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Immersion
Immersion
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 5.77

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from perfect, but enough to give you hope, 27 May 2010
This review is from: Immersion (Audio CD)
Immersion sees Pendulum regaining some of their momentum following the opinion dividing In Silico, an album seen by many as being a bit lightweight with the band sacrificing too much of their sound for commercial success. The first thing to note is the production is much punchier and weightier than In Silico with a bass sound closer to Hold Your Colour. First track proper Salt in the Wounds is a stormer, revisiting the tried and tested Slam formula with added heavy dubstep breakdown. Things continue strongly with Watercolour which sounded weak as a lead single but in the context of the album shows itself to be a solid liquid roller, and Set Me On Fire which is a head-cracking dupstep track that doesn't compromise on the bass sound at all. Crush is a bit Pendulum by numbers but has a strong enough melody to be enjoyable, whereas Under the Waves is the first big disappointment, a forgettable tune with a synth line that would sound more at home in a Nik Kershaw record. Immunize proves that Liam Howlett's still on a roll following Invaders Must Die and can do no wrong. The centrepiece of the album is 2 parter The Island, part 1 veers towards being a lightweight chart friendly trance track but is melodic and catchy enough to be enjoyable and builds you up for the beautiful pay-off in part 2, an electro-house stomper that Justice or Herve would be proud of. Sadly Immersion loses its way around this point, only The Vulture standing out in a Fasten Your Seatbelts remixed by Prodigy way. Comprachicos starts off promisingly with a Young Gods-esque intro and you think that the band may be about to lay down a cracking industrial track, but instead it goes into a dull guitar/ breakbeat face-off and gives up in under 3 minutes. Witchcraft is pretty much a carbon copy of Propane Nightmares, and they're on autopilot again for The Fountain. The real low points are closer Encoder which is almost a tacky 80s rock ballad and the cringeworthy In Flames collaboration Self vs Self which just sounds horrible, the guitar part and the vocals sitting uncomfortably next to the trademark Pendulum beat - Pitchshifter did the welding of metal to drum n bass a lot better over 12 years ago lads. Overall Immersion could do with being about 5 tracks lighter, but it is something of a return to form for Pendulum. There are some great tunes here and it gives hope that one day they could still better Hold Your Colour.


Colin McRae: Dirt 2 (Xbox 360)
Colin McRae: Dirt 2 (Xbox 360)
Offered by STOCKTASTIC
Price: 19.86

11 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Codemasters disappoint once again, 10 Sep 2009
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Codemasters used to be the undisputed kings of driving simulations. The Toca and Colin McRae series on the PSX, PS2 & Xbox set the standard with accurate car physics & in-depth game modes. Somewhere along the way they got lost. Dirt 2 suffers from the same major issue as Race Driver Grid, namely it can't decide whether it's a simulation or an arcade racer, thereby ending up as neither. Throughout the career mode you are thrown into different short races in radically differing race classes which makes it difficult to get used to the handling and learn your way around the game. The track design is poor too, with rocks, bridges, walls et al being strategically placed to cause just the right amount of annoyance. Whilst this would work on an arcade racer where you'd just bounce off and keep on going, it doesn't work with the more realistic handling as more often than not your race would be ruined. Although he handling is quite realistic it doesn't seem to have the 100% accuracy we're used to from Codemasters - 4WD rally prepared Impreza's oversteering like RWD V8s on tarmac? Not realistic.

The presentation of the game is poor too. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, but as we know great graphics do not a great game make. Firstly, why is the game full of BMX & Freestyle MX riders? Surely a game that bears the name of a rally legend might just have a few rally drivers in it. Also during any race you have other drivers talking to you throughout the proceedings. Why? Fine if you're on Xbox live but on a 2 lap rallycross do you really need Dave Mirra saying "Woah Dude" every time you try & overtake him? On the rally stages you do get a nice grumpy Scottish co-driver, but the pace notes have been simplified to "Easy left... fast right" and he is more concerned with recounting the damage to your car than telling you what's coming up. Twice I have been informed that the wall I just clipped had caused just a scratch, information that didn't warn me that there was a hairpin just ahead.

