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Agma (UK)

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Price: 12.35

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, excellent deluxe entry., 7 Feb 2011
This review is from: Dehumanizer (Audio CD)
I have been really looking forward for a deluxe issue for this now classic late Sabbath album for a significant period of time. It brought back a massive element of credibility and popularity right back to the Sabbath name after it's release in 1992; which in all truth had been in decline for some 10 straight years previous after a dire mid eighties stint, not even forgetting the light tapping of positive results that the Headless cross album righteously generated in 1989 was enough, even though it was an undeniably brave and excellent effort. But this was always the one for me, a massive revitalization of the name and a fresh Mob rules re-unite; and despite the briefness only a great album could result and that was exactly the case.

Despite being a long slow burner, Dehumanizer is one of the strongest releases of the late Sabbath canon, my standard beloved jewel case version has been with me for many years and it has long been a treasured part of my Sabbath collection as I have played this album hundreds of times over the years; so today presented me with a little anxiety when i bravely went out and bought this new 2CD digipak release as to not really fully knowing what to expect when I got home; I wanted to hear as little interference from modern technology and remastering as possible, I have had distinctly found in my past experience that they rarely serve as quality templates the second time round without soul destroying the whole sound quality thing. (A frequent and major complaint now-a-days.)

I am hugely thankful to report that I can conclude that this is not so the case here, Dehumanizer to my ears has been treated with the upmost of care, a light overhaul and removal of some of the dirtiness and clarity of the slightly dank production from the original recording - of which at the time's standards was also very good! The inevitable results on this deluxe edition are exceptional, the songs sound modern and fresh but crucially don't sound like they were recorded yesterday, and the other major plus is the classic 90's vibe has been fully preserved and showcased even if the sadly now deceased legend Ronnie James Dio is taken out of the equation. Everything here from the vocals and the instruments sound and seem remarkably clean and acute, Dehumanizer has really never sounded so good.

Dehumanizer is not an easy album to remaster, the intricate sounds and unique style of the album presented a huge danger of a murderous execution, it's been handled very well. Id also like to mention the extra disc which contains some live tracks from Sundome, Tampa in florida in 1992 as extra and also a few non album b-sides. No studio b-sides however regrettably, but the booklet inside is widely enhanced with an extra elaboration of photos and liner notes. All in all this is a triumph, even that amazing artwork is back and looks fantastic on a new pressed digipak!! I do however in respect of all this make no secret for the fact that Black Sabbath has indeed remained to be one of my favourite bands for many years, but this release for me really does deserve the top star rating, I was very impressed with it and would recommend it as a purchase as it is much better than the original release and is a definite worthy investment! even if you had the original album to start with as I had.

Iced Earth - Box Of The Wicked (Ltd Box Set) (NEW CD)
Iced Earth - Box Of The Wicked (Ltd Box Set) (NEW CD)
Price: 25.27

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A cash cow, short fall or both?, 1 Feb 2011
I should note this fact straight away, the music by Iced earth is mostly far and above 5 stars. But as usual the main problem and criticism I have with this sort of thing is it's purpose and reason of origin in the first place; ok, so what I'm really getting at here is do we really need this?.... I mean Iced earth are a great band with more than a handful of solid and formidable albums in there back catalogue, but this something wicked series I humbly feel has gracefully run it's course. Im not sure a box set is quite needed to tempt loyal fans into exchanging more of their hard-earned cash and a cash intensive associated trade-in of their individual album sets. It isn't particularly recommended in my opinion as primarily the quantity of extras on here is badly lacking, as are a few recordings with Matt Barlow on some of the tracks of the something wicked part 1 album and a few live numbers.

We also have the EP release issue which had been released to enhance and promote the something wicked part 1 album. Both albums on here arn't really of the greatest Iced earth calibre, and certainly not compared to the first five albums. The box set is a great idea but the timing of it's release is also questionable in my opinion as indeed coming on to the scene 3 years after the "crucible of man" hit the shops seems a little silly. The idea and the whole concept should in theory be a good one but it just isn't, I would at a first glance come to the conclusion that this budget release is a bit of a rushed out and ill prepared one. The low price is a bit of a consolation but I can't really see who this thing is aimed at. Ok, I more than like Iced earth a little bit and I certainly do enjoy some of these tracks of these albums but it's no match for the early "genesis" set. I'd personally much prefer my cash spent on that one me but this item's value is still really quite minimal it's retrospect. Hmm.... not really necessary.

