost reminds me of Machine Head. After the first five minutes, it explodes into a complex, brilliant instrumental section that is pure Dream Theater. Amazing solos from Petrucci and Rudess, and very cool riffs. Then, it reaches it's moving climax with LaBrie singing very passionately. Another magnificent track, but the best has yet to come.
Honor Thy Father: Very heavy, with massive buzzsaw riffs and crazy drumming. Lyrically it's about Mike Portnoy's abusive father. Lyrics are very well done and are perfectly represented by LaBrie. Has a quieter, haunting verse and a section with some quasi-rapping (It actually works pretty well, don't worry). The chorus is very aggressive. The middle section is the highlight though, with a heavy riff which is masterfully built up using voice samples and keyboards to another great solo. A very heavy, but also bitingly effective song.
Vacant: This is a very soft and quiet song, with some soothing vocals. It provides a very nice contrast and adds to the overall effect of the album. You can really sense the emotion that was put into this piece. There's also some cello in here, which makes it even better. It also acts as a perfect intro to the next track.
Stream of Consciousness: The album's intrumental, and probably the best instrumental of the band's career. Whereas previous DT instrumentals were often just showcases for the bandmembers, this one is incredible from a muscial viewpoint, using many great neo-classical melodies and communicates emotionally with a listener. It is quite long for an instrumental, but it never gets boring. There are plenty of diffferent riffs, harmonies and great solos. It changes most significantly in the middle and builds to another awesome climax. All the band members put in their absolute best here, making it a real joy to listen to. It is just as dark and powerful as the songs with words.
In the Name of God: If you thought it could't get any better, it does right at the end. This is the albums's climax, and I think it is the best song the band have ever done. From a quiet intro, the song is carried by some amazing eastern styled riffs (the best on the album). Lyrically, it provides a deep, challenging argument against religios hypocrisy. LaBrie's voice once again fluctuates from the aggressive to passionate with ease and gets the lyrics across better than almost any other singer could. keyboards weave throughout the song to great effect. The chorus is really moving. There's then a dark, menacing bridge section which builds to the instrumental part, with some stunning solo work from Petrucci. Finally, the song returns to the chorus and slowly finishes using repeats of the chorus, but adding pianos and extra backing vocals. It finishes with gentle piano, and leaves a lasting impression after the song ends. A genuinely moving song.

So there you have it. Train of Thought is the band's heaviest and darkest album, but it's also the one that provides the most musical emotion and lyrical meanings. It's up there with Images and Words as their overall best. The darker sound is better suited for getting those lyrics across, and only someone with a low IQ could say that the progressive DT sound is not at least partly intact. Anyone who criticises the album by saying this should be completely ignored. Highly recommended. If you're considering buying it, you might also want to read the review on allmusic.com, it's very helpful.


