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Mr. C. B. Pickles "Thunarr" (Liversedge, West Yorkshire, UK)
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Alpha
Alpha
Price: £6.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Originally posted on The Wyrd Ways Rock Show Review page (where you can read the full version)., 9 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Alpha (MP3 Download)
Original review written by Rick Ossian

Opener Transcendency is a a track with one of those intros that I LOVE to gush over. Lush strings/keyboards, a distant lonely guitar plucks out some innocent-enough sounding chords as the keys rise ominously in the background. A wicked mix, with some solitary bass notes booming here and there. At 1:30 things pick up speed with a massive kicking in of doors, walls, etc., as the instruments and the vocals floor you simultaneously. One may as well refer to Din's vocal capabilities as an instrument as well; it is more likely used in a weapons capacity, if you will. They do the kicking in thing again at the 2:30 mark, and before we realize what has struck us so profoundly on the noggin, it's over. So sad.

The Collapse comes at us out of the gate with extreme intent, vocal chords shredding all the way as they drag us kicking and screaming into this new piece. As I mentioned before, this sort of extremely thrashing 'progressive metal' is not what I normally prefer; however, I found myself slightly enjoying this stuff. At the 3:20 mark there is a shift into even HEAVIER territory, with Din (oh, those poor vocal chords) reaching from way down under (3:40) to deliver his guts to you on the proverbial metal platter. Some VERY cool instrumentation going on in the mix, but the vocals are WAY out front on this number. At 4:45 there is a brief guitar solo, with some phase-shifting FX and cool lead snippets at the close. These 5-minute (or so) tracks I think are the best representation of FUD's skills, but of course that's just my opinion.

Concord and Dissolution features 'math-y'-style progressive metal riffs a la Meshuggah or Between the Buried and Me, and is another slammer both vocally and instrumentally. There are also stop-start time chords in here - remember when our folks told us that stuff would damage us? I stand damaged, but loving it all the same! There are also some very ANGRY vocals (surprise!), but about half way in (3:00), the vocals actually lighten temporarily. I wondered if Din had momentarily lost direction, but I didn't have to wonder long. At 3:50 we have the inevitable instrumental slam, and at the five-minute mark things shifted into slightly proggier territory. At 5:30 you can hear Din clearing his throat -- it's pretty graphic, you may want to remove your young ones temporarily-- it is becoming increasingly obvious where this guy picked up his moniker. At six minutes in we get one more slam from everybody, and a (WOW!) holy crap intensity at the close. I may have to check that one out again after I finish typing!

The Nature of Existence includes another of the cool little intros that I am always on about. Well,every song has to start somewhere, doesn't it? Plaintive, simple chords/notes waft briefly in our brains, then thirty seconds in of course we are knocked sideways for a mentally metal loop as we see what's left of our noggins waste away on the floor! "Look how much you've grown!" bellows Din, and YES I can actually understand some of the lyrics. We all worry about finding ourselves, and a "place to prosper and grow", as Din tells us, but is the rap section necessary? I admit these spoken word bits can be effective, but even a rap done metal style can get annoying if overdone. Thankfully, here at least, it is not. At 4:15 we get a lead guitar solo (brief) with some atmospheric leanings, then another one of those super-intense endings.

Synthrospect is basically a master class in how much cool stuff you can fit into a song in a minute and a half. It begins life with a cool spacey guitar intro, sort of an interlude with proggy tendencies. Then (:35) the instruments kick in, providing us with a very nice bass and drum pocket. Fifty seconds in we hear a brief guitar solo, then at 1:05 we are slammed yet AGAIN by the sheer force of the instrumentation. Very nicely done, gentlemen.

State of Duality hammers mercilessly on our frontal lobes, coming out at us double time with shredding vocals and some serious drumming. At 1:55, however, there are some proggy jazz-fusion moments. This is only brief, of course, as we get slammed again at the two-minute mark. Again there is some wicked guitar work at play here, with a brief lead guitar moment (3:00) and some more of that math-metal style riffing (3:30-4:00) and some neat pieces of stabbing lead. There is a seismic shift at the 4-minute mark, then a bit of spoken word (5:00) with some cool jamming going on behind the oratory. Some pretty intense stuff here again.

