Profile for Mark W. T. A. > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mark W. T. A.
Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,280,728
Helpful Votes: 96

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mark W. T. A. "don138" (rome)

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Tinderbox
Tinderbox

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ELECTRIC STORM, 27 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Tinderbox (Audio CD)
I always preferred the Banshees when they explored and stretched the limits of the conventional voice/guitar/bass/drums set up, rather than over-decorating their sound with strings, accordians and keyboard overkill. Although keyboards DO feature on this stunning, weather-themed album, they're used more sparingly than on earlier releases like A KISS IN THE DREAMHOUSE and HYAENA. TINDERBOX follows in the footsteps of JUJU, diverting the metallic thrust and parry of THE SCREAM in a more melodic, exotic direction. There's plenty here to match the high standard set by the fabulously intense pop of accompanying 45 "Cities in Dust". John Valentine Carruthers was sadly - and very unfairly - the least appreciated of the Banshees' guitarists, but his work here easily outshines any contributions made by the preceding Robert Smith or subsequent Jon Klein: the chiming chords of "Candyman", the delicate cascades on "The Sweetest Chill", the evocative soundscapes of "Lands End" and the extraordinary effects-pedal work of bonus track "Umbrella" being particularly effective. The rest of the band are on top form too, with Severin's basswork and Budgie's percussion providing a rock solid foundation underneath the beautifully textured arrangements and Siouxsie's atmospheric vocals. Criminally underrated at the time of its release, TINDERBOX ranks alongside THE SCREAM, JOIN HANDS and KALEIDOSCOPE as one of the very best Banshees albums. Further proof that Siouxsie and the boys are the ones who really deserve the praise that's so routinely heaped on their more run-of-the-mill contemporaries.


Siouxsie And The Banshees: The Seven Year Itch - Live [DVD]
Siouxsie And The Banshees: The Seven Year Itch - Live [DVD]
Dvd ~ Siouxsie & The Banshees
Offered by media-4-u
Price: £8.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BACK TO BASICS BANSHEES, 11 Feb. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If, like me, you've been fan of the Banshees since the early days, you'll appreciate their decision to return to the voice/guitar/bass/drums format for this tour. Sadly, Siouxsie's vocal chords are not in good shape, but the scything guitar and thunderous percussion evoke memories of the classic line up that produced such wonderful albums as THE SCREAM and JOIN HANDS. Pleasingly, they virtually ignore their post-1987 output, but ruin everything at the end by encoring with the awful "Peek-A-Boo". This seems like an excuse to get X Girl, the irritating support band, back onstage in stupid frog costumes. Steven Severin is guilty of some VERY EMBARRASSING hand jiving on this one too. That said, it's wonderful to hear the Banshees charge through fantastic early songs like "Pure", "Jigsaw Feeling", "Metal Postcard" and "Icon". It's a shame they saw fit to give the dreary "Voodoo Dolly" another airing, but "Red Light" and "Cities in Dust" sound great in savage, stripped down-form. The camera work and editing is suitably frenetic, combining effectively with the tastefully designed light show to sometimes dizzying effect.
EXTRAS: It's a pleasure to seen the JOIN HANDS soldiers on the menu, but I - like many others - have still not managed to access the audience vox pops. Maybe they'll be easier to find on the re-released version. "Getting Ready to Scratch" is interesting but too short and scrappy, while the less said about Budgie's backstage tour the better.
Still, Siouxsie looks fabulous - a welcome return to her androgynous, glam hangover style of 78/79 - and the band attack their back catalogue with an energy that makes their contempories and many younger bands look positively mediocre...


