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VoodooChild (London)

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Black Holes And Revelations
Black Holes And Revelations
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.98

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Matt we trust..., 23 July 2006
Muse have never been a band to blend into the background, never a band to simply slot into a genre, never a band that hasn't provoked a reaction. They have always been big in sound, atmosphere & great songs.

'Black Holes & Revelations', however, takes things to a whole new level. I mean, this stuff is MASSIVE. This is EPIC, INNOVATIVE, GRANDIOSE & EXPLOSIVE. It's staggering to hear such scope, vision and imagination from a band once accused of being Radiohead wannabe's...

Muse take the meaning of quirky & weird to new heights. For example, single, 'Supermassive Black Hole' is nothing short of brilliant. There's a hugely heavy bass line & beat to it contrasting wonderfully with the drawn out vocals layered on top of the backing vocals talking of 'glaciers melting in the dead of night'. It's strange but you can't help but be absorbed by it all.

Then there's the impossible heaviness of the guitar riffs & drum rolls to 'Assassin', yet again with those weird but wonderful multi-layered vocals which are simply haunting.

But then take songs like 'Hoodoo'; the song starts with a spanish guitar intro, only to morph into a soft verse followed by a grand piano-driven chorus... yet somehow it fits beautifully.

The album is closed by yet another change in direction; 'Knights of Cydonia' goes into the kind of madly progressive territory that you'd usually expect of a band like Tool. It starts off sounding like some kind of cosmic western theme tune, shoots off into Matt Bellamy's lone vocals echoing out of your speakers before, quite unexpectably, ripping into an explosion of guitars & drums - it just sounds so huge!

And what's amazing is that, despite Bellamy throwing literally everything he has at his disposal into the mix & creating such inventive & challenging music, it's so accessible to the point that it's completely absorbing & utterly addictive. There's always a thin line between genius & complete insanity, & it's hard to say which side of the line Bellamy has stumbled. Either way, 'Black Holes...' is stunning.

This is a masterpiece to lose yourself in & never find your way out of.

5Stars


Embrace The Gutter
Embrace The Gutter
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Embrace the METAL, 22 July 2006
This review is from: Embrace The Gutter (Audio CD)
The metalcore scene may have started to get overcrowded of late, there may be a few too many copycat bands jumping on the bandwagon & you may choose to ignore the majority of these bands. The Autumn Offering aren't the most well known band, they aren't on a major label, their first EP sucked & matters aren't helped when on the front of every copy of this album is a massive sticker saying, 'For fans of Slayer, Mastodon & Shadows Fall'; a poor attempt at selling more albums.

Therefore, it's a massive surprise that 'Embrace the Gutter' is nothing but a complete success. Opener 'Decay' starts off with a thrash riff as crushing as anything the mighty Slayer would create backed up by the kind of throaty vocals to rival the likes of Chimaira. Suddenly it's apparent that perhaps the sticker on the front may well have been telling the truth...

The trend continues straight into another hard hitting pure metal song... & then again with the brilliant title track which includes a chorus that's both powerful & memorable. Unbelievably this never lets up. Resisting the temptation to drift into the more accessible soft vocal choruses or even ballad-like songs perhaps means that The Autumn Offering lack any real variety, but in my book, sticking with what u know & what sounds good is no bad thing. The result is an album which never stops for breath, keeps up an unrelenting aggression and pounds out metal anthems throughout.

So it's no classic album, it's never going to be in those 'Greatest Albums of All Time' lists, or even in the top albums of the year... but this is unashamedely metal as hell & i just can't find fault with it.

5Stars


Wolfmother
Wolfmother
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.25

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is that you under that afro Ozzy?, 22 July 2006
This review is from: Wolfmother (Audio CD)
After hype surrounds a band by so many different people & medias sometimes you have to take a dive into the deep end & just buy an album without hearing anything. Wolfmother were described by many as classic 70's rock, which always sounds good to me! The only problem was that I'd heard it all before; anybody else remember The Darkness being hailed as the saviours of classic rock? hmmm

However, Wolfmother are the real deal. Single, 'Woman' is nothing short of exhilerating, while sounding suspiciously like an exact replica of something you'd find on an early Led Zeppelin album. Likewise, 'White Unicorn' builds up rolling drums just like Led Zep. Then there's 'Colossal' which is remiscent of Black Sabbath; not only are the vocals of Andrew Stockdale in the same vein as the legend Ozzy Osbourne, but the song is carried along by the same kind of doom laden riffs that Sabbath invented. Wolfmother have taken ideas from every band from The Who to Deep Purple & it shows throughout the album.

But what distinguishes Wolfmother from being simply a copycat band is their ability to pull this all off with such credibility & panache. This is a whole album's worth of straight up rock 'n' roll, ouzing charm & a retro feel which makes you want to air-guitar, drum or just generally jump around & bang your head.

A really good album in general but this reviewer would have possibly liked to have seen a few more over-the-top twiddly guitar solos added into the mix... but i suppose that's not for everyone!

Surely something here to satisfy every kind of rock fan so it's got to be worth a buy.

