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Agma (UK)

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Smooth noodle maps (1990)
Smooth noodle maps (1990)

4.0 out of 5 stars Disc spinners., 6 Jun 2014
I have only one album of Devo, and 'Smooth noodle maps' is that album. I have always quite enjoyed they're unique brand of sub-new wave rock :- always attached with a humourous assemblage of college boy antics on what is a pretty solid and convicted template. The songwriting on the whole is a tad loose and glossy, but there is still plenty of good musical moments and quirky nuances too. The production is heavily slanted on a distant 80's production roster, but I feel that that fact only adds to it's genuine and organic listening experience. The use of synths also helps to elaborate on melodies and key musical developments as well.

There are quite a raft of unique and unashamededly brilliant ideas on this disc stretching from the entirety of the whole albums 11 tracks, and, with a sprinkling of mass appeal. Out of what's here, my favourites include:- The first five tracks, the quite superb "Pink jazz trancers, and/, Devo has feelings too". "A change is gonna cum" and "The big picture" are the two obvious weak links in this uniformly strong chain of quality entities, but in this reviewers opinion, the very vast majority of excellence ultimately trumps the loose ends to result in a four star and easily enjoyable album.

Darkness In A Different Light
Darkness In A Different Light
Price: 13.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O Fates Warning, this is amazing., 5 Jun 2014
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An urgent and compelling start kicks of last years "Darkness in a different light" in the form of 'one thousand fires' and as it turns out, it would be the best start for on a Fates Warning album in well over 20 years. "Firefly returns the heaviness and riffage not seen since "No exit", with an added dose of variation with the third track "Desire", which harks back to the 'Disconnected' era. 'Fallling' represents a sweet enough ballad; 'I am' is a decent enough prog fest. 'Lighthouse' is one of my favourites song of the album as the song is so deep and melodic it is impossible to escape from it.

'Into the black' returns back to a little dose of metal, with "Kneel & Obey" straight after, capitalising on the previous song with a opening sledge hammer riff. 'O chloroform returns things to a 'Into the black esque, 'and yet it moves' ends the album on a high note with a minute accustic sweep and a destructive metal weight then obliterating it. So as far as I am concerned, every single song was attractive and memorable from the first time I listened through them. It was also very obvious from the first completed listen that this was something amazing, as such a diverse and united arsenal of ideas has been so sculptrally transformed into such a organic effort.

Fates Warning's - "Darkness" has to be one of the best all-round progressive metal albums for many years. This is most certainly a five star album: as the songwriting, execution, musicianship, and production is so damn perfect. I simply cannot find any issues at all with this album. Artwork is intriguing too, as well as an extra bonus disc if you buy the very lavishly produced double disc 2CD set. It comes in a hardback digibook with a digipack hub to hold the discs and the bonus disc contains an extended version of Firefly, a bonus song 'Falling Further'; 'One' & Life in still water' live.

This album will go down in history as a classic, and it is one of the best CD's they have come up with in they're long exemplary musical history; the impossible has been done.

Octavarium [U.S. Version]
Octavarium [U.S. Version]
Price: 6.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Trapped inside this Octavarium., 4 Jun 2014
Dream Theater's career has been rather fast paced since they're inception in the mid to late eighties; in most years since they're debut, an average of one album every two year cycle has been,.. (alongside extensive touring), one of the main reasons (in my opinion), with as to why they're music has lost so much of the original magic and potency since then. Octavarium came out in 2005 and this does represent the band's eighth full-length studio album, and an identifiable turning point for the bands evolution, as only 'A dramatic turn of events' since then, has been close to the very high standards they were pushing themselves for in the 1990's.

Octavarium however, is a modest album with a colossal arsenal of heavyweights like the masterpiece title track, the 'root of all evil', the beautiful 9/11 tribute song 'Sacrificed sons', and 'Panic attack'. The other half, a collective tapestry of DT filler such as 'the answer lies within', 'these walls', the U2 gimmick of 'I walk beside you' and 'Never enough'., By far, the best song on the album and one of the best of Dream Theaters career is the simply superb 24 minute suite of Octavarium. Without this fanatstic song, there would be little likelihood of me awarding this CD anything higher than a three star set.

Black And White 050505
Black And White 050505
Price: 3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underneath the ice.,, 3 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Black And White 050505 (Audio CD)
Black and White 050505 was Simple Minds comeback album and it is decidedly so. Very strong memorable anthems, delicious melodies and thoughtful soundscapes make this one - one of they're best. A few typical SM numbers do still punctuate the heart of the CD such as:- 'Different world and Kiss the ground'. These songs still remain strong, and for the first time since 'Good news from the next world' there are absolutely no slouchers present. Therefore this has to be one of they're most consistent albums for years and paved the way forward for the following albums triumph. 'Physical Graffitti'; which totally nailed the Simple minds incubus.