Nightmares Come at Night [DVD] [1970]
Nightmares Come at Night [DVD] [1970]
Dvd ~ Diana Lorys
Offered by soundsunlimited
Price: £3.00

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nightmares bore at any time of day, 4 Jan. 2005
This film's title might have sounded poetic in French, but the dreary banality of its English translation is a good indication of what you can expect from this listless, sluggish mess. Jesus Franco has made some great movies during his extraordinary career - THE AWFUL DR ORLOFF, THE DIABOLICAL DR Z, EUGENIE DE SADE, VENUS IN FURS, VAMPYROS LESBOS and A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD being prime examples. NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT, however, is an obviously improvised snorefest that bears only the vaguest resemblance to an erotic thriller. The...erm..."story" centres around a stripper who dreams of committing a series of murders. Trouble is, the killings are as staggeringly unimpressive as her stiptease routine, which consists of endless static shots of her lying - yes, LYING - about on a stage and half-heartedly trailing a feather boa over her body. The rest of this murkily photographed waste of time features lots more shots of her lying around - usually in bed - while other members of the low ebb cast stand around mouthing terrible dialogue. Oh, and there are a few clumsily shot - and hastily terminated - softcore interludes as well. The newly dubbed English soundtrack doesn't help either, being flatly recorded without any concern for the surroundings of the characters in the individual scenes. The only plus points are a marvellous score from the always reliable Bruno Nicolai and the eerie shots of flapping birds in an aviary. Cult actress Soledad Miranda only appears in a couple of tenuously linked scenes too, despite her prominence on the cover. After a brief theatrical release in Belgium, this film languished unseen for years. It's not hard to see why. The real nightmare is the fact that I spent fifteen quid on it!


Terror Creatures From The Grave (DVD-R) (1965) (All Regions) (NTSC) (US Import) [1966]
Terror Creatures From The Grave (DVD-R) (1965) (All Regions) (NTSC) (US Import) [1966]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £2.90

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THEY MUST HAVE DUG THE PRINT UP FROM THE GRAVE!, 8 Dec. 2003
Although Barbara Steele's role is rather thankless compared to the films she made with Bava and Freda, I've always loved this eerie little B&W chiller. It exists in a bewildering amount of different versions, and this one differs from the old UK Vampix (remember them?)"Cemetery of the Living Dead" video release in that it features a pre-credits sequence with some gratifyingly ghoulish make-up effects. Incidentally, this sequence is also completely different from the opening of the Italian version. However, although this print is much longer than the 61 minutes stated on the box, it does contain several cuts. These mainly apply to exposition scenes, but some interesting shots found in other versions are missing too. The close ups of festering plague sores are all intact though, as is the brief glimpse of entrails during Ennio Balbo's suicide scene. The main problem with this disc is the source material: a battered, splicy, softly-transferred public domain print with irritating sound problems in some parts. That said, the scenes where the vengeful, plague-spreading ghosts attack and the dismembered hands come to life in the display case have retained their creepiness after all these years. Although this film is crying out for decent Dvd treatment, this looks like all we're going to get for the moment. On the plus side, it's very cheap and the packaging is very attractive. Fans of Babs will want to invest, but let's hope that a better version comes along to replace it in the near future.


The Seven Year Itch Live (OLD VERSION)
The Seven Year Itch Live (OLD VERSION)
Offered by swankers3
Price: £6.78

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SIOUXSIE'S GOT THE SOLUTION FOR PERSONAL ITCHING, 31 May 2003
I've always been a firm beliver that Siouxsie and the Banshees were much better as a four-piece. Call me retro, but my favourite Banshees line up has always been Sioux/Severin/McKay/Morris. Even their surnames looked great in print! Therefore, I was thrilled when Siouxsie, Severin and Budgie went back to basics for the "Seven Year Itch" reunion tour: no keyboards, no strings and lots of material from their earlier (and better) albums. Fans who discovered Siouxsie via "Peepshow" and "Superstition" will no doubt be disappointed by this strident, noisy live CD but who cares? They've got last year's "Best Of" collection for consolation! In fact, I'd have awarded this disc five stars but I don't think the group went far enough with their exhumation of early material at the Shepherd's Bush Empire shows. Instead of "Night Shift" and "Voodoo Dolly", which also appear on the 1983 live set "Nocturne", why couldn't they have belted out neglected classics like "Nicotine Stain" and "Placebo Effect" which both featured in the setlist on other dates of the tour? Still, the Banshees deserve our admiration for delivering such a gutsy, energetic show. Many musicians doctor their live recordings in the studio, but here we have a "warts and all" document of one of the most truly original - and criminally underrated - bands of all time. If, like me, you can't believe that people make such a fuss over THOROUGHLY ORDINARY groups, this cd should come as a welcome relief. It's a shame they encored with the irritating "Peek-a-Boo", but that's just another minor quibble. Even the packaging is stylish, and a vast improvement on the atrocious sleeve for "Nocturne". Highlights: "Pure", "Jigsaw Feeling", "Metal Postcard", "Lullaby" and "Land's End". Once again, Siouxsie scratches the parts other bands fail to reach.