At six minutes even, our closer for the day, A Premonition, is hopefully just that - something to indicate that a full-length mega-slammer is due to follow suit soon (PLEASE??). The intro features sweet bursts of lead and hammering instrumental work plus shredding of the vocals and pounding riffs. Some understandably impressive vocals, as always, and if it is beginning to sound like a pattern, so be it. Some outfits abuse the sameness - some can be eclectic as hell. In my opinion, if it's not broken, don't fix it! At 2:20 there is some shredding lead guitar work going on, and then at three minutes in all hell breaks loose! At 3:30 there is a slight upshift in tempo (how do they DO that?), and at four minutes in there is a groove!! We get another taste of some lead snippets - little bursts/stabs of energy that our dynamic duo seem to be very adept at, then there is a slightly mellow ending...it's over. Very sad. Need more. Long-player SOON, please?


Renegades
Renegades
Price: £10.73

5.0 out of 5 stars It's 1983 all over again!, 22 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Renegades (Audio CD)
Cast your mind back to 1983. Bruce Dickinson was fully ensconced in Iron Maiden and preparing to release Piece Of Mind, his second with the band. Across London, Monument had just released Re... hang on... that's not right... Peter Ellis, former singer with White Wizzard and the man behind Monument had probably not even been born in 1983! Renegades is a throwback to the years when the NWOBHM was in full flight. If this album doesn't get your head nodding and a smile plastered on your face, you've got no soul.


War Eternal
War Eternal
Price: £9.65

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to form from the (mostly) Swedish Masters of Melodic Death Metal, 9 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: War Eternal (Audio CD)
I'd like to say that I have actually listened to this album, unlike the previous "reviewers" who just moaned about the price. This CD now costs less than it did when it was first put up for order, so I got it at the lowest price, which is what Amazon does. That price drop ALWAYS happens. Anyway, on with the review:

In the interests of full disclosure, I will state that I had got somewhat bored of Arch Enemy. I loved Wages Of Sin. I enjoyed Anthems Of Rebellion as well as much of the stuff they'd put out pre-Angela. I'd even been to see them play The Cockpit in Leeds, and really rather enjoyed that. They were actually that good, I can't remember who the support band were... but Doomsday Machine and the stuff I heard coming from the following albums... well... meh! pretty much summed up my feelings on what I was hearing.

So the next couple of albums passed me by. OK, I still read press releases and magazines about them, since I was still a fan of Spiritual Beggars and the articles were always interesting reading, but the music was... as I said above... meh!

Then, earlier on this year, the news broke that Angela was taking a move sideways into managing the band and they'd chosen a replacement in Alissa White-Gluz of Canadian Melodic Deathcore band, The Agonist. I can't say I'd paid much attention to them, since I'm only a fairly recent convert to the whole -core scene, but I checked out The Agonist's last album and was definitely interested. The videos Arch Enemy released over the next few weeks piqued my interest even more.

Anyway. This very morning, the awaited album arrived in my Inbox...

After an ominous orchestral introduction, Never Forgive, Never Forget kicks in and we're away. Arch Enemy haven't sounded this hungry or angry in years. It certainly looks like other newbie, Nick Cordle (formerly of Arsis) has energized Michael Amott. The snarling riff of the title track, War Eternal as well as some blistering soloing right the way across the album confirms this impression. From the early evidence of a first listen, it would seem that the addition of the two new members has given the band exactly the creative kick in the pants they needed to get out of the rut they'd ended up in as Angela and Chris lost interest in performing and writing. One of the most obvious points to note is that Alissa White-Gluz has a wider range, even when it comes to Death Metal growls, than Angela had. There's more musicality to the vocals, which is something Arch Enemy lacked more recently.