Van Halen
Van Halen
Price: 7.21

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can anyone not like this album?, 23 Sep 2007
This review is from: Van Halen (Audio CD)
This album is probably famous mostly for the fact that it was where Eddie Van Halen, definitely one of the greatest guitarists there ever was, invented the technique of tapping. That technique was indeed unveiled here to stunning effect and is best exemplified by the guitar showcase Eruption. His technique has been imatated so many times but never really equalled. However, this brilliant, monumental album has much more to it than just tapping.
Firstly, an important factor in the album is the production, which was groundbreaking at the time because it captured the live atmosphere so well as well as making all the instruments perfectly audible.
Listening to the album, it feels so energetic and fiery. It sounds arena in scope, but club in its attitude. Its style left such an impact on the rock music scene that it now sounds timeless. One of the reasons for the album's hugely energetic feel is David Lee Roth's vocals. His streetwise, larger than life performance fits perfectly with the music and yet adds even more energy. At it's core though, the album really belongs to Eddie, who's stunning guitar drives the album. His mind-melting solos and scorching riffs are consistently, reletnlessy amazing but also very original. In fact, the entire album sounds totally unprecedented and unique. So, David and Eddie may drive these songs but this is not to detract from the performances of the other band members. Alex Van Halen's drums are superb, although I don't think he reached his peak until the 1984 album. Even Michael Anthony's bass is excellent.
All this is little without the actual songs, most of which are classics of the genre and need lttle explaining. This is an extremely consistent album, but it's also varied enough not to get even remotely repetitive. Scorching, anthemic rockers like Runnin' With the Devil, Jamie's Cryin' and Feel Your Love Tonight which helped change the face of rock music boast massive, confident riffs and anthemic choruses. Faster cuts like I'm the One, Atomic Punk and the surprisingly metal-sounding On Fire are brilliantly theatric in their rocking intensity and all feature stunning guitar dive-bombing from Eddie Van Halen. To diversify even more, there's the eclectic Ain't Talking 'Bout Love which uses an electric sitar and there's the moody Little Dreamer. The cover of Ice Cream Man also brings a huge breath of fresh air near the end of the album and is just awe-inspiring to listen to. What else could you want? A cover of The Kinks' You Really Got Me that surpasses the original? That's here too.
These songs are all fiery, larger than life rock songs with stunning guitar playing that must have sounded beyond imagination back in 1978, and have lost none of their power today. This is rock and roll entertainment at its best, original, extremely energetic, consistent, accessible and unforgettalble. The guitar is out of this world, the vocals ultra-charismatic and the drums are excellent too. It's probably the most entertaining rock album of it's time and in the end I can think of no reason not to buy this monumental classic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2011 5:15 PM BST


Arise (Reissue)
Arise (Reissue)
Price: 6.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant metal!, 12 Sep 2007
This review is from: Arise (Reissue) (Audio CD)
The way I see it, Sepultura released three suberb, classic albums in a row(arguably four if you loved the Roots album). These are Beneath the Remains (1989), Arise (1991)and Chaos AD (1993). Beneath was where the band had burst onto the international metal scene with their mixture of pure speed and aggression with complex songwriting skills in a way that ensured a classic album. Chaos AD was were the band truly became unique and one of the first groove metal acts, whilst adding significant tribal influences on their music.
Arise could be seen as a bridge between Beneath and Chaos, although it's overall sound is closer to Beneath than Chaos. This is because the band did add a few tribal infuenced to their thrash here. For example, the jungle-style intro to Altered State and the acoustic guitars in parts of Desoerate Cry and Under Siege. The album overall is also a tad more mid-paced that Beneath was.
Throughout every song on here, the crushing riffs, at nicely varied speeds, drive these songs and will be pure headbanging bliss to most metalhead's ears. However, Arise is about more than just riffs.
One of the album's biggest strong points is the work of lead guitarist Andreas Kisser. His harmonizing with Max's crushing rhythm guitar is awe-inspiring and also quite unique-sounding. His solos too, are consistently mind blowing. They are often lightning-fast and technical as the songs require, but they are always very melodic, unlike most similar bands, marking Andreas out as one of the best thrash guitarists of his time. Just pick any song and I assure you there will be a great solo in it. Sepultura certainly knew how to put the right amount of melody into their brutal thrash assult. Then there's Max's throaty, tortured vocals, which he uses to lay down his passionate lyrics about the crumbling state of affairs in the modern world-a perfect match with the brilliant music.
It's worth mentioning that the production is better here than it was on Beneath. On that album, the sound was nice and raw, but the guitars sounded just a tad thin. Here though, they sound nice and thick. The bottom end is also cranked up, making the bass lines and the kick drums more audible.
I usually find it hard to say which of Sep's three classics is best. But I can say that Arise may well be the overall winner for me. I very slightly prefer the thrashy sound of this to the later sound even though they both rule. I also think I prefer this to Beneath 'cause Arise is just a slightly more varied pack of songs due to the slightly more varied tempos and the tribal touches.
Picking favourites is tough but I'd say Desperate Cry is the best here. It's the perfect mix of Thrashiness and melody and also has some of the album's best riffs-and that's saying something! There's also the singles Dead Embryonic Cells and Arise which still stand as absolute thrash classics. Altered State is a stunning song, one of the albums's more complex and ambitious songs. There's great, straight-up thrashers like Subtraction and Infected Voice and cuts like Murder and Meaningless Movements which blend brutal thrash with insanely catchy grooves in the best possible way. Don't forget Under Siege, with is killer chugging riffs, great solo and coll acoustic intro.
Like many of Sep's albums with Max. there is absolutely no filler here. Every track owns because all the songs stay true to the album's overall style which is of course brilliant. It's one of those rare thrash albums where everything just clicks perfectly and it still sounds fairly original, if not as unique as their next two albums. I highly, highly recommend this, as any true metalhead will be in bliss with just about any of the songs here.
Oh, did I mention the drumming?