Fury of Our Maker's Hand
Fury of Our Maker's Hand
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 10.80

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good effort special edition., 22 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We got "Beast" the fifth Devildriver album coming out in a month's time, What better opportunity to reflect and review on their arguably best album to date? "The fury of our makers hand" Remains an essential headbangers album and a milestone in metal brutality. And, putting it fairly and squarely "Fury" just about annihilates everything in it's path with virtually no slacking numbers to relent this whirlstorm of music. The single edition disc is now going for a bargain price here on amazon, and it is very much a shame this Limited edition release isn't more competitively priced alongside.

What we have on this Limited edition is an extension of the studio standard version with three extra essential Devil driver songs. "Unlucky 13, Guilty as sin and Digging up the corpses" These fell short of making the standard release by not the greatest of margins i have heard, and not forgetting the next following bonus live songs "I could care less, Hold back the day and Ripped apart" which are confidently played. Where the value of this release evidently falls down is the poor utilization of the bonus DVD disc on this superlative double digipak issue, of which only contains four short videos for "End of the Line, Hold back the day, I could care less and Nothing's wrong" and then that's it? What?....... That's exactly what I thought, but great videos they are admittedly.

Ultimately most people but the most dedicated and collective of Devildriver fan could feel very short changed by the price VS the extras of this item. I have laid out all the info of what exactly these extras are, but i don't think it's enough to sway many devildriver fans to buy this in exchange of their beloved standards. Personally, I bought this as I consider myself before the latter and found this a well presented release. Again the music is five stars, but this specific release gets four because no effort was made to increase the value buy-ability of this with possible live concerts, making's of or documentary inclusions. Not essential.

The Visitation
The Visitation
Price: 11.35

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The three in a row., 18 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Visitation (Audio CD)
Rejuvenated, a stroke of form, epic; whichever is most suited Magnum have never sounded so classic to my ears on this album than they do here and is more than a worthy addition to "Princess alice and the valley of the moonking" predecessors. As good as their old albums really were it's really amazing it's taken over three decades for these guys to reach such heights of creativity. No, Magnum are certainly not done yet, they continue to wow their fans with fresh, innovative true rock music with modern vibes. In any case how they still pull out albums like this at their age is a mystery, but it is the three in a row for these guys beginning from the soon to be classic 2007's Princess alice and the broken arrow. "The visitation" is a further development of soundscapes crafted on "Moonking" complimenting an occasionally crunchy guitar fest. Many of these songs are inspired, well crafted, well written and hugely charming. This along with "Princess alice" could well possibly be the two best Magnum albums of all time? with this definitely a prime classic candidate. It would be a disservice to the band to suggest this new release and fine run of form recently don't quite burrow a stick or two from the late 70's and early 80's releases. But this one and the previous two are original enough, though there isn't really a great deal more that I can add here in any case that the fans haven't. At this stage of this excellent 16th outing 12/12 5 star ratings says it all i think..... Verdict. A stonker of a release!

The Expendables
The Expendables
Price: 11.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Instrumental spinners, 1 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Expendables (Audio CD)
I recently watched and reviewed the Expendables film as a matter of personal duty. The result was that I was left a little disappointed with the film even after my very "hopeful" expectations. Some of the beauty of a hard edged action film is a pumped-up manly soundtrack and to be fair what we have is a reasonable attempt to create this but what we don't get is anything in the way of rock anthems with vocals. This isn't really a rock album and I wouldn't recommend this at all to people who are looking for this sort of thing. Not that the CD itself is being marketed as one anyway. There are some great sounds in some of these selections but they are vocal-less as i say, and a possibly too close resemblance for my liking of Zimmer 90's. Brian tyler presents this good sounding action compilation to a T, but crucially lacks the punch and explosiveness of the film. This OST counterpart release is a suitably good piece of work that passes but there is nothing outstanding to really showcase. Fans of Stallone may wish to buy this, even lovers of the film, but the "once listened to then forgotten" gut-feeling is all to clear to witness here;....... Average