One of the most pleasant surprises with this album is that there is real variety. Probably due to the sepulchral keyboards, Stolen Life reminds me of Midian-era Cradle Of Filth... not a bad thing to my mind. Time Is Black strides confidently into Arch Enemy's traditional territory, but with stabs of orchestration and a closing almost mournful riff, it moves things on. The new confidence is evidenced, right at the end of the album by Not Long For This World. It's a BIG instrumental. Mournful and... with the final fadeout being the beeps of a heart monitor, somewhat sad. The track that follows that showstopper is Shadow On The Wall. The Arch Enemy "purists" will HATE it. It's far too different for them, which is why I love it. It's definitely Arch Enemy, but pushes in a completely different direction - PROPER Heavy Metal, with a riff that Tipton and Downing in their heyday would have been proud of.

This is a band that, thanks to the infusion of new blood, have become more adventurous, when many bands, faced with the same situation, would have gone out to produce a "classic-style" album to show that nothing had really changed.

Arch Enemy have most assuredly not done that. They've taken their sound forward, incorporating some of the melody that could be found in Alissa's work with The Agonist, and with a re-energized guitar partnership and the rock-solid rhythm section of quiet man Daniel Erlandsson on drums and man-mountain Sharlee D'Angelo on bass, the stage is confidently set for the future.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2014 5:11 PM BST


Character Options Doctor Who 5 Inch Flight Control Tardis
Character Options Doctor Who 5 Inch Flight Control Tardis

4.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't pay this much, if I were you..., 15 Dec. 2013
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This very afternoon I got this exact same toy from Toys R Us for £7.49. If you pay nearly £40, you're being taken for a ride.


Galt Jungle Playnest
Galt Jungle Playnest

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Galt Playnest, 20 Oct. 2010
Brilliant invention. Not only will it help your baby learn how to sit up, they'll love being in it just because it's comfortable. My 8 month old son loves his.


Batman: R.I.P. (Deluxe Edition)
Batman: R.I.P. (Deluxe Edition)
by Grant Morrison
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grant Morrison, take a bow!, 5 Jun. 2009
This storyline has been building for a while. Morrison has been working hard on integrating all the Batman stories ever written into one narrative, and has succeeded brilliantly, even managing to include the weird 1950's SF stuff by explaining it away as an hallucination brought on by a sensory deprivation experiment.

This is not linear storytelling. This is a challenging (but very rewarding) read. The story does become fractured, but that fits perfectly with the context of The Black Glove taking Batman apart at a psychological level. Be prepared to have to read this several times to pick up on all of the threads. You'll also have to be prepared to read it all in one go, since as with the majority of Morrison's best work, the devil is indeed in the details.

If you want a traditional Batman tale, this is definitely not for you. You'll probably hate it (as many of the reviewers here seem to) if you just want a comic book action movie featuring Batman. If you're prepared for a wild, insane ride through Batman's biggest challenge so far (well... until The Omega Effect, anyway), you'll enjoy this.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2012 2:23 PM GMT


Californication
Californication
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.38

3 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No. Just... no., 4 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Californication (Audio CD)
Sorry, but this album is an absolute disgrace to the RHCP name. Anyone who tells you that this is their best album is obviously not a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the firebreathing funk punk band who wrote songs like "Give It Away", "Subway To Venus", "Me And My Friends" or even "Sikamikaniko", and put a real rocket up the arse of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" and Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground".

They're probably fans of Coldplay. In the sense of they own the lastest album.

This is RHCP without fire or any of the grit and power they exhibited before, and what made "BloodSugarSexMagick" so vital.

As far as I'm now concerned, RHCP finished in the early 90's.