4Stars


Cult (Ltd)
Cult (Ltd)
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £12.70

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant Classic, 12 July 2006
This review is from: Cult (Ltd) (Audio CD)
In the 80's when thrash was big, alongside the likes of the mighty Metallica, Slayer reigned supreme, creating some of the most influential metal albums of all time; the mighty 'Reign In Blood' followed by 'South of Heaven' & 'Seasons in the Abyss', 3 amazing albums in a row, but it wasn't to last. The 90's saw Slayer lose their way with some (dare i say it) mediocre albums, probably as a result of the departure of drummer Dave Lombardo.

However, Slayer returned in 2001 with the crushing 'God Hates Us All' & suddenly it seemed that they were back on track.

Now, a further 4 years on & things are looking even better; the new album 'Christ Illusion' out this year sees the return of Lomardo, which can only be a good thing.

The single 'Cult' provides our first insight into the new album, and damn is it encouraging! With an opening reminiscent of the classic 'Raining Blood', a slow build up leading into the explosion of the lead guitar riff before some slower chugging guitars only to rip into an even faster paced roaring verse. Slayer sound angrier than ever with lyrics like 'Religion is hate, Religion is fear, Religion is war!' & 'I've made my choice, 666!' (quite apt with this single being released on 06.06.06). Furthermore, 'Cult' features no less than 3 short blistering solos resembling their old material.

'Cult' is a great song & shows how Slayer are focused more than ever on creating REALLY heavy music & having a slightly unsubtle dig at the church! 'Christ Illusion' is going to shred!


10,000 Days
10,000 Days
Price: £11.22

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tool achieve even more than ever before, 30 Jun. 2006
This review is from: 10,000 Days (Audio CD)
It's been a long five years since Tool's last opus, 'Lateralus' & it would seem that a third album of complete genius in a row (the other of course being 'Aenima') would be pretty unlikely. Thank goodness then, that Tool have continued their own trend of ignoring every other trend to come & go in the mainstream since their absence & continue to make bafflingly complex, yet completely listenable songs.

From the off it's apparent that Tool have cranked up the heaviness with the huge stop-start riffing of 'Vicarious'; truely an awe-inspiring song & if this doesn't make your eyes bulge, you probably aren't into rock & Tool isn't for you!

'Jambi' continues in the same vein before Tool switch on the charm of their softer side with the two-part epic 'Wings for Marie' & '10,000 Days'; the latter of which is brilliantly atmospheric with the sound of rain & thunder before a massive chorus sung to perfection by vocalist Maynard James Keenan.

'The Pot' displays how many different directions Keenan can push his voice, switching between high pitched singing & low growls; add a juddering bass line & some more big riffs & you have yet another great song.

'Rosetta Stoned' is probably the least accessible of all the songs here for the casual listener, but it's worth the 11minute-plus journey; starting with Keenan's quiet mutterings, the big riffs start to come in & stop as quickly as they came. Slowly the song builds up with more & more happening, more huge guitars, more atmospherics, more bass thumping, more vocal experimentation & all the way through a darkness & mystery about the whole experience that only Tool could ever create.

'Right in Two' is a beautiful ballad before a fittingly big finale of guitars & noise.

Although the other tracks which i have not mentioned are simply songs full of noises/atmospherics/random tangents, they only serve to complete the album as a whole; an album which twists & turns to become a sprawling, dark, grandiose piece of art that other musicians can only dream of creating.

If this review has NOT made you want this album, i obviously haven't stressed just how important this album is; Tool have created something here that stands up next to (if not above) ANY other rock or metal album that has ever been hailed as a 'classic'. It may be a long time before this album's genius is realised completely... but it will be realised.

'10,000 Days' is stunning! *****


Blackwater Park
Blackwater Park
Price: £6.45

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blacwater Park - Flawless, 8 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
Goodness gracious me.

No wonder there isn't a bad review for this album, anywhere!

Basically, you haven't really heard anything exactly like Opeth. And 'Blackwater Park' is their masterpiece.

Enormously heavy riffs, big strong death vocals, beautiful acoustic melodies, stunning soft vocals and then back again. That's about the only way i can describe it, but it works so well.

Opener 'The Leper Affinity' is a prime example; a 10minute epic that tears into pounding guitars, rolling drums and a wall of vocal power, breaks into a stop-start-riff leading into a thumb-twiddling solo... and that's just the first 3minutes!!! Other mentions have to go to the brilliantly heavy 'Bleak' & 'The Funeral Portrait' as well as the lighter touches like folk-tinged 'Harvest' and the beautifully short acoustic 'Patterns In The Ivy'

Give Opeth a try & the likelihood is, you will be surprised at how much you like it. All i can say is buy it if you like any heavy metal.

5 stars & HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (also get their RoadRunner debut, 'Ghost Reveries')


City Of Evil [Pa Version]
City Of Evil [Pa Version]
Offered by The Music Warehouse
Price: £5.65

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A far cry from innocence, 23 April 2006
City of Evil rocketed A7X into mainstream success and so, as is always the case, the fans are very split on this album. Accused by many of 'selling out' because of cutting out the screaming & also probably for atracting little emo girls as their fans (something vocalist M.Shadows said they were trying to avoid). However, that's rubbish. City of Evil's success is based purely on the fact its a GREAT album.