The Expendables [DVD]
The Expendables [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sylvester Stallone
Price: 2.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Hallmarks of past glories but decent enough., 31 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Expendables [DVD] (DVD)
Most of these actors have been around a fair while. Schwarzenegger, Willis, and stallone e.t.c. and to a lesser extent Li and co. All come together in this ever so slightly disappointing action. Admittedly, at these guys ages it's a wonder at all a film like this has come to surface. Times have changed of course, Back in 1980's there was millions of these things coming out, as I'm sure anyone my age will come to testify. Arnold, Willis and Stallone were "back-in-the-day" particularly active and have had great success surrounding their efforts. But can they still cut the mustard with these other excellent captors in the form of statham and Li? Well, I think so; the mix is a rather good one and being as they are all hard big chunks this easily gives the impression of epic masculinity before switching your DVD player on and only looking at the front cover.

We mustn't get carried away though, the film doesn't even try to suggest it's anything other than a Lad- OTT action movie. Almost completely filled with violence, shooting, intimidation and harsh words, with a small dose of a young lady, the rest can be left to the imagination or it's ridiculously predictable plot. That hands hands down and single handedly is in my book an easily good enough reason to dock one whole star of this film rating. I am of the belief that even an action film should have a good inspired tale or a small story line to balance things out a little bit. Seems not, with The Expendables what we get is squarely and unashamedly aimed at the violence loving and the OTT action movie fanatic, I can't see how any of the rest of the general public are going to get any other enjoyment out of the film than this at all.

The Expendables shows very little in character development and focuses almost entirely of very unemotional personalities and sketchy features, I personally found no opportunity whatsoever to get to know any of cast, other than knowledge and familiarity I already had from older films they have been involved in. It is most definitely a shame on the greatest of proportions that i happen to feel this, as the film has obvious effort been put into it. They got it right with the geographics and locational environments though and I must say that I was also very impressed with the camera angles and drama capture included as well. This all invariably adds an immeasurable amount of credit to the colour and experience one can feel from the film and without a doubt would confidently say this is quite possibly The Expendables best executed feature.

Most of us will have seen this stuff all before anyhow, that's clearly obvious. And despite the film being rather bland, simplistic and thin in places, (even bordering on the nauseating in one or two places) but overall the viewer's concentration is mostly engaged with the insane and ridiculous action scenes. There isn't much more to say here, The Expendables is a great idea, it does have a great cast but ultimately the film has way to many omissions to be awarded of a higher rating in my view. You probably have to be a certain type of person to thoroughly like this and "probably male" to really love this. But ultimately an action movie this outrageous is quite rare these days and I don't regret watching or indeed buying this in the slightest, but unfortunately there does seem to be a watered down type of quality to this that just doesn't make it an automatic purchase for anybody.

Wings of Forever
Wings of Forever
Price: 19.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A respectable power effort., 9 Dec 2010
This review is from: Wings of Forever (Audio CD)
Despite drawing inevitable clone like similarities between this and Dragonforce it's a not a bad album. Cheesy is taken to new heights with this opus, but to be fair it is highly melodic and alot more listenable the some of these other power bands around. The problem I have with this is it's lack of thought and originality, keyboard overtones are heavily used to great effort but it's this stereotypical simplistic power metal formula and idea borrowing from like-minded power metal bands which inevitably pulls the album down. The variation is pretty poor on the whole and appears to be just the same ultra melodic choruses saturating the listeners ear with every track. I have time for this sort of music and love power metal dearly and certainly have not come here for a dig but this is I'd say is far from a gem masterpiece to say the least.

Needless-to-say "Glory tonight" is a stronger effort and contains a fabulous atmosphere, soloing and ultra speedy shredding. Power quest part one is a brilliant song and the best of the album, indeed something I could easily associate with the bands signature sound. (If only they made the whole album like it!) It sounds distinctly 1980's working on the magic of old which is works effectively. The vocalist is certainly well suited to magic power metal and has a wide range and that certainly is to the albums credit. and the production is fairly clear and clean also. There is something of an extremely iconic artwork for the music too there is just no excuse for buying the album if you happen to dislike this sub-genre of metal! And finally to conclude, the musicianship is fairly excellent throughout and stands well against the rest of the competition.