Highlights on Black and White are numerous and of very high quality. "Stay visible', 'Home', 'Stranger' and the closer 'Dolphins' represent the pinnicle of the CD with 'Underneath the ice', 'the Jeweller', 'a life shot in black and white', being not far behind them. So this adds up as a fresh and perfect evolution of the progression seen since they're early days. Production, execution and songwriting quality blows they're previous album 'Cry', out of the water. This is a mandatory Simple Minds cannon with a subtle AOR edge to it's presentation, which ultimately gives us a great and full - rounded rock album to enjoy.

Definately worth getting hold of, this one....


5.0 out of 5 stars Ladies and gents welcome to sublimity., 2 Jun 2014
This review is from: Millennium (Audio CD)
Monstrosity's second CD refines the raw talent shown on they're debut "Imperial doom" and sharpens it to unparrelled levels. 'Fatal Millenium' kicks off the CD, and right away it is clear that that is the case with a serating and cutting edge guitar sound from relatively unknown axeman Jason Morgan. 'Devious Instinct' is the second song on the album and is one of my long time Monstrosity favourites. Excessive, but controlled blast beating from Lee Harrison, an urgent vocal from Corpse'grinder, and a generous bass sound is enough to give you the shivers. Again; Jason Morgan's command of the guitar is aptly demonstrated by some really excellent harmonics.

Another highlight is the slow n' steady 'Fragments of resolution' with it's very slow protruding baseline:- which is quite a different proposition to the usual Monstrosity servings. The album is a classic, and they're best album to date as far as I'm concerned. You really have to wonder why Corpsegrinder left the band after this album to go join Cannibal Corpse:- who in my opinion have never been as good as these guys in any musical aspect. Still, three albums on and the music is still top draw across the board and with a new album speculated to be coming out in the near future, my anticipations are currently running high indeed.

Production, songwriting and execution are all surefire high points. This is certainly one of my very favourite death metal albums out there and is at least a little easier to get hold of than the chronically out of print 'Imperial doom'. 'Millenium' was originally released on Nuclear Blast:- nowadays, the distributor is Conquest Music and I believe that the album is directly available from them if you are after a relatively new copy. Not nearly enough, like most old school death metal there needs to be a more concerted effort to reissue albums in quanity to bring down the absurd prices some of them command.

'Millenium' rules however, it's a simple as that!...,

Angular Perceptions
Angular Perceptions
Price: 15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Progressive pillars., 1 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Angular Perceptions (Audio CD)
Thought Chamber started as a side project in 2006, between a pedigree of dynamic and proven individuals coming together to deliver an a-typical and inspirational metal album. Of course the progressive mindset behind it is to be applauded, this album still has an abundance of transcending personality, soul and a sporadic distribution of radiant elements in distillation with they're music. All of which is topped off by a passionate vocal from the 'one and only' Ted Leonard' from "Enchant", makes Angular perceptions' a curious debut CD.

One thing I like about this brand of progressive metal is that the technical and songwriting qualities are uniform and collectively collaborate, to put they're own spin on the sub-genre. A rhythm and bass aware CD, there are so many subtle moments and delicate flinches on top of a pretty solidly written incubus. Angular perceptions' isn't up there with the mandatory classics we are familliar with; but a supergroup of this kind of caliber behind all this. 'Angular Perceptions' coukd be regarded as what would be expected as a bar minimum. 4 stars worthy, and well worth checking out!.

Favourites include:- "God of oblique & A mind beyond".

Price: 46.39

5.0 out of 5 stars We're sci-fi and flying the flag!, 1 Jun 2014
This review is from: Thresholds (Audio CD)
Nocturnus burst on to the death metal scene in 1990 with the magnificent "The key". The band followed this up two years later with "Thresholds" and is overall the superior effort becouse of it's more streamlined and accessible arrangement. These guys were truly innovators, in a genre that's well known for it's straight-down-the-line approach to extremity. Nocturnus were very different to the rest, they had a very large armory of seamless, aggressive rhythms; barking vocals contrasting a very non-formulaic undercurrent of keyboards, sound effects and sci-fi imagery.