Heartwork
Heartwork
Price: 14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One hell of an album, 22 Aug 2007
This review is from: Heartwork (Audio CD)
Heartwork is no doubt one of the best albums I've bought in recent months. Heartwork is now seen as something of a classic in the metal world. Carcass where a band who were never afraid of evolving musically. Their first two albums were straight-up brutal grindcore albums that would be influential on many later bands in the same genre. With their third album Necroticism, Carcass slowed down a little bit and lenghtened the songs to make more of a death metal album. If Necroticism was where Carcass became a death metal band, then Heartowrk was where they became a melodic death metal band. However, they also just happened to release what was actually the first melodic death metal album, which helps explain the album's classic status.
Of all their albums, Heartwork is the best produced. However, the polished production doesn't make it seem poppy at all. Instead it gives extra power to the instruments, giving Heartwork one of the most crushing guitar sounds ever. This is very important to the album. Gone are the sickening gore lyrics of their earlier albums. Instead there are more mature and subtle lyrics which can actually be taken seriously. The band also made the songs a bit shorter than on Necroticism, which makes them even more catchy.
As the band charge into these songs, it can be heard that the enourmous, heavy riffs that populate them are relentless in their assault and are backed up by numerous tempo-changes, in true death metal style. However, what the band did here that was so original was to craft melody into their death metal sound. The riffs here are always very heavy but have a sense of melody as well in a way that is sometimes reminiscent of the new wave of British heavy metal (the galloping harmonic riffs in This Mortal Coil certainly bring Iron Maiden to mind).
Another factor in the new sound was the highly melodic trade-off solos between guitarists Bill Steer and Micheal Amott. These solos are very fitting within the songs but still add more melody to them. The brilliant back to back solos in Buried Dreams make for one of the best solo sections i've ever heard. Jeff Walker's raspy vocals link the band to their earlier sound but the fact that they sound a little less brutal than before is a nice touch that goes well with the sound of the album. Another link to their past is the blastbeat drums which are still here. They are used much less frequently though, and this helps add variety to some of the songs. Although every song is of the same style, they all sound pretty different and it never gets repetitive.
There is no filler at all to be found on Heartwork, and every song is filled with brilliant heavy riffs, superb trade-off solos, crisp and powerful drumming and snarled vocals. Many bands have followed the lead of this album and the whole Gothenburg Melodeath sound would soon be created as a result. The album is a must for metalheads due to its brilliantly inventive overall sound. Every band member gives his best here making heartwork a hugely enjoyable album. It is actually one of the least cheesy melodeath albums, despite being the first. My only gripe is that the bass is very hard to hear, but don't let that put you off. My favourites are Buried Dreams, No Love Lost, Heartwork, Embodiment and Doctrinal Expletives but hey, they will all own your face. As I have said before, the riffs here are just awesome. If the main riff to Embodiment, doesn't get you headbanging, I don't know what will. Bang your head!!
P.S. If you like this album, I also recommend Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates, another classic melodeath album.


