Profile for testedonpencils > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by testedonpencils
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,471
Helpful Votes: 252

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by

Page: 1-10 | 11
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 9.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and Romantic, with a little Southern Rock Swagger, 17 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Revelator (Audio CD)
This debut album from the Tedeschi Trucks Band is actually an album from some seasoned performers at their best. Fronted by husband-and-wife team Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, and featuring members from their respective solo groups, this album is proof of a theory I have long held that the biggest bands make the gentlest music.

Despite the huge personnel list and the rich and full sounding arrangements, this is a gentle romantic album, full of soft dobros, acoustics, swells of brass, and whispery organ sounds. Derek Trucks plays a mellow, vocal slide guitar, only occasionally resorting to the blistering solos found on tracks like I Wish I Knew, or Don't Miss Me from his previous albums. The emphasis here is on rich melodies and bubbling grooves. But there is plenty of musical skill on show though both in the songs themselves, and in the live-in-the-studio jam style cuts Shrimp and Grits and Ghost Light (the latter being a hidden track that sensibly appears about a minute after the album closer and not after fifteen minutes of silence as used to be the trend with these things.) The two cuts fade in and fade out again giving hints of just how amazing this band's playing really is, as the slide guitar growls over rich improvised textures.

Susan Tedeschi's soulful vocals draw you into the original songs, ably assisted by Trucks band singer Mike Mattison and singer songwriter David Ryan Harris. These are songs about love, loyalty, commitment, forgiveness and hope, flavoured with religious expressions of prayer and praise. One of my favourites is the album closer Shelter, with its uplifting chorus, soft finger-picked guitars, and bluesy vocals the accompany the final solo are amazing. But the album also covers the darker side of life whether it is the lonely lover waiting `until you remember that you're mine,' or the plea `oh lord, don't let these walls fall down.' The lullaby like quality of Midnight in Harlem is a counterpoint to the darker subject matter, the heartbreak and deprivation. But the outlook is ultimately positive. The songs encourage us to love, to forgive past hurts and value those who are close to us, the ones we know we can rely on.

So, if you want a gentle, complex, romantic album, that occasionally breaks into the swagger of two southern rock jam bands, you might want to give Revelator a try.

Notes from San Francisco: Limited Deluxe Edition
Notes from San Francisco: Limited Deluxe Edition
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 10.02

4.0 out of 5 stars A Blast from the Past, 17 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Despite the advertising about a new Rory Gallagher album, much of this material has appeared before, either re-recorded for other albums or as bonus tracks on the modern series of remastered albums. Mississippi Sheiks, Fuel to the Fire, Brute Force & Ignorance, Cruise On Out, and Overnight Bag where re-recorded for 1978's Photo Finish while a new version of B-girl named Public Enemy No.1 appeared on the Top Priority Album in 1979. Rue the Day and B-girl appeared as bonus tracks on the modern remaster of the Calling Card album. Persuasion appears as a bonus track on the remastered Deuce album, and the acoustic version of Wheels within Wheels was used on the posthumously released acoustic album of the same name.

The new tracks to the best of my knowledge are the electric version of Wheels within Wheels which features an interesting synth part and a different guitar solo, and the two rockers Cut a Dash and Out on the Tiles. The second disc is a previously unreleased, three piece live gig from San Francisco.

With all that out of the way, these tracks have been given a fresh mix and the beefy sounding production makes them a joy to hear, while the thoughtful arrangement nicely reflects the style of other Rory Gallagher albums. If you regard this as a compilation of material restored to it's proper historical context (explained in the liner notes to the deluxe edition) you will not be disappointed.

It seems it was more a case of bad timing and internal band strife than any problem with the music that lead to this project being shelved. The music is steady and lively, rooted in the blues. The riffs are complex and satisfying, but this is straight-ahead blues rock, with harmonic filled solos. Though there is less variety here than on other Rory Gallagher albums, he still experiments with different sounds. There is doubled solo ala Wishbone Ash/Thin Lizzy on Overnight Bag and a fuzzy flange sound on Cut a Dash that foreshadows his work on Top Priority. The new electric version of Wheels within Wheels will be a pleasant surprise for those familiar with the acoustic version, the introduction of an atmospheric synth, I believe it might be the superior cut. My favourite of the new cuts is Out on the Tiles, which features a brilliant hammer-on guitar solo that is as good as anything he has done.