Overall for the serious racing fan it is an intensely frustrating experience given Codemasters' pedigree in the genre, and will probably have you digging out your PSX to relive the glory days on Colin McRae Rally 2.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2009 5:20 PM BST


Out My Window
Out My Window
Price: 10.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, people DO still make inventive music., 4 Oct 2008
This review is from: Out My Window (Audio CD)
Koushik's debut full length is a beautiful piece of work, and one for the open-minded music lover out there. The Canadian producer weaves soul samples with etherial psychadelic vocals and then chucks the whole lot over some nice chunky old school breakbeats. The result is nothing short of spectacular. If you want references, try this on for size - imagine Avalanches hooking up with Spacemen 3, travelling back to 1964, recording for the next 10 years, then coming back to the future and getting DJ Shadow to remix it round Plaid's place. It sounds everything and nothing like that. GET ON IT!


Shutdown 1990 - 1995
Shutdown 1990 - 1995
Offered by Plastic Dreams
Price: 2.98

5.0 out of 5 stars How the hell have this lot been forgotten???, 20 Mar 2008
This review is from: Shutdown 1990 - 1995 (Audio CD)
The phrase "lost gem" is bandied about in reviews way too often, with mediocre albums by quite well known artists undeservedly taking the plaudits. However, this band are TRULY a lost gem. I bought this on a complete whim purely because it was on Boss Tuneage, expecting some good solid old school UKHC or a tasty bit of crust punk. I was not expecting to find the most amazing collection of melodic hardcore tunes. The great thing about Shutdown is that it is hard to pin them down and say "they sound like band X". They take elements from hardcore and (real) emo, add a British pop sensibility and come up trumps on every track. Even the Cover of The Beat's Mirror in the Bathroom stands up well. Perhaps the closest comparisons would be to say they fulfil the promise Bad Dress Sense had, with bits of late Turning Point thrown in. It's fair to say that they are getting close to Can I Say era Dag Nasty - Neil Cox says in the liner notes that he was never the greatest singer, but his voice has a similar power & presence to Dave Smalley. If you like your hardcore tuneful please check this out, you will love it.


Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians [1970] / The Sea Devils [1972] / Warriors of the Deep [1984]) [DVD]
Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians [1970] / The Sea Devils [1972] / Warriors of the Deep [1984]) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Price: 11.00

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two out of three ain't bad, 19 Feb 2008
Another Who boxset so here we go...

The Silurians. Classic Pertwee and possibly one of the darkest stories of that era. The real strength of this story lies in the beautiful parallels between Mankind and the Silurians. The Doctor and the elder Silurian leader have the wisdom & know that the two races can happily co-exist, but unfortunately they are backed up by headstrong idiots who kill first, ask questions later. This is one of Pertwee's finest performances & he is ably backed up by a strong supporting cast, especially the joy that is Fulton MacKay (who of course so nearly became the Doctor himself). The Silurian costumes are a bit clunky but do the job, their presence strengthened by their hyped-uped somewhat demented voices. To top it all off, no-one can say Silurian like Pertwee.

Sea Devils. Amazing. It is right up there with Spearhead for best Pertwee storyline. The most striking aspect is the Sea Devils themselves. Blimey, they could SHIFT. How often has a Who monster been turned into a laughing stock because it drags itself along slower than a one legged tortoise? Not these guys! They are a genuine threat and look fantastic, especially when rising out of the sea & raiding the naval base. The co-operation of the navy and the huge amount of location filming really help add an air of authenticity to the story, whilst the doorless 2CVs & oddly uniformed soldiers just give that bizzarre & uncomfortable slant. Again, the cast is flawless, but Roger Delgado still manages to stand out with a captivating performance. And then there's the soundtrack. Yes, insane power electronics that out-weird half the Warp back catalogue! Just the complete Who package.

Warriors of the Deep. Yes, the Davison story lets the side down YET again. Davison himself is fine, but the script is weak & uninspiring and the whole batch of episodes are just, well, BEIGE! There are huge continuity errors for starters. The big offender runs as follows... In the first Pertwee story, the Silurians don't call themselves Silurians, it is merely the name of the period they are believed to orignate from. Indeed, in Sea Devils the Doctor informs Jo that Silurians was probably the wrong name to give them. So why are they waddling around in Warriors declaring themselves Silurians? Ditto the Sea Devils. Again, this is merely the nickname given to them by unsuspecting nautical casualties. The costume update is rubbish, the Seas Devils especially now lumber uninspiringly around the place, and the Silurians are too rubbery. Then there's the "legendary" Myrka. Yes, it really is a pantomime horse manned by the men who were Dobbin in Rentaghost. The cast is pretty uninspired, but as with many Davison stories they've not got the material to work with. Furniture advertising legend Tom Adams does do a solid job as Vorshack, but he's the only one that sticks in the memory past the end titles. BOO!