Im not exactly hugely impressed with this but will openly accept that wings of forever is a better than average album at the least. Its straight forward and typical and so there shouldn't be any need to give the album anything other than a well deserved three stars. The major problem with this genre is that there is so much excellent music about and it's hard to realistically establish how good an album is any more. But i am fairly convinced of one thing. Wings of forever is a good album despite a few fatal and obvious omissions from their music, It just needs to be a little deeper and showcase a little more soul to elevate the band into stardom. I have my eye on this band and look forward to what they have to offer in future years. Verdict 6/10.

7 Sinners
7 Sinners
Price: 13.30

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow i really am late to the party here!, 20 Nov 2010
This review is from: 7 Sinners (Audio CD)
Helloween are a big name in power metal, from pioneering the genre back in the late eighties with their "Keeper of the seven keys albums" they quickly found themselves trailing other bands capitalizing on their success and thou diverting away from the very genre they helped to create by a serious of dreadful albums; admittedly this decade they have faired better with "The dark ride and Gambling with the devil" being excellent examples of hard power, which has definitely uplifted my spirit and faith in the band. This, will have brought them back much of their lost credibility and places them back on the king throne of power once again.

This album is monsterous, loud and damn heavy affair which makes "Ire works" look like something closer to Britney spears than 7 sinners; lets get one things straight here, this truly is a bombastic and magnificent power metal album. The opener "Where the sinners go" opens with a grade A metal sound the drums and heavy rhythms quickly then take hold; the next thing that takes you is Andi Deris's excellent vocals which seen so finely tuned for this release. Are you metal? opens up with a guitar riff and answers the question they may have been asking themselves straight away, Its full of riffs and damn bloody excellent!!! a true party song for halloween! Next up, "Who is the madman?" Is a rather geeky keyboard orientated song, that is until 0.45 and it's business as usual, tonnes of harmonics and melody breaks intertwined with huge guitar shredding, a very good song also. "Raise the noise" has to be one of my favourites of the album, that guitar sound is to die for, that thick hollow sound surrounds the melodies and singing and the songwriting doesn't get any better. "World of fantasy" gives you another tour-de-france of traditional power metal giving the listener a (sort of) rest before the next following ripper, "Long live the king" a truly oral thrash/power metal assualt shredder to say the least.

"Smile of the sun" is the only thing that comes close to a ballad here, You stupid mankind, is a bit of a let down, the heavy riff is awesome but fails to capture the quality of the other songs and turns down a rather generic route. (But its still above average power metal) and as for the rest? Well, you just know what your gonna get, more of the same tectonic bashings of power metal. Which is not a bad thing mind! As long as you like the genre that is! Which of course if you don't I have to ask how on earth you managed to arrive on this page never-the-less. Thou apart from distinct brief flashes of unimaginative choruses in some of these these selections, this is another improvement once again for Helloween. The current line-up stability is probably behind this upward trend of excellent albums we have been seeing recently. They have done themselves and us very proud indeed, long may it continue. 9/10
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2010 7:24 PM GMT

Human Parasite
Human Parasite
Price: 9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new Powerworld album, and guess who's here?., 19 Nov 2010
This review is from: Human Parasite (Audio CD)
I haven't wrote an amazon review for quite a while now and upon coming back this is the album I wanted to review first. Powerworld are or were a straight forward melodic power metal band originating from Germany delivering excellent and good quality accessible metal. This is their second album and a vastly superior one to the debut, As i am sure many "threshold" fans who are already well aware of the awesomely talented vocalist "Andrew mac's" entrance to the band, may well deserve some of that credit here.

Well I love this kind of stuff, the music is excellently written on the whole and suitably diverse, caught in a web is a heavy thunderous riff had-en song alongside the title track and the opener cleansed by fire. In-between we have very enjoyable heavy AOM to really rock out to, but to give them credit although the middle does get a little generic at times, there are hundreds of pros to counter this, it's balanced, it's organised, Mac delivers outstanding vocals as usual, the guitars soar and oh the production really kicks something! (and i really do mean that!) The artwork is great and goes well with the lyrical nature of the album and I don't think this album represents their peak at all this is only their second album.