It begins with "Climate controller" and the extremely rough production draws you in straight away. The pace gradually esculates before levelling at a quick galloping pace and the song is a great starter. "Tribal voodun" is a delicate and highly melodic start before quickly decending into a brutal riff. "Nocturne in B" is a keyboard extravaganza of charged sound and tune. Arguably the finest Nocturnus song could be "Arctic Crypt" with a very memorable and addictive chorus. By now the album is in full swing and is already on course for a five star rating.

"Aquatica" is a true sci-fi spirited song with plenty of sound effects and changing scenes. "Subterranean Infiltrator" is a another memorable entity with plenty of riffs. "Alter Reality" is another heavy fest to lead the conclusion with the very excellent "Gridzone". 8/8 marvellous sounding tracks with a clear progressive mindset behind them. This sounds like a natural evolution of the qualities and technical excellence shown on 'The key", and it further embeds the Nocturnus sound with frankly stunning results. One of my favourite and unusual death metal albums; classic stuff.

*1 extra star too for that spaceship, cover and back print artwork.

Arrival at Six
Arrival at Six
Price: 14.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Swedish hammersledge., 31 May 2014
This review is from: Arrival at Six (Audio CD)
Sorcery were part of the 'one strike unlucky' :- band of brothers that were unable to stand out due to the sheer quanitity of bands coming on to the scene in the early nineties:- abit like Crematory, God Macabre and other similar quell. Last year, they returned back out of the darkness to present their second full length CD, and it is a very good one. Whilst not as groundbreaking as they're debut, the second CD:- (available via the spanish label xtreem music) is a worthy mixture of they're trademark madness in distilation with a eye full of dismember, Entombed and Entrails esques.

9 sledgehammer songs power and smash they're way forward in brutal style, supported by a keen melodic sound and crushing 'concrete' riffs. My favourite tracks are the fabulously titled "Master of the chains, United satanic alliance and Arrival at six". With no weak entities here, the result is a truly obliterating effort. Umbelievable heaviness and most ugly rhythms penetrate the heart of this CD to leave the listener wanting more. As far as I'm concerned; another CD in the near future would be eagerly awaited from this reviewer.

Security Of Illusion
Security Of Illusion
Offered by hotshotrecordsgermany
Price: 22.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done. Voila!, 30 May 2014
This review is from: Security Of Illusion (Audio CD)
Since 1983, Saga's career has been quite inconsistent, with about as many great CD's as average ones. 'The security of illusion' is Saga's 1993 effort, and it comes a whole four years after 'A beginners guide for throwing shapes'. This one is one of the better albums of they're career so far, and is in many ways the quintessential comeback album. Coming back to the fold is returning Jim Gilmour and Steve negus, and the results of which are terrifyingly compelling, as you would expect, being that they're back in familliar collaboration with the Crichtons and Michael Sadler.

This is a strong disc with a generous dose of Ian Crichtons charged:- metallic riffs and bouncy rhythms. Michael Sadler's vocals sound quite abit different on this CD due to the effects of a strong early blend of nineties production; but he does sound on great form. Key tracks are definately the more busy rockers such as the classic vibes of:- "Mind over matter, I'll leave it in you're hands, Stand up and Without you". Saga ballads in the form of:- "Alone again tonight, The security of illusion and Voila!" provide the centerpiece of musical balance and diversity.

This album managed to get Saga briefly back on track before the derailment of the following year's, "Steel Umbrellas". A rather comprehensive summary of over a decades worth of studio albums and a most welcome musical correction of they're eighties pop/rock navigational detour. This ultimately sets the scene for a fully exciting listening experience..., Recommended!.

Far Beyond Driven
Far Beyond Driven
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.62

3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven template., 29 May 2014
This review is from: Far Beyond Driven (Audio CD)
Pantera's - Far beyond driven is an album that I have always felt has been considerably overrated. The first three of the four songs on the album are iconic classics. "Strength beyond strength, 5 minutes alone and I'm Broken", are but contrasted by the averageness of "Becoming, Slaughtered, Use my third arm, throes of rejection"; and then there is the disasters of "Good friends, Hard lines and 25 years". So quite a mixed bag in hindsight.,

The drive for further heaviness after 'Vulgar' has resulted in some significant detraction of songwriting consistency and the Pantera esque; needless to say this is still quite a very good album but probably does not fully level the classic quality it's predessors of 'Cowboys & Vulgar' both had. So yes, this is a considerable step down from the heights scaled by those albums but it is probably better than the two albums which followed this one.

Black Sabbath's - Planet Caravan is here- covered in great taste and timeless fashion, but had it been without those three terrible songs this is certainly an album that skirts close to the four star mark.

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