The fact is A7X still sound like they always did, still influenced by the greats (ie Maiden & other classic metal bands)but have got a more clean cut direction and some really great songs. Opener 'The Beast & the Harlot' gives a pretty good idea about what this albums about - completely over the top music in every way - speedy drumming, countless solos all over the place & those instantly recognisable high-pitched vocals... brilliant!

The next few songs follow the same trend and are really addictive, especially the live favourite, 'Bat Country' (it will get stuck in your head for days).

BUT, towards the end of the album something goes a little wrong. 'Seize the Day' strays into annoying ballad territory (unlike the brilliant, 'I Won't See You Tonight' from Waking The Fallen), and the others are just simply TOO long. 'The Wicked End' & 'Betrayed' don't need to be half the length they are and 'Sidewinder' only redeems itself with a... erm, 'quirky'/ weird latino guitar thing at the end which is surprisingly cool! The closer 'MIA' isn't bad, but its a bit of a struggle getting there through the overly-long songs beforehand.

But don't listen to my niggly little criticisms, City of Evil is a really great listen & is a bit different to alot of things around at the moment. There's bound to be a bunch of songs you'll fall in love with here & you won't stop listening to this album for ages.

4 stars


New American Gospel: Remastered, Expanded & Repackaged
New American Gospel: Remastered, Expanded & Repackaged
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £7.76

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misses the mark a bit, 22 April 2006
Lamb of Godare never a band you would describe as 'commercial' with their deep gorwling vocals and huge heavy metal riffs reminiscent of Slayer. But on their latest 2 albums, 'As The Palaces Burn' & 'Ashes of the Wake' LOG had a surprising capability to make stupidly heavy songs that were somehow catchy eg 'Ruin', 'Laid to Rest'.

On their first album under the name Lamb of God, however, vocalist Randy Blytheclearly had not honed his skills at producing death vocals without making them sound strained & weak. After reading about how little time the band had to record the album & without any money, it isn't really surprising though that alot of it sounds so unprofessional. This really is the only thing letting this album down, but it is a MAJOR part of the music.

Thankfully, due in part to the remastering, the music on 'New American Gospel' is right on par with everything else LOG have produced since. I don't know if it's just me that thinks this, but it seems that the remastering has purposefully boosted up the guitars to make them even more heavy & possibly even overshadow the vocals a bit...?

Whether that be true or not, there's some really sweet headbanging material on diplay here. 'Terror & Hubris...' is terrifyingly heavy as is 'ODHGABFE'. In fact every track has its moments, but without vocals you can connect with, each song sounds a bit too similar to the next... definitely a hard album to get into.

3 stars because it doesn't compare to the other LOG albums


Clayman [Deluxe Edition]
Clayman [Deluxe Edition]

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Flames In Top Form, 19 April 2006
InFlames, if you are unfamiliar with them, are a 'melodic death metal' band from Sweden (of course). In terms of sound they're alot like ArchEnemy & are clearly a major influence on modern metal bands like Trivium... and in the metal scene they've got quite a reputation for a reason.

'Clayman', along with its predecessor 'Colony', sums up InFlames the best in my opinion. Combining melody with big riffs, strong choruses and angry vocals, InFlames have a distinct sound which is surprisingly accessible.

Opening two tracks 'Bullet Ride' & 'Pinball Map' are straight forward classic InFlames and if you don't like those, you don't like InFlames! 'Clayman' also has its more diverse and subdued moments like 'Only For The Weak' and 'Square Nothing', only to lead into the brilliantly pounding riff of 'Brush The Dust Away' and the unforgettable 'Swim'. And the same story continues throughout this great album without a weak track in sight.

'Colony' & this are my two favourite InFlames albums & no fan should be without either.

5 stars


Blackwater Park
Blackwater Park

5.0 out of 5 stars Opeth = Gods, 18 April 2006
This review is from: Blackwater Park (Audio CD)
Goodness gracious me.

No wonder there isn't a bad review for this album, anywhere!

Basically, you haven't really heard anything exactly like Opeth. And 'Blackwater Park' is their masterpiece.

Enormously heavy riffs, big strong death vocals, beautiful acoustic melodies, stunning soft vocals and then back again. That's about the only way i can describe it, but it works so well.

Opener 'The Leper Affinity' is a prime example; a 10minute epic that tears into pounding guitars, rolling drums and a wall of vocal power, breaks into a stop-start-riff leading into a thumb-twiddling solo... and that's just the first 3minutes!!! Other mentions have to go to the brilliantly heavy 'Bleak' & 'The Funeral Portrait' as well as the lighter touches like folk-tinged 'Harvest' and the beautifully short acoustic 'Patterns In The Ivy'

Give Opeth a try & the likelihood is, you will be surprised at how much you like it. All i can say is buy it if you like any heavy metal.

5 stars & HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (also get their RoadRunner debut, 'Ghost Reveries')


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