Extras maintain the usual Who standards, laods of in depth insightful documentaries & little oddities. Well worth investing in for The Silurians, Sea Devils and a free doorstop.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 1, 2014 4:58 PM BST


Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva) [DVD] [1963]
Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva) [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Price: 9.75

13 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A low point in Who history, 28 Feb 2007
Three whole Who storylines including a regeneration for around 20? Surely that's great value? Well... let's look at the evidence...

The Keeper of Traken.

Definitely the strongest story on display here. It's one of the rare occasions where John Nathan Turner and Tom Baker seemed to be working off the same page. The story grips you from the first appearance of the Keeper himself, and has all the Who trademarks including an excellent supporting cast coupled with a good amount of mystery and intrigue. Geoffrey Beevers is fantastic as the decomposing Master, Anthony Ainley gives a strong performance as Tremas (marks off for the lack of subtlety in the anagram there Johnny Byrne and JNT), and Tom Baker is back on form. The ending sets everything up nicely for the big revelation that is to come in...

Logopolis.

Oh dear. What sort of thing is happening here? Tom Baker clearly can't wait to get these episodes over with... Logopolis is a real mess. The story doesn't flow at all, the plot is confusing and often disappears completely ie what exactly is the Master's plan and how did the Doctor actually foil it in the end? The script is poor too. Take Tegan's introduction to the TARDIS crew (of which there are way too many, but more on that later), she wanders into the hallowed machine, roams about for an episode and a bit, lands on a bizarre alien planet, but seems totally unmoved by the experience and by the end is acting like she's a seasoned time travel veteran. This is not a criticism of Janet Fielding's acting ability, she just hasn't got the material to work with. Only Anthony Ainley is on form here with his cheeky/ menacing character emerging brilliantly. The climax of the regeneration is a huge letdown, mainly because of some AWFUL special effects work that would have had the team behind the Web Planet wincing.

Castrovalva.

A new Doctor then, but a poor introduction for Peter Davison. Again like Logopolis, the fault lies with Christopher H Bidmead and JNT not the Doctor himself. For the first two episodes NOTHING HAPPENS. The only real interest lies in Davison's performance as the regenerating Doctor having flashbacks to his past incarnations - the man does do a mean Patrick Troughton. Other than that, the story really serves to illustrate what a ridiculous idea it was to have three companions, particularly when Tegan, Nyssa and Adric are frequently less interesting than the beige walls of the TARDIS. Almost makes you want to watch Space 1999 for some excitement. By the final two episodes one of those things called "a plot" has appeared, and the interest level rises slightly as it looks like we may get something of a grand finale. However, when the twist is revealed (spoiler alert! stop reading if you don't want to know the end) and the Master appears, he is reduced to no more than a pantomime villain. Again, a weak entry into the Who cannon.

The extras package on offer is a lot more interesting than some of the stories, with the documentaries highlighting the many tensions and conflicts that surrounded the relationship between Tom Baker and JNT, and admissions that having three companions was stupid. When you've finished enjoying Traken then enduring the rest, just watch Earthshock again to remind yourself that things did get better during the Davison era, and celebrate when Adric is disposed of.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2011 5:37 PM BST


In The Name Of God Welcome To Planet Genocide
In The Name Of God Welcome To Planet Genocide
Offered by neil_anderson1967
Price: 25.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly great, 25 Nov 2006
Although I generally avoid anything remotely Black Metal for both stylistic and ideological reasons, I decided to take a chance on this "Meads go anarcho-punk!" release. Blimey, was it worth it. The Crass meets Discharge artwork sets the tone for a stunning collision of extreme metal and extreme punk. Each track is unique. One could say "My Beautiful Genocide" sounds like Rudimentary Peni meets ENT meets Anaal Nathrakk, or "A baptism..." is Dimmu Borgir gatecrashing Conflict's Conclusion lp, but that would be selling each tune short. The synth heavy nigh on operatic "Man Who Killed For God" is another unexpected twist. We also get a Discharge medley (DISCHARGE! DISCHARGE!), and finish up with "Aborted Stygian Foetus", a cracking industrial tune which wouldn't sound out of place on a Front 242 lp. Remember, the Meads also wear chainmail and carry broadswords. Fantastic. If you are a fan of any kind of extreme music, check this out.


Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (Special Edition) [DVD] [1983]
Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (Special Edition) [DVD] [1983]
Dvd ~ William Hartnell
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 29.99

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One day, I shall come back..., 23 Nov 2006
The Five Doctors is something of a classic. It contains an inventive and entertaining storyline, coupled with great performances from the likes of Anthony Ainley, Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Liz Sladen and especially Richard Hurndall doing a sterling job of filling William Hartnell's shoes. The Cybermen are on top form, the idea of the game of Rassilon is terrific, and the Raston Warrior Robot is genius.

That description fits the video version I've enjoyed watching for the last 15 years. However, I purchased this DVD to replace my well-watched VHS copy and was shocked. What sort of thing is happening here? Someone somewhere decided it needed to be "updated". The soundtrack has been fiddled with, sometimes it is bearable (the odd extra twiddly bits of music), but other times it is unforgivable (the pointless distorting of Rassilon's voice). The visual effects have also been redone, with the menacing triangle that captures each Doctor has been replaced, the Cyber guns fire different beams and the TARDIS separation scene at the end has just been ruined. This all may sound petty, but one has to ask WHY bother? These changes add nothing new to the story and irritate those who know and love the story. Of course, this was one of the first Doctor Who DVDs the Beeb ever did, and since this they have done a great job on most other releases. They've attempted some retouching of effects again on the likes of Earthshock, but the option is there to turn them off. Maybe it's time for the Five Doctors to be re-released, and get a package that matches the quality of the story?


Government Commissions
Government Commissions

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genius songs make happy people., 1 Sep 2006
This review is from: Government Commissions (Audio CD)
Government Commissions is an essential Mogwai purchase. The CD comprises all their BBC recordings except for the Peel session version of My Father, My King, which is absent owing to time constraints. It is a really nice touch on the part of the band to leave Sir John Peel's introduction at the start of Hunted By a Freak, and it complements a beautiful rendition of the track itself. Next up is an instrumental version of R U Still in 2 it, which doesn't sound quite right without Aidan on the first listen but really grows on you. Helicon II sounds as fantastic as the single version, whilst Kappa and Cody are light years ahead of the studio versions. Free of Dave Fridmann's over-compressed production and the slightly irritating NFL commentary on the CODY lp, Kappa is the slow building epic it should be whereas Cody is much more delicate with a stronger vocal performance. Secret Pint is probably the weakest track here - it's a decent enough performance but not quite as memorable as the other tunes on show (then again this is a subjective view as Rock Action is my least favourite `gwai lp). The final 3 tracks (Superheroes of BMX, Helicon I & Stop Coming to my House) again continue the trend of rivalling the studio versions, with Helicon I being especially spectacular when Stuart & John stamp on various pedals.

However, everything on this disc is in the shadow of track 6 - the 18:32 overture that is Like Herod. Blimey. Even if you know the Young Team version off by heart, NOTHING prepares you for this. Taking the quiet/loud dynamic to its extremes, this version fades away to near silence before exploding into an absolute meltdown, then goes serene again before another armageddon impression. Play this to the uninitiated and ask them whether the last 10 minutes is; a) a recording of the world collapsing in on itself in a fiery apocalypse, or b) 4 blokes from Glasgow in a BBC studio and they'll be hard pressed to know which is more likely. It has to be heard to be believed.


Solidarity
Solidarity
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Neurot delivers yet again, 18 July 2006
This review is from: Solidarity (Audio CD)
The long established DC instrumentalists' first album for the mighty Neurot label is a damn fine piece of work. What sets them apart from most post-rock acts is that they have five guitarists (one of whom is none other than Geordie Grindle of Teen Idles fame), two drummers and a bassist. Whilst it would be easy for them to just crank up the volume and blast out walls of sheer noise, Tone instead take the route of slowly building up intricate melodies, the five guitars being used to introduce subtle variations. The overall effect is a sound somewhere between Red Sparowes and Explosions in the Sky - very pleasant. As with most albums of this ilk, there are no standout tracks purely because the album holds together so well as a whole. The only minor gripe is that on closer Texas it sounds like the band are holding back slightly when the track finally hits its crescendo - not to contradict what's written above too much, but at that point it would have been appropriate for a five-way fuzz pedal assault. Overall Solidarity maintains the high standards Neurot continue to set, and will send latecomers like meself hunting for Tone's earlier works.


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