Gallagher's singing, is simple but effective, which is good as his vocals sometimes mask what a good songwriter he really was. His subjects here are: music (especially the blues), gangsters, love, break-ups, sorrow and loneliness, often dealt with by drinking such as in Fuel to the Fire.

While this album is not essential it was never going to be, and it achieves admirably what it sets out to do. If you are a Rory fan, it's well worth it.

My copy of the album was the deluxe edition, which is presented as a book with photos, reproductions of the hand written lyrics, and an essay explaining the history of the recording. There are also four very nice postcards showing scenes from the city. This nicely put together product was marred by the fact I had to send the first set back as the studio album had some very noticeable clipping errors. Happily the second set worked fine, so if you find yourself in the same situation, it's worth taking the trouble to get your copy changed. As for the manufacturers: remember that you are charging extra and billing this as a special legacy edition. Better quality control is expected.

Prometheus (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free]
Prometheus (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Noomi Rapace

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Questions are still to be answered ..., 17 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Prometheus is the first half of a very interesting film. I'll have no idea if it's a great one until I see the sequel.

First off it's gorgeous to look at. The space scenes are beautiful, the ship is realistic and weighty, and the inside of the engineers installation looks suitably menacing with it's hieroglyphic control panels, grainy hologram projectors and alien murals. One of the characters compares a pile of engineer bodies to a holocaust painting. The whole film has a beautifully crafted look and from the beginning and the gloomy claustrophobia of the Alien films is absent. I loved the opening sequence which shows shows the desolate landscape of prehistoric earth. The camera travels up river until we reach a waterfall and we see an alien in robes and a departing saucer shaped ship. The alien consumes a mysterious black substance and his body disintegrates, seeding earth with the first biological life.

There is a limit to how many times the Alien premise can be used in an interesting way. Alien was dark and claustrophobic, while Aliens added the horrors (and courage) of war. Alien 3 was bleak and bitter, killing beloved characters off screen and equipping its protagonists with stone age weapons. Alien Resurrection felt like the odd one out to me. Suddenly the creatures moved like Jurassic Park raptors, and Ripley is no longer entirely human (or as sympathetic or heroic as she used to be). So I, for one, am delighted that Ridley Scott is not just contriving another Ripley resurrection to battle the same foe with a updated look. The creatures in Prometheus are totally new and add mutation and disease to the possible dangers the characters face.

Prometheus wants ask questions about the meaning of life. Why are we here, what makes us human? David the android, walks through an empty ship, reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, trying out human behaviours. Holloway and Shaw are practically bursting to meet their creators. And yet not a lot has been made of these elements by the end of the film. David still doesn't understand humanity, and Shaw's only encounters with an engineer are brief and violent. This leaves the film on an unsatisfying note. The last scenes feel almost too brief in comparison with the loving attention payed to the setup, implying to me that some really terrifying moments have been saved up for the sequel. The feel is one of tragedy rather than visceral terror, but then Prometheus is an example of cosmic horror. It's production resulted in the mothballing of Guillermo Del Toro's film version of At the Mountains of Madness (though I have no idea why given Hollywood's tendency to make and release very similar films in twos (Armageddon and Deep Impact, the Prestige and the Illusionist, Two Truman Capote biopics, etc).

I hope the sequel is going to make more of these elements, that David can become fully human and that the new creatures spawned by the black liquid are going go through some more interesting changes before becoming the monsters that we know and love. I hope also that the motives of the Engineers, still unexplained, turn out to be something thought provoking, drawing from the Lovecraftian tradition. I liked Michael Fassbender's characterisation of David and Noomi Rapace makes Shaw a fresh character rather than a Ripley knock-off. Shaw has a vulnerability and uncertainty that contrasts sharply with Ripley's solid common sense, but what they share is courage that enables them to do what has to be done in order to survive.