Politics Of Ecstacy
Politics Of Ecstacy
Offered by ALL-MY-MUSIC-GERMANY
Price: 13.18

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome album from an awesome band, 18 Aug 2007
This review is from: Politics Of Ecstacy (Audio CD)
Nevermore have gained a reputation as being one of the best and most talented American heavy metal bands of recent years. The Politics of Ecstasy is their second album and a very impressive one it is too. The music here is certainly very heavy, but also melodic and has some nice progressive touches trown in. The band members are very talented, which ensures that the musicianship here is incredible. Lead guitarist Jeff Loomis is clearly one of the best guitarists in metal and his fantastic guitar work greatly boosts these songs. Second guitarist Pat o'Brien delivers plenty of huge, meaty riffs which create massive musical tension throughout the recording and are always varied enough to avoid becoming repetitive at all. Drummer Van Williams is an extraordinary drummer and even the bassist is pretty good. Last but not least is singer Warrel Dane. His powerful and dramatic voice is one of Nevermore's main trademarks. His voice is fairly operatic, like Bruce Dickinson but a little more rough-sounding which is fitting because Nevermore's music is more rough that Maiden's.
The lyrics are great, of course. They are very socially and politically conscious, adding to the album's maturity and Dane's powerful delivery only adds to them. This increases the emotion conveyed in the songs.The album is extremely consistent and the band's heavy, progressive sound is maintained throughout unlike on Dreaming Neon Black which actually gets dragged down by having too many power ballads. Here the exhilarating guitar based brand of metal is maintained throughout. There is still variety, with the very powerful slow burner The Passenger and an acoustic interlude which is actually really likeable.
The band displays ambition too. There are two fairly progressive epics which are The Learning and the title track. I won't describe them too much so that you can hear them yourself. Most of the songs are brilliantly structured in a fairly progressive way. Many feature superbly executed breakdowns and spoken voice samples are used during many songs to add even more tension.
The riffs, guitar work, structures, vocals, lyrics and interplay are always truly excellent which makes this album necessary for anyone looking for a non-cheesy and mature metal album of real quality. I cant say if its their best album or not because i've only heard this and Dreaming Neon Black. Still, it's better than DNB and is just a brilliant heavy metal album. What more could you want?


Surfing With The Alien
Surfing With The Alien
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Price: 5.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing from start to finish, 18 Aug 2007
This review is from: Surfing With The Alien (Audio CD)
Joe satriani is no doubt an amazing guitar player. On Surfing with the Alien, he clearly shows that he can shred with the best of them but he also displays an incredible compositional talent and creativity. Blazing rockers like Crushing Day and the title track allow Satriani do show off his incredible talents, as almost every brilliant guitar trick in the book is used as he creates whirling flurries of notes that consistently stun the listener. There are groovy, bluesy tracks such as Satch Boogie and Ice 9 which are fun, brilliantly structured and endlessly listenable. He also shows diversity by writing beautiful and soulful songs such as Always With Me, Always With You and Echo. His playing here is so lyrical that it is clear that he absolutely doesn't need to sing, and his guitar communicates emotionally with the listener in a brilliant way. He experiments a bit on songs like Lords of Karma, which uses sitar to give off a strange Indian kind of vibe. Circles begins with a quiet, jazzy section before exploding into a hard rock section with some stunning solo work and Midnight is a suberb exercise in acoustic guitar finger tapping. The album's variety and creativity make it such an enjoyable and unique album.
Surfing with the alien is often seen as Satriani's best work. His guitar playing was never more lyrical and technically impressive, displayed by the themes and solos in every song. His compositional diversity was never wider either. All this adds up to make Surfing an enthralling listen, and one that anyone who likes guitar-orientated music at all should own. It will blow you away just like it did to just about everyone who first heard it back in 1987.


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