Visit/Seduction
Visit/Seduction
Price: £12.65

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PASS THE SHERRY, LINDER'S COME TO VISIT, 23 Feb. 2003
This review is from: Visit/Seduction (Audio CD)
Although their improvistions could occasionally veer towards the tedious and unlistenable, Ludus produced some intriguing work throughout their various incarnations. Fronted by the striking Linder, their music ranged from avant-garde jazz hybrids to more straight forward pop (their cover of Bridget Bardot's NUE AU SOLEIL, for example). This CD concentrates more on the former and comprises 2 E.P.s and a couple of tracks taken from early 80's singles. Linder's sexually political lyrics were often mystifying or just plain embarrassing, but her feminist viewpoint was filtred through a personal artistic vision and she was never less than compelling. On this disc, guitarist Ian Devine compliments her strong vocals and blood-curdling screams with a twitchy, metallic backdrop that swaps musical styles without warning. The group's extremes are perfectly illustrated by one of the 45s included here: MY CHERRY IS IN SHERRY. Described in the sleeve notes as "a three minute pop song about hormonal victory", it mixes melody with pure noise and includes lines about "beetle blood". If you're new to Ludus, I suggest you try this and "THE DAMAGE" before tackling the much more difficult "DANGER CAME SMILING". My favourite tracks on "THE VISIT"/"THE SEDUCTION": SIGHTSEEING, I CAN'T SWIM I HAVE NIGHTMARES, MOTHER'S HOUR, MY CHERRY IS IN SHERRY , INHERITANCE, THE DYNASTY.


Lake Of Dracula [VHS]
Lake Of Dracula [VHS]
VHS

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TASTE THE BLOOD OF JAPULA !, 22 Feb. 2003
This review is from: Lake Of Dracula [VHS] (DVD)
Rarely seen by Western audiences, this transposition of a Euro-style vampire tale to modern (1970s) Japan is creepy and effective. A schoolteacher and her younger sister live by the edge of an eerie lake, some distance away from the city. Traumatized by a nightmare she had when she was five, the teacher is haunted by the memory of a strange man with staring, golden eyes. When the caretaker takes delivery of a crate containing an ornate coffin, she comes to realise that her frightening recollections may not be the result of a bad dream after all...
Although it uses mainly traditional vampire elements, "Lake of Dracula" has a fresh, otherwoldly quality that helps make it a compelling piece of cinema. Featuring a truly menacing vampire, it's the perfect antidote to rubbish like the "Blade" series and "Razorblade Smile" etc. Highly recommended.


Very Best Of Siouxsie And The Banshees
Very Best Of Siouxsie And The Banshees
Price: £12.79