I enjoyed this film more the second time I watched it, which is a good sign, and I find that I'm genuinely excited about what will happen next. The best thing about Prometheus is that it is not just a join the dots exercise ending up where the crew of the Nostromo arrive, but a change of tone and pace that is intended to expand that universe.

The 2D blu-ray transfer and sound are excellent and the release comes with an code for a digital copy (including the option of an itunes version), and plenty of extras for those who want them. The redemption process can be a little confusing, but basically you use your code to go to [...] where you get a choice of formats. One of those options gives you another code to download the film from itunes.

2-Film Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) (Triple Play) (Blu-ray + DVD + UV Copy) [2012] [Region Free]
2-Film Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) (Triple Play) (Blu-ray + DVD + UV Copy) [2012] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Price: 9.75

71 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triple Play Versions: Love the films, Hate the UV/Flixster Copy, 15 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The good news is that what I actually got in the Sherlock Holmes Collection [Blu-ray] was the Triple Play Editions of both films, including Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Version, in a cardboard sleeve. As this is (at time of writing) only a couple of pounds more expensive than the triple play version of A Game of Shadows on it's own.

However, the bad news is that the Digital Versions are Ultraviolet downloads. If you want to claim them you'll have to: Sign up for a Flixster Account, Install their downloader/player on your computer, install their app on your iOS or Android device and use that and only that to watch your films. The files have been locked against other players. If you want a digital version of these films, you'll have to use their platform.

Obviously, if you like the Flixster app/player, no problem. It downloaded the files and played them just fine. But as consumers who are willing to pay the asking price for legal copies of new films, we don't deserve to be taken advantage of. Which is how I see this. You when you buy a triple play bundle you don't get asked 'Do you want itunes downloads or Ultraviolet downloads?,' you just get what is in the bundle. So we as consumers, don't get a choice of how to watch the films we paid for, on the devices we paid for. Does that sound fair to you? Ironically, you can get exactly what you want, on the platform that you want, if you are happy to download it illegally, (which I'm not.)

Physical discs aren`t tied to a certain manufacturer's players (even if BD technology all gets licensed from Sony) and neither, I think, should digital versions of movies. It doesn't really matter whether one app is better or worse than another. People will have their preferences, and since they are paying, they should have a choice.

I think both films are great and I don't have the heart give them a low rating just because of Ultraviolet/Flixster. You'll find plenty of reviews telling you how good they are, on amazon and elsewhere. I'm not too disappointed, as I primarily wanted the Blu-rays for main TV viewing and the DVDs to watch on my laptop. But, I thought it might be useful to share the above info with anyone else, so they know what they're getting. Personally, I think optical media are still the way forward until distribution companies get their act together. Highest quality, widest compatibility, simple choice.

After a bit of googling I found that Flixster had given itunes codes to customers who had problems with the Green Lantern and Harry Potter Part 7 back in Nov 2011, so I emailed Flixster support link, to see if they would help me. Their first email was just a generic FAQ and advertising for their app, which appears to be their standard response. I replied that it was a shame that they didn't want to try and solve my problem. They emailed back and asked for a time to contact me. I'm still waiting for the call.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2012 7:46 PM GMT

Out of My Mind / Holy Water
Out of My Mind / Holy Water
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 4.49

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charity record that needs no excuses, 12 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This two track charity single by WhoCares has been released to support the rebuilding of a music school in Gyumri, Armenia. Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi and various other hard rock and metal stars, have combined to record two original songs and it was that fact alone that tempted me to make a purchase.

The first track Out of my mind, is a classic sinister hard rock track, all heavy guitars and growling hammond (courtesy of Jon Lord), with a couple of killer slow burning guitar solos. My favourite track however, is Holy Water which has the feel of classic Ian Gillan solo material. It rocks a bit harder than the recent One Eye to Morocco album, but with a haunting duduk intro opening the track and Ian Gillan's alternately mystical/anecdotal lyrics, the song is very much in that vein.

The music feels as gelled as any touring band, and deserves to make it into your record collection on its own merits. Rather toning down their excesses and hoping for a radio friendly effort, WhoCares have produced the sort of material their fans rightly love them for and donated the proceeds to charity.

Page: 1-10 | 11