Sad.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2011 10:59 PM BST


Daredevil [DVD] [2003]
Daredevil [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Ben Affleck|Colin Farrell|Jennifer Garner
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £1.95

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Daredevil - Damned (you see what I did there?) good effort!, 19 Nov. 2003
This review is from: Daredevil [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I'd better get this out of the way first - I'm a bit of a Daredevil fan. I've read "The Man Without Fear", and love it. I've also read "Born Again", and love that. I've also recently started reading the series again, thanks to a gifted writer, by the name of Brian Bendis.
Now, on to the film. If you're a fan of Frank Miller's work, you'll be in heaven. This film references his work on DD quite heavily (and deservedly so, since this was a classic era). Mr Miller even gets a cameo as one of the Kingpin's guards, slaughtered by Bullseye. The cast are uniformly excellent as their characters, with Colin Farrell (Bullseye) and Joe Pantaliano (Ben Urich) standing out. Nice to see cameos by Kevin Smith and Stan Lee (who have both written DD - Stan created him, by the way) in there.
But I'm digressing again. The film. As a modern action movie, it does stand up, thanks to the fight scene choreography and good use of CGI. The dialogue is sometimes lifted word-for-word from Frank Miller's work, which is also no bad thing. Michael Clarke Duncan is an excellent Kingpin - I can't think of anyone else who has the sheer bulk (without being grossly fat) and presence to carry off the part like he did. Colin Farrell stole virtually every scene he was in, and got most of the best lines. Ben Affleck made a surprisingly good Matt Murdock. I've never really rated him as an actor, when not working under Kevin Smith. I might have to revise that opinion. The only slight letdown was Jennifer Garner. Not really her performance, but the way Elektra was turned into a bit of a wimp! The woman is supposed to be one of the world's premiere assassins!
Look, to cut a long ramble short, it's as good as X-Men, better than The Hulk, but not quite as good as Spider-Man (which has become one of my all-time favourite films) or X2.


Demolition
Demolition
Offered by trec002
Price: £17.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not immediate - more of a grower., 13 Aug. 2001
This review is from: Demolition (Audio CD)
This is Tim "Ripper" Owens' third release with Priest (Jugulator, '98 Live Meltdown, Demolition), and sees them moving into almost Machine Head-like territory, with Ripper, on some tracks, sounding something like Ronnie James Dio (which is by no means a criticism).
Like Jugulator, this is an album that grows on you the more times you listen to it. The band have obviously been paying attention to what is going on around them in the HM scene, and have absorbed it. There's nothing as immediate as Painkiller, Turbo Lover, Eat Me Alive, The Sentinel or Electric Eye, but it does have songs like Metal Messiah, Machine Man, Jekyll and Hyde and Bloodsuckers. If you get hold of the limited edition, you'll also be treated to reworkings of Rapid Fire and the Fleetwood Mac cover, The Green Manalishi (with the two-pronged crown).
In short, this isn't the old Judas Priest. This is a new band, and really should be listened to as such. And as a new band, this is an extremely promising second studio effort. They're getting better.
If you want new, old-style Judas Priest material, you'll want Rob Halford's Resurrection and Live Insurrection albums.


Batman Vs Predator
Batman Vs Predator
by Dave Gibbons
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A damned good read., 12 Sept. 2000
This review is from: Batman Vs Predator (Paperback)
The ultimate hunter vs the ultimate human. An unseen assailant murders the winner of the Gotham heavy weight championship, then slaughters everybody who trained at his gym. Then mob enforcers and mob bosses die, moving higher and higher in the food chain of Gotham's organised crime syndicates. Each victim is found without his head and spinal column - could they have been taken as trophies?
The Batman encounters the "See-Through Slasher", and then, when the Predator recognises a worthy opponent, the hunt is on.
Written by Dave Gibbons, an extremely capable writer and artist (Frank Miller's Martha Washington stories, early Rogue Trooper from 2000AD), writes a story on a par with The Predator, and much better than Predator II. All the characters from the Batman half of the franchise work as they should. Andy Kubert's art is as good as always, inked by his brother, Adam (both are the sons of the legendary Joe Kubert).
Short version: if you like The Batman, or The Predator movies, or ideally both, buy and read this. You won't regret it.


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