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IT'S SINGALONGASIOUXSIE TIME, 20 Oct. 2002
Although ANY Banshees/Siouxsie release is always a welcome proposition, this new compilation has to be a bit of a disappointment to fans who've been following the Banshees since the heady days of 1977. Of course, nearly all the songs here are of an exceptional standard and they sound great re-mastered, but the selection of tracks does leave a bit to be desired. MELT! and SLOWDIVE have always been amongst my least favourite Banshees singles, but it's a surprise not to find classics like FIREWORKS and DAZZLE. Most annoying for me, however, is the exclusion of brilliant early 45s such as THE STAIRCASE (MYSTERY) and PLAYGROUND TWIST. Their chilling, heavy metal version of METAL POSTCARD (sung in German and not available in any form) would have been preferable to the irritatingly shrill PEEK A BOO - surely one of their most overrated offerings - and the pedestrian cover of WHEEL'S ON FIRE. Still, I'm sure record company pressure played a small part in the compilation of the CD and my gripes aside, most of what's included here is streets ahead of the mass-produced sludge that passes for pop music these days: CHRISTINE, ISRAEL, SPELLBOUND, CITIES IN DUST, KISS THEM FOR ME and STARGAZER for example, are all truly magical, high-definition songs that deserve a special place in the pop music canon. The one previously unreleased track, DIZZY, on the other hand, sounds muffled and indistinct. The bonus disc is also a bit of a let down: who cares about dreary, extended re-mixes? It would have been more fun to compile some of the incredible b-sides that provided an often striking contrast to what was on the a. 4 stars for the quality of the music, less for the actual selection of tracks. I fully understand why the CD concentrates on the lighter, more accessible side of the Banshees rich catalogue, but maybe my sense of nostalgia still won't let me forget the thrill of those years...


Battle Royale [DVD] [2001]
Battle Royale [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Tatsuya Fujiwara
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £6.81

6 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?, 4 May 2002
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
This film has provoked debates in the Japanese parliament and is being regarded as a "Clockwork Orange" for the new millenium. It's a shame - but sadly, not surprising - that the film does not live up to it's controversial reputation. In terms of gore and violence, the film definitely delivers and is likely to cause offence in some quarters. Unfortunately, there is such a large dose of stupidity in the proceedings that it fails dismally as social commentary/satire. Example: at the start of the movie we see a TV news reporter excitedly proclaiming that the "victor" of the latest BATTLE ROYALE is a young girl. However, when the next class arrives on the island, they act and speak as if they've never heard of the BATTLE ROYALE act and can't understand why they're there. The ending is also extremely dumb, making it seem as if the director has progressed very little since he helmed "The Green Slime" in the late '60s. The only scene that is really effective takes place in a lighthouse, ending with a spectacular bloodbath after a girl mistakenly eats a plate of poisoned noodles. I don't expect all films to adhere to the rules of strict logic, but BATTLE ROYALE has a very unconvincing air about it. Japan has always produced striking, unconventional cinema, why make such a fuss over something that resembles a boring "shoot 'em up" computer game in school uniforms? The recent "Ring" tilogy and "Audition" are much more insidiously disturbing examples of new Japanese cinema. The makers of "Battle Royale" hoped to make a "Clockwork Orange" for the computer generation, but their film should have been "wound up" on the first day of shooting!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2012 7:06 PM BST


Minnesang
Minnesang

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MEDIEVAL MINSTRELS UBER ALLES!, 29 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Minnesang (Audio CD)
The title of this CD is German for the style of music performed by medieval minstrels. Inside the beautiful cover lurks a compilation of previously available material. Most Nico fans will already have the majority of the tracks, but this release warrants attention because it contains the original version of "Reich der Traume" - a haunting duet with Lutz Ulbrich - and two unoffically released tracks from a 1983 concert in London (at which I was present with my Dad!)......The sound quality is good and the choice of songs mercifully spares us a retread of her Velvet Underground numbers. It's such a pleasure not to have to hear "Femme Fatale" for the millionth bloody time. My favourite moments are "Reich der Traume", "Roses in the Snow", the wonderful single version of "Procession" and Nico's chillingly Gothic rendition of "Das Lied der Deutschen". Thoughtfully, the compilers have included her duet with Marc Almond, so you don't have to buy one of his albums to hear it! They are obviously big fans of "Saeta" though, as the disc contains four completely different takes. This is truly Gothic - as opposed to Goth - music from one of the most original and uncompromising talents in rock. Draw the curtains, light the candles and let Nico's otherworldly tones wash over you...


Page: 1