The debut was an obscure but a distinctively average album but "Human disease" immediately elevates the band up leagues; It really is very good, not excellent but very good. Now that the band have been exposed to all the "Threshold" fans who enjoyed Mac and of course all the Powerworld fans from the beginning, we should see the band finding their feet quickly and there's good evidence of that here. There is very strong potential on this album and worth the money paid for it, I'm suitably impressed though not blown away! I'll save that for next time!!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2011 2:04 AM GMT

At The Edge Of Time (Ltd.Digi)
At The Edge Of Time (Ltd.Digi)
Price: 15.81

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling, dynamic and excellent,, 28 July 2010
Blind guardian are back this month with a new album! - the follow up, that is, to 2006's "Twist in a myth" and which ever way you look at it "At the edge of time" must surely be the best work the guys have done since 1998's classic concept opus "Nightfall on middle earth." Back once again with a rounder more fuller sound than last time. There is much new stuff on offer here too and to be frank the usual deep and delicate power/thrash demons, wizards and dragons stuff which the band perform and write so well.

The album kicks of with the almost 10 minute progressive/power metal masterpiece in the form of "Sacred worlds" this is BY FAR the best track on the album and is an instant classic. Lord of the rings style doom and gloom intro gives way to the perfect Blind guardian melodic power rhythms, this in turn illustrating the near perfect band sound. Violins, orchestra, classic soloing and all sorts is showcased on to the album in an exceptiional and a highly professional approach, which really does set the tone for the forthcoming tracks.

In between we have "Tanelorn" an impressive reminder of past material reminisent of "Somewhere far beyond" (and the like.) The chorus though is admittedly hit and miss, but overall the song impresses. "Ride into obsession" in particular is the standout number in the central eight shorter pieces. Equalling, anything of "Imaginations from the other side" what, with it's utterly power metal class tendancies. "A voice in the dark" also deserves a mention as a enjoyable creation that will prove to be another strong and probably popular mention of the album in future years. Keeping things short and sweet the remaining mid section of the band is typical back-in-time Blind guardian, well written and performed but not completely original.

"War of the thrones" should be seen as the weakest of the lot, Lacking the wow factor and failing to capture the rest of the album's spirit, which is really a shame becouse the rest of the album flows so well. I am not sure why this songs chorus irritates me so much but what what i can say is that the negatives more or less stop here. All i have for the rest of this album is high praise, high praise indeed for the album closer "Wheel of time" which again demonstates a level of talent which practically outclasses almost every other power metal band out there at the moment.

Being progressive at a lengthy 8 minute plus duration, the song is a fitting and pleasant end to a album that doesn't outstay it's welcome at all. "Wheel of time" is very epic in similar ways to "Nightfall on middle earth" was and it's just simply amazing. My opinion is then only very slightly confirmed to the belief that the ender is only just eclipsed by the brilliance of the first track, and yet again inventive and screaming solos grace "Wheel of time" on top of the the truely amazing guitar sound and in combination with Hansi's terrific vocals.

"Twist in the myth" was an utterly disapointing album. But fear not "At the edge of time" surpasses it by miles and in my humble opinion only misses out on classic status by one or two of the middle songs which don't quite cut the mustard. Fellow excellent band "Rhapsody of fire" have only just regained their former glory with their amazing new album; also out earlier this year. And i would say Blind guardian have also done themselves a similar amount of credit by this new return to form- and roots!.

The 2CD version is a generous value for money item, that includes many demos for the bands tracks that appeared on "At the edge of time" a bonus online card which unlocks some exciting unreleased studio tracks and a short but nice inclusion of the album making, a short studio interlude to provide a nice touch. This album is more than very good, it deserves to be five stars- albeit a weak five stars i.e 8.75/10. But it is highly recommended none-the-less. Both fans and newcomers need to hear this, your ears will be happy. Great, great power metal indeed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2011 2:39 